Big news out of Digitimes this week, with a rumour that production of Nintendo’s NX has been postponed from mid-2016 to the first quarter of 2017 in order to improve the integration between the system’s home console and handheld components and to add VR functions to the hardware. If this report is accurate then it will of course mean that the NX will miss its previously mooted March 2017 release date. The quantity of the stock that Nintendo has on order has also been reportedly halved, seeing a decrease from 20 million units to between 9.5 and 10 million units. The reason that Nintendo has given for decreasing the hardware on order is that the console market is shrinking – which is a remarkable claim considering that the console market is growing for any gaming box not branded with the Nintendo kiss of death. Finally, the handheld portion of the system is said to feature a screen that is between five and seven inches in size, and the report states that it features joysticks [though there is still no mention of buttons].
Two things which must be initially stated right off the bat are that the addition of VR functions does not necessarily mean that a VR headset will actually be included with the console, and this rumour might not even be accurate. VR is the ill-conceived talk of the industry at present, and so it is no stretch of the imagination to suppose that an attention-starved industry hanger-on might have simply made a baseless claim about the NX derived from nothing more than industry trends. Assuming that the rumour is true then the VR functionality that Nintendo is adding to the console might simply consist of components included to facilitate the operation of a VR headset which is to be sold separately some time after launch.
If, on the other hand, Nintendo wishes to include a VR headset with every unit sold, then this report will pretty much read as their suicide note. The inclusion of a VR headset will effectively obliterate Nintendo’s capacity to lower the price on the NX, which is one of the factors that led to the ruination of the Wii U. Moreover the NX’s rumoured specs are already thought to be too low to accommodate a quality VR experience, so that combined with a cut-price set of pack-in goggles would likely lead to an exceedingly mediocre user experience. Then consider the fact that the NX will launch well after Sony’s own $400 VR goggles hit the market – VR really seems unlikely to be Nintendo’s key gimmick for the NX, as it will have already saturated its potential market by the time the NX launches. Then again, Nintendo does love to chase a fad.
Zelnick Trashes Some Trash
From one VR story to the next – since the prospect of VR was first raised, Lusipurr.com has consistently attempted to dump buckets of cold water upon the utopian dreams of virtual reality’s evangelists – and it appears that we are among good company. We have dismissed the technology as being an overpriced hipster wank with the potential market of several thousand technology bloggers, and that appears to also be the position of Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick. During the Cowen and Company Technology, Media & Telecom Conference Zelnick dismissed any possibility that Take-Two would support VR within the immediate term, citing the lack of a viable market:
“It’s way too expensive right now. There is no market for a $2000 entertainment device that requires you to dedicate a room to the activity. I don’t know what people could be thinking. Maybe some of the people in this room have a room to dedicate to an entertainment activity, but back here in the real world? That’s not what we have in America.
We have like $300 to spend on an entertainment device and we do not have a dedicated room. We have a room for a screen, a couch, and controllers. We don’t have something where you stand in a big open space and hold two controllers with something on your head–and not crash into the coffee table. We don’t have that.
I’m not unexcitied; I’m just saying it remains to be seen. There are impediments.”
Obviously this $2000 price point is concerning consumers who do not already own a PC capable of running VR [which requires a GPU capable of concurrently running two 1080p screens at 120 frames per second], but it is an excellent point even if this were not the case. If an individual already owns a powerful gaming PC, then a VR setup would still cost around $1000 for the goggles, controllers, and a few overpriced demos. The other side of the coin is Playstation VR, yet the PS4 is not going to be capable of running most AAA software in VR – as the baseline requirement that Sony demands for VR titles is that they run in dual 1080p at a consistent 60 frames per second. AAA developers are not going to want to sacrifice visual spectacle in order to get games running up to spec, so this market will be limited to tech demos too. On top of this Zelnick makes a pertinent point about space requirements. Some software can be played on the couch, but other titles require as much or more space as Kinect, with the added caveat that straying beyond this space will risk players falling cunt over head and breaking their necks. On top of all of this, one also understands that most regular AAA games tend to be too visually stimulating for gamers to handle in a VR environment. What all these factors amount to is a compelling set of reasons for most prominent development studios to stay well away from the development of VR titles. This author fully expects that the only prominent games to be released for VR will be last generation software like Doom 3 and Half-Life 2.
Censorwatch: Criminal Girls 2
Another week, another Japanese game is censored. This one is no shock however, as, much like 2015’s Criminal Girls, 2016’s Criminal Girls 2 will have the shit censored out of it before it is allowed to go on sale in September. Criminal Girls 2 is a niche title. It is so niche in fact that NIS are not even dubbing the dialogue into English for its release. It is also so niche that NIS cannot afford to have it fail to pass ESRB certification, as the process is too costly for them to take any chances. This has resulted in their approach to localisation reigning in a certain extent of the unique and perverted premise that was the game’s primary selling point.
The changes that Criminal Girls 2 has undergone appear to be primarily aimed at altering the context of the game rather than eliminating fanservice from the game. One of the ERSB’s primary hang-ups appears to be the agency of the girls, and their ability to consent to the discipline meted out to them. To this end NISA has sought to edit out anything which contextually suggests that the girls are being punished against their will. Art has been redrawn in order to remove any visible restraints from the girls, the act of ‘punishment’ has now been changed to ‘motivation’, and all the dialogue and moaning during the ‘motivation’ scenes has been completely omitted. In terms of lewd content it seems to be mostly intact, although the English version features a pink fog filter. The filter does slightly obscure the image, but not as much as one would imagine. Basically all these censorship changes are just a copy and paste of the changes made to the previous title, so anybody who has played that game will know what to expect.
Ultimately, people who were interested in this game for the unique bondage shtick of its premise might feel a bit disappointed, but people who were just after the fanservice will still find themselves well catered for. NISA’s motivation for these changes does make sense, so it seems unnecessary to punish them as one might a publisher who has gutted sexy content at the behest of SJWs. That said, anybody with a zero tolerance stance toward censorship will still have some serious questions to ask themselves before purchasing the game.
Anime Spotlight: Blood-C 
By day Saya Kisaragi is an adorkable klutz, who sings about how happy she is on the way to school each morning – which is totally fucking adorable and hilarious [and pretty catchy]. By night Saya Kisaragi is a kickass sexy schoolgirl warrior, who slays the local demon hordes under the tutelage of her father. Duality is the name of the game here – and the divide between the slice of life daytime segments and the dark and gory nighttime segments are rather stark and disjointed. Demon designs are cool and kind of disturbing, while the gore is fairly satisfying. Then there is the character of Saya, who is immediately likable. On the other hand the start of Blood-C feels kind of slow-going – though this author has only watched the first two episodes. It is tempting to recommend Blood-C based on some of the strong elements seen in the first couple of episodes, yet one would only be recommending it on faith that it actually gets its shit together and does something interesting with its potential. One definitely plans to stick with it though, as Saya Kisaragi seems like best waifu material. Blood-C finished airing in 2011, and is available in its entirety over at Funimation.