Sea of Thieves revealed the risk and reward of the bargain seas

Sea of Thieves used to be my nickname for the legal department. Well alright it still is, but…

So this morning I remembered that Sea of Thieves comes out ‘Soon’. Now for me, ‘Soon’ is indeed a magical time that can be tomorrow (it happens) or 2 years ago (e.g. Star Trek Beyond). So I fired up the Google and this time, ‘Soon’ means in about a week – March 20th to be exact!

Sea of Thieves looks like a great bit of fun. Online streamers have been showing how much of a great time they have been having in the beta for a couple of months now. It’s one of those times when I can have gameplay happening in the background while I am working, and simply enjoy the sounds happening off to the side.

I am not going to describe Sea of Thieves too much, as I am pretty sure anyone already interested in it will already know about it. For those that need a catch-up, the ‘Be More Pirate’ trailer should bring you up to speed quickly enough:

Sea of Thieves #BeMorePirate Trailer

Most of my video game time has been playing Destiny 2 with a mate. It’s been fun, but I think we are both hitting the Destiny ‘again’ grind wall. Bungie has disappointed me and indeed a large portion of the Destiny fanbase by making the same mistakes as the original Destiny, and while it’s still a fun game, my eye has been wandering a little.

I am not an online multiplayer type person as a general rule. But playing regularly with my mate and indeed the clan has been a much great experience, so I want to keep it going. While I enjoyed a few rounds of Splatoon 2 on the Switch and we could both get around the voice chat limitations easily enough, I wouldn’t suggest he buy a Switch just for that game, and Sea of Thieves seemed to be something we could both be interested in. And so, the irony begins.

My next Google search this morning was ‘sea of thieves how many players per ship’. The idea was to see what a max crew count was and put the word out maybe to a couple of other people so we could start with a full crew straight off the bat. It looks like four people, meaning we want maybe 6-8 for a mix of players for when availability drops, or just to have access to two fully crewed boats.

Then I looked at the price. Normally I just log straight into EB Games, but for some reason, I hit the Google this time. It was here that a piece of news I had all but forgotten about was placed right in front of me – XBOX Game Pass.

The idea behind the XBOX Game Pass sounds great – about $10 a month, and access to a huge library of games, and day one access to Microsoft exclusive games, including Sea of Thieves.

I had mused with the idea of grabbing a second-hand XBOX in January to try out the Game Pass and see how it faired. XBOX is a console I skipped just like the early Nintendo family. XBOX didn’t overly interest me as I have always had a fairly decent gaming PC and very few exclusives on the platform interested me.

I always understood why the people that bought both consoles did so – if you can have both, why not? But it wasn’t for me. But just like the mini Nintendo consoles give me a window of opportunity to games I missed in the past, I thought the Game Pass might do the same for XBOX. Looking through the library, it was certainly a possibility.

So then I finally jumped onto the EB Games site and had a look at their console deals. I could pick up various flavours of the XBOX One S brand new for under $400, which under the circumstances is more than fair. I decided for that price a second hand wasn’t even really worth it.

But if the Game Pass included upcoming new exclusives, surely the XBOX One X would be the preferred platform? Beefier hardware, better performance overall, maybe it would be worth making the extra investment now? That’s when the banner swung to this:

Now the extra controller is worth $100 on its own, and it works with Windows 10 out of the box with Bluetooth. I have a Steam controller, and while it works well,  it has never really struck me as the most comfortable of controllers. I can plug in my PS4 controller, but somehow to me that has always felt wrong. Not physically – the Dualshocks have always fit well in my hands, but making the mental mind mapping from the flashing ‘Press B’ on the screen to the circle button on the controller.

So $650 was looking like quite a reasonable deal for essentially $200 worth of controller and a beefy mid-range gaming PC. Of course, being XBOX means I need XBOX Live Gold so I can play multiplayer, so add another $80 to that so I can play online for a year. Then, I would need the actual Game Pass itself – another $11.

It’s then I realised what had happened. I went looking for information on a game with an RRP of $100, and came close to talking myself into a purchase of almost $750 AS A GOOD DEAL!

It’s no secret that Playstation won this console generation. Don’t get me wrong – Nintendo has an amazing and well-deserved amount of success with the Switch, and I love mine. For a lot of games, I can see the Switch being my console of choice going forward, and this means that both Microsoft and Sony will have a lot of catch up when the next console generation is announced. That particular topic I can talk about a fair bit, and may another time.

But for this future catch up with both Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft has started the journey with some great strides. To turn my interest in a single game to highlight the ongoing value proposition of buying their hardware now is a great feat, and this value will only increase as Microsoft continues down this path.

Of course, that’s assuming Microsoft does continue down this path. It’s not like they have a history of dropping the ball at all.

Until next time,

Want to send to someone that may enjoy this?