Games Inbox: What other games should go free-to-play?
The evening Inbox is split over the level of realism appropriate for Call Of Duty, as more readers celebrate the start of Days of Play.
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Interesting news about Destiny 2 going free-to-play. I’m not interested in the game myself, I got it kind of free on PS Plus a few months ago (as free as anything gets with a monthly sub) and played it for a few hours, found it incredibly dull and deleted it to free up hard drive space. Being as it was a substantial size, 80GB+ if I remember correctly.
The real reason I find it interesting is maybe other games will follow the same model if it proves to be a winner. There’s games out there I wouldn’t buy, but would definitely try if they were free to play. Anthem, No Man’s Sky, and Fallout 76 being three I can think of. I might grow to surprise myself and actually love them, then subsequently pay for add-ons, new DLC, etc. So there’s some money in the coffers that they’d never have had otherwise.
It could prove to be a real lifesaver for a lot of games people are on the fence about and I imagine a lot of devs and publishers will keep an eye on how successful it proves to be if their games bombed, one last throw of the dice.
As for Google Stadia. £150 for a founder’s pack plus £9 a month. Hardly any different to a pre-owned Xbox One and Game Pass, or PlayStation 4 and PS Now, except you can resell your consoles and play boxed games, and don’t necessarily need to have a superfast broadband connection to play them. I really can’t see it taking off myself, certainly doesn’t interest me whatsoever as a physical hardware/software hoarder.
GC: The Founder’s Pack is £119 and includes three months with it, you don’t need to pay £9 on top of it.
Call of realism
RE: Bousch. I didn’t jump into Call Of Duty until the first Modern Warfare. I loved how real it felt. It immerses you. The graphics, and the sound effects. Most notably, how each gun sounded so unique. Every Call Of Duty game thereafter proceeded to get more and more silly, I’m sure thanks to people of your ilk.
There are other games for you and your kind. It was called Halo. But, so finally after declining sales and increasing silliness with each new Call Of Duty game Activision has finally realised where it’s bread is buttered. And the community is speaking with overwhelming approval. But here you are, trying to ruin it already. Thanks.
GC: Okay, let’s keep things civil. Also, the last Call Of Duty with a story campaign had an entirely serious Second World War setting.
Making a difference
Regarding the R-Type Final 2 Kickstarter: forgive me if this sounds like a dumb question but I’m confused about Kickstarter funded games. Are they only made available to backers or are they given a general release, i.e. everyone can buy it, regardless of whether you backed or not?
If I can buy without backing and a game has already met its funding target, what’s the point of backing, unless I want one of the stretch goals?
GC: It’s not a dumb question at all. You can always buy the game when it’s out, although you miss out on the backer rewards and the chance that your money helps to fund the game and add to its features via stretch goals.
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The VR box
That Sony Days of Play sale for the PlayStation VR Mega Pack is a bit of a belter. £209 for the headset, camera, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, Skyrim VR, PlayStation VR Worlds, WipEout Omega Collection, Doom VFR, and Blood & Truth is The Orange Box levels of value.
Shame the accessories are still a bit pricey and a little tricky to find sometimes. The Move controllers are around £60-£70 and the Aim Controller is about £55.
I would like to hear the impressions of VR from some GC readers who take a punt on the deals for PlayStation VR over the Days of Play promotion. I think PlayStation VR’s last reported sales figures were 4.2 million, be nice to see it top 5 million.
Some of my favourite games on PlayStation VR, for any new adopters who would be interested, are: Statik, Resident Evil 7, WipEout, Astro Bot, Skyrim (to be honest, it’s a pretty rough VR experience but still worth it), Xing: The Land Beyond, Thumper, Blood & Truth, Tetris Effect, Moss, and Borderlands 2 VR.
Oh, and do pick up Star Wars: Battlefront second-hand for a couple of quid to play the X-wing mission. If it’s your first time playing VR and sci-fi is your jam it’s well worth making it your first VR experience.
Doing the maths
That Stadia announcement is interesting, though I would still have questions. For example, are the ‘regularly released free games’ an expanding library? If I were to go for the Pro subscription a few years down the line, would I be able to access Destiny 2, or would it be more like PlayStation Plus, where I can only get ones that I add manually each month?
As many people have already pointed out, I really doubt that most people’s Internet connections are going to work with the Pro connection, so is this another case of a tech company overestimating the affluence and tech available to their audience? The proof will be in the pudding I suppose.
The list of games is… extremely underwhelming, to be honest. They’re pretty much all games I don’t really care about (at least not right now). What would really sell it to me would be a way to convert my Steam or GOG library over, but that’s very doubtful.
I’m also confused as to how they can claim that Founder’s Pack is worth £250. Let’s do some maths!
£250 – £59 (for the controller) – £8.99 x 3 (that’s just shy of £27, for the three-month subscription) is £164.
Are they seriously claiming that the different paint on the controller, the Chromecast Ultra, and the ability to not have someone take your name is worth that?
GC: You also get a second set of three-month subscriptions to give to a friend and the Chromecast Ultra costs £70 on its own. So the actual worth is at least £183.
I’m not sure what to make of Stadia. I think I’m just not the target market going by the list of games they revealed. The price seems reasonable though, and I can see Google offering X months free if they don’t hit early targets.
As others have rightly pointed out, it’s not just the Internet speed that’s important but the data usage. I’m in the fortunate position of having an unlimited fibre package, but if I subscribed to Stadia and started using up tens of TBs per month I’m sure my supplier would throttle my Internet. I think we’re not far off from Internet suppliers offering packages that say, ‘and Stadia usage won’t be included in your usage limit.’ That would certainly benefit Google and it’s not like they’re short of money to throw at Internet suppliers in the UK.
Also, have GC managed to demo the Stadia controller? It strikes me as being uncomfortable to use.
GC: This, or the reverse (offering contracts specifically to use Stadia) are especially likely to happen in America, where broadband is less regulated. We haven’t used a Stadia controller yet but will at E3.
A sci-fi Rainbow Six is a very odd idea, but I have always liked the idea of doing a serious space marine game, without alien and just real science. I was always disappointed that Infinite Warfare, although not as bad as some made, was so sci-fi in the end and would’ve much rather seen something like the Colonial Marines out of Aliens but without the aliens.
I’ve no idea if that’s what we’re getting but if it does have aliens in it won’t that affect the rest of the Clancyverse? They are all supposed to exist in the same reality aren’t they? Although I suppose the excuse here would be just to say it’s in the future.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
A new challenger
I don’t know about everyone else but I was very impressed by the new details on Google Stadia. Although I did find the overall Google Connect presentation to be pretty cheesy at times, but it wasn’t bad really.
£8.99 a month seems very reasonable for the amount of games on offer from the get go and if it’ll work as a Game Pass style service where you have access to all titles on the platform (that’s my assumption of how it’ll work, if they didn’t outright say it?)
And £119 for the Founder’s Pack also seems competitively priced – for the price of two to three new games you get a Chromecast Ultra, Stadia controller, three months of access for you and a mate, Destiny 2, and access to all the launch titles they listed off as well.
I can see Sony and Microsoft getting quite worried after this Connect, as Stadia, based on the launch games listed, seems to be targeting what I assume is the majority of gamers – those that mostly play third party titles like Assassin’s Creed, The Division 2, Call Of Duty, FIFA, etc.
My reasoning on this (which, admittedly, is probably way off) is that if Sony exclusives like God Of War, Uncharted 4, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Horizon Zero Dawn sell around 10 million units, that’s only around 10% of the PlayStation 4 user base buying them. If we roughly extrapolate that to say those units sold actually come from, say, 40% of the user base who routinely buy these types of narrative-driven first party games (I’m making this stat up, so am happy to be wrong on this!) then that leaves potentially 60% of Sony’s ‘casual’ user base up for grabs by Stadia.
And when it comes to Microsoft, they’re potentially in an even worse position. I assume the vast majority of people who have bought the Xbox One X have done so to play the best-looking version of third party games, seeing as Microsoft’s line up of exclusive games hasn’t been particularly plentiful or spectacular this gen.
With Stadia providing a much cheaper alternative to play the best-looking version of the games on offer (subject to it working as promised – a big if!) then there’s the potential for a lot of disruption in the industry right now.
The big question is will people who already have PlayStation 4s or Xbox Ones jump ship at this stage of the generation? I’m not planning to myself, as the majority of games I buy are the ‘Sony formula’ type exclusives I’ve highlighted here. If Stadia essentially becomes a third platform (alongside PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two) for next gen third party games, however, it really becomes a seriously tempting/cheaper proposition, particularly for ‘casual’ gamers, than potentially spending half a grand on a new console.
The new Destroy All Humans game is a remake? I just… who cares? I mean, I’m saying it shouldn’t exist, because it doesn’t affect me, but I have literally heard no one talk about that franchise since it was out. And barely then even.
Overwatch as a PvE makes a lot of sense to me, if that means they continue to update the other at the same time. Sounds like it’ll be the closest we get to a story campaign too.
This week’s Hot Topic
With E3 due to start in just a few days the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is obvious: what are you expecting out of the show and what are you most looking forwards to?
What are your predictions for the major announcements in terms of games, hardware, and things like new streaming services? What do you expect to hear from the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo and what games reveals are you most anticipating?
What are you resigned to not hearing about and what do you think will end up being the biggest news from the show this year? What unannounced games do you think might be revealed and what previously unseen ones do you think will make the biggest splash?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
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