Bits & bytes for August 25th 2023
I used to think Phil Spencer was legit, but over time he's come across as more of a grifter. I think the "bet the house" gambit on GamePass just hasn't come to pass. It's a huge money sink and doesn't really have the ROI to keep betting the house on it. Surely Satya, Phil's boss, wants to see something come from Xbox other than a cap-in-hand. Rumours are swirling that the S/X consoles will be the last Xbox hardware to be released, leaving Xbox to basically be a PC launcher and publishing house. Which leaves Nintendo to keep doing what it does, and PlayStation to own the home console market.
I'm not an Xbox fan by any means, but having more than one big player in the market is a good thing. So seeing Phil take the GamePass gambit and run to the end with it, instead of pivoting to the healthy business Xbox could be (if it had good software, good hardware and something better to shout about as an exclusive).
Moreover, the more I see and hear of Starfield, the big bet for the year from Microsoft studios, the less impressed I am by it. It just seems like they skinned Fallout, included the bugs and jankiness, and called it a day. In a few years when modders get to grips with it, it'll be great. But that's not a particularly huge endoresement.
- Christmas gaming market. Look, this appears to be a bit of a grift from my perspective but I'll share anyway. Caveat emptor.
- Let’s ditch the tired tropes about video games – and research their impact properly
- Thank goodness you're here
- Hot, fresh, homebrewed consoles
- Quake II digital foundry
- Phil Spencer, who founded mid-gen refreshes, thinks mid-gen refreshes cause issues
What I'm playing this week:
- Dishonoured 2. It's driving me mental.