Welcome to this week's Etch Play Roundup. We've got Nintendo Switch news, Adam has been checking out Control, and Pete might go next gen... Good luck with that one, I've been trying for months!
This week I've been playing Control. It's a game with a cinematic sensibility, that often struggled to run smoothly on the last generation consoles - and I'm pleased to report that the Series X has no such problems. Particle effects and psychic action combat aside, the worldbuilding is the star of the show: the environment is the primary way you learn more about the story. Each twisted room of "The Oldest House" creates a powerful sense of dread and intrigue as you explore the headquarters of a shady organisation who battle supernatural threats. So far, it's a fantastic example of brilliant writing for games.
This week Nvidia have added a plugin to the Unreal Marketplace to allow all developers use of their DLSS technology. This is pretty big news as previously developers had to either apply to Nvidia directly for access to use this or, in recent months, know about a GitHub repo that wasn't mentioned or promoted by Nvidia. This made for a pretty closed ecosystem dominated by AAA developers, but now everybody from bedroom hobbyists all the way up to the huge players have access to this, and a lot of people are excited to see where it goes.
DLSS is a machine learning technology that helps upscale games, increase their fidelity, and also increase frame rates - so if more games are able to leverage this, it can only mean great things for gamers!
I'm a big fan of the Battlefield games, particularly since the move to WW1 in Battlefield 1. This week the senior design director at DICE LA tweeted about how wonderful it is to work on a game he loves. It's not yet clear whether he's talking about the game previously announced to be coming out later this year, or another new game in the Battlefield series. The series has always blown me away, and is so much fun to play in a squad with friends trying to locate each other on the huge maps. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this one and it could be the game that makes me move to a new Xbox or PlayStation.
It’s wondrous I get to work on a game I fell in love with almost 20 years ago! The sandbox play of 1942 was just amazing for its time. I look forward to hearing from all of you what you loved and hope for in a future BF game.— Justin Wiebe (@JA_Wiebe) February 8, 2021
Nintendo has launched a Nintendo Switch Concierge program designed to familiarise those completely new to the console.
The concierge service gives Switch owners (who recently purchased a Switch console) one-on-one video conferences with a Nintendo rep via video call. There are six half-hour sessions to choose from: Nintendo Switch 101, Games (Getting Started), Games (What to Play Next), Security and Privacy, Nintendo Account, and Customisation.
This sounds like a great service for those completely new to consoles. Personally, I would also like to see a "What to Play Next" feature also added to the Nintendo Store, giving me recommendations based on my purchases.
In recent times, the games industry has become a hotbed for investment and acquisitions. This isn't really a surprise considering the ever increasing global financial performance of the sector (which has been boosted even further by consumer behaviour throughout the pandemic). A few featured news items have particularly caught my eye lately, offering commentary around the subject. Simon Carless of GameDiscoverCo (An Etch Play team favourite) has this opinion piece on GIBiz which is well worth a read. Putting the practice under more scrutiny is this piece also on GIBiz, which asks some challenging questions about the slightly longer term implications.
And lastly, as highlighted by Adam last week, this is an insightful look from Keith Stuart at the process of trying to quick-fix a successful games studio through pure buying power, critiquing the efforts of the likes of Amazon and Google in contrast to more organic, hard fought culture building of some of the most popular studios.
GTAV has officially shipped 140 million units. That's a huge accomplishment, and what is even more astounding is that other than the games release year, 2020 had the highest number of units sold. Released in 2013 and still going incredibly strong, this is a perfect example of a long life game that is absolutely smashing it. Analysts have also suggested that GTAV could be a lot of peoples first foray into the series, so there could possibly be room for remasters of the older titles. There is still no word on a GTA6, but is there any need for one right now with the numbers GTAV are still pulling? Insane really for a game that has had more Xboxes than me!
Also, as a former pig owner myself, seeing that pigs can now play videogames was a fun bit of news this week. And Yorkshire pigs no less 💪
Thanks for joining us for another weekly roundup. We have even more news on our weekly live show which airs every Thursday at 4pm on our Twitch channel (watch our most recent show below 👇), as well as videogame marketing discussions. And we play games too. All of our shows, as well as a bunch of other videos are on our YouTube channel, or if you just want to say hi, you can hit us up on Twitter.
Have a great weekend 👋