For years the games industry was on a fairly even keel, consoles were happy in their well-trodden groove, PC was secretly planning to take over the world and VR was still a cautionary tale for new emerging tech. In the last two years, old gaming institutions have been weathering the winds of change and many giants of the old world are scrambling to catch up.
This year at E3 Sony is expected to show off what has been dubbed the PS4.5 (codenamed NEO), same as the last but with more oomph. This news has left many PS4 owners (including myself) feeling a little short changed and rightly so because console cycles are meant to last longer than three years. Unfortunately for Microsoft and Sony technology is moving fast, faster than they would like I would wager and in more directions than one. To be fair Sony are trying to at least show willing with PlayStation VR and many believe the new PS4 is being released to power their VR headset. Apart from the Holo-lens Microsoft have yet to announce any VR plans but I would not be at all surprised if they cosy up with Oculus and use their VR headset on their own (with a new more powerful Xbox One presumably). So why am I wittering on about console comings and goings?
Well, the other reason I think we have seen a sudden urgency to double down on power is that it's been excruciatingly obvious for a while now, that PC is not only vastly more powerful but many console players are making the jump to PC. I'm sure the question 'what can we do?' has been passed around many executive boardrooms. Microsoft has also been scrambling to profess their new love (again) for PC gaming by resurrecting Games for Windows Live into an even more restrictive and stifling iteration: geez thanks Microsoft. In case, you didn't know Microsoft have now started launching games on their Universal Windows Platform (UWP) but pretty much everyone has seen this for what it is: Microsoft seeking to monopolies PC gaming and strip it of the very things that make it special. Thankfully gamers and industry leaders seem to be speaking out against Microsoft: check out these two articles from the Guardian and PC Gamer.
A release date has leaked this week, June the 7th is penned for the next (and last) piece of DLC from CDProjekt Red's The Witcher 3. Blood and Wine is set to give players another twenty hours of gameplay in a previously unexplored area of Nilfgaard called Touissant. My plan is simple, start a fresh game a few weeks before this date and savour every moment again, then move into the DLC and write one final summary piece for this groundbreaking RPG.
Further on from my rant last week, I have since cancelled my Vive order and am now going to wait for at least six months to see where it all stands. Both the Vive and Oculus are painfully light on games and the ones on offer are nothing more than tech demos but in the main being sold at full price. I am also seeing a disturbing amount of dithering from developers whether to support VR, especially on the Vive. One game I was really looking forward to trying on the Vive was Subnautica but last week, when asked when Vive support would arrive I got a tepid, 'maybe we will'. This has been the same story with games such as Adrift where the developers have stated they 'probably will support Vive' but with such a lacklustre response I'm wary.
Interestingly some clever gamers have just hacked the Oculus Rift so games that run on Facebooks headset can now be played on the Vive: seems this is not so difficult after all. Of course, I'm Sure Oculus will be swift in locking this down but I really hope they don't. Right now the VR market is an emerging genre and in my opinion, the forerunners should be working together: not boxing games off as exclusives like Oculus seem to be hell bent on doing.
I have published two reviews this week, you can find both Hyper Light Drifter and Enter the Gungeon in the review section. I also have an older game reviewed but you will need to check back in a few days for that little gem.
That's all for now guys, take care.