Tired Old Hack

The fortnight in games: Xbox Series X and PS5 specs, Mario Lego

It’s been a fortnight since my last Fortnight in Games article, so logic dictates that it’s time for another one.

In case you missed it last time, The Fortnight in Games is a bi-weekly rundown of the bigger and more interesting stories that have happened in the gaming world, with a healthy helping of shit jokes dolloped in for good measure.

As ever, each story below contains a link to the fantastic Video Games Chronicle (VGC), the spiritual successor to CVG and the best site for high quality, well-researched daily gaming news.

If any of the below stories tickles your fancy and you’d like more information, just follow their respective links and VGC will give you all the details.


E3 2020 has officially been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Entertainment Software Association told the publishers due to attend that it was “exploring options for an online E3 event this summer”.

Rumours had been doing the rounds for a while, and it seemed all but inevitable that E3 would be canned. Sure enough, the ESA finally confirmed the news on 11 March.

Publisher Devolver Digital posted a tweet a few hours before the official announcement, saying: “cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.” It hadn’t heard the news, it just thought this year’s E3 was going to be shite.


Microsoft has revealed the full hardware specs for the Xbox Series X, and they make for some impressive reading.

The Series X has an eight-core CPU with 16 threads and its GPU will be capable of a little over 12 teraflops of power, compared to the 6 teraflops of the Xbox One X (and 1.4 teraflops of the Xbox One S).

This power also allows it to pull off a number of fancy features, including a special ‘quick resume’ that lets you keep at least three games suspended and switch between them whenever you like, only having to wait around six seconds.

Theoretically this could support more games, but given the size of next-gen games the included 1TB SSD storage will probably only have enough space for three games anyway.


Not to be outdone, Sony also gave a presentation detailing the PS5’s hardware specs, and when I say ‘detailing’ I mean it.

The system’s lead designer Mark Cerny gave an hour-long speech that was originally intended to be given at the Game Developers Conference, and as such was extremely heavy on technical data.

The problem was, Sony made the questionable call of promoting the presentation on all its social media channels, thereby attracting a large number of gamers who very much weren’t developers and were expecting a more straightforward presentation, maybe with some tech demos or game reveals.

Still, you have to credit Sony for successfully managing to carry out social distancing on a global scale, because when it ended viewers from all over the world blinked out of their daydreams and said: “Sorry, I was miles away there.”

Can’t argue with that, really

Google has confirmed that Stadia now supports 4K streaming on the web.

Until recently, Stadia’s 4K streaming option was only available to players using a Chromecast Ultra and a TV.

Now, however, players can now experience 4K through a normal Chrome browser on their computer (as long as they have a 4K monitor, obviously).

Streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ will be lowering their bitrate during the coronavirus pandemic, because their huge popularity could become a strain on global bandwidth.

Stadia doesn’t have that problem.


Reggie Fils-Aime is set to join the board of leading US game retailer GameStop.

The former Nintendo of America president’s appointment will come into effect on 20 April, along with that of a former Walmart CEO and the current PetSmart president.

GameStop has been struggling recently, with numerous store closures and layoffs, so it clearly needs a change of fortune.

It’s hoped that Reggie will help with that change, with the man himself recently stating that “the gaming industry needs a healthy and vibrant GameStop”.

That’s good to hear, and it should hopefully all go to plan as long as we don’t end up in some sort of weird situation like GameStop closing all of its stores nationwide.

“Naaaaah, surely not”

 


GameStop has closed all of its stores nationwide.

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the US, businesses up and down the country have been shutting up shop in an attempt to help contain it.

At first GameStop resisted this, with corporate execs instructing branch staff to keep stores open and tell police that they’re considered “essential retail” if they’re told to close.

That policy has finally changed, now that it’s suddenly realised that the definitive list of essential things people need to survive doesn’t consist of food, drink, toilet paper, paracetamol and overpriced pre-owned copies of Madden 17.


Frontier Developments has secured the rights to make a series of F1 management games.

The fantastic Cambridge-based studio will be developing and publishing games annually, covering the 2022-2025 Formula One seasons.

While Codemasters will still be making F1 racing games, Frontier’s titles will instead be management titles, where you will presumably control the running of an F1 team.

Frontier is better known for its park management games like Planet Zoo and Jurassic World Evolution, so with any luck there’ll be a mini-game where you get to pet the pit crew and decorate Sebastian Vettel’s enclosure with trees and ponds.


The glory days

2K Sports will be making NFL games again for the first time in 16 years, with what it calls ‘non-simulation’ games starting in 2021.

Back in the day, it was generally agreed that 2K’s NFL games were superior to those of EA Sports, but after the release of ESPN NFL 2K5, the licence became an EA exclusive.

The ‘non-simulation’ aspect has got people wondering what it means, but I’m guessing we’re going to see an American football version of 2K’s NBA Playgrounds street series.

EA, meanwhile, insists it’s still “the exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games”, and that it’s the only place to find realistic American football titles. That may just mean, however, that in 2K’s game the league is still running.


Lego is teaming up with Nintendo to release a special line of interactive Lego sets based on the Super Mario series.

The unique product line will include a special Mario figure, which will feature Bluetooth connectivity and have an animated face and chest.

When you place Mario on various obstacles and enemies, he’ll pick up coins or take damage, and the aim is to collect as many coins as possible within a time limit.

The set’s design manager Jonathan Bennink has suggested that Lego will undoubtedly do sets based on other Nintendo franchises in the future.

This means my dream Lego set of Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What to Eat? on the DS could finally become a reality.


Finally, Norman Reedus says he’s “in talks” to work on another Hideo Kojima project.

In an interview with Wired, the Walking Dead star stated that he was “talking to Hideo about maybe doing some Death Stranding stuff”, which could mean a sequel or maybe just DLC.

Reedus was of course the star of the original Death Stranding, which is about a delivery man who has to deliver packages to keep society alive while staying isolated from everyone else and avoiding an invisible threat.

Seems a bit unrealistic, if you ask me.

“The baby is just a placeholder, Norman. We will replace it with a toilet roll in the final game”

 

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