Lately, I’ve been really falling off with keeping track of announcements and releases. I mean, two weeks ago, my sister asked me if we were still signing up for Disney+ and I didn’t even realize it was already out.
So today, I thought I’d go through some of the recent announcements and releases we geeks have gotten! Opinions also included.
If you’re not familiar with it, Stadia is Google’s gaming “platform” that basically acts like the Netflix of gaming, and officially came out last Tuesday.
I keep writing how I feel about Stadia, and then never actually posting it because when I read it back, it sounds like I’m a conspiracy theorist. I like to think I’m not. But one particular piece I wrote pointed out how interesting it is that Google announced Stadia, at the time a wild-ass moonshot of an idea with no actual plan, within a month of a series of high-profile lawsuits in the UK about its advertising practices.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed awfully convenient that with such a hit to its core revenue stream looming, Google suddenly had this revolutionary idea for the $2-billion gaming industry.
Usually, I’m a huge fan of everything Google does, but I have an incredibly hard time believing that Stadia is at all close to the future of gaming. After all, no matter what the marketing team promises, there’s no way Google has any control over Internet providers or the quality and stability of people’s Internet connections.
On top of that, I know at least where I am, no community outside of the three core cities even has powerful enough Internet cables installed to be able to stream games. It’s currently a ten-year plan to install them.
I have a strong feeling that Stadia is the “cool new thing” right now, but it’ll end up exposing a lot of people to that bane of gamers everywhere, lag. And that’s if they can even get the service to run. Prove me wrong, Google.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
Ever since we got wind of a full Pokémon game coming to the Switch, I’ve been looking forward to this. Normally, Shane and I are hardcore day-one Pokémon players, and we were totally planning which editions we wanted to get.
But it didn’t take long for hardcore players to realize it wasn’t made for them. Once I heard that the Pokédex was going to be limited (i.e., not have any of the original Pokémon), I just…couldn’t do it. As far as I’m concerned, any game that doesn’t eventually let me have a Dragonite is a waste of my time and money.
I’ll be interested to see how this one plays out in the long run, though. It looks to be a continuation of their strategy with Let’s Go, which was absolutely an attempt to make the historic franchise more new-player-friendly.
Although I was looking forward to it, I wasn’t die-hard excited for this streaming service or anything. In hindsight, I do regret that decision a little, because it’s really cool.
It’s nothing new UI-wise, and is strikingly reminiscent of another service that rhymes with Metflix. Its real charm is the content that it has—including all those vaulted Disney movies from my childhood, every Marvel movie a geek could ask for, and some classic cartoons to match.
Now, in all honesty, I think Disney+ is the start of something that could either turn out really well or really poorly for us consumers.
The way I see it, this signals the start of a new era of streaming services, and it’s going to be a bloody battle. Companies will compete for consumers’ money, each offering only a portion of what we want. And that will segment what’s available to us to the point that I at least won’t be able to afford all the content I’m accustomed to, especially once NBC comes out with their own and takes the Office away from Netflix.
D&D’s new chapter
Today in lesser-known news, just last week Wizards of the Coast released a new campaign for 5th ed., called Eberron: Rising from the Last War. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the new campaign—I got distracted and caught up with the fact that the book includes a new class, the first introduced since it was originally published back in 2014.
The artificer, as it’s called, seems like an incredibly fun combination of an arcane caster and a modern engineer. They carry around all their random tools, and depending on what they decide to do, they can jerry-rig just about anything into a magical weapon or a charm to cast on allies.
From what I was reading, it could introduce a real problem for DMs whose players like to bend rules. Which is basically every player. When it was released, 5th ed. brought in attunement, a rule that limited how many magical items a player could use at any given time.
The artificer’s ability to turn any item into a temporarily magical item (which, by the way, overrides the attunement rules because it isn’t permanent) that can suit literally any situation they need is broken, to say the least. It almost makes me want to go back to 5th ed. to try it out!
Ever since announcing an official timeline for this popular remake, Square Enix has been dropping teasers and trailers left, right and centre. And even though I never played the original, I still know just how exciting it is.
The trailers and leaked images all look amazing, with all the quality of modern games and all the character of the original Final Fantasy VII. Even the gameplay shots that came out yesterday nicely bring the classic game that fans like Shane have been waiting for into modern game design.
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with it, and whether it measures up to the expectations fans have for it!
Now it’s your turn. What announcements and releases are you looking forward to (or not so much)?