Games Inbox: Has the FPS gone out of fashion?

The Evening Inbox debates the morality of lootboxes and gambling, as one reader has trouble playing video games in the heat.

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Just a fad

With the talk of Overwatch and Call Of Duty lately it made me realise something: I can’t remember the last time I played a first person shooter. Fortnite is third person, so it’s not that, so I guess maybe it was Destiny 2 either earlier this year or late last? Just as I was getting bored of it.

But apart from the high-profile ones I’ve just mentioned does it not seem as if first person shooters in general are falling out of fashion? Battlefield is at its lowest point ever, Battlefront never amounted to much, and I can’t remember what the last high-profile new shooter was. (Mind you, I can’t remember what the last high-profile anything was, but that’s another story.

I don’t say this as either a negative or a positive but it is something that would’ve sounded impossible last gen. It just goes to show you how nothing lasts for ever with these sort of things. Some day we’ll be saying that battle royale was just a fad…


Blades nostalgia

I almost got PTSD from seeing that video of the original Xbox One dashboard in your story on the new one. That thing was just awful and the current one is terrible too. If they’ve improved things than great but I can’t say that mock-up was particularly encourage. It’s just all too busy.

When I start up a console there’s usually only one thing I want to do with it. That’s not necessarily play games but it is something specific, like watch a film or buy some DLC. I want to go straight into that and ignore everything else. The way Microsoft design their interface I think they think we all spend hours skipping between one feature to the other.

I haven’t got that sort of time to waste. And I certainly don’t want to spend time working through endless menus and constantly selecting the wrong thing because Microsoft can’t design an interface properly. I miss the blades.
Kong King


Virtual value

There are a few major differences between the likes of Panini stickers and Lego minifigures when compared to loot boxes.
1. Stickers and minifigures are all created in equal quantities.
2. Stickers and minifigures can be traded between other people.
3. You can buy the stickers and minifigures you are missing directly from the supplier.
4. With stickers and minifigures the goal is usually to build a collection.

Whereas with loot boxes:
1. Items are tiered with common, rare, and ultra-rare varieties.
2. Items generally cannot be traded.
3. You cannot buy specific items directly.
4. The goal with loot boxes is to get the ultra-rare items with the best stats.

So with the Panini stickers if all you want is Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Christiano Ronaldo you can just buy those cards directly. Whereas with loot boxes if you want the three items with the best stats you have to play a game of chance where the odds are very much against you.

One of the disconnects between the legislation and reality is that the legislation does not assign any monetary value to the virtual items as they cannot be resold, due to this it means there is no acknowledgement that the ultra-rare items are more valuable than the common items. Sure, they are all technically worth 0p but if the ultra-rare items are more useful in-game then they are more desirable and therefore arguably more valuable.


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Unpredictable choice

Let’s be honest, it’s not every day you can predict Nintendo but it’s obvious that Waluigi is going to be the very last character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I believe that leaves two more?

I personally would love to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles involved. Not just any turtles but the ones from the SNES classic Turtles In Time. That continuous slam move would be very interesting during high octane battles, plus there are four of them.

I would also like to see Tingle get involved, tying people to balloons and watching them float away sounds quite amusing.

Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales is a push, as is Tiger Woods with a golf club but hey, stranger things have happened in gaming.

Anyone else got anyone they want to see in there?

GC: We would not say that is obvious at all. All three DLC fighters so far have been third party characters and there are only two slots left. Also, Waluigi is already a support character. By comparison, the Turtles or Scrooge McDuck seem much more likely.


Kids’ game

Just a thought on the GTA Online casino. Isn’t GTA an 18-rated game? If so why should there not be an activity that is legal for 18-year-olds?

I haven’t played GTA V at all, and I’m not saying that having a casino is OK, but there does have to be some parental responsibility about the games they let their kids play!
The Dude Abides

GC: Parental responsibility? Ha, good one! (In all seriousness, even if it was only adults playing it’s still a dubious addition to a game that already encourages addictive behaviour and excess spending on virtual items.)


Catching fire

As I write this, my phone tells me that tomorrow – Thursday – will be over 30 degrees! And that is coming after the skies above Hinckley exploded with a furious light show.

So that means everything will be on fire. The air will be on fire. The water will be on fire. The ice will actually be on fire. People will be on fire, I will be on fire, small animals will be on fire. Everything. Everyone. Everywhere. On fire.

I wonder what that will mean for any play sessions. You may scoff, but I have had PCs and laptops turn themselves off when they get too hot. I wonder how my Switch will fare…

Because that too, as I have already pointed out, will be on fire.


Should’ve checked

In response to Galvanized Gamer’s Inbox expression of wish for Oniken to come to Switch, please pass on the fact that Oniken is already on the Switch eShop and has been there a good few weeks – enough time for it to have been discounted and bought by me.

Not that I’ve played enough of it yet to be able to offer any words of appraisal, mind.

GC: You’re not wrong. It’s £4.49 at the moment and does look rather good.


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It costs money = it has monetary value

On the topic of regulating loot boxes et al., I often see people bringing up Kinder eggs and collectible card games (like Steve did this morning).

I agree that there is a distinction to be made between all those things, and I honestly think it’s quite a simple one: when you open a Kinder egg you aren’t greeted with loud sounds, flashing lights, and other sensory factors that are specifically designed to give you a dopamine hit, but you do when opening lootboxes in games.

The feedback you get from opening lootboxes is intentionally designed to make you addicted to opening them, copying the design of things like slot machines in casinos.

I hope that the law does change and that it is worded in such a way that it focuses on the aspects of psychological manipulation, rather than whether or not there is an official way to cash out (which honestly always seems like a technicality.

The items do have a monetary value, which you could derive from the cost of a box, the number of items in the box, and the probability of getting the thing. Calculations I’m sure that games companies already have done.
Joseph Dowland


Inbox also-rans

Just to let people know but the DLC for Civilization VI is coming to Switch! I take that as a really good sign that the original must have sold well, which is very encouraging for future games and strategy in general.

Just read through your Fire Emblem: Three Houses review and came away pretty disappointed. By which I mean it was a good review and confirmed my fears from watching the videos… Oh well, maybe they’ll increase the budget next time.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, and asks what multiplayer game have you played the most overall?

No matter when it was released what multiplayer game, including the same game on different formats, have you played the most? What do you like so much about it and how often were you playing it at your peak?

Would you say you were good at the game and how much did that matter to your enjoyment? Who did you generally play against, in terms of friends and randoms, and were you playing mostly online or local? If you don’t play it much anymore what stopped you and what would get you back?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentra[email protected]


The small print
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