Friday, June 26, 2020

Year 4: June Update

Young Jedi CCG
As expected, I've not been able to stick to a regular schedule and only made one post this month! That's not good so I'll aim for one or two more before July arrives next week. I'm still working from home but I did receive permission to go into the office to pick items up. That allowed me to grab the most recent 51 video games that released (29 different titles I believe) since I was last at work. I've been recording clips of those for my other project which I've been considering giving up on after covering the first six months of the year. It's going to be a challenge to get caught up to current releases when I'm now more than two months behind. It's a huge time commitment, however, I also don't want to just give up even though I only have eight subscribers over there. At the same time, I don't want to ignore this blog and YouTube channel too much either. Free time rarely exists any longer as I also spend a lot of time managing eBay listings.

Without E3 this month there have been some online events. I watched Sony's presentation, the PC Gaming Show, and EA Play Live. I don't really have anything to say about the PC show and EA Play was rather routine as well. A few days before EA Play Live, Electronic Arts did reveal a new Star Wars game called Squadrons. While it will have a single-player campaign, it's heavily geared toward multiplayer and with a $39.99 MSRP I expect that campaign to be very short. Before talking PlayStation 5, some other game news since last month includes the announcement of Transformers: BattlegroundsGame Gear Micro, and Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. The Transformers game is not a high profile game, unfortunately, and appears to be aimed at a younger audience. That's not a bad thing, it's just likely not my thing. The publisher is Outright Games, a company that does focus on licensed games for families. Sega only announced the Game Gear Micro for Japan: it's a very small version of the system sold in four colors with four built-in games per color. Crash Bandicoot 4 is being developed for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One by Toys for Bob with an expected release this October 2nd.

The PlayStation 5 game event opened with Grand Theft Auto V. Personally I'd have put that at the end or not even bothered putting it in the presentation at all though I expect 2K/Rockstar paid a handsome sum for it to be there. Sure, it's popular but it's also seven years old and from last generation. Some fans were very excited after the event that ran for a bit more than an hour but I was underwhelmed. The highlights for myself were Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West. Spider-Man caused some confusion about whether it was a sequel or an updated version of the PS4 game with added content. It sounds as if it is a new game set in the same location as the previous Spider-Man with a new story, not a full-blown sequel but not a re-hash either. By not going the full sequel route it allows Sony to get a possible system-seller ready for the PS5 launch. Horizon Forbidden West isn't due any time soon, possibly 2021. I'm interested in seeing more of that world though I'd have preferred to continue my journey on the PlayStation 4 because I'm not too sure about buying another console. It is possible some of the games announced will be on PS4, however, the event was for PS5 only.

Other games from well-known series shown or mentioned at the Sony event include a new Oddworld, Ratchet & Clank, LittleBigPlanet (though it is called Sackboy instead), another Resident Evil, NBA 2K21, more Gran Turismo, and Hitman III. Sony is also getting a bunch of timed-exclusives which tells me it is either feeling some pressure from Microsoft or simply doesn't have many games of its own ready for a new console launch. The latter is likely the primary reason. Last console launch I thought the Xbox One had the better games for the first year and it took Sony a while to get the PS3 going too so it hasn't been great with launch exclusives the past few generations. PlayStation 5's design is what most people were talking about after the show. It's unique but doesn't appear practical. From what I understand, in Japan people like small consoles and practical designs of which the PS5 is neither. The Xbox Series X is a cuboid and shorter than the PS5; it may be bland to look at but it is smaller and more practical. However, I doubt it will help the Xbox brand in Japan where it always struggles. Sony announced a digital-only PS5 as well that caught me off guard. Microsoft tried that mid-generation with the Xbox One and while I have no idea how that fared, I don't see it being a good move for consumers just to save a few bucks. Also, while I kept thinking game prices might increase next generation, the retail data I've received indicates high end prices will be $59.99 again, at least for now. (UPDATE 7/3/20: It turns out some games will be $69.99 with NBA 2K21 being the first to announce that price point. I can't find where I discuss price increases but I know I brought up the possibility in a previous post of multiple game prices next generation, though one thought was that sports games might be unlikely to increase while RPGs and open-world games were most likely to cost more.)

Was there anything new in the toy world? Probably but I've not kept up! Like I said in the opening, free time is rare and I'm having a hard time keeping up with everything I'm trying to do. I apologize for the lack of posts which I expect will continue throughout this year and as I've likely said a few times this year already, there is a good chance I wind everything down next year. A five-year run with mostly continuous content isn't too bad. Thank you for your support!


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