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Winners and Losers: Pokemon Sword and Shield smashes it while Stadia flounders

The penultimate week before Black Friday is always a turbulent time in the world of tech.

But this one’s been particularly hectic, with more leaks, announcements and launches happening than you can shake a stick at. There have been two very clear winners and losers, during the cacophony of announcements, however.

I speak, of course, of Pokemon Sword and Shield which absolutely smashed Nintendo Switch sales records and Google Stadia which suffered one of the most muted launches in recent memory, earning it a place as our loser for the second week running.

Pokemon isn’t exactly a hard sell. Add the word to any game, t-shirt or movie and it’s pretty much guaranteed to make money and get some interest. Ryan Reynolds even managed to make the bizarre Detective Picachu franchise a box office hit.

But the latest Sword and Shield entry into the franchise took this to the next level earlier this week. Specifically, the game knocked Super Smash Bros Ultimate off its perch to nab the “fastest selling Switch game” trophy, having successfully shipped six million units globally in less than a week.

The reason for this is clear. As we noted in our Pokemon Sword and Shield review, it’s one of the best Pokemon games to arrive in recent memory. Set in the mysterious new Galar region, the RPG sees the return of a wealth of familiar faces from the franchise and one of the most diverse selections of Pokemon you’ll find in a game. This plus a whole new story make it an idea option for any Pokemon fan or a newbie to the series keen to see what all the fuss is about.

Stadia

To be clear we here at Trusted Towers don’t have it in for Google Stadia. In our review we explicitly said we thing streaming will eventually be the future of gaming and what Google’s achieved with Stadia is a technical marvel. But the fact is, for regular gamers it’s currently a bit of a hard sell, and as revealed this week: most people don’t seem to give a monkeys about it.

There are a variety of reasons for this. First because Google’s made a bit of a mess of the launch line up. Despite promising a wealth of triple-A games to choose from, mere days ahead of Stadia’s public release the library was so embarrassingly sparse Google had to rush add 10 more titles to it. Even then it wasn’t exactly matching MacOS’ gaming library, let alone Steam.

Then there’s the devs. For any gaming platform you need the people making games onside. Which, according to industry rumblings, doesn’t seem to be the case with Stadia. Everyone from the developers behind hardcore shooters to casual platformers we’ve spoken to seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet, the common chorus being “we don’t trust Google not to close it” – which is about as damning a statement as you can get for a new cloud platform aiming to entice gamers away from traditional consoles.

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