Something, Something Game News – EA Play finally arrives on GamePass on PC and it’s a good thing

I have a lot of feelings about both EA and Microsoft these days, and most of them are bad. I even recently had a big ol’ rant about exclusivity and how big publishers owning everything is bad for everyone.

That said, GamePass is a good idea. While the XBox software sucks on PC, which I will repeat until that changes, GamePass has a pretty solid selection for the monthly cost, and with EA Play’s standard library now being included in the Ultimate plan, that selection just got a whole lot bigger. Not that I’m a huge fan of EA titles, especially those with exploitative microtransactions, or limited content for the “AAA” price, the fact that I can now play them for all-in-one price of a GamePass subscription means I don’t have to pay for any of it.

This is pretty tempting.

I’ve had a GamePass subscription since November which is currently valid through May. While I never actually paid for it (ok, technically $1) thanks to various promotional offers, it continues to get more and more tempting, at least on short term bases. With a lot of big titles available to pay for a single monthly cost, there are plenty of games that I know I’ll only play once, or games I just want to try out… picking up GamePass for a month or two could be well worth it.

Mostly though, I use it to check out games I eventually want to buy for my Steam library, because games are typically more stable there. Although, recent reports say that the new version of Neir Automata which just arrived on GamePass is a new build that is more stable that its Steam counterpart.

I’ll likely check it out for myself.


A handy guide for linking EA Play and GamePass.

Something, Something Game News – The Switch “Pro”, and Sony loves PC: a week of console leaks

I’m going to have a little dignity, and spare you the sight of yet another poor fan-made mockup of what the next Switch might look like. Crap like that is one of the reasons I started writing again. There are no images of what the next Switch what will look like, and we know very little about the appearance in general, other than it is very likely to be sporting a new 7″ Samsung OLED. So, while I will be doing a lot speculating here, remember that it is still just that–until we get an official announcement from Nintendo.

According to a fresh batch of information from reputable online leakers and insider reports from Bloomberg, who has been a strangely consistent source of gaming news in recent days, it sounds like production of the next version of Nintendo’s Switch is just around the corner. According to the Bloomberg report, a 7″, 720p OLED screen will start mass production in June, and insiders say it will be for Nintendo’s next console.

There, I did a mockup, just for you guys.

While the screen is a bit of a step up in size, and will likely have higher contrast with lower power requirements, it remains the same fairly low resolution as the original Switch. That said, our reputable online leaker says the console will be 4K capable in big-screen mode, thanks to Nvidia’s DLSS technology. Since the first Switch uses a custom Nvidia Tegra mobile chip, it does make sense that Nvidia would be responsible for the Switch’s new GPU as well. Considering the leaps DLSS 2.0 has made in the last year or two with improving framerates, especially at higher resolutions, it sounds like the next-gen Switch should have no issues keeping up with its next-gen counterparts from Sony and Microsoft.

Despite having a rough time competing with Xbox and Playstation throughout the late ’00s, and early ’10s, Nintendo has maintained strong performance with Switch sales, and has been the number one selling console since 2019, even since the release of the new XBox and Playstation offerings.

While Nintendo’s stumbles have been no secret, they’ve never waivered from trying to innovate, and Nintendo’s diversion into motion-controls was quite a hit with the first generation of Wii, even if the more hardcore gamers were turned away from its lack of traditional style games, and popular 3rd party franchises. So much so that even Phil Spencer of XBox legend, recently admitted he’d never have Nintendo’s brevity when it comes to challenging the norms.

That said, both Sony and Microsoft are looking strong, provided they can push consoles out to break shortages which have been ongoing for months. Against my lamentations over poor software design, I have to admit XBox Gamepass is a marvel subscription service, even on PC, and Sony seems to understand that PC is a viable market as well, with not only recent hits like DEATH STRANDING and Horizon Zero Dawn, but we even have a fresh batch of new rumoured first-party Sony titles on the way:

I hope this is accurate, because I will play them all.

Bloodborne and Ghosts are two games I’ve considered buying a PS4 to play. There are a few others as well, but I really have to hand it to Sony for understand that there is a market beyond console exclusivity.

I guess the real question is: will Sony and Microsoft have product to ship this year? Or at least, will they have product to ship by the time Nintendo announces their Switch successor, which is sounding more and more real all the time? It’s even suggested there will be a few exclusives, which begs speculation as to whether it will be a refresh, or an entirely new console.

The rumoured name of the new machine is the Super Nintendo Switch and I honestly love it. I believe the SNES is the machine that first was able to capture games as more than just a past time, but as a piece of art. Grand RPGs, colourful adventure games, platformers of every kind, spawning and inspiring entire genres, and showing us some of the greatest talent from early developers like Rare and Midway.

Will Nintendo or any game maker ever capture that magic, again? It’s hard to say, but it’s also hard to compare this current era to what was the boom that created modern gaming as we know it. Sometimes, you’re just chasing nostalgia, and it’s an easy dragon to chase and never catch.


As a treat for making it to the end of this article, watch this guy make a portable Wii and be jealous.

Update: One last rumour to end all rumours, as far as I’m concerned. If this one is true, then it’s the final nail of confirmation we need that the new Switch is not only on the way, but due for that fall-winter release we tend to expect from major consoles.

According to an insider report from Gamereactor, Nvidia will be discontinuing the Tegra X1 Mariko chip, which the current line of Switch hardware uses. Yes, both the Switch and Switch Lite. If this is true, then a successor would have to be on the way by the end of the year in order to supplant demand for what has been the highest selling console for a while.

Something, Something Game News – QA: Who is to blame: Developers or Publishers?

For a while, I’ve been trying to come up with an answer as to why games release in the state they do these days. It seems that lately, more often than not a game hits the market with a ton of bugs to be fixed “later.” If a developer or publisher follows through on fixing the bugs within a reasonable time, I suppose it’s acceptable, but there are many games across the industry, whether from “AAA” publishers or indie teams, which go unfixed or unfinished. Of course, the same seems to go for content as well. You buy a rather empty game for $50-60, then have to spend another $30 for “DLC” which should have been in the game in the first place.


"Bland" and "uninspired" are good adjectives, too.

I understand that much of it has to do with the nature of technology these days. With our always connected devices, software can be updated at any time to add more content or mend problems. The issue is that this has become a strategy rather than a convenience, resulting in poor on-site QA and relying on the community to discover the bugs after having paid for the game. It just seems unfathomable to me, coming from having grown up with a generation of games which couldn’t possibly have the number of bugs they ship with now. If Ocarina of Time wasn’t working out of the box, it would have ended up a relic on the Pre-Owned shelf, destined to collect dust as a failed title.

But when EA or Activision have a launch riddled with problems which go on for months, people still line up for the next game. C’mon people! If we want higher standards, we have to stop buying into the hype.



I know, it’s hard. There are big publishers who have control over franchises many of us have been playing for a decade or more.

One of my favourite games to come out last year was TMNT: Out of the Shadows. Well, I’d say more like would-be-favourite. It had some great fight mechanics and truly felt like a Turtles game worthy of the franchise, but it shipped with an uncanny amount of bugs which were never fixed even with frequent requests to Activision’s customer support. Of course, there were absolutely NO official lines of communication for that specific game, so it became clear rather quickly that Activision didn’t give a single fuck that online multiplayer would go unfixed to this day. Not to mention the fact that the Playstation 3 version which was promised within a few weeks after the 360 and PC launch, wasn’t launched until 7 months later… and of course, the 360 and PC would still receive no patches or attention.



But this isn’t entirely the status-quo, either.

A little game known as PAYDAY 2 is a great example of a game whose developer is concerned with keeping their audience. The game has frequent content updates (some paid, but even the paid ones tend to throw in a few pieces of free loot) and bug fixes with constant communication with the community. Every patch is lead with notes and hints of what’s coming next. Every patch is treated like an event in which to participate, rather than a wave of hope and/or dread that perhaps they fixed that thing you were hoping they’d fix, and didn’t break something else in the process. It may not be the greatest game ever made and it’s not without bugs, but it’s obvious that the developers care. They’re directly active in the community, rather than putting up complicated and convoluted “customer support” lines of communication which only put up more barriers between the developer and the user.

Nintendo seems to still understand how to make games without bugs as well. Most of the recent games I have, even with online features tend to receive one, maybe two updates in their lifespan. Game breaking bugs are rarely, if ever an issue, and there’s never any complicated DRM procedures to muck up the process of actually playing.


It's almost like they've been doing this for 30+ years...

I know I asked the question, but I feel like my answer is coming quickly. I know there are plenty of indie developers with a massive disconnect to their audience, but they are often run off the road like the infamous Fez developer, Phil Fish or given hell for vanishing like the developer of The Stomping Land. Meanwhile, it’s just business as usual for the big corporate publishers like EA, Activision and more recently, Ubisoft with their intentionally crippled PC port fiasco. Why do they get to stay in business while indie devs get slammed?

I’m actually sure the developers working on some of the big publishers’ titles would probably like some direct contact with the gaming community, but they aren’t allowed to — so we end up with idiot PR dept amateurs who know nothing about game development, because they never even end up talking to the developers, either.



"I recall replying saying that the game was not downgraded, i still stick to that yes." - Ubisoft PR

So I guess the real question is, do the big publishers still deserve our money after consistently releasing disappointing products? Should we not expect more? Is it really worth it to spend $60 on a game you know in your very soul will be terrible, but happens to have a fully rendered Kevin Spacey? I’m not necessarily calling for a boycott, but perhaps people shouldn’t line up for the midnight release when it’s becoming more likely that the game will end up in the bargain bin for $10 after 6 months. If you don’t want a repeat of Ghosts, or the BF4 launch, don’t rush out the door to line the big publishers’ wallets. That’s exactly what they’re expecting you to do.



Hardware is not exempt, either.

Something Something, Game News – Next-Gen Consoles: Where is the “Next-Gen?”

It recently occurred to me that the so-called “next-gen” consoles (PS4 and XBONE, specifically) will have been released for a whole year in two months. Now, I don’t have much experience with either console as I don’t own them, so I don’t pretend to be an expert on their daily operative functionality. However, I will be spending the entirety of this entry explaining why I have no interest in them at all, and will likely never own one. Aren’t you excited?

Instead of my typically cheeky image, let’s start with a short video from ReviewTechUSA:

If you like general gaming industry banter, this guy often makes some pretty good points.

Since I know some of you didn’t bother to watch (I know, 7 minutes seems like a long time on the internet), the general point of his message is that the XB1 and PS4 are woefully antiquated for their generation. His main argument is that they aren’t at all prepared for 4K picture quality as “4K is here.” I’m a little hesitant to agree with that particular assessment as nothing else is ready for 4K either, aside from PC towers for which the average person would need a loan. BluRays aren’t in 4K, TV isn’t in 4K, YouTube and Netflix certainly aren’t either, so I’m not jumping on the 4K bandwagon just yet. I give it at least another 2-4 years before we really start seeing those kinds of resolutions from general media sources.

However, I completely agree with his overall sentiment.


I know, graphs of GFLOPS get the ladies wet.

Remember the difference between SNES and N64? Or even the difference between N64 and Gamecube? Hell, the difference between PS2 and PS3. It was always easy to be blown away by the new generation because it was always mind blowing how much better the graphics were. The first time I saw a PS4 demo at my local game shop, my first reaction was “meh.” While I was never a big playstation fan myself, I couldn’t deny the difference in graphics between the PS2 and PS3 was impressive. Yet, I’ve been playing games on my tower that look better than games on the PS4 since before it even came out. Not only that, but they have to keep showing us side-by-side comparisons of 360/XB1 and PS3/PS4 versions of the same games just to convince us of how much different they look.


Well I'm convinced.

Yet, that’s still not really the point I’m trying to make here. I could go on and on about how underpowered the technology is, and talk about bytes and hertz and screen resolutions, and blah blah blah… but this is a tired argument and frankly, the biggest reason why people hate the PC gamer community. It’s also not the main reason why I am avoiding the “next-gen” consoles.

Where am I going with this?


The new consoles have no games. It’s been a year, and neither one has any exclusive games worth upgrading for. All of the most anticipated titles are cross-platform (i.e. Destiny, Titanfall, etc), and no-brainer re-releases like The Last of Us HD should have been a launch title rather than an after-thought.


"No plans" apparently means, "We didn't realize how much money it would make."

Meanwhile, the Wii U, having been the wet blanket of the console industry until two months ago is now dominating the XBONE in sales. Mario 3D World is also an impressive release, as is nearly every Nintendo first-party title. Throw in the hot items for 3DS such as Link Between Worlds, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Pokemon X/Y, etc, and suddenly Nintendo doesn’t look like such a chump. While they have the weakest hardware technology, they have the best list of exclusive games. You don’t need a PS4 to play the latest Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed.



"But Nintendo is for babies!" - Super serious adults trying to justify $400 on a Netflix machine.

All the while, the PC market is flooding with incredible indie titles foregoing the idea that you need a big franchise and a big publisher to make a good game that makes good money. Analysts suggest the PC market is already overtaking the console market.

Now, I’m not crying doom and gloom for the console market. I don’t think the PS4 and XBONE are going to die, and I don’t think the PC market is going to make a huge surge and suddenly become the main box in everyone’s living room. What I’m saying is that Sony and Microsoft seriously need to rethink their product strategy. The PS2 was the highest selling console ever because it also had the most diversity in games, and particularly exclusive games. The big companies aren’t infallible due to their legacy in the market.

All you have to remember is that Sonic now lives in Nintendo’s eStore.




$50 saved.

Something, Something Game News – Microjang: The day Minecraft outgrew Notch

I was going to do another game review, but “news” reared its ugly head and has forced me to expunge the opinions from my head to be displayed for all of the internets to misinterpret. Prepare yourself!


I'm not gonna lie, I've spent more than a few hours stacking cubes.

Since it’s been trending all over Facebook and Twitter for the last day or so, it should be no shock to even the casual gamer that Microsoft has indeed purchased Minecraft developer, Mojang for $2.5bn. As I write this, I have a few different opinions on the matter.

I could do a big rant about how Microsoft is likely to ruin the franchise, since they’ve been dropping old IPs all over the place and replacing them with very few first-party properties. Other than Halo, I can’t really think of much else that Microsoft clings to as truly their own. Which would explain why both Nintendo and Sony are beating them in console sales. Plus, with the nearly defunct Games for Windows Live, there hasn’t been much love for Microsoft from the gaming community as of late.

But I won’t, because I have plans for a Microsoft rant at a later date. I already have plenty of beef with them, and I know I’m not alone.

Even a certain developer named “Notch” had this to say just 2 years ago:



This man deserves a medal for heroically standing up against Microsoft's tyranny.

I could also tear apart Notch’s character, and say that it really is about the money. How could he sell to a company he readily bashed less than 24 months ago? If Minecraft was never meant to be “big,” why did he enter the console market in the first place? Why not just stick to the PC platform if he is so concerned for its well-being?

But I’m not going to do that, either.

I don’t know the guy, and I can’t possibly imagine what it’s like to be thrust into the spotlight of not only the industry in which I am employed, but also that which is related to business and economics as well. The average person can’t even count to 2.5 billion. So for all intents and purposes, I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and direct my reply to the letter he wrote yesterday:


Please, don't let Phil Fish be the catalyst for self-destruction. I couldn't handle the irony.

Dear Notch,

How you see yourself at this point is irrelevant in regards to Minecraft. You are responsible for one of the highest selling games of all time. You didn’t have to try to change the world, you just did. Own it. You can run far, far away from Mojang and you will be forever known as “the guy who created Minecraft.” It’s bigger than you as a human being. You’re right, you’ve become a symbol. But that symbol doesn’t define you, it defines what you represent to the gaming community, as a founder to an era of gaming we never knew was coming. Its your avatar, so to speak. It’s how you’ve been projected to the world. Once it’s out there, there’s no putting it back. Let us keep the symbol.

At the same time, there’s nothing stopping you from being the man you want to be. As an individual, you are capable of anything. Literally anything. You have the resources and the money. Want to build a spaceship? Go ahead. Live in a subterranean complex like Mole Man? Why not? You can do ANYTHING. Look at Bill Gates. Look at Elon Musk. Look at Gabe Newell for fuck sakes, and tell me an opinionated basement geek can’t do whatever the fuck he wants once he’s made it big.


In Gaben we trust.

Just remember, while you may define yourself as a quiet, introverted, “not real” game developer… Minecraft will always be your legacy. You have indeed changed the world of gaming forever. There’s no going back. You can run from it, but you can’t hide from it. Legitimate governments have reconstructed countries with your achievement. Microsoft may own the paperwork, but it’s already been made regardless of whose name is on the door. It’s yours forever. Your own name has become a brand. While it may have evolved outside of your desires and expectations, never forget that it’s an achievement beyond the hopes and dreams of many others. Never be ashamed or afraid of that. You’ll be fine, and your memory will be a significant mark on the timeline of gaming history for the better.

What happens to Minecraft now is up to Microsoft, but what happens to Notch is up to you. If you don’t want the spotlight on you anymore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Like I said, you have the freedom to do anything you can imagine. Just remember: always look back at Minecraft as a victory and not a hill you couldn’t conquer. Even if I never play another minute of it again (which I may not, because well… Microsoft), I will look back fondly at the origins of Minecraft as a boon to the ever evolving art form of which I am proud to offer my comparatively meager contribution.



Because, creepers.