Remember, remember the 6th of November. Game Pass, Hades and Xbox. I see no reason why this week's roundup should ever be forgot.
I apologise, that was awful. Please still read the roundup below, that will be much better, I promise!
Hades is good. I'm over 32 runs in, with 2 victories to my name, which I think puts me at 16+ hours played this week - not bad for someone who's also spent several days refreshing news websites in horror and still found time to watch The Great British Bake Off. The game casts you as Prince Zagreus, who finds himself stuck in an eternally-repeating fight to escape from the Greek underworld, and find answers about his origins. Developers Supergiant Games have perfected the art of replayability here, tying the storyline and mechanics cleverly into each loop of death and damnation.
Elsewhere, VICE have investigated a question I've been wondering about myself: Why are Nintendo going to stop selling several games in March?
Huge congratulations to Pixel Delusion, and our fantastic clients Modern Wolf on the release of Kosmokrats this week. Kosmokrats is a puzzle adventure game where you assemble spaceships in orbit, meeting interesting characters and making compelling decisions along the way. The game has a really unique look and feel to it and looks a tonne of fun. You can get it on Steam now.
As has been the focus of much of our weekly live shows lately (every Thursday at 4pm on Twitch.tv/etchplay), we're on the brink of new generation console launches.
GIbiz has an article summarising the critical consensus on the Xbox Series X/S which overall seems favourable. As we discussed on yesterdays show, the current state of the world is proving to be a difficult time for both hardware and new game launches. The impact on games production has left the launch line up of both consoles a little sparse. Likewise, there have been logistical challenges with fulfilling demand with many folks still unable to bag a new console. Whilst hopes to be able to pick one up in-store now also seems unlikely.
Interesting times indeed, but whilst delays might be frustrating to consumers and could hinder this quarters revenue reports, demand is still soaring and the overall industry is faring extremely well. I think we're just seeing a bumpy start to what will be an extremely exciting and successful new era of gaming.
Having seen transformations in the video streaming market with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+, and in the music industry with Spotify and Apple Music, there is no surprise people are expecting gaming to follow suit. Especially as Microsoft continue to bolster their Game Pass offering, and the race for the the best cloud gaming solution is on.
However, whilst many are touting videogame subscription services as the future of gaming, Take-Two Interactive CEO, Strauss Zelnick, isn't quite so sure. He stated this week that he was "highly sceptical that subscriptions will be the only way or primary way that interactive entertainment is distributed" and "that's because of the way people consume it, and the price point for owning a title, which is very reasonable and very low, actually, on a per-hour basis. So I think it's unlikely that subscriptions supplant frontline videogame sales as the primary business model."
It certainly is going to be intriguing to see where gaming goes. As undoubtedly the technology will catch up to enable a "Netflix of gaming" offering, ultimately the consumers will make the decision as to how they want to purchase and consume games, which will dictate where producers focus their efforts. Check back next week, when we'll be exploring the future of the streaming market in more detail!
In other news, if you're a fan of Ghosts of Tsushima, you can now bag yourself an incredible looking artwork print. Sucker Punch Productions have teamed up with video concept art store, Cook and Becker, to create a six print series, allowing you to take some of the games truly breath taking iconic scenes and frame them on your wall. This is a great example of an additional monetization strategy outside of game sales, and a fantastic extended experience for fans of the game.
Last week the team at Jagex launched their new piece of content for Old School Runescape, the Trailblazer League. So far it has been lauded by the community. The team actually broke their concurrent player number record over the launch too, with numbers getting above 170,000!
Not bad for a game from 2013, based on a game from 2007.
As we head into the first weekend of 'lockdown 2.0' in England, I’m looking forward to clocking some hours reliving my childhood playing Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! You can have a peek at my team and lax attitude to gameplay in this video, with Etch Play’s Adam Burt.
In other Pokémon news, I think this video of Sam & Mark and Elle Osili-Wood playing Pokémon Sword and Shield has given me all the evidence I need to give it a go. Maybe I will be able to get on board with the new gen Pokémon after all…
Thanks for joining us for this week's roundup. We know times are tough at the moment and hope everyone if holding up okay. If you need 5 minutes to take your mind off things, give us a shout on Twitter and we're always happy to chat videogames, or just have a chat in general. If you're after more videogame content, then we have lots of videos on our YouTube channel discussing videogame marketing and playing games, plus we also do that live on Thursdays at 4pm over on Twitch - we'd love for you to join us.
Stay safe 👋
At Etch Play, we help games businesses think about, plan and execute on their extended experience. That means delivering value to players beyond the traditional boundaries of a game. You can find out more about our offering at etchuk.com/play/the-extended-experience.