Games Inbox: State of Play of 2023 predictions

The Monday letters page hopes that 2023 will be the year games get shorter and cheaper, as one reader looks forward to Friday 13th.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Doesn’t count
So 2023 is now in full flow and… nothing’s happening. Not a single new release yet, no indication of when there’ll be any new announcements (I know E3 is supposed to be back this year but will it really be anything like what we used to have?), and just general uncertainty about what Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are going to do this year.

We know about Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, and Starfield, and Spider-Man 2 – all of which are massive games – and yet almost everything else seems a complete mystery. Sony has the PlayStation VR2 coming up too but as the feature at the weekend made clear it’s got terrible timing and I know I certainly won’t be getting one.

That does make the reason for my email difficult though, as I was going to ask when people think the first State of Play of the year will be, but I would imagine there’ll be one at the end of the month for PlayStation VR2. Surely Sony can’t keep all that to just a blog update? Surely?!

So what are we looking at for a ‘proper’ one? February or March? I worry that that will be the earliest possible and it could well be much later. Just because it’s the new year doesn’t mean that Sony is suddenly going to get talkative again.

Bad timing
Very good Reader’s Features at the weekend, as usual. I’ve already worried that the Nintendo never seems to have two consecutively successful consoles anymore, although essentially it’s just a coincidence and there’s nothing stopping the next one being a hit.

The PlayStation VR2 though I completely agree with and I would especially emphasise the question of why did they plan it for now anyway? If they had a multitude of other games and peripherals coming out at around the same time then fair enough, but they do not.

You can’t even say that it’s the fault of the pandemic delaying the games as apparently it didn’t delay the PlayStation VR2 or its 23 games. I don’t know if it’s going to be a flop exactly but it’s clearly going to make no impact on the PlayStation 5’s success one way or the other and that makes it seem like a huge distraction and waste of resources when Sony finally has a competent rival again.
The Colt

Ultra Smash Bros.
Since we’re all speculating about a new Nintendo console being in the offing now, I’m sure we can all accurately predict some of the games that will be on it. But what about Super Smash Bros.? Masahiro Sakurai claims to have semi-retired now and while I’m sure they’ll get him back in some role I don’t think he’ll ever be the director again.

Not only that but how do they ever top Ultimate again? I don’t see how they could ever have that many characters again and then add to them, but can you imagine the amount of fanboy whining if they trim down the line-up to just 20 or so? Heck, they’d probably go crazy if there was even just one or two missing.

This is one franchise that already seems to have reached its pinnacle and under normal common sense there’d be no reason to make another one. But it makes tons of money so of course they’re going to. I wouldn’t want to be the person that has to make it happen though.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Relatively frustrating
I played Demon’s Souls recently via PS Plus Extra as my first Souls game and loved it fora long time, putting in many hours, and then about 80% through the game I just couldn’t be bothered any more. I just refused to go back and farm more souls repeatedly, to upgrade and progress further. I was just bored stupid of repeating levels.

I might give Bloodborne a go if I can deal with the terrible anti-aliasing issues on 4K TVs, but I just don’t think these games are for me.

I’m going to play Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order a go instead, as I’ve heard it’s a Soulslike, but less frustrating.

Lucky for some
Happy New Year GameCentral and all its readers and contributors! Thank you for all the great content over Christmas and other times too.

Just a heads up to say the latest issue of Edge magazine is out (digital and physical) and they have got their game awards for 2022 and also the cover story is the PlayStation VR2 with a feature inside. PlayStation VR2 is on my wishlist for 2023.
Andrew J.
PS: Don’t forget on Friday, 13th January 2023 there are new amiibo out, one is Sephiroth and I can’t remember the name of the other one(s), perhaps GameCentral knows? I was going to get the Sephiroth one to go with my Cloud Strife amiibo.

GC: The other one is Kazuya Mishima from Tekken.

Shorter, faster, cheaper
For me the most interesting thing to come from the 2022 sales results was the idea that the falling sales were in part because people had got fed up with the lack of new games. That was only analyst speculation, as far as I understand, but that doesn’t really matter because as long as the idea that that’s a problem gets into publishers’ minds then we might finally see some change.

Many have worried recently that games just take too long too make, while often been too long anyway. It should be easy to speed up the process but for what ever reason the default length of single-player game has now risen to 30+ hours.

Bigger is not always better and the amount of bloated games, filled with filler content, is getting to be a serious issue. Combine that with the fact that it takes five or six years to make them and we’re just in a broken situation which I hope finally publishers will see there is a financial reason they should do something about it.

Someone’s going to have to be the first to make the change though and I’m not sure who has the courage. Especially as most people are going to demand lower prices for shorter games. Publishers have really backed themselves into a corner here.

Everyday event
I don’t know what’s more disturbing about all the death threats that fly around from games fans: the fact that they might one day actually go through with it or that it happens so much now that we all just shrug our shoulders and ignore it. It happens so much it’s just become accepted.

This one about the PlayStation 2 emulator though… imagine threatening to murder someone because they’d made a free video game emulator but hadn’t yet got around to putting it onto your format of choice. People are crazy.

Memorial race
As some are already aware, Mark Steel (Kefka) passed away on Wednesday, 4th January 2023 at the age of 49, leaving behind his partner Fran and his father Richard.

He has been a part of the Metro Gaming community for as long as it has been a thing, right back through to GameCentral and the Digitiser days. He has been active here and in many of the social groups that have formed out of the Underbox here.

No doubt he’s made many of you laugh and rage over the years, so please take a moment to remember your times with him.

For those that would like to do something to remember him I have done a couple things:

Firstly, I have set up a Just Giving for Barnardo’s in his name. As most of you will know, he fiercely believed far too many kids have been given a poor chance of becoming happy adults, so I hope he would approve of you giving something to help them.

Secondly, I have set up a Mario Kart tournament in his honour, it’s a one-off thing for those that can join in. It’s on Sunday, 15th January at 20:00 to 21:30. The tournament code is: 4780-2725-0219. You can drop in, drop out as you wish, and don’t worry, those of us that used to race a lot really haven’t recently. If you have done the new tracks more than once or twice then you are likely to beat many of the old regulars on those.

GC: We’re very sorry to hear that.

Inbox also-rans
Not written in for a very long time. The news of Archer Maclean’s passing brought back fond memories of my dad, brother, and I crowding round a 486 PC to play Jimmy White’s ‘Whirlwind’ Snooker. Fantastic game as I recall. R.I.P.

Sad to hear about Marvel’s Midnight Suns being a flop. I’ve got it and I really enjoyed. Gonna be some execs sweating at EA now, if they have an Iron Man and Black Panther game coming out.

This week’s Hot Topic
Since this will be the first Hot Topic of 2023, the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is what new game are you looking forward to the most?

We’ve got a detailed preview of the year here, but as long as your choice has a reasonable chance of being released in 2023 you can talk about anything you like, on any format.

What has you excited about your choices and how do you think they’ll perform, both critically and commercially? Is there anything prominent you’ve already given up on and what do you wish was coming out this year but isn’t?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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