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Games Inbox: Has Xbox made a big mistake this generation?

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Games Inbox: Has Xbox made a big mistake this generation?

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Where did it all go wrong? (Picture: Microsoft)

The Thursday letters page asks what is the perfect length for a video game boss battle, as one reader is intrigued by Timemelters.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@metro.co.uk

I’ve made a huge mistake
So, I see we’re going to enter another cycle of revelation and denial from console fans, as we try to make sense of the confusing state of the industry. As much as I love Nintendo, I agree that they are not a good steward for the industry and have no interest in being so.

But then you could say the same about Microsoft and Sony recently too. I certainly agree that Phil Spencer has not been up to the job. He feels like a football manager where you know it’s not entirely his fault, but he’s been in charge for too long and achieved nothing, so it’s time for him to go.

I don’t envy whoever would replace him though. Game Pass was a huge gamble and it hasn’t paid off and I think Activision Blizzard is going to be seen in the same way. Sure, they’re a big profitable company but beyond that extra revenue they don’t seem to be doing anything else for them and they must be hell to organise and manage, especially given all the previous trouble.

The real problem with owning them is that now Xbox has to justify to their board and investors that it was worth the $69 billion spend. Given all the rumours and announcements of the last few months I’m guessing that conversation hasn’t been going well.

As others have said, they needed to concentrate on groundbreaking games, but they’ve had nothing in over a decade. They’re just lucky that Sony is losing it at the same time or PlayStation 5 would’ve killed off Xbox completely by now.
Grant

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Steam powered
It seems Phil Spencer wants to turn Xbox into a more open platform, by allowing Steam and Epic Games onto their consoles; essentially turning Xbox into a less expensive PC. Add to this the handheld aspirations, I can see how this would appeal to more gamers. I think this would be a very smart move. Not just for Xbox, but PC game launchers like Steam.

I’m sceptical how enthused Gabe Newell will be, given it could potentially eat into Steam Deck sales. But if the company is selling games via an Xbox console, it could be a win-win situation. This could be a potential game-changer for Xbox.

I have to imagine they’d shift more hardware. How it would affect overall profits remains to be seen. I’m down for this idea. In fact, as an Xbox/PlayStation player, I would also sign up to Steam. It makes sense.
Anon

Time delay
I read a review of Timemelters on Eurogamer the other day and it sounds really interesting. Would you be interested in adding it to the indie missed list for the year’s end? It’s apparently a spiritual sequel to Sang-Froid – Tales of Werewolves and has similar gameplay (Tower Defense and strategy mixed with real-time combat) with a location transplant from Canada to Scotland and a new focus on portals and, well, time-melting.

I’d volunteer to buy it and do a Reader’s Feature but it sounds like the type of game I’ll be too rubbish at to ever finish. Nevertheless, I think I’ll definitely pick it up.
Magnumstache

GC: It already seems to be a month old on PC, but we’ll try and make sure we review the console version when it’s released later this year, as it does seem interesting.

Email your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

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The prefect length
So, here is an evergreen topic for us: what is the right length for a boss battle? It would depend on genre as well and game mechanics too. A boss in a Zelda title or platformer would have to be judged by different a standard from a turn-based role player, yes? Then there’s when to consider. You know: first boss, late game boss, final boss. And I do mean the length of time it takes during the attempt where you are victorious – not counting all the time you lose to failed efforts.

Remember that awful helicopter boss from Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox? Must have been a dozen tries before that bloody thing went down in flames. But even that winning go felt too long. Yet, bosses in turn-based role players like Persona or an old-school Final Fantasy can take half an hour… an hour, more? And usually you don’t feel they’re dragging on.

On the other end of the spectrum, how many Sonic bosses can feel too short? What are your thoughts, GC?
DMR

GC: The length of a piece of string seems about right.

Familiar Tale
I was wondering if GameCentral or a reader had a chance to play the remake of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which came out last month? I have been looking for reviews of it on GameCentral, Eurogamer, and in Edge magazine and none of those sites/magazine has reviewed it yet. Was the game too similar to the original to warrant a full review again? Or is the remake a very poor game? (I hope not).

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Just looking for a trusted opinion from GameCentral or a reader as a fan of the game since the Xbox 360 version. Happy Easter to Game Central and all its readers, hope you enjoy your Easter eggs, chocolate or ones found in games!
Andrew J.
PS: The Broken Sword Reforged Kickstarter has just broken the half a million pounds barrier!

GC: We haven’t played it but it did seem rather pointless, given there are no major changes and the graphics are so zoomed out anyway.

Designed by trolls
I have been looking periodically at the website to see whether Super Mario Maker has been beaten by the team (à la your article and it has!).

Although, there was a technicality where the level you namechecked, Trimming The Herbs, was removed. This was because it was created using a hardware-based tool-assisted speedrun program and so it had never been cleared by a human.

So, well done to that team!

On a similar note, can any readers recommend the best Super Mario Maker levels to download before the servers shut down? I have seen some lists of official Nintendo ones but any personal favourites from the readership would be very welcome.
NatorDom

So it was unbeatable… sort of (Picture: NatorDom)

Stealth release
Anyone got any hype for Stellar Blade? I see it’s got a demo, so I’ll think I’ll download it and give it a try. Sony are making no effort to promote it though, just like they didn’t try for Rise Of The Rōnin. I don’t see the point of them even publishing these third party games, if they’re not going to push them.

Rise Of The Rōnin got okay reviews and Stellar Blade looks decent, so I can’t imagine they’re embarrassed of them or anything. They just don’t seem to care. But then that seems to sum up their attitude to everything at the moment. It’s weird.
Galen

Past saving
Following on from the Xbox news at GDC, I am shocked Microsoft has found itself in this position. Five years ago, I thought Game Pass and low cost entry hardware like the Xbox Series S was a genius move to gobble up new gamers and so expand market share. That the strategy has done the reverse and seems to have hollowed out the platform is quite a turn around, shows what I know. When GTA 6 launches and the PS5 Pro version is put next to the Xbox Series S one (the Series S console being the machine most Xbox gamers actually own) it could be the final nail in the coffin.

I’m not sure recent talk of the Switch 2 ‘saving gaming’ is going to happen either, the Switch 2 will likely find itself in a similar position to the last Switch. A great catalogue of Nintendo titles, lots of indies but very few dedicated third party games, just lots of ‘old’ ports. The original Switch, with its modest and unique technology and huge sales, was an opportunity for publishers to step back from the triple-A arms race, scaling back escalating budgets and bloat… but they didn’t take it.

It turned out that relatively poor sales of third party software on Nintendo’s machine meant it didn’t make business sense to realign resources, and if that is the case on the Switch, with over 100 million units out there, it’ll be the same on Switch 2. Us on the hardcore side of gaming just don’t understand the real world video game market at all. If we could see data about what people with these consoles are actually doing with them, everything currently happening might start making more sense.

Saying that, I’m actually looking forward to Switch 2. Having a portable console that will play Elden Ring (I’m confident we’ll see a port of it) and other legacy third party PlayStation 4 titles, but also have brand new Mario Kart and Zelda games, is very enticing… but I don’t see it saving gaming.
Marc

Inbox also-rans
Anyone expecting The Elder Scrolls 6 to be any different to anything else Betheda has made in the last 20 years is fooling themselves. I look forward to talking to people with bad facial animation, one at a time from the neck up, in Fallout 5 too.
Grock

I just want to say that the thing that’s putting me off Dragon’s Dogma 2 is not the microtransactions or the performance but the stupid name. Obviously it’s not just that, but what is it even supposed to mean? What is the dogma of a dragon?
Muchngo

GC: If you played it, you’d know. Sort of… the story isn’t exactly the best bit.

Email your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.


MORE : Games Inbox: Will the Switch 2 save video games, PS5 Pro sunk cost fallacy, and Sonic 2006 remake


MORE : Games Inbox: The video games industry in decline, The Elder Scrolls 6 in 2028, and Dragon’s Dogma 2 love


MORE : Games Inbox: GTA 6 delay inevitability, Dragon’s Dogma 2 microtransactions, and Divinity: Original Sin 3

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