Games Inbox: Xbox beating the PS5 this generation, Call Of Duty on Switch 2, and GTA 4 love

Are we past the point of no return? (pic:

The Monday letters page is frustrated there aren’t any Xbox Series X/S exclusives, as one reader asks who still buys collector’s editions.

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Xbox Series why?
I knew Xbox would be getting grief from readers over the week and I really can’t blame them. The Reader’s Features were well written and the size of Microsoft’s clown shoes seems to get bigger every time they open their mouth. I say this as a former Xbox 360 and Xbox One owner who still might get an Xbox Series X if they ever get their act together, although It’ll probably be on Xbox Series Z by the time that happens.

It’s very obvious at this point that PlayStation 5 has won this generation and that Microsoft’s focus now will be on setting itself up to do better next time. In other words, a rerun of the Xbox One generation but from a slightly better starting point.

Maybe they thought there was still a chance to win if the Activision Blizzard acquisition went through, but if it doesn’t then a lot of plans are going to get ripped up and started again. I’d say it’s a shame, but they’ve only got themselves to blame. Sony hasn’t cheated or done anything unreasonable, except maybe their opposition to the acquisition. It’s not as if they’ve completely blitzed everyone with tons of games either, so Microsoft had plenty of opportunity – they just completely missed it.

Better luck next time, I guess?

Still waiting
I’m not sure what to think of the news that Xbox Series X/S sales are struggling. I’m sure they will turn it around. But in my honest opinion, as an Xbox Series X owner, I think it’s a superb console.

I love the build of it and its performance. I have been very impressed with it. But what I have not been impressed with is Microsoft not having a bunch of killer apps lined up to take advantage of it. I mean come on, we are over two years into the Xbox Series X/S lifecycle and have we seen games that have taken true advantage of the hardware. I’m not sure we have?

We have remakes, ports of some games, etc. but have we yet seen the potential of Xbox Series X that made gamers go ‘wow’? I don’t think so. That’s what the Xbox 360 had, games like Gears Of War, etc. that propelled it forward. Xbox Series X has no identity.

Coming soon
Looking forward to Ravenlok’s release on the 4th. It’s by the devs of Echo Generation, which was a turn-based adventure with a Stranger Things vibe and rather beautiful voxel art style. Ravenlok looks to keep the art style, just with a more fantastical flavour and replace the turned-based combat with more standard 3D action adventure affair. It looks promising and is on Xbox, PC, and Game Pass day one.

I expect it’ll come to other formats in the not too distant future and is probably one of the many timed indie console exclusives Xbox and Game Pass have been very good for this gen. Pokémon clone Cassette Beasts (also on Switch) which is reviewing very well and Lovecraftian Metriodvania The Last Case Of Benedict Fox, which looks solid, both just arrived on the service too.

Microsoft need to get their triple-A games out, and probably the Activision Blizzard deal to somehow go through despite the CMA ruling, to invigorate slowing Game Pass uptake and sluggish console sales. But for me personally Game Pass has been fantastic for indie gaming.

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Don’t look back
Great to see GTA 4 receiving some love at the weekend. It is also my favourite of the series and criminally underrated compared to other entries. It’s easily the best written, and it’s lead character Niko Bellic, the most likeable by far. It had some great missions, even if the best one was ripped directly from the movie Heat. Capcom are paving the way for how to bring the Resident Evil games up to date. I’m hopeful the example Capcom are setting catches on and we get more classic games improved upon.

I wouldn’t dare revisit GTA 4 now – time wouldn’t be kind to how the game looks and plays. In particular, the shooting mechanics, which is a flaw which they’ve never fixed. So, I wouldn’t ruin my nostalgia for the game. Considering how long GTA 6 is taking, I won’t hold my breath for a remake, or even a remaster.

A job for superfan
Until that Armored Core 6 story I’d kind of forgotten that collector’s editions were even a thing anymore, you never see them in shops or anything anymore. And… are there really that many rich Armored Core fans in the world that that’s going to make its money back? I guess they must think so but I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone that had even heard of the series, let alone was a superfan of that magnitude.

Not that I’m having a go at such people – you do you – but it surprises me that such an obscure franchise can be supported like that. But then I think the same thing when I see all these ultra expensive statues and action figures, often for quite obscure characters.

I guess it’s probably because I don’t have a man cave. If I did I’d at least be looking for things to fill it. What about other readers? What’s the most expensive gaming merch you’ve bought? Mine is probably just a deluxe digital edition or something.

Locked out
What a day for the Internet to go down; Thursday evening, about two hours before I can purchase Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on the Xbox Series S, an extortionate 70 quid download, Not really yours, you don’t own this, blah blah blah, thank the lord for Microsoft’s rewards scheme, eh? However, it can be fixed on Monday, probably Tuesday, because isn’t it a bank holiday?

I can wait, there’s no hurry on my part, but… can I play Fallen Order, which I was playing recently to get in the mood for Survivor? No, you need to be online to play this… Hogwarts Legacy? No, you need to be online to play this… Resident Evil 4? No… you get the drift.

All these games are single-player, with no online elements, why do I need to be connected to t’internet to play these games I’ve paid good money for? Maddening. Maybe I’ll collect shinies in Pokémon Violet, unless, you know, ‘you can’t play this offline.’ Otherwise I’ll unpack the Xbox 360 and play through Batman: Arkham Asylum again.
big boy bent

Maybe the next one
What I don’t understand about this Call Of Duty on Switch thing is why don’t they just say ‘Nintendo formats’ or something and imply they mean the Switch 2. I’m sure Microsoft is the last person Nintendo would share its secrets with but we all know a new console is coming, so Microsoft can just say they’ll bring it to that.

But no, they have to pretend they can magically get a version working on the current Switch, even though everyone – including the CMA – knows that’s nonsense. Not for the first time I have to wonder whether Microsoft just aren’t very good at this whole running a games company business.

New frontier
I’m really interested to see what will be the first big name game to use AI generated dialogue for non-player characters. I guess two obvious problems are that it’s hard to stop it from saying something offensive or gross/weird and that the voices will be super robotic compared to any proper voice-acting.

I’m surprised some industrious indie developer hasn’t made a text-based game though, that gets round at least one of those problems. Although it’s really The Elder Scrolls 6 or Fallout 5 I’m hoping will use it. Let’s face it, they never had the best dialogue or acting in the first place, so being able to respond to anything you say would be well worth putting up with a bit of awkward phrasing.

It seems to me this, rather than graphics, is the new frontier for gaming and something that could drastically change the nature of new games. Or at least that’s what seems logical to me, so it’s odd that neither Microsoft or Sony has talked about it yet. Although I guess you could say they haven’t talked about anything lately except that stupid acquisition.

Maybe we’ll hear something during the not-E3 events, although I’m not really holding my breath.

Inbox also-rans
Watching one of those restoration shows today. There was a strength testing machine made by Sega. Is that the same company that lives and hates Sonic or just a coincidence?

GC: We didn’t see it, but probably. Sega is technically an American company and started out making slot machines and other coin-ops for use on US military bases in the 1960s.

My wife now uses ‘Sekiro’d’ as a noun to describe whenever I fail to finish something as a result of me getting to the last boss and then selling the game. ‘You proper Sekiro’d that.’

GC: That’s a hell of a euphemism.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cabal, who asks how often do you buy a video game as soon as it comes out?

Do you always buy games you’re interested in day one or do you always wait until they’re cheaper or the bugs have been worked out? If you take it on a case-by-case basis what is it that influences your decision the most and do things like pre-orders bonuses make a difference?

Price is one obvious reason not to buy a game straight away, but what else puts you off and how have you made your recent decisions, including for upcoming games like Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom?

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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 and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, 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.

MORE : Weekend Hot Topic: Do you always play a video game to the end?

MORE : Games Inbox: Tears Of The Kingdom for BOTW haters, Nintendo Switch 2 hopes, and CMA accuracy

MORE : Games Inbox: Activision Blizzard and Xbox acquisition questions, dream Star Wars game, and Switch 2

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