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Games Inbox: What can be done about PS5 and Xbox eBay scalpers?

The Thursday Inbox disputes the idea that Nintendo games are overrated, as one reader discovers the pleasures of Hollow Knight.

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

Rare loot
This scalping issue has just got serious. I’ve tried to buy a new console at every chance and have been keeping up with the online orders but it’s just impossible. I’ve been at it around 10 hours on different days. Twice I’ve had a console in my basket and can’t check it out. That’s from different online shops.

Before I read your article, I was aware of the bots and it seems it’s impossible to win against them.

What’s more, I don’t even want to pay £450 for the next gen but I’m trying hard and can’t get it. If I could get one I would actually keep it and not try to make a profit. If I had managed a PlayStation 5 I would have got Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate and stuck with it.

But this generation I really want to land an Xbox. I had a PlayStation 4 last time out and I wasn’t impressed with those tight thumbsticks. It’s the only ever PlayStation I’ve owned and it makes my left thumb ache.

I’m a Nintendo fanboy at heart and I know there’s nothing on the Xbox at the moment but there’s a last generation of Forza to catch up on and the backwards compatibility really tickles my fancy.
Nick the Greek
Currently playing: Point Lookout on Fallout 3 on my Xbox 360. Cost me just over £1 and it’s hours of fun.

GC: It’s not impossible – we know someone that managed to get an Xbox Series X the other day through normal means – but it’s certainly far more difficult than it should be. Microsoft in particular seem as frustrated as anyone, so we’ll see if they can facilitate any quick answers.

Console bingo
I’m a sneakerhead as well as a gamer and reading about the PlayStation 5 scalpers using bots to acquire vast quantities of stock, I was completely unsurprised.

The sites that sell exclusive trainers were rife with bots for years before most sites switched to a raffle based system where if you win you have the right to buy. Maybe the console retailers will get wise and sell the next production wave the same way? Keep up the good work GC.
ArmandxHammer

Picture their faces
Just wondering, have you seen the current flood of sellers on eBay putting up photos of PlayStation 5s for sale? The amount of people falling for it, I saw one with 11 bids going for over £500!

Technically they aren’t breaking any eBay regulations, as they do state, in a roundabout way, it’s only an image you’re getting, but oh my. It’s an utter disgrace.
Acantley1985 (PSN ID)

GC: We get stories like this every year, believe it or not. Some people are just awful.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Control the scalpers
Talking about stock shortages, I’ve been after a joystick for the PlayStation 4 for Star Wars Squadrons and they’ve been out of stock since the game was released. Anytime they do appear they go again in minutes.

Always lots of stock on eBay and Amazon selling for twice the price – I’m thinking this is scalpers as well rather than COVID supply.
Anon

GC: Funnily enough, we were going to review one alongside Star Wars: Squadrons but Thrustmaster didn’t have any stock to send us.

Secret origin
I didn’t realise until I read it on GameCentral the other day that Astro first appeared in The Playroom on PlayStation 4. I’ve just tried it out recently, as I thoroughly enjoyed Astro Bot: Rescue Mission on PlayStation VR. I didn’t have a camera to try out The Playroom when I got my PlayStation 4 in early 2014 but having got the PlayStation VR a couple years ago suddenly realised, when you said about Astro being in The Playroom, that I can play it now as I have the camera.

I tried it out and it was a bit novel and a bit funny but very short, I would say it was interesting and just OK. What is GameCentral’s opinion of it?
Andrew J.
PS: Mudrunner is free on PC on Epic Store today, from 4pm.
Currently playing: Monkey Island 2 Special Edition (Xbox One X)

GC: The original The Playroom was never intended to be a traditional game, it’s just a tech demo really. Or a mini-game collection if you want to be more generous.

Non-hollow praise
Very long time reader but first time responder here.

Just wanted to sing the praises of Hollow Knight, which is currently free on PS Plus.

As the generation is coming to an end, and I’ve played my way through most of the big name titles of the last few years, I thought I’d give this a go as it was free, despite my apprehension about the perceived difficulty.

I’m glad I did! It’s incredibly fun, and the world is open enough that even if you do get stuck on a particular boss or area, you can explore other parts of the map to upgrade and gain new abilities. Would definitely recommend the community adds it to their libraries while still free!

Keep up the great work.
Neale

The world ends with Xbox
A sequel to The World Ends With You, eh? Great news. But I can’t help wondering why it’s not on Xbox. I don’t own one myself, but oddball Japanese games like this not being on Xbox is a huge part of why I don’t. With this new gen and Game Pass I am really looking at Xbox because PlayStation 5 hasn’t really made me want to buy it.

Games like Disgaea, Project Diva ,and even Project Zero (I know there’s licence problems with that last one) missing from Xbox’s line-up make it a hard decision to buy either new console. Variety is the spice of life after all.

Ah well, I still have a PlayStation 4 and a Switch. And a Wii U and a PlayStation 3. I’m fine for a good while. Day one next gen (PlayStation 2) I’ve done before and refuse to do so again. There’s no rush. Imagine paying twice the price for a console with no warranty! Silly when you think about it.
Handsome Dan Wolfshead
PS: To whoever said it would be a good idea to buy space in GTA 5’s Fort-whatever-it’s-called, you have been able to do that for years.

GC: At the moment it’s a last gen only game, so it’s not surprising it wouldn’t be on Xbox One. If it was ported to PlayStation 5 and didn’t appear on Xbox Series X/S, that would be a bigger issue.

Time for an upgrade?
I’ve just been playing on my new PlayStation 5, which I’m loving, but I was wondering whether or not a new TV is needed too?

My Samsung works fine but is 10-years-old and has no HDR or 4K.

Do these things make a noticeable difference or not in your experience?
John

GC: They’re noticeable but you could certainly live without either. It all depends on your finances really, and how important you consider the best possible image quality. HDR can often make a bigger difference than the resolution, but we’re not sure we’d advise buying a new TV just for that.

Interactive entertainment
As part of my efforts to play more indie and small company offerings I bought Dear Esther (Landmark Edition) when it was being discounted. ‘A remote and desolate island somewhere in the Outer Hebrides’, finally sold it to me.

I’ve seen lots of heated arguments about the nature of this product, and for me, well firstly it’s not a game. You just move forward on pretty fixed routes while being read some pretty weird passages. It’s more an exercise to try to use a game engine as a piece of art.

So why am I writing this? Well, at points in the day I start thinking about it, those elements exposed paths, the sea, the caves, the odd read passages. It’s like it’s gotten into my head and I can’t shake it, nor do I want to. It’s as if I had visited a gallery and saw a piece of art that moved me and stayed with me.

I’ve had a similar effect from both What Remains Of Edith Finch and Firewatch. Future hopes on my Xbox wish list currently includes Draugen (Fjord Noir mystery set in 1920s Norway) and The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter (no combat or explosions … any scars you won’t be able to see them).

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone completely hippy, I just bought The Outer Worlds, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Assassin’s Creed Origins in the Black Friday sale, and am just finishing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It’s just nice to cleanse the palate from the killing sprees. Although I am eyeing up Alice: Madness Returns.
Spooky Dreamer

PS: Openreach finally got fibre optic cable up the (seems like) remote mountain I now live on. Barely 2Mbps jumped to over 40 Mbps. It really is a game changer being able to quickly download games, and not have to go for a meal and cup of tea while the Xbox does a system update. As I’ve said before: we further become a nation of haves and have nots, with a secondary tier for those whose lack of decent internet access is a barrier.
PPS. A letter not mentioning PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S… woops.

GC: Surely all games are ‘an exercise to try to use a game engine as a piece of art’? Well, maybe not Farming Simulator.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Overrated argument
A lot of people throw out that ‘Nintendo games are overrated’ argument but I never see them touch on why they think that happens so consistently. It can’t just be a habit of almost all critics; there’s no clear agenda, blind fanboyism would never ensure that consistent a level of positivity, and we know from a ton of non-Nintendo games that simply appealing to nostalgia doesn’t work at all. If there’s no proper explanation, the chances are they’re not really overrated.

What non-Nintendo classic hasn’t built on one or more fairly obvious predecessor, and has just more or less come out of the blue? The only one I can think of in the past two generations is Demon’s Souls. Even surprise revelations like Batman: Arkham Asylum builds on some very obvious influences and something like Splatoon arguably demonstrates more successful and spontaneous innovation than that.

I do think some of their more B-tier games don’t exhibit enough radical distinctions from immediate predecessors but I don’t see any cases where that isn’t generally recognised and acknowledged. Uncharted 2 style leaps in quality come, what, once or twice per generation (so about the same rate as mainline Mario and Zelda games).

Unless we can point to frequent examples that suggest Nintendo is somehow different from everyone else in how it makes games as good as they can be, then the suggestion is they should be penalised because their intellectual property is older (and yet still way less prolific) than a lot of current IP.

Given the most recent instalments in certain series, I don’t see any convincing argument that those series should’ve been put to bed earlier…
Panda

GC: Didn’t you know? It’s because Nintendo pays off reviewers. If only we’d been nicer about Hyrule Warriors we could’ve afforded that second Ferrari.

Inbox also-rans
I need to change the location of my PlayStation 5 but then the HDMI cable isn’t long enough. Can I use any old HDMI cable? If so can you or a reader please help me?
John

GC: We’ve always been told that there’s no difference between any HDMI cable of the same type. PlayStation 5 has a HDMI 2.1 socket so you should be good with any 2.1 cable. Unless a reader can correct us.

Does this mean Captcha doesn’t work anymore? Have bots learnt to identify traffic lights? This feels like a velociraptor opening the door moment!
Greeny

This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox asks what is the most impressed you’ve been by something from the next generation of consoles?

It can be the consoles themselves, the games, the controllers, or a service or feature that wasn’t present in the previous generation. What gives you the most encouragement for the future of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S and why?

Do you feel that the new consoles are making a better impression at this stage in their life than previous formats or do you think they’ve been a disappointment so far? What are you hopes for the immediate future (the next six months or so) and the longer term?

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.

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

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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