New Pokemon Scarlet and Violet got announced in February, and many people are excited about a fresh take after Pokemon Arceus.
New Pokemon, new mechanics, and a new region. These are all typical for a new Pokemon game. Plenty of people are speculating whether or not Scarlet and Violet is the new era of Pokemon that long-term fans have been waiting for.
The games have a release date of November 18th, so we have a lot of time to speculate as Nintendo drip-feeds us information.
Is this the Next Chapter, the new era In Pokemon?
Scarlet and Violet introduce three new starter Pokémon: Sprigatito (grass), Fuecoco (fire), and Quaxly (water).
We’ve also seen the two main legendary Pokémon, Koraidon and Miraidon, plus a few other new ones like Pawmi, Smoliv, and Lechonk. Of course, most Pokemon haven’t been announced yet. Some rumors state that some older Pokemon will reappear, but we don’t know yet.
There are plenty of rumors surrounding Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Still, we know a few things that The Pokemon company confirmed.
Pokemon Home – Scarlet and Violet will work with the pre-existing Pokemon Home system to transfer between games.
The first genuinely open-world Pokemon game, where the story doesn’t limit you to progress to new areas.
Four-player multiplayer – This is the first time multiplayer will be introduced to the mainline franchise.
Seamless transitions to battles – This was part of Pokemon Arceus but is now being brought into the next generation.
I won’t be surprised if The Pokemon Company brings back an older mechanic. Things like Mega Evolution, Z-Moves, Dynamax, or maybe even a new attempt at a similar mechanic for a newer era. I would love to see a return of Mega Evolutions, personally.
A New Era of Pokemon?
When Sword and Shield were released, many gamers say it divided the community. Fans were vocal about not being interested in them, but the games still sold well. I believe it was a testing ground for new mechanics for the franchise’s future.
I do believe it was more of a tech demo more than anything. Pokemon fans loved many features from the last two games that are making their way to Scarlet and Violet.
We’ve already seen the two previous iterations of Pokemon trying to break the mold, with Sword and Shield having open ‘Wild Areas’ that allowed you get a taste of what a free-roaming Pokemon world would look like. Pokemon Arceus improved on this with a better camera system, and battles no longer being instanced, allowing for wild Pokemon to join the fray.
From what Game Freak has said so far, the two new Pokemon entries will be FULLY open-world, no longer restricting you to one area, and opening up to a new open-world experience for Pokemon.
Sword and Shield introduced DLC to the Pokemon franchise for the first time EVER, which has continued into Arceus too. We also saw a new method to catch Pokemon, free aim catching, that allows you to skip the slog of battling to catch new Pokemon.
With the way The Pokemon Company designed Sword and Shield and Legends of Arceus, it is obvious Scarlet and Violet will be their next era of Pokemon. With the emphasis on Pokemon Home and Multiplayer, it’s obvious they have a new and fresh team working on Scarlet and Violet.
Let The Pokemon Hype Continue
For people who have left Pokemon for whatever excuse, will they come back to Scarlet and Violet, or would it be for true Pokemon RPG fans and young kids? Only time will tell, and more trailers and gameplay can sway the opinions of the masses. I have high hopes for myself and firmly sit on the Hype Train.
If you liked this article, check out our podcast episode on the Pokemon genre of games! Jeff and Crev cover the entire genre A-Z, and all the new IPs inspired by the originals.
Nintendo has a weird way of showing off its recent works in the Switch era. On the one hand, you have astronomically hyped projects getting mentioned and then not seeing the light of day (Metroid Prime 4, cough cough). Then you have things like Paper Mario: The Origami King coming out of nowhere on a random day of the 2020 pandemic.
It’s advertising decisions like these that make me enjoy what the publisher has in store, and their Nintendo Direct presentations have taken off since 2017. I was wondering why Nintendo didn’t make their mark during “Not E3” week, but after seeing what the Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase offered… I think they just wanted to give Sony some breathing room before inundating us with announcements.
The Nintendo Direct June 2022 Will Not be Televised
What surprised me was that the Nintendo Direct Mini wasn’t a live premiere; rather, it was a scheduled upload that was delivered all at once. While content creators were frantically scrubbing the video to cover announcements first, it was also in stark contrast to the recent livestreaming events we had in the past month with the Summer Game Fest. The company’s trying something new, and I respect that.
Nintendo’s gonna Nintendo, after all.
A Monster Opener
It seems like Capcom wants a piece of gaming glory, as it was the company that opened for this month’s Sony State of Play and the June 2022 Nintendo Direct.
Of course, we all knew that Monster Hunter Rise’s expansion Sunbreak was coming soon, but this was a great look at what’s in store for players that have grinded in the original game. An extensive roadmap and pre-order details were announced, making for a meaty inside look.
I’m excited to see what Capcom does in the future, and with their support of Switch in the past few years, I can’t wait to see what’s next. (Perhaps a Nintendo version of Street Fighter VI? Pushing my luck here.)
A Great Partnership
As the name suggests, we got more third-party reveals with the Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase. We FINALLY got more details about Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, which looks like it’s going to be a magnitude greater than its predecessor. The strategy game will feature more units, zany antics, and the ability to recruit Bowser. Considering this title was announced quite a while ago, I’m glad we’re getting more concrete details about the game.
Speaking of more concrete details, who would have guessed that we would get a fleshed-out look at Sonic Frontiers here?
I’m personally fine with 3D Sonic games, but after the initial footage of Frontiers, I was as skeptical as the last Sonic fan. However, the Nintendo Direct Mini assured me this game will be better than the previous previews have shown, with tighter combat mechanics and a lengthier look at the graphics engine.
I still don’t think it’s screaming GOTY right now, but at least it’s shaping up to be an entertaining Sonic game.
(Fingers crossed this isn’t Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 Part 2.)
Room for the Little Guy
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the indies in the Nintendo Direct Mini!
Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, and Blanc, had contrasting black & white aesthetics that helped separate themselves from the rest of the announcements, with some excellent puzzle mechanics that will make for a relaxing experience.
Little Noah: Scion of Paradise looks like a beautiful surprise shadow release that will scratch the itch of roguelike fans, and RAILGRADE is just the thing for vehicle simulator fans to sink their teeth into.
And while it was only a few seconds of footage, Captain Velvet Meteor: The Jump+ Dimensions is on my radar, if only because I would pre-order any game with Spy X Family and Kaiju No. 8 in it.
While I would be hesitant to call it indie, Portal: Companion Collection was an instant download for me (seriously, I purchased it right after the showcase was over). I can’t believe this duo of puzzle games has not been available on current-gen consoles until now (as a Switch exclusive for the time being, too!). I implore everyone to pick it up if they can. It’s only $19.99 right now, and I would definitely pay that price for the first Portal alone; it’s that good.
What’s Old(er) is New(er) Again
Remakes, reboots, remasters? Who even knows anymore?
All I know is I’m happy that I’ll be able to play Nier Automata on the go with The End of the YoRHa Edition (and at a cheaper price for the physical to boot!) Pac-Man World Re-Pac will be a reimagining of the first Pac-Man World title (which, coincidentally enough, is the one I skipped). At $29.99, it’s cheap enough to pre-order as an impulse buy.
I’ll definitely mourn the loss of Ms. Pac-Man, though…
However, the announcements of Super Bomberman R 2 and Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection really had me crying tears of gamer joy. Seeing new installments of two of my favorite childhood series in succession was just too much for my heart to handle.
I’m probably one of the only people still playing the excellent but underrated Super Bomberman R Online, so hearing that game shutting down made me sad…
Until the announcement that R 2 would have the Battle 64 mode included in the package, making the loss a little easier to swallow.
The fact that we would get an announcement of all 10 Mega Man Battle Network games in one package with no clue beforehand was shocking. It’s announcements like these that make me feel like a kid on Christmas morning. In my eyes, Nintendo had already won my heart…
But they were already set to steal it.
A Last Surprise: Living With Determination in the Backside of the TV
Okay, blame me for shoehorning Persona music tracks in that last header. Still, it feels like the Nintendo Direct Mini mirrored the Sony State of Play in more ways than one: Closing with an update for a highly anticipated JRPG series.
While Sony got Final Fantasy XVI details, we finally got the news that Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 5 Royal were heading to the Switch and other consoles! While I haven’t played Persona 5 yet (gasp!), I can vouch for P3 and P4 as excellent turn-based RPGs that are perfect on the go.
I mean, considering the former titles were available on PlayStation handhelds, it’s a no-brainer that they would fit perfectly on the Switch. I’m also shocked that Persona 5 Royal can run natively on the handheld (and the fact we’re getting a port of a PS4 game rather than the vanilla PS3 version). Square Enix, you done goofed with the Kingdom Hearts titles on Switch (and this is coming from a Stadia stan).
The Sony-Nintendo Synergy
In a way, the Sony State of Play and the Nintendo Direct June 2022 were similar in their announcements: Chock-full of AAA and indie titles with some fan favorites and shocking surprises to boot.
There was so much in the Nintendo Direct Mini that I didn’t even cover all the announcements in the latter! (Sorry, No Man’s Sky on Switch.) I feel like this rapid-fire pace of announcements works wonders for gamers, and while I know there are still a few titles from both companies that still need more details announced, these showcases paved the way to an amazing 2023 and beyond.
Get your holiday wishlists ready, because we’re moving full steam ahead!
It’s been more than two weeks since the Sony State of Play premiered, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. Even after the countless Summer Game Fest livestreams and surprisingly shocking Final Fantasy VII anniversary showcase, I’m walking away thinking the Sony State of Play stream reigned supreme. It was a nonstop flurry of game news and announcements, plus some showstopper premieres that everyone was waiting for.
Short and Sweet
The main advantage the Sony State of Play had over the main Summer Game Fest stream was the shorter length. While the latter’s livestreams would last hours on end, the Sony State of Play ended up clocking at under 30 minutes. Taking from a page from the Nintendo Direct’s book, there were a total of 13 games announced, which was nearly one game announcement every two minutes.
I like developer commentary and behind-the-scenes footage as much as the next gamer, but respecting my time and showing me what I came for is refreshing in the age of talking heads and teasers of teasers. The Sony State of Play also knew how to manage its time, with a range of indie releases sandwiched between some heavy hitters. The pacing was relentless and entertaining, and it didn’t dwell on any one mood for too long.
What’s Old is New Again
Speaking of heavy hitters, who was expecting another iteration of Resident Evil 4 at the Sony State of Play? (Okay, everyone was, but it was still a great debut!) There was a lot to love here, featuring graphics made from the ground up in the new RE Engine and a new third-person mode. While the “haha, ANOTHER Resident Evil 4 remake?” joke rings true, there’s something about how the reimagining of the survival horror title still manages to impress even after countless generations of video game hardware.
Speaking of Resident Evil, we also got a glimpse of some new DLC for Resident Evil Village, which includes some choice footage of everyone’s favorite overgrown villainess, Lady Dimitrescu. But what could prompt another REpeat (sorry, I had to take it) playthrough of the game for veteran fans?
Back (PSVR) 2 the Future
It seems that the Sony State of Play offered up an inside look at the recently unveiled PlayStation VR 2 headset, which is currently in development. I personally just took up playing in the virtual reality space last year, and oh boy it’s something that I can see myself getting into in the coming months.
Seeing as how I skipped the original PlayStation VR headset, seeing the enormous amount of support that the PlayStation VR 2 received during the Sony State of Play made me feel like they’re in it for the long haul. Besides the aforementioned RE Village port, we also got word that No Man’s Sky will also be supported for the PSVR 2. Considering the underdog journey that Hello Games had gone through with that game, I’m excited to have PR players finally experience one of the best VR titles for PCVR.
In terms of brand-new titles, we got some more footage of Horizon Call of the Mountain as well as The Walking Dead Saints & Sinners Chapter 2: Retribution (which is a mighty long title, if I say so myself). Honestly, if not for the other big hitters in this showcase, I would have already called the State of Play a winner at this point. I’m going to be guessing we’ll be seeing a PSVR 2-centric State of Play in the next few months, but a writer can dream…
With great (PC) power comes great responsibility
I have no dog in the fight when it comes to PlayStation games coming to PC since I’m a diehard console fanboy, but I’m glad that Marvel’s Spider-Man will be heading to PC very soon. It’s one of these moves that makes me glad that more gamers will be able to play one of the best superhero games last decade, and I definitely can’t wait for the mods that will inevitably come out of this new version.
Of Indies and AAAs
Finally, I wanted to lump my thoughts on the last few titles shown in the Sony State of Play together, which all vary in shape and form.
Stray is probably my highlight of the showcase due to how adorable and realistic the premise of controlling a cat in the neon dystopia of a cyberpunk-esque town. This title really shows how far the independent gaming scene has gotten; the graphics really look like something a AAA studio would have made years ago, but the fact that small teams can come up with something this beautiful is charming. It was also a great way to reference the new PlayStation Plus tiers (as the game will be available for Premium and Extra subscribers).
While personally still confusing for the general public, this was a great way to sweeten the pot for anyone still thinking to upgrade their PlayStation Plus membership.
In my eyes, the Sony State of Play for June had a great mix of titles for everyone, and it shows gamers that the PlayStation brand is prepping the big guns for the coming years with huge titles like Street Fighter 6 and The Callisto Protocol on the way.
Of course, these games were wedged between things like Eternights, Season: A Letter to the Future, Rollerdrome, and a Tunic port as well. Even the most jaded gamer had at least one thing to enjoy in this showcase, and the rapid-fire presentation with minimal fluff made for a speedy watch.
And finally, boy howdy was that Final Fantasy XVI footage a sight to behold! While last week’s 25th-anniversary stream of Final Fantasy VII ultimately overshadowed it, spending more time with the story and characters of Final Fantasy XVI while also announcing a release date (Summer 2023; a bold move, to be sure) was a great way to cap off an already bustling State of Play presentation.
With June almost over, the “Not E3” E3 week demonstrated why we need E3 more than ever next year. First of all, it wasn’t even a WEEK. I feel like most of the official Summer Game Fest livestream presentations were bloated with banter and mostly uninteresting behind-the-scenes footage. Most of the specialized showcases (looking at you, Sonic) just couldn’t hold enough content to justify a separate video event.
If any event screamed, “It could have been an email!” most of the presentations would be it.
That said, the Sony State of Play surprised me immensely. It was a tightly succinct showcase with some developer input peppered in, but mostly it did what great showcases did best: Showcase games.
The State of Play was a great way to have indie representation alongside AAA greats without the video teetering too much between either. I honestly think PlayStation has a great year ahead of them, and if they can keep the momentum with future virtual events, they will be a force to be reckoned with this generation.
For massive fans of CD PROJEKT RED, they knew the company’s track record for launches. Many others only knew the perfection of many patches of Witcher 3 after several patches to make the game stable enough to play after release.
With RED’s PR team lying about performance and optimization, paired with releasing it far before it was ready, the writing was on the wall from the start. Crashes, glitches, refunds, and other issues forced some retailers to entirely take the games off the market.
With the turbulent launch behind it and several patches to stabilize the game, is now the time to finally play Cyberpunk 2077?
Have Recent Patches Improved The Experience?
Since it was released, many patches have come out to fix its problems at launch. Glitches and bugs were first on the list, then performance, and lastly, optimization.
With them fixing the game and being in better condition than launch, stores began to put it back in their marketplaces. The previous patches fixed people’s core problems with PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions.
Recently, their most significant patch to date, 1.5, was reportedly going to be a literal game-changer.
1.5 & Next Generation Update
The 1.5 patch dealt with a lot more fixes to the world and UI, but CDPR added the spotlight free content, as well as:
Updating the Next-Gen versions of the game
Buying new apartments and weapons shakes things up, and they included more character customization for appearances too. With a list of hotfixes, you can see they are still striving for a better experience for the player.
People are happy with the updates. Every time a new update comes out, the population spikes on Steam. However, the people coming back to test the updates don’t stay. Only die heart fans keep playing.
Many YouTubers do go back to the game to test out the updates and talk about what was updated, which could have helped with the jumping population on Steam.
The Current State Of The Game
With Cyberpunk 2077 and the context of being playable, as it wasn’t at the beginning of the game’s release. Not seeing T poses and game crashing during that major questline is a fix in my book.
Cars do not float on the road, and they have weight to them now. The game loads assets better, and the minimap is pulled back so that you won’t miss turns while driving.
Yes, some glitches did make the game a bit more fun, like the item duplication glitch and the cyberware slide jump glitch that let you zoom around the map like Barry Allen.
However, overall the game is in such a better state now than at launch. I think it is well worth a try now. Will it ever rise above the ashes like No Man’s Sky? Probably not. Check out our take on No Man’s Sky here
Now Leaving Night City
I’m a massive fan of the cyberpunk genre as a whole, whether it’s Blade Runner, Robocop, Total Recall, Altered Carbon, or anything else in the genre.
One of my favorite authors is Mike Pondsworth, who not only created the original Cyberpunk tabletop RPG back in 1988 but also has worked on every release since. Pondsmith also worked on Cyberpunk 2077 as a consultant. And his vision is nearly present in this game and evokes similar emotions when I play his TTRPGs.
So, Is Cyberpunk 2077 Worth Playing Now?
Cyberpunk is an excellent game, in my opinion, and it’s a hundred times better now than it was a year ago. On the other hand, I would debate people on the story, but that’s for another article.
You should try playing Cyberpunk 2077 now. If you haven’t played since launch, it’s like night and day.
Video Games have been in the hands of the general public for over 40 years, stretching back to the ’70s before I was a twinkle in my dad’s eye. Today, a constant avalanche of new games comes out every day, offering fresh takes on the tried and true genres we’ve all come to know and love (or hate).
Naturally, whenever you start a new game, almost all of them have this nifty little tutorial to show you how to play their labor of love they’ve been crunching on for the past three years.
The Origin Of Game Tutorials
It’s no surprise that video games need some form of teaching method. Back in the olden days, most games came with obtuse cryptic manuals that required a degree in linguistics to decipher and play your 8-bit game of blobs shooting blobs at other, different colored blobs.
Back in the pioneering days of games, there weren’t any formulas that developers could emulate. It truly was the wild west, with games of all types existing and confusing and scaring people away from games for years to come.
It was up to developers to figure out the best way to teach you to play their game. Standardized controls like today’s consoles didn’t exist back then. The A button didn’t always mean ‘Yes.’ Sometimes, you didn’t even have an A button, and you had this eldritch horror of a controller to learn.
It wasn’t until probably the Super Nintendo Era when console manufacturers had a consistent control scheme that game companies would use for almost all of their games. A is Yes, B is no, and so forth. As gaming grew up and genres became more fleshed out, games within similar genres would share the same mechanics.
We all know that in 99% of 2D platformers, you press A to jump.
In most shooters, the trigger button shoots, and the A button sprints.
There’s probably an attack button and a dodge/jump button in your typical action game.
So why, in 2021, do I need a lengthy tutorial to teach me the basic controller scheme of games that have shared the same controller layout for 30 years? I know how to jump. I know how to shoot. I can beat the original Mario in 20 minutes, okay mom?
I GOT THIS.
Many games nowadays have these boring, lengthy tutorials that drag on, ON, and ON. I don’t want to spend my first half-hour of the game learning just the damn controls and mechanics.
And you know, I get it. I get it. You want to show off your unique mechanics or concepts, or tell me how important this NPC that’s gonna hold my hand for the rest of the game is.
But I don’t want that. I don’t want your obnoxious menus and dialogue options to tell me that A is Jump, X is Attack, and Right Trigger is dodge. Just give me signs, or show me the damn controller layout.
Or how about the lengthy cutscenes and dialogue and worldbuilding that KEEP STOPPING YOU FROM PLAYING.
What Makes a Good Game Tutorial?
I was recently introducing a friend to Overcooked 2. As someone who speaks English as a third language and who is not into games all that much, she picked it up quickly. Why? Because the developers just gave us some simple diagrams to teach us the basics.
You already know the joystick will let you move around. Everyone knows that. The sign tells you the X button chops, and the A button picks things up and puts things down. Throw dishes into the serving area, and there you go.
As the game climbs in difficulty (and trust me, it does), new additions are included in brief signs before the level starts. There are no tutorials, no lengthy dialogue options, and no annoying characters telling me basic controls through a level that stops every two minutes to tell me about a new button.
Arin Hanson has a great explanation of how the Mega Man games teach you about the unique features of the level you’re in by visually explaining it. You see an obstacle, and the game shows you the obstacle in a safe environment, then it puts you in a harmless version of that obstacle to get familiar with before you get deeper into the level. It’s great, it’s wonderful, it’s a decade old. Arin, I miss you, please answer my calls.
Another excellent tutorial is Valhiem, and it was refreshing to explore that world without spending ten minutes learning the keyboard.
You’re a Viking, you get dropped into purgatory by a big ol’ raven, and you gotta chop n slap things.
As you find cool stuff, another big ol’ raven comes at you, and you’re given the option to talk to him and learn the new information presented to you.
And it’s not a big lengthy scene, and the game doesn’t pause and focus on this dumb bird to waste your time while it talks.
You run up to it, punch the E key, it gives you a text bubble, and that’s it.
It gives you incentive to explore because as you do, you know you’re doing something right because the bird showed up and told you that you’re doing great, and it gives you a gold star and everything.
Bad Tutorials, Explained
There are probably ten times that many boring or terrible tutorials for every good tutorial out there in the world.
Let’s talk about some truly awful ones.
When I was a kid, I LOVED Kingdom Hearts. But I went back to re-play them a couple of years ago. It was almost pulling teeth trying to get through Destiny Islands, but having to do grind and do jobs on top of a new cutscene every five minutes to introduce new characters that you won’t see until near the end of the game is BULLSHIT. It’s why I refuse to replay Kingdom Hearts 2.
Pokemon suffers from a similar problem. The gameplay hasn’t changed much since Red / Blue / Yellow, yet each new game still makes me go through a 15-minute tutorial: Throwing a Pokeball and learning how types work. Sword and Shield only compounded that issue with an annoying rival character to explain new mechanics.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum…
Have you ever tried to play Dark Souls before? How would you like to be dropped into a world with almost no explanation of the game’s basic mechanics?
You have to learn by smashing buttons to figure out how to block, parry, attack, how stamina works, all of that jazz, reading bloodstains to figure it out. And you wanna explore? Good luck, the Asylum Demon shows you really quickly that this game is probably NOT for you.
How are you expected to know to go around him to a door on his left and run around until you can find some actual weapons and then yeet yourself off a cliff to deal a chunk of damage and start the fight properly?
Let’s not talk about the myriad of items you’ll pick up throughout the game that has wildly different uses, and the game barely attempts to tell you what they’re for.
Oh, and of course, there’s Crusader Kings 2. With its infinite layers of menus upon menus and their tutorial explaining complex mechanics that require a degree in medieval European law just to decipher how you can set up your kingdom to make sure your offspring take your land when you die.
They offer a tutorial to walk you through some of the more common parts of the game, but with a game as complex as most Paradox titles, they need to step it up to teach new players how to play.
How Can You Make Good Game Tutorials?
It’s up to modern developers to change how tutorials are made as we advance. I spoke to a few developers on Twitter about how they struggle to create tutorials and their intentions.
One of the biggest problems I saw was trying to match the competency of your players. You’ll never honestly know how experienced your player is when you’re making a game — You can adapt and adjust as they play.
Maybe this means easily-skippable tutorials. If a player has figured out how something works, just let them breeze through it. Heck, make tutorials optional and give them references in the pause menu if they need to. Or introduce them to the mechanics as they play. Illustrate how something works by feeding them small portions of it without the need for dialogue or menus.
Closing The Book
Tutorials probably aren’t going anywhere for a while. Designers can rethink how they can best implement it into the game without making it obtuse whether you choose to integrate them into the gameplay itself, giving the player reference documents or otherwise.
How do you feel about game tutorials? Do you have any shining examples of how they should be done? Let us know on Twitter.
Gaming should be easy, like in the old days when you put the game in and just play. These days, there are so many streaming services for movies and TV, and the gaming world has fallen into the same realm.
You’ve probably heard of Game Pass, Microsoft’s gaming subscription service, but how does it hold up with so many other services out there?
What Does Game Pass Offer?
Game Pass is for PC and Xbox consoles, starting at $9.99/mo, and you get a lot for that price. You get access to over 100 high-quality games on PC or console, and new games are added all the time, with Xbox Game Studios titles the same day as release. There are also some discounts and deals for subscribers too, though not as noteworthy.
The last deal they offer is Game Pass Ultimate. For $14.99, it provides everything from before but offers it on PC, console, and mobile. They also give Cloud gaming, free perks like in-game content and partner offers, and Xbox Gold for a month if that isn’t enough.
Being on PC and having Xbox titles at your disposal makes it an enticing offer. Playing exciting upcoming AAA titles like Starfield, Elder Scrolls 6, Stalker 2, Gears 6, and Fable at the time of release is great. You don’t need to purchase the games, and you’ll probably get exclusive DLC for certain games for having Game Pass.
Now for an Xbox fan, this is a no-brainer. An automatic wallet throw at Microsoft or others raises the question, “Should I get this? There are other services out there, and maybe they fit what I want?”
What Are Some Similar Services?
Playstation Plus, Google Stadia Pro, EA Play, Ubisoft Plus, and Amazon Luna are competing against Microsoft in this new area of gaming. Maybe you didn’t want to participate in the console wars and got a PC, but now you’ve entered the Streaming Wars.
PlayStation Plus Essential provides two monthly downloadable games, exclusive discounts, cloud storage for saved games, and online multiplayer access for $9.99/mo.
The next tier is Playstation Plus Extra, which provides all the benefits from the Essential tier and adds a catalog of around 400 PS4 and PS5 games from Sony and third-party partners, which you can download and keep for as long as you have the subscription, and this tier is only $14.99/mo.
The final tier, Playstation Plus Premium, adds up to 340 other games, including games from PS1 to PS3 via cloud streaming. Plus Deluxe is offered for people who can’t stream games but has the same benefits as premium but at a lower price. The major downside is that first-party titles aren’t available when they launch and will be added later. Sony said in an interview that the reason they did this was to keep the standard of the quality of first-party games high, but we’ll see if that stays true.
Google Stadia Pro
The subscription service for Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service for $9.99/mo. This includes playing on anything that allows you to cast to it, any Android device, or anything that can open a Chrome window. With the Pro subscription, you get access to a library of games that gets updated monthly, which is usually a mix of recent AAA titles and some indies. You also get discounts for purchasing games on the platform, although not all deals are great. Stadia is also a little slow to get newer AAA titles, and some more prominent companies still haven’t supported a Stadia release.
If you want to learn more about Stadia, check out our feature article here.
EA play has two tiers, a $4.99/mo plan, which offers 10 hours of early access to new games, unlimited access to their selection of EA titles, and saving 10% off EA digital content. Their EA Play Pro, which costs $14.99/offers early access to “deluxe versions” of new games but not much else compared to the basic plan.
Ubisoft plus PC access, which is $14.99, and multi-access, which is $17.99, are relatively the same. Both have new releases at launch, DLC and Season Passes for games, and over 100 games on pc. Multi-access has Cloud Gaming which is that extra $3, allowing you to connect your account to Amazon Luna and Stadia if you already have them. This is an excellent deal for those who are major fans of Ubisoft, but most of these games will show up on other services at later dates.
Is Gamepass Worth It?
All the streaming services have their own exclusive libraries, though several eventually overlap (minus platform exclusives). With Ubisoft games eventually coming out to other services and EA Play being included in Game Pass, the question is, “If I’m going to save money and play the most games, what service would I get?”
The two leading contenders would be Game Pass and Playstation Plus. At the time of writing, the new Playstation Plus service hasn’t come out yet, and we don’t know whether or not it will be as much of a contender until then.
In my opinion, with the quality and longevity of games on Game Pass lacking at the moment, it’s hard to tell how Playstation will perform when their new system does come out. Microsoft already has a huge advantage with their recent acquisitions of Bethesda and Activision Blizzard, so Sony will really need to knock it out of the park.
As someone who uses Steam and plays MMOs, having a subscription service that you can pay for and play any games at any time is a benefit. With Playstation not including first-party titles when they launch, those who want it for the first-party titles will affect it.
If Sony makes us pay for first-party titles or the delay in adding new first-party titles is too long, it won’t hold up for long. These are the choices for the best bang for your buck without paying for anything additional. At this moment, Game Pass is, by far, a way better deal and service more worth it. Having access to certain games that most players for those games are already on PC, and with Playstation Plus not out yet, and have yet to encounter their own set of trials to change how their service is used. If you have to choose one, it’s clear that it should be Game Pass.
How do you feel about this new shift in gaming services? Is there a platform we missed? Let us know in the comments, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date!