Games Inbox: Microsoft beating Sony, SSD expansion prices, and Nintendo buying Bandai Namco

Is Microsoft gaining the upper hand? (pic: Metro)

The Friday Inbox thinks Microsoft should buy Konami for Pro Evolution Soccer, as one reader is impressed by 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.

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The smell of the next generation
Personally, I think Sony’s decision not to provide an option for PlayStation 4 owners of Spider-Man to upgrade to the PlayStation 5 remaster stinks.

The remaster, not remake, is the kind of next gen upgrade that will be offered for free by Microsoft on first party games and other third party companies like CD Projekt Red. But with the draconian options Sony have laid out for obtaining the remaster you have to spend £70.

The standard edition of Miles Morales on both PlayStation 4 and 5 retails for £50 even though Insomniac has said it’s half the size of the original game. If you buy PlayStation 4 Miles Morales you get the PlayStation 5 upgrade free but will have to pay £20 for the remaster (I’ve only seen a dollar price mentioned of $20 for this but assuming I’m it will be £20 as Miles Morales converts from $50 to £50).

PlayStation 5 Miles Morales standard edition requires the upgrade cost to get the remaster or you have to buy the Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, which is £70. Spider-Man remaster won’t be available as a standalone purchase, nor will there be a paid-for upgrade option for PlayStation 4 Spider-Man to the PlayStation 5 remaster. You have to spend £70 to play Spider-Man remaster regardless, even if, like me, you spent £40 on the PlayStation 4 game.

It stinks but Microsoft also smelt pretty funky yesterday with its high cost proprietary 1TB SSD expandable storage. PlayStation 5 expandable storage will be pricey but at least it’s third party, so subject to choice and competition for prices. The next gen does offer many examples of good value, with the consoles, PS Plus Collection, PS Now, backwards compatibility, and Game Pass. But Sony’s decision on Spider-Man makes we wonder how much I will have to pay for any PlayStation 4 Sony game that gets a new lick of paint, like the rumoured Bloodborne remaster.

Sony have stated they believe in the generational model, does that include practices that other parts of the industry are trying to leave behind, like double-dipping?

Busy year
I have to agree somewhat with bigboss1960 and his concerns over the relatively small hard drive sizes. Personally, I can’t ever envisage myself spending over £100 for more space. I’ve secured myself a PlayStation 5 but unless the cost of a new SSD drive dramatically decreases I think I’ll just have to be a bit selective over what games I have installed at any given time.

It’s a bit annoying, I know, but realistically I’ll only have two or three games that I play at any given time, so if I want to play something else I’ll just have to swap one out for another. Thankfully I’ve a decent internet connection so doesn’t take too long depending on the size. Sometimes only a couple of hours.

I know it might be a pain and it’s easier to have all your games installed and ready to go on a moment’s notice but personally I’d rather spend the money on extra games and have the faff of only a few games installed at one time and chopping and changing as I want.
PS: Next year is looking mighty costly. Already I would like to get Ratchet & Clank, God Of War, Super Mario 3D World, Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 (if released), and possibly Far Cry 6 as day one purchases. Also, I am interested in getting Kena: Bridge Of Spirits, Deathloop, Hogwarts Legacy, Gotham Knights, Riders Republic, Lego Star Wars, and perhaps even Horizon Forbidden West, depending on reviews.

Pro advice
A thought has just occurred to me. You mentioned Konami trending when people heard about Microsoft buying Bethesda, which most people laughed off. But that would actually be a really good buy for them. Not only do they get to be the heroes that bring back the likes of Castlevania and Metal Gear but they’d also get PES.

Everyone knows Europe doesn’t care about Xbox and I’ve seen nothing so far to suggest Microsoft has a plan for changing that. All they ever do is try and get some kind of bundle together for FIFA, but there’s never any real exclusivity so nobody ever cares. But if you buy Konami you’ve instantly got the best football game and could give it the one thing it’s been needed for decades now: money!

Buy PES, get them all the proper licences, decent commentary, and all the other stuff that’s just a question of budget and suddenly you’ve got a major exclusive that’s also likely to be really popular in your two worse region.

The only problem I can see is that Konami are a big company with a lot of other businesses that have nothing to do with games, but so what? They’re still smaller than Bethesda and you either just buy the games bit or buy it all and just run the rest as usual.

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Virtual advice
Could readers (and GC) advise me about the Oculus Quest headset please.

I am tempted to pre-order the 256GB Oculus Quest 2 headset, as I fancy something new.

However I am unable to move around my front room freely because of a lack of space and also due to sciatica. I also have carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands (in the middle of a bad flareup right now, so doing this letter via Siri) so waving my hands about and using motion controls are not an option for me.

I’m hoping that this varies from game to game but would appreciate more detailed information from those with experience of an Oculus Quest headset or similar.
Chaosphere616 (gamertag)
PS: Thanks to the advice and info from the fine folk down in the Underbox comments on this question.

GC: The room-scale tracking is always just an option but most games use the motion-tracking of the controllers to some degree, so we’re not sure what to suggest. We hope you feel better soon.

Falling with style
I was looking at your release schedule and didn’t realise Star Wars Squadrons was out so soon. Do you know when your review for it will be up? I can actually afford to get it on release as it’s only £30 (I’d buy new more often if there were more mid budget games like this). Hopefully the pricing doesn’t indicate the game is unreasonably light on content. I used to love the Rogue Squadron games and enjoyed Starfighter Assault in Battlefront 2, so I’m really up for a good Star Wars starfighter game.

On a slightly related note I’m playing Gravity Rush 2 at the moment, which is a great game. Flying, or more accurately falling through the game world, is spectacular and really does feel exhilarating. It made me wonder why more games don’t feature people flying as their central mechanic. It’s hard to even think of another one. The sheer verticality of Gravity Rush 2’s world shows what can be achieved by using flying over a traditional game world based around walking.
Ryan O’D

GC: Any kind of 3D movement is rare in modern games, as it’s often deemed to be too complicated. We’re not sure what the embargo date is for Squadrons but we’re expecting it in imminently.

Big issue
I don’t get why Bigboss1960 was surprised that you can’t use standard hard drives on the new consoles. One of the main attractions of this generation is the SSD drives, not just in terms of loading times but also how they will make things such as the instantaneous loading of worlds possible, just as shown in the Ratchet & Clank demo.

The way programmers can think about building worlds will change thanks to the way the SSD drives are integrated into the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S hardware, to the point of making them capable of things not even possible with current PC SSD drives. So it’s not a money making scam, it’s integral to how these new machines will deliver something not possible with traditional storage.

You can, of course, also store games on a normal hard drive and transfer them to the SSD drive, so I don’t get why some people are upset by the size of the SSD drives in the new consoles. I understand convenience is nice but how hard is it to occasionally uninstall or reinstall a game? My Xbox One is 500GB, I’ve a few biggish games on it currently, nothing massive mind you (off the top of my head Resident Evil 7, Hitman, Fortnite, and Mortal Kombat) and a whole bunch of indie and Xbox 360 games.

I’d say about 30-odd titles in all. Safe to say that’s enough to keep most people going and there’s plenty installed that I don’t play. I understand if some people don’t have good internet connections but generally I don’t see space as a big an issue as some people are making out.

Welcome apology
Smyths Toys have reached out to myself by email to offer another chance to pre-order Xbox Series X – following the initial pre-ordering debacle on their website for the Xbox All Access subscription.

Smyth’s apology was appreciated, ‘We know we let you down and it is important to us that we make this right.’

Both they and Klarna’s social media channels have had an absolute battering from irate customers since Tuesday; I do not envy the poor souls in charge of their customer service!

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Driving innovation
RE: PlayStation 5 and Xbox storage. As you pointed out to bigboss1960, GC, you can archive games to any old USB hard drive, etc. that you have, to save you deleting and redownloading. You can also play current gen games direct from them.

If they didn’t move on from 2.5” hard drives everyone would be moaning about the new consoles’ performance.

£160 is basically the market value for a 1TB NVMe drive with a read write speed in line with what is offered in the Xbox Series X.

Given the higher performance of the PlayStation 5 drive, I assume you’ll have to wait and see what the price of the Samsung 980 PRO NVMe drives will be, but I don’t see them being as cheap as ones required by Xbox.

The main problem here is that both companies are selling well over £1,000 RRP of components all nicely packaged up for £450, making the drive alone look expensive because they don’t want to make a loss on the accessories too.

At that price, the dives at market value, it’s not expensive, not yet anyhow. I mean, if someone was selling 50’s for £5, then the person trying to sell 20’s for £10 right next to them would look like they were ripping you off wouldn’t they?
Antony White

Inbox also-rans
With Microsoft throwing its chequebook around I wonder if Nintendo will finally give up their non-acquisition stance and buy Bandai Namco or Capcom? It’s been rumoured for years but if they don’t do it now they might not have the chance again!

Very glad you reviewed 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. Was looking forward to see the return of Vanillaware and after seeing you reviewed took a chance on it – loving it so far, the artwork is just to died for!

This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox follows the pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 last week and the Xbox Series X/S pre-orders due to start on Tuesday, and asks simply: have you pre-ordered a next gen console yet?

If you have, how much do you intend to spend on next gen hardware and software overall this year? What are you hopes and expectation from the consoles in the short and medium term and which games are you most looking forward to?

How do you think the pre-orders and marketing were handled and did they cause you to change your original plans at all? If you haven’t pre-ordered when do you intend to get a next gen console, if at all?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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