The notoriety of the failed nostalgia cash grab strikes once again, as prices for the PlayStation Classic drop once again. Last week, a limited-time sale dropped it all the way down to $25 at Best Buy and Amazon.
This development comes at the surprise of perhaps absolutely no one. The PlayStation Classic, unlike its far more successful brethren from Nintendo, missed its mark hard and failed on its attempt to cash in on the retro-console craze.
Concept wise, the idea of a retro-console is straightforward. Just recreate a miniature version of the console, slap a few licensed games, and presto! A money-generating concept out of thin air. The massive success of the Classic NES and SNES further fueled the concept’s validity, and this perhaps sparked some light bulbs at Sony’s marketing department.
Unfortunately, it would seem that the company failed to understand the idea altogether, and released the PlayStation Classic with some very glaring flaws.
First, and the most noticeable, is the lack of viewing adjustment options. Unlike the two Nintendo Classic consoles that have a variety of backgrounds, screen options, and other stuff, the PlayStation Classic only opted for the standard PSX interface, and nothing else. Like, absolutely nothing else.
Second, the game roster was, to put it mildly, very lacking, and underwhelming. None of the actual classic games such as Tomb Raider, Spyro, or even Crash Bandicoot, which introduced the unofficial PSX mascot at the time, were in the list. A few of the title choices were also quite questionable, such as Mr. Driller, as these were not as popular at the time during the PSX’s gaming era.
Third, the PlayStation Classic lacked any kind of analog controller support. Though this may be an issue of mere preference, the PSX was most famous for introducing the dual-stick setup to regular console controllers. Aside from its historical value, it would have also been more convenient for other games that supported it, had it been implemented for the retro-console.
Lastly, a mix of NTSC and PAL games were included in the system, instead of standardizing it to one video standard. This created a bizarre situation where some of the games were emulated at 50 instead of 60 Hz, resulting in slightly slower dialogue progression, off-sync in-game timers, delayed sound cues in some games, and overall just time-consuming gaming experience for those who were used to playing a specific game’s NTSC version.
Even as the PlayStation Classic was reviewed by many before its official release, opinions about the retro-console as a whole were already highly negative. Adding further fuel to the fire was the astounding $100 initial price, which was way higher than the introductory costs of the NES Classic ($60) or SNES Classic ($80).
In the end, Sony’s falsely hyped retro-console was released to mediocre fanfare on December 3, 2018, selling only 120,000 units in Japan on its first week. In comparison, the NES Classic and SNES Classic sold 260,000 and 370,000 units respectively on its first week, also in Japan.
The relatively low sales plus poor reception of the retro-console prompted many sellers to lower its price in the next following months eventually. The first report came in February 2019, when a limited-time sale dropped its costs in the US at $40. It then hit even lower at $30 as June kicks in. Before June ended, the price yet again went down to the reported limited promo price of $25.
The series of discounts and price drops occurred in about sevens months after the PlayStation Classic’s release. This was a clear reminder to us, and perhaps to Sony as well, that retro-console cash grabs are not as simple as they seem. They do not merely work by slapping some games and fitting it into a miniature package, hoping that nostalgia alone would generate cash.
As demonstrated by the NES Classic, it takes a good amount of service and dedication to its fans, for the product to be appreciated well.
To be fair, NES has quite the status as the more prominent historical gaming console. But it probably wouldn’t have been accepted as readily, if it didn’t have all the varied options that it had. Or if it didn’t have a robust gaming lineup that genuinely represented the best of what the console had during its heyday.
At its current rate, it is unknown if another discount promo is set to lower the PlayStation Classic’s price even further. Though, if it already went down as much as it did last week, we might have to update that announcement very soon.
‘Touhou: Lost Word’ Takes The Touhou Series Deeper Into Mobile
At the very least though, the game may perhaps become Touhou’s most collaborative fanwork collection ever.
NextNinja and Good Smile Company (yes, that Good Smile Company) opens with a massive announcement of an upcoming Touhou Project game title. Officially named Touhou: Lost Word, it is designated as a mobile RPG to be released for iOS and Android devices.
This shocking reveal of a new game project comes not only as a simple report but rolls along with the launch of an official Twitter page and website. The Twitter page currently has all posts related to upcoming in-game promos at the start, while the official website presents character profiles and a link to a teaser trailer.
Game details are still not available at the moment, though we can draw a few speculations from the in-game promo details and the fact that it is a mobile RPG. The character profiles at least, confirm that main Touhou regulars Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame, Remilia Scarlet, Youmu Konpaku and Reisen Udongein Inaba will be present.
As for the teaser trailer, both the video and the YouTube channel was also created today. Like all the other sources currently unveiled though, no other important details were revealed by this short 15-second announcement.
Notable though, despite the lack of details for the game itself, producer Masayuki Yamagishi did state that the game project will be a massive collaborative effort between many different creators. We presume that ZUN, the series original creator, will also be involved in some advisory manner with the project.
The information that this will be an “official” Touhou Project game alone (in terms of development) is already a headline unto itself, but for Good Smile Company to be involved is also a slightly weird surprise. Though the company did dabble in specific product-related game console titles a few years back, it is far better known for its Nendoroid and Figma series of plastic figure products.
As for NextNinja, the subsidiary game company currently has two games under its portfolio, Grand Summoners (iOS, Android) and Kyub (Xbox One, PC). Not much impression on its game list that would provide clues on Touhou: Lost Word’s, however.
This is not exactly the first time that Touhou Project was involved in the development of a mobile game. Touhou Cannonball, a game currently in development by Quatro A in collaboration with Aniplex, was unveiled last March of this year.
Nevertheless, the development of another mobile game for the franchise would strike most of the series’ fans as weird. Touhou Project has been long known as one of the largest franchises that are built upon a solid foundation of fanworks whether it is a fan-made game, artwork, music, or even readable media such as comics.
The series did have a few titles released for commercial game consoles, such as Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity by Ankake Spa. But these were technically ports, and the original versions were still fan-made games for the PC.
Would Touhou games initially developed for mobile devices be a good or bad thing then? We certainly hope it does become good, at least game system-wise.
As for the collaborative element mentioned at the announcement of the game, it most likely points to media stuff for the game. As it is a mobile RPG that would have certain gacha elements to it, it is very perceivable that the artwork and theme music for character-based stuff will feature many different talented artists from many Touhou fan circles.
This will be in a manner that is very much similar to other mobile games that commission artwork from various artists, such as Idola or SINoALICE.
Should this be proven to be true, Touhou: Lost Word may be the biggest collaborative visual and audio fanwork collection that will ever be made for the franchise. And maybe, just maybe, it might even include some of ZUN’s glorious original Touhou Project artwork.
Touhou: Lost Word is currently holding a pre-registration campaign for all players that are interested to avail the starting in-game promos.
Google Stadia Reddit AMA: Most Important Questions Answered
And the speculation continues.
Google’s Director of Product Management Andrey Doronichev hosted a Reddit AMA today that was aimed at answering more specific questions by potential users for the upcoming Google Stadia. We’ve picked up some of the most important questions, along with Doronichev’s responses to them.
1. When you say 1 [game] per month are you talking about a growing pool with 1 added each month? Or are you talking about a single rotating free to play game per month?
“Growing pool as long as you’re a Stadia subscriber!”
To compare, a Playstation Plus subscription and the current Xbox Live Gold subscription model is about the same, only the game library size depends on what is available on that month.
2. Does the controller support Bluetooth audio? Can I use Bluetooth headphones on Stadia?
“The Stadia Controller comes with a headphone jack for wired audio, but won’t support Bluetooth audio at launch in November. If you’re playing on the computer or a Pixel phone you can connect the BT headset to it directly and use it in Stadia.”
Take note that this is about pairing the headset directly to the controller. In most cases, you can still pair it with the phone or unit (PC, Chromecast, etc.) that you intend to play Stadia on. Plus, his “won’t support at launch” statement basically hints at future updates for this specific issue.
3. Is there anything being done to combat Data caps? Or is that purely on us to converse with our ISPs? 50 dollars extra a month for me to just NOT have a data cap.
” I can’t predict the future, but I’ve seen that ISPs adapted in the past – I saw it when I was at YouTube – and we’d expect that to continue. For players concerned about data usage we’ll definitely have some tools in the Stadia app to manage your data usage to adapt to your unique data situation, but I’m not sure if that will be on day one or a bit later. “
Which means we’re on our own for now when it comes to data caps. His point about YouTube eventually getting ISPs to update was kind of notable though, but it is still not certain whether the same trend will happen to Stadia.
4. What Stadia feature are you most proud of that hasn’t been talked about or you don’t think is getting much coverage?
“Me playing Assassin’s Creed on my son’s dirt-cheap Chromebook. It almost feels like a glitch in the Matrix…. It can’t be happening… but wait… it works! “
Seamless access plus device usability has indeed been one of the primary selling points of Stadia’s demo and introduction.
5. Will Stadia have its own Global Chat and Friends System, or will it depend on the game developer to implement this features?
“First and foremost, I personally think of Games as the main social platform of the future. So we’re investing a lot in Social, Communications and Safety on Stadia. At launch you’ll be able to manage your friends list, create parties and use platform-level voice chat. And that’s just the beginning. We also have a healthy pipeline of social features going forward.”
A basic required feature if we are to assess. Doronichev even reiterated the point on several questions that had the same general query.
6. Are there going to be Free-To-Play Games on Stadia?
“We are proud of Stadia’s launch portfolio and it’s just the beginning! I certainly hope to have a few free to play games to announce in the next few months. Not ready to share any now, though. We are constantly announcing new games, so any answer I can give you now will be out of date quickly. Stay tuned!”
Destiny 2 counts as the very game this user asked, technically. Like, the first game that Google Stadia will feature at launch.
7. Will there be Mod Support for Stadia?
“In November, no. We’d like to in the future. We’re working with developers now to find the best way to do this.”
More hints. More hints!
8. Is there a general time frame on when we can stream to devices other than the Pixel 3 that you could give us?
“We’re aiming to get more devices supported next year. I really want to have Stadia gameplay on every mobile device, across Android and iOS at some point. But it’s a hard technical challenge and will take us time. Just need to start somewhere. So we’re starting with the device we know the best and can provide an optimal experience – our latest Pixel phones.”
We guess that would be a given to promote the service on Google’s latest mobile hardware. But good to know that they acknowledged the need to make it available to more devices at least.
As with every Reddit AMA, not all questions are going to be answered. However, there was a peculiar pattern to the questions that never had any response from Doronichev.
Basically, all questions related to latency and the actual specifics of data usage were usually not given answers. Which was kind of dubious, as latency and data usage was two of the core issues that many gamers have wanted to know ever since Stadia was announced.
This is because naturally, latencies still occur due to the limitations of electromagnetic waves and electric currents. Yes, that includes the best of internet speeds or network setups. Many skeptics argue that Google’s claims about Stadia being faster than your response time to visual stimuli are unachievable, farfetched even.
On the bright side, the AMA did at least get one question about data caps through (no.3), though it was never really addressed directly either.
As for the rest of the answered questions, they were mostly simple clarifications to the announcements and bits of information that was already previously announced.
Should we all just settle with it and find out at launch? Here’s to hoping that our
sacrificial test subjects early adopters would never have to raise such concern.
Resident Evil 5 And 6 Invades Nintendo Switch This Fall
A perfect release date for the classic survival horror high-octane action franchise.
The official Twitter account for Resident Evil gave an update with a message that unveiled the official release date of the previously announced Resident Evil 5 and 6 for the Nintendo Switch.
That initial announcement was made during this year’s E3 when Capcom briefly presented a bunch of different updates concerning the franchise. The short 35-second trailer gave a montage on how the two games are to be visually rendered on the console, with tantalizing teasers on how the Nintendo Switch is set to optimize its co-op play modes.
Details on how exactly the two games would be ported on the Nintendo Switch was understandably quite scant. Even after a month later, there are still no specifics other than the short montage. How it will be released (either as download or as hardware) was not specified either, although it is very unlikely that it will have a ROM cartridge release, at least for North American players.
Perhaps the biggest, and probably obvious catch to this announcement is that unlike Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5 and 6 are fairly centered on co-op mechanics. Both single-player story modes of the two titles require the player to interact with a partner AI or be able to find another player to control either character.
Thus the Nintendo Switch could perhaps be the best game console for both titles, as evidently presented by its E3 2019 teaser trailer.
In Resident Evil 5, this started with Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar. The implementation of the partner AI here was not as perfect. But as it was the first time for the game to implement such a feature, it was quite understandable.
Even if getting Wesker to catch live rockets can get quite annoying.
This was vastly improved in Resident Evil 6 when the game not only introduces one pair of characters, but three whole pairs of different characters meant to survive and go through stages of the entire story. Several more commands became available, and its core co-op mechanics became much more integral to the story’s progression compared to Resident Evil 5.
In addition, the AI itself was so much more useful and “competent” in terms of regular combat compared to either Chris or Sheva.
The teaser trailer already showed a split-screen co-op mode, when the Switch is docked, and when it is on Portable Mode. While using Joy-Cons to control either character is already a given default. It is quite questionable how playable it could be when the console’s 6.2-inch screen is split further into two for each player.
Because unlike games such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, where screen estate is evenly split for a two-player mode, the trailer shows the traditional quarter-screen split for the two Resident Evil games. This already pushes it into 4-player Mario Kart territory, which, as we all frustratingly know, definitely needs a lot of squinting if you’re going to do it on Portable Mode.
Even worse if you plan to do it on Lite.
A dual-screen mode would have been perfect for such co-op play, if not for the current technical limitations of the Nintendo Switch. Perhaps sometime in the near future, if Nintendo finally relents and opens such Wii U-esque feature for its users.
Then again, you still have the option to go for classic two-player co-op mode on a bigger screen in Docked Mode.
Both Resident Evil 5 and 6 will be available at the Nintendo eShop with an online retail price tag of $30. In North America however, a more bundled version, featuring Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6 will instead be available as a single product for $60. The release date is officially set on October 29th as per yesterday’s announcement, which makes the purchase just in time for this year’s Halloween.
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