As I claimed I would a few months ago, I finally picked up my very own Nintendo Switch. It was a purchasing decision I finalized after gaining a second job by sheer happenstance, but in buying both the system and the necessary items for me to properly enjoy it, I found up feeling a bit irked. $255 for the system, $60 for a controller, $45 for Super Mario Odyssey, and $35 for an SD card. Oh, but in order to get secondary systems to work with my setup in my bedroom, I also needed to get two male to male audio cables and an audio mixer, totaling $50. Do the math like you’re Atari before they were bought by Infogrames and after they were sold by Warner Communications, and that’s $445. Video games, man. They’re expensive.
With the PS4 and Xbox One entering the late majority of their life cycle, the dedicated audience has been growing restless to hear about what the next generation will bring, after realizing just how much of an incremental half-step the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X really were in practice, and because consoles typically cycle out every 5 to 8 years. As such, it is no surprise to hear whispers of what the next generation will bring be uttered by the likes of industry executives or, in this case, informed members of the press. According to tech enthusiast site Thurrott, Microsoft’s next generation initiatives go by the code name Scarlett, and consist of a family of products comprised of a traditional high powered console and a notably less powerful console that will rely heavily on the use of a cloud based service in order to play games.
With the plan being to make use of Microsoft’s existing worldwide data centers to facilitate global streaming of games to this less powerful console, which would also allow people to get invested into this generation without breaking the bank and spending half a grand or so on a new system. Furthermore, every game available for this system is said to be available for both the traditional console and the cloud based one, which alleviates worries about ‘cloud exclusive’ games. If this is all true, and there are no bullheaded caveats akin to the nonsense spouted during the Xbox One reveal, I am actually completely fine with this idea, and think it could be beneficial to the industry in certain regards, but I do have one concern; the same concern I always bring up when companies tout game streaming as the future.
This sounds promising, at least until realizing the many issues surrounding internet in Microsoft’s largest market the United States. With infrastructure issues, data caps, the uncertain future of net neutrality, a terribly close relationship between telecom companies and the government, and so on. There’s also latency as an issue, and Microsoft is supposedly confident with their workarounds for this, but this is one of those ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ sort of deals for me. Seriously, tech companies are probably going to need to pay through the roof in order to get telecom companies to improve the infrastructure across the continent. Otherwise, they will just stick their proverbial schlong into everything in order to appease their shareholders, while often showing disregard to their stakeholders. The American business mentality sucks like that.
Moving onto something far less American, Taiko is a hit series of Japanese drum based rhythm games, one that is has been a mainstay of Japanese arcades for years, and has received numerous home console releases, most of which came with their very own drum peripherals. However, its history in the west is a bit less notable, with only the 2004 PS2 title, Taiko: Drum Master coming out in North America, and no titles ever releasing in Europe. As such, I was a bit surprised to hear that the latest PS4 and Switch releases were coming to the west. With Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! being the Switch title and Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session! being the PS4 title, named because it presumably contains significantly less fun. To be honest, the name is what really caught me off guard, as I thoroughly accepted Taiko Drum Master as this series’ localized name, and from what I could tell, it was a fairly direct translation. But apparently Bandai Namco wants to really emphasize the amount of Nipponese in this game, which is still a bit odd to see from a major publisher. Anyways, both titles will release on November 2nd.
Speaking of localizations, it has been known for a while that Earth Defense Force 5 was coming out in other territories, but a proper western release was finally formally announced by D3 Publisher. As my post history will show, I recently went through EDF 4.1, and thoroughly enjoyed the title, but pined for a few innovations and improvements that, based on Japanese footage that I watched, have not been implemented yet. Combined with how similar this game looks to 4.1, I cannot say that I am really anticipating this title, as while I am sure it is great fun, I do not want to tire myself out on killing giant insects and robots. Or, um, giant frogmen called Immigrants, as is the case in this game. Regardless, the title is currently scheduled for a PS4 release sometime in 2018, with a PC release likely coming 6 to 24 months later.