A recent patch for Chocobo GP has fixed numerous bugs related to its matchmaking. Labelled update 1.0.4, this update follows a troubled launch that resulted in the kart racing game only receiving a score of 64 on Metacritic. Given the Nintendo Switch’s lack of racing games, it was disappointing to see how mediocre this new addition ended up.
Although Chocobo GP will never be a great game this patch does at least make it a competent game. Previously, finishing fourth or higher would result in the player getting eliminated due to server lag. This is no longer the case.
Furthermore, this patch makes it so that Chocobo GP doesn’t get stuck at the rankings screen at the end of each race anymore. Other bugs targeted in this patch include players not starting in sync with one another, laps corrupting for no reason, and two of the same player existing in a race.
To round off the patch notes developer Square Enix promises that further support is planned. These updates will keep coming with a long-term goal to “improve the player experience.” Although with how buggy Chocobo GP is this is only one step in what is likely to become a marathon.
It’s not just buggy
This patch for Chocobo GP may address some of its bugs but that isn’t the game’s only issue. In a desperate attempt to cash in Square Enix launched it with some of the most predatory microtransactions in the industry.
The developer can tweak its gameplay and patch bugs all it wants but this problem won’t go away. The aesthetic makes it clear that this is supposed to be a kid-friendly karting game yet its business model closer resembles that of a casino. Poor reviews, a plentiful of bugs at launch, and its nasty monetization make it difficult to care about Chocobo GP even after patches like these.
Japanese games company Nintendo has cut the price of the Switch in Europe. Previously, a new Nintendo Switch would cost €330 or £280. After today’s change it will instead retail for just €300 or £280. That’s a substantial reduction that may encourage consumers who were otherwise doubtful to give it a go.
You can also expect this to have a long-term effect on the second-hand market. If buying a new Switch is cheaper than second hand units should follow the same trend. Interestingly, this is the first price cut the hybrid console has received since its launch in 2017. That alone shows just how successful the Switch has been.
What about the US?
Although there has yet to be a cost cut in the US market, this may change. Recent reports suggest that a similar price cut to the Switch is expected to hit North America in the near future. We do not currently know how much cheaper it will be but it’s possible to take a guess based on the changes in Europe.
Currently, a new Nintendo Switch retails in America at $300. Once the price cut hits this will probably down to around $270. Not a bad cost at all for a console capable of playing all of Nintendo’s latest and greatest games.
But why is the Switch being made cheaper? It certainly isn’t because Nintendo is struggling to sell units. According to its earnings report, Nintendo estimates Switch sales at almost 90 million units. That’s comparable to the Wii, Nintendo’s all time most successful home console.
Instead, this change is probably in response to the Switch OLED’s upcoming release. This upgraded Switch model launches next month at €365, £310, or $350. It will feature a greatly improved display, 64GB of internal storage, and a wired LAN port. This will provide consumers with three choices to purchase: the Switch, Switch OLED, and the portable mode only Switch Lite.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate is releasing later this week but those who pre-ordered got to play it early. Early adopters found out quickly that Sonic Colors: Ultimate is full of bugs. The issue is even more apparent on the Nintendo Switch, where the publisher has had a hard time optimising.
Thankfully, Sega is aware of these issues and has a plan to address them. Official Sonic the Hedgehog social media manager Katie Chrzanowski took to Twitter to explain. She posted: “Hey everyone! Appreciate all your feedback on Sonic Colors: Ultimate, and the teams are listening and assessing for an upcoming patch.”
Not exactly as it seems
Interestingly, the state of Sonic Colors: Ultimate has been blown a little out of proportion. Although the remake of Sega’s 2010 classic does have its issues, they aren’t as bad as many may think. This is because some of the bugs shown in a viral video were produced as a result of playing on an emulator.
These Sonic Colors: Ultimate bugs unique to the emulator were also addressed by Chrzanowski: “We’ve seen some graphical issues that were caused by an emulator which is unfortunately outside our control. Trying to figure out what bugs are legitimate can really slow down the QA process.”
Regardless, it would be dishonest of Sega to pretend legitimate issues don’t exist. Play testers have managed to recreate an issue during some segments that triggers flashing visuals. This visual bug is so intense that it could potentially cause seizures in individuals with epilepsy.
As this was not an intended feature, Sonic Colors: Ultimate does not have an epilepsy warning. Having a warning for stations like this is a legal requirement. Not doing so puts some of your consumers at serious risk. In worst case scenarios, epilepsy can be fatal. Needless to say, this is an issue that Sega needs to fix quickly.
Publisher Microids has revealed that Gear Club Unlimited has passed one million sales on Switch. It is just the second racing game on Nintendo’s hybrid console to achieve this feat after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This is an impressive feat for a third-party game on a Nintendo console.
In a post on its official website, the company’s CEO Stéphane Longeard spoke about the achievement. He states: “The great results of the Gear Club Unlimited franchise illustrates the strength of the brand and allows Microids to be confident in the future of the franchise.”Longeard also reassures that Gear Club Unlimited’s success justifies Microids focus on “Adventure, racing, retro and strong IPs.”
The rise of Gear Club
Gear Club Unlimited is developed by French studio Eden Games. By no means a rookie in the racing games genre, Eden Games were responsible for the now loved Test Drive Unlimited games. However, following the collapse of Atari in 2013 it moved on to work on other projects.
Since reforming Eden Games has dabbled in mobile development but got its big break with Gear Club Unlimited on Switch. The arcade racer was an instant hit on Nintendo’s hybrid console, a platform lacking in the racing game department.
As for the publisher, Microids has been around for some time. It was founded in 1985 as a robotics development company. Its shift to video games happened shortly after and it hasn’t looked back since. Although still relatively small, the publisher has grown as of late largely due to the success of Gear Club Unlimited.
What the future holds for Gear Club Unlimited on either the Switch or elsewhere is unclear. A second game was released in 2018 but was considered more of an expansion than a true sequel. Hopefully if we do get a third title Eden Games will use the opportunity to create something great. Who knows, if those Switch Pro rumours come true it could even be one of the best-looking games on the market.
Since its release in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has performed exceptionally well. And now Nintendo looks to be ready to build on its success. According to a new report, an improved Nintendo Switch Pro console is in the works and could be later this year.
The Nintendo Switch Pro will be a huge detour away from the existing console. Instead of focusing on affordability, the Switch Pro is aiming to be a games console for the mainstream market. In order to accommodate this, Nintendo is upgrading their hit hybrid platform in several different ways.
Nintendo Switch Pro upgrades
The current Switch makes use of a cheap to produce 6.2-inch LCD screen. However, the rumoured Pro will use a custom built 7-inch Samsung OLED screen instead. However, it is thought to still be a 720p display despite the other hardware improvements.
Speaking of hardware, Nintendo is not playing around. The Nintendo Switch Pro is expected to have both a GPU and CPU capable of outputting 4K visuals. If Nintendo is aiming for 4K 60 frames per second or 4K 30 is unclear. But given the technical limitations of the former, 30 FPS seems more realistic.
In many ways the Pro seems more akin to something like the Xbox One X than the Series X. Nintendo is offering an enhanced version of an existing product rather than pushing the Switch into the current generation. It’s currently unclear if the Pro will cost closer to the current Switch or to the PS5 and Series X.
As for where this leaves regular Switch owners, it’s hard to say. The report does suggest that some games could become exclusives to the Nintendo Switch Pro. This would primarily be third-party games that likely wouldn’t have made their way to Switch otherwise. Regardless, early adopters of the Switch may feel disappointed that their purchase could be getting devalued.
Just last week, news reports came out comforting Nintendo fans as the Japanese publisher confirmed the coronavirus wouldn’t impact western Switch sales. However, a report posted by Bloomberg suggests shortages could hit western shores as early as April 2020.
Nintendo’s problem is that a lot of the Switch’s components are manufactured in China. Given the coronavirus’ devastating impact on China, it’s understandable that continuing to produce these parts is impractical. The timing of this outbreak couldn’t be worse for Nintendo as its releasing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on March 20. If they can’t supply consoles for what would otherwise be a system seller, profits will be affected.
How bad is the coronavirus?
Of course, from a general point of view, the coronavirus is awful. Currently, the coronavirus is reported to have taken around 1800 lives. Of those, all but five have been cases confirmed in China.
As for Nintendo, they’re already in trouble. Not only are Switch consoles out of stock in Japan, it won’t be long until these issues affect the west too. Nintendo’s original claim that this wouldn’t impact Europe or North America was based on the fact that the units for February and March had already dispatched. However, come April, new consoles will be needed to keep up with public demand.
Despite being a Japanese company, the U.S is by far Nintendo’s biggest market. According to their financial report, 43% of all income was dependent on North American sales. Equally, Europe is Nintendo’s second-largest market, contributing 27% of total revenue. Losing out on 70% of their income source, even if just for a short while, would be calamitous. All we can do for now is pray that the coronavirus doesn’t get any worse.
I was probably like the rest of you waiting up until the wee hours of the morning on the east coast to hear about the Nintendo Switch. Unlike some of the others though, I am not a Nintendo Fangirl. I have jumped ship from Nintendo consoles long ago in the Playstation 1 era but I do still buy their handhelds. I have a feeling that with the launch of the Switch they are folding their handheld and console consumer base into one house. From a business perspective its actually really smart. But their consoles have been lack luster and disappointing since the break out sales of the original Wii.
So I waited with bated breath to see if I could be convinced to invest in this new console/handheld device and I’m sad to say at this time that answer is a resounding “No”. Stay with me as I explain my thoughts on the Nintendo Reveal and why they couldn’t sell me on the Switch just yet.
The Console is Too Expensive
Let’s jump on in. This console is 300 bucks. 3 hundred damn dollars. Most media outlets were projecting $250 at the most for several reasons with the main one being that they were late to the console party. PS4 and Xbox One have a bigger install base than Nintendo so they needed to convince players to shell out another huge sum of money for another console. With the console costing 300, the same amount as the base model of the PS4 and Xbox one, the barrier to entry is too high for my tastes.
Most of their handhelds started at $189 to $200 and while I didn’t expect it to be cheap this price was unexpected. Not to mention, their peripherals are expensive too. $69.99 for the Joy Pro controller, $79.99 for replacement JoyCon controllers, etc. I just can’t get over their audacity but I shouldn’t be surprised if I think back to the launch of the New 3DS system.
Where Are the Games?
We all know Zelda is coming to the system so they should have lead with that reveal not ended the conference with it. While it is true that other launch games have been announced at a different event following the conference, why didn’t they show those titles to the players? A lot of people tuned out once it concluded so Nintendo may have missed their window to grab them.
Players like me who are not hardcore Mario and 1st party fanatics needed another reason to pick up the system. Sure they showed off some interesting games like Splatoon 2, Shin Megami Tensei 5, and Xenoblade 2 but none of these games had projected release dates. What if these games don’t come out until 2018? With the Xbox Scorpio looming around the corner, why would players waiting for games buy a Switch versus waiting for more power promised with the Scorpio?
Make no mistake, I understand that the Switch would not be graphically superior to either system and that doesn’t really matter to me. However, Nintendo has not learned that players buy consoles for games. Period. The End. By not showing those games off, some players are wondering why they should own a Switch and that is a problem.
Online Service Incentives Are Lackluster
Paying for online service is nothing new. PS Plus is $60 dollars now but we get free games every month that we can keep as long as the subscription is paid. Even if we lapse in our sub, players will still have the game but won’t have access to it. On Xbox Live, players pay their fee and keep their games regardless of having a Live subscription. Nintendo of course has to be the odd ball.
According to an article cited on Kotaku, the online service will only allow for players to try out the “free” game for a month then players will have to pay for the game. What in the world is happening Nintendo? Why make such a decision when your competition is doing the exact opposite? Xbox is even offering backwards compatibility for a majority of their library. At this time, no one knows if players who brought games from the E Shop will be able to bring those purchases over to the Switch. We will have to wait and see.
I had a feeling that Nintendo would not give up motion control completely. After reading a few more reports today it seems as if the JoyCon controllers are actually a good fit. I suppose I’m more irritated that it took up a good portion of their conference time. That time should have been used to showcase more games. We all had Wii Motes so we already have a point of reference for these controllers. The rest we could have discovered once we had the device in our hands.
To Sum It Up
I’m not worried about the Nintendo first party offerings. Mario in all of its forms are usually very good. I really want Nintendo to get a win for once but with all of the questionable pricing decisions I’m not sure if they will. I’m fed up with developers and game companies in general preying on the nostalgia and hype of their fans. I want players to finally get the console they deserve and at this moment, Nintendo is not doing it. Time will tell if they will improve as we get more information.
What did you think of the Nintendo Reveal? Did it meet your expectations? Are you still hyped for the console? Let us know in the comments.
With 2016 coming to a close sooner than later, I cannot help but think of the future and what it holds in such a wild industry full of disappointments, surprises, and drama.
Not only is 2017 a colossal year because of the myriad of new IPs and returning beloved franchises, but also because two potentially game-changing Consoles are rearing their heads for consumers to devour.
The following four releases I’ve selected cannot with any certainty, be considered failures. On the contrary, they’re probably all going to be fantastic products. I just feel that they’ve all to some degree warranted not only skepticism but serious doubt due to the following circumstances.
Without further ado, I present the top four potential failures of 2017.
Red Dead Redemption 2
This might be a questionable first pick, but we must focus on the fact that Rockstar, while fantastic at what they do, are a business, and all businesses must make money. With the release of Grand Theft Auto Online, Rockstar has found themselves in the glorious position of raking in so much money that they probably don’t even know what to do with it at this point.
I don’t think that even the most important suits had any idea that GTAO would be as important to them as it is, and that is the main reason I am concerned about RDR2.
If we visit the official page for the game, we see the following.
Developed by the creators of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland. The game’s vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience.
The part that mentions the heartland is intriguing, to say the least, but the part that worries me is the fact that they mention providing a ‘brand new’ online multiplayer experience. So far, we know very little about the game so this is all speculation on my part, but if I wanted to make a boatload of cash as Rockstar, I’d make RDR2 a multiplayer game in the vein of Destiny.
We have what appears to be seven main characters and the foundation for a big multiplayer experience, so why not make the game a hybrid game where you have multiplayer in a persistent online world? I’m sure some of you reading this are gushing at the thought of it, but for me, it is awful.
The moment you introduce co-operative play and online functionality, a lot of the immersion and the narrative gets thrown out the window for trash talk and killing sprees. Something about the idea of Rockstar making RDR2 an online-focused game is the exact opposite direction I wanted them to go. I want to spend at least a hundred more hours in the desert being wholeheartedly absorbed in the incredibly detailed world and story. I do not want to spend my time having people call me horrible names and murdering me for fun.
However, I’m more likely to believe that we’ll have two separate modes. I just hope I’m right.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn blew my mind when it was shown off for the first time. Seeing an incredibly lush and beautifully unique environment filled with bizarre robotic dinosaurs and tribal warriors made my mind wander endlessly about what would be possible in such a creative world.
it seems so obvious to pair technology with the past as they’re doing, yet this is the first time we’ve seen it done in such a way and it’s inspiring at the very least.
The thing about Horizon, though, is that the more we see, the more the doubt drips in. Those amazing looking flat-headed dinosaurs filled me with curiosity. Yet, when they were revealed to be awful Ubisoft towers that unveil the map piece by piece, it just opened the floodgates for what kind of game this is.
Why do I want to unlock sections of a map in such an archaic, counterintuitive sort of way when I could instead explore for myself and allow my own curiosity to fuel the things I discover? I hate the fact that at the end of the day, this game looks like yet another open-world action game with slight RPG elements that takes way to many ideas from the exceptionally tired Assassin’s Creed franchise. Couple all of that with the fact that what we’ve seen in the actual RPG and crafting systems looks to be very similar to every other open-world crafting RPG. How many hours will I spend gathering flowers and other weird herbs?
Horizon was supposed to be different, yet everything we’re seeing says it isn’t, at least, not mechanically. It also doesn’t help that it will be written by Guerrilla Games, who have yet to actually make a great story in any of their past projects.
Resident Evil 7
I must say that I’m not personally worried about Resident Evil 7 as far as it being a good video game. I think that the direction it is taking is not only bold but necessary for the future of the franchise. I was so tired of the bland action trash that Capcom has been releasing lately and I wanted the game to back to being focused on surviving and horror.
That said, the reaction to everything surrounding RE7 has been less than positive, and it makes me worried that the game will not only sell poorly compared to the sales Capcom expects, but be received poorly simply because people cannot accept change in long-running franchises.
I can kind of sympathize, though. I think that it would be nearly impossible for Capcom to actually craft a game that pleases most people, as the audience is both very picky about how the games are, and divided on how they ought to be.
The Nintendo Switch is a surprisingly great looking console. I was hesitant about it when all we knew were rumors, mainly because this idea that we’d have detachable controllers to take our console on the go would not only spell potential failure as far as graphical potential but also battery life.
With the recent unveiling of the Switch, the rumors have been confirmed as far as what it is, and that is not necessarily a great thing.
Off the bat, I’d like to state that I think it is a very inventive and handy idea. I love that it’s so adaptable. I cherish my Wii U simply because the GamePad allows me to move around and game. The Switch takes that idea and amps it up to 11 by completely removing all boundaries. You can play it like a home console, like your 3DS, or like a weird sort of tablet off-shoot.
The problems, though, fall into what I have mentioned above. When you have this much mobility with a console, you immediately sacrifice power. I fear that just like the Wii U, the console will lose traction after a short time because of third party support. Why would EA want to bother porting the next Battlefield to a console that is less powerful than the Xbox One, which currently can’t even run Battlefield 1 at 1080p60? We’ve seen this happen with the Wii U and it died so fast it’s shocking.
Beyond that, there is absolutely no way they can get the battery life up to a respectable amount of hours while keeping the rumored 720p graphics. I think these two factors could end up destroying the very innovation that Nintendo strives to bring to the console market.
But, regardless of those things, we can all take solace in the fact that Nintendo makes mostly phenomenal first-party games. Even if the third party doesn’t support it, we’re bound to get a few excellent games from Nintendo each year. Hopefully.