Weekend Short-Takes: 9/12/14

Microsoft to Buy Minecraft Developer Mojang -- Report

 

Simon Wu: 

Wow. Firstly, sources say that the just-released Minecraft for PS4 is safe in any potential deal and won't be killed off in its infancy. Although it seems like a good idea to cripple the rival that is so clearly beating the Xbox with the kitchen sink for eight straight months now, according to NPD, as Alex notes with the Tomb Raider exclusive (which was only timed in nature), the backlash was immense. It would not endear the Xbox One to those who might be looking to get either both platforms or upgrade. What is a good idea, however, is to bring the platform directly to Windows Phone, as Minecraft Pocket Edition is already available for Android and iOS. In addition, with Minecraft under its wing, Microsoft could do something very interesting by implementing a seamless save system and possibly even persistent world features across all of its platforms. That would be an exclusive worth noting. 

Alex Miller: 

This would be a great acquisition for Microsoft, as Minecraft seems to be the indie project that never quits. More than two years after its console debut (on Xbox Live first) it is still an incredibly popular game. The fact that Microsoft is doing this now, after the launch of its new console in whose cap an exclusive Minecraft version might have been a pretty feather, and after the game has launched on the platform of its rivals is an interesting one. Redmond received a lot of backlash over its acquisition of the next Tomb Raider game as a console exclusive, albeit timed. They might have gotten the same again (and quite probably worse as I feel Minecraft is far more popular these days) had they taken a previously cross-platform game and made it an exclusive. However, what they might have managed to do here, should the sale go through, is make it so a big Microsoft sign has to come up anyone fires up Minecraft on their PS3/4, something I have a hard time seeing Sony allow. If they can make Sony the bad guys while also acquiring an incredibly lucrative IP, then maybe Microsoft and Xbox's new regime has learned a thing or two from past mistakes. 

Jonathan Tung: 

Once again, another rumor regarding a potential buyout regarding an indie game company. While the world doesn't have much to get in terms of evidence, a potential buyout of Mojang could prove disastrous for Microsoft unless they happen to play their cards right. We've already seen similar deals happen before, such as Zynga's acquisition of OMGPop following the wide success of DrawSomething, and look what happened. And look at their other titles, Cobalt and Scrolls: none of them have even yet to reach the wide success Minecraft has had on the video game landscape. So am I saying Microsoft is betting on a one-trick pony? Possibly. But unless they do something really stupid (such as making a Minecraft 2 exclusive to Xbox One and PC), this could prove to be one of the less idiotic acquisitions Microsoft has pulled off in recent years (including their acquisition of Rare, and look what happened to those guys). 

winbeta.org 

Grand Theft Auto V Release Dates and Exclusive Content Details for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

 

Simon Wu: 

First off, this looks gorgeous. Every single image in that post. Secondly, this just begs the question: why couldn't Ubisoft have done this with Watch_Dogs? Having a previous-gen release followed by a next-gen release maybe not several months later, but some period after, with actual current-gen performance and graphics. Instead, as we all well know, Ubisoft intentionally handicapped the visuals on all platforms and hid the good graphics, as many different modders can attest to. Hell, they even got the right idea with Assassin's Creed by making two different games altogether, each taking full advantage of their respective generation's performance. It just reinforces GTA as the uncontested leader in open-world games, especially with their continued support and evolution of GTA Online (although Jonathan has a quip about that). 

Alex Miller: 

GTA retook the open world genre from Saint's Row with GTA V and has not let go since. As Simon points out, Watch Dogs just did not do enough to supplant it and now that it's making the jump to next gen I can see it being one of the top games for another year or two depending on how well they support GTA Online. One thing that is sort of worrying, however, is the fact that this generation has been defined by remakes. Many of the biggest, most anticipated titles so far are remakes of popular games from the last generation (such as this one, the Halo: The Master Chief Collection, The Last of Us: Remastered). While Destiny might change this, the fact that the top games aren't actually new shows a worrying lack of creativity with all the tools at developers' disposal with these new consoles. Hopefully we will see this change in the coming year. 

Jonathan Tung: 

All I have to say: we get a date for the remaster and still have no clue when Rockstar will be implementing heists. 

rockstargames.com 

Sony Treating Destiny Like a First-Party Game

 

Simon Wu: 

As Microsoft desperately searches for a new champion title following the marginally impressive release of Titanfall, Sony's big gamble appears to be paying it big dividends thus far. Even though both titles were very much online-focused games for this new generation of consoles, Sony, Activision, and Bungie were far more coherent and directed in their marketing pitch on a forward-looking persistent world, while Microsoft, EA, and Respawn spent much of their time defending the lack of a single-player campaign and online-only functions. Once again, we see that so much of this console race has been decided not by the merits of the consoles or games themselves (which remain quite level), but perception. 

Alex Miller: 

Activision seems to have done quite well for itself here. It's always nice to be the prettiest girl at the ball with everyone fighting for your hand, and with the hype around Destiny that’s exactly what Activision, by extension, has become. Sony has definitely spent more on dinner and looks to be reaping the rewards, which is all the worse for Microsoft, as not only do they lose out with exclusive content going to their rival, but their former subdivision is driving profits for their enemy just to rub salt in the wound. Microsoft's insistence on offering exclusives, instead of exclusive content on cross-platform games like Sony, seems to have stalled here, but in the long term I'm not sure if it isn't the better strategy. But they will have to get to the long term first, and for that they need something that will drive sales with Destiny-like numbers. 

destructoid.com

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