Short-Takes: 1/31/14

Xbox One release schedule leaked

Simon Wu: 
This is an absolutely tremendous leak (again, if it is true) that really shows Microsoft is not going to take the constant barrage of negative criticism that the PS4 is superior when it comes to gaming. I'll let others talk about the games, but I want to focus on the distribution and increase in SKUs that are in the pipeline. Right now there is only one Xbox One. The big standard 500GB. And it's only available in a smattering of markets, which is why the PS4 is holding a slim lead so far. As the PS4 will soon be unleashed in Sony territory (read: Japan), Microsoft needs to address more price points, launch in more markets, increase storage, improve performance, and introduce limited editions. They are doing all of the above to stay in the race.

P.S. I'm getting the Titanfall limited edition when it falls.

Max Gruber: 
This was a trove of information that reveals a lot about what Microsoft plans in the future. What I'm more interested in is the Halo 2 HD remake, since it was rumored to be in development since last year, I want to say. I find it interesting that they would bring back Halo 2 for the Xbox One, especially after they shut down the servers for the original Xbox. It's no surprise that Halo Anniversary sold well enough to warrant a remake of Halo 2. I cannot wait to BXR scrubs once more.


The Elder Scrolls Online won't require PlayStation Plus

Simon Wu: 
Max offers some great insight on the new trend taking place for the PS4, but I contend to you the reader that this is another area where Microsoft is too insistent on having the Gold service to be able to do... well... basically anything, really. This is going to be a major sticking point for Microsoft, although they scored a major victory by making paid PSN mandatory for the PS4. But it continues to make no sense that the Xbox, which is positioned as Microsoft's competitor in the living room, it still makes no sense to need to double hit the regular consumer. While it would be a substantial step to perhaps reduce the requirement in time for the alleged cheaper discless Xbox One SKU mentioned above, that will continue to be a pipe dream at best.

Max Gruber: 
As an individual who owns the PS4, I saw this coming from a mile away. Bethesda was pushing really hard to make TESO a fully subscription-based MMO on both PC and the PS4, which has led to them explicitly saying that you do not need a subscription to PS+ in order to play TESO. It was very similar to the F2P titles currently available on the PS4, like Warframe and Blacklight: Retribution, where you are not required to pay a PS+ subscription to play, but buying things in the respective stores work in the same manner to paying on their PC counterparts. It is a bit strange that they would make this decision, especially when most MMOs that migrate over to consoles are not given subscriptions.

Rumor: PlayStation 4 to get native PS1/PS2 emulation

Max Gruber: 
Along with their Gaiki streaming service, PlayStation Now, which only streams PS3 titles on the PS4 and other Sony branded devices, there's also these rumors that they plan on finding a way for people to play their old PS1/PS2 titles on their PS4. Fascinating. It was quite the blunder when everyone learned that both the Xbox One and PS4 were not cross-compatible with previous generation consoles, but this rumor provides people with a bright and hopeful future where such a thing is possible. What I'm more interested in with this is the supposed up-scaling tricks that's in store, where they can up-scale games without any blurring. We've never seen up-scaling work like this before, and it'll make it easier for developers to put out these titles without them doing the up-scaling on their end.

Jackson Sinnenberg: 
If this story is true - and please Lord Gaben, God of Games, let it be - this is a great move for Sony. When those of us think of some of the classic games that have been exclusive to the PlayStation consoles, a lot of them seem to come from the PS1/PS2 era. What will be even better is if the rumors of Sony doing "HD Remasters" are true as well. If people are able to play HD Spyro or Shadow of the Colossus, Sony is going to start giving the XBox One a run for its money. This is like what Nintendo tried to do with Windwaker HD, but Sony would have a series of HD games for customers to buy. Regardless, what I think this boils down to is the fact that Sony will be re-releasing some of its best games for the PS4 and that is a huge selling point and great opportunity for them.

Nintendo Confirms It Will Make Apps (And Maybe Games) For Phones

Simon Wu: 
Finally, Nintendo concedes that after selling a disastrous 5.5 million WiiU consoles and taking in less than $100 million USD in net income, the past three quarters has finally forced them to rethink the current approach. It simply isn't working. Of course, the company continues to stubbornly refuse to make games for the time being, so we'll probably only see something like an extension of the Miiverse on smartphone platforms, or maybe some sort of a second screen Smartglass-esque experience. Perhaps one more serious drop in sales next quarter might just push them to do the unthinkable.

Max Gruber: 
From my little experience with Nintendo, I think I remember Alex writing about Nintendo trying to put out their content on mobile platforms, and it would seem that's what they might be doing. It makes the most sense putting their content on other platforms, given the failure of the WiiU. What was that famous saying? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em? The PS4 and Xbox One have sold what Nintendo did for its WiiU in roughly 2-3 months flat, and it's obvious that the iPhone 5's popularity completely overtook the WiiU in every regard. Moreover, like Alex wrote in his Mindshare, it is a likely possibility that they'll move to being a publisher, instead of a manufacturer, like what happened to Sega.