This edition brings questions for the staff ranging from Internet gaming to PS2 limitations to development costs and more...
Cobregon asks, Hi
Planet N2000's guys:
I have just discover your site and have spend the last 20 minutes
reading a lot of your editorials and this is what I have to say.
It have always seems to me that the key to the win the 128-bit wars
is Internet Gamming!
Long time ago, I read an article about how the consoles have damaged
the PC market. It is not too difficult to figure that out, the fact
that a good PC for playing games cost at least $1000 and a console
only $200-$400 makes it obvious as the fact that your PC will be
obsolete in 6 months and will be useless in about 18, while the
consoles have a life circle of 5 years.
There was, in the past, only one thing that kept the PC market
going: power. NES, SNES and alikes where never close to the power of
the PC of their times, and you remember how pathetic where the PC to
Console ports? I remember Doom for SNES, come on!
But all of a sudden, the consoles are just right now as powerful as
PC for half the price. Just look at the port of Quake 2. Of course
the PC will decrease, but what kept it up? Internet Gamming.
What game nowdays, in the PC side, doesn't offer somekind of
multiplayer mode? As soon as Quake give 32 multiplayer modes
everyone copied them because that was the only thing that consoles
Things have changed.
Although Nintendo tried to hit first (remember the 64DD), Sega
launched the first console with a modem incorporated: Dreamcast,
even if they didn't knew how they would use it, they added to the
console and finally, 8 months later Sega announce the launch of
Sega.com and Sega.net, you know the story. It was a little late, but
it will help Sega to survive the rush of the most powerful consoles.
Next is Sony who thinks that the name of the privious console will
be enough. It really was strange to me to know that Sont didn't
include a modem in the PS2, and I know the excuses about them
opening the door to better modems to be used later with the USB port
but it all translate, to me, that they didn't care. This will hurt
Sony in the end. Looking at what Sega did and waiting to see what
Nintendo announce, I think Sony will see the mistake they have taken
but maybe it will be too late.
Now the Big N. Nintendo itsn't talking until in full until August,
if they plan to launch the Dolphin in Japan by the end of the year.
Nintendo hasn't talked about their Internet plans, but remeber that
Nintendo had plans for the 64DD already, and in Japan there is now
an Intenet system alike that will be easily ported to the Dolphin.
In the US is more difficult, but they have so much secrets that I'm
really thinking about a great surprise, maybe an alliance. Nintendo
really knows how to keep you in suspense...
And there is Microsoft's X-Box. I think that Microsoft rush so much
to get in the console market because they saw great potencial in
dragging the Pc market to the console market. They will be the last
company to strike and they will strike hard. Oh yeah! Microsfot
really have the bucks to do it. And Microsoft know why they are here
announcing the X-Box so it's obvious that they have Internet Gamming
as a priority. Companies will only survive Microsft's power if they
can establish themselves hard in the Internet business.
With four companies in the battle, history telling you that in a 4
consoles war, 1 always get trashed and just a year to find out, AREN´T
Internet Gaming will be key in the next generation console war.
Nintendo has been pretty tight lipped about their plans for online
gaming...but one thing is for sure...it's going to happen. How, is
the big question. I am a HUGE freakin' fan of Online
gaming. I had always hoped that we'd be playing games online
with our N64. That isn't going to happen. Spaceworld
There are way to many reasons for Nintendo to embrace this
technology. More will be known at Spaceworld I am sure. I am hoping
that someday we can have an online game tourney on this very site.
And it could happen :)
whole PC vs Console battle has always boiled down to which has
online gaming, the PC. PC's ARE not designed to run games, their
primary functions are not to run the latest Quake but there a lot of
people out there who buy their PC's for this function primarily. The
console market is growing at a faster rate than the personel
computer market and their popularity is at an all time high.
Online gaming will definitely play a major role in upcoming console
war and all the major players are well aware of this. Nintendo are
actively researching the online gaming market and are making
preparations for this for their 2 next big guns, the Gameboy Advance
and Dolphin. They have already begun testing this on the current
market with Radnet (64DD) and the upcoming Gameboy Color network.
Nintendo definitely have big plans for creating an online community
and gamers everywhere will benefit from this.
The question is could this drive PC gamers to turn to consoles for
their online fix? Well we'll have to wait and see.
Multiplayer/internet gaming will no doubt be a big part of the next
round of system wars, and probably every round from now on. Nintendo
isn't talking much because they love to sit out and watch what the
competitors do first, and then capitalize on their mistakes and/or
fill innovative gaps left open. I think Nintendo has something very
imposing in the works -- more creative than standard multiplaying. I
don't expect them to fully disclose all of their plans until after
Sony, Sega, and Microsoft do, however.
Also of issue, I believe, is who can get their consoles to connect
the easiest. More often than not these days average consumers will
buy a computer for the benefit of the internet. Which company will
be able to impose that same idea into the masses the fastest and
clearest? Since consoles are already connected to the television, is
cable broadband availability the key to critical mass? One answer
spawns 10 more questions. Send us your thoughts.
Steven Says: It
is obvious the online multi-player gaming is where it is at these
days. This is evidenced not only by the increased popularity in the
PC world, but also the commitments that Sony, Sega, and Microsoft
have made with their consoles to support it this next time around.
Nintendo has stated time and time again that they intend on moving
into the online arena. Don't be fooled by some of the double-speak
that is going on. With Nintendo's forays into the cell-phone GBA /
GBC thing (although I doubt we will see that in the US), plus recent
rumors about Retro being a part of the online thing ... it is clear
that Nintendo intends on pursuing this arena.
I just hope they remember that since the average console life is 5
years ... an eternity in the PC / Internet world ... that they
either include both options for narrowband and broadband out of the
box, or make damn sure that it is a migration path in the future.
I whole-heartedly agree with the state-of-affiars of the PC market.
People spend way too much money on a PC to mostly screw around with
things that that don't need to screw around with. Any console,
properly equipped, can cover 90% of 90% of most consumers needs when
it comes to computing. Most people don't care (all that much) about
running business applications at home. Most of it is web surfing,
chatting, and games. If you gave people a version of Word to update
their resumés every once in a while, most people would be happy.
Here is where Microsoft's plan is clear with the X-box. They can lie
all they want about how it is intended on being a gaming machine,
but knowing the PC industry as well as I do, I realize the true
intentions. Microsoft intends on turning this thing into a low-cost
thin-client for the home. Believe me ... the market will demand this
to happen if the Xbox is allowed to reach significant mass-market
penetration. That is where their excuse will come from ... They will
say that significant consumer demand caused them to implement a
version of IE into the thing, or to create a version of Office for
it. With a hard drive in place already, and a Windows 2000 kernel
... this should be very easy to implement.
I look back at all of the gaming consoles that I have seen in
history. From the 2600 that I had, to the Intellivision (that I
never had), even including things like the Atari 400 and 800. One of
the appeals of all these machines is that they doubled-up on some PC
functions and people thought it was cool. Yes, even the 2600 had a
Basic programming cartridge, which I had. Of course, the console(s)
that survived had nothing to do with their PC capabilities, but
rather their games that they had. Times have changed a little, in
Microsoft's plan is not without it's flaws, however. The name of the
game has always been to give away the razor, to make money on the
blades. Nintendo's first priority is selling its first party games.
That's where they make the most money. Its second priority is to
sell the second-party games, then the third party ones.
I'm looking the NPD Interactive Entertainment Report that we
received from the AIAS at E3 this year. What is fascinating is that
the top selling Nintendo 64 game, Donkey Kong 64, during the period
of March 1999 - February 2000, outsold the top-ranking PC title by a
factor of 2:1. DK64 was released in November 1999.
There aren't even PC titles that broke 1 million during that period,
although The Sims, would break it for next years statistics.
Nintendo has 3 titles that broke 1 million just on the N64 platform
alone during that period. Game Boy had 4 that broke the
million-seller mark, damn close to 5. Sony had 2, almost 3 ... and
Sega didn't come close. But since the launch of Dreamcast didn't
happen until September of last year in the US, that is hardly a fair
The point is, that for all of the bitching and moaning that
developers make about licensing costs, and cartridge costs, there is
a bunch of money to be made in the console market. Someone said $7
Billion, and Bill Gates said, "What?" Bill Gates said they
are going to make a box, and now all of the sudden we have premier
PC developers such as GoD, who state that they want to focus on the
console market more in the future. Not more than what they do now,
mind you ... more than what they do on the PC platform. Perhaps even
The problem with Xbox is that they don't have any killer-apps. Yet.
There is no Mario, no Zelda, and no Final Fantasy (yet). No PC owner
who already owns a state of the art PC is going to be compelled to
buy an Xbox, when chances are the very same games that are currently
available on Xbox are the ones that are already available on PC.
People that don't already own a gaming-quality PC may be compelled
to buy one. Especially if if means that they can play along with
their PC buddies on the Internet with the latest version of Quake or
whatever. The problem is that Microsoft is not the only one in town
(literally) who are capable of offering this sort of thing.
Here is where Nintendo has a chance to excel. They need to have a
better showing at Spaceworld this year than they ever had before,
and they need to have a launch better than they ever had before.
Nintendo has stated clearly that they intend on doing this very
They also need to launch Dolphin at a lesser gap from Playstation
than they did with the N64. With a October / November release
scheduled for PS2 this year, and a potential March - June launch of
Dolphin next year, it appears that they are making improvements this
time around over last.
They need to launch Dolphin at a mass-market price. Playstation and
Saturn used to be $300 in the US. Sega started playing games, and
the gas war began. Nintendo came in at $200 for the N64, and
everyone else immediately followed suit. Sony may have sold 2
million PS2s in Japan already, but the tie-ratios (to use Peter Main
speak) are not there. Simply put, they are not selling the games to
go with it. Which means that they are taking it in the shorts as far
as profit is concerned.
If PS2 launches again in the US and has a similar effect, which, I
think it will ... although better titles will be available. I.e., it
sells a lot because it is a Playstation, and a DVD player, but sells
a little more software. Nintendo can come in again 6 months later
after launch with a price of around $100 less per console, and
really cause Sony to take it in the shorts.
Nintendo has stated clearly that they intend on launching Dolphin at
a mass-market price. Considering their idea of mass-market is around
$200, based on the launch of the N64, this is really going to hurt
Sony. Too damn bad they can't get the thing out by the end of 2000,
that would really hurt. But, Nintendo must have made some calculated
decisions, and figured it would be better to launch with a stellar
library than to make a quick hit and run. It makes sense to me. As
an early-adopter, I am not going to be satisfied with one game in my
library to feed my Dolphin with. I am not going to have a library of
N64 games to feed it with, either. That is what the N64 is for. See?
Backwards compatibility sucks. I am going to want about 3 titles in
my library at launch, with an average of 1 more per month, every
month thereafter in order to be happy. A good launch and a steady
flow will give me that, and Nintendo isn't going to have to worry
about taking it in the shorts for as long as Sony will.
I am going to stop for now, because I just realized that I went way
overboard with this one again, but it's been a while since I have
been inspired to write such a long rant, so I thank you for that.
Believe me, I could go on for another page on this, but I won't
because there are other pages to other mailbag questions that I
Before I stop, however, I would like to slightly disagree
with you on one point. Yes, PC's have always been more powerful than
consoles. A state of the art PC will always be more powerful than a
console, simply because of the economics involved. If you want to
pay $1000 for a console, you can have one as powerful as a state of
the art PC. However, all consoles that I remember have been
relatively equal in power to what a majority of people has had
sitting on their desk. Not everyone has a new 1Ghz Dell. I only have
a PII-400, and I will probably upgrade that to a PIII-733 by years
end (same as Xbox). When I bought my N64, I had a P90 sitting on my
desk with 16MB RAM. Not that far off.
Ed Says: Well,
coming after Steve's epic rant :) I'll be brief about my take on
internet gamng on next-gen consoles. Will it be big? Probably. Will
it happen right away? I'm not so sure, especially with Sony and
Microsoft looking primarily at broadband. Sega should provide a good
gauge for the future of online gaming (I expect them to do well,
assuming the games are good). As for Nintendo, I'm sure they're
coming up with something good, and quite frankly, I have high
expectations. If anyone was to come up with something innovative for
online gameplay, it'd be Nintendo. I'm hoping for more than just a
large pool of human competition with their online gaming. Don't ask
me what in particular, but I know there is new ground to be broken
with online gameplay.
Ty Says: Our
buddy Dave at Saffire said a few things related to this in the
check that out if you haven't.
BTW, I'll stress it time and time again, SNES Doom had the best
soundtrack ever ;).
Supafly asks, The
Playstation2 has low ram making it a bother to develop for right? So
exactly how much ram would Dolphin need to be very effective yet
Dolphin will be inexpensive as Nintendo are planning to mass
market the console. We all know of the Playstation 2's problem in
regards to its video RAM, or lack there of. What we do know is
that Nintendo will most likely not have any problems in this
regard. The processor for the system already has 16MB of RAM built
into the chip, and this excludes the systems main external memory,
which is still unknown at this time (rumored to be about 32-64MB).
With the various partnerships Nintendo has taken on for the
Dolphin hardware, IBM, Factor 5, Art X, you can rest assured in
the knowledge that some of the best in the business are working
closely to make sure the Dolphin is the most powerful console on
the market. Nintendo have looked closely at the Playstation 2 and
I'm sure they will not repeat any mistakes or shortcuts that Sony
made with their super console.
Nobody outside the circle of Dolphin hardware developers knows
exactly how much RAM the system will have. There is no question
Nintendo will want to meet or exceed their competitors, because
they can. They've been almost completely non-committal on system
specs to date. My Magic 8-Ball tells me that signs point to 48-64
MB total. With 16 MB on the die, I think we'll see at least
another 32 MB on the board. If they're feel saucy, they will match
Asks, Hey, I like the site, and will most likely go there every
two days, thanx to IGN64.com. But what do you guys do there? Do
you just research the "Dolphin" or do you do other
things instead of putting up your site? I would like to know.
A New Visiter,Adam Service
Though Bill may be too modest to admit his nack for doodling and
drawing vulgar pictures on office stationary, I am more than proud
to say that I am the resident chief of tax evasion and blackmail
schemes. You think we get our information for free? Hell no. How
many times have I had to hide in the trees to get pictures
industry folks in compromising positions? It's not just a full
time job, it's a way of life.
Actually, we are a well funded corporation that is a subsidiary of
Berkshire-Hathaway. William Bennett, (William Berghammer is NOT
our webmaster's real name ... note the similarities) personally
cuts our checks every week. He currently sees us as a tax
write-off, but we have excellent potential to be profitable in the
future. Our 401K portfolio is simply amazing.
Check!?! You get a check!?! Billy, or should I say William, said
the only way I'd see my pet llama again is if I wrote for this
crazy outfit. I figured he black-mailed the rest of you, too. Or
is Mike the mastermind behind the llama-napping? Bastards. So
while the other guys may get a nice check, I don't even get a
shiny penny; just the promise of seeing my poor Bobo again.
<from Cancun, Mexico, while sippin' on Boat Drinks with JoAnna
Dark> Woo Hoo guys! Thanks for all of your help!
I'll be sending you postcards!
Don't you think that now games have made it to the mainstreme and
are similar in profit margins as the film and music industries the
games should come out at the same price as videos? think about
it... it usually costs more money to make a big film than a big
game yet we still have to pay $50-60 a throw for a new fix fo
computer entertainment. I think if they're going to ruin the
industry with sequel after sequel all because of the casual gamer
buying it like a little lap dog they should at also bring the
prices to the mainstreme usual.
The big bucks for the movie industry come from the money made in
the theaters. Videos come later where revenue pales in comparison.
I'm all for cheaper games, but I think the industry understands
the concept of supply:demand and follows those rules to their
benefit. Piracy probably has a small role in pricing also, though
I think the industry overblows it.
Ed Says: Well
I wouldn't mind seeing cheaper games either, but I don't see much
of a change in pricing structure. Sure Dolphin games will see a
bit of a drop with the change from carts to DVD, but with greater
technology comes greater expectations which often leads to greater
production costs. Oh, and while gaming is more popular than ever,
I don't think it's completely mainstream. Only a hand full of
games every year sell over a million copies whereas many (music)
CDs a year can sell over a million copies. If the game industry
reached that sales potential, then we might see more friendly
While I don't think we will see the insane $70 - $80 prices that
we did for video games at the start of the N64's launch, I don't
see too much of a break from where they are now. Expect games for
Dolphin to be in the $40 - $50 dollar range for new titles, simply
because that is the price point the market seems to be willing to
bear at this point, and also because all counterparts on other
platforms that use similar media types are about at this range as
asks, Have you ever had the chance to ever play NBA Courtside
1or2? If so, do you think it'll look like NBA2K, will the fans
look the same look the same if look closely. Also I think the
controls should be better,more orignal dunks,play as the mascot.
The arcade mode should be more wild (like tripping people and
getting away with it). And I want to see refs,officals,and the
monkeys. Create our own dunk and more codes(legends of the
past,legendary teams from the past). Do you think Left Field can
Ed Says: Er,
can Left Field do wild arcade modes? I suppose. Are you likely to
see it? I'm not so sure. I've played both Courtside 1 and 2 (as
well as Excitebike, another Left Field product) and they seem to
like to have a good deal of realism/sim elements to their games.
Create-a-dunk could work. Usually sports animations are
motion-captured which would make a create-a-dunk feature
problematic. However, with Excitebike, Left Field did a superb job
without any "canned" animations. Maybe they could work
that into Courtside. As for NBA legends, well, that'd cost money.
EA got in some trouble back in the SNES when they hid the legends
in the game. Their recent inclusion in the new NBA Live games
comes from the fact that they actually paid for them this time.
Anne asks, There
have been many great games out there based on hit anime series,
like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gundam, etc. What about Fushigi
Yuugi? Those who have seen Fushigi Yuugi would have to admit that
it has a great storyline and would be perfect for a game. I was
thinking in terms of RPG, Action/Adventure, or Fighting. How come
developers haven't taken it into consideration? Besides Bandai,
what other company create anime-based games?
Ed Says: I
haven't seen Fushigi Yuugi yet, but I've only heard good things
about it. I think it was fairly successful in Japan, so a spin-off
game is not out of the question. I have to disagree with you about
the quality of anime games though. I've only played a few of them
but in general I believe anime games are kind of like Acclaim
licensed games, occasionally good but mostly mediocre or worse.
Even Eva 64, the only anime game that I personally own, has
mediocre gameplay. Sure, the graphics and sound are good, but the
main reason why I liked the game (and shelled out $70+ for it) was
because I liked Eva. I think that's how a lot of anime games work,
actually. Fans of the series like them, but it's because of the
license more so than the gameplay. As for anime game developers,
Bandai is definitely the king but I think there are a handful of
others. Check out Anipike's
game page for more info.
Kim Bloem asks,
So microsoft is getting a bit nervious i think!...the nintendo is
bringing out games on the n64 that are better then the dc and ps2
can ever make?¿......i think microsoft is thinking if they can do
this with a 64bit system imagine what they could do with a 128 or
i think microsoft and bill gates should piss off and go and make
computers!....bill gates is a greedy prick he has so much money he
doesn't know what to do with it and he still wantz more!.......he
should just try to challenge nintendo at their own game!
nintendo have the knowlege experience and the developers to blow
away microsoft in the gaming industry!.....to prove my point this
is my own theory or console generationz!....okay i'll start from
n64 and up okay psx and n64 r in their own!......then dc and ps2
and the dolphin!! look nintendo have vertualy told sega and sony
DON'T mess wid us look at it they have vurtually skip dc and
sony's generation! and made their own so in other words made up to
enerations in the time of 1! (this explains the delay of the
so microsoft @!#$ off back to ur computerz!! and now they r
getting scared and begging nintendo to come on their side..LOL...pathetic
Uh...no real question here...um, werd! Yeah that's it.
Ty Says: I
W1LL HAX0R TEH X0BOX AND FROMMAT TEH FRARBALL!!11111 L33T
I'm with Ed on this one. Werd.
Just curious. I know that Nintendo have not mentioned a figure
that many people want to hear about the Dolphin - the poly count.
Do you think that is because they dont yet have a final figure? Or
could it be that ArtX may be focusing on other elements of the
graphics (textures, etc), meaning the poly count may not be a good
indication of the Dolphins strengths? I know that to compare the
poly counts of the PSX and N64 doesnt do either machine much
justice - the poly count for N64 is lower than the PSX, but many
times the end result is a more asthetically pleasing N64 game.
Could this also be the case with the PS2, X-box, Dreamcast and
Dolphin? That is, poly count not being an accurate indication of
the end result.
Nintendo seems to like being the last player to the party so they
can make their "fashionably late" arrival. They haven't committed
to specs or a price because, frankly, I don't think anything is
final until the details of competing systems are finalized. a)
Anything Nintendo reveals too early will only help their
competition. b) Nintendo likes to match or one-up their
competition wherever possible.
It's a strategic move with pluses and minuses, but has worked
reasonably well for them. Stats, and likely Japanese pricing, will
come later this summer.
The only player I would worry about as far as eye-candy goes is
Xbox. Nintendo has stated that Dolphin "has a high poly
count", and they have stated that "textures are
important". Developers that we have spoken too, plus other
people, have stated that Dolphin looks "significantly"
better than PS2.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Dolphin's graphics chipset capable
of pulling off what nVidia can do today with current product,
So let me get this straight.Is Mario 64 2 being released for the
N64 or are they holding it off for Dolphin?
Mike Says: My
trusty Magic 8-Ball again tells me that signs point to Dolphin for
the next "real" Mario sequel. I think we'll learn more
-- much more -- before the end of the year.
There's no such thing as Mario 64 2. Mr Miyamoto could not afford
the time to create a true sequel to Super Mario 64 on the N64 with
Dolphin being so close. By definition, Mario 64 2 cannot be for
Dolphin. It will be called something else.
Vapur OJI Rupy
asks, Since innovated DVD-ROM's (or RAM's .. can't remember) are
being produced with violet lasers and will be able to read DVD's
with 15GB per side ... I was wondering how do people know if
Nintendo isn't using this type of Proprietary DVD? Was it assumed
that they would use the modern blue laser ones? I've been trying
to figure this out, but most N2000 sites don't explain where they
got the information, or if they assumed anything...
Well, technically no one knows for sure, as the specs have not
been released. But, suffice it to say that the DVD-ROM in Dolphin
will probably be on par with current mainstream DVD technology.
It's plenty of space, and we don't need to be concerned about
whether or not it can read 15GB per side or not.
We don't know whether or not the DVD will be single-sided,
double-sided, double-layered or all of the above. Even if it is
the lowest capacity of all of the above choices, it will be
Mike Says: I
suppose everyone just assumes that the DVD technology being used
is the market standard, but there has been no evidence to suggest
that it isn't, either. At what cost do violet laser drives come?
Isn't 5 GB enough for a game? If it's proprietary, does Matsushita
own that patent? Would Nintendo license drives from Matsushita,
only to have Matsushita license from someone else?
It's an assumption, but a pretty safe one, that Dolphin's drive
will be mainstream.
Actually, I believe Nintendo is getting the DVD drive from
Matsushita, which doesn't rule out a proprietary laser, but I
think that's why people assume it'll be mainstream. As for the 15
GB per side with the violet laser, maybe down the road games will
require that much space, but for now 5 GB ought to be enough