games / Columns

411 Games Fact or Fiction: Should Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Have Had a PC Beta?

September 30, 2016 | Posted by Daniel Anderson

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. As always, I am Daniel Anderson, and I hope everyone has had a good week. Well, for the first time in eleven years the Tennessee Vols beat the Florida Gators. They beat them in convincing fashion too. So much for ducks and trucks right? Anyway this week we have 411’s Marc Morrison going against Jeremy Thomas. Let’s see what they have to say, shall we?

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1.) You like the rumored updates to the Steam Store.

Marc Morrison Fact: Steam is a mess right now with the Early Access, Steam Greenlight and movies clogging up the store page, it’s in a bit of a shambles. Every day there are at least half a dozen new items on Steam, be it movies, barely functional Early Access games, or actual games that get lost in the mix. Honestly though, I’ve never been a fan of the curator system they also talk about overhauling, so they should just get rid of it, since practically no one I know actually uses it.

Jeremy ThomasFact: I say “like” but that is perhaps a bit of an overstatement. They’re positive moves but it’s not like they’re going to heavily change my Steam experience. I buy games based on what my friends actively recommend more than I do based on what they’re playing or buying and while the visual home page refresh is nice, it’s not a game changer. Frankly, I feel like Steam should be devoting more resources to fixing the inherent problems in Steam Greenlight but I also know that’s a bigger problem that won’t be resolved quickly, so I’m not opposed to them working on other aspects of their service..

Score: 1 for 1 – I agree that it is difficult to find something on Steam unless you know what you are looking for. An update could be just the thing to make it easier for people to find games that interest them instead of seeing more and more fluff.

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2.) Ubisoft’s CEO praising the NX gives you reason to be optimistic about the system.

Marc MorrisonFact: Ubisoft, generally speaking, has been one of the big third party developers for Nintendo consoles over the years. Starting with the Wii with games like Rayman Origins and Red Steel to the Wii U with Zombi U and the Rabids franchise. I imagine Ubisoft will make a game or two for the system which might be neat. The real trick is to get other developers like Activision or EA to give a damn, and that’s something Nintendo hasn’t been able to do in quite a while.

Jeremy ThomasFiction: PR spin just doesn’t do much for me. I mean, obviously it’s better news than if they had said “Oh, we’re not really interested in the NX” but let’s not forget that if Ubisoft ever plans to release games on the system, they have a financial interest in making the NX a success. I’m not particularly pessimistic on the console, but I don’t think this is a reason to get more excited than I otherwise would have been.

Score: 1 for 2 – Ubisoft praising the system is good, but, like Marc, I want to see EA or Activision talk about how much they like the system.

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3.) It was time for Blizzard to do away with the Battle.net name.

Marc MorrisonFiction: The name is a tad anachronistic sure, but it is just cool. Which sounds cooler “Battle.net” or “Blizzard tech”? Blizzard tech sounds like something the Dairy Queen would call its mobile ordering app. Do the Battletags now become Blizzardtags? It was also a good way to tell if you were getting scammed or not because the e-mails from Battle.net were recognizable.

Jeremy ThomasFiction: I’m completely fine with it, but I don’t think there was any need for it. Battle.net is a brand at this point for Blizzard and changing it to something as generic as “Blizzard Tech” doesn’t seem to be the wisest maneuver to me. It won’t cause too many headaches if any of course, but it seems like a strange re-branding that wasn’t all that necessary.

Score: 2 for 3 – I understand why they decided to make the change, but I have liked the Battle.net name for years now. It is something that was instantly recognizable as something associated with Blizzard.

SWITCH!

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4.) You would be interested in a new Armored Core game.

Jeremy ThomasFiction: Armored Core was never a game I was particularly into. Of course, a new game could completely change that for me if it’s a critical smash, but it’s a bit early to put expectations on it if I didn’t have a strong opinion of it beforehand. I know Armored Core has a lot of fans but it just kind of passed me by as a game series. I’m glad those who have been jonesing for more of it are getting one, though.

Marc MorrisonFiction: I loved the first Armored Core game on the PS1 and that was honestly about it. Every subsequent game has added more parts and bigger areas but none really seemed to capture the whole “Mercenary mech” thing that the first game did. Without dramatic updates to how the A.C.’s control, and either a completely open campaign or a story-driven one, I doubt this new game will excite people. And From Software adding 40 more tank tread legs isn’t going to do it.

Score: 3 for 4 – I am always interested in new mech games. The Armored Core series just seemed to be there after a while. I would love seeing a fresh take on the series.

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5.) Infinite Warfare skipping a PC multiplayer beta will come back to haunt them.

Jeremy ThomasFact: Because of reasons we’re about to discuss below. But yes, multiplayer betas — particularly on PC ports — are absolutely essential for games these days when they rely strongly on their multiplayer game as part of the appeal. PC versions of games are always going to be the most buggy by default because of the fact that not all PCs are the same, and not having one gives the message (intended or not) of “People will buy it anyway, so why bother?” I expect the PC version to be buggy as hell, and the backlash will dominate gaming news cycles for at least a little while.

Marc MorrisonFiction: Activision has kind of proven time and time again that they don’t care about PC players that much and this is no exception. Then again, they have essentially been making the same game since 2007, so I imagine they have the networking down pat. They are much more concerned with the console side of things and hoping that goes smoothly, as that is where the majority of the player base lives.

Score: 3 for 5 – I feel like Activision just knows anything they do with PC multiplayer will end up being hacked, and there being no competitive balance. The CoD games generally end up being people that use cheats and hacks versus (and driving away) people that do not use them. Why put a ton of effort into something that will end up being abandoned?

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6.) It is good to see the Battlefield 1 beta feedback lead to changes in balance issues.

Jeremy ThomasFact: See above. This is the other reason why betas are so important — not just technical issues, but resolving all those little gameplay things that would otherwise cause people to slam the game. Listen, with a game like Battlefield or Call of Duty, people are always going to complain. These guys know that’s inevitable. But going out of your way to minimize those complaints should be a concern, unless you’re the Michael Bay of video game makers and just say “Complain all you want while I cash this check.” Really, that’s most AAA studios anyway, but it’s nice to see that someone is willing to make these kinds of fixes.

Marc MorrisonFact: Betas almost always lead to improvements. Sometimes a developer gets too close to their game and can’t see the forest through the trees, which leads to issues when real non-biased players gets their time with it. The big question is whether or not the servers will stay up and how stable the game will be. Given some of EA’s past Battlefield game, this is a dicey prospect, but here’s hoping for the best.

Score: 4 for 6 – I read over a lot of the things that are being fixed as a result of the beta, and I have no issue with any of them. I am very hopeful that the beta will lead to a more balanced game.

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Bonus Question: What games are you looking forward to the rest of the year?

Jeremy Thomas I think the biggest one for me is Dead Rising 4. I love that franchise and the next one will definitely be a Day One buy for me. Outside of that, there’s South Park: The Fractured and The Whole and Watch Dogs 2 that I’m looking forward to, as well as Civilization VI. Man, I’m going to miss having time to do anything at all come the end of the year.

Marc Morrison For me, I’ll go Civilization 6. Although Watch Dogs 2 does interest me as well.

That wraps up this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. Jeremy and Marc went 4 for 6 agreeing more than they disagreed. I hope everyone has a good week, and until next week, happy gaming.

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