Wii

Vicarious Visions CEO Talks Nintendo

by Mike Gamin - October 5, 2007, 5:23 pm PDT
Total comments: 12 Source: http://www2.rit.edu/entconf/2007/

Karthik Bala talks about starting a video game business and mentions some things about Wii Ware, Guitar Hero Wii, and Wii Fit.

Vicarious Visions CEO Karthik Bala spoke in one of the final sessions of the 2007 RIT Entrepreneurs Conference in Rochester, NY. His session, titled Creating a Video Game Company: The Vicarious Visions Story, focused on what it takes to make a successful business in the industry. It's no secret that Vicarious Visions owe much of their success to Nintendo's platforms, as Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, a launch title for Game Boy Advance, was one of the games that really made them a top level game development house and led to their acquisition by Activision. Because of this, some interesting insights on Nintendo from his perspective came through in his presentation.

Given his audience, one of the main aspects of the talk was what it takes to break into the industry. After mentioning how nearly impossible it is for a small, rookie development house to compete with the multimillion dollar budgets being used in retail games, he moved on to the potential for online publishing. After alluding to the difficulty of getting a game onto Xbox Live Arcade, due to Microsoft's vigorous approval process, he expressed his excitement in Nintendo's WiiWare service. As Nintendo stated with their original (and only) announcement of the service, he stated that it would launch early next year and emphasized how open Nintendo was being with development kits and what they were going to allow on the service. He seemed convinced that this was going to be a gateway for many independent developers operating on small budgets. Given that Nintendo has been incredibly quiet about this since the original announcement, it's interesting to hear the points restated by a third party.

That wasn't all of the Nintendo talk. When talking about current projects, he expressed his excitement about this month's launch of the Wii version of Guitar Hero III, which his team worked on. He said he really enjoyed working with the combination of the guitar peripheral and the Wii remote that plugs into it. The presentation ended with him showing the trailer for Wii Fit from E3. He talked about just how much the industry was changing and mentioned games like Brain Age in connection with the trailer as evidence of that.

Vicarious Visions is one of Activision's key developers. Hearing Mr. Bala's enthusiasm for Nintendo's platforms should mean continued Nintendo support going forward.

Talkback

Bartman3010October 05, 2007

Sure hope this means some of their XBLA titles (Along with one of the partner companies, Backbone, to bring some of those to WiiWare.

IceColdOctober 05, 2007

Whoa, seriously? Vicarious Visions is the best western developer on the DS, and one of the few that actually put effort into their games. This is great news!

VV is a pretty cool bunch. Karthik is always very friendly and open, and always seems represent his entire team well.

Bill AurionOctober 06, 2007

Quote

...he stated that it would launch early next year and emphasized how open Nintendo was being with development kits and what they were going to allow on the service. He seemed convinced that this was going to be a gateway for many independent developers operating on small budgets.

Fantastic...Now all we need are small devs that are willing to make some awesome low-budget shmups and ARPGs!

Wait a sec, so NWR was actually at the RIT Entreprenuers Conference in Rochester New York?

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorOctober 08, 2007

Heh, I was there for my job. And then thought Karthik's comments were interesting.

I live in Rochester, NY.

sirfireDecember 26, 2007

1/ Who would not have a warehouse in a country like Australia with no Wii controllers anywhere in stock after Christmas?
When i was a Bottle shop manager my area supervisor would say you will be fired if you ran out of Beer on Christmas and New Years day would you expect that accountability would apply to the CEO in Australia if your business is built around Christmas and its marketing?
2/ Why wouldn’t you have a 1300 (freecall) Number when HP and IBM and many many others do to support your customers?
4/ Why do you not have staff willing to accept that its Nintendo’s fault for not having stock prior and after Christmas?
5/ Who would be a shareholder of a company that has NO stock Anywhere in a major country during the busiest time of the year?
Even though Microsoft have flaws at least XBox 360 Controllers and many other components in stock in every place we went to.
Should Satoru Iwata be accountable of bad business practices such lack of hindsight and foresight to have an oversupply when ALL other major companies BEST practices is to be oversupplied?

ThePermDecember 26, 2007

no, for instance Sony ships as much crap as they can. hence they have extra stock out before they've made profit. If Profit than produce.

ShyGuyDecember 26, 2007

It take it Bottle Shop is an Australian term?

Quote

Originally posted by: sirfire
1/ Who would not have a warehouse in a country like Australia with no Wii controllers anywhere in stock after Christmas?
When i was a Bottle shop manager my area supervisor would say you will be fired if you ran out of Beer on Christmas and New Years day would you expect that accountability would apply to the CEO in Australia if your business is built around Christmas and its marketing?
2/ Why wouldn’t you have a 1300 (freecall) Number when HP and IBM and many many others do to support your customers?
4/ Why do you not have staff willing to accept that its Nintendo’s fault for not having stock prior and after Christmas?
5/ Who would be a shareholder of a company that has NO stock Anywhere in a major country during the busiest time of the year?
Even though Microsoft have flaws at least XBox 360 Controllers and many other components in stock in every place we went to.
Should Satoru Iwata be accountable of bad business practices such lack of hindsight and foresight to have an oversupply when ALL other major companies BEST practices is to be oversupplied?


I'm sure that Beer and Consumer Electronics are VASTLY different products. For example, to you have to manufacture Beer with dozens of tiny electrical components from various global specialty manufacturers, each of which can bring the entire line to a halt by not delivering their one, single, component? High demand or not, there are serious and difficult problems that come with manufacturing Wiis.

Additionally, I'm sure that beverage consumption is more or less a predictable business, but videogames aren't. Just look at the Atari 2600 E.T. landfill, the ceasing of Gamecube manufacturing due to lack of sales in 2002, just months after its release, and look at Microsoft stuffing the channels in Holidays of 2006, leaving so much unsold stock in retail warehouses that over the next three months Microsoft shipped practically nothing in terms of hardware. The market is extremely volatile, and Nintendo's already stated that the Wii is breaking all seasonality sales trends even though industry analysts (and fanbois) were predicting that demand would evaporate at several points in 2007. The Wii is creating entirely new market sales trends, and no one knows where it's going to take us or if the entire thing is just going to come crashing down around their heads any moment.

But if that doesn't convince you of the complexity of what Nintendo's trying to do, let's take look at Apple's wunderkind, the iPod. Great product yeah? I mean... first year, what did the iPod sell? Under 400,000 units? Year 2 they moved 750,000 units... Year 3 about 3.5 million... The Wii has sold around 16 million units worldwide in just about a single year. If Nintendo's guilty, then gosh darn it Apple is downright incompetent!

sirfireDecember 26, 2007

I work for a massive IT company now .... and they have Warehouses in Sydney and Melbourne and a freecall number to any customer who wishes to talk to the them without any charge.

I'm sorry but Nintendo needs to pick up its act in Australia.

OH. You live in PAL land. That explains a lot... sorry, lol.

Still though, it's almost unbelievable that Nintendo is making Wiis at the rate that Sony made PS2s and still selling out. One has to wonder how high they can go... or if they're just setting themselves up for a fall.

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement