We're still in the traditional pre-holiday rush this week on the news front, with the seemingly very smooth launch of PSVR not leaving much room for anything else. In fact, many of the other happenings of significance were VR-related, with Steam's Dev Days event marking out the path for Vive's developmental future and Jon Carmack calling out VR's over-reliance on novelty at Oculus Connect.
There were still a few column inches going spare for those working on the traditional single plane, however, and this week Square Enix signalled its commitment to premium mobile games - which have brought it great financial and critical success with major IP adaptations of Hitman, Deus Ex and Tomb Raider. Square Enix Montreal head Patrick Naud told GamesIndustry.biz that, even when the shift to mobile was decided upon, the premium DNA of his studio meant that there was no real choice of which business model to follow.
"It's something we wanted to do," Naud said. "We were still in pre-production for the next Hitman and we thought, let's try this. The mindset of the studio was very, very premium. The mindset was Montreal, actually. Montreal is premium. It's about big, blockbuster experiences.
"There's so much content coming out that you're exposed to a lot, but it's not all good"
Patrick Naud, Square Enix Montreal
"There's so much content coming out that you're exposed to a lot, but it's not all good," he continued. "On a given week where you might get featured by Apple, there's another 100 games that aren't at the same level of quality. The player might not be getting a great experience, especially the kind of player that will try a lot of free-to-play games without being really satisfied. It doesn't help the cycle."
Microsoft had an interesting week, taking a relatively pro-active defensive stance whilst Sony took the stand. Phil Spencer was forced to qualify the comments of Albert Penello and other official sources about the relative value of the PS Pro and the Xbox Scorpio, focused on 4K capabilities, after rising suggestions that the company was fuelling console flame wars to try and take Sony's wind.
"I am of two minds on this one," he said in an interview with Gamespot, referring specifically to the Xbox One S' 4K Blu-ray drive. "I think us stating a feature that we have in our box that we think is an important selling feature of our box is completely within fair game.
"You won't see me bad-mouth what the other platforms are doing, but I am proud of the product decisions that we make and I think that we should be able to talk about it"
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox
"I don't think we crossed the line there, but as it was going on I also made sure that we remain respectful. I mean, we made a bet on a 4K blu-ray disc, and they didn't. And I'm not saying they made the wrong decision and we made the right decision, but if somebody wants a 4K UHD blu-ray drive we have a console that has one, then we're going to make sure that people know that. And if people say that's console wars, I think they're wrong.
"You won't see me bad-mouth what the other platforms are doing, but I am proud of the product decisions that we make and I think that we should be able to talk about it."
Spencer's division was able to take a more directly positive stance thanks to the latest sales figures for the eighth generation devices, which showed the Xbox One outperforming the PS4 in many major markets. NPD figures, due to be released next week, apparently show the One being the best-selling console in the US for the third month running, whilst GfK pegged it as the UK number one in September. Meanwhile, Gears of War 4 wowed the critics, making a comfortable transition to new developer The Coalition.
Over at Valve's Steam Dev Days event, news filtered out of a new prototype for improved controllers for the Vive, taking some clear inspiration from Oculus Touch. According to sources at the dev-only event, the new devices are primarily designed to combat the haptic dissonance of grasping objects, evolving closer towards actual hand-presence than ever before.
"There's a huge global audience, and thus opportunity, for the PlayStation VR. We are confident that it is going to dominate the market share of premium VR headsets due to its performance and competitive price"
Yuhui Wang, CEO, Oasis Games
But in truth, it was Sony's week. PSVR rolled out to homes with very few teething problems, likely lowering the blood pressure of executives across the board at the manufacturer. With it's sleek form factor and plug-and-play simplicity, the PlayStation HMD is the spearhead of living room VR - the standard upon which many will base their first impressions of the medium.
The launch has attracted the praise of developers and publishers alike, with Chinese company Oasis games betting the virtual farm by committing to launching five VR games within the 90-day launch window. In what may be an accident of design but could also be a sneaky dig, it's also been revealed that Sony's headset works quite happily on Xbox One and the Wii U, too, displaying the HDMI output on the cinema-esque private projection it uses for non-VR PS4 games.
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