This is the GameSentral Rewind, a daily recap of the top gaming headlines.
Microsoft originally planned to sell 200 million Xbox Ones
According to Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, Microsoft originally planned to sell 200 million Xbox Ones.
Spencer explained the original plans, and how it has changed in an interview with Stevivor.
“The goal that the team had was to figure out how could we sell 200 million game consoles. We’ve never seen a console sell that many units. The biggest individual console, the PS2, did 120 million or something like that.”
-Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox
That explains the original idea of it being an all-in-one media device.
“When we came in after two-and-a-half years ago and started running the Xbox program. I centered us back on not trying to become something other than a game console. You don’t earn the right to be relevant in other categories of usage for the console until you’ve earned the gaming right, so let’s go make sure that’s what we deliver.”
According to Spencer, people are watching as much TV as they are gaming. However, the Xbox One needs to “succeed with games first before we get any permission to go do anything else.”
October Xbox Live Games with Gold announced
According to Xbox Wire, Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings will be available for free throughout the month of October for Xbox One owners. Prison escape game The Escapists will be free from Oct. 16-Nov. 15.
On Xbox 360, MX vs. ATV Reflex will be free from Oct. 1-15, when it’ll be replaced by I Am Alive for the rest of the month.
Microsoft talks power differences between Scorpio, PS4 Pro
According to Xbox Director of Product Planning Albert Penello, the PS4 Pro’s 4.2 teraflops of power isn’t enough to render ‘true 4K’ natively.
“I think there are a lot of caveats they’re giving customers right now around 4K. They’re talking about checkerboard rendering and up-scaling and things like that. There are just a lot of asterisks in their marketing around 4K, which is interesting because when we thought about what spec we wanted for Scorpio, we were very clear we wanted developers to take their Xbox One engines and render them in native, true 4K.
“That was why we picked the number, that’s why we have the memory bandwidth we have, because it’s what we heard from game developers was required to achieve native 4K.
“They’ve been very open about it. I’m not accusing them of anything. They’ve been very open about the compromises around 4K.”
-Albert Penello, Xbox director of product planning
This brings up the question of if Scorpio’s increased power will lead to differing game experiences between platforms.
“It’s really hard for me to predict what game developers are going to do. And you and I both know there will be people who claim with absolute certainty that the difference between 1080p and 900p is the most significant thing, and anybody who claims otherwise is blind. And there will be people who say they can’t see a difference.
“Both people are right in their own minds. So, predicting how developers will use the power and how different the games are going to look, it’s hard for me to say right now. So it’s probably worth us waiting to see.”
Scorpio is set to launch towards the end of 2017, with the PS4 Pro launching in November.
Ubisoft won’t necessarily release Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry games in 2017
According to Ubisoft Editorial VP Tommy Francois, both Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry are undergoing close scrutiny during development.
“We believe Alpha for these games needs to be one year before release. We’re trying to achieve that. That’s super f****** blunt, I don’t even know if I’m allowed to say this. This is the goal we’re going for: Alpha one year before, more quality, more polish.
“So if this means biting the [bullet] and not having an Assassin’s game, or a Far Cry [in 2017], f*** it.”
-Tommy Francois, Ubisoft VP of Editorial
Francois noted that the Alpha doesn’t necessarily mean a For Honor-style public trial, but the sense of having a very clearly created game, but with the time and willingness to make changes.
“Alpha is just saying getting stuff done, but leaving time for polish and innovation. I mean it from that perspective. We still need to have an Alpha, and we need it available as early as we possibly can, because the more time we have for this the more polish we have, the more time we can change, refine, swap systems. You just can’t take shortcuts.”
Francois refuted claims that this is simply a way to prevent the oversaturation that comes from an annual release cycle.
“Far Cry’s only been going up in sales, so that’s not true. We sometimes try to do too much – I’m actually super-happy. I know it’s perceived like [a marketing decision], and even if it is [perceived that way], it’s actually OK.
“People are allowed to perceive it like that, that’s it’s a break in the brand and that we’re going for that. I have no quarrels. I just want people to fall in love when people try the next iteration of one of these two brands.”
Instead, Francois insists that this is a creative decision, saying that the company is experimenting with new structures for Assassin’s Creed that could break from the “Ubisoft open-world formula” of tower climbing and objective peppering used consistently over the last few years.
“I do think we need to break that formula. This year we’ve given Far Cry and Assassin’s some time to decant, innovate, and polish. The objective behind this is exactly that. You’d be surprised – there are so many prototypes of alternatives. It’s always the same thing, the player is king, so we play-test it and people are just like, ‘What the f***?’ And we’re like, ‘Oh no! We just spent a year prototyping this new macrostructure for an Assassin’s or other type of open world game and people are telling us it’s s****.”
That brings us back to the year-early Alphas, which gives Ubisoft enough room to make real changes for the better when those negative comments come.