Author Topic: Games Business 101: A Counter-Editorial.  (Read 3695 times)

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Offline Patch

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Games Business 101: A Counter-Editorial.
« on: February 28, 2003, 02:33:06 AM »
First of all, I just want to make this clear: My intentions aren't to slander Rick's hard work, tell Nintendo how to do their jobs, nor to spray some controversy around. But there's two sides to every story, and I strongly feel that some of what was mentioned in here is very-much open to debate.

Let's begin with this:
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While gamers like to think that every company wants to have the most market share and be “Number One”, there’s little point in doing that if it costs you money.


Fact is, it does cost money to make money. Granted, this is taken from what is practically an introductory paragraph, but this entire point conflicts with some of the latter business 'suggestions':

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To “win” in the future, Nintendo would need to focus on the next generation of consoles, and meeting or beating Sony and Microsoft to market.

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Nintendo will need to make sure they get great performance at a good cost, but not be afraid to compete at the same price point.

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While there are many consumers that will pass up a Nintendo console in favor of a “do-it-all” box, Nintendo isn’t likely to win those consumers anyway.


So what we have here is the suggestion that Nintendo need to launch first, with similar but competitive performance, and minus 'set-top-box' features - because hey, clearly no-one will go for that frivolity... The end result, in theory, would be Nintendo regaining some ground in the market place.

In reality however, research and development of a new console takes hundreds of millions of dollars, and years of careful planning. For reference-sake, Sony is spending something upwards of $US 250 million developing a new processor, let alone DVD componentry, and whatever else they decide to put into their system. Moreover, they announced their intentions last year.

For Nintendo to 'get ahead' so to speak, they would need to follow suit - Invest money in a new chip, get through all the R and D formalities, design and manufacture the console itself, AND have the greatest launch title (
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Nintendo needs to remember what got the Nintendo 64 all the cheap pre-launch press … and that is an absolutely stunning launch title.
) ready to ship well before Sony or MS. The sooner you want something to launch, the more it's going to cost. The sooner you launch with this costly technology, the sooner it becomes a) obsolete, b) the new high watermark that drives the competition to excel beyond, and c) will forever be compared with and used as a measuring stick, in terms of graphics.

As you can see, there are serious problems associated with rushing to the market. Look at the Sega Saturn's launch in the US, a near-disaster of (IMO, excellent) 2D technology, dressed up in weak 3D abilities, pushed out the door to get the jump on the mysterious 'PlayStation' and its polygon-pushing claims.

As for incorporating DVD functionality into the Nintendo-equation, it was said that certainly some sales will be forfeit, if it isn't included. Assumedly, removing DVD functionality lowers the cost a little, but the people have spoken. Multiple functions shift consoles. This is all the rationale Nintendo need to include this in their system. As was said, it cost them sales.

This brings me to a new point: Market trends.

The last 3 years have seen some clear shifts in consumer focus - gamers are getting older on average, and want mature-themed games. This was rightly pointed out in the Editorial, and I completely agree. But, as sales show, people also prefer a little flexibility in their systems. Hence, DVD and broadband functions are serious sales points. Nintendo probably should examine this generations' market trends, and, instead of bucking them, go with the mainstream.

The 'third party developer' issue is always a hotly debated issue. To say that
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...third-party games rarely move hardware units, and it’s nearly impossible to predict any impact a single third-party title might have on sales of other games...
is entirely incorrect.

There are certain third party properties that are guaranteed sales - these are winning titles and series with a strong fan base and generally a certain amount of heritage that comes with the developer. The past has proven these games to be winners. Squaresoft/Enix's RPGs, Capcom's survival-horror games and 2D fighters, Namco's fighters, EA's 'Sim...' games, Konami's Castlevania and Metal Gear games, UbiSoft's tactical shooters, the list goes on and on. These companies consistently have top-selling titles.

Can it seriously be said that Nintendo can afford not to throw a little 'goodwill' towards these companies? Again, market trends speak louder than any amount of speculation. Third party games DO sell systems. Absolutely.

Lets move onto Internet fan sites.

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Finally, Nintendo needs to leverage the Internet much more than it has been, and not just for online gaming. The Internet is a great advertising medium, especially after the latest Internet advertising crash. It’s much cheaper than just about any other medium now. More than that, Nintendo needs to use websites like this one more to their advantage.


Fair enough, the 'net is a cheap place to propagate some publicity. However, Nintendo have their own Internet gurus to create flashy adverti-sites. Think Animal Crossing, Zelda, Metroid, Mario and Smash Bros. The argument that is posed is reasonable enough, but think about the situation rationally.

Fan sites are generally created by fans (except for the 'big-business' examples pointed out in the editorial). If Nintendo suddenly decide to lend a helping hand (ala, giving the Webmasters free consoles, all-expenses-paid tours of NOA, a shiny, new computer etc.), there could be serious repercussions. Any generosity on the part of Nintendo could be considered 'cash-for-comments'-style bribery. And it wouldn't be the website that looks bad in the eyes of the media, that's for sure. I'm not saying that Nintendo shouldn't recognize, or even have regular correspondence with websites, but what more can you reasonably ask for? A fan site is still a fan site, not a NOA internally created site.

A few final issues to ponder.

There is one major point that wasn't really touched upon, I felt, and that is the PAL marketplace and it's effects on Nintendo's sales.

Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are big markets. Unfortunately, they are also neglected. Poor sales have dampened Nintendo in the eyes of the Australian marketplace, and European sales are now flagging behind MS. I'm not going to offer a definite solution, but here's the problem, anyway.

Localization. ...Of games, of systems, of hardware-specific requirements.

Without going into too much detail, Nintendo are notorious for how long their games take to be translated and adjusted for a PAL release. This is fact, not opinion. It just takes far too long for a title to hit the shelves in a PAL nation. 6-8 months is a ridiculously long time, no matter how good the title. And it can't be blamed on text translation, either. Third party titles generally launch 3 months or less, post-NTSC release. Clearly, if they can do it, so can Nintendo. They really, really need to look at their foreign release system. A lack of timely games is strangling the Gamecube in these regions.

Whilst not directly related, Nintendo continue to hold a policy of strict secrecy, for both games and hardware. They cannot continue to fall back on the notion that Sony MS, and game developers are out to steal their ideas. This must change. If a major move is to be made in the marketplace, then steady hype and product information is vital.

How can a consumer make an educated buying decision, if they don't have the information? Why should we be forced into scouring fan sites for teensy trickles of information and speculation? Fact is, we shouldn't. Moreover, the average consumerwouldn't.

In the end, no-one can shift Nintendo's plans for the future of gaming, but the men and women at NOJ and NOA. Regardless of their position in the market, there will still be loyal fans, dissenting ex-fans, and the average joe-consumer to mix things up, sales wise. We can hope that Editorials such as these have some impact, how ever minor, but in the end, it's Nintendo. ('Nintendo' translated, means 'In God's hands'.)



Thanks to Rick for fuelling my desire-- no, need to write this stuff down.  
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Offline Sean

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Games Business 101: A Counter-Editorial.
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2003, 05:12:45 AM »
Patch writes:

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So what we have here is the suggestion that Nintendo need to launch first, with similar but competitive performance, and minus 'set-top-box' features - because hey, clearly no-one will go for that frivolity... The end result, in theory, would be Nintendo regaining some ground in the market place.


From the very beginning of your very long rebuttal, I think you're attacking Rick's article in an unfair manner.  When he says "there's little point in doing that if it costs you money," you cannot take that LITERALLY.  You did take it literally and ran with it, which is bad journalism.  

OBVIOUSLY, Rick understands that Nintendo must spends millions on R&D, which they have always done.  

OBVIOUSLY, Rick understands that millions will be spent on advertisements (regardless of what anyone says about N's advertisement numbers, I'm quite sure they spend more than you think.  Just because it doesn't match XBOX and PS2 means nothing--we all know they don't care to lose untold millions in the pursuit of the market).  If this goes against Nintendo's business philosophy (and seems to clash with the modern and VERY AMERICAN idea of how business should be run), then I say 'kudos' to Nintendo for sticking to what they believe is right for them.

OBVIOUSLY, Rick understands that, in general, Nintendo will have to spend money!

What he's talking about, which is plain as day, is that Nintendo is spending money how they think they should, and their conservative stance has not only made them VERY SUCCESSFUL in the eyes of the consumer--yes, even today--but it has made them unbelievably wealthy.  Rick is, as I see it, talking about how Nintendo avoids spending more money than they have to.  It's been said a THOUSAND TIMES recently, and people who were paying attention knew it long before, but NINTENDO IS ONE OF THE SMARTEST AND MOST PROFITABLE ENTERTAINMENT CENTERS IN THE WORLD.

As Rick has said elsewhere, and in his latest article, Nintendo has nothing but games (including hardware and everything else, mind you nitpickers) to fall back on.  They are not like Sony with its name on every other piece of electronic entertainment.  They are not like Microsoft who has what can only be called one of the most massive strangleholds/monopolies ever, and it's in an area that affects nearly every citizen in every first-world nation and beyond.  You know what I'm getting at.  Again, as Rick says, Nintendo has to keep their shareholders happy and they can only do this using their game-developing prowess.  That's IT.  They cannot (CANNOT) stray from profit-making schemes, and when they make a mistake, they have to work extra hard to rectify it.  Nintendo cannot do what Sony and MS do, so why do we keep comparing them?

This was all gathered from Rick's article, by the way.

Obviously, you're not giving Rick enough credit, nor even using the most basic rules of discourse.

That said, you seem to be a good writer, capable of arranging your thoughts and expressing them in an intelligent way, but those qualities are undermined by ignoring basic truths and (indavertantly, I hope) insulting people's intelligence.  
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Offline RickPowers

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Games Business 101: A Counter-Editorial.
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2003, 06:13:37 AM »
Thanks, Sean.  Indeed, the point of the editorial is that Nintendo does indeed spend millions on advertising, millions on R&D, millions on development ... but they don't spend more than they HAVE to.  They are acutely aware of the "point of diminishing returns", where the second dollar isn't getting the same impact (ROI, or "return on investment") as the first dollar.  For example, let's say the Advertising budget for Metroid Prime was 1.5 Million dollars.  Nintendo arrives at that figure by calculating how much advertising is needed to bring in a certain number of sales, and they stop spending when the return starts to drop off.

Also, to specifically address Patch's "rushed launch" concerns, the problem is Sega is that they DIDN'T try to meet their competitors launches.  They were constantly launching in the middle of the traditional hardware cycle.  They had great hardware (although Saturn was hard to develo for), but they were launching hardware after consumers had already made their purchases.  It's almost as if Sega wanted to avoid the competition and launch later, and it cost them EVERY time.  Consumers know when new hardware is coming out, and that's when they make their decision.  By the time Saturn and Dreamcast arrived, consumers were too busy playing with their current inferior consoles.  (There's also the fact that consumers were aware of Sega's habit of dropping support for their hardware early, as well as flooding the market with add-ons that rarely get used, and avoided them for that reason.)

You also suggest that Nintendo needs to realize that consumers want these "flexible" machines, and should just go with it.  What would be better for the consumers who want these things?  Buy a console from someone like Sony with experience making these sorts of boxes, or for Nintendo to try to get into a market that they don't understand and have no experience in?  Sure, they can make another "Q" with a partner like Panasonic, but my point was that it's not Nintendo's strength.  (There's also the small issue that Sony ran into, where the first million PS2s sold were being used primarily as cheap DVD players, and not as game machines.  Sony lost money on every one of those sales, because they were selling under cost and didn't make any money back on game sales.)

Also, you said that my point of third party games rarely selling hardware was incorrect, and then you failed to say HOW it was incorrect.    Yes, those games are "top sellers".  But they don't sell HARDWARE.  People will not buy the console for that game alone.  All that moves hardware are "killer apps".  Zelda will move hardware.  I think that Grand Theft Auto III (and Vice City) are the first third-party games that moved hardware in any significant quantities.  Even so, it didn't even move a million units.  The people buying the games already have the console.  THAT was my point.

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Without going into too much detail, Nintendo are notorious for how long their games take to be translated and adjusted for a PAL release. This is fact, not opinion. It just takes far too long for a title to hit the shelves in a PAL nation. 6-8 months is a ridiculously long time, no matter how good the title. And it can't be blamed on text translation, either. Third party titles generally launch 3 months or less, post-NTSC release. Clearly, if they can do it, so can Nintendo. They really, really need to look at their foreign release system. A lack of timely games is strangling the Gamecube in these regions.


As for Nintendo working with sites like ours, you'll notice that I never said that Nintendo should be giving us consoles or computers or anything like that.  I mean that Nintendo needs to recognize that their customers are here, talking about their games, and generally "hanging out".  It's like the school playground, and if Nintendo wants to get word out about their products in a grassroots sort of way, this is where they should start.  Nintendo in the past has not considered Internet sites true "media", and it's reflected in the information we're able to give to you.  Nintendo likes to focus on getting press in papers like USA Today, again, part of that "bang for the buck" mentality.  The problem is, how many people in Nintendo's core market do you know that read USA Today?  I'm not saying Nintendo needs to be "buying off" sites like this, I'm saying that Nintendo needs to recognize that sites like ours can communicate more directly to their core market than they acknowledge, and use that to get information to consumers.  How they do that is up to them.  

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Whilst not directly related, Nintendo continue to hold a policy of strict secrecy, for both games and hardware. They cannot continue to fall back on the notion that Sony MS, and game developers are out to steal their ideas. This must change. If a major move is to be made in the marketplace, then steady hype and product information is vital.


Ah, the secrecy issue.  I laughed so hard when IGN brought that up with Perrin yesterday.  You claim that companies aren't out to steal Nintendo's ideas, but you're wrong.  Nintendo creates innovative and novel titles, and every time Nintendo drops information about something new they're doing, it gets borrowed.  But there's also the fact that Nintendo knows that if you create "hype" too early, you run the risk of consumers getting "bored" waiting for your product, and spending their money elsewhere.  Regardless, any time a website asks Nintendo to "not be so secretive", it's entirely self-serving.  We thrive on that information, so of course, we want them to open up more.  Duh.  Also, the internet thrives on information in general, and today's internet generation soaks up information like a sponge.  Of course they want more information, duh.  But as Perrin says every time she's asked, every time we show a game or release information too early, it HURTS them.  It doesn't do the game proper justice.  Nintendo showed "Wario World" at E3 last year, and it's going to be a long road for Nintendo to overcome the negative view I have of that game now, because was I saw was very early, rough, and just plain awful.  THAT is why Nintendo doesn't give out information early.  Look at the SD Card Adapter.  Where is it?  Nintendo should have just kept quiet about it, but consumers are now begging for more information about something that might have just been an idea with no practical use.

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Without going into too much detail, Nintendo are notorious for how long their games take to be translated and adjusted for a PAL release. This is fact, not opinion. It just takes far too long for a title to hit the shelves in a PAL nation. 6-8 months is a ridiculously long time, no matter how good the title. And it can't be blamed on text translation, either. Third party titles generally launch 3 months or less, post-NTSC release. Clearly, if they can do it, so can Nintendo. They really, really need to look at their foreign release system. A lack of timely games is strangling the Gamecube in these regions.


Believe it or not, this is because Nintendo is dedicated to giving you GREAT PAL conversions.  It's not a trivial process.  Do you remember getting PAL versions of games with black borders surrounding the screen?  PAL games translated into only one language?  Nintendo knows how much this "short-changed" the consumer, and doesn't want that to happnen.  That's why Nintendo takes so long converting the games to PAL.

Anyway, thanks for your ideas!  Opening this sort of thing to debate on the merits and facts works well for everyone!  
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Offline baberg

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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2003, 07:19:44 AM »
Patch, since your profile says you're in Australia, I'd like to ask you a question about localization:

How quickly are PS2/Xbox games localized for PAL releases?  Are they released quickly after their NTSC counterparts, or do they also take a long time in coming?  How does the timing compare between consoles?
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Offline Patch

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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2003, 02:25:38 PM »
Thanks for the reply, Rick! Again, this thread isn't a personal attack - not in the least! It just makes for interesting discourse, and is a topic I feel pretty strongly about. Sorry if it came off sounding overtly critical.

Anyway, onto a question first:
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Originally posted by: baberg
Patch, since your profile says you're in Australia, I'd like to ask you a question about localization:

How quickly are PS2/Xbox games localized for PAL releases?  Are they released quickly after their NTSC counterparts, or do they also take a long time in coming?  How does the timing compare between consoles?


In most cases, it takes about 3 months for a game to be translated, converted and released in a PAL nation. This is the case for probably 85 percent of the titles, on all formats - GC included. However, my real problem is with how long it takes Nintendo to get their first-party efforts to shelf - anywhere from 6-12 months after the US release, or sometimes not at all, as in the case of Animal Crossing.

Rick mentioned that this extra development time is devoted to code optimization (the process of pefecting the code to run on a machine that is a little different from the machine released in NTSC regions.). Not to sound unappreciative (because I love my games to run at the same speed as US counterparts), but if other companies can push themselves to release PAL games in reasonable condition in half as much time, then I fail to see why Nintendo cannot push a little harder. The real problem is that we PAL gamers get just as excited over the prospect of new Metroid and Zelda, and after 8 months of waiting, and waiting, and waiting, some of the shine gets taken off of the final product. Graphics that were mind-blowing a year ago, tend to look pretty standard by PAL release time. I wouldn't mind not being able to run games at 60Hz, if it means I can be playing a Nintendo new-release while it's still new!

That's my argument for more efficient PAL releases

To Sean: Thanks for replying, firstly. I always welcome (hell, I encourage) a bit of fiery debate! However, you seem to have the wrong impression about my ideas on the issue of Nintendo's money...!

Obviously, I realise that spending is a necessary thing (I'm pretty sure Nintendo don't create games and systems via spontaneous generation ), as did Rick - but (and this is a BIG 'but') the idea that...

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....They [Nintendo] cannot (CANNOT) stray from profit-making schemes, and when they make a mistake, they have to work extra hard to rectify it. Nintendo cannot do what Sony and MS do, so why do we keep comparing them?


...is only a half truth. Sure, investing millions into clearly risky territory is a foolish decision. You're right when you say that Nintendo would have their work cut out for them in order to recoup their losses (fiscal and intangible - money and consumer opinion). BUT, the age-old adage applies: "...Nothing ventured, nothing gained.".

Without a small amount of risk, Nintendo would be stuck in a rut, forcing themselves to rely on Mario and Pokemon yet again, to bail them out. People want to see something new, not just a rehash of what is, very basically, the same technology, wrapped in a new plastic shell. "The GC is a dedicated gaming platform, what's wrong with that?" I hear you cry. And truth is, nothing's 'wrong', per se. But look at it from the standpoint of the average consumer, who just dished out a ton of money on the N64 - The GC is just an N64 with pretty graphics (uh-oh, I'm in for it now ) to them. Pretty, but a one-trick-pony.

I need to compare to Sony and MS here, so don't jump all over me!

Enter: Sony's PS2, and the 'DVD player in a console' image. To the average consumer, THIS looks like a big step ahead - a fairly large graphical leap beyond the PS1, plus a tangible, technical boost that people can clearly see the advantages of. Same can be applied to the Xbox.

In a nutshell, the GC is a games machine, cheap with great performance. Unfortunately, people over the age of 18 have been looking through these points (probably because price isn't a big a factor when you're out in the workforce, earning dough), and their gaze focuses on these new-fangled 'all-in-one' packages. Seems like value and flexability for money.

Factor in price of components, and the profits goe down. Fair enough. But if Nintendo applied their skills at finding great technology for cheap, with the public desire for DVD access, they could make a killing. If people want this sort of technology, Nintendo should make it readily available, with their own unique spin on it, for the sake of individuality (something that they obviously value).


Lastly, on secrecy: Yeah, it's definitely self-serving, but I strongly feel that it's a necessary evil. Perhaps releasing screens isn't the answer - just periodical announcements and progress statements. Consumers need to know in order to buy. Actually, this is probably the best argument yet for Nintendo to support Internet sites a little more

Thanks guys. Rick: just to make it crystal clear, I think you're an excellent writer with a brilliant understanding of the industry, and again, none of this is a personal attack. Just a differing view. Keep your editorials coming, they really are an excellent read.

Any more thoughts are welcome!  
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Offline Sean

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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2003, 04:38:37 PM »
Fair enough, Patch.  Very respectable attitude you've got there.

As for the "money issue," I also don't want to be taken so literally (nor, I believe, does Rick) that you think I mean Nintendo should never take risks with money.  Frankly, by releasing the games they make is a risk in the modern world--you never know how the fickle public will take in certain maneuvers.  For instance, if you ask me, Animal Crossing was a bit of a risk, and yet it was highly successful.  Whole subcultures have sprung up concerning this game, and it is proof that if normal old people who deride Nintendo would play the games, they would like them, TYPICALLY.  I mean, after all, so many people have stories of non-gamers that played Animal Crossing relunctantly only to let the game become their very lifeforce.  ;-)

So, in short, you make good points, but really, I for one do understand that risks are involved and should be involved, but what Nintendo will not take part in, at least for the most part, the business models Sony and MS represent.  What say you, good man?
"I think that if the devil does not exist,
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he has created him in his own image and likeness."
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Offline Matt

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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2003, 11:57:36 AM »
I read this thread...

I believe that Rick's editorial was well-written, and that it contains many valid points.  However, some of his points, well, I don't agree with.

I agree somewhat with Patch.

In my view, Nintendo needs to give the fans what they want to suceed.  They need to outdo the competition to make more money and sell more.
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Offline Sean

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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2003, 06:09:47 PM »
Matt, in short, what if they are already "outdoing" the competition in the only way they can (the best way for them as a company) and making tons of money doing it?  Not so simple is it?  
"I think that if the devil does not exist,
and man has therefore created him,
he has created him in his own image and likeness."
from Fyodor Dostoevsky's THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV

Offline Perfect Cell

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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2003, 12:24:52 PM »
I agree with Matt, Nintendo President Iwata said it himself, They want to win the console war, well the current status quo while economically viable, wont win them the war, just keep them at 2nd-third place.  

Offline Sean

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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2003, 06:19:10 PM »
What it means to "win the console war" is actually completely subjective.  Seriously.  If it's being "first place," Nintendo is there, subjectively.  Sony is there "subjectively."

I mean, if you're talking profits, who's winning?

If you're talking consoles sold, the black and white numbers speak volumes, but they don't tell the whole story.  Iwata has JUST BECOME PRESIDENT, if you think about it, and he's looking well beyond the GameCube.  I think that's clear enough.  The "war," so to speak, has just begun, and it's by no means the time to be claiming winners and losers.

And that's one big thing the analysts can't get their minds around since their job is to call it NOW and not LATER.  In fact, in most cases, they don't use any forward thinking at all.  Actually, scratch that, they don't even pay attention to the NOW!
"I think that if the devil does not exist,
and man has therefore created him,
he has created him in his own image and likeness."
from Fyodor Dostoevsky's THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV

Offline rodtod

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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2003, 02:02:46 PM »
I think that both Rick and Patch are forgetting something extremely important. In any industry, there's a time for revolution, and there's a time for stability. You can't have too much of one. In other words, if an industry goes through revolution after revolution, with entrepreneurs up the wazoo, it'll likely run out of steam real quick. And if an industry continues to not try something new and innovative, but instead maintains a certain pace, it'll never expand nor improve.

As Rick said in his editorial, Nintendo's got the right idea. They're being revolutionary alright, but only when it's safe to do so. Nintendo has expressed time and time again that videogames is really their only business right now, and that if something bad were to happen to the industry, they would be in big trouble. So Nintendo is not the kind of company that is capable of taking frequent risks. Rick was discussing this to some extent.

Patch, meanwhile, is correct in saying that the the majority of videogamers do not fall under the younger category. Videogames are nothing new, nor are they something you easily forget about when you get older. Most of the NES and SNES fans are probably still playing games.

Another thing that neither of you two discussed was just how important hardcore gamers are to the market. Hardcore, as in a gamer who is extremely loyal to a certain system or franchise. Nintendo would do well to revive certain genres. Pokémon could use a nice boost you know.
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Offline digitalshogun

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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2003, 09:37:32 AM »
While well writen and showing much insight into the game industry I think there is a large flaw in the logic of one or two parts of the editorial. Traditionaly, at least in the 8 and 16 bit era, first party games were the large console movers. Third party titles due sell consoles, large numbers of consoles. Sony has changed that. It would be difficult to name the Sony first party games that have sold those 16 million consoles. People know that they can get the widest range of games on that console, as well as hits such as Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, and Grand Theft Auto. Sports games are another huge draw for the console market. Plenty of people buy consoles simply to buy the newest version of Ea's Madden or NHL (and a new one of each sports title comes out each year).

Also, the idea that the console wars start from ground 0 when the next generation of consoles come out is wishful thinking. The problem is that image and perception helps sell consoles. A good example is Nintendo's kiddie image, something that has been with Nintendo starting with the SNES. That's 2 consoles ago and they still can't shake the image. IMO the only reason why the N64 ended up selling as well as it did was at least in part based on the SNES's track record. Of course there were the Nintendo exclusives (GoldenEye and SuperMario64) as well. If Nintendo wants to make money in the long run, and perhaps "win" the next round, they will have to pick up momentum on this console generation.

I don't want to tell Nintendo what to do or how to run their business. I don't know how to accomplish having a large third party stable without paying extra for it. I don't know how to sell lots of hardware but not lose money. I don't know how Nintendo can shake their kiddie image. I don't know a lot of things about the industry as I have never worked in it. Though I do not know how to do any of these things I do have a pretty good feeling that these things must occur. Nintendo's long term success depends on it. I want to be able to play the next-next-gen version of Metroid or Mario.