Episode 7: Impact Of Video Game Streaming Services, Pokemon, Labo VR and Destiny 2

Intro

Welcome to This Week In Video Games Episode 7, my name is Tom Kershaw and I hope you’re doing well and having a good week. This is a podcast all about the world of video games.   

This week we’ll get into the impact of streaming services in video games – we’ll take a look at the current market, the new players about to enter the game, a look at how streaming services have impacted TV and speculating what could happen in video games. In the news this week Nintendo   have announced Pokemon Sword & Shield as well as announcing a new Labo VR build-you-own headset. Also The Season of the drifter has started in Destiny 2 and Microsoft have announced a disc-less Xbox One. 

If you want to get involved in the show email us on podcast@thisweekinvideogames.com or check out the latest on the website. Send in your questions, comments and video game stories – we’re always interested in hearing from you. We’re also available on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram – so search This Week In Video Games on your favourite platform and join in the conversation. 

Welcome to the show everyone. I hope you are doing well. This week I am trying out my new equipment and my mobile recording studio while I’m away from London on my winter holiday. Hopefully the sound is good. Thank you so much for taking the time to download or stream This Week In Video Games. I really do appreciate every listen we get and you taking the time out to hang out with me each week and talk about video games. 

Plug
Games My Mom Found is a podcast where each week the hosts dive into a different retro game.  Some are great, some are not.
https://gamesmymomfoundpodcast.podbean.com
Lets get into what I’ve been playing this week. 

What have I been playing? 
This week I’ve mainly been playing my Switch as I’ve been traveling – I’ve finally gotten into Hollow Knight and I’ve been playing through more of Super Mario Brothers 2. Hollow Knight is great and it’s a good time to be playing through before the DLC comes out soon. 

In Super Mario Brothers 2 I’ve got to the end of world 2 to take on TryClyde – but I’m yet to defeat him. Don’t forget to send in your Super Mario Bros 2 stories and memories to the podcast on podcast@thisweekinvideogames.com

The Impact Of Video Game Streaming Services

Technology and content align to create the perfect environment for video game streaming services to innovate.

Streaming services are coming to video games. In many ways they are already here, but now some of the biggest players in the game are unveiling their new plans and implementing strategic shifts that could have a lasting impact on how we play the games we love. New players with deep pockets are coming into the gaming space and could be about to shake up an industry that’s been spearheaded by Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft for the last 20 years.

Google recently announced their keynote at the upcoming GDC in San Francisco from March 18th – 22nd 2019. They are rumoured to be discussed or perhaps unveiling the next steps for Project Stream. Microsoft also have their eyes on GDC by semi-announcing (and then swiftly deleting) plans to unveiling Xbox Live to Nintendo Switch and mobile devices.

A similar seismic shift is about to happen in the gaming space. Where as the infrastructure has been there for a few years now in the video and audio space, the gaming space is different as Lag issues wouldn’t be acceptable by customers in the current market Service providers have to take into account input from the player, rather than just beaming content to users
However, with the emergence of fast internet speeds now becoming widely adopted as networks upgrade their lines either through existing cables or through new fibre systems, the ground work is being laid for streaming to revolutionise gaming.

Current Market
Streaming services aren’t new in the video games space and they are part of our daily lives outside of gaming. Services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Now TV are widely used in the UK.
Currently out there we have Playstation Now, Nintendo Switch Online and Xbox Game Pass. Let’s take a look at each of these services in a little more detail.

Playstation Now
Sony offer over 250 PS4 titles plus 350 other titles to stream or download. Playstation Now is available on PS4 or PC and you need a DualShock Controller and a PSN account if you want to play on either. There’s a number of Playstation Exclusive titles, 250 PS4 games and 350 other games. Sony recommends an internet connection of 5Mbps or above and a wired connection for the best experience.

GeForce Now
Nvidia’s GeForce Now isn’t like the previous entries in the list who mainly provide content. GeForce now is about providing you the capability to play AAA PC games on any device running Bootcamp.

Rather than pay a subscription service for a library of games, you buy the games as per normal through Steam, Battle.net or Epic Game stores.

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass isn’t a streaming service, more like a downloadable library of content.

Nintendo
Outside of Nintendo Switch Online Nintendo are experimenting with streaming games in Japan. In 2018 Assassins Creed Odyssey and Resident Evil 7 were tested. Nintendo are yet to bring these services to the West, however these are interesting moves from Nintendo.

Historically Nintendo have been behind the curve with regards to online services and features for their games, so starting on a strong platform and capitalising on the success of their Nintendo Switch could be a good move.

New Players

As well as the ‘traditional’ big 3 we have a number of new players to the game and they come with significant technology and financial advantages.
Project Stream – Google The software giant have been testing their ‘Project Stream’ in 2018 with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey being playable through the Chrome browser. In 2018 Google hired former Xbox & Playstation executive Phil Harrison and have been picking up game developers ever since. It’s not yet known if the streaming service will have some kind of physical element (like a console) or just be available through the browser.

Project Stream required 25Mbps minimum and apparently the results are impressive. One benefit of Google’s Project Stream is how easy it is to get up and running. Simply go to the website in Chrome, sign in and start playing.
Google also have a project codenamed Yeti, which is rumoured to be the hardware component of Project Stream. Perhaps this is something similar to a chrome cast device enabling any device with a USB port to become a console. We should find out more from Google during their scheduled GDC keynote this year.

Microsoft Project XCloud
Phil Spencer talked about Project XCloud at E3 2018. Project XCloud is the ability to play Xbox games on any devices, anywhere where you have a good enough internet connection.

Kareem Choudhry discussed more in a post on Microsoft’s blog in 2018.
“The future of gaming is a world where you are empowered to play the games you want, with the people you want, whenever you want, wherever you are, and on any device of your choosing.” 
Kareem Choudhry – Corporate Vice President, Gaming Cloud, Microsoft
Microsoft believe they have the technology and the content to be one of the biggest players in the video game streaming service market. They have been developing their Azure Cloud network to help keep the latency low. Microsoft have been openly trading in a library of content with it’s users through the Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft are testing their service in 2019 and I’m sure we’re going to get more details at this years E3.

Amazon
Amazon already own Twitch, the biggest broadcaster live video game content creation. There are rumours of Amazon going into the video game market by capitalising their install base on Fire TV, Echo and handheld device range.
Amazon may yet have an ace up their sleeve with Amazon Web Services – the cloud based infrastructure. Reports have stated any service from Amazon wouldn’t be available until at least 2020. So we still may have to wait a while to see what Amazon do in this space.

Apple
Apple are rumoured to be entering the video game streaming service business according to cheddar. Discussions with developers started in the latter half of 2018. The service would be a subscription services for unlimited access to games per month.
Exact details of price and content have not been revealed. However Apple have been recently investing in services rather than hardware due to slowing sales in 2018. These are merely rumours at the moment. However Apple’s investment in music services could pave the way for a similar games service in the not-too-distant future.

Streaming services impact on broadcasting

TV and movies have seen the impact of streaming services already. Netflix, Amazon, iPlayer, YouTube, Facebook and Hulu taking on the the traditional broadcasters.

In 2019 new players will enter the video streaming market with Disney and AT&T looking to launch their services. Disney have a wealth of content including traditional Disney/Pixar, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Starwars, National Geographic and ESPN. In the UK the BBC and ITV have announced plans to join forces and release their BritBox service.

Younger audiences have moved away from traditional broadcasting as content is now available to them anywhere and on multiple devices. This has led to traditional scheduled broadcasting companies having to change or risk being left behind.

Here are some impact highlights from streaming services on traditional broadcasters:

  • Only 18% of TV shows in the US increased their ad rates in autumn 2018
  • A growing number of TV shows in the US now have a median viewer age of 60, falling outside the 18 – 49 range that advertisers target
  • 24% of families no longer subscribe to traditional cable TV in US compared to 16% in 2017
  • In July 2018 in the UK there were more subscriptions to Netflix, Now TV and Amazon rather than traditional cable/satellite services like Sky and Virgin media
  • Traditional broadcasters face losing up to £1bn per year if Amazon, YouTube and Facebook become the dominant players in the TV game

In summary traditional broadcasting companies are losing ad revenue and younger audiences as content is available on more devices on demand. TV Streaming services have come into the market and now are starting to dominate the companies that once ran the show.

Streaming services potential impact on video games

Streaming services impact on video games is no doubt going to be a big deal. The following is speculation as we don’t know exactly how it’s going to play out, but some comparisons could be made to the TV, movie and music industries.

Traditional companies less relevant? The video games industry has been run by 3 main players for approximately 20 years in Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. We’ve seen in the TV and music industries the traditional companies becoming less relevant. Perhaps the streaming services weren’t taken too seriously by the TV execs. Now we’re seeing the streaming services flexing their financial muscles with Netflix spending up to $15 billion on content in 2019. That’s five times the budget of the entire BBC.
Could we see a major player in the video game space lose out? Could one of Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo be usurped by one of the new players?
Technology & audiences With Google, Amazon and Apple reportedly looking to enter the market they bring their wealth of technological experience and engineering teams with them. Streaming services are all about delivering massive amounts of data to the audience and responding to instant feedback. Could the technology advantage pay dividends here?
Also each of the new players has amazing reach across the globe with hardware and software in many homes already. If streaming games was made possible on all Android, Amazon and iPhone/iPads instantly then those audiences could move away from traditional consoles if the barriers and friction were removed.

Hardware Since the 80’s we’ve been buying consoles to put under our TVs at home or in our bags as we play games on the move. Could the impact of video games streaming services mean the end of consoles?

Google released Chromecast to the world allowing us to streaming video content to our TVs. Perhaps they will announce something similar allowing us to stream games and connect a controller to any TV?

Everyone has a phone, some people have two. Could these devices be used as mobile gaming ‘consoles’ as companies look to take advantage of the wealth of devices out there right now? Could the removal of the console be a good thing? Perhaps less physical clutter and less cables under the desk.
It would be a sad day when consoles are no longer produced as opening one up is always the highlight of my year. This event has marked so many birthdays, holidays and days off work in my lifetime.

Price In the TV space the price of a monthly subscription to a streaming services is approximately the same as going out to the movies (or less). This perceived low price for wealth of content draws in customers and gets them hooked onto the habit – providing cheap, on demand content on every device you own.

Could this be the end of £60 video games? Currently we have streaming services prices between £7.99 – £12.99. I would imagine the price point would be an interesting battle ground for companies as there’s a certain expectation set with TV streaming services.

Instant access We could be looking at a future where we can play the latest games on any device we own where the internet is fast enough. I remember hosting Pro Evo sessions at my house before where friends would come over to play, now we could be on the move, at home or at work and play the latest AAA titles with our friends. That’s no small feat of engineering and looking at how far we’ve come in the past few years blows my mind.
There’s lots to look forward to with the world of streaming services and 2019 looks to be the year where major players come into the market to shake things up.

News

Pokemon Switch is now Pokemon Sword and Shield.
Today The Pokemon Company finally revealed the new Pokemon game coming to Nintendo Switch. Pokemon Sword and Shield will be set in the brand new Galar region. The Galar region will feature industrial cities, mountains, open fields and looks a little bit like the UK – hopefully with less rain.

The Pokemon Company also revealed the 3 starter Pokemon Grookey (grass), Scorbunny (fire) and Sobble (water).

The Pokemon Direct was only approx 7 mins long however is was packed with details. It appears that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will re-introduce random encounters after moving away from them in Lets Go released in 2018. Check out the full Pokemon Direct on thisweekinvideogames.com

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are coming to Nintendo Switch later in 2019.

Nintendo announce their additions to Nintendo Switch Online for March.

Kid Icarus and StarTropics are coming to Nintendo Switch Online on 13/3 to add to already great NES line up.

Kid Icarus was originally released in 1987 for the NES and is a cult platform game which was a huge hit when released. The main protagonist, Pit, later featured in Super Smash Brother Brawl and the recent Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.

StarTropics is an action-adventure video game released by Nintendo in 1990 for the NES. Unlike most of Nintendo’s games, it was never released or intended to be released in Japan. It was released only in North America and Europe.

Both games are coming to Nintendo Switch Online on 13th March 2019.

Nintendo announce Toy-Con 4 which includes a build-your-own Nintendo Labo VR goggles.

Nintendo continue their strong announcements in recent weeks with their latest announcement of a new Labo kit – Toy-Con 4.

There’s a few options you can buy:

  • Toy-Con 4 VR kit includes VR goggles, blaster, camera, elephant, bird and wind pedal
  • Toy-Con 4 VR kit starter set includes VR goggles and blaster
  • Expansion set 1 includes camera and elephant
  • Expansion set 2 includes bird and wind pedal


The new Labo kit is released on Friday 12th April 2019 and you can find out more on Nintendo’s website.

CD Projekt Red will be at this years big show.

Cyberpunk 2077 is an upcoming action RPG adapted from the 1988 tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020. It is set fifty-seven years later in dystopian Night City, California, an open world with six distinct regions.

The game will be shown in depth at this years E3 CD Projekt Red announced on Twitter.

At E3 2018 CD Projekt Red showed off 48 mins of the game behind closed doors, which later was released onto YouTube.

Cyberpunk 2077 is definitely one of the most anticipated games coming soon to PC and consoles, however we don’t have a release date set yet. As well as gameplay the release date maybe incoming at this years E3.

Microsoft are releasing an Xbox that doesn’t have a disc drive.
According to Windows Central Microsoft have been experimenting with a disc-less Xbox codenamed ‘Xbox Maverick’ and it’s coming in May 2019. The new console will be called ‘Xbox One S All-Digital Edition’.

The console will be a regular Xbox One S but it won’t take discs to play games, you’ll have to download them through Microsoft’s online services.
The announcement of this Xbox console is not related to ‘the’ new Xbox, rumoured to be released in 2020.

The Master Chief coming to PC?

Inside Xbox returns next week promising ‘Exciting news’ for Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Rumours have been rife this week with Halo: The Master Chief Collection reported to be coming to PC very soon. Microsoft have released a teaser trailer for the upcoming Inside Xbox, which you can watch below.
As well as featured Halo: The Master Chief Collection there’s also news of DayZ, One Piece World Seeker, and Xbox Game Pass.
Inside XBOX will be broadcast on Mixer and Twitch at 10pm Tuesday 12 March.

Respawn artists have shared their Apex Legends artwork.

Apex Legend’s artists have shared their work in a blog post released yesterday. They announced the release on Twitter.

The blog post was written by Todd Sue, Apex Legends Art Director details environments, characters, weapons and gear. Todd thanks the team and the community for the support so far.
It’s beautiful collection of work and well worth looking through. Check out the whole collection here.

Destiny 2 Forsaken Season Of The Drifter launched this week
Season 6 of Destiny 2 started March 5th and is called The Season of The Drifter. 
This new season will bring new content for all players of Destiny 2 including base game, Destiny 2 Forsaken and Annual pass content holders.
Content for everyone includes:

  • Gambit Private matches
  • New Gambit maps
  • Power increase
  • New triumphs and lore
  • Exotic quest
  • New pinnacle weapons

Annual pass owners get:

  • Gambit Prime – A new single round mode of Gambit
  • Gambit player combat roles
  • New gambit prime weapons, gear and glows
  • The Reckoning – A new pinnacle PVE mode
  • Invitations of The Nine (Xur bounties)
  • Allegiance quest – Pick between The Drifter and the Vanguard
  • Gambit private matches and new maps
  • Power surge bounties to get up to 640 power

Season of The Drifter looks packed full of great content. The story is moving forward with Guardian’s choosing between The Vanguard and The Drifter and revealing more of his mysterious back story will be great. Also, The Drifter’s risky allegiance with The Nine could be one roll of the dice too many.


Gambit looks like it’s being taken to the next level through Gambit Prime. The player combat roles which include Reaper and Invader, come with their own glows and colour scheme allowing you to taunt your opponent at the start. The snake skins looks very cool indeed.

The Reckoning looks to build on Escalation Protocol and The Blind Well in Forsaken. Winning a round of Gambit Prime allows you entry into this new wave based endgame mode where you can understand more about The Nine, and earn top loot and rewards in this pinnacle PVE mode.
Check out more about Season of The Drifter here from Bungie.

Charts


1        1              ANTHEM    

3        2              FIFA 19    

2       3              FAR CRY NEW DAWN    

–        4              THE LEGO MOVIE 2 VIDEOGAME    

4       5              RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2    

–        6              DIRT RALLY 2.0    

5       7              METRO EXODUS    

8       8              MARIO KART 8 DELUXE    

10     9              SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE    

–      10              TRIALS RISING: GOLD EDITION   

Coming up

  • Devil May Cry 5 [PC, PS4, XBO] – March 8
  • Kirby’s Epic Yarn [3DS] – March 8
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Free Edition [PC, PS4] – March 12
  • MX vs ATV All Out Anniversary Edition [PC, PS4, XBO] – March 12
  • Motorsport Manager [Switch] – March 14
  • The Division 2 [PC, PS4, XBO] – March 15
  • Fenimore Fillmore: 3 Skulls of the Toltecs [PC] – March 15
  • Lego Marvel Collection [PS4, XBO] – March 15
  • One Piece World Seeker [PC, PS4, XBO] – March 15

Plug 
Games My Mom Found is a podcast where each week the hosts dive into a different retro game.  Some are great some are not. https://gamesmymomfoundpodcast.podbean.com

Outro
That’s it for This Week In Video Games today. Don’t forget to get in touch about anything you’ve heard on the show today and if you like what you hear – subscribe and leave us a nice review on iTunes – it really helps us get the word out about the podcast.   

On next week’s episode we have a very special guest – Joe Humfrey from Inkle Studios and we’re talking about their upcoming game Heaven’s Vault. Inkle were kind enough to give us a preview copy of Heaven’s Vault so we’ll be looking at first impressions of the game next week plus the interview with Joe. We’ll also be taking a look at The Division 2 and rounding up all the week’s news too.  

We’re always looking for input on the show too  so contact us on podcast@thisweekinvideogames.com or get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Search This Week in Video Games everywhere, and get involved. I hope you have a great week, we’ll get together again to chat about video games next weekend. Until then see ya soon. 

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