News: The Nintendo Shield

Donkey Kong Country Returns, But Not to Switch

Nintendo has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Nvidia this generation. For Nintendo this has resulted in a very capable chipset which has facilitated some surprisingly ambitious projects, and for Nvidia this has resulted in them gaining access to some of Nintendo’s biggest properties in the Chinese market.

Switch customers, not so much!

Nintendo is once again making good on their promises to Shield customers!

Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Punch-Out!! from the Wii, along with Twilight Princess from the GameCube have already hit the Shield TV in the Chinese market, with all of them updated to a crisp 1080p and 60 frames per second. Nintendo even updated Twilight Princess this January to make use of textures that had been enhanced through machine learning, which is the same technology that has recently been used by Final Fantasy fans to re-render the pre-rendered backdrops of the PS1 releases. Now it would seem that this relationship is still alive and well, because just this week Nintendo has released Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Shield TV in beautiful 1080p!

Switch owners BTFO! One is old enough to remember when Nintendo promised to have GameCube games on the Switch. Hell, one is old enough to remember when Nintendo promised GameCube games on the Wii U! Nintendo would like us all to forget that this ever happened. As far as Nintendo is concerned all of these promises have already vanished down the memory hole. Sneaky disreputable Nintendo! The Nintendo Switch is an almost identical piece of hardware to the Nvidia Shield TV, so when these games began to appear on Shield TV people naturally thought that it was only a matter of time until they also appeared on the Switch, but this has obviously not happened. There is no reason why these games could not be put right onto the Switch with a very minimal amount of effort on Nintendo’s part, but Nintendo chooses not to out of spite.

Wargroove Has Had to Remove Cross-Play On PS4

Wargroove was released in February of 2019 for the Switch, Xbone, and PC, and is a somewhat appealing looking 2D turn-based strategy game – though the game itself is not the important aspect of this story. The game features cross-play among all of these platforms, and players are able to play multiplayer, along with create and share user-made maps freely with one another. Wargroove has now been submitted to Sony, and will be coming soon, but the reason for such a long delay is because the developer Chucklefish has had to strip out all of the game’s cross-play features because they were not allowed on Sony’s platform.

... Welp, they wouldn't.

Truly, why would Soyny align themselves with such a poor company?

Readers could be forgiven for being slightly confused here, because it was only back in September of last year that they indicated that they were going to allow cross-platform play between consoles:

Following a comprehensive evaluation process, SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third party content. We recognise that PS4 players have been eagerly awaiting an update, and we appreciate the community’s continued patience as we have navigated through this issue to find a solution.

What Sony really meant to say is that they wanted Fortnight on their platform, and they were willing to say anything to get it. They did not really mean it though. Sony is now applying cross-play in the exact same way as they apply arbitrary censorship to the games on their platform, meaning that if a publisher is big enough then they can do whatever they damn well please, while smaller publishers and developers get absolutely shafted. Basically, Sony feels about cross-play the same way as Nintendo feels about GameCube games on Switch. They simply are not interested.

Epic Fixes the Shenmue Situation

It is something of an understatement to say that Epic does not enjoy much of a positive reputation among PC gamers at present. Of late Epic has been doing the Microsoft trick of buying game exclusivity out from under their competitors, only, unlike Microsoft, Epic often does not snap up these exclusivity rights until the eleventh hour, leaving Steam customers feeling like they have had the rug pulled out from underneath them. These tactics are not favourably regarded by many within the gaming community because it adds nothing of value, and is essentially just Epic paying money in order to take something away from customers of rival PC storefronts. Recently Epic came under fire from the backers of Shenmue III who bought the Steam version of the game, only to have Epic snag exclusivity rights for that game. The possibility of a refund had been up in the air until this week when Epic’s Tim Sweeney confirmed on Twitter that they would be handling backer refunds:

This is about the best outcome anyone could have hoped for.

The Shenmue III situation has been solved.

Epic is funding the cost of all Kickstarter refunds resulting from Shenmue III’s move to the Epic Games store, so that refunds won’t reduce Ys Net’s development funding.

He then went one better and confirmed that Epic would also be handling all such refunds going forward:

When future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores, we’ll either coordinate with colleagues at the other stores to ensure key availability in advance, or guarantee refunds at announcement time.

Welp, not too many people saw that coming. Most people were expecting that either Ys Net would have to pick up the tab, else (more likely) the Shenmue III backers would be shafted by the developer. There is nothing that could be done to make everyone 100% happy, and it still does suck for people who have been waiting years to get the game on Steam, but at least nobody is left out of pocket this way. So well done to Epic for handling the situation in a responsive way.

3 comments on “News: The Nintendo Shield”

  1. There is no reason why these games could not be put right onto the Switch with a very minimal amount of effort on Nintendo’s part, but Nintendo chooses not to out of spite.

    Cue the vapid potatohead screaming, “ACKTCHUALLY IT’S JUST SCKEDJULING!”

    “SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third party content.”

    Select as in “Fortnite”. Very select indeed. One-game only select.

    So well done to Epic for handling the situation in a responsive way.

    I would prefer if Epic left alone any title already announced, and pursued new exclusivity rights for future games. That way there is no sense of ‘bait and switch’ for people expecting titles to hit Steam only to find out that they will be on Epic instead.

    But, I do acknowledge that if they did that, it would be extremely difficult to get their storefront off of the ground. No major titles will want to pledge exclusivity five years from now to a storefront that hasn’t got anything -today-, so Epic has to have meaningful exclusives now if they want to extract those kind of contracts for the future.

    As long as they undertake to ensure that no customers will be shafted, I suppose this is acceptable. I think having some competition between Epic and Steam will be good for developers, who have long simply had to accept Steam’s rates as the necessary evil of doing business on the PC. Now they have another choice, so Steam and Epic will have to compete with one another in other to entice devs to exclusivity deals, and this should mean a better situation for users who will also be subject to the competition for non-exclusive deals. Steam and Epic will both want to earn a user’s sale, so there should be competitive pricing and deals.

    The funny thing is that this is all competition around a nonce. PC users don’t *have* to make a choice between Steam and Epic: they are both free platforms, so PC users can easily install both without any issues. It’s not like having to plunk down several hundred dollars in order to buy into a console environment! In this case, the user holds all the cards–as long as there is no collusion between Epic and Steam, that is.

  2. One game is indeed select. The selectest of the select. Positively Calvinist Select.

    > as long as there is no collusion between Epic and Steam, that is.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath against that. Once they figure out they can do more evil together rather than trying to crush the other, PC gamers are gonna feel that pinch.

  3. @Lane: Once they figure out they can do more evil together rather than trying to crush the other, PC gamers are gonna feel that pinch.

    :(

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