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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 02.05.14: Playstation Now, Elder Scrolls Online, Gears of War, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 02.05.2014

Adam Larck has joined the game.
Todd Vote has joined the game.
Dan Watson has joined the game.
Sean Garmer has joined the game.

Quizmaster Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op, the game that probably won't result in a blowout like the Super Bowl, although we do score a lot more points. Why won't anyone give us a million dollars to advertise during the game? It's a conspiracy, I tells ya.

Start the game!

QUESTION ONE: With all the talk about Playstation Now, a rumour has popped up that Sony will be using their streaming service largely to emulate PS3 games, especially those that came at the end of the console cycle, and intends to use software emulation present on the PS4 to emulate PS1 and PS2 titles, similar to how backwards compatibility worked on previous Sony consoles. Would you be surprised (and/or pleased) if this were the case, and Sony wasn't going to put their entire library on their shiny new streaming service?

Adam Larck - If you have to pay per game, I'd rather be able to download a full game then just stream it. However, if it's a monthly fee (or somehow added into PlayStation Plus), I'd want to see everything be streaming based so I could play whatever I wanted when I want. The PS Now seems interesting, but without trying it yet I'll hold my judgment until it releases.

Todd Vote - So essentially, this would enable me to bust out the discs from my PS2, and play them on my PS4, without having to buy the games again? That would be surprising, and I would indeed be pleased if that is the way it ended up working. It doesn't mean Sony can't still put the entire library on the streaming service, they most definitely should still do that. There are a lot of us out here who missed out on some games due to picking a different system at the time.

Dan Watson - I'd be pretty disappointed. If I want to play PS3 games, I'd go out and purchase them. I don't see the need to be so heavy into this past generation when it is still supported. I'd much rather play titles that are harder to find or maybe get into the beginning of a series that is still releasing titles so I could get the background story on it.

Sean Garmer - Unless I can come upon a new job or I get blessed with an obscene amount of Birthday and Christmas money, I probably won't be buying a PS4 until this time next year. I decided to just go for a 2 for 1 special and get a 3DS and PS3 this year since they already have lots of games available I want to play. That being said, I'd love to use my PS3 and PS NOW to play some PS1 and PS2 classics I miss from those systems. Selfishly, I would hate to see the PS1 and PS2 games only be possible through emulation on the PS4. Because this means the PS3 gets left out in the cold due to the cell processor making emulation impossible. The only reason I think it's a good idea for emulation to go through is that it would free up server space for Sony to be able to have more PS3 titles on the PS NOW service. Because wouldn't this emulation thing be going against your own GAIKAI service? I would think that if you launch with a variety of games across all three of your previous consoles, especially since the PS1 and some PS2 games can easily be played on a mobile device or tablet it would appeal to more people. If they really only launch with just a handful of PS3 games I dont think PS NOW will be the big deal they want it to be. 

Quizmaster - Todd's answer is wrong and totally on me, when you use the words "backwards compatibility", many people jump to the conclusion he did. I was actually referring to being able to download PS1/PS2 games off the PSN, which was what they did on the PS3...well, eventually. Adam's thoughts reflect my own, for 283 points, with the added caveat that if we are paying per game, I'd better get all the PS1 games I already paid for on the PS3 for some lesser price. And while I'm wishing, I still haven't gotten that pony.

QUESTION TWO: News from the Elder Scrolls Online beta, in the first of what will probably be many such situations, it appears that PS Plus, Sony's online subscription service, will not be required in order to play ESO. However, over on the XBOne, you will require the paid Gold subscription in order to play the anticipated MMO. This may all be moot, as ESO isn't getting very good early reviews, but like I said, it's likely going to pop up again in the near future, so I have to ask...what the deal with Microsoft requiring yet another service to be hidden behind their pay window?

Adam Larck - I understand wanting to do everything behind the pay window for server security and stability, but if you're already paying a monthly fee for the game, isn't that enough? I can see a lot of people ignoring the Xbox One version and going for PC and PS4. That's what happened with FFXI, which is why FFXIV appeared only on PS3 and PS4 for consoles, and not the 360 or One.

Todd Vote - This is no different than the same policy Microsoft has been enforcing since the 360. Why are people still acting shocked by it? But I have a question, if PS+ is required on the PS4 in order to access multiplayer, does that mean you will be able to play ESO without it, but you will have to have PS+ in order to play ESO with other people?

Dan Watson - I get this from Microsoft's side. You can't pick and choose which titles require Gold to play online and which ones don't. Since Xbox Live came out, it has been known that to play online, you need to pay. It's $5 a month, I spend more than that on lunch each day. 

Sean Garmer - Sony themselves have gone on record saying that they wish they would have gone ahead and done what Microsoft did with Xbox Live and put everything behind the pay wall. But since online play was free on the PS3, they went the smarter route and introduced PS Plus as a companion service that grants you free games and other cool goodies. Microsoft puts everything behind the pay wall so no one should have expected anything different here. Every game requires LIVE Gold to play online and even with it's own subscription service to tack on to the initial price, Microsoft wasn't going to make an exception for one game out of the plethora already on their system. Good for Sony to continue doing what they do and not charging people extra for things, but honestly if you own a Xbox product and don't have Xbox Live already you aren't interested in this game anyway.

Quizmaster - Okay, now he has to be misinterpreting me on purpose. Todd, ESO is an MMO. You can't play it alone. In this case, they're saying you won't require the normally-required PS Plus subscription in order to access the multiplayer, as you would with other games. Which is why I also can't give anyone the points, because if Sony can pick and choose what games and apps don't have to use Plus, why can't Microsoft? Why do they get the benefit of the doubt?

QUESTION THREE: Meanwhile, Microsoft picked up the license on one of their former third party exclusives, the Gears of War franchise. The Gears series did introduce some revolutionary new concepts like Horde mode, but the story of the series pretty much finished up in the third instalment, and a fourth spin-off game was criticized for being bland and uninspired. The Gears license was handed off to Black Tusk (formerly Microsoft Vancouver), which already has another game in development, meaning a new Gear game could be a ways off. With all that said, iIs this deal a good move for Microsoft?

Adam Larck - Sure it is. Like Halo, Microsoft sees Gears of War as a huge franchise for them. Sure, the trilogy wrapped up, but there are plenty of side stories or stories set in between Emergence Day and the trilogy that can be told. Look for Microsoft to have many more games in this series that will keep bringing in good numbers for them.

Todd Vote - This is a very smart move. Gears of War was one of the Xbox 360's flagship exclusives. Microsoft was smart to do what was necessary to keep it in their sandbox. Even if the main series wrapped up, that doesn't mean you can't start a new trilogy in the same universe. Why cant Marcus and crew be a part of a new war in the future? Halo kicked off a new trilogy with Halo 4 after the original story wrapped with Halo 3. Why can't Gears do the same?

Dan Watson - I think this was more of a move to block any possibility of the title being brought to Sony. Microsoft may give us something more down the road but this may have just been a way to lock this title down for good as exclusive. 

Sean Garmer - This is just Microsoft securing that Gears doesn't go anywhere and it was a good move for Microsoft in the end. Putting Judgment aside, Gears has its fans and if Black Tusk is allowed to pull a Halo and begin a new chapter to the Gears saga I think the IP will be just fine. If Black Tusk can find a way to put more innovative things into Gears and create more compelling characters I don't see why we can't see a Gears 4, 5, and 6?

Quizmaster - Dan actually best recounted the near-official story, so I'll give him 1823 points. Even if Microsoft has no ideas right now for Gears, it was pretty certain that Epic was willing to sell the license to Sony if they got the chance, and Microsoft doesn't have enough established exclusive franchises to let even one slip away to the competition, because you can be sure Sony would have locked them up if they could.

QUESTION FOUR: So, we talked about Nintendo possibly considering a change in direction last week, and here's some of the ideas they revealed for the future after that statement: using smart phones to help advertise their Wii U games (making sure to note that they will not be putting any games on phones), putting original DS games on the Wii U eShop, and above all else, emphasizing the Wii U gamepad tablet on all their products going forward, making sure it becomes an integral part of all their games. Are you on board with Nintendo yet?

Adam Larck - I talked to a writer earlier about this, actually. I think the Wii U has a lot of wasted potential currently. There hasn't been a good job getting the public to see why they need this new system over the Wii, which has kept saturation low, which has kept developers from wanting to risk putting money into developing games for it. I'd love to say we'll get some great games for the system that will make it worth it, but that doesn't seem to be the case at this point outside of first-party games.

Todd Vote - It doesn't matter what they do to the Wii U, it is still underpowered. It is still lacking in 3rd party development. While I refuse to ever count Nintendo out of anything, there is nothing in the announcements that makes me say to myself "Holy crap, I've got to get the Wii U!"

Dan Watson - Nope. Nintendo needs to just call it a day and become like Sega. Sell some of those exclusive titles to Sony or Microsoft and make a killing. At this point, many of those titles aren't even in the now. Gamers have been stuck in this "realistic" concept in gaming and Nintendo doesn't offer that. It offers a care-free gaming that is often done with cartoon-like graphics.

Sean Garmer - I'm buying a Nintendo 3DS because of Pokemon X and Y and Bravely Default, plus access to DS games on the cheap. Also, the reason I'm going with the 3DS is because Nintendo knows how to make great handheld systems. The Wii U has been a failure and I don't understand why the Wii U tablet was not emphasized in every game from day 1? That is the cache of your system that makes it different than the Xbox 360 and PS3, PUSH THAT TABLET TO THE MOON!!!  I don't know that anything Nintendo does at this point with the Wii U will save it. But putting the DS Library on the E-Shop, pushing the Tablet, advertising more on smart phones, and making one linked Nintendo account helps people that already own the system enjoy it more. If Nintendo wants to consider a new strategy, why not make a Nintendo NOW service because with all of their first party games they could suck people into buying the Wii U better than anything else could at this point. 

Quizmaster - Sean is basically correct, for 2854 points, because the 3DS is where Nintendo is winning (and it's not even close), and he and everyone else should pick one up so we can all play Four Swords together. How did Nintendo manage to make a crazy dual-screen touchpad portable device work, and can't get the Wii U off the ground? Somebody answer me that one. Maybe next week.

BONUS QUESTION: I understand there was some sort of Superb Owl on the weekend? I suppose you could discuss that if you want. Now that football's over, what do you people do with your lives?

Adam Larck - The same thing I've been doing. I didn't catch much of the game, instead focusing on some writing and work around the house. I'll just keep doing that going forward, along with playing more DC Universe Online on PS4 and hopefully checking out Lightning Returns soon.

Todd Vote - Wait for preseason?

Dan Watson - I was working so no opportunity to watch it.

Sean Garmer - Now that Football is over, I can focus on watching more Hockey, Basketball, and Soccer as well. Plus I'm sure with the WWE Network just around the corner I'll be glued to that as well with all the old content that's going to be on there.



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