Xbone and Series X Will Also Become Paper Weights
Several weeks ago TDT brought you the story that it was highly probable that PS4s will stop playing physical games once Sony turns off the servers. This has now been substantiated. People removed their PS4 batteries to see what would happen, and found that the PS4 will not play physical discs until the console is able to connect to Sony’s servers. This all seems to be down to PSN trophies, as the system attempts to load the trophy list before a game launches, and when it is unable to do so the game launch is aborted. This issue has begun to attract a lot of attention, and is being referred to online as #cbomb because each PS4’s CMOS battery is acting like a ticking timebomb. CMOS batteries typically have a life expectancy between five and seven years.
This is not just a Sony issue however. When Sony’s servers go dark and the PS4’s battery dies, at least owners will still be able to access their systems. They certainly will not be using them to play games, or any other media for that matter, but at least the system will still turn on, and the player will be able to access menus. This is not the case for Microsoft consoles. When owners of Xbone, Series S, or Series X consoles have their system data wiped (like when the console battery dies) they will not even get past the start screen without access to Microsoft’s servers. Launching a new console requires that the user connect it to their Xbox Live username, and without the ability to do that the consoles will not even reach the main menu!
This issue has managed to garner a lot of attention for the ‘Does it Play?’ Twitter account that raised it, and also a lot of clicks for the Youtube channels that covered it – and because of this they have attempted to keep the gravy train rolling in directions which really are not appropriate, and which will only cause confusion and disinformation. That is to say that they have been pushing hard the notion that the PS3 and PS5 are also subject to a ticking C-bomb – yet once one looks in to the matter they quickly find that all this means is that digital games will no longer work without server authentication. Just like our Steam libraries. It really is not the same issue. It kind of sucks that our digital games will one day no longer work, but anyone who made their digital purchases under the assumption that they were building a permanent library probably deserves to have their collection go up in smoke.
The situation is different when subverting the implied permanence of a physical game collection, and this is especially the case for PS4 since Sony initially marketed the system on the permanence of physical game ownership. This does not seem to be much of a problem for owners of PS3 and PS5 consoles however, as even after removing the CMOS battery PS3 games will still run from the disc, and PS5 games will do likewise, albeit with some caveats. Game libraries have not yet been exhaustively tested, but people have run into several instances of select PS5 software which will not correctly install on consoles that have had their batteries removed and are unconnected to the internet. Mortal Kombat XI for instance will not install beyond 97% – but one suspects that this may be because a lot of developers no longer see it as important to ship a complete game on disc, and so the game may have required a small patch to even be operable. That is just speculation though. Either way, install issues not withstanding, rest assured that if you were foolish enough to spend $1000 on Sony’s obnoxious hunk of plastic, then it will only be reduced to a paperweight due to a lack of games, and not due to Sony pulling the killswitch.
Days Gone Director has Some Interesting Words for Fans of His Game
In the same report where we learned that Sony were churning out a Last of Us remake, it was also disclosed that Sony had killed off plans for a sequel to Days Gone. Despite a largely negative reception from the gamejournopros, the game still managed to sell fairly strongly around its launch, and player numbers were subsequently bolstered through people who bought the game on sale, along with people who discovered it though Playstation Plus. All told, it seems like around 9,000,000 people have played the game – and this has translated into some significant upset at Sony for killing off the franchise. At present 50,000 Sony customers have signed a petition begging Sony to reconsider cancelling the Days Gone franchise.
One might think the game’s director would be pleased to see that his game made an impact on so many passionate fans, but instead John Garvin chose to shit all over his customers, telling them in an interview with David Jaffe that it was their fault the series had been canned for buying the game on sale:
I do have an opinion on something that your audience may find of interest, and it might piss some of them off. If you love a game, buy it at f***ing full price. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen gamers say ‘yeah, I got that on sale, I got it through PS Plus, whatever’.
At this point Jaffe rightly interjected by questioning how gamers could possibly be expected to love his game before they even had a chance to play it – but not to be deterred, Garvin continued on with his rambling nonsense:
I’m just saying, you don’t, but don’t complain if a game doesn’t get a sequel if it wasn’t supported at launch.
I think the uptick in engagement with the game is not as important as, did you buy the game at full price? Because if you did, then that’s supporting the developers directly.
Days Gone was a new, completely untested IP which rightly or wrongly received some fairly lukewarm reviews at launch. Despite this, it sold fairly well at launch. Not as well as bigger Sony franchises, but it certainly could have been a foundation to build on, especially with the way that the game was able to expand its audience through going on sale, and through being included with Playstation Plus. Despite this, Jim Ryan chose to kill off the franchise because it was not The Last of Us, and so its continued existence went against his mandate that every Sony game now has to be The Last of Us. Rather than being angry at Jim Ryan for destroying worldwide Playstation studios’ capacity for creativity and experimentation, John Garvin instead placed the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of the people who played his game. Do other games just not go on sale, or something? Is being bought while on sale a problem unique to Days Gone? This is all some really weak shit!
Square Enix Plans to Merge Visual Works and Image Arts into a Single Studio
Since the inception of 3D gaming the techniques involved in rendering high quality CGI FMV clips have been so different to the techniques used in rendering realtime graphics that it did not make much sense to integrate the two fields, as there was little potential synergy. More recently though these two fields have begun to converge, and with the still recent launch of the ninth console generation many AAA games are set to begin using many of the same rendering techniques as CGI feature films, albeit at a lower fidelity. Because of this there is so much overlap that in many cases it now makes more sense to combine CGI teams and realtime graphics R&D teams into a single unit. This is the case for Square Enix.
Visual Works was founded in 1997 to render FMV sequences for Final Fantasy VII, and along the way they also absorbed Square Pictures following The Spirits Within. Meanwhile, Image Arts is the Square Enix R&D team responsible for researching new graphics rendering techniques for game graphics. The overlap here is pretty obvious, and so the two studios are being combined into Image Studio, under the management of longtime Square Employee Takeshi Nozue. With any luck, this should give a nice boost to Square Enix realtime visuals.