The delay has been painful for Xbox fans, Bethesda fans and gamers who love playing role-playing games (RPGs). The pain, however, is easing as the much anticipated Xbox-exclusive sci-fi RPG Starfield is set for a global release on September 6, 2023. You will need an Xbox Series X console, an Xbox Series S console or a capable Windows PC to play the new game from Bethesda. The game will also launch on Xbox Game Pass (XGP).
To begin with, watch the official Starfield release announcement trailer below…
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from a related announcement by Bethesda. There is more coming before the release of Starfield…
Starfield is launching on September 6, 2023.
Starfield’s official launch date has been revealed in a brand-new enigmatic trailer, followed by a special message from Game Director Todd Howard. Players can look forward to the deepest dive yet into Bethesda Game Studios’ latest epic at the Starfield Direct, coming June 11, 2023.
Starfield arrives exclusively on Xbox Series X|S and PC on September 6, 2023. Play it day one with Xbox Game Pass.
Like anyone else, I was disappointed when Starfield’s initial release date of November 2022 could not be fulfilled. We are now beyond that and if you looked closely at the above Starfield release date video with updates from Todd Howard, you will see lots of gameplay moments as other Bethesda people played it. I also noticed from those moments that it looks like Bethesda somehow improved the frame rate of the game above 30 frames-per-second (30FPS).
That being said, we can expect a lot more updates about the sci-fi RPG in this June’s Starfield Direct online event. I hope that the developers will announce officially that the game will be played in two visual modes, with one of them prioritizing a 60FPS frame rate over resolution or visual details. I also hope that they will show that controls during the space battles sequences will be very responsive and user-friendly. It would also be nice for Bethesda to show some more characters (note: interactive supporting characters that players can choose to recruit) and more details of the plot without spoiling too much.
Starfield will undoubtedly be the most significant Xbox-exclusive release this year and by succeeding commercially and critically, it will make Xbox an even more significant ecosystem for playing RPGs.
Watch out for Starfield Direct event on June 11, 2023, and the official launch of Starfield on September 6, 2023.
In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos. The leader of Sony PlayStation looks more illogical and desperate as he leads a fading opposition against the Microsoft Activision-Blizzard deal. Microsoft recently made 10-year deals with Nintendo, Nvidia and Boosteroid in connection with Activision-Blizzard. Sony is looking more isolated and shameful which is disturbing PlayStation fanboys who hate Xbox on social media. It seems the PlayStation extremists can’t help but be jealous and angry over Starfield being Xbox-exclusive.
In case you missed the news, the acclaimed 2019 science fiction role-playing game The Outer Worlds is back again with enhancements as well as the two DLC packages (Peril on Gorgon and Murder on Eridanos) in the form of The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition which has just been released. Those who already owned the game and wish to replay it with the latest stuff can digitally avail of the Spacer’s Choice Edition for a small price. Expect a series of enhancements while playing The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
To begin with, watch the official Xbox trailer below…
When The Outer Worlds was released to critical success, we at Obsidian Entertainment were excited to see our community thoroughly enjoy this RPG that we felt was fun, fresh, and concise. Now that we’ve announced The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition, an upgrade for the new generation of hardware, we thought we’d go over some of the cool changes we are bringing in and the thought process behind it. If you aren’t familiar with the game, here’s a quick recap:
Lost in transit while on a colonist ship bound for the edge of the galaxy, you awake decades after your planned date only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the colony. Explore the various planets and locations of Halcyon, including the mysterious Gorgon Asteroid and the delightful distillery on Eridanos. As you encounter various factions, all vying for power, the decisions you make determine how the narrative unfolds.
Since its release, over 5 million lucky spacers have explored the celestial bodies of Halcyon and taken an active part in the power struggle rocking the colony. Everything was going just fine. But then, just over a year later, the Xbox Series X and S arrived in people’s living rooms, pushing the boundaries of console gaming ever further. In a sense, the game was released in between two console generations. When opportunity insists on striking, it’s best to use a Prismatic Hammer.
Living on in the new console generation – With the release of this new generation of consoles, we wanted The Outer Worlds to live on for future spacers to enjoy. We wanted to make The Board proud and prevent this must-play RPG from aging prematurely as new games come rolling in, while at the same time providing a relevant, modernized space colonist experience for all newcomers to Halcyon. The technical capabilities introduced with the Xbox Series X and S made it clear there was room for improvement! Not just in how the game looks, but also regarding how the game feels.
This meant brushing up what were already some of the strengths of the core game: an engrossing storyline influenced by the in-game choices you make, quirky yet endearing companions – each with unique abilities and their own missions for you to help them complete – a freely diversified combat system yielding high-intensity encounters with your enemies, and much more…
The road to making the definitive version of The Outer Worlds – So we grabbed our spacer’s dev kits and got to work. Of course, we worked on visual improvements such as bringing 4K, 60FPS graphics, volumetric lighting, improved special effects, better particle physics, and enhancing the environments with increased asset density and visual storytelling.
But we also strived to create a smoother gaming experience by making the combat and companion AIs smarter, improved the open-world sensation through better depth, reworked the vistas already in the game, and updated weather variations. On top of that, we reworked character models and animations to improve the feel of the game. Finally, we thought this Spacer’s Choice Edition would make even more sense if it included the base game’s DLC expansions, Peril on Gorgon and Murder on Eridanos, so we did just that. Now the experience is even richer! And we increased the level cap to 99, to give players even more ways to build their character from the seven branches of the skill tree.
While I have been waiting for the Xbox-exclusive fantasy RPG Avowed from Obsidian Entertainment as well as Xbox-exclusive sci-fi RPG Starfield from Bethesda, I was surprised to see that The Outer Worlds was enhanced for the more modern Xbox consoles and that the price is not too high for those who previously bought the game. Still, the original game is only a little over 3-years-old now and at the time of its release, it was not exactly a visual standout among video games. Its gameplay, story concept, witty writing and memorable concept really defined The Outer Worlds as a fun game worth replaying.
I personally had replayed The Outer Worlds a lot on my Xbox One console (which conked out in 2021) and I did the same with the two separate DLC packages. I replayed The Outer Worlds and its expansions on my Xbox Series X one last time using backward compatibility and I enjoyed the improved frame rate. To replay the game in the form of the Spacer’s Choice Edition is enticing to say the least. It could ease the pain of the long wait for Avowed and Starfield (note: scheduled for release on September 6, 2023). Oh yes, Obsidian Entertainment is still working on the Xbox-exclusive sequel The Outer Worlds 2.
As of this writing, there are YouTubers and gamers who reported a variety of technical flaws and shortcomings with The Spacer’s Choice edition. In fact, the PlayStation 5 version of the game has so many bugs, a lot of gamers are suffering. Obsidian Entertainment and publisher Private Division (note: the company does not own the intellectual property rights of The Outer Worlds) should pay attention to the complaints and improve the game via patching. For the Xbox gamers reading this, watch below the early videos of The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition tested on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S…
The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition is now available for gamers to enjoy.
In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos.
To begin with, watch the official Xbox launch trailer of Tales of Symphonia Remastered below. It’s something to get excited with…
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official announcement by Bandai Namco published through Xbox.com. Some parts in boldface…
Twenty years ago, we experienced the original story of Lloyd Irving and his journey to save the two worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe’alla with his friends. Filled with unforgettable characters and an emotionally charged storyline, it still resonates with longtime fans.
Today, it is our pleasure to bring Tales of Symphonia Remastered to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. As part of the excitement, our production team would like to share a few personal tips with newcomers and returning veterans to set you on the right path. We hope you will enjoy your journey in Sylvarant and Tethe’alla!
The adventures of Lloyd and his friends is a tale to remember. Guide the party by honing your swordsmanship and sorcery skills.
Arts and Techniques – Set up each character to use magic or techniques, which can be called a special technique. As character levels increase, each character will learn magic or techniques. When magic or techniques are used, the character will perform powerful attacks or enable recovery by consuming a character’s TP.
On the menu screen, you can set the magic techniques that the operating character activates with the left stick combination and the magic techniques that you want your companions to perform. For techniques, there are “beginner magic,” “intermediate magic,” and “advanced magic,” while for skills, there are “Lv1. Special Attacks,” “Lv2. Special Attacks,” and “Lv3. Special Attacks. However, not all techniques are earned from character levels. Some techniques can only be learned by using a lower-level technique 50 times.
EX Skills – Additional abilities can be added to your character. During the game, you may obtain EX Gems, which you can equip on your character to grant them EX Skills.
When certain EX skills are equipped on the same character, a compound EX skill can be learned at the end of a battle. For example, in the case of Colette, if the level 1 skills Defend and Accuracy are equipped, she can learn a compound EX skill called “Search Item”.
Character Types – EX skills have a function, which allows the character type to be changed. Type determines the arts and techniques a character learns, and the current type is indicated by a gauge on the status screen. This gauge changes with each battle, and the number of EX skill types set determines whether the character will grow into a T-Type or S-Type.
T-Type (Technical) – They learn techniques that have a large number of hits and area effect techniques capable of targeting multiple enemies or allies. For those who emphasize continuous techniques or like to specialize in magic, the T-type is recommended.
S-Type (Strike) – This type learns techniques that are focused on powerful single target damage. The S-Type is recommended for those who want to deliver a powerful blow. It is especially effective against single bosses.
Production Team Tip: For characters who use magic, it is recommended they grow into a T-Type and learn magic with a wide range of effects. For example, Indignation is a lightning type of skill with a large area effect and high power, which will give you the upper hand in battle!
For the newcomers reading this, the original version of Tales of Symphonia was released on the Nintendo Gamecube way back in 2003 followed by the PlayStation 2 in 2004, PlayStation 3 in 2014 and Windows PC in 2016. The Remastered version’s release marked the first time ever the game – which was positively received critically and commercially – got released on Xbox platforms and it further adds to the Xbox ecosystem becoming a significant haven for gamers who love fantasy role-playing games (fantasy RPGs) in the years to come.
Of course, it remains to be seen how Tales of Symphonia Remastered how today’s JRPG enthusiasts and Xbox gamers in general will react to the game’s features and overall fun factor. Regardless, anyone who plays games on Xbox and enjoys RPGs from Japan should seriously consider this game and make the decision.
Watch out for Tales of Symphonia Remastered on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One right now.
In ending this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment.
If you still have not yet acquired an Xbox Series X console but you already have the means to buy it, then you should seriously consider buying the Xbox Series X and Forza Horizon 5 Premium Edition Bundle once it becomes available for $559, Team Xbox announced recently. Having played Forza Horizon 5 a lot on my Xbox Series X since late 2021, I can say that the bundle is great value for you gamers as well as others struggling with inflation.
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Xbox.com announcement. Some parts in boldface…
Introducing the Xbox Series X – Forza Horizon 5 Bundle, including an Xbox Series X and wireless controller, and Forza Horizon 5 Premium Edition with Hot Wheels Expansion, VIP Pass, Car Pass, Welcome Pack and a second expansion when available. This Xbox Series X bundle will be available worldwide and will start shipping to retailers in the US, Canada and select markets in Asia this week. Bundles will start shipping to Europe, Latin America, and more regions around the world later this month.
Xbox Series X: 12 teraflops of raw graphic processing power, DirectX ray tracing, a custom 1TB SSD, and 4K gaming – Xbox Series X is the fastest, most powerful Xbox ever. There are thousands of playable titles from four generations of consoles, and all games look and play best on the Xbox Series X. Load times are virtually eliminated and framerates are increased with a custom-built NVMe SSD, which enables larger, more robust games to operate at their full capacity.
Forza Horizon 5 runs at 4K and 60 frames per second on Xbox Series X in performance mode and provides the most technologically advanced Forza Horizon experience yet. You’ll get to explore the vibrant and ever-evolving open world landscapes of Mexico in the world’s greatest cars with 12 teraflops of raw graphic processing power, DirectX ray tracing, a custom SSD, and 4K gaming. The power of the Xbox Series X console delivers incredible realism and immersion with a world rendered in higher detail and with extreme draw distances.
Forza Horizon 5 Premium Edition includes Forza Horizon 5 plus the Premium Edition add-ons -Forza Horizon 5: The latest entry in the open world racing series showcases powerful, all-new graphical features. Experience sweeping vistas and scan the distance to see the adventure that lies ahead. Encounter the smallest of details throughout the world, which is rendered with striking realism, down to the smallest details like the light that glows through each needle on a Cholla cactus. Our Mexican HDR sky captures illuminate the world to the point that you will feel as if you are right there. And thanks to Xbox Series X|S, ray tracing is utilized in ForzaVista to make the cars look even more true to real life.
Hot Wheels Expansion: Race 10 amazing new cars on the fastest, most extreme tracks ever devised. You can even design, build, and share your own Hot Wheels adventure! What’s not to love about that? You can blast off to the visually stunning, exhilarating Horizon Hot Wheels Park in the clouds above Mexico today.
VIP Pass: The VIP Pass features 3 exclusive Forza Edition cars, Crown Flair, Vanity Items, Emote and Car Horn, Player House, Double Credit race rewards, weekly bonus Super Wheelspins, and more to give your game a boost and make you stand out at the Horizon Festival.
Car Pass: Expand your garage with 42 new cars, including 8 Formula Drift Cars to get you started in style. Plus, you’ll receive a one-time grant of each car to your in-game garage.
Welcome Pack: 5 special pre-tuned cars, a Player House, a one-time grant to own any car from the game’s Autoshow, and 3 one-time grants for any Common or Rare clothing item.
Second Expansion: The next Forza Horizon 5 expansion will be included when it launches.
Wow! That’s a ton of gaming value for those who will buy the Xbox Series X bundled with the blockbuster game! Indeed, Team Xbox is offering big value for $559 to those who want the premium, fun console gaming experience. I myself am still having fun replaying Forza Horizon 5.
Personally, I see this premium bundle announcement as a form of warm-up on the part of Team Xbox to deliver not just more game-related features and Xbox Game Pass (XGP) content but also the big-budget Xbox-exclusive games that are expected to be released this year such as Starfield (note: first half of 2023), Forza Motorsport (2023), Redfall (note: potentially May 2023) and others. 2022 is over and ended without big budget exclusive games and this is the year that Team Xbox should deliver the great stuff that cannot be found on PlayStation and Nintendo consoles. If you want tremendous gaming value and content at a small price per month, I encourage you to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass (XGP).
Watch out for the Xbox Series X – Forza Horizon 5 premium bundle online and at the local retailers.
In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos.
There is no doubt that Xbox Game Pass (XGP), a subscription service that allows customers access to lots of games for their enjoyment in return for paying a flat monthly fee, is here to stay. I myself have been subscribing to XGP since I started playing my Xbox Series X console and I can confirm to you readers that I’ve been playing a whole lot of games while saving myself a lot of money.
Along the way, I am constantly having a whole lot of fun as an XGP subscriber and I am look forward to playing highly anticipated new games like Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, Starfield (Xbox-exclusive) and Forza Motorsport (2023) (Xbox-exclusive) through the service in 2023! And then there are many, many other games from other game publishers – including the small and independent game makers – who signed up with Team Xbox to add their games for XGP subscribers to enjoy!
This week alone, several games will debut on Xbox Game Pass which should interest gamers who love adventure, first-person shooters, narrative gaming, mysteries, puzzles, tactical gaming, golf, ice hockey and more! Check out the new XGP additions in the Xbox.com article and also be reminded that enjoyable games such as As Dusk Falls, Deathloop and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered are now available in the service.
As I mentioned earlier, Xbox Game Pass is here to stay and its credibility as a stable and growing form of business cannot be dismissed. To understand the business aspect of XGP, there is this in-depth article published by Windows Central. Posted below is an excerpt from the article with some parts in boldface…
Flying in the face of traditional gaming revenue models, with Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft is offering thousands upon thousands of dollars’ worth of content for $10 dollars a month. It’s potentially even cheaper if you factor in the upcoming Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family accounts as well.
In any case, Xbox Game Pass isn’t going anywhere. I’ve seen analysts and pundits rally around the idea that the service must be burning through cash hand over fist in order to offer the value it does, and that may still be true. But as noticed by Tweaktown, we now have a glimpse at roughly how much revenue Xbox Game Pass is actually generating.
Microsoft is currently trying to get its massive Xbox Activision Blizzard merger through regulatory bodies around the globe. In order to make its legal arguments, certain data points Microsoft typically doesn’t share with its shareholders publicly is making its way into the public domain, as a result of these discussions. It turns out that Xbox Game Pass is making a fair bit of dosh.
According to Brazil’s regulatory body CADE, Xbox Game Pass’ revenue from subscriptions stands at $2.9 billion dollars in the fiscal period ending January 2021. Tweaktown noted that it accounts for 18% of Microsoft’s revenue from gaming for that fiscal year, which would have put Xbox Game Pass subscribers at around the 18-19 million mark. The last official figure we got on Xbox Game Pass subscribers came last January, where Redmond revealed it had hit 25 million users.
It should be noted, however, that this figure only includes users on the console versions of Xbox Game Pass, with PC Game Pass figures omitted. It’s also hard to know the exact breakdown of this revenue figure. Does it include purchases of games in the post-Game Pass discount period? Does it include microtransactional sales and in-game content sales for titles that are in Xbox Game Pass? Or is it representative purely of the subscriber figures across Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which are $10 and $15 apiece?
Even though they have great 1st party game studios that produced several exclusive blockbusters, Team PlayStation under Jim Ryan is very worried about the acquisition because their business benefited so much by depending on Activision’s Call of Duty games (note: remember the last time you played a new Killzone game from Sony?). Ryan and the PlayStation executives know their current contracts with Activision will eventually expire and certainly there will be no more extensions under Microsoft-controlled Activision Blizzard. It is also clear to me that Team PlayStation is very afraid of the idea that Call of Duty games and other Activision Blizzard games will come to Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. Simply put, Team PlayStation is way, way behind competing with XGP on the subscription service model of business.
In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos.
To start with, watch this official Xbox launch trailer of Deathloop!
Now watch this latest Deathloop trailer.
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox.com announcement written by Anne Lewis, Sr. Content Manager, Bethesda Softworks Senior Content Manager Anne Lewis. Some parts in boldface…
The award-winning, mind-bending, time-warping sensation critics are calling a “masterpiece” is now available on Xbox Series X|S! Deathloop transports players to the lawless island of Blackreef in an eternal struggle between two extraordinary assassins. Explore stunning environments and meticulously designed levels in an immersive gameplay experience that lets you approach every situation any way you like. Hunt down eight targets all over the island to put an end to the cycle once and for all, and remember, if at first you don’t succeed… die, die again.
Xbox players can now jump into the colorful world and time-warped action of Deathloop, running at 60 FPS on Xbox Series X|S. Deathloop is also available now with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Cloud Gaming (Beta). Experience Arkane Lyon’s unique spin on the first-person shooter and lose yourself on Blackreef.
Everything You Need to Know About Deathloop – New to Deathloop? Get caught up with everything you need to know with this handy roundup.
What the hell is happening on Blackreef? – As Colt, you have one day to eliminate eight targets who are responsible for keeping the timeloop functioning. If you miss even one, the day will reset. But they’re scattered all over the island. How are you supposed to track them all down in just one cycle? To take out all of them before the day starts over, you’ll need to learn to manipulate the world around you, discovering your targets’ routines and schedules as you fight to solve the puzzle of the island. And the best part: You’re free to determine how to go about this.
You can take every mission — main missions and side missions — at your own pace and in any order you choose as you assemble those puzzle pieces. Each day is an opportunity to learn and piece together the mystery. You’ll get stronger, you’ll try new things, you’ll discover new paths, and eventually, you’ll break this f***ing timeloop. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with The Story of Deathloop and Dig into the Basics.
Meet Colt – It’s no surprise that Colt is a mystery. After all, it’s hard to know much about a guy when he doesn’t know anything about himself. He has no idea who he is; why he’s caught in a timeloop on a frigid, isolated island; why people seem to know him… All he knows is that he’s having a pretty bad day, and he’ll *be* having a pretty bad day until he can do something about the timeloop. Progressing through Deathloop means uncovering not only the island’s secrets, but the secrets of Colt’s past. For better or worse, Colt’s determined to figure out who he really is and why he’s here. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Our Hero, Colt.
And Colt’s Hunter – Where Deathloop’s hero Colt is mysterious because he knows nothing about himself, its “villain” Julianna is mysterious because she knows everything about everything, and she keeps all those cards tucked carefully up her stylish sleeves. When you know everything, sometimes the most fun you can have is playing your winning cards while laughing in your opponent’s face. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with And His Nemesis, Julianna.
Who Are the Targets? – Colt’s job isn’t easy. He’s trapped in a timeloop on Blackreef, surrounded by chaotic partygoers with itchy trigger fingers. At the top of the island’s food chain are either “Visionaries” responsible for keeping the timeloop going. If he can manage to take them all out in a single day, he can break the timeloop and finally escape. Eight targets, all spread out across an entire island, and just one day to kill them all. You better get to know all eight if you plan on getting the job done. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Check Out Your Hitlist and How Will You Take Them All Out?
Go Head-to-Head – While Colt’s single-player journey is the focus in Deathloop, if you’re feeling particularly devious you can switch things up and take on the role of Julianna and sneak into another player’s game to cause some chaos. Break the timeloop or protect it? The choice is yours. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Face Off Against Your Friends In PvP.
What’s New in the Goldenloop Update – Deathloop’s latest major update comes with cross-platform PvP matchmaking and a host of new goodies for you to enjoy. Get your hands on a new weapon, a new ability, and new trinkets, plus new enemies to go head-to-head with, and much more. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog about the Goldenloop update.
Deathloop’s Xbox debut is notable not only because it helps soften the blow related to the lack of big-budget Xbox-exclusive games this year but also because it was one of the Bethesda games Sony paid to be an exclusive on PlayStation 5 (PS5). With its availability on Xbox Game Pass (XGP), many millions of subscribers will get to play and enjoy the game complete with optimization for their Xbox Series consoles.
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox.com announcement. Some parts in boldface…
We are pleased to confirm that Xbox will be making its digital return to Tokyo Game Show on September 15 at 6 p.m. JST / 9 a.m. UTC / 2 a.m. PDT, with a streamed broadcast celebrating the vibrant players and visionary creators across the region. Like years’ past, this will be a show curated for our players in Japan and Asia.
We invite fans to tune in to the Tokyo Game Show 2022 Xbox Stream where you can expect to see updates on existing titles from Xbox Game Studios and titles launching from developer partners that we hope will delight players here in Japan, across Asia and around the world.
While Tokyo Game Show 2022 will open its gates to the public for the first time in three years this September, the hybrid nature will allow players from around the world to also enjoy the latest in video games, technology, and games culture in Japan. With the theme of “Nothing Stops Gaming,” Tokyo Game Show 2022 will embody the solidarity of gamers and the promising future that lies ahead for our industry.
Gaming has always provided an important way to connect, but especially over the past few years. It has a transformative power to bring joy and foster community, and it’s at TGS where we can all enjoy the spirit of games together.
We look forward to you joining us digitally for the Xbox Stream on September 15 at 6 p.m. JST / 9 a.m. UTC / 2 a.m. PDT.
In the above announcement, the 2nd paragraph mentioning developer partners suggests that games – both brand new and those released previously on non-Xbox platforms – will be unveiled. I can imagine this would turn out to be a mix of independent productions as well as games from the medium-sized game studios and perhaps from the big ones.
When it comes to the big game publishers of Japan, I can only hope that Xbox chief Phil Spencer and his team renewed and reinvigorated their business relationships with Square Enix, Capcom, SEGA, Bandai Namco and other game publishers to secure their new games for release on Xbox platforms plus PC and also some of their old-but-fun games (from the previous console generations) that would make nice additions to Xbox Game Pass (XGP). I would love to see classic titles like Xenogears, Final Fantasy VI, Breath of Fire IV, Virtua Fighter, Shining Force III, Tekken 3, Lunar, Suikoden and many others on my Xbox Series X through my XGP subscription.
Team Xbox should establish stronger relationships with their Japanese partners and keep on moving forward with what they have achieved so far in Japan in this current generation. Already Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S combined outsold the Xbox One in Japan by a wide margin (including a sales victory over PlayStation 5 in Japan last June). Until now, I am seeing almost every day on Twitter picture posts of Japanese gamers who showed off a new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console they bought. There is no doubt that Xbox is gaining traction in Japan better in this current console generation and that alone should convince Team Xbox to keep on intensifying and improving their gaming interest in Japan.
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus last year’s Xbox TGS live stream…
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.
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.
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.
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…
Before I begin, I want to make clear to all of you reading this that I never got to play Cyberpunk 2077 on any platform when it was first launched in late-2020. Like anyone else, I waited years for that game and I was excited too but Cyberpunk 2077 was released just a few weeks after Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launched. At that very time in December 2020, I was focused on raising funds for Xbox Series X than buying new games for my console at the time – the Xbox One (which stopped functioning in mid-2021 after 6 years of use). I can also say that the exposure of Cyberpunk 2077’s very flawed state on consoles plus the criticism that followed convinced me to stay away from CD Projekt Red’s promised epic video game.
Very recently, CD Projekt Red not only polished Cyberpunk 2077 with Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 in mind, they also released a free 5-hour trial version (with patch 1.5) which I decided to download and play to really experience the game for the first time ever. This post I’m writing is clearly not a game review but my own observation about what Cyberpunk 2077 offered and what I experienced in the five hours I played.
After downloading it, I got to play the free trial version on my Xbox Series X with the performance mode chosen as I wanted to play the game with the best frame-rate possible. I customized V in female form and chose Streetkid as her lifepath as I was eager to discover Night City.
While I knew five hours was rather limiting to make tremendous story progress or discover much of the city, I still went on with the main storyline of V, discovered the key characters, and went through the tutorials to learn the basics of combat (both guns and melee weapons), stealth, hacking and, late in my limited playtime, the braindance (note: you get to experience life through another person’s own views and experiences in first-person view and externally).
On combat, I find the shooting rather lacking in precision in terms of aiming and controller response when compared to what I’ve played in first-person role-playing games (RPGs) The Outer Worlds and Fallout 4. In fairness, the impact of shots fired against enemies in Cyberpunk 2077 is rather strong, especially when you use powerful weapons like the shotgun. The melee combat meanwhile can be challenging to pull off precisely. Even with the immersive first-person view, I had a bit of trouble estimating if my character’s fists or weapon would be able to reach the opposition figure. I also had similar results with regards to blocking the opposition’s melee attacks on my character. Ultimately, I managed to overcome the opposition to complete the tutorial. Stealth gameplay is challenging as well not only because it was difficult to estimate the farthest reach of the view of the opposing character or security cameras/drones, but also because I found moving around lacking precision.
The hacking system of the game is well-designed and easily outclasses that of Ubisoft’s hacking-oriented open-world games Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2. Hacking in Cyberpunk 2077 is not only more user-friendly but also comes with options that make sense within the game’s concept and the many different digital set-ups in each different location I have been to. Since I was limited by the 5 hours allowed in the trial version, I got to use the hacking system as far as I could and I saw how more options become available once I got to level up V’s character level, attributes and tech capabilities. I was enjoying the in-game hacking by the time my trial ended.
Braindance is like a video record of events experienced by other people in which players will get to review, move forward or backward, and be able to spot/scan new details in order to progress. While it is very immersive to see and experience happenings through the eyes and memory of another character, the video editing aspect of braindance is where the detective work really happens which I enjoyed. This part of the gameplay really pushed me to be observant with the moments and details to progress.
When it comes to exploration in Cyberpunk 2077, I can clearly say that moving down the many sidewalks, streets and varied spots of Night City is really intense and immersive to play. For one thing, the first-person view itself is immersive visually and the immersion got enhanced a lot more with the very clever sound editing (all those cars moving around, the people and their steps, the sound of products coming out from vending machines, the sound of the street barbeque being cooked, the voices of people talking and more) as well as the high number of civilians around me doing their own things. As I never got to play this game in its debut version of late-2020, I could not tell if the in-city exploration was this dense and lively. What I can say is that exploring Night City on foot, going through the alleys, entering establishment that are open and observing the people around is a very engaging gaming experience for me.
Going back to combat, the use of an inhaler to keep V’s hit points (note: life) up easily reminds me of The Outer Worlds. In addition, the food and drinks you purchased at vending machines are also helpful to keep not only your life up but also your stamina. As V is cybernetic, hacking is easily a major part of the gameplay and as you upgrade the character’s cyberwear, V will eventually gain more high-tech capabilities like scanning people and machines for information and more.
Conclusion – For the sake of the people who have not yet played Cyberpunk 2077, I decided not to reveal much about the story of V in my limited playtime. I can say, however, that players are allowed freedom to choose places to visit and activities to do. There is also the freedom for players to take time away from doing main story mission in favor of side-activities or moving around freely to do what you think you could do. My playtime ended as I was in the middle of a main story mission that involved the supporting character Jackie, a high-tech small robot (pet-like in design) and infiltrating rooms and devices while V stays inside the room of a very high-end hotel.
As of this writing, Cyberpunk 2077 is selling at 50% off on the Xbox online store. Now you must be wondering…should you buy the game now that it has been polished and updated with the current generation of game consoles?
In my honest opinion, I prefer to wait first for CD Projekt Red to improve the game even more. I can say that I had an overall positive experience playing the Streetkid path of V during my 5-hour trial play and I had an astounding experience exploring Night City on foot and discovering many new places which show how talented CD Projekt Red’s designers and artists really are. As mentioned earlier, the shooting aspect is still lacking which is unfortunate because it is clear that shooting is the core method of combat. If you don’t like shooting, melee combat is available but that one also needs more refinement to be truly responsive and engaging.
As much as I enjoyed my five hours with Cyberpunk 2077’s free trial, I am not yet convinced to buy the game’s full version for my Xbox Series X now. Not even the 50% discount is enough to convince me to buy it. The game is fun and has its unique ways of entertaining me, but there is still more work needed be done to really make it the great game it was promised to be. To say the least, CD Projekt Red is moving on the right direction on improving the game.
Of course, you my readers who have the means to buy and play Cyberpunk 2077 can decide for yourselves. It’s a risk to take if you really want to spend your hard-earned money on the game now. I’d rather wait for further improvements to be made first before buying it.
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…