The Wednesday Inbox is dubious about when streaming will make consoles obsolete, as one reader celebrates Trico from The Last Guardian.
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Well, I write this email feeling let down and disappointed by Amazon. I received an email at 8am on the launch day morning advising me that my order was not dispatched and would be delayed. A call to customer service was not helpful, although the Amazon rep advised she had taken a number of similar calls from disheartened gamers like me.
So I won’t be enjoying that launch day feeling for this generation of consoles and can only hope other GC readers had better service than me.
I saw the article regarding Amazon orders for Xbox Series X, here is my experience:
This company shouldn’t be allowed to trade, absolute shambles. I have taken a day off work, losing money to wait it for a delivery for my Xbox. The money was taken out of my account last night; £449, nearly a month’s wages for me! I pre-ordered this on the 22nd September! I have waited in all day, the delivery at 5pm said two stops away.
I saw the van down the very end of my road. It went as I saw it. The tracking then said the driver has to make a few more deliveries before they arrive at your address. I spoke to someone who assured me it would be here by 9pm. After speaking to a further three people who said it would be here by 9 then 10. We spoke to another man who was helpful and honest and said it was never on the truck in the first place!
I’m devastated and still no one can tell me exactly when I receive this. So they have my money and I have nothing for it. Absolute disgrace how they are allowed to do this…
I’m happy to say that my first day with the Xbox Series X has been a pleasure. Most of my praise belongs to Ori And The Will Of The Wisps, which I’ve been playing in 120fps, 4K with HDR on an LG OLED (blimey, a lot of technical verbiage there!).
What a wonderful game; absolutely stunning soundtrack and gorgeous visuals with tight controls.
I’ve also been playing Forza Horizon 4, which is probably the most stylish and seamless racing game I’ve played. The near-instant loading times really keep the momentum going.
I feel almost overwhelmed with the choice on Game Pass. I honestly cannot imagine how an adolescent version of myself would react if I had received an Xbox with Game Pass as a Christmas present. I would probably feel like I’d won the lottery.
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Down with upsell
I have to say, some of the tactics to ‘upsell’ by some retailers in the recent Xbox pre-order release were abhorrent to me. After trying my luck until 1.30am and then waking to start at 6am again I almost gave up, having been on every website and every shop within a 15 mile radius to try and get one on the off chance.
Then I saw some finally come up on pre-order (for 18th December) on GAME at midday. Except they were doing cute little packages. I luckily managed to get a standalone Xbox at normal price, but those quickly sold out and the remaining ones involved stuff like an Xbox and a T-shirt and hat combo for an additional £30.
Worst of all I saw some options with peripherals (including the hat and T-shirt combo) for getting on for £700. Don’t get me wrong, there will be some people who that would be perfect for, but there’s a reason why they were the last to go and it smacks to me of forced upselling.
I have no doubt I will also get an additional controller and charger pack but in my opinion they limited their stock to customers by putting them into hugely expensive bundles which weren’t necessary. All about making profits but stuff like this can tarnish reputations.
I’m very much enjoying Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Yes, it’s more of the same, but if you like the formula it’s great. I’m playing it on my Xbox One S and it runs well enough.
It’s one of the games that gets an upgrade so when I eventually decide to get an Xbox Series X it’ll be compatible. I’m a big Xbox fan but I’ll pick up a PlayStation 5 first, because I can still play new games on my current Xbox. The pull of Demon’s Souls is strong.
Nice to be reminded of The Last Guardian in your weekend Reader’s Feature (and it turns out that now you can play it at a locked 60fps on PlayStation 5). For all its irritations I still found it to be utterly loveable and I have huge respect for both Ueda and Sony for eventually releasing it, even though it wasn’t financially successful.
I can see why some found it too much to go through but I still think that Trico is one of the standouts of this or any other generation. He’s totally believable as an AI and whilst the cut scenes were easily there to pull at the heart strings (certainly when he tries to revive the boy) it’s the bond you form outside of those that makes him and the game really shine.
Much like God of War the protagonists slowly grow naturally during the play through and I feel that, when done well, it’s something that games can provide which other art forms cannot really achieve. You’re not a passive observer but are in control of events via interaction. Thus, you can take whatever emotions you feel at that time as an earned reward, which is achieved through naturally occurring events during actual gameplay and not through forced cut scenes.
It’s flawed and occasionally infuriating but when that ending was over I was left emotionally exhausted, yet totally satisfied with the experience.
Fifth time lucky
I purchased a pre-owned PlayStation 4 in September from Cash Converters and have had a few issues with it. First of all the HD cable didn’t work, then the controller charging cable stopped working along with a controller who’s battery barely lasted an hour. I then got all three of these things replaced but the replacement controllers left analogue stick started to drift as well as rubbing against the controller (meaning I couldn’t click it in to sprint).
I then replaced it with another controller whose battery life was less than an hour fully charged, the replacement charging cable also broke. I then got a fourth replacement controller that wouldn’t charge correctly and the boss ended up ordering me a brand new replacement controller from Amazon due to the amount of issues I’ve had.
I must make it clear that I didn’t mistreat any of the equipment – in fact, I took great care of it as I was paranoid about them breaking so it’s definitely not me who is the issue here.
I’m just curious if GC or any reader has ever encountered any of the issues I have? Are Sony pumping out low quality products or is the Cash Converters where I bought it from full of lazy staff members who can’t even be bothered to properly test out the products that they go on to sell? To say I’m angry is an understatement. Cheers.
GC: They ordered you a brand new one from Amazon? Sounds like they were trying to help.
RE: JAH and OLED TVs. I have been using our main Panasonic TX 55GZ2000 OLED for gaming and sport (two of the main causes of screen burn, and what makes FIFA doubly bad) extensively for almost a year and never had a problem. Also, I bought the exact same model of LG last week for when my PlayStation 5 comes, so I can give you an overview based on my experience with the set.
As you say, screen burn is caused by not varying the picture enough, but we are talking an unlikely amount of time before it happens. When testing for screen burn the TVs have about 4,000 to 5,000 hours on the clock, which is about five hours per day for five years. OLED TVs will likely have some burn-in if they are never changed during that period but, realistically, people are going to be using them for watching programmes and films too which should be enough to prevent it.
As for what the CX is like, it’s brilliant. Having compared it side by side with my other TV I think when it comes to watching content in SD and HD/Full HD it is slightly worse, albeit still great. In 4K it’s harder to say but obviously you won’t be watching the majority of things in 4K. Gaming however is where it shines. I’ve only tested it on PlayStation 4 games but Ghost Of Tsushima, for example, was significantly improved, which should only get better with the new consoles.
One other thing to consider if you or your son are still worried, then he might want to try a QLED TV. They’re still susceptible to screen burn but less so than OLED. The Samsung QE55Q90T is an excellent TV and a real alternative to the LG 55CX. I’d highly recommend the 55CX and don’t be put off by screen burn. I hope this helps and I’m happy to answer any questions you have if you want to contact me on PSN.
andy_b720 (PSN ID)
GC: We’ve got a Q80T and it’s great.
Family of consoles
I just want to say thanks a lot for the advice regarding my letter about screen burn on an OLED telly. I’ve just received my email confirmation from Very that one of my son’s Xbox Series X has been dispatched from the supplier and it may get delivered at my home for launch day on the 10th. So that will be his Christmas present all sorted out. (God knows what he’s actually going to play on it though when he unwraps it on the big day?)
Now I’m just waiting for an email for my other son’s PlayStation 5 confirmation of delivery ready for the 19th. Then, once that’s all sorted, I can actually get my hands on either an Xbox One S or a PlayStation 4 Slim and finally have a console all for myself for a change!
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Next gen strategy
What if Microsoft’s strategy wasn’t to prioritise Game Pass and future streaming services and the case is that they have just been forced to fall back on those services because they haven’t got their act together this generation?
What if they would really love first party exclusives but have severely struggled to get them at a quality on par with Sony’s? Halo Infinite offers proof of this.
What if the future of gaming will never quite be as fully streamed as people think? I say this because in the last 10 years I don’t think internet reliability, ubiquity or speed has increased to the point where we can 100% rely on it to play games. Will it be good enough in 2030? Moreover, with Sony’s SSD loading at lightning fast speeds, more games will rely on this instant access to hard disk storage. I just think the hardware demands of games (8K, 60fps, etc.) will always remain out of our internet speed’s reach.
Lastly, what if publishers refuse to opt in to the Game Pass model? The biggest publishers can still make huge sums from old-fashioned full-price product launches and microtransactions. Game Pass models are a huge threat to this.
All this is to say I am shocked at Microsoft’s non-event of a launch. The Xbox Series X has to be the least exciting new piece of hardware ever and as GC once said, always remember that what can be explained by laziness or conspiracy theories can just as well be explained by incompetence.
I honestly think they’d be better off allowing PC games to work on the new XBox and taking on Steam as a content provider. They seem to be in a better position to do this than excite the public with their new hardware.
Owen (NongWen – PSN ID)
GC: Hanlon’s razor states you should, ‘never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity’. But we think everything in the first two paragraphs is likely to be true and Microsoft just ran with it. As we’ve said before, streaming is the future of gaming – the question is when that future will come. Most publishers seem fine with Game Pas though, which still encourages you to pay for DLC and microtransactions even if the base game is free.
You mentioned you were playing XCOM 2 on the new console(s). I actually asked this in a letter a while back when it was all speculation, but is there a marked difference in loading times?
GC: Yes, they’re much quicker now. There’s also some new bugs to go with it, but overall it’s a significant improvement.
RE: Chelski Blue. You can get Xbox Live Gold very cheap at the moment online and I would suggest buying a couple of years, as it will give you the option when you use codes to upgrade to ultimate Game Pass at no extra cost. You can convert up to three years of Gold to three years of Ultimate, which is crazy value.
This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Simon, who asks what is your favourite ever console?
With the Xbox Series X and S releasing this week the weekend Inbox asks the simple question: are you getting one and if not why not?
If you’ve already got one then what are you initial impressions and are you satisfied it’s lived up to your expectations? Are you also getting a PlayStation 5 and if not why did you pick one over the other?
What do you feel are the most important features of the new console and what games have you, or do you want to, play on it? Please make sure to mark your emails for the Hot Topic and not the normal weekday Inbox.
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
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.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, 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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MORE : Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Best ever video game console
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