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£49 games and the Nintendo Switch

£49 games and the Nintendo Switch

Something has worried me ever since the Nintendo Switch was announced. It is this. Nintendo will find it hard to convince me that paying £49 for a game on their system represents good value. “Oh!” You shriek, “Just because it is a console that can be played on the go doesn’t mean it is less valuable to the consumer or the industry. You’re prolly just a AAA snob.”

(comparison chart from TechRadar)

Here’s an analogy… Let’s say that you work in the car industry. Your company makes great software for braking systems and you sell that software to G-Wiz to put in their brand new low horse-powered micro car. Unfortunately, the G-Wiz can not get to a high enough speed to justify the use of your new brake system, but the McLaren F1 can make full use of it so you sell it to the high powered McLaren at the same price. The owners of the G-wiz are getting the same software, but will never be able to use it at the same level as the McLaren. Nintendo are trying to sell their games for the Switch as if they are running on a McLaren but they’re not, they are the G-Wiz.

It appears to me that any games being sold on the Switch that were released on other platforms will never be at the same level of performance that they reached on the consoles or PC’s they were originally designed to be played. So, why are people expected to pay the same price for them? You may argue, that the Nintendo Switch is a console first and a handheld second and that “The portability it provides will make up for the shortfall on technical proficiency.” That is possibly correct. However, shouldn’t that be factored into the price of the console itself and not individual software sales?

Let’s look at the price, £279. At £279 it is more expensive than the basic PS4 and basic Xbox One consoles. MORE EXPENSIVE while being technically inferior in every measurable way. Yes, the PS4 and Xbox One are sold “at a loss” but they make  that money back on the software sales. Nintendo Switch isn’t being sold at a loss and is still the same price as these technologically superior consoles despite having inferior hardware.

Nintendo, in classic Nintendo form, are trying to have their cake and eat it and I believe that this has hurt it.

A Nintendo currant cake. Not being eaten, currently

Games developed in-house and exclusive to the Switch will have no comparative yardstick on which to measure other consoles. Those games will have extra pressure on them to prove that Nintendo can still create great games. Since Nintendo’s Mario Kart 8 is being pre-purchased at £49 they will have to pull out all the stops to convince the world that £49 for a game on a technically inferior device is worth it.

What I am saying is, If Nintendo chooses to release Skyrim, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Setsuna and all other multiplatform games at the same price as other console and PC versions with very little or no improvements on previous releases, why would I buy it on a Switch? Just to be able to play it on a bus? Not me.

Editor’s Blog – I’m a Dinosaur

Editor’s Blog – I’m a Dinosaur

The last time I wrote anything here on The Reticule, was nigh on three months ago when I delivered my Verdict on Rainbow Six: Siege. Even in the weeks before I wrote about Ubisoft’s hardcore shooter, my writing output had been limited. There’s no singular reason that I can put my finger on for why I haven’t written as much as I used it, but part of the reason is because I am a dinosaur. You read that right, I believe that I am something of a dinosaur of the gaming world these days, and by being stuck in the past, I’m losing touch with the current trends.

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Clearing The Backlog – The Crew

Clearing The Backlog – The Crew

Take a pinch of the multitudinous number of activities found in Burnout Paradise, a slice of story (a rarity for driving games) like Driver: San Francisco and a dollop of open-world antics from Fuel. Mix those elements all together and finish off with a topping of Test Drive Unlimited and classic Ubisoft open-world traits and you are left with The Crew.

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Editor’s Blog: Three Weeks, Not Much Gaming – Blame the Cycling

Editor’s Blog: Three Weeks, Not Much Gaming – Blame the Cycling

In a normal week, I struggle these days to devote heaps of time to playing games. Between work, spending time with my girlfriend, socialising and watching some of the great TV that’s out there at the moment, there really isn’t enough time in the day. But these past three weeks have been even more challenging for finding gaming time.

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Five Things I Want To See in Splatoon

Five Things I Want To See in Splatoon

I picked up Splatoon on launch weekend, and I’ve been coming back to it for a quick blast of inky action most days since then. It is a very well crafted game, not a surprise as it comes from the Nintendo EAD team that created the Wii’s major hit, Wii Sports, and one of the few Wii U titles to really make use of the GamePad, Nintendo Land.

It really is a wonderful slice of new IP from one of Nintendo’s best internal teams, but there are a few things I wouldn’t mind seeing from it. I don’t normally write lists like this, but here we go…

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Editorial – I applaud the SJW

Editorial – I applaud the SJW

The ‘gaming community’ (if there even is one these days) has proven to contain dark groups of characters that like nothing better than to harass women and claim that there is a clique of games journalists trying to destroy their hobby by shining a light on issues…like the harassment of women. Things came to the fore a few weeks ago with the targeting of Zoe Quinn (this is a good summary of events) and more recently when Anita Sarkeesian left her home after threats were made against her (see the lowdown on The Verge). This come admist a bomb threat made about a flight Sony’s John Smedley (check that on BBC News) was on recently.

It all stinks and reveals that the gaming community has bigger problems than rumoured corruption in the games press (as Emma Woolley highlights). Leigh Alexander also makes some strong points over on Gamasutra

A fairly neutral news story on the Anita Sarkeesian situation on PCGamesN was ripped apart in the comments, so much so that normally friendly community saw the comments closed.

Amongst all this have been the cries about ‘Social Justice Warriors’ (see header image) “ruining our [as in gamer’s] hobby”. As a part time writer who runs a fairly inconsequential website in the grand scheme of things, I don’t have the time to write about the issues that I cited above as much as I wished. If I did, I wouldn’t doubt that some would brand me with SJW label. I’d say, bring it on. I fully applaud those in the games press who are bringing these issues of harassment to our attention.

Isn’t that what the media and press are there to do? To bring people’s attention to issues within different communities? If all we ever saw from gaming websites was news stories about the latest trailer for the next big AAA game or review for the latest entry in an ageing AAA franchise, we wouldn’t see any progress as a what should be a community of people who are interested in games.

It takes people like Leigh Alexander, John Walker, Nathan Grayson and others to let bring our attention to the darker elements of the gaming world. They shouldn’t have to, as there shouldn’t be issues where developers are being harassed and threatened, but sadly we live in a world where that happens. So I applaud them, and other members of the SJW for bringing these troubling stories to light.

It might be helpful if the gaming press provided greater clarity on what is a news article and what is an opinion piece, that way those who don’t want to read about the actions of misogynists and trolls don’t have to. But really, if they don’t want to read about the darker side of gaming, they don’t need to click on the article, they don’t need to read all the way to the bottom and they certainly don’t need to leave comments that leave me questioning the nature of human beings.

Personally, I liken those who are rallying against the coverage of the dark side of gaming to those who call for the abolition of the European Convention on Human Rights. I mean, why would you argue against something which sets out our human rights in law?

I’ll stop before I get into a political debate, but I would like to make one last point. The British newspapers have many issues (just look at the phone hacking scandal), but they tend to be united on one thing. They all speak from the same voice with regards to racism in sport, and increasingly so when it comes to sexism in sport.

If the mainstream press can shine a light on the darker elements that exist in sport, why can’t we in the games press?

Go forth those labelled as Social Justice Warriors, I support you.

Editorial – On Interviews

Editorial – On Interviews

This is very much a moment for me to through some things floating around my head onto the site and to give a little bit of an insight into how I at least do interviews for The Reticule and why I do them like I do. This very much is a result of reading Alec Meer’s tremendous conversation with Ken Levine, the man behind BioShock: Infinite on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Here is Part One and Part Two. Read them, then come back to this.

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The First Person Shooter – I’m Bored Now

The First Person Shooter – I’m Bored Now

A large gun, and an area full of people in front of me. In any other genre, there may be some hope of conversation, perhaps a spot of exploring, even. But no, this is a first-person-shooter and all must die. Hesitate, and you either die, riddled with bullets and with a screen full of jam, or the game simply shouts at you and forces a restart regardless.

This isn’t a problem, financially, for many developers and publishers. This is the norm; this is what people expect from a modern FPS and if it wasn’t full-on, balls-to-the-wall bullet-action, fans would be disappointed. Provided it has a pedigree – Call of Duty, Halo, or any number of yearly spin-offs – it will make oodles of cash one way or another, so what’s the problem?

It’s all getting very boring indeed.

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Editorial – The Future Of The Console Business

Editorial – The Future Of The Console Business

As we get ever closer to possible reveals of the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft at E3 this Summer, musings about the future of the console market are bound to crop up here and there. The first sign of the changes to business of how we pay for consoles emerged yesterday with Microsoft launching a new bundle in the US where you get a 4GB 360 with Kinect for an initial fee of $99, with a two-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold at $14.99 a month. Hit the jump to see what might be in store for how we pay for the next gen.

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