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Gaming Gossip - Episode 3: Has Xbox Cemented its Future or is there still Concerns?

We chat about the developments and announcements made during the recent Official Xbox Podcast and how many rumours and concerns were dispelled, while some were confirmed.

Audio transcription

"Hello everyone, and welcome back to the third episode of our Gaming Gossip show. Today we're going to be talking about something we probably was going to talk about anyway. It's in regard to the Xbox stuff, right? So this big Xbox Podcast came out, talked about the Xbox strategy, shut down a lot of rumours, kind of gave us a few things to be excited about, lots of things to unpack. So we're going to get into that. Of course, it's not just me here today."

"So Dav's here again, our veteran resident Nintendo legend here to talk about Xbox, believe it or not. And then of course, Alex as well, long title of the show.
Yeah, just me, no titles, friend of the show.
Can you give yourself a title, Alex?
I don't know, I don't have one."

"The titles, the unnamed, nameless. But yeah, so let's talk about Xbox then. So there's a lot of different things. I think we should probably start by talking about the exclusivity stuff, right? So going into this podcast, lots of rumours were swirling. Xbox is going to completely backtrack on its exclusivity sort of thing. Starfield, Indiana Jones, all these games are going to be coming to different platforms. And Xbox, people were going mad."

"Influencers, the different community figures, they're all leaving Xbox, going to completely hang it up and various different community members. Tim Dog, Tim Dog's leaving Xbox.
I'm not too sure who Tim Dog was. I'm sorry, Tim, I don't know who you were, but that was one of the big sort of things that was a talking point. Tim Dog's leaving Xbox."

"Not Tim Dog! But yes, anyway, the point is that, you know, Xbox is kind of in crisis mode. This podcast comes out, not the case.
So we could talk about how it was handled and then what actually happened, because yeah, it was terribly handled. If you handle that proper, you control your message and you don't get people go crazy over things that were not going to happen. Of course, fans will always want exclusives for them, for their systems. I don't, you know, this happened already when Ori and the Blind Forest was announced for the Switch. We all got Minecraft in different platforms. And then Ori and Cuphead, even though it wasn't a property, it wasn't an exclusive forever. You know, it wasn't a product only for Xbox. But you know, fans started like reacting to that. And in 2019, Xbox promised that they were done with sharing exclusivities and exclusives outside of Xbox. But then, you know, that promise, you know, promise only lasted for four years. So that I sort of understand the reaction. I don't really understand extreme reactions to it. But the way it was handled, you know, they came from 2019, so they should have controlled that much, much better. And I think it's fine for the titles that they are announcing now to be playable very, very, you know, a long time after they were released on Xbox."

"Yeah, I find it very surprising that people are mad about this. I mean, I get the anger that, you know, you promised exclusives titles, but I've never really felt that Xbox has had the best exclusives anyway, the titles that demand exclusivity. I've never really felt that Xbox has many of those. Like, yes, if Halo came to PlayStation, it would have been a massive deal."

"It'd be over. It'd be over for Xbox fans.
Exactly. Gears of War is another one. Like, Gears of War coming to PlayStation would be almost shocking in a way. But things like Sea of Thieves, like it's time that these massive community driven games come to different platforms. Just because it'd just be good for the game. Like, it's not necessarily, it'd be good for the platform because more people would be playing the games. And if the game is supported with more players, then the developer can support it further and increase the way that it supports the game. So I think We still don't know the games, right? Officially, right? We have an idea, right? But we don't officially know the games. We're assuming it's going to be Pentiment, Hi-Fi Rush, Grounded Sea of Thieves, right? They're the four."

"I mean, we're probably, I don't know when this is going live, but we are probably learning about a bunch of those tomorrow when the Nintendo Direct partners. You know, it would be, they've been partners before, right? Xbox and Nintendo. And they sort of, they shared this announcement with Minecraft and the colors and, you know, it doesn't matter the color you play with, etc. And as you said, Sea of Thieves is a Fortnite type of deal here. It's live service. It's an ongoing game. So it makes sense for us all to play on different platforms. But we'll see tomorrow. I think we'll see those. I don't know if the four of them, I mean, Hi-Fi Rush sounds like the strongest candidate for being announced tomorrow, right? I don't know if the pack of the four of them will be present tomorrow."

"Do you think they'll shadow drop it? Like they shadow dropped Hi-Fi Rush originally and they say at the end of the presentation, they're like, okay, we're all done now. And they show a trailer for Hi-Fi Rush and then they're like, oh, go download that right now for 20 quid.
I mean, sometimes with a Nintendo Direct and this type of shows, it all depends on the sort of agreement they came up with in terms of the order of the announcement and the showtime they get, right? So we'll see how, it will be interesting to see how prominent they are."

"They could also be something like, yeah, those flash announcements and it's like that. It happened before, right? Yeah. No, it is interesting. I think as well, Pentiment is one of those games as well, but I'm surprised it hasn't already launched on a smartphone. It's one of those games that's really, it doesn't seem like it's very demanding to run whatsoever. So I'm surprised that it's taken so long for it to come to other platforms beyond Xbox and PC already. But yeah, no, the interesting thing about this whole set of announcements, is that Xbox has been really quite careful with how they've done it. Like they haven't told us the games officially. They said they're going to wait for the partners to do it, right? Which, all right, whatever. That's the way you want to do things. Not a problem whatsoever, but they also haven't said what platforms they're going to be coming to as part of that announcement. So we're expecting Switch to be up there because, and we've talked about it before, Switch kind of is like a rogue, or Nintendo is kind of a rogue operator in the console wars, right? The console wars isn't really a console. It's a war, right, between Xbox and PlayStation."

"That's how it's always been. And Nintendo has always kind of been a bystander in a way.
And they've been very smart on the Switch, talking about Microsoft here. Minecraft sold millions and millions. I think it's the best selling third party game other than the FIFA and the EA FCs. And they released Dungeons and Legends. I think it's the other one. There's been off."

"And they made the Switch like the only place they can make a profit out of physical release.
So they were smart. Nintendo was smart as well. And it's a win-win situation. They both earn a lot of money out of it. Minecraft is massive on the Switch, which makes me wonder if Sea of Thieves is actually coming, both to the Switch and the PlayStation."

"Can we actually customize our ships with Halo stuff or the other killer instinct, which in a way is Nintendo-ish? Will they allow, and by they I mean both, will both Microsoft and Nintendo or Sony allow Xbox, like the IPs you said, to be present that blatantly on the competing platforms? That's going to be interesting."

"Maybe not. I immediately thought of when in Mortal Kombat 9, when you could only get Kratos if you had the PlayStation version of the game. And so you'd jump into an online match and someone picked Kratos and I had it on Xbox and I'd be like, where is this guy? How do I get him?
And there's no option. So I can imagine that. And you just see like a Halo ship roll by and your little PlayStation privateer or whatever, and you just get blown out of the waters."

"How does it work with Fortnite with like Master Chief for one or not?
I think it's exclusive, platform exclusive. I think you guys weren't born yet, but there was one thing called Soul Calibur 2, where each platform would get their exclusive character, and it was Link on the Gamecube, and it was Spawn for some reason on the Xbox It's basically the same character."

"But no, talking about the exclusivity thing as well, it's also interesting because Xbox didn't just talk about titles and different games come in multi-platform. They also basically said, Game Pass is going to stay as an Xbox and a PC thing. We're not going to see that on PlayStation, which I don't think anyone kind of expected it to come to PlayStation at all. But there was sort of the question mark about Switch. Would it eventually come to Switch? Because there's not a lot of crossover between the way that Game Pass works and what Switch online does."

"But no, Game Pass is PC and Xbox only. It's going to remain that way.
And they also kind of affirmed that even further by announcing that there's going to be further Xbox consoles in the future. They haven't said any of it, right? They said that this year there's going to be new hardware, could be a handheld system, could be just a new controller. They're keeping it very close to the chest. But they also said they're working on the next generation of actual consoles. Again, really early information. They didn't set a date on it, anything like that."

"So we're probably looking at 2028, sometime around then when usually the sort of expected next console leap is going to be. But Xbox consoles are going to remain. We kind of assumed that would be the case. I wrote an article about it back in like mid-January where I said, don't worry about Xbox because everyone was losing their minds about it. You know, is Xbox going to get out of the console? No, Xbox Game Pass makes too much money for Xbox to want to stop making consoles. It's just fact. So yeah, consoles are staying around for Xbox. What do we think? Is that a good decision for Xbox or should they maybe shifted away from that, focused on cloud potentially?
I think for the handheld console, I think that for long enough have they promoted the ROG Ally."

"It's as simple as that. You saw Phil Spencer doing that again and again. I saw him personally after a three summer game first thing doing that. I mean, I understand it's a Windows based system and you can play Game Pass on it. It's not the Steam Deck, which is sort of a competitor in terms of platform, right? But it's not their own hardware. So I think that what they are coming out with in terms of handheld is something very similar to those like expensive, more premium sort of gaming PC in a handheld device like the roguelike and the Steam Decks and the Lenovo Legion."

"That in terms of the handheld, but in terms of the proper console, I think it's just for the fans. That announcement is for the fans. They are completely abandoning the hardware fight. They don't promote, they don't market those consoles, the series, they don't market them anymore in countries such as Spain. Of course, you find your deals, but they sold, I think it's 100,000 last year. That was their best year. That's not good compared to what the Switch and the PS5 are selling because they really don't market them. Only people who know about Game Pass are interested in those and they sell services and we've talked about this, right? It's Microsoft. They sell services. So I think the console announcement is for fans to be in the know that they will be competing against Sony in the raw power thing, my two cents."

"I find it interesting though, because I think that the handheld system is something that needs to happen and I think it's a really exciting premise, but if they come out and it's a cloud gaming piece of technology like the- Portal.
Well, yes, like the Portal, but also the, what was the name of the white one that's like a Switch without the removable joy-cons? I can't remember the name of it."

"Lenovo Legion Go.
No, the other one, the previous one. Yeah, I know which one.
Yeah, I can't remember the name of it all of a sudden, but if it's a purely cloud handheld system, I'm going to be a little bit disappointed because as much as cloud to me is like potentially the future of gaming, right? I don't think it's there yet and I think that it needs more time."

"So I'd like it to be a proper handheld system. Like you say, like the rogue ally or, you know, like a Nintendo Switch sort of compatible. I think it's going to be like that. You just can play on the cloud, of course, as well, because they have developed that already on Game Pass. You can do that on any Xbox system. I think it's going to be like the more expensive type of thing, but it will be interesting if it's a 100 something euro."

"Oh, and you need to have an Xbox only for the cloud or just a proper Wi-Fi only on the cloud.
As you said, that would be interesting. Actually, I haven't thought of it as like that.
It'd be weird if they did that though, because like technically a mobile phone already does that for Xbox because of the way X cloud works. But anyway, yeah, interesting situation there."

"And other sort of little bits of news in regards to this.
Activision Blizzard games are coming to Game Pass. We kind of expected that at some point Diablo is going to be the first one by the looks of things or the first new one that's going to be making that debut in late March, I believe. So it's still quite a distance away."

"They're kind of holding off on that one. Maybe there's some sort of deal in place there as to why it can't come earlier or something. I'm not too sure in regards to that.
But Activation Blizzard games are coming to Game Pass, which I think basically the big question now is what's going to happen with Call of Duty 2024. Is that going to launch on Game Pass?
Are future Activation Blizzard games going to launch on Game Pass? Are they going to get a period where they don't? A lot of big questions that remain in regard to this. But yeah, what do we think? Would we be surprised if Call of Duty 2024 didn't launch on Game Pass?
Yeah, yeah. I think it's the main hook they have. You can play, you can pay premium price for it on PlayStation. And remember, they promised the Nintendo Switch as well, or Switch 2, which is going to be interesting. But you can pay full price for those or you can subscribe to Game Pass. I think it's set in stone, I think. It's going to be interesting because that's going to be... This is the first Call of Duty as well, I believe, that isn't going to be marketed through Sony because of the way Call of Duty 2023 was. So it's going to be the first year we see these Call of Duty games that are probably going to end up with play it first on Game Pass or something like that instead of the weird PlayStation symbols. But yeah, we'll know more about that soon because we're expecting it sort of November, October time, like every Call of Duty ever releases on. And the final bit of Xbox news that was mentioned was in regard to the June showcase, which basically we know there's going to be showcases in June around Summer Game Fest."

"This is the first one that's been confirmed. No exact date, but you can probably already put your money on sometime around June 10th because that's usually when all the showcases take place. I mean, and you and me were there. I would ask them, I would really ask them to do the proper showcase and not just a video played in front of us. There is no interest for us press to go to the venue itself to then not being able to see the games, not being able to try them out, not being able to interview the devs and the execs because what we got was the same video you guys were watching live on YouTube. And that's terrible for us press that that's wasting our time and really not adding anything. I know they want to control their PR, but I think they will do better this time around if it's as big as they are announcing. Do you think it's surprising to have as well? You remember being in that theater with all the Xbox community figures that were going absolutely mad at every single announcement. How was it? Xbox, Xbox. Do you think that, do you think it's a little bit surprising that how the community have sort of turned on Xbox so quickly ever since that unbelievably community driven show? Yeah, I think that's why we started talking about how they should have controlled their message better because they know how reactive their community is. And I'm not saying they're toxic or different to other communities when they go to extremes, the same happens. I can say if you want. And I think it's the same with Nintendo, it's the same with Sony when they go to extremes. That's what I mean, right? But they knew that, so they are basing all their, they organized it around the community as Ben says. So the more you give, the more you have to control, but then you leave press aside. And that's something, that's some damage you have to control as well. So hopefully for, I hope for a better thing this summer. I hope to be there as well. Yeah, hopefully. I mean, we'll see. It's going to be interesting."

"I think 2024 is going to be an interesting year because we've just come off a really, really hot 2023. I know this year we're not going to get any first party PlayStation games by the looks of things. The Switch is in the sunset era, which has been extended by around six months by the looks of things. So we don't know what that's going to include."

"Xbox seemingly has very little of interest this year. Like what are we looking at later this year?
Because Hellblade is probably the biggest game and that's coming in May. So yeah, Avowed, I guess. And Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones is probably the big one. And then Star Wars being, of course, not exclusive, but being, I think, I was shocked that they're still betting on 2024 in terms of Ubisoft, but I think that's one of the massive games. No pun intended."

"And talking about Star Wars as well. I know we wanted to hijack this conversation quickly, so let's do it. Yeah, it wasn't on purpose at all.
Let's talk about Respawn real quick. Because ahead of the weekend, when the announcement, well, not announcement, the rumor broke that Switch was going to be delayed to Q1 2025. There was also another story that broke that suggested that Respawn is working on a first person Mandalorian game. Not going to be the Mandalorian game. You're not going to be playing as Din Djarin or anything like that. But yeah, Respawn are developing a first person Mandalorian game. So are we excited? I think we might have in the studio. I think you know him, Dav. We have a special guest speaker. I don't know if you can find him behind you."

"Or is he not available? Is he back there? Din Djarin himself? That's Boba though.
So I mean, I am excited. And I think it just makes sense. Respawn has given us the best Jedi games as of late, right? Third person, semi open world type of deal.
Battlefront gave us first person shooters, which were all type of classes and characters."

"And Mandalorian game, which was remote way back by other studios and started development, would make all the sense in the world because you would get all the gadgets, all the sort of weapons, even a crafting system for you to find Beskar and put it on your armor and upgrade your armor and then use the hook. And all of that first person really sounds to me like Titanfall."

"So I think it makes all the sense in the world. I mean, that Respawn are developing a Star Wars FPS game. That's not the rumor. I mean, that's completely confirmed. They've been working on it for years now. And we all expect it to be in Titanfall's fashion, right? But in terms of it being a Mandalorian game, I think it's the lore Disney is exploring as of late. We're getting the movie now. The series peaked, then went down a little bit and now we're getting the movie."

"I think Disney are really into it to the extent of really supporting a game being Mandalorian based. I don't know what you guys think.
Well, I think it's really exciting because there's one game to me that's always stood out as one that I've been really disappointed that it was cancelled. And that was Star Wars 1313 because to me it sounded like a really interesting premise. And now all of a sudden we're getting this first person. I mean, we didn't know whether 1313 was going to be first person and all that stuff, but it seemed like it was going to be very similar. Sort of like a rogue operator doing their thing in a big sort of crazy underworld. Now we're getting a Mandalorian game from Respawn."

"It feels to me like it's almost the spiritual successor to that very game. So I'm really excited for it. I think it's going to be great. I don't think we know when it's going to be coming. I haven't really looked into the rumour all too much, but I can't imagine it's any time soon.
So you have to hold your breath on it, especially since Star Wars Outlaws is this year, right? That is like the big Star Wars game. When is the movie coming out? 2026, as far as rumours go."

"I bet they are doing it canonical. So we'll see. I guess it has to do with the timeline and the whole thing Favreau and Filoni came up with. By the way, there was a really nice Easter Egg mention of 1313. It's a level in Coruscant in the last season of Clone Wars. When it focused on Ahsoka and they were dealing with the spice and she met these two girls, that was level 1313."

"That was very interesting. I never knew that because I've seen that. I never got very into Star Wars this past Christmas. So loving Ahsoka and I think it's going to be canonical. So I think it all depends on the movie and where they want to go. So perhaps it's been developed for quite a while now, but we don't know more. Yes. So we'll stay in tune for that. As we're staying in tune for information as we're recording this tomorrow in regard to the Nintendo Direct in which what we're assuming to be some Xbox games getting their Nintendo Switch announcement."

"Will that be Hi-Fi Rush? We'll wait and see. Will that be anything else? We'll wait and see.
Otherwise, we might talk more about that next week on the next episode of Gaming Gossip.
Otherwise, it'll probably be something completely different because that's the best way to do things, have no structure and just wing it. We'll be back next week for more shows. So until then, thank you for watching this episode of Gaming Gossip. Thank you, Dav, for being here. Thank you, Alex, for being here and Xbox. And we'll see you all on the next one. Bye-bye, guys. Thank you."

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