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WiiDS

The DSi and What it Means for Wii HD

by Steven Rodriguez - November 8, 2008, 8:57 am PST
Total comments: 44

For the longest time, Nintendo has always dubbed itself a “games only” company. Every piece of hardware it made was strictly for playing video games, and that was it. Nintendo never considered media players, cameras, or any of that other stuff to be integral to the enjoyment of playing games (preferably its own games). Yet, starting with the Wii and now the DSi, Nintendo has seemed to realize that that extra functionality is beginning to come essential when it comes to creating a value proposition for hardware.

For as long as I've owned portable devices, I've found that the portability aspect of them is a misnomer. Yes, you can take them anywhere you'd please, but most of the time there's little reason to do so. For instance, of the portable devices I have—including an original Nintendo DS, a Game Boy micro (yes, I know), a PSP, a point-and-shoot camera, and my trusty iPhone—I only carry my phone with me on a regular basis, and have absolutely no reason to take anything else anywhere I go. The iPhone is essentially all of the above: Obviously, it's a smartphone I can use to get on the Internet, but I can also take pictures and play games on it. Although it's not the best camera I own and it's not the best game player I own, the simple fact of the matter everything I could need is all in one device. That means I only need to take one device with me, instead of two or three. Portability only works when it's convenient, and hassling with carrying more than one “portable” makes things less than convenient.

In light of this, the Nintendo DSi, and Nintendo itself, seems to be headed in the right direction. Although cameras have been tied with game systems for a while now, including Nintendo's own Game Boy Camera, the fact that Nintendo built cameras in to the hardware means the feature needs to be taken seriously. Not just because there's a camera facing the user for gameplay purposes, but that the outward-facing camera was put there with the specific purpose of taking pictures of whatever happens to be around. Everyone in Japan has a better camera than what's in the Nintendo DSi, including the one that's likely housed inside of their keitai, or mobile phones. But now that's it's there, people will use it, which gives people one more reason to use their DSi day-in and day-out.

The reason why Sony has always pushed the PlayStation brand as an all-in-one set-top box solution is because it feels that having one device, for one price, will meet all your home entertainment needs. As the global economy worsens and money becomes an issue for many people, this line of thinking makes sense. Granted, paying $400 for anything when money is tight is a stretch to begin with, but when it comes time to put that money down, you'd want a device to do as much as possible, i.e., why buy a $500 Blu-ray player when you can get a Blu-ray player, game console, Internet hub, media player, and George Foreman grill for the same price? This is why the PlayStation 2 took off. It was a value proposition, even at a high price. The PS3 should begin to come charging back for the same reason. People pay for things that offer them convenience, something that Sony hinges its entire hardware strategy on.

Nintendo is surely starting to realize that if it stays games-only, it's not going to be a major player. The Wii is still primarily a games-only device, but Nintendo is pushing it as something you'd want to put in your living room and have the whole family use. The photo channel and the SD slot built-in to the Wii, along with the Internet Channel and other various utility channels, showed that Nintendo was beginning to expand the functionality of what its hardware could do. Nintendo will say that stuff is in there so the users can have more fun, but ultimately it's in there so Nintendo won't fall behind in the consumer electronics world and be stuck in the one-trick pony business model. Nintendo took the initiative with the Nintendo DSi and broke out of that model in a way that few expected them to, giving the system a multi-use purpose without abandoning its core functionality.

Which brings me back to the Wii. Many years from now, we're going to look back at the Wii and realize how utterly brilliant Nintendo was with its design and marketing. I guarantee you this will be taught and brought up in marketing and advertising classes in the not-too-distant future. What I'm starting to realize about the Wii—and the Nintendo DSi helped me see this—is that Nintendo is using the Wii as the starting point for its inevitable global takeover. No joke: Because Nintendo is reaching out to so many new consumers and telling them how great the games experience is, and also showing them that the Wii can do a little more than just play games, Nintendo is basically training people to believe that Nintendo is the way to go for home entertainment in the future. The features that Nintendo is adding to the Wii gives that many more people an excuse to use the console every day, which Nintendo is absolutely hell-bent on seeing happen. Ditto for Internet features.

Point is, when Nintendo decides to roll out Wii 2, Wii HD, Twii, Xii, or whatever Nintendo is going to call it, a throng of new consumers will have been so used to using the Wii and Nintendo's services that they will first look to Nintendo for the next version. To make sure Nintendo cashes in on this captive audience, it's going to need to put in more functionality in it than ever before (while still keeping the price reasonable, obviously) so that it can stay relevant in the living room of the future. Nintendo is already experimenting with streaming television and movie delivery services in Japan, and this is being done through a console that people said was just two GameCubes duct-taped together. Just think of what Nintendo might be able to do when it tapes on a third.

Talkback

E3 Hype Train EngineerNovember 08, 2008

What would possess someone who has goofed around on the photo channel, or tried rearranging space for VC games, or typed in a friend code, to think that Nintendo should be trusted with anything other than games?

Besides why would you want a single company/product to take over your living room. One thing breaks down and you're living in hunter-gatherer times

EasyCureNovember 08, 2008

Very good read, and very good points. I've been realizing this as well.

I do want to make a quick, personal, point here and say that before i ever carry my DS around with me wherever i go because of its new features outside of playing games, it'll have to offer those new conveniences in a more convenient package. The DSi is a step in the right direction to a first and foremost gaming portable that also lets you take pictures and listen to music, but as it is right now (from a physical standpoint) i dont see myself really using those features often only because of form factor.

I'd explain myself further but i fear it'll just turn this from a discussion of what Nintendo might plan to do with future implimented system software and into a discussion/debate on what sort of physical designs the next portable system should have.

KDR_11kNovember 09, 2008

The DSi was designed to appeal to the third kind of non-customer outlined in the Blue Ocean Strategy (people who have nothing to do with the market), that's all there is.

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For as long as I've owned portable devices, I've found that the portability aspect of them is a misnomer.  Yes, you can take them anywhere you'd please, but most of the time there's little reason to do so.

That's because the US has no real public transportation infrastructure so everyone uses a car and you can't really play a game while driving (illegal activities excluded). In areas where you can actually get on the bus and end up where you want to be in time a portable game system makes sense because your hands are free and you don't have to control a ton of metal moving at lethal velocities.

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The PS3 should begin to come charging back for the same reason.  People pay for things that offer them convenience, something that Sony hinges its entire hardware strategy on.

You sound as ridiculous as Pachter. This generation has shown that people don't really want huge, expensive all-in-one boxes, they want cheap things that do what they're bought for. Talking about how great a value the PS3 is compared to a Blu-Ray player is pointless, BRDs aren't of much value to most people as the benefits over DVDs have overshot the customer's needs and the massive price difference between a Blu-Ray player and a DVD player will decide the purchase more. The PS2 had extra features that offered customers something they really wanted (DVDs looked much better than the crappy VHS quality you got before on any TV and they were a lot more user friendly with no rewinding and menus and such) and was comparable in price to other game consoles while also offering a big leap in gaming (PSX and N64 graphics were very limited). The PS3 failed at this because the new features weren't important, the new graphics weren't really necessary for most people and because the price was way higher than what people could accept. In short, it overshot the market massively, wasting big money to push the same old values just a bit further with noone caring.

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Nintendo is surely starting to realize that if it stays games-only, it's not going to be a major player.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

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Which brings me back to the Wii.  Many years from now, we're going to look back at the Wii and realize how utterly brilliant Nintendo was with its design and marketing.

You know, those who read Malstrom's articles have been admiring it for some time already. It IS being taught in classes already, at least at Harvard.

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To make sure Nintendo cashes in on this captive audience, it's going to need to put in more functionality in it than ever before

Actually, no. That would be a sustaining innovation and would give another manufacturer the opportunity to destroy Nintendo. Reggie already said it, Nintendo is always trying to disrupt itself so noone else gets the chance.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusNovember 09, 2008

Quote from: KDR_11k

That's because the US has no real public transportation infrastructure so everyone uses a car and you can't really play a game while driving (illegal activities excluded). In areas where you can actually get on the bus and end up where you want to be in time a portable game system makes sense because your hands are free and you don't have to control a ton of metal moving at lethal velocities.

Not true.  I take the bus and subway all the time when I'm in Los Angeles, and I still never think to bring my DS or PSP, especially now that I have the iPhone.  I can always use my phone to do whatever, but I could only use my DS to play games.  Why carry around something useless when I don't feel like playing games at a particular moment in time?

Quote from: KDR_11k

Pacther

One of the major reasons why I want a PS3 is the exact reasoning I gave.  I want something that can do it all, that will last me several years into the future.  The Xbox 360 will not do that for me, and neither will my Wii.  Plus, Sony isn't about to be pushing the PS4 anytime in the future.  As crazy as Crazy Ken sounded pimping the PS3, he actually made a bit of sense here and there.

Quote from: KDR_11k

Actually, no. That would be a sustaining innovation and would give another manufacturer the opportunity to destroy Nintendo. Reggie already said it, Nintendo is always trying to disrupt itself so noone else gets the chance.

Keep in mind that now that all of these new gamers are out there, they can now be marketed to by the other manufacturers.  Microsoft is making a big-time push toward Nintendo's new audience.  History has proven that just because you're a leader one generation doesn't guarantee success for the next one.  Nintendo will continue to innovate, as it always has, it's also going to be back in competition before not-too-long.  There's a reason why Nintendo is exploring a lot of not-game technologies (streaming video, TV guides, etc.) in Japan.  In the future, why would you purchase anything that only does one thing, especially if money is tight and space is an issue?

As far as Nintendo taking over the world, the one thing that Nintendo has not done up to this point is attack Microsoft and Sony's "profit sanctuaries".  In other words, it hasn't hit them in the markets that they supposedly have "locked down", i.e. the hardcore gamer market that loves Halo 3/Gears of War/Fallout 3/Call of Duty 4/MGS4/Final Fantasy XII, online digital downloads, and heavy online gaming.  Until they crack these profit sanctuaries, they will never completely dominate the industry.

They don't care about these markets because they're making boatloads of money servicing the non-hardcore market, but they aren't moving in for the kill either.  Iwata is totally right when he says that Nintendo isn't really competing with Sony and Microsoft, because they aren't trying to beat them at their own game.  The day Nintendo announces a Wii sequel to Golden Sun, a killer first-party FPS, and a Pokemon RPG, Sony and Microsoft had better REALLY start sweating because that's the day Nintendo starts parking in their driveway and moving into their house.

KDR_11kNovember 09, 2008

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Not true.  I take the bus and subway all the time when I'm in Los Angeles, and I still never think to bring my DS or PSP, especially now that I have the iPhone.  I can always use my phone to do whatever, but I could only use my DS to play games.  Why carry around something useless when I don't feel like playing games at a particular moment in time?

Well, other people feel differently.

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One of the major reasons why I want a PS3 is the exact reasoning I gave.  I want something that can do it all, that will last me several years into the future.  The Xbox 360 will not do that for me, and neither will my Wii.  Plus, Sony isn't about to be pushing the PS4 anytime in the future.  As crazy as Crazy Ken sounded pimping the PS3, he actually made a bit of sense here and there.

Remember, we here are a fringe part of the market. We're the enthusiasts. Just becvause a few of us want the system doesn't mean it suddently has a chance to bounce back in the market. Besides, I'm expecting the PS3 to get dropped as fast as the GC and XBox, the non-marketleader consoles just aren't very interesting to third parties once the following generation is announced and no matter how much Sony wants it they can't support the thing alone to get those 10 years they promised.

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Keep in mind that now that all of these new gamers are out there, they can now be marketed to by the other manufacturers.

Which is why standing still means losing. I'm not saying they won't innovate, I'm saying they won't innovate into the same direction again.

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Microsoft is making a big-time push toward Nintendo's new audience.

Not really no. They had the chance to try a counterattack at E3 '08 which is why Nintendo went into war mode and preempted everything with Motion Plus but neither MS nor Sony even tried. Sure, they THINK they're appealing to the casual audience, like every third party does when throwing out dumbed down shovelware.

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As far as Nintendo taking over the world, the one thing that Nintendo has not done up to this point is attack Microsoft and Sony's "profit sanctuaries".  In other words, it hasn't hit them in the markets that they supposedly have "locked down", i.e. the hardcore gamer market that loves Halo 3/Gears of War/Fallout 3/Call of Duty 4/MGS4/Final Fantasy XII, online digital downloads, and heavy online gaming.  Until they crack these profit sanctuaries, they will never completely dominate the industry.

Step by step. The goal of a disruption is to slowly marginalize the core market by coming from below. MS and Sony pride themselves with their upmarket games, Nintendo is attacking from the opposite end of the market and creeping forward. Just charging in with all guns blazing doesn't work, that's what the incumbents expect. Slowly moving the goalposts for what's "too casual for serious gaming" towards the upmarket means MS and Sony will ceede more and more of the market with their hardcore focus because more and more parts of the market aren't hardcore enough. THAT's what's meant by "not competing", not beating MS and Sony at their own game but by making their game irrelevant and changing the market into a new situation where the old approach cannot work anymore.

Quote from: KDR_11k

Not really no. They had the chance to try a counterattack at E3 '08 which is why Nintendo went into war mode and preempted everything with Motion Plus but neither MS nor Sony even tried. Sure, they THINK they're appealing to the casual audience, like every third party does when throwing out dumbed down shovelware.

Counterattacking now is pointless.  If MS/Sony came out with a motion control peripheral, it would segment their market and generally be a dumb move.  Besides, the only audience that sees motion control as a dealbreaker - grandmas and soccer moms - would never buy a PS3 or 360 in a million years.  The motion control ship has sailed, and there's nothing that Microsoft and Sony can or will do about it this generation.  They may package something in with a certain title, but they aren't going to pull a Wii Fit and introduce an entirely new controller.

Quote from: KDR_11k

Step by step. The goal of a disruption is to slowly marginalize the core market by coming from below. MS and Sony pride themselves with their upmarket games, Nintendo is attacking from the opposite end of the market and creeping forward. Just charging in with all guns blazing doesn't work, that's what the incumbents expect. Slowly moving the goalposts for what's "too casual for serious gaming" towards the upmarket means MS and Sony will ceede more and more of the market with their hardcore focus because more and more parts of the market aren't hardcore enough. THAT's what's meant by "not competing", not beating MS and Sony at their own game but by making their game irrelevant and changing the market into a new situation where the old approach cannot work anymore.

The demand for hardcore games isn't going away, it's getting bigger.  Just look at the sales of Halo 3, Gears 2, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4, etc.  There are more hardcore titles nowadays and they're selling more copies.  It's not like all of a sudden the people that buy those games are going to abandon them for Carnival Games.  What Nintendo has done is expand the "downmarket", not diminish the "upmarket".  They've actually helped the upmarket, because more people are checking for games, period.  Nintendo has made the pie bigger.  They're actually seeding the next generation of hardcore gamers, so their success is a double-edged sword for Sony and MS.  Nintendo is pretty much letting the market dictate whether or not hardcore stuff appears on their console, and sticking to what they do best, which is general-appeal stuff.  In this sense they are in fact ceding the hardcore market to MS and Sony by servicing it in a merely token fashion, throwing the hardcore a bone like Metroid Prime 3 once a year or so.  If they really wanted to attack it they could, but I don't see this "grand plan" that you seem to be referring to.

MarioNovember 10, 2008

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a Game Boy micro (yes, I know)

Know what? That GBMs are amazing magical devices? I bought two they are so awesome, in case one breaks in the future. I want to play it forever. It can fit in my wallet. So damn cool.

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The PS3 should begin to come charging back for the same reason.

LOL. Should.

I think Nintendo will just slowly branch out to whatever is convenient, just because it's getting so easy to add these things and it's not really distracting them.

KDR_11kNovember 10, 2008

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Counterattacking now is pointless.    Besides, the only audience that sees motion control as a dealbreaker - grandmas and soccer moms - would never buy a PS3 or 360 in a million years.

Er, that's the point of a counter-attack, to MAKE the console relevant to those new markets. It was clear that MS didn't want to and didn't really possess the knowledge to pull it off either though.

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They've actually helped the upmarket, because more people are checking for games, period.  Nintendo has made the pie bigger.  They're actually seeding the next generation of hardcore gamers, so their success is a double-edged sword for Sony and MS.

Sorry, there's some terminology confusion there. Upmarket does not mean hardcore. Currently the core market occupies mostly the upmarket but the upmarket isn't automatically core. Nintendo eats away at the core market and fills the void with the new market. In fact I'm not sure if they're really eating away at the core market or just waiting for the core market to destroy itself (sales are going up slightly, costs are going up MASSIVELY, leading to low profits even when a game is successful). Anyway, what that means is that an upmarket new gamer isn't the same as an upmarket core gamer and the "hardcore" (core upmarket) games aren't going to work with that new upmarket. MS's claims that "once they grow up they'll go XBox" is stupid since the people Nintendo is "growing" aren't going to turn out the old way.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusNovember 10, 2008

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The demand for hardcore games isn't going away, it's getting bigger.  Just look at the sales of Halo 3, Gears 2, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4, etc.

OK Let's look at those sales.  Halo 3 at this point is about the same as Halo 2, Gears of War 2 has been out for about  2 days so we won't be able to get a comparative figure until well into next year, Fallout 3 is the same way and that game has been redesigned from its top-down PC RPG to comply with 360 userbase demands so the comparison is moot, GTAIV has massively gone down in sales compared to San Andreas, with GTA IV failing to sell on the 360 and PS3 combined what San Andreas did just on the PS2.  Metal Gear Solid 4 failed in its mission to revitalize the PS3 and is on track to do worse than Metal Gear Solid 3.  If anything, in some sectors the market for these games is down, only clouded and misdirected by the success of one or two titles on the 360.  This is similar to how the PS1 never had one game outsell any of the top 4 games on the N64, despite selling many times more games than it.

Furthermore, on the Wii, sales for established franchises have gone up, way up.  Mario Galaxy has gone up over Mario Sunshine,  Mario Kart Wii hs destroyed Mario Kart Double Dash (apparently the more "hardcore" of the two) and is moving quickly on Mario Kart 64.  Smash Brothers Brawl sold in half a year what Melee did in 7 years.  Resident Evil 4 Wii had sold exactly the same as the GC version, which is fantastic for a two-year-old game with the only thing added was pointer-aiming and motion control. 

If the market is "dictating" anything about the Wii, it's that it is the console of choice for the majority of people, and thus should be the recipient of the most support, regardless of genre.  The discussion has been muddled by various name-calling and label throwing, but the result is pretty clear and will be made especially clear after the Wii stomps everything again this holiday.  Do you think this "I am a terrible poaster. , no wait, casual, no wait, party, no wait, general-appeal" labeling is going to stick when the Wii passes 40 million this year?  60 million next year?  80 million next holiday?  Did it stick to the DS?

If anybody is doing any "dictating" this generation, it's certain established third parties trying to overrule the market's choice and force parity and "equality" among the consoles.  This results in a flood of **** nobody buys on the Wii, and a disproportionate amount of support for 2nd and 3d place consoles.  And it's pretty easy to see when UBISoft announces Endwar and Farcry 2 on 360/PS3/PC and 50 Somethingz games on the DS and Wii.  And about those two "hardcore" games there... both are flopping pretty badly, which I guess is the unseen non-demand for hardcore titles that is clouded by "ZOMG Gears of War 2 sold X million on the first day!" press releases.

EDIT: and a late thought about "making the pie bigger."  What do you mean by that?  That Nintendo has expanded the amount of gamers?  Is the pie really "bigger?"

I mean take away the Wii's sales from the total consoles.  Are the remaining consoles as large as the total number of consoles sold last generation?  Heck no.  If anything the only thing keeping the "pie" the same size is the Wii.  Hell in Japan, they ARE the pie, with over 68% of the market on just consoles.  Heck in total, with DS and PSP figures thrown in, Nintendo owns 68% of the Japanese market in total.

So did Nintendo appeal to that many gaming grandmas and girls and women?  Is this idea even being entertained?  Even if the Wii is owned by 50% non-gamers, casuals, gaming grandmas, women, girls, wombats, etc. (which would be HISTORIC and LEGENDARY) the 50% that are "real gamers" are more than the entirety of the PS3 userbase, and soon the 360 userbase, if all goes right this holiday.

Makes me think the idea of the "casual, party, general-appeal" Wii is pretty damn arbitrary considering the facts.  It sounds more like justification for certain 3rd parties to have picked the wrong horse to me.

Ian SaneNovember 10, 2008

Honestly I just see the DSi as part of Nintendo's focus on selling hardware.  The DS sales are dropping because, well, everyone in Japan has the damn thing.  Ideally this should be good for Nintendo.  This should be the goal of any videogame system manufacturer.  If almost everyone has your system then the potential userbase for any game you release is huge and it's also incredibly attractive to third party developers.  The manufacturer gets a cut of every third party game sold (though Nintendo never seems to notice this).  Everyone owning your system buying games in which you get a cut for every single one of them is money-printing utopia.

And yet Nintendo is acting like this is some crisis.  Oh no!  There's no one left to buy DS's!  Um, who cares?  This is supposed the whole plan.  Now you sell games to the huge userbase until the time is right to release a new portable that hopefully everyone will upgrade to.  Instead we get this unneeded stop gap.  One that lacks certain key features of the other DS models but introduces a few new ones that might result in special DSi-only games.  Nintendo has a DS in the hands of almost everyone who would ever want one and yet they want to risk splitting the userbase.

Nintendo's been all about hardware since last gen.  Look at the e-Reader.  What was the point of that?  It really had no practical function, it was just a novelty peripheral.  GBA connectivity was hyped up a bunch but never really went anywhere.  I don't think it's a fluke that the games that required it were all four players.  Nintendo didn't just want every Cube owner to own a GBA they wanted three of his friends to do so as well.  And the cords to connect the damn things didn't come with the GBA.  No sir!  That's another seperate purchase.  Their desire to sell hardware pretty much killed the whole concept.

And we had all these variations of the GBA and now all these variations of the DS.  The Wii seems to have been designed specifically to sell us peripherals.  The remotes and nunchuks are sold seperately.  Then you also have the classic controller, the balance board, the zapper, the wheel, and soon Motion+.  For a company that justified the remote's simplicity because people were confused by existing controllers they sure have a lot of controller related products on the shelf.  Having to have icons on the box of each game to indicate what controller options are required or supported isn't confusing but controller standards that were present on the SNES are?  Yeah right.

Hardware sales is an important part of Nintendo's business model now.  The purpose of the hardware is not to create a large userbase to sell the software to.  That's just a nice side benefit and with the Wii it actually seems more like the game exist to sell hardware.  The real purpose is to make a profit off the hardware itself.

KDR_11kNovember 10, 2008

Ian, the DSi was not because all of Japan has a DS already but because all of the parts that are willing to buy the current DS have one. The DSi is to reach those who are NOT interested in the current DS, hence the non-gaming features.

vuduNovember 10, 2008

It's also handy for current DS owners who are looking to upgrade so they give their old system to their kid brother who's still playing GBA games.

Right now there's about one DS per household in Japan.  Nintendo's goal is one DS per person.  ;D

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 10, 2008

Quote from: Ian

And we had all these variations of the GBA and now all these variations of the DS.  The Wii seems to have been designed specifically to sell us peripherals.  The remotes and nunchuks are sold seperately.  Then you also have the classic controller, the balance board, the zapper, the wheel, and soon Motion+.  For a company that justified the remote's simplicity because people were confused by existing controllers they sure have a lot of controller related products on the shelf.  Having to have icons on the box of each game to indicate what controller options are required or supported isn't confusing but controller standards that were present on the SNES are?  Yeah right.

Hardware sales is an important part of Nintendo's business model now.  The purpose of the hardware is not to create a large userbase to sell the software to.  That's just a nice side benefit and with the Wii it actually seems more like the game exist to sell hardware.  The real purpose is to make a profit off the hardware itself.

Umm Ian those types of peripherals existed since the NES, you had your zappers, action pads, alternate controllers, arcade style controllers and so forth. Now for current systems we have cameras, arcade controllers, dance/action pads, balance board, text/chat pads, microphones, headsets, plastic instruments, alternate controllers.  Just look at the Angry Video Game Nerd reviewing NES accessories and see how many peripherals there were

Ian SaneNovember 10, 2008

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Umm Ian those types of peripherals existed since the NES, you had your zappers, action pads, alternate controllers, arcade style controllers and so forth.

You're including third party peripherals as well.  I'm not.  Note I didn't list the Guitar Hero guitar despite it being an obvious example of a Wii peripheral.  I'm only talking about first party stuff as they reflect the attitude of Nintendo themselves.  Stuff like arcade sticks have always existed.  Also alternate controllers like a joystick are not really what I'm talking about.  I could always get the Advantage joystick for the NES but I didn't NEED it to play certain games.  It was just a variation of the regular controller.  But the nunchuk and remote are both requirements for most games and yet they're sold seperately.  It's not just personal preference.  But Nintendo has released peripherals before I just find that's a much bigger focus for them now than in the past.

In the past when Nintendo released a variation of an existing system is either just a new colour or in the case of the redesigned NES and SNES they were released after the succeeding console had already been released to try to get some last minute sales of soon-to-be-obsolete hardware.  The Gameboy Micro is like that.

But both the GBA and the DS saw redesigns during their peak and the DS has now seen two of them.  Meanwhile on the Wii it's like every time Nintendo announces new games at least one of them has some extra doo-dad involved.  With Motion+ the Wii is going to have four different controller configurations using the remote and the console is only two years old!  But non-gamers are confused by the older design.  That statement makes Nintendo either supreme morons or complete bullsh!tters and considering they now sell controllers for more than the cost of games I'm thinking bullsh!tters.  They've got a model now where to keep up you "upgrade" four controllers every year.

I just see a lot more focus on this stuff than before.  And this isn't that new because I started seeing it last gen with connectivity.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 10, 2008

I have 4 gun shells, none of which are the Zapper.

I think the idea behind DSi is that Nintendo no longer cares about developing DS games, so this is a way for them to sell more hardware without actually having software titles to push sales.  People will upgrade to DSi for the random, mostly useless hardware features and not worry as much about looking forward to new game releases.

KDR_11kNovember 11, 2008

A shell around the controller doesn't confuse people because it doesn't change the controller, it just adds some plastic for better holding. The wheel attachment tells people how to visualize the thing as a steering wheel and it's pretty obvious from the thing's shape that it's for driving games. Confusion comes from non-obvious things like which one of the colored buttons on this misshaped bar of soap is the action you're looking for.

If you want to see some real control confusion try playing a first/third person shooter on the XBox 360. Those things use so many buttons they even bind all the dpad directions and stick clicks as well and some run out of buttons even then and make some dual-purpose!

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 11, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

I think the idea behind DSi is that Nintendo no longer cares about developing DS games, so this is a way for them to sell more hardware without actually having software titles to push sales.  People will upgrade to DSi for the random, mostly useless hardware features and not worry as much about looking forward to new game releases.

I wouldn't say that Nintendo doesn't care about developing DS games because they still have a healthy pipeline of DS games, they are probably just focusing on the big Wii and DS games that take up bigger development time.

UltimatePartyBearNovember 11, 2008

Quote from: Ian

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Umm Ian those types of peripherals existed since the NES, you had your zappers, action pads, alternate controllers, arcade style controllers and so forth.

You're including third party peripherals as well.  I'm not.

He's really not.  The Zapper, Power Pad, Max, and Advantage line up perfectly with that list.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 11, 2008

Quote from: UltimatePartyBear

Quote from: Ian

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Umm Ian those types of peripherals existed since the NES, you had your zappers, action pads, alternate controllers, arcade style controllers and so forth.

You're including third party peripherals as well.  I'm not.

He's really not.  The Zapper, Power Pad, Max, and Advantage line up perfectly with that list.

Thats the point in my example I didn't include 3rd party stuff, however in the angry video game nerd video he did have some 3rd party NES accessories: Roll & Rocker, speedboard, keyboard, konami laser scope and the broderbund UForce.

KDR fears the 360 controller.

CalibanNovember 11, 2008

It's like he never played a computer game. Boy do those computer games seem simple sometimes.

KDR_11kNovember 12, 2008

Quote from: Lindy

KDR fears the 360 controller.

No, I fear MS's handling of the user interfaces. Unreadable text, complex controls for braindead games, terrible translations, ...

The small text thing is in two games (Dead Rising and Banjo Kazooie), the controls that are supposedly so horrible aren't any more complex than any GameCube game, and I don't even know about the translation stuff.

I've just come to accept the fact that you loathe anything non-Nintendo, and frame your comments in that context.

vuduNovember 12, 2008

I think KDR plays more PC games than Nintendo games.

I've just come to accept the fact that you generally don't have the foggiest idea what you're talking about and are willing to conveniently forget and/or make things up in order to attempt to prove your point, and frame your comments in that context.

Hugs all around.

KDR_11kNovember 12, 2008

Quote from: Lindy

The small text thing is in two games (Dead Rising and Banjo Kazooie)

Which doesn't explain why more than half the demos I tried had text that ranged from eye straining to impossible to read.

I didn't see Gamecube games use 14 different buttons (4 face, 4 dpad, 4 shoulder, 2 stick) for a freaking shoot-anything-that-moves game but then again I didn't play many of those on the GC. There doesn't seem to be much else on the 360 though. Besides, the bad usability is mostly in comparison to the Wii.

Ian SaneNovember 14, 2008

I maintain my position that no one found dualshock-esque controllers overly complicated until Nintendo decided they did.  During the Cube years if someone complained that the controller had too many buttons everyone on here would have laughed at them.  Yeah, some games had issues, some still do, and some games had weirdo control schemes on the Genesis but that doesn't damn a whole controller design.

Ironically I never encountered any Nintendo developed games that controlled like crap until the DS and Wii.  The "confusing" Gamecube controller never had forced touchscreen usage or waggle.

UltimatePartyBearNovember 14, 2008

Quote from: Ian

I maintain my position that no one found dualshock-esque controllers overly complicated until Nintendo decided they did.

I find the clicking sticks extremely confusing and unnecessary, personally.

E3 Hype Train EngineerNovember 14, 2008

RS2 was hailed for using every button on the controller, even the amazing revolutionary clicks. What a difference 7 years makes

EasyCureNovember 14, 2008

Quote from: Ian

I maintain my position that no one found dualshock-esque controllers overly complicated until Nintendo decided they did.  During the Cube years if someone complained that the controller had too many buttons everyone on here would have laughed at them.  Yeah, some games had issues, some still do, and some games had weirdo control schemes on the Genesis but that doesn't damn a whole controller design.

Ironically I never encountered any Nintendo developed games that controlled like crap until the DS and Wii.  The "confusing" Gamecube controller never had forced touchscreen usage or waggle.

When the dualshock came out i couldnt play Ape Escape on my cousins playstation for shit because of those god damn clicks. They'd throw off my movement which also didnt feel as precise as what i was used to on my N64, so my first impression of the dualshock was the fact that the analogue felt tacked on.

Oh and the very first time i'd ever played a playstation game (i think it was one of the twisted metal games) i instantly hated the controllers d-pad and second set of shoulder buttons. To this day i can't use that damn design because of how uncomfortable it is.

DAaaMan64November 14, 2008

Quote from: UltimatePartyBear

Quote from: Ian

I maintain my position that no one found dualshock-esque controllers overly complicated until Nintendo decided they did.

I find the clicking sticks extremely confusing and unnecessary, personally.

Nah stick clicking works good for crouching and zooming a sniper rifle. Provided the riffle has only one zoom level.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 14, 2008

I used clicking in Wind Waker and Eternal Darkness to change enemy targets.

The irony is that the act of getting to this website via a PC is more complicated than using the PS3 or 360 controllers, yet somehow people figure it out.  I guess it all depends on how bad you want to figure it out, and the Wii is geared for people that don't want to figure stuff out, which is great because there's a lot of stupidity out there.  That equals more cash for Nintendo, and more power to them.

The R3 and L3 clicking isn't used for frequent actions in most games anyways.  They're typically used for actions that are relatively infrequent within the context of the game in which they're being used, like sniping and crouching.  It's not like you're sitting there playing Super Mario Bros. and being forced to click R3 to jump.

KDR_11kNovember 14, 2008

A PC has buttons labelled with exactly what they do (well, if you want to type text which is all most people do with the keyboard) and a point and click interface.

Ian, of course people didn't complain back then, that's why the Wii reached a new market: The people who were alienated by the controllers were not considered gamers, now they are.

But you have to use a mouse with two or more buttons.  Then you have a keyboard with dozens of keys, not all of which are as intuitive as being a letter (what the hell does "Enter" mean to someone that doesn't know anything about computers)?  Then you have to know how to navigate the Windows desktop.  Then you have to know how to open up IE.  Then you have to know what to type in, where to type it, and what to press.  In terms of sheer interface difficulty, a PC is much more complex.  Just watch an 80-year-old try to use one and you'll see what I mean.  Yet, even children learn how to use PCs.

UltimatePartyBearNovember 14, 2008

Children are better at learning than adults at everything, though.  And you don't see many of those new and/or non gamers flooding the gaming fora for the exact reasons you outlined, so I don't get the point of the rant in the first place.

Ian SaneNovember 14, 2008

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Ian, of course people didn't complain back then, that's why the Wii reached a new market: The people who were alienated by the controllers were not considered gamers, now they are.

I'm not talking about the new market in this case.  I'm talking about people on this forum that played Cube games that used every button on the controller and LOVED them but now acts like any game on the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 is too damn complicated because it uses more than two buttons.

And I don't think the controller was alienating people but rather the concept of videogames themselves.  Gaming is not passive entertainment.  It requires skill and intelligence and, worst of all, EFFORT to enjoy.  The more effort something requires the less mainstream it is because people are often lazy.  And that sort of stuff usually requires some natural talent at it that can't be taught.  We're not all good at everything and some things are going to really hard to get into.  This is why everyone I know watches TV and listens to music because unless you're blind or deaf you can do these things with no effort.  Not so with my interests that require effort.  Not as many people play videogames.  Even less play guitar.  Even less of those that play guitar write songs.  And then you have someone like my best friend who builds trebuchets.  That requires enough effort and cost and time and skill that if wasn't for the internet he wouldn't know anyone who shares that interest.  That's the way things are.  Videogames require a certain amount of dedication to enjoy and not everyone wants to go to that trouble.

Wii Sports was a big killer app not because it used a simple controller but because it had such a "wow neato" factor.  Swinging the remote is like virtual reality (to the simple minded anyway) so of course everyone is going to want to try it out.  And it isn't like Nintendo is just releasing the same deep hardcore games with less intimidating controls.  The Wii____ series is also dumbed down.  Lower difficulty, less or no chance of failure, less options, less variety.  It isn't just the controller but the general lowering of the requirements to enjoy videogames.  It's making videogames as passive as possible.  Case in point Rock Band has winning and losing and requires skill while Wii Music doesn't.

The NES controller is even less complicated than the Wii's but your grandma who loves Wii Play is not going to want to play pretty much ANY NES game because most of them have all those tough effort-related requirements that videogaming in general has.  People didn't just think "oh they took off all those extra doodads off the controller!  I'll buy a console now!"  They said "hey I can enjoy this game even though I suck at videogames and have a short attention span".

I feel that anything that doesn't require some effort and dedication isn't rewarding.

GoldenPhoenixNovember 14, 2008

Quote:

I'm not talking about the new market in this case.  I'm talking about people on this forum that played Cube games that used every button on the controller and LOVED them but now acts like any game on the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 is too damn complicated because it uses more than two buttons.

Exaggeration FTW!

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusNovember 14, 2008

I will agree to an extent that there are a number of games out there for Wii that are "dumbing things down," but many are just looking for ways to leverage the new technology and provide for better, more intuitive control interfaces that never could've exist before. But I will also agree that some people here make a big deal about the traditional controller now and how confusing it is, yet never seemed to have an issue with it last gen.

Also, Wii Music probably takes more skill than Rock Band or Guitar Hero because you need to be creative and you need to have some concept of musical knowledge to succeed. When playing your typical rhythm game, the game instructs you 100% of the time, telling you exactly what you need to do and exactly when you need to do it. Those cues don't exist in Wii Music at all, thus requiring players to listen to the song and determine what their part is, recreate that part, and finally improvise on it to give it a unique feeling. It's not something you could understand unless you played the game. Most people hated on Wii Music not because it was terrible, but because they were terrible at it.

E3 Hype Train EngineerNovember 14, 2008

They cut out scoreboards from Smash Bros because of crybaby nongamers.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 14, 2008

"and you need to have some concept of musical knowledge to succeed"

No you don't, you experiment and learn as you go along (practice, such a foreign concept in gaming).

KDR_11kNovember 14, 2008

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Lower difficulty, less or no chance of failure, less options, less variety.

Yeah, sure, no chance of failure, no difficulty, you got all platin medals on Wii Play on your first (well, second since the first doesn't give a medal IIRC) try and never missed a gate in Wii Fit snowboarding and skiing, eh?

Quote:

The NES controller is even less complicated than the Wii's but your grandma who loves Wii Play is not going to want to play pretty much ANY NES game because most of them have all those tough effort-related requirements that videogaming in general has.

My grandma refuses to play anything but my mother was alienated out of gaming when the NES came out with multiple buttons on the controller, she only played games on the Atari 2600 (my parents were fairly active gamers back then, buying many games). Now she's playing through the Phoenix Wright games and uses the Wii.

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