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The State of Gaming February 2020: Coronavirus Cancellations, PS5 + Xbox Series X Pricing, Streaming Scenarios
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The State of Gaming February 2020: Coronavirus Cancellations, PS5 + Xbox Series X Pricing, Streaming Scenarios

The debut episode of a (hopefully) ongoing feature that looks at what’s moving within the gaming industry.

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Out with the old, in with the new. The “old” in this case being the conclusion of our cherished monthly NPD wrap-ups, which have become more and more available elsewhere as journalists and influencers have embraced their data-friendly numerical data. This expansion, effectively, has made NPD reporting as close to mainstream news as it’s likely to go, and if there’s one thing your friendly neighborhood Popzara Pals rarely cover, it’s the news.

Rather than waste resources trying to compete with something everyone else is already doing (and doing well), it’s time for a change.

On With The Show!

Say hello to our new feature that (we hope) will replace the older NPD reports in the hearts and minds of our equally cherished listeners: The State of Gaming, a new monthly wrap-up that looks at some of the most exciting and interesting developments rocking the gaming industry, with minimal snark and heavy focus on critical analysis. Even better, it’s got the exact same hosts – Cory Galliher and Nate Evans – so we guess some of the old was good enough to stick around.

As with any new feature there’s bound to be changes as our hosts develop and evolve the formula over time, so please forgive any mistakes, blunders, snafus or other embarrassing missteps as they break this new concept in. Be sure to let us know what you think, and we’ll do our best to accommodate any and all great ideas. Bad and unhelpful ones, naturally, get binned. Let’s begin!

The rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus virus (aka COVID-19) around the world has also led to the rapid cancellation of many marquee gaming conferences and conventions, most notably the 2020 GDC (Game Developers Conference), which has seen its exhibitor list shrink as notable attendees like Sony, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Epic Games and Microsoft all pulling out before the show starts in mid-March.

But do these cancellations really have anything to do with the spread of the virus, which recently saw a case in Northern California? Possibly, but there’s also speculation that many companies may have been experienced “tradeshow fatigue”, taking any opportunity to put the time and resources they would’ve in costly press and/or fan service events and back to where it belongs: development.

PlayStation 5 or Xbox One Series X? Both Sony and Microsoft are readying their next-generation super machines for launch later this year, but there’s still plenty of questions that need answered before we can get really excited about the future of console gaming. We know they’re both going to be A.) super powerful, B.) super speedy thanks to SSD drives, and C.) probably super expensive. Just how expensive isn’t known yet, but responsible pricing can help make or break a new console’s debut.

Is game streaming the future of gaming? That’s what Google, Nvidia, and Microsoft would have you believe. It’s also what failed attempts like OnLive and PlayStation Now would’ve had you believe, too. The former trio has (or will have) their own services vying to replace or cooperate

Google’s Stadia launched late last year, to tepid response, while Nvidia’s GeForce Now only recently emerged from its own prolonged beta to much more positive acclaim (before major publishers started yanking their bigger releases, anyway). Microsoft’s Project xCloud is still beta testing its own future of game streaming but look for it to heavily feature in whatever plans they have for the next-generation Xbox platforms.

A big test of the viability of these services with fans and the general public is likely to be CD Projekt Red’s hugely anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, a massively complex sci-fi adventure set to debut on both streaming services – though with each platform offering very different purchasing options. We’ll have to wait and see how the rollout goes, but with the anticipated debut of two new mega-consoles, more streaming services and who-knows-what incoming you can bet we’ll be keeping up on the state of gaming for the foreseeable future. Which is hopefully a very long time. Cross your fingers.

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