Gaming

Gamescom 2019 Round Up: Xbox and Stadia

A couple of livestreams dropped today in relation to Gamescom and so once again at the end of my day I sat back in front of the TV with a moderately strong beverage to see what had been announced.

Seeing what was new via the Inside Xbox presentation was my primary reason for watching and Gears 5 is just a grenade toss away from launching. New features for Horde mode were revealed that could change up the game for the better. Most teams usually set aside a single location on a map to lock down but now power nodes will appear on the map tempting the team to relocate and increase their ability to score. There’s a risk/reward factor in play here that might give players incentive to mix up their tactics over time. The game is being billed as the biggest Gears yet so if it can beat Gears of War 3 in delivering I will be impressed. Plenty of other games were on show too such as The Surge 2, Greedfall and Wasteland 3. I’m really curious about Empire of Sin from Romero Games which makes me think of what you would get combining X-COM with Prohibition era gangsters.

The PUBG team were also there to announce the next season of content as well as the enhancements to Erangel but saved the best news for last with that game going cross platform. This is pretty big news. Within the next couple of months both Xbox and PlayStation fans will be squaring off against each other and if this results less wait time between games then this is the best result you could ask for. This game suffered a lot from the flood of Battle Royale titles that followed it and in the past it’s occasionally been hard to get into Oceania games so I’m keeping my fingers crosses.

The second I watched was Google’s latest on Stadia. More than ever it’s clear that the team there are going all-in to prove the capabilities of the platform suits all games with announcements including Mortal Kombat 11 and Cyberpunk 2077. The technology and concept still seems solid enough, the business model is a missed opportunity though and I still can’t get through a full Stadia YouTube video in 4k/60 (let alone 1080P) so my confidence in playing games that way isn’t terribly high. Considering YouTube is meant to be one of the conduits to playing on Stadia, if you can’t get that part right how can anyone expect the rest will be up to the task? But then Australia doesn’t appear to be on the road map for the rollout so I’m definitely not part of the target audience. Polygon isn’t too impressed with Stadia either judging from their recent article.

No more word on Microsoft’s cloud solution but they might have a lot more to say in November for their X019 event which happens to be right at the time of Stadia’s own launch date. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from both (and Sony too) soon enough.

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3 replies »

  1. Stadia’s problem this time around was a complete lack of games that made it in any way compelling or unique; all the stuff they showed are games you can play better elsewhere. And anyone who is “into” gaming enough to be interested in Cyberpunk 2077, Mortal Kombat et al almost certainly already has something suitable to play it on, be it a console or a dedicated gaming PC.

    I’m definitely not its target audience, but I’m still struggling to see the benefits for *anyone* at this point.

    Liked by 2 people

    • True! It’s hard to see how Google will win over existing gamers who’ve become attached to their consoles, Steam libraries, etc. Having to start yet another “collection” that doesn’t offer any discernible benefit, especially with competing products already here or coming soon, might be a pointless exercise for many people.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Completely agree Pete. Any serious gamer will have the dedicated hardware already, and casual gamers are not likely to have a high end internet bandwidth connection (well not here in Australia anyway). I think Microsoft’s idea of playing on different devices (phones etc) would get more use the 4k / 60fps with Stadia.

      Liked by 2 people

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