Raiden IV x Mikado remix is coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One in early 2023

If you are the kind of gamer who loves playing vertical scrolling 2D shooters that have that unique arcade aesthetic, then you should be delighted to know that Raiden IV x Mikado remix will be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One early next year, according to the official announcement at Xbox.com.

Xbox gamers will get to play Raiden IV x Mikado remix in early 2023.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from Xbox.com announcement by Nicholas Odmark. Some parts in boldface…

High-octane action soars onto the scene in Raiden IV x Mikado remix, coming to Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One in early 2023! The core gameplay of this series includes the classic vertical scrolling and top-down aerial combat that the shoot ’em up genre is famous for. However, this title’s arsenal of gameplay modes, remixed music, new play styles, and more are what set it apart from the competition.

Arcade Origins – Raiden was first released in Mikado Game Center arcades throughout Japan in April 1990 by Tecmo. After a few decades of additional titles and a new developer in Moss, Raiden IV was first released in 2007. By 2008, it had made its way from arcades to the Xbox 360. And now, over six years after the release of Raiden V on the Xbox One, Raiden IV x Mikado remix aims to establish itself as the most definitive version of this title on Xbox to date.

Game ModesRaiden IV x Mikado remix comes outfitted with several exciting game modes. Arcade Mode hails from the original release of Raiden IV, and sports two difficulties, Light for beginners and Original for advanced players. It also utilizes the Flash Shot scoring mechanic, meaning the faster you take down enemies, the higher your score will be. This encourages playing near the top of the screen to hit enemies as they spawn, which of course brings with it a high level of risk. Additional Mode has the same mechanic, but adds two new stages along with new enemy bullet patterns.

This is what the game will look like on Xbox.

OverKill Mode, first introduced in Raiden IV: Overkill, adds two new missions and replaces the Flash Shot scoring system with one of its own. After destroying a larger enemy, they’ll remain on-screen for a few seconds, offering you a chance to earn a higher score bonus the more you keep attacking them. However, that means turning your attention away from new enemies who spawn during that time. In Score Attack Mode, every stage is available to replay for the highest score. And finally, Boss Rush offers you a quick shortcut to every end-of-stage boss without having to fuss with completing every level again.

Turn Up the Volume – Named for the addition of remixed background music in collaboration with Game Center Mikado, Raiden IV x Mikado remix features tracks from legendary artists such as the Go Sato Band, Heavy Metal Raiden, O.T.K., and more. This soundtrack also includes live performances, new arrangements, and allows players to choose between the original Raiden IV background music or the remixed version.

Choose your Ship – On top of selecting your game mode and music preference, you also have three different ships to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The Fighting Thunder ME-02 is the most balanced, with respectable weapon strength and speed. The Raiden MK-II is the classic ship of the series, sacrificing speed for higher damage. And finally, the Fairy is the smallest and fastest of all the ships and is meant for players who are seeking a challenge.

Play Your Way – While you might think those are enough options to choose from, Raiden IV x Mikado remix isn’t done yet. You also get to select a play style, each of which drastically changes the game. Solo Play is pretty self-explanatory, while Dual Play lets you and a buddy play together, complete with couch co-op. Double Play on the other hand allows one player to control two ships at the same time, offering a unique and challenging spin on whichever game mode you pair it with.

It’s really nice that Raiden IV x Mikado remix is coming to Xbox consoles sometime early next year. I missed out on Raiden IV when it was released on Xbox 360. I also missed out on Raiden V on Xbox One. Anyway, having more arcade games on the Xbox ecosystem is always a welcome development.

Watch out for Raiden IV x Mikado remix on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One in early 2023.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos – including details about Sony’s pathetic reaction to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard –  for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

Xbox App now available on Samsung 2022 Smart TVs

In what is clearly an ambitious effort to make video gaming more available to users who don’t have game consoles, Team Xbox announced that its Xbox app is officially available on Samsung 2022 Smart TVs and with the power of the cloud, users will be able to play hundreds of games through Xbox Game Pass!

To begin with, watch this video below…

To put things into perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official announcement on Xbox.com. Some parts in boldface…

Starting today in 27 countries, you can turn on your Samsung 2022 Smart TV, navigate to the Xbox App in the new Samsung Gaming Hub or Media Hub, connect your Bluetooth controller, and play. It’s as simple as using any other streaming app on your TV.

Here’s what you need to know to get started:

Getting Ready – Playing Xbox games on 2022 Samsung Smart TVs is a seamless experience. To make sure you’re ready to game, here’s what you’ll need:

  • To access the Xbox app, you’ll need one of Samsung’s 2022 Smart TVs.
  • To play the hundreds of cloud-enabled games in the Game Pass library, you’ll need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.
  • If you don’t have a membership and want to try the experience for yourself before you sign up, you can play Fortnite for free without an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.
  • Almost any Bluetooth-enabled controller will work with the Xbox app, like the Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Adaptive Controller, Elite Series 2 Controller, or the DualSense controller.

How to Access the Xbox App – There are two ways you can access the Xbox app on a 2022 Samsung Smart TV depending on where you’re located.

  • In some countries you can access the Xbox app through Samsung’s new Gaming Hub. Simply navigate to the Gaming Hub via the user interface, launch the Xbox app, and you’re ready to go!
  • Otherwise you can navigate to the Samsung App store from the Samsung Media Hub, search for “Xbox” to download the app onto your TV, and launch it to begin playing.

As we shared earlier this month, we’re excited to take this first step with Samsung and look forward to keeping you up to date during this next evolution in our vision. With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and a controller, you can easily jump into the world of gaming and connect with your friends and communities on Xbox.

Xbox app on Samsung 2022 Smart TV emphasized.

As I mentioned earlier, this team-up between Team Xbox and Samsung can impact people’s accessibility to playing video games at home and free them from the financial burden of acquiring a standalone gaming hardware (the video game console) which is crucial because even until now, modern game consoles like the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are still challenging to acquire due to tight supplies. Also there are households who are already struggling with inflation and this makes buying a game console not so attractive financially.

The beauty about Xbox app on Samsung Smart TV with cloud power and Xbox Game Pass (XGP) is that the users can play established blockbuster games like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5 and Flight Simulator without an Xbox console. Users also have lots of very promising games to play in the near future via XGP such as Starfield, Senua’s Sage: Hellblade II, Forza Motorsport (2023), Redfall, Pentiment, As Dusk Falls, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and more! Once the Xbox acquisition of Activision-Blizzard gets completed, even more games will be added into XGP!

Once this move by Team Xbox and Samsung succeeds, it will mean more new users coming into the Xbox ecosystem which will benefit game publishers eventually. To put it clearly, the old strategy of selling game consoles to connect with TVs in households is no longer the only way to enjoy video games in the comfort of home. This is something that Sony and Nintendo have not embraced because it goes against their old console-focused business nature.

In ending this piece, posted below are some Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment…

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

The DioField Chronicle coming soon on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One

As a happy gamer who owns an Xbox Series X console, I should state that I am having fun with turn-based tactical games like Gears Tactics, Empire of Sin and Phoenix Point. Those three games – which as of this writing are still available for Xbox Game Pass (XGP) subscribers to enjoy – have their own concepts and their own approach on gameplay that involves strategy.

Speaking of strategy gaming, Square Enix officially announced that it has a brand new strategy role-playing game (strategy RPG) that will be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One this year – The DioField Chronicle.

To begin with, watch the official video below…

To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the official announcement by Square Enix. Some parts in boldface…

This fresh new franchise is developed by SQUARE ENIX in conjunction with Lancarse Ltd, a team of veteran strategy developers, features unique character designs by Taiki (Lord of Vermilion III, IV), concept art by Isamu Kamikokuryo (FINAL FANTASY XII, FINAL FANTASY XIII) and has beautifully orchestrated music by world-renowned composers Ramin Djawadi and Brandon Campbell, known best for their work on Game of Thrones.

The Announcement Trailer unveiled today provides a first look at the story and new, deeply strategic real-time battle system called ‘Real-Time Tactical Battle’ (RTTB). Told through stunning ‘diorama’-style combat scenes, players will assess front line conditions in real-time, issue decisive orders and use a variety of skills, classes, and equipment to gain the upper hand over their foes.

A glimpse on the gameplay based on a work-in-progress.

The DioField Chronicle is set in a beautiful and unique world blending fantasy, medieval and modern-day influences. Under the steady hand of the Shaytham dynasty, the Kingdom of Alletain on DioField Island has known peace for 200 years, but suddenly find themselves cast into an age of uncertainty due to the rise of warlike powers and modern magic.

This image shows the scale of the location.

The Kingdom of Alletain is rich in the mineral Jade, prized for its use as a base ingredient in magic and sorcery, and the attention of both the Empire and the Alliance inevitably turns towards the island. Players will take control of a band of elite mercenaries calling themselves “Blue Fox”, but will the name “Blue Fox” come to signify hope or darkest tragedy?

For the newcomers reading this, The DioField Chronicle is the fourth new game from Square Enix that will be released on Xbox consoles this year. The others are Star Ocean: The Divine Force (release date still pending), Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin (March 18, 2022), and Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Collection (April 7, 2022). While it is notable that Square Enix won’t be releasing their big-budget RPG Final Fantasy XVI on Xbox consoles anytime soon, their other games mentioned above will still add a good amount of Japanese-style gaming on the Xbox platform for gamers to enjoy. Take note that hot Xbox-exclusive RPGs are coming and Bethesda’s Starfield will rock the gaming world this November. To the Xbox fans reading this, be assured that 2022 will be an even bigger, more exciting and more enjoyable year. Team Xbox has strong momentum that PlayStation and Nintendo cannot even match.

Going back to The DioField Chronicle, it sure looks interesting and intriguing at the same time. The visual style of using 2D art while showing polygonal action in key sequences is notably eye-catching. For more information about the game, visit https://www.diofieldchronicle.com/

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Xbox Game Pass (XGP) choices for February 2022

I am a subscriber of Xbox Game Pass (XGP) and I’ve been enjoying lots of games on my Xbox Series X. For the month of February 2022, there are new additions announced recently by Team Xbox and already three of them have just been officially released (February 3, 2022) through the service for subscribers to enjoy. There are also DLC updates as well as perks for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (XGPU) subscribers.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the February 1, 2022 announcement on Xbox.com written by XGP Community Lead Megan Spurr…

Contrast (Cloud and Console) ID@Xbox – February 3 – Explore a dreamlike, vaudevillian world of the 1920s, in which you can shift freely in and out of shadow. Tasked with helping a young girl named Didi, you will unravel the mysteries behind her troubled family and the dark secrets that must be exposed to re-shape her future.

Dreamscaper (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 3 – An endlessly replayable action roguelike with a waking/dreaming gameplay cycle. By night, delve deep into your subconscious, facing nightmares in an ever-changing world filled with unique items, abilities, and challenges. By day, explore the city of Redhaven, build relationships and unlock permanent upgrades to take on the next dream stronger than ever.

Telling Lies (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 3 – An investigative thriller game with non-linear storytelling, Telling Lies revolves around a cache of secretly recorded video conversations. Starring Logan Marshall-Green, Alexandra Shipp, Kerry Bishé, Angela Sarafyan, and directed by Sam Barlow, creator of Her Story and writer/designer of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.

Besiege (Game Preview)(Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 10 – Besiege is a physics building game where you construct war machines to obliterate fortresses, annihilate legions of soldiers, navigate hazards, and solve physics puzzles. In the single-player campaign, you’ll conquer your way through four distinct islands, each with its own theme, packed with fully destructible levels and see you bring your enemies to their knees. Learn more about Besiege (Game Preview)here!

CrossfireX (Console) – February 10 – Available on day one with Xbox Game Pass: Play the first CrossfireX single-player campaign, Operation: Catalyst, developed in partnership with Remedy Entertainment. Take control of a Global Risk unit, as they traverse through enemy territory to save their captured teammate and uncover the dark secrets of the Black List Mercenary group.

Edge of Eternity (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 10 – Available on day one with Game Pass: Wage epic turn-based battles as you follow Daryon and Selene on their quest to find a cure to the all-consuming Corrosion in this grand tale of hope and sacrifice, created by a small team of passionate JRPG lovers.

Skul: The Hero Slayer (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 10 – Skul is a fast-paced action rogue-lite where losing your head is encouraged. Featuring 100 playable characters each with their own unique abilities and a ton of items that can create wild synergies, the battles are as electrifying as they are challenging.

The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom (Cloud, Console, and PC) – February 10 – Battle hordes of zombies and monsters in The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom, a semi-open world action RPG that tells a new story in the post-apocalyptic town of Wakefield. Playing as teen survivors Jack, Quint, June, or Dirk, you’ll explore zombie-infested streets on your quest to stop Malondre, a powerful adversary from obtaining the Staff of Doom.

Ark: Ultimate Survivor Edition (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 14 – Experience everything that the Ark franchise has to offer with Game Pass in this definitive collection! Tame and ride primeval creatures as you explore savage lands, team up with other players to compete in epic tribal battles, and travel together on the greatest dinosaur-filled adventure of all time.

Infernax (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 14 – Available on day one with Game Pass: Infernax is the adventures of a great knight who returns to his homeland only to find it plagued with unholy magic. While on your quest to find and destroy the source of this corruption by any means necessary, you will face ruthless creatures, dangerous beasts, and precarious terrains.

The Xbox.com article also confirmed that there will be games leaving the Xbox Game Pass service on February 15. Those games are Control, Code Vein, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, The Medium, Project Winter and The Falconeer. If you are an XGP subscriber and you have not played those games on your Xbox console, now is the time to download what titles interest you the most.

Going back to the games for XGP this month, CrossfireX, Contrast and Edge of Eternity are the most interesting to me. Contrast is an old game made by Xbox game studio Compulsion Games which was released many years ago when the said developer was still independent. I completely missed out on Contrast back then and the opportunity to try the game without paying anything extra is a welcome move. Edge of Eternity is a fantasy role-playing game that was clearly influenced by Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs). It was released on Windows PC in 2021 and being added on XGP (apart from being scheduled for release on multiple platforms on February 10) will surely interest Xbox gamers who love JRPGs.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Antitrust notification for Robinsons’ full takeover of Ministop not needed according to Philippine Competition Commission (PCC)

If you have been living here in the Philippines, have you visited any branch of the Ministop chain of convenience stores lately? Did you notice that the term acquisition was more prominent recently in business news as of late mainly due to the Microsoft-Activision-Blizzard deal?

The point here is that another acquisition happening in the Philippines – Robinsons is set for a full takeover of Ministop (which itself is already majority owned by the said corporation) and an antitrust notification is not needed according to the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC). This was reported lately by GMA Network news.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said Tuesday Robinsons Supermarket Corp. does not need to notify the antitrust watchdog of its full takeover of the Ministop franchise in the country as the company already has majority control over the convenience store franchise.

“Based on PCC’s merger rules, the Commission acknowledges that Robinsons’ current majority stake in Ministop already affords them control, and Robinsons is no longer required to notify the proposed acquisition to the antitrust commission,” the antitrust body said in a statement.

On Monday, Robinsons Supermarket —a wholly-owned subsidiary of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI)— announced it will acquire the 40% share of Ministop Japan in Robinsons Convenience Stores Inc. (RCSI), effectively taking full ownership of the business.

RCSI is the exclusive franchisee of Ministop in the Philippines, with Robinsons Supermarket Corp. holding a 60% stake in the firm. It will continue to operate the stores with the Ministop brand, within a prescribed transition period agreed upon with the Japanese counterpart.

RRHI said the stores will continue to operate as Ministop until they are repurposed and appropriately rebranded, in consideration of its ready-to-eat offerings such as Uncle John’s Fried Chicken and Kariman.

The PCC said it received reports of Ministop Japan’s sale to Lotte, including its sale of its joint venture stake in the Philippines.

Nikkei Asia reported that the Japanese convenience store operator will sell its South Korean and Philippine businesses, after unloading a Chinese subsidiary in Qingdao.

The PCC, however, noted that it will look into Robinsons’ portfolio in the consumer retail sector which includes supermarkets, department stores, and community malls, among others.

Merger reviews are focused on the effects and changes of market behavior in the hands of new owners or stakeholders,” it said.

“This transaction may result in a change in ownership of a significant portion of equity but it is not likely to have an effect on the economic behavior of the target firm,” it added.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this business development? If you are a regular customer of Ministop, what do you think will happen once the full takeover by Robinsons happens? Do you think that the quality of the customer service and store facilities will improve? When it comes to convenience store competition here in the Philippines, how do you rate Ministop with the likes of 7-Eleven, FamilyMart and Lawson? Are you personally attached to Ministop’s branch?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Sony is clearly behind as technology giants move on with their respective ecosystems

As I am writing this post, the shockwaves caused by the Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal are still being felt. As many Xbox-haters and PlayStation fanboys online could not help but become uneasy and restless because of the deal’s effects on them, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer had officially talked with Sony’s top executives and described what happened via his Twitter account.

From Phil Spencer himself.

Take note of Spencer’s words “existing agreements” and “our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.” Existing agreements most likely refer to what Activision Blizzard made with Sony which I believe are years-long deals on games with regards to platform releases, marketing, post-release downloadable content, etc. Of course, such agreements can last long but NOT FOREVER. The business benefit for PlayStation from Activision Blizzard will someday come to an end. 

As for Microsoft’s desire for keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation, that clearly means that the corporation of Xbox is technically in-charge of not just the COD franchise but on the decision making, marketing and releasing its games on specific platforms. Sony and its PlayStation team are not in the driver’s seat here anymore. Whatever deals Activision signed with PlayStation before the acquisition will expire and they certainly will not be renewed once Microsoft and its Xbox team takes over. In due time, future COD games as well as other upcoming games and new intellectual properties of Activision Blizzard will become Xbox-exclusive in accordance to what Spencer declared before

We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re going to support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players. We love those communities and will continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have either contractual things, or legacy on different platforms, that we’ll go do. But if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists, and that’s our goal, that’s why we are doing this,

This brings me to my next point – Sony as a global business entity is way behind Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon when it comes to establishing ecosystems that result tremendous business growth and reaching billions of customers worldwide respectively. The decades-old console-focused approach by Sony with PlayStation was indeed successful but not great enough to help it grow big time. Not even their Hollywood business nor Spider-Man could lift them up greatly. The weird thing was that Sony in previous decades had established an old ecosystem before PlayStation began.

To put things in perspective, posted below is a long excerpt from a recent Nikkei Asia article. Some parts in boldface…

The 10% drop in Sony’s stock price this week following Microsoft’s announcement that it will buy game content developer Activision Blizzard shows the market has belatedly awakened to an existential flaw in Sony’s kingdom. It lacks an ecosystem.

In terrifying contrast, Microsoft is a formidable ecosystem whose component elements, such as devices, operating system, browser, search engine, applications, content, cloud memory, work hand in glove to suck in captive users and never let them go. The ecosystem effect is all too familiar to owners of PCs that run on the Windows OS, which maddeningly redirects users to Microsoft’s Edge browser and Bing search engine against their will.

It is no accident that five of the world’s seven largest companies by market capitalization — Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet/Google, Amazon and Meta/Facebook — are ecosystems. Every consumer decision to buy a device, be it a PC, smartphone, Kindle reader, or game console, entails a surrender to an interconnected ecosystem. Promiscuity among ecosystems is possible but, by design, not easy. The ecosystems are at war and want to make you their captive.

Ironically, Sony was early to recognize the strategic significance of the ecosystem effect. Its decision to acquire CBS Records and Columbia Pictures in the late 1980s was inspired by the notion that controlling entertainment content could somehow push device sales, such as Betamax VCRs and Sony Walkman.

What Sony overlooked was that it would be self-defeating to make its controlled content exclusively available on Sony devices. Very few consumers would buy a Walkman just because it was the only way to listen to Michael Jackson. And Sony’s refusal to license Michael Jackson to non-Sony device users would perversely shut down third-party royalty revenue from the controlled content. Sony saw, but misunderstood and misapplied, the ecosystem effect between devices and content.

Sony’s next, more costly, wrong turn was its failure to anticipate and keep up with the morphing of portable audio devices like the Walkman launched in 1979 and iPod in 2001 into the iPhone debuted in 2007. The iPhone integrated, in a single handheld device, all of the functions formerly provided by the multiple discrete products in Sony’s consumer electronics lineup: phone, TV, camera, video and audio player and recorder, clock, calculator, and so on.

Sony’s stock price plunged from 30,000 yen ($260) per share in 2000 to 1,668 yen in 2009. Sony and the entire Japanese consumer electronics industry are still in disarray from the iPhone paradigm shift.

Unlike Sony, Apple founder Steve Jobs was a master at creating and orchestrating an ecosystem. In particular, he understood when to link content exclusively to a device and, just as important, when not to. Even now, Apple’s iOS is available only on Apple devices, unlike Microsoft’s device-agnostic Windows OS.
Initially, Apple’s iTunes music store platform was available only on Apple’s own devices. Then, in October 2003, “the day that hell froze over,” Jobs made the strategic decision to make iTunes compatible with and freely downloadable by non-Apple devices.

The result was not only to massively increase the audience and revenues of the iTunes platform. Non-Apple device users discovered how great iTunes was and that it worked even better on an iPod, leading to a surge in new iPod owners conveniently prepped for the coming transfiguration of the iPod into the iPhone.

The same interplay between devices and content is at the center of intense competition in the $180 billion global PC gaming industry. Dedicated gamers have a choice among three game-specific consoles — Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch.

The choice of device, in turn, entails a menu of device-specific exclusive content. Xbox and PlayStation each offer about 2,000 titles, but the bestselling 200-300 games for each tend to be exclusive to one or the other. A gamer’s choice of console implies a decision about preferred content.

But the relationship between game devices and content is evolving rapidly, tracking changes elsewhere in the internet universe. Games today can be played on any device, PCs and smartphones, not just a dedicated game console.

Gaming is now mobile. Game content is increasingly being streamed, just like Netflix and Amazon Prime. You can play games on YouTube. And an Xbox can be used as a PC to surf the Internet and do your homework.

The immediate threat to Sony posed by Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is that Microsoft will make the content it is acquiring — global blockbusters like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft — exclusive to Xbox users and invite defections from PlayStation users who want to keep playing their favorite games.

But this is just one element of the multifaceted ecosystem effects Microsoft can deploy to squeeze Sony. Sony should be nervous, for example, that it has no cloud or streaming capability of its own and relies on Microsoft’s own Azure platform to deliver streaming content to Sony users.

Sony’s game and network services segment now accounts for 30% of its revenues. It is hard to see how Sony can compete in the long-term in a narrow game-specific segment without credibly competing with the likes of Microsoft, Alphabet/Google and Amazon across the board in all segments of the device-content spectrum.

From a financial point of view, Sony is not only behind the tech giants with ecosystems. Sony simply does not have the major financial muscle needed to pull off massive acquisitions of game publishers (massive meaning more than $5 billion per each acquisition) that each have lots of game developers, intellectual properties and technologies. The Japanese giant does have a business ecosystem but it’s too small and too narrow compared to its Western competitors. This also means Sony reaches much less customers worldwide.

In a possible response to Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal, Sony can try to acquire its fellow Japanese gaming entities like Capcom, SEGA or Square Enix and integrate the entity(s) into PlayStation, but that will require not just a whole bunch of money but also willingness to not just make big offers the other party cannot turn down, but also the willingness to overcome all the legal obstacles, solve all the complications, absorb all the employees, fund future projects already in development, etc. If the PlayStation team is willing on building up its very own exclusive properties, they could expand the work forces as well as the projects of their very own game studios.

The Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal is very hard to match not just because of the financial value and organizational weights involved, but also because the said deal covers consoles, Windows PC, mobile devices, cloud gaming, browser gaming and much more. The PlayStation ecosystem is still console-focused and so far team PlayStation released only a few of its games on PC. Is Sony even working to improve PlayStation Now? Are the PlayStation executives realizing that their 3rd party marketing deals won’t lift up their corporation and consumer base anymore? Has it occurred to the PlayStation executives that future games of the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon franchises (both of which are permanently identified with Sony’s gaming brand due to exclusive games released on the first PlayStation console) will be released only on Xbox platforms?

As mentioned in the Nikkei Asia article above, business ecosystems are not perfect and they have their flaws that affect customers in bad ways. As such, the ecosystem powers and organizers should do their work to be more user-friendly and be more consumer-oriented. Still, the ecosystem approach to business has proven to be very effective with regards to reaching the widest number of consumers worldwide as well as driving business growth to new heights, not to mention generating economic benefits for business partners involved (example: credit card companies whose users buy on Amazon, Xbox network, Google, etc.) No amount of sales of Final Fantasy games and Street Fighter games exclusive to PlayStation consoles will ever match that. 

As for the console fanboys who still hate Xbox, they should learn to stop living with fantasy and wake up to reality. Time to grow up.

In ending this piece, posted below are videos related to Xbox and the Activision Blizzard deal…

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard shakes gaming industry!

It has been a few days since the industry shaking announcement was made – Microsoft will acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard for almost $69 billion and that means major additions (games, intellectual properties, game development talents, technologies and more) coming to Team Xbox for gamers to enjoy within the Xbox ecosystem.

This is easily the most unbelievable and most intriguing video game business development since the Xbox-Bethesda deal (deal completed in 2021). Unbelievable because nobody (other than the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard executives) saw this deal would happen at all even though Team Xbox made clear it would push on with acquisitions. Intriguing because Activision Blizzard itself has been controversial in very negative ways (for references, click here, here and here) which brings major challenges for Team Xbox to solve once the acquisition has been completed.

To begin with, let’s take a look at the reactions and analysis of Xbox YouTubers and gaming media in the videos below…

And now, for even greater perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox-Activision-Blizzard announcement on Xbox.com written by none other than Phil Spencer himself and he now has a new work title…CEO of Microsoft Gaming. Now pay close attention to the details below. Some parts in boldface…

As a team, we are on a mission to extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet. We all know that gaming is the most vibrant and dynamic form of entertainment worldwide and we’ve experienced the power of social connection and friendship that gaming makes possible.

As we pursue that mission, it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.

Over many decades, the studios and teams that make up Activision Blizzard have earned vast wellsprings of joy and respect from billions of people all over the world. We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard.

Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog. We also announced today that Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. As always, we look forward to continuing to add more value and more great games to Game Pass.

The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own. Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.

As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players. We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard.

Around the world, there is no more exciting venue for fun and connection than video games.

Wow! That was once massive and strategically worded announcement there by Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer! Not only does this great development prove that Microsoft continues to go all-in on gaming through Team Xbox, it also shows partially what the long-term video gaming business will be for them, Activision Blizzard’s teams and the consumers who collectively own game consoles, desktops, laptops, smartphones and other devices with access to the Xbox network and ecosystem. The acquisition, once approved, will help Team Xbox gain a strong presence in the lucrative mobile gaming industry.

Very clearly, the business of video games is no longer limited to game consoles, software and online gaming networks which is something that Japan-based Sony and Nintendo should realize. The console-only approach of business is itself a hindrance on reaching out to billions of people who play games, as well as an obstacle to achieve massive business growth not for the short term but for the long term.

The most recent games of Activision Blizzard franchises like Call of Duty, Starcraft, Warcraft, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro have been released on game consoles and Windows PC. There is also the mobile gaming titan Call of Duty: Mobile under Activision. These facts proves that the acquisition by Microsoft makes business and technical sense.

When it comes to Xbox gaming, I believe that in due time, future installments of established Activision Blizzard game franchises as well as brand new intellectual properties will become Xbox-exclusive after the completion of the acquisition and as long as Activision Blizzard has no signed agreements with PlayStation or Nintendo related to console exclusivity of games. What is the basis for this? Take a look back at what Phil Spencer said before

“We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re going to support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players. We love those communities and will continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have either contractual things, or legacy on different platforms, that we’ll go do. But if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists, and that’s our goal, that’s why we are doing this,”

Going back to Spencer’s Xbox-Activision-Blizzard announcement, he specifically confirmed that Xbox Game Pass (XGP) subscribers has reached 25 million already, and things will only get exciting as more Activision Blizzard games will be added into the service! Expect lots of Call of Duty games, Crash Bandicoot games, Tony Hawk games and more! Xbox Game Pass will become even more varied with its game selection from the Xbox game studios and that means the subscription service will become even more attractive, even essential, to gamers who want great value for their money.

Apart from Activision Blizzard’s games and intellectual properties, Microsoft will also inherit the many employees working under AB’s game studios as well as their proprietary technologies (game engines, rendering software and the like) and have them integrated into Xbox Game Studios.

Easily the biggest video game development of 2022!

Right now, there is still a long road ahead for the Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal to endure first heading towards competition. Don’t forget that the deal is still subject for review by the regulators. The people who hate Xbox and even Activision Blizzard out there can always rant a lot, complain a lot and spew lots of nonsense but nothing changes the fact that the Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal does not really constitute a monopoly in the video game industry. The said industry is much bigger than most people know and there are several other game publishers out there whose combined market values heavily outweigh Microsoft, Activision Blizzard and even Bethesda combined. As for the internal side of things, I believe that Microsoft has what it takes to end the negativity within Activision Blizzard, solve the related problems and straighten things out. It will take a few years but I believe improvements will happen. By then, more entertainment content will flood the Xbox ecosystem as well as Xbox Game Pass!

Truly now is a great time to be part of the Xbox ecosystem as more great games will be coming in! Personally, I am looking forward to play Activision Blizzard’s games on my Xbox Series X through Xbox Game Pass!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Looking good on the way to Xbox Series consoles launch, Part 5

The past few weeks, I’ve been discussing the launch games lineup and future games for Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, the significance of backward compatibility the new consoles have and the tremendous impact of the Xbox-Bethesda deal on the games industry as a whole.

Today, I saw Zalker 87’s YouTube video focused on the fact that Team Xbox hired several game developers from Sony to beef up the growing roster of very experienced game makers in The Initiative, the one Xbox Games Studios team that Microsoft established in 2018 to create great, big-budget games for the Xbox ecosystem. To say the least, the future for Xbox fans and gamers in general is looking very promising, and the fun will start with the launch of Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X on November 10, 2020. Watch the video below…

A lot really has been going on at the side of Team Xbox. Apart from the many developments that resulted from the Xbox-Bethesda deal, Microsoft continues to pour in more funds into the many game projects under production from the many game studios under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella, and hire more people to work on their projects. Clearly Obsidian Entertainment, Ninja Theory, inXile, The Coalition, 343 Industries, Playground Games, Turn 10 and other 1st party studios of Team Xbox are all busy making their respective games right now!

To put things in perspective, Sony and its first-party PlayStation teams have a solid track record of producing high-quality, fun-loaded, story driven 3rd person action-adventure games which went on to receive huge acclaim from the game critics and sold a lot. Such games are what are sorely lacking on the side of Team Xbox and it only made sense for Microsoft to use its massive resources to hire the great game makers from Sony’s 1st party studios and put them in The Initiative.

The logo of the all-star team The Initiative.

More on The Initiative, the studio recently hired more talents from Sony’s acclaimed studio Naughty Dog: Lee Davis who worked previously as the head of melee animation and Lauren Garcia who was the character shading technical director. Under The Initiative, Davis is the lead gameplay animator while Garcia is the senior shading technologies executive. The two former Naughty Dog experts were involved in the production of Sony’s The Last of Us: Part 2. In a Twitter post, Garcia expressed happiness about joining The Initiative calling it an incredible team. He thanked Xbox chief Phil Spencer as well.

Before hiring the two former Naughty Dog experts, Microsoft also hired Christian Cantamessa whose best known work was writing (as lead writer) Red Dead Redemption for Rockstar Games, Brian Westergaard (the lead producer on God of War), Remi Lacoste (director of Marvel’s Avengers and Shadow of The Tomb Raider), Christine Thompson (the lead writer for Destiny 2) plus many others which The Initiative studio head Darrell Gallagher confirmed.

As you can see, The Initiative is literally an all-star team of very experienced and high achieving game makers who were previously involved in blockbuster games as well as other ambitious projects. Their first project still has not been revealed so far, although it has been alleged that it could be related to the Perfect Dark franchise which Microsoft owns. Whatever story concept it will have, whatever game design it will come with (note: I personally expect a 3rd person action-adventure in design with a cinematic feel and highly advanced animation for immersion) and whatever new characters it will introduce, you can bet that The Initiative’s expected first game will catch a lot of attention once Team Xbox makes the official unveiling of it. When and where? We don’t know and only Phil Spencer knows.

Ultimately, The Initiative is contributing to Xbox Game Studio’s upcoming wave of high-quality, 1st party video games that will be released for each of the next five years through the Xbox ecosystem (targeting users of Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Windows 10 PC and mobile phones supported by Project xCloud). In other words, Sony and its PlayStation division have serious competition coming.

In ending this, posted below are assorted gaming-related videos for your learning and excitement for the next-generation! Do not forget that Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X will launch on November 10, 2020!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more Xbox-related stuff, check out the Xbox Series Philippines Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/XboxOnePH

My Observations: Xbox Games Showcase

It has finally happened. Microsoft organized this past Thursday the much-awaited digital event Xbox Games Showcase. Let me cut to the chase that, for the most part, I actually enjoyed watching. It’s not a perfect showcase of games for Xbox fans and other gamers, but it sure is a major improvement over the disappointing 3rd party games showcase of last May.

For one thing, Xbox head Phil Spencer himself confirmed that less than ten of the fifteen Xbox game studios had prepared for the showcase. This is not surprising because it takes a lot of time and work to make video games nowadays and it is a fact that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had forced game developers (as well as countless other surviving businesses) to adapt the work-at-home model which tremendously slowed down production. Regardless, the showcase included unveilings of five new first-party games.

“What you’ll see today is how Xbox game studios are harnessing their passions to bring their dreams to life,” Phil Spencer said in his welcome message to viewers.

With those words declared, here is what I think about the games that I personally find the most interesting or the most notable (note: not all games discussed below are exclusive to Xbox Series X), and what it all means for the upcoming launch of the next-generation Xbox Series X console and the remaining life of the Xbox One.

The showcased games

Halo Infinite

Two long years since I first saw the original unveiling of Halo Infinite, the gameplay demonstration of the game (note: it actually ran on a PC, NOT the Xbox Series X itself) was actually worth the long wait even though there were some imperfections. What made it compelling to watch was the presentation of the ring world’s environment which recaptured the wonder and beauty of the original landscape first seen in 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved (note: I’m talking about the landscape where Master Chief first crash-landed). Apart from the in-game environment, the gameplay rocked with the classic Halo formula of shooting (fast-paced and intense) which got shook up with the implementation of the grapple plus a few new animation sequences and moves seen on the Covenant. It’s classic Halo but also modernized in terms of look and gameplay.

What caught my attention was the freedom for gamers to explore an entire Halo ring confirmed by 343 Industries’ Studio Head of Halo Chris Lee. Even though the term open-world was not stated, this confirms that Halo Infinite will have a much bigger in-game environment and locations for gamers to discover. Hopefully, this also means that there will be a wide variety of activities to do on the locations very much like other open-world games. The game demonstration is only a taste of what is to come. Not only that, Lee also confirmed that the game will run at 60 frames-per-second (60FPS) which for me is the sweet spot for playing in the modern age.

When it comes to imperfections, I saw some pop-in during some sequences of the demo and there also seemed to be some slight dips in the frame rate during the most intense sequences. Right now, 343 Industries still has months left to optimize the game not only for Xbox Series X but also the aging Xbox One. Now I wonder how the developers will be able to get good enough performance from the basic Xbox One (which I own) and the slightly upgraded Xbox One S to play Halo Infinite. One last thing…I should express my disappointment over the revelation that the demo did NOT run on the Xbox Series X hardware itself.

To Microsoft and 343 Industries, please, please make the best you can with Halo Infinite using real Xbox Series X hardware! Also, please at least try to include ray tracing at launch, not after launch. Disappointments aside, I know you guys can do better and I still am looking forward to this game. The ball of time is on your side of the court, Microsoft and 343 Industries. You still have time!

Everwild

Everwild is a brand, new game developed by Rare (Sea of Thieves, Perfect Dark games) mainly for Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PCs. First unveiled months ago, the new video of the game at the Xbox Games Showcase showed a lot more of the game with what looks like a wide-open world to explore with lots of wildlife and creatures that are out of this world. The animation also looks great. My only problem here is that the new trailer had scenes done in a cinematic fashion and left no clear sign as to HOW THE GAME WILL PLAY. Will it be a single-player game or an online-multiplayer game? Will it have a good combat system? What is the story if any? Please, Microsoft and Rare, do explain if Everwild will be fun to play. Enough with the beauty and take time to really define the game. Thanks.

As Dusk Falls

This new game by Int./Night and Microsoft is easily the most intriguing of the Xbox Games Showcase. It’s described as an interactive drama that will follow and explore the lives of two families across thirty years starting with a robbery in Arizona. Players will determine the fate of the characters by making choices (kinda like the Choose Your Own Adventure pocket books in concept). At least in this game’s trailer, there is a clever mix of 3D polygons with 2D art. If I were you gamers, don’t just ignore this game. If you are already an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, As Dusk Falls will launch on Day One on the said service.

Avowed

The rumors turned out to be true and I’m very happy to say that the RPG specialists Obsidian Entertainment is working on a brand new, fantasy role-playing game (RPG) titled Avowed. Set in the fantasy world of Eora, Avowed is a first-person view RPG. Having played Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim on Xbox 360 long ago plus last year’s The Outer Worlds (by Obsidian) on Xbox One, I really am looking forward to this new game and I have full trust in Obsidian’s, dedication, legacy and specialty on making RPGs that are fun and compelling.

To say the least, Avowed will mark the beginning of a new fantasy RPG property (soon to be a franchise…) for the Xbox ecosystem as a whole adding variety for Xbox fans who love fantasy RPGs alongside the already established Fable.

Speaking of Fable…

Fable

The long-time rumor is also true! Fable is being revived and the new game is being produced by Playground Games, the very same studio behind the best-selling and highly acclaimed Forza Horizon series! While the above trailer is purely cinematic and carried nothing to suggest gameplay, at the very least the Fable franchise is on its way back after years of being dormant. What I hope to see next time is real-time gameplay complete with how the Playground employees can present the fantasy world in this new generation of console gaming. I personally enjoyed playing the original Fable and still managed to get some fun from the disappointing Fable III. For the future of Fable, things are looking promising.

Forza Motorsport

While this one is too short and lacked gameplay sequences, the Forza Motorsport official video composed of real-time graphics (note the Footage Captured In-Engine posted on the lower-left corner of the video) is very impressive and the future of next-generation simulation racing looks very bright. I know the experts of Turn 10 are working hard with the new Xbox Series X technology as I write this and in terms of presentation of the Xbox Games Showcase, this extremely short look of things to come from the Forza Motorsport franchise is ironically one of the best (and most transparent) presentations from Microsoft. Too bad Halo Infinite was used with a PC and lacked transparency on its presentation which Microsoft knew. More on the game, I wonder if Forza Motorsport will be the definitive title of the next-generation sim race from Turn 10 following 2017’s Forza Motorsport 7. Gamers expected Forza Motorsport 8 as the title. The video presentation’s shortness is a missed opportunity for Microsoft and the developers to show a lot more of what simulation would look and feel like on Xbox Series X. An additional sixty seconds of in-game footage with some gameplay sequences (like driver’s seat view with steering wheel) would have made the Forza Motorsport video even greater and more engaging. Now that the Xbox Games Showcase is over, we can only wait as to what MS and Turn 10 can update us with. Right now, I am passionate with simulation racing thanks to the Forza Motorsport franchise and I am confident that the next entry coming out on Xbox Series X will be worth the wait.

Tell Me Why

Here’s another new Microsoft-published game that surprised me. Tell Me Why is developed by DONTNOD, the same team behind Capcom’s Remember Me and Square Enix’s Life is Strange. Given the French game developer’s dedication on making original, narrative-driven games, Tell Me Why follows twins Alyson and Tyler and players will get to use their unique bond to unravel mysteries in their lives. Visually, it does not have the next-generation look as the game itself was made specifically for Xbox One and Windows 10. How it will look on Xbox Series X remains to be seen. This should attract the attention of gamers who enjoyed Life is Strange games.

Psychonauts 2

This multi-platform game made by Double Fine will be released sometime next year and I should say that what was shown during the Xbox Games Showcase made me confident about it. For the newcomers reading this, Psychonauts 2 is the sequel to the award-winning 2005 game Psychonauts (then published by Majesco Entertainment) and as a platforming game this one could stand out in the modern age for its artistry, creativity and promised fun gameplay. Microsoft promised that the game will be optimized for Xbox Series X.

Honorable mentions

The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon

I love Obsidian Entertainment’s work in The Outer World which is easily one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played in this current console generation. As such, the revelation of the previously announced story downloadable content (DLC) is something I find very delighting and it sure gives me another reason to replay The Outer Worlds on my Xbox One. The Peril on Gorgon DLC’s description is as follows: A severed arm and a mysterious message lead the crew of the Unreliable to the Gorgon Asteroid, formerly the site of one of Halcyon’s most ambitious and disastrous scientific undertakings – now a lawless den of monsters and marauders. Wealthy recluse Minnie Ambrose tasks the crew with finding answers about Dr. Olivia Ambrose, her mother and the doomed project’s disgraced director, but they are soon ensnared in an intrigue that will change the colony forever.

The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon will be released on September 9, 2020.

Destiny 2: Beyond Light

It’s kinda weird to see Destiny 2: Beyond Light part of Xbox Games Showcase, the same event highlighted by Halo Infinite. This is because Bungie created Halo on its own before they got involved with Microsoft and played a major role in the respective success of the original Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles with several acclaimed Halo games that sold a lot. Now that it is no longer involved with Activision, Bungie is now a standalone developer and publisher, and the Destiny games franchise is what they are carrying now. The above video presentation looks good and energetic.

Conclusion

Overall, the Xbox Games Showcase was good, not great. The efforts to showcase the 1st party games and the potential of next-generation gaming Xbox Series X were made but felt uneven here and there. Halo Infinite had a good presentation but there were shortcomings that prevented it from being great which is too bad because the game was supposed to highlight Xbox Series X and prove that there is a promising future of fun and engagement with the Halo franchise. Ironically, the very solid but short video presentations of Forza Motorsport and Avowed proved to be better efforts on selling Xbox Series X than Halo Infinite. When it comes to disappointments, I should point to the complete lack of new stuff regarding Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II.

While imperfect, the Xbox Games Showcase still had nice surprises that kept me interested enough to finish it. At the very least, Xbox Games Showcase was a big improvement over the disappointing showcase of 3rd party games last May.

Now that the Xbox Games Showcase is over, Microsoft and its Xbox teams still have time left to improve their efforts to sell their games and prove that Xbox Series X will be worth buying for the next several years of home entertainment. They also still have time to emphasize how the optimization of games on Xbox Series X and how the Smart Delivery can be beneficial to gamers.

In ending this, watch Colteastwood’s interview with Xbox’s Major Nelson.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Are You Ready for the Next Generation of Xbox Gaming?

Are You Ready for the Next Generation of Xbox Gaming?

Previously I expressed what I hoped to see in the upcoming Xbox games showcase by Microsoft. Now that it has officially been announced that the event – Xbox Games Showcase – will take place officially on July 23 at 9AM Pacific Time in the United States, the moment of truth is at hand for the Xbox team led by Phil Spencer, their technology partners and makers, and, of course, the loyal Xbox fans and others who love video gaming.

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Take note of the details here.

To makes things clear for everyone, Xbox’s Aaron Greenberg stated via Twitter: I know everyone is excited for Xbox Games Showcase next Thursday. Seen some wild expectations so if helpful this show has one focus, games. No business, devices or similar news, just games. A whole show about hour long focused on games. Hope you enjoy it!

Greenberg’s Twitter statement made clear that the July 23 event will be all about the video games and that expectations that go beyond games are unnecessary. What is clear is that the showcase itself is an opportunity for Microsoft to show to the world what its many Xbox game studios are working on for future release on the next-generation Xbox Series X console.

On Xbox.com, Greenberg wrote: Xbox Game Studios is pushing the industry forward with a huge variety of games, all of which support services and features that put the player first, including Xbox Game Pass and Smart Delivery.

He also confirmed that there will be the first-ever preview of the campaign gameplay from the much-anticipated Halo Infinite.

For his part, Xbox head Phil Spencer emphasized that gamers and fans are essential in their video game business efforts and the launch of the new console generation. He wrote:

At Xbox, we listen to what you – players, game developers, and content creators – tell us you want from the future of gaming. Based on your feedback, we’re building a future where you and your friends can play the deepest, most immersive and interactive games ever created across your Xbox console, PC, and mobile devices.

At the dawn of the next generation, it’s important to be clear about what you can expect from the future of Xbox.

Our vision has one hero at the heart of it all: You.

With regards to the next Xbox generation, Spencer stated:

Xbox Series X is designed to deliver a new level of fidelity, feel, performance and precision never seen before in console gaming. All games will look and play best on Xbox Series X – whether they come from our 15 Xbox Game Studios, like Halo Infinite, or from our world-class publisher and developer partners. Packing over 12 teraflops of GPU power including new technologies like hardware-accelerated Direct X raytracing and variable rate shading, and with four times the processing power of an Xbox One X, Xbox Series X enables developers to provide you with transformative gaming experiences through richer, more dynamic living worlds, more realistic AI and animations, and support for higher frame rates including support for up to 120 FPS.

Xbox Series X also enables you to spend less time waiting and more time playing, as it virtually eliminates load times with the 40x boost in I/O throughput from last generation. With our custom next-generation SSD and Xbox Velocity Architecture, nearly every aspect of playing games is improved. Game worlds are larger, more dynamic and load in a flash, and fast travel is just that – fast. The Xbox Velocity Architecture also powers new platform capabilities like Quick Resume, which enables you to seamlessly switch between multiple titles and resume instantly from where you last left off without waiting through long loading screens. Right now, Xbox Series X is in the hands of our 15 Xbox Game Studios teams and thousands of third-party developers, empowering them to create a new generation of blockbuster games for you to enjoy.

Furthermore, Spencer stressed that the subscriber system Xbox Game Pass will continue and provide gamers choices when it comes to games (complete with Day One releases of games under Xbox Game Studios) and memberships. He added that Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud will be offered together this September at no additional cost for those who already signed up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Backward compatibility, which is one of the most defining features of the Xbox experience in this current console generation that has been very positively received by gamers, will continue and anyone who acquires an Xbox Series X unit will be able to play games of four console generations right from the start.

The brand new Smart Delivery will be in effect and this means that gamers – (Spencer’s own words) don’t need to buy the same game twice – once for the current console generation and once for the next generation. You always have the best available version of supported games on whatever Xbox console you are playing on, at no additional cost. If you own a title that supports Smart Delivery like Destiny 2, Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, you automatically have access to the version that plays best on your Xbox console. Highly anticipated games from the world’s biggest developers, like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel’s Avengers and more have already committed to supporting Smart Delivery and more will be announced soon.

The Xbox games up for showcase

As I write this, we are just days away from seeing the Xbox Game Showcase happen. This is easily the one big event that Microsoft will organize themselves and there is very little room for errors to happen. With the focus on games, we can already rule out the possibilities of Microsoft formally announcing the rumored Xbox Series S (Xbox Lockhart), the launch price for Xbox Series X, and the like.

Previously, I mentioned what I hope to see happen or showcased. Let me go a bit further with the following:

Halo Infinite – Already confirmed by Aaron Greenberg to be featured, I should say that showing how the game will play is exciting. I hope to see not just the action and shooting, but also see the rumored open-world gameplay get implemented. Frankly enough, I have gotten tired of linearity in the level designs (no matter how wide open specific areas got) of Halo games and therefore having a more open-world design will be very welcome. In addition, I really am curious as to what situation Master Chief has gotten into as far as the story goes, especially given the disappointing story and conclusion of Halo 5: Guardians. I only hope that uninteresting characters like Agent Locke will be limited to strictly supporting roles or short appearances, and that the plot will be more character-driven following Master Chief. As for The Banished, I’d really like to see them brought to life within the main storyline of Halo and become the new opposition for Master Chief to take on.

Obsidian Entertainment’s fantasy RPG – Previously I hoped to see RPG specialist Obsidian Entertainment announce a sequel to their hit game The Outer Worlds which would add tremendous value to the Xbox brand by being Xbox-exclusive. In his July 7, 2020 video (related to the Xbox Games Showcase), YouTuber colteastwood stated that Obsidian has hundreds of people working on the next fantasy RPG to rival the awe and wonder of the Elder Scrolls franchise. Considering that The Outer Worlds is still new, it makes more sense for Obsidian to work on a brand new project than a sequel to the mentioned sci-fi RPG. I hope that the fantasy RPG project is real and that it would be announced that it exists and is progressing with production. I don’t expect to see a trailer announcing it but if Microsoft and Obsidian could pull it off this early, that would be great!

Check out colteastwood’s video here.

A new Perfect Dark game – Whether it will involve Xbox studio The Initiative or not, it is high time for the Perfect Dark game franchise to be revived with a big budget production involving great game makers who could ensure a new game will be a lot of fun. I really hope that Microsoft will at least announce a new Perfect Dark game is coming for Xbox Series X and assure that the protagonist Joanna Dark herself will come back big time. While the past Perfect Dark games had been first-person shooters, having the new game redesigned as a 3rd-person view, action-adventure game much in the style of Splinter Cell (if possible, mixed with some of the rapid firing of Gears of War games) will be a welcome development. Apart from crafting a new PD game for the sake of selling games, it is high time also to explore more of the universe that Joanna Dark is in, not to mention emphasizing her character for the new generation of Xbox fans. There is so much untapped potential in the Perfect Dark IP and I hope Microsoft have decided to really invest in it. In my honest opinion, Perfect Dark can add even more excitement to the Xbox brand alongside the shooter, action-oriented Halo and Gears of War.

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Joanna Dark and the Perfect Dark franchise returning big time?

Potential surprises? Well, if Microsoft announces that their studio Undead Labs would temporarily move away from the State of Decay series to make a brand new, single-player, story-focused open-world game involving zombies and monsters, that would be something! Announcing the reboot and complete redesign of the Crackdown game franchise can still surprise. What would really be surprising would be an announcement of a sequel or a prequel to Lost Odyssey with or without Mistwalker, and that it would be redesigned from the ground up (because Lost Odyssey’s design is outdated by today’s standards). I personally do not expect to see the Xbox team revive the Lost Odyssey franchise but, who knows what will happen on July 23?

While Microsoft clearly stated that their showcase will be focused on the games, I believe they will make room for an exception – the announcement of something so significant they will really have to make an exception and that would be the acquisition of Warner Bros. Interactive which has several experienced game studios under its umbrella including the acclaimed Rocksteady (Batman Arkham games) and NetherRealm Studios to name a few. As reported already, Microsoft has been exploring the possibility of acquiring WB Interactive as a result of WB’s parent company AT&T considering selling off WB’s game division to raise funds and pay off a massive debt. Compared to other reported potential WB Interactive buyers like Activision, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive, Microsoft has the financial muscle (and the ambition to strengthen its gaming business drive which includes producing new content) to make the deal.

YouTuber Dealer Gaming discussed the possible buyout of WB Interactive in this video below.

The Xbox Games Showcase is only a few days away from happening. Better get yourselves ready for the expected excitement and surprise as this is easily the single most important event yet from team Xbox in a long time.

See you soon!


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