Games Inbox: Fortnite in decline

The Friday letters page asks if EA and Codemasters is an example of a successful acquisition, as one reader is fed up of Cyberpunk 2077 bugs.

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An Epic problem
That is a shocking number of people that have been let go from Epic Games. Almost 900, plus they’re increasing the price of microtransactions and selling off some of their non-gaming businesses. That is not the sign of a healthy company. Maybe they regret all that nonsense about getting Fortnite banned from the App Store?

I doubt even that would’ve made a difference though, so I guess it’s just that Fortnite is not bringing home the bacon it used to? You don’t hear people talk about it as much they did but I thought it was still generally popular. It probably is, but I imagine Epic is used to living how things were at its peak and they don’t want to go back.

Either way, that is so many jobs to just click your fingers and do away with in one go; I feel for all those affected. I also wonder if they saw it coming. Nothing is going to stay popular forever (except Counter-Strike, apparently) so I wonder if there was a contingency plan for when things started going downhill? Probably this was it, I guess, just make loads of people redundant… that’ll get the kids interested in the game again.

Man in suit
So Jim Ryan has left Sony, eh? I… feel nothing about that information. I used to enjoy his interviews with GC, before he got the top job, but since then I’ve barely been aware of his existence. If he appears in a State of Play it’s for a split second and he doesn’t seem to do interviews with anyone anymore.

I guess he’s to blame for the current Sony attitude of not talking about things, so that’s definitely a mark against him, but since we still don’t know why they’re being so quiet it’s hard to know what to think about it all.

Sony go through execs pretty quickly though and they never seem to leave much of a mark. I don’t really remember any of them, not like Phil Spencer or Satoru Iwata. Their success suggests they don’t really need anyone like that so I imagine their next president will probably be someone grey and boring as well.

Proper platforming
Great preview of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, GC. And you’re right, I had kind of forgotten about it. I’m sure coming out the same time as Spider-Man 2 won’t affect its sales but it does kind of hide it from sight in terms of online discussions, as I’ve certainly barely heard anyone talk about it.

I’m not at all surprised it’s good though. Nintendo has been on a roll now for years but it’s crazy to think how long it’s been since there was a proper 2D Super Mario game. I don’t know if Wonder is going to be up there with the great but I like how inventive it is and can’t wait to hear about some of the wackier Wonder Flowers you hint at.

I’m sold already and I’m sure the general public will be too. It’s going to be fascinating to see if it outsells Spidey or not.

GC: Thanks. There’s some good stuff in Super Mario Maker 2 but, yeah, you’ve really got to go back to the 90s for a proper 2D Mario.

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Doesn’t count
I wouldn’t and don’t spend anywhere near 70 quid on a game, £50 is my limit. Games cost more 30 years ago! They did not, no game has ever cost me 70 quid brand new. Well, I did pay that for imported N64 games, but they were from Japan and about six months earlier than the British release and that was very rarely (from a man in a newspaper ad, he also wore a beige mac).

As readers pointed out already, they may cost more, but they also make much more. Since I got an Xbox Series S a year ago, I haven’t paid more than £50 for a game. I use the rewards scheme from Microsoft and even then I will try to get as much off as possible. Being digital-only means I can’t sell on a game I’m done with, which I’ve done my whole gaming life.

I keep many games, only get rid of things I’m done with, something I would never want to play through again… like Gotham Knights or Sonic Frontiers. That’s why, being digital, I’m even more loathe to part with 70 of your Great British pounds.
big boy bent
PS: Game of arguably the century, Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, cost £46 physical. Make a great game, get rewarded.

GC: As we pointed out yesterday, high end games are 200 times more expensive to make today than in the 90s. However, the console market is not 200 times bigger than it was then, or anywhere close to it.

A trip of lynels
I’m a long, long way into Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom and getting irritated. White-maned lynels, where are they? All I want is to max out my barbarian armour but all I stumble (or google) upon are either blue or silver.

The blues are easy, the silvers though… every victory is pyrrhic and I don’t need their drops.

On a lighter note I’ve just found a lovely gaggle (?) of lost goats.

Awaiting the next bloody blood moon for the floating coliseum.
Chevy Malibu (PSN ID)

GC: We’re pretty sure white-maned lynels are only in the Depths. There’s at least one wandering around on its own, near one of those stone Ascend points if we remember right. The collective noun for goats is ‘trip’.

The more things change
So after the immense disappointment of Starfield – and that comes from a Bethesda Game Studios fan – I thought okay, no dramas, I’ll pay for and download Phantom Liberty for Cyberpunk 2077.

So the last time I played Cyberpunk 2077 was after patch 1.6 and give or take a few wobbles it was absolutely fine on my PlayStation 5.

So after patch 2.0 are things okay? Well, no. The biggest problems by far are the game constantly crashing. In one uneventful session it crashed after two minutes of play and I’m not joking, then it lasted about 12 minutes before crashing again and finally one more crash after 30 or so minutes.

At this point I simply switched it off, if you’re seeing this screen more than the game then all is not well.

I’ve now decided to give Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways a go, fingers crossed.
Johnny five stars

Relatively successful
I’m usually against corporate takeovers and the like – I certainly would’ve preferred Microsoft not buy Activision Blizzard – but it does seem to me that EA buying Codemasters is one of the few times it seems to have worked out in everyone’s benefit.

They’ve got bigger budgets, and money for licences, and better marketing in the US and everywhere in general. I guess it hasn’t made much difference beyond that, but that’s actually pretty good going for how these things usually turn out.

Only problem is they are now totally stuck doing racing games forever. There’s no way EA is going to let them make a new Cannon Fodder or something.

Unrelated fault
I just want to discuss a recent experience with Nintendo customer support.

Like most people who have owned a Switch, I started to experience Joy-Con drift and random disconnections from the console.

I was looking into replacing them and came across the Nintendo repair service where Joy-Con drift is still covered for free due to the fact that Nintendo faced legal action for the fault.

I sent off my Joy-Cons and Switch and waited. I got an email few days later saying they had carried out diagnostics and submitted an invoice for me to authorise payment, wait… what?

So, I opened up the invoice and there was zero costs against Joy-Cons and a charge of £59 for hardware repairs, but with no explanation about what this fault was. Colour me confused.

So, I called up the helpline and a lovely gentleman said he would call up and find out what this fault was that was discovered. He came back, advising that the game card slot was faulty and game cards would not stay in place.

I got a little upset at this point and advised this was not related to the Joy-Con fault, and was advised they do a general inspection, which is fair enough. However, I have had zero issues with the game card slot in four years and I was curious with this finding and wanted to see the evidence of this investigation. None was forthcoming. They asked was I declining repairs? Yes!

So, I asked for it to be sent back, wherein I would inspect the fault myself and if it was faulty, I would send it back as this would have been damage caused by them. The Switch arrived promptly a day or so later, with new Joy-Cons and lo and behold, no games card slot fault, game stays in place, never any issues with playing games on it. Even if I turn it upside down and leave the slot cover open and shake it about, nothing happens.

So, please be careful sending in items to Nintendo for repairs, as it seems they operate on a basis similar to car dealerships doing recalls, wherein they get paid peanuts for doing those and want to try and get you to pay money for other things whilst it is there to make it worth their effort, even to point where they make things up.

I have received no reply from Nintendo after a complaint, and I’m just wondering what my next steps could be, as I want to take this public and escalate as this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.

Inbox also-rans
How does Nintendo keep their game prices high even years after release? And second-hand prices remain elevated as a result. Why can’t Sony and other publishers of AAA games do the same?

GC: Nintendo’s prices are what people are willing to pay for their games. They’d quickly drop if people didn’t think they were worth it.

This is the first I’m hearing about Sega’s Hyenas. One look at the trailer and now I’m wondering if I did see it before and just purposefully forgot about it.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Sunny, who asks which older games are you now unable to play because they feel too outdated?

The exact age of the game doesn’t matter but what was it exactly that put you off? Was it the graphics, the gameplay, the controls, or something else? Do you find that you cannot play games after a certain point in time or is it all on a case-by-case basis?

Which games do you feel have aged the best and are there any common issues you’ve noticed, in the ones that have not?

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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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