If this issue of 40 Bit had a soundtrack, it would be The Chemical Brothers’ “Where Do I Begin” (and if this were the early 2000s, it would be some kind of mashup like “Where Do I Begin the Beguine“).
I mean, that song pick is kinda obvious because — yikes! — there was a lot of videogame news this week.
Like, a lot.
Sony, Facebook and Apple all had big announcements, so let’s just dive in.
The one probably of most interest is The Sony PlayStation 5.
Sony’s big virtual event this week showcased a bunch of titles coming to the next-gen console. But wait, you might be thinking, didn’t they already do that? Yes! Honestly, the event felt like a lot of re-treading, (re)talking up forthcoming titles like Spider-Man: Miles Morales (looks awesome), and Deathloop (also looks awesome). But there was new stuff like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (looks Reagan-y) and, uh Fortnite (looks like money being printed). Find a full rundown of PS5 launch titles over at ScreenRant.
But probably of most interest to you, dear reader, is the fact that the SonyPlayStation 5 will cost $499 for the Blu-Ray equipped version and $399 for the digital only version, both of which will drop here in North America on November 12.
Super. Exciting. Right?
Too bad you can’t get one.
After a bit of chaos on Thursday, pre-orders sold out pretty much immediately, so don’t bother. (Forget it, Jake. It’s SonyTown.) As some sort of consolation, you can sign up with retailers like GameStop and Amazon to be alerted when units are available, so there’s that.
While you might be disappointed, there is a silver lining: You’re an adult with a full and happy life. No need to add this stress to your life. As they say in Sweden, chill, tiger. It’s okay to wait for the PS5.
Besides, you can take comfort that some of those great games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Zero Dawn: Forbidden West are coming to the PS4, a device you may already own.
In other words, to close the circle with The Chemical Brothers, “It Doesn’t Matter.” I mean, it will at some point, but embrace the fact that for now, the choice has been made for you and it’s one less $500 decision you have to make.
On to the next round…
Let’s get Zucked.
Facebook debuted its new Oculus Quest 2 VR Headset this week. The fitter, happier, more productive Quest 2 doesn’t require a phone or PC (though you’ll need one for more powerful games) to work comes out on October 13 and will cost $300.
If you’re VR-curious, that’s a pretty inexpensive way (relatively speaking) to give it a fully-immersive whirl. Of course, there’s a catch. If you want to use it, you have to have a Facebook account. YMMV with Facebook, but whether the social network is the end of civilization is the topic for a different newsletter.
Ars Technica really hates the Fb connection, understandably. The whole point of being in a virtual world is to be someone else (for good or ill). Tying that experience to your actual name along with all the other data Facebook tries to suck up about you seems… bad.
WIRED, however, said that the Quest 2 “is a virtually flawless improvement on the original.” So you got that going for you.
But this is a gaming newsletter and The New York Times lamented the lack of games, with Brian X. Chen writing:
Compared with sitting next to an air purifier while doomscrolling through news about the California wildfires, I had fun in Facebook’s virtual la-la land. But many of the games quickly felt repetitive and strained my eyes. In the end, I much preferred vegging out with my PlayStation or Nintendo consoles, which have far superior video games.
If this all floats your virtual boat, then you can pre-order your Quest 2 today. If you want to wait, I’m sure 40 Bit contributor, Mike Romo will be sharing his thoughts next month.
Let’s put this newsletter to bed with a quick nod to Tim Cook and Co. who, yes, also held a big event this week.
Most of it was around the Apple Watch Series 6, but the company announced its new Apple One, which bundles together Apple Music, Apple TV Plus and Apple Arcade for $14.95/individual, $19.95/family. (There’s also a Premier Plan that includes Apple News Plus and the new Apple Fitness Plus for $29.95.)
I’ve actually been thinking about writing a bigger piece on Apple Arcade, but like Jesus Jones said, let’s just do this right here, right now (This old man is tossin’ all kinds of ’90s alternative music reference bombs, today).
Apple Arcade is like a Netflix for iPhone games. Get full access to a big library of games without ads or in-app purchases for just $4.99 a month. That’s cheap and at first, seemed like a fantastic bargain. But save for a few titles (Grindstone), the games have been lackluster, to say the least, and I’m pretty bored with the service — even at just $5.
Will any of these bundles make Arcade make more sense?
As is often said in tech journalism, tying two bricks together won’t make them float. So attaching the wan Arcade with the equally wan (except for Mythic Quest) Apple TV Plus along with a music service I don’t need (because Spotify) isn’t really a way to win over my money.
Phew! That was a lot. But now we’re done.
Go enjoy your weekend.
Stay cool. Have a great summer. Class of ’90 rulez.