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Games Inbox: Xbox as the biggest video game publisher, Astro Bot hype, and The Outer Worlds 2 absence

Games Inbox: Xbox as the biggest video game publisher, Astro Bot hype, and The Outer Worlds 2 absence
That’s a lot of games (Microsoft)

The Tuesday letters page is happy with Xbox still being the Shooter Box, as a reader asks what a modern day video game crash would look like.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@metro.co.uk

Xbox family What can you say about the Xbox Games Showcase other than Microsoft have gone from not a lot of games to a showcase where we got either an Xbox Game Studios, Activision, Blizzard , or Bethesda title screen around 17 times!

Sure, some of it’s just DLC, and a lot was updates on previously announced games, but I don’t know when else I’ve ever seen that many games from one publisher. A decent percentage of that 17 also had dates before the end of next year.

Microsoft seem to have sailed right past having a decent number of first party games, into a new territory where the worst part of the show was that relatively big and decent titles now need to be relegated to those middle slots that used to be full of third party stuff. Tim

Inside story I know that the rising costs of game development and what the industry is doing (or not doing) about it is a hot topic for you at the moment so I thought you might be interested in this post from a guy who used to work for Square Enix .

It is a very informative and very illuminating breakdown of how we’re in this situation, alongside some very sound suggestions for the various directions available to companies – specifically the larger AAA focussed development studios.

It even reveals the logic behind Square Enix constantly saying their games have underperformed.

He goes into more depth on the financials in this second post and it really does help to put a lot of this turmoil into perspective, especially in light of the number of layoffs across the industry at the moment.

Anyway, thought you may be interested, if you haven’t seen it already. AudioSpanks

GC: That’s very interesting, thank you.

Boss gamer Sorry, but I can’t stand seeing Phil Spencer’s smug mug any longer. Nor am I interested in anything he has to say. Spent all Microsoft’s big dollars then shuttered a load of studios and hid under a rock whilst someone else got wheeled out to make excuses.

Now, they’ve had a good showcase and he comes out gurning and talking about the future and engagement and all that tosh, showing no contrition whatsoever and just bringing out business-speak garbage and now he wants to be forgiven?

He should have been sacked after the fiasco of the last few years, as he has absolutely zero idea of how to engage with his customers and has spent megabucks and only run the Xbox brand into the ground. If that was the business plan, then I guess he succeeded, but it’s not the normal metric of success.

Microsoft need focus and to make Xbox function as its own business. Alas, it is probably far too late for that, and they’ve probably already pivoted to being a Steam type business, behind closed doors already.

As I’m not any kind of insider or privy to any journalist knowledge or research, I’m only able to speculate. But something tells me the Xbox future will be the streaming box eventually because, after all, they do have a monstrous server business, possibly one of the only ones that could support it.

To conclude, I care not one whit if we never hear from Spencer again. Maybe they can replace him with AI. There would be something perversely satisfying about that. ZiPPi

Email your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

Dramatic changes are dramatic OK enough is enough. Every weekend, there seems to be one or more Reader’s Features talking about the end of gaming, or an incoming crash. It’s been going on for at least six months, and there must have been dozens of features written.

I’m not going to pretend that the cost of AAA games isn’t rising, and that gaming jobs aren’t returning to pre-pandemic levels, but people are being far too dramatic about it, to put it mildly.

Last year was a cracking year for games, and there are plenty of good ones being released this year. I ask every time, but strangely no-one ever wants to be specific about what this ‘crash’ might look like, and when it’ll happen. I suspect that, as with much of the news media, us viewers like to revel in bad news, put on our rose-tinted specs, and bounce hot takes round the echo chamber.

Can we all please keep calm and carry on the enjoyable pursuit of playing games. Matt (he_who_runs_away – PSN ID)

GC: Who did you ask? A modern video game crash would likely be the inverse of the last one, where triple-A games become too expensive to justify making and instead publishers concentrate solely on live service titles. That has been discussed many times on these pages.

Virtual bullets The whole Call Of Duty teaching kids to shoot is nonsense. Playing a game with a stick and a paddle button is completely different to actually firing a gun. The people carrying these shootings have spent time at a range and practiced firing at human shaped targets. Add this to the fact they have easy access to guns and ammunition and severe mental problems. There’s bound to be issues with all of that.

America and increasingly the rest of the world apparently is in meltdown. One thing the UK government did right was make it very difficult to buy firearms.

Perhaps if the people assigning blame would stop buying 18-rated games for their underage kids, we could stop listening to the endless nonsense.

The games might be blamed but maybe the lack of action on bullying or mental health is the bigger issue. Like Chris Rock said, let them buy guns but make bullets extremely expensive. Bobwallett

GC: We’re not sure what you’re referring to here. Who has been saying this?

Reasonably excited I don’t think words could aptly describe just how joyous, wondrous, and effervescent Astro Bot looked in the recent Sony Stare Of Play. I’m a bit torn on the lack of a PlayStation VR2 edition at this point, however, considering how indelibly magical Rescue Mission was.

And I can’t believe Sony even tantalised a portion of fans by having the titular robot donning a PlayStation VR headset in one part of the trailer. Cold as ice!

Much like with playing Astro Bot’s Playroom in late 2021, I can already tell that experiencing Astro Bot later this year is going to elicit a pinch of wistfulness in me, after I see all the iconic Japan Studio references in the game.

I still can’t believe Sony shuttered their most gifted and illustrious first party developer back in 2021, almost as if to consummate their unfortunate transition into a more Americanised organisation.

Astro Bot’s return after nearly four years, in September, will hopefully evoke the halcyon days of PlayStation’s creative peaks. And I really hope Team Asobi revisit those special suit moments from Playroom, especially the inspired monkey one, because those unique mechanics felt so tremendously tactile and fun.

I can honestly say I’m probably as excited for Astro Bot as my eight-year-old niece (it’s her favourite game ever). The levels of hype we share at this stage is astro nomical! Galvanized Gamer

One at a time In regards to the Xbox showcase, is anyone not perturbed by the lack of The Outer Worlds 2 announcements/footage?!

Wasn’t it announced back in 2021 – have they still nothing to show? Five years since the original and I’m dying here waiting for the sequel… If there ever was a time for me to invoke Inbox magic this would be it! TheSpectre N8 (gamertag)

GC: As we suggested in today’s story about Avowed, we don’t think Obsidian are big enough to do two major projects at once, along with all their side stuff. We may hear more once Avowed is released.

Focused releases I’d be completely fine with Xbox being seen as the ‘Shooter Box’, as at least that’d suggest some kind of joined-up thinking and strategy rather than them trying to be everything, everywhere, all at once. It doesn’t feel like we’re drowning in first and third person shooters these days and the problem with Xbox since the start of the Xbox One era has been that their tentpole franchises (like Gears Of War) took a dip in quality and they had nothing else of that stature to fill the schedules.

Now, with what I’ve always thought was the most exciting part of their Bethesda acquisition hopefully bearing fruit, we’ve got Doom: The Dark Ages and Indiana Jones And The Great Circle on the way, as well as an attempt to reboot Gears Of War. That’s the kind of content I bought an Xbox Series X for (assuming the games don’t end up being rubbish…).

It’s just a shame it’s coming at a time when they’ve completely muddied the waters and probably devalued their hardware to the point that most of the games they’ve shown will end up on other consoles: that type of content, even if it doesn’t appeal to everyone, could’ve helped them carve out a better foothold this generation if it’d come earlier and been exclusive to their console.

Regardless of that, as a publisher it looks like Xbox have a pretty stellar line-up over the next couple of years. Magnumstache

GC: Although we suspect it’ll be a quasi-soft reboot, the new Gears Of War is technically just a prequel.

Inbox also-rans I love that the Nintendo Direct, whenever it happens, could literally be a couple of remasters and some other scraps or Metroid Prime 4 and who knows how many other major games. As much as they try, nobody leaks Nintendo plans. Scooby

Phil Spencer’s portable console fetish is almost starting to seem creepy. I’ve never seen an exec as excited about anything before. JimmyDodger

Email your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

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 .



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