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Cheap Games a Risk To the Industry, Says Nintendo President

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the expensive-games-a-risk-to-your-industry-buddy dept.

Businesses 310

Recent comments from Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime indicate that the company is worried about the effect of inexpensive mobile games on the industry. "'Angry Birds is a great piece of experience,' he said, 'but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that for one or two dollars I think create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be $2.' Taking one last dig at the mobile competition, Fils-Aime added that he 'think[s] some of those games are actually overpriced at $1 or $2, but that's a different story.'" While low-priced mobile games might not be good for Nintendo, it can still work out well for indie developers. 2DBoy, makers of World of Goo, released some statistics about launching the iPad version of the game.

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Competition (3, Insightful)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148118)

It's hard to compete with value for money, isn't it Nintendo?

Re:Competition (1)

grantek (979387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148188)

Not if you just dive into it - the Rage rail shooter has got a full high-tech 3D engine behind it, and must have cost substantially more to make, but only cost a few dollars as well. Maybe it's a loss leader, but I reckon they've made their money back.

Re:Competition (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148364)

its a quick port, i'm betting that 99% of the code/content was already generated for the pc version of rage. The iphone port would have been a recompile/tweak and gameplay mod. Most of the code for games these days isn't written in assembly more, and the rage engine is allegedly very scalable...

Re:Competition (2)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148520)

I don't see why Nintendo can't get in on the action too. They have a whole catalogue of wii games that would port quite well to touch interfaces. They have arguably the best legacy content in the world. They could also be that low cost developer by buying up or hiring small dev teams.

Nintendo's comments remind me of the way the incumbent airlines decried people booking low cost flights online with the budget airlines, or the record companies negativity towards iTunes, or book publishers with Amazon. Sometimes changes to your business model are forced upon you. Blame the internet if you want, but you've got to move with the times.

Re:Competition (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148542)

you've got to move with the times.

Sure, but I hope they don't move entirely to making cheap little fluff games like you get on the iPhone. They already have plenty of handheld games which would port well to Android/iOS, and are well worth more than $2. You can already play these games with emulators of course..

Re:Competition (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148766)

Yep.

It's similar to how TV killed the novel, and youtube killed blockbuster movies. Soon the same will happen with blockbuster games.

Oh wait. That didn't happen. Novels and movies are still made, and so too will games. People don't want just arcade games - they also want deeper games. That's why Space invaders/asteroids clones passed-away to be replaced by Zelda and RPGs and simulations in the late 80s.

Re:Competition (2)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149088)

I don't see why Nintendo can't get in on the action too.

Can't or won't? I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Nintendo fan, but this sounds a lot like "we're used to getting $50-$60 a pop for games, and these new kinds might make us drop our prices."

Re:Competition (2)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148948)

The iphone port would have been a recompile/tweak and gameplay mod.

I think the article was posted here before, where John Carmack talked about RAGE development on iPhone [iphoneworld.ca] . Sounded like a bit of actual work involved due to platform limitations, particularly with the texture management. Perhaps quick for Carmack it doesn't look entirely trivial either.

Re:Competition (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148614)

Not really. Nintendo doesn't generally have a problem competing on value for money, that why the Wii can compete with the PS3 and XBox, and why the DS is the market leader. Better value for money on mobile gaming is frankly the exception, not the rule

Angry Birds is the exception not the rule, and Nintendo knows a thing or three about the gaming industry, including that they remember the great video game crash of '84, and more importantly what caused it. That has little to do with value for money or even competition, but more about knowing all to well what happens when a market gets flooded by cheap, shitty products.

The funny part is that it was Nintendo who came around and resurrected the North American market by locking down their platform and controlling who can release what for it, very much like Apple is doing with their app store. Some people learn from the mistakes of the past, others don't.

move upstream? (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148140)

Can they just move upstream and make game good development environments that 'everyone' can use - with the licences for nintendo things like mario - and sell these to the developers for a few hundred bucks? maybe new customer can use the tools to create and on-sell the games for $2.

either that or make games for the mobile platform that are better, and similarly priced, and go for volume?

Re:move upstream? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148382)

it wouldnt work, especially not for nintendo.

If you think apple is restrictive in what they allow into the app store, just think about what nintendo would require in terms of certification. Never mind licensing nintendo property like mario to third parties. Nintendo is very much about controlling the user experience on their consoles and keeping it family friendly, remember, the wii is succesfull because it has masses of family appeal with simple and colorfull games. And their own IP games generally also have a high level of quality. Allowing third party nobodies to make just about any game with mario in it would quickyl destroy nintendo's image

Re:move upstream? (2)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148844)

it wouldnt work, especially not for nintendo.

If you think apple is restrictive in what they allow into the app store, just think about what nintendo would require in terms of certification. Never mind licensing nintendo property like mario to third parties. Nintendo is very much about controlling the user experience on their consoles and keeping it family friendly, remember, the wii is succesfull because it has masses of family appeal with simple and colorfull games. And their own IP games generally also have a high level of quality. Allowing third party nobodies to make just about any game with mario in it would quickyl destroy nintendo's image

I agree with what you say. But then I remember Conker's Bad Fur Day for N64, and now I really don't know what Nintendo's image is supposed to be.

Re:move upstream? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148924)

Well, in the n64 days nintendo was just beginning to take its more family oriented role, as the playstation started to market to the young hip gaming crowd, they were still counting on lots of sales from the traditional gaming crowd they had on the nes/snes

Re:move upstream? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149126)

The Wii is already the easiest console of the generation to develop games for because it has a single CPU and a single GPU and allegedly has a graphics API similar to OpenGL. It's the hardest to actually release games for because of Nintendo. Nintendo's chief problem is Nintendo and always has been.

More like (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148152)

Cheap games a risk to nintendo profits.

I'm so so so so so tired of being fed this crap by rich people that we need to prop them up in order to support industry and economies.

Re:More like (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148604)

"Cheap Automobiles a Risk To the Industry," says Henry Ford. Oh, wait - I just made that shit up, didn't I? Don't mind me, I'm just getting senile. Or, am I? What WOULD old man Henry have said in this situation? That old bastard worked hard to produce the cheapest damned cars in the world, didn't he? Maybe I'm not so senile after all?

Re:More like (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148668)

That old bastard worked hard to produce the cheapest damned cars in the world, didn't he?

He also paid his workers enough that they could afford to buy his cars.

Re:More like (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148774)

Salute! That's the other half of that equation! That's the half of the equation that universities and business colleges have forgotten in the past 40 to 50 years. I think they dropped that part right around the time we dropped the gold standard, and experienced our first oil "shortage". Mmmm-hmmmm - sounds about right.

Re:More like (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149140)

Nope, they're working with new equations that permit more profit. Welcome to the global market!

Sounds familiar.... (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148158)

In related news, youtube is a threat to the television industry, and people who are so insolent as to make and release their own music for free are a threat to the music industry.

Yeah, what about our rights!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148294)

NO industry can compete with [spit] COMPETITION! This is a flagrant violation of our far rights of existence and profit, as guaranteed under The Established Corporate Interests of the United States of America!

Re:Yeah, what about our rights!?! (2)

yahwotqa (817672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148788)

Unfortunately, I don't think Atlas has the strength to shrug this time.

Re:Sounds familiar.... (1)

popo (107611) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148302)

They'll be asking for government assistance soon. You know, to protect "jobs".

Re:Sounds familiar.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148442)

what's apple gotta do with this?

Re:Sounds familiar.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148674)

How many Nintendo games are even made in America, rather than imported from Japan?

Nintendo is just mad that people are sick of paying $40 for a DS cartridge...

Marketing / planning is a threat to people. (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148166)

Planning/marketing departments of corporations are filled with mba grads who have been taught to shove a product to public from the maximum price they think they can pay. and hence, depending on their self-judgment, they decide what the selling price of any product should be. since all corporations employ the same mindset, all look to each other, adopt similar price points, and then start thinking that that is a correct price point.

products are produced/sold up to that point. more products are not produced and sold, because that would decrease the 'optimum' point. naturally, as a result, as you can understand too, the 'mass production/competition aspects of capitalism, goes out of the door.

what we are seeing here, is the retort of a corporate man, who is used to corporations determining the price points (even unknowingly) instead of public. had there not been internet, this industry would - if we take gaming for example - just continue forcing a 'reality' which says that a 'decent' game should be worth $40-60. thanks to internet, even if the industry doesnt want to, competition enters the scene. corporate world, naturally, is unable to understand or stomach the situation and is threatened.

however, while gamers can get competition thanks to internet, the situation is to the contrary in almost all other sectors, ranging from auto industry to healthcare. corporations are determining what gets sold from what price range, and because majority of the corps do it, after a time it becomes the 'industry norm'.

This is good (1)

LainTouko (926420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148178)

The cheaper games are and the lower their budgets, the more risks can be taken. If the leading talents of the industry can make more interesting games because of this, I will welcome this development.

Re:This is good (3, Insightful)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148268)

I don't know if you've seen what's on the app store, but it's not games which take risks. There's a 1000 variations on Angry Birds, Doodle Jump and Bejeweled. I wouldn't call something like Fruit Ninja a risky proposition in terms of game design. Fact is, you need a fairly decent budget in order to make some really compelling content. iPhone games are fun for anywhere from a few minutes to a couple hours, but I've played a lot of iPhone games and none have come close to being a truly great gaming experience. Low budgets and really low priced games just mean that people will be making short arcade games that can be played for 30 seconds at a time and will have a limited number of characters, backgrounds and animations because that looks to be the golden ratio of where it's worth it for a developer to make a $.99 game and for it to sell enough copies to people who want a game to play on the toilet.

Re:This is good (4, Interesting)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148326)

backgrounds and animations because that looks to be the golden ratio of where it's worth it for a developer to make a $.99 game and for it to sell enough copies to people who want a game to play on the toilet.

Isn't that exactly where the money's at? People that work all day and have friends don't have time to play games except on the toilet... :(

Re:This is good (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148624)

"want a game to play on the toilet." Uhhhhh. Why don't they play with the same things we played with while we were on the toilet, back in the middle of the last century? Which, is most likely the same things our great grandparents played with in the middle of the previous century. What's that? Today's young men have nothing there to play with? Damn shame, isn't it?

Re:This is good (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148842)

You basically described the same situation for every newer nintendo console. Decent games are drowned in myriads of kiddie games clones, one worse than the other. Have you ever looked at the average nintendo shelf, 1000 barbie games and if you are lucky one of the better games somewhere hidden in the side of the stack (usually then it is from Nintendo
If you want to buy good games for Nintendo consoles you usually have to do that online via mail order.
I think the junk to decent games ratio is pretty much the same on the apple app store and slightly worse on the Android app store.

Re:This is good (2)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149076)

The most popular consoles always attract kiddie games and clones. This was also true for the PS2. The GameCube OTOH had an awesome ratio of decent games.

I think the main effect of the App store is simply that the light puzzle games that were previously quite profitable for the GameBoy are heading down market and will be sold for much less. So while Nintendo could make quite a profit on Sudoku and Picross games, in future they'll be $2 downloads on DSware.

Re:This is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35149000)

From the World of Goo article:

We found that the average iPhone/iPad gamer is more interested in pleasantly passing time than being intellectually engaged or challenged

Don't expect the boom in mobile games to produce anything too interesting. The punters don't want it.

Salute (2)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148194)

Salute Sir, I am releasing a new game next week. In your honor I will price it at .99 cents, enjoy.

Re:Salute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148860)

Don't be a douche. Price it at its true price, $1.00.

Translation (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148196)

We cannot compete with that! 2 bucks doesn't even cover the overhead for our beancounter and legal department that the games have to pull besides their own weight! Plus, state of the art graphics and animations are expensive, and since our games are hardly innovative in any way (seriously, usually we just improve graphics and increase the version counter), we cannot compete with games that rely on innovative gameplay and new, fresh ideas which are cheap but risky!

Is there some way we can outlaw those cheapskates?

Re:Translation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148320)

If this were Sony or Microsoft you might have a point, but this is about Nintendo. And if there's one thing Nintendo does that Sony and Microsoft don't, it's continue to innovate. So while Sony and Microsoft gamers have Final Femboy XIII 2 to look forward to, Nintendo gets innovative games like Lost Shadow and Fluidity.

And, sure, Nintendo likes to reuse their characters, but they throw them into new settings and provide new gaming experiences. Kirby's Epic Yarn may star Kirby, but it's not a rehash of previous Kirby games, it's a completely different and innovative experience.

Plus, Nintendo themselves releases downloadable games for $2. They're short and simple games, just like Angry Birds.

The issue is that people apparently see iPhone games for $1 and think "oh, games are cheap, why would I spend $40 on a Nintendo game then?"

Simple: the Nintendo game will have well over 40 times the content and 40 times the replay value.

Now Sony and Microsoft are probably fucked, because that certainly doesn't hold true for Generic Space Marine FPS and Final Repeat XIII Versus 2 - and definitely not at $60 or more. But Nintendo makes a good point that for whatever reason Americans see "cheap" and then think even quality products should be that cheap. See: Walmart.

Re:Translation (4, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148384)

You're trolling, right? Most nintendo consoles are sold on the strength of super mario XXIV. Nintendo is no more or less guilty of sequel-itis and no more or less innovative than sony or microsoft. At least sony/microsoft have traditionally been a fuckload more open to third party developers actually being granted development licenses for their hardware.

Re:Translation (2, Interesting)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148608)

You're trolling, right? Most nintendo consoles are sold on the strength of super mario XXIV. Nintendo is no more or less guilty of sequel-itis and no more or less innovative than sony or microsoft.

Sequel != uninnovative.

Mario has long led innovation in platform games. Super Mario 64 was a world apart from Super Mario World. Then we got Super Mario Galaxy and Super Paper Mario, all producing a radically new experience, yet maintaining a certain continuity of Mario charm. Nintendo isn't a bland games factory, Nintendo is an inventor and an innovator.

HAL.

Re:Translation (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148648)

You're trolling, right? Most nintendo consoles are sold on the strength of super mario XXIV.

Uh what? Link would fucking spit Mario like a suckling pig. Uh, I mean, don't forget Zelda games. Anyone who bought a console because of Mario recently obviously is in love with mediocre play control and shit camera control.

Re:Translation (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148632)

Whoa! Dude! WalMart is selling quality stuff now? I gotta see this! - oh - I see what you did there!

$40 worth of risk (4, Insightful)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148910)

Even if it's true that the console game will give 40 times the value of the $1 mobile game, that can be seen as an enormous leap of faith to ask the consumer to make. What if I decide in the first 30 minutes I don't like the game? Can I take it back to Gamestop and get my money back? Fat chance. If I download a $1 game and decide I don't like it, then meh.
Considering how many $40 or $50 Wii games my kids have that never get played again, I can see how people can become leery of that model.

Re:Translation (1)

grahamm (8844) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149186)

The issue is that people apparently see iPhone games for $1 and think "oh, games are cheap, why would I spend $40 on a Nintendo game then?"

Simple: the Nintendo game will have well over 40 times the content and 40 times the replay value.

And games like Chess, Nethack and the various roguelikes have considerable replay value and are available free of charge.

Re:Translation (1, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148328)

Oh come on. I'll admit that complaining about cheap competition is lame, and their CEO deserves to be laughed out of the room.

But if there's one thing Nintendo deserves compliments on its 'innovation'. They're one of the few innovative companies in the gaming space. The Wii was pronounced dead before it launched, and then it surprised everyone by kicking so much ass. The Nintendo 3DS is going to do the same. Yes, Nintendo suffers from the same over-bloated ills of every large company -- but lack of innovation isn't one of their problems.

Re:Translation (1, Informative)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148836)

Innovative?

Mario platformer
Mario driver
Mario fighter
Mario RPG
Mario sports

What's next? Mario farm? Mario tycoon?

They made a wand that didn't perform as expected. Their games are over priced for the younger market.

They live on their name and nothing else.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148976)

Zelda game
Mario game
Metroid game
Zelda game
Mario game
Metroid game
Zelda game
Mario game
Metroid game
Zelda game
Mario game
Metroid game

Repeat until dead. The innovation astounds me.

Re:Translation (4, Insightful)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148368)

you are kind of wrong, the problem here is that nintendo is in the same casual gamer market as cheap games, most wii and ds titles have graphics and animations from 10 years ago, so they're actually the same or worse than these 2$ games.
So these cheap games won't hurt sales of the elder scroll skyrim or battlefield 3 but it will be a problem for nintendogs, petz and shit like that

Re:Translation (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148884)

I don't think Nintendo's production costs are necessarily be higher than for phone games, but the distribution mechanism is. Cartridges are still relatively expensive compared to downloads or even discs. Plus they have to sell you the hardware before they can sell you any games where as people would buy phones anyway even without games.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148886)

"Shit" is the appropriate term. Pretty much every game I've played on Android / iOS is only good when you're otherwise occupied on the toilet.
 
Other than that, I'm playing ROMs of old NES / SNES games (which I still own, and play on their respective consoles). Much more enjoyable.

Re:Translation (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148522)

Hey those Beancounters and Law divisions are needed to sue children aka pirates who copy our tetris version 15 and mario party version 45.

Re:Translation (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149146)

If only App store games were in the slightest bit fresh or risky.

Meanwhile Nintendo has been directly publishing small games on their Wiiware and DSiware services that blow away anything we see pop up from the App store.

News at eleven (4)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148198)

Big corp. executive not happy with decline of prices, blames competitors.

Headline was misleading (3, Insightful)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148202)

When I read the headline I thought "Hmm good. Nintendo might be doing something about all the bad shovelware they grant a license to. Browse your local game store. For every Twilight Princess, Dead Space, and Super Mario Galaxy 2, there are dozens more cheap movie knock-offs littering the shelves like "Hannah Montana The Movie", "Pimp My Ride", and "Big Momma's House 2 -- Even Larger" Guess I was wrong.

Reggie isn't president (2)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148206)

Please revise this to say that Reggie is president of Nintendo OF AMERICA. Satoru Iwata () is still President (& in most cases executive producer of most good in-house games)

Isn't this what the DSiWare store is for? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148214)

I mean, Angry birds isn't a deep game.

I wouldn't price a game like say, Dragon Quest IX at AppStore or DSiWare pricing, but the big draw to me as a gamer to the DS or the PSP is the idea that I can have a game that isn't a simple flash concept executed over 40 or 50 levels.

That being said though, if you look at all of your purchases and transactions in terms of maximizing value, either in terms of gameplay or money in either context as developer or gamer, you're really depriving yourself and the person you're engaging in the transaction with. If you're so stubborn you won't pay more than $5 for a game on a portable you're missing out. If you're so stubborn you can't come down on price, you're missing out.

Re:Isn't this what the DSiWare store is for? (2)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148612)

Thats the danger in this kind of pricing. Will someone pay $40 for a big game like Dragon Quest IX when they see ten thousand $2 games (9,995 of which are shallow crap)?

Making a big game with high production values is expensive. They're going to cost more then something really simplified.

Boohoo, competition. (3, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148234)

For being so staunchly capitalist, big corporations sure hate the free market. Huh.

Re:Boohoo, competition. (3, Informative)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148308)

Capitalism != Free Market

The free market makes capitalists have to work harder for their profits. They'd much rather have the lazy security of a monopoly.

Re:Boohoo, competition. (3, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148518)

To paraphrase Adam Smith, businesses want a free market for everyone except themselves.

No soul (2)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148240)

When an exec starts to talk about games as being a 'piece of experience', they've lost the point of it all and gone over to the dark side.

VALUE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148256)

It's $1 because it's WORTH $1!

Well, consider this... (1)

citoxE (1799926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148272)

What effect does shovelware have on the integrity of the Wii? Most of those dumb games like "M&M(tm) Party Smash" certainly aren't worth $20-30. I mean, Nintendo isn't the patron saint of good games. Actually, scratch that. They make good first party games, but they take a good idea and exploit it in an Activision-esque manner that makes people sick of things like "Mario Bathroom Bash".

Won't be an issue for disc games (4, Interesting)

mentil (1748130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148316)

Big-name games that cost $10 million to develop and have $25 million marketing budgets aren't going to be $1 any time soon, the market just isn't large enough to sell 50 million+ copies, at any price. Only 50 million Xbox 360s have been sold, for reference.

The console makers set the licensing fee that publishers pay per disc, AFAIK it's a flat fee, so disc games will never be $1. Do you think Wal-Mart would bother stocking $1 games? They might set up a RedBox-style machine that spits out discs, but the shelf space used for the traditional route would no longer be feasible.

Publishers are running scared because they know the future is in digital distribution, and precedent is being set, while they're still on the fence twiddling their thumbs, for $1 games being the norm. This is problematic as $1 is a suboptimal price for many games, especially high-quality games with a massive advertising budget. The main reason it 'works' in the mobile phone space is due to the mechanics of toplists and how they're self-influencing. Console makers could halt this simply by eliminating the ability for end users to browse and download games via toplists. They could be replaced by alternative, possibly more complex lists.

For downloadable games with low (under $200k) budgets, it's alot iffier if a $1 standard is bad or not, as the market is definitely theoretically large enough to make it sustainable. When cellphones start coming out with analog sticks and buttons (like the PSP phone) and still have $1 games then I might start worrying.

Re:Won't be an issue for disc games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35149002)

People don't give a shit how much your game cost to develop, or how big your advertising budget is. They want it to cost $1 anyway.
In the music industry we've already been in this position for quite a while.
If it's costing too much, then you have to reduce costs, or sell more copies.
Or, as people never tire of telling musicians, use the games as advertising for your merchandise!

Irony (2)

Masterofpsi (1643965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148324)

Oh, the irony! It burns! Nintendo thinks cheap games are a risk to the industry? I guess that means the Wii is one of the biggest threats to the industry ever created.

Game prices are psycological (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148352)

When I was 15, games were $40. 20 years later, I buy games for $40. Why? Because the people buying the games accept the price as what a game should cost.

The game industry is an interesting study on inflation. While they should cost much much more on equal, games do not. But, the cost of developing all the tools to deliver a game are very cheap now, so that offsets the cost.

Nintendo appears to be upset that their licensing fees and resale values are not following inflation. Instead, the tech industry always bucks inflation and is constantly cheaper.

I do not know why, but, it's a very observable event.

Nintendo and pricing (4, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148354)

Nintendo seems to have developed a pricing problem all of its own of late, which has nothing to do with $2 phone games. I'm pretty sure this has contributed to Nintendo's current profits slump, at a time when the company should be using its large installed base for the Wii to really rake off the cash.

The company just seems to have some really, really odd ideas of what a game should cost. It's most notable in the Wii's online store, where in the UK, direct, unmodified ports of 25 year old arcade games (many of which are hardly timeless classics) often tend to be priced in the £6-£8 range. Things are mildly better in the US, I believe, but the prices seem out of whack.

I absolutely don't want to hold up the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network Store as paragons of value for money, but they certainly offer a better deal than Nintendo's online shop (and have much more consumer-friendly terms of service as well, which link games to an account rather than a console). Compared to the classic game packs you can pick up on Steam and other PC services such as GOG, Nintendo's pricing looks positively extortionate. If Reggie wants to talk about games that would be over-priced at $2, he should look at the stuff like Exed Exes and Commando in his own online store - which he's trying to sell for four times that price.

Things aren't much better on the boxed-game front either. As we get further into this console generation, the general quality gap between Wii games and games for the other consoles and the PC is widening. There are a few honorable exceptions, but most of the Wii games released these days tend to feel short and shallow. And yet despite this, and despite their increasingly painful graphical shortcomings (with most Wii games still struggling to match the best the PS2 had to offer), the games tend to be priced at roughly the same level as games for other platforms (usually a few $ behind the PS3/360 games and a few $ above the PC games).

If I were Nintendo, faced with the dramatic profits slump they've seen, I'd be looking to boost volumes of sales by pitching more boxed games at the more realistic $30 (or £20 in the UK) price-point and slashing the prices of titles in the online store. If you sell more games, you keep people using their Wiis. And if you keep people using their Wiis, they will buy more games for it. Sony managed to achieve that virtuous circle on the PS2, but despite their installed base lead, Nintendo haven't managed it this generation.

Re:Nintendo and pricing (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148940)

Actually a bigger reason for Nintendo's slump is that Nintendo REALLY sucks at playing the forex game, esp. when compared to their fellow country(corp?)men Sony. Nintendo has only had a few quarters where they have lost money and they have all been when the yen was insanely strong. Nintendo went through this about a decade ago and they had assured everyone that they learned their lesson and that would never happen again. Now the yen is insanely strong and Nintendo's costs are almost entirely in yen. Unlike Sony's game division Nintendo does very little development in Europe and North America(Metroid Prime being the prime(ha!) exception). So when the yen Nintendo's costs increase but their revenue doesn't(they sell a lot more in NA and Europe than they do at home). Maybe Reggie Fils Amie should be pestering the Kyoto office to move more people under him :P

if good games are $2 (4, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148360)

... then you're going to need to provide something actually special for the cost of a console game aren't you? I have no problems paying a decent sum of money for something that will keep me entertained for say $2-5/hr.

However if your sole justification for charging 50-100 bucks per game is "oooh look at teh shiny!" and nothing else then kindly fucking die already.

cheers
gamers everywhere

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148366)

"but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that for one or two dollars I think create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be $2" ........ (That's doesn't work for us! We have 1000 management and marketing people that needs to be over-paid, as well as shareholders that needs to be paid. If we started paying the people who actually creates the games fully for what they actually produce... they would get rich in a few days and quit their jobs, and that doesn't work for us! We have 1000 over-paid management and marketing people as well as our shareholders)

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148416)

So, cheap games are a threat to Nintendo, eh?
Also, second-hand games [eurogamer.net] are claimed to be a threat to the games industry.
And I'm not even going to enumerate the times that piracy has been said to be killing gaming.

Maybe Reggie Fils-Aime needs to take up a position in a less competitive industry - or, if he really believes he's worth the salary he's paid from Nintendo he should MTFU and deal with it.

Opportunity, not a threat (1)

IAmAI (961807) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148430)

If you're worried, Nintendo, then I suggest you make sure your expensive games really do differentiate themselves from the cheap games. I doubt this will be difficult to do: the majority of games in the $1-$2 range, while fun, offer limited content. I doubt consumers attribute as much value to these cheap games as expensive games. Would you pay $40 for Angry Birds? I think if Nintendo continue to produce games that are immersive and with plenty of compelling content, people will be prepared to pay a premium price. I think a range of games of different qualities and pricing is a good thing and will serve as an opportunity to for Nintendo to increase the perceived value of their premium games, rather than as a threat.

Creative Destruction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148452)

Angry Birds for smartphones and tablets and the App Store. Taken together it's starting to look like the beginning of a new wave of creative destruction: very cheap casual games that will sweep away one of Nintendo's business models. Which is not quite cheap casual games for gaming handhelds. So I think they have good reason to be afraid, very afraid.

OR perhaps (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148480)

All Games are only really worth $10 or so.. When I first started playing games on my Amiga they only cost £15-20 yet now PC games are hitting £40

Re:OR perhaps (2)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148540)

What cost $15 in 1980 would cost $38.55 in 2009 thanx to inflation. http://www.westegg.com/inflation/ [westegg.com]

Re:OR perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148912)

I remember purchasing Quake3 at release for $60.

Re:OR perhaps (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149050)

When I started playing games on my Amiga (500) it was $35 and up for anything in a box.

Re:OR perhaps (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149196)

Bank of England inflation calculator [bankofengland.co.uk]

GBP15-20 in 1985 would be GBP35-47 in 2010. Blame your government.

Re:OR perhaps (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149206)

Oh, and don't forget the 5% rise in VAT.

I will translate it for you (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148516)

The 2 Dollar games is killing our business model of cashing in 50 dollars per copy for the same junk!

Non linear price enjoyability curve (1)

mustPushCart (1871520) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148524)

What he wants to say here is in the consumers mind, the curve of price and enjoyability is linear i.e. if a $2 game gives you x amount of value then a $60 game should give me 30*x which is simply not the case.

An indie shop with a programmer and an artist can put out a $2 game which is fairly enjoyable but as the scope of the game increases its complexity increases exponentially requiring producers, project managers, seperate QA testing, designers, workspace, engine and middleware licenses, graphics tools, marketing etc. So for every additional point of value you want out of the product you need to pay an exponentially increasing amount in price. He simply wants consumers to understand this.

Re:Non linear price enjoyability curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148852)

So for every additional point of value you want out of the product you need to pay an exponentially increasing amount in price. He simply wants consumers to understand this.

I don't care.
Sincerely, the consumer.

Not as much as boring games (1)

Salvo (8037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148556)

The reason Angry Birds is such a hit is because it is fun.
When is the last time a fun game was released for Nintendo DS?

Re:Not as much as boring games (2)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148748)

Tuesday.

In fact, looking at this week's release list and reviews, it looks like three fun games came out for the DS this Tuesday.

YOU may not like them, but given the popularity of the franchises lots of other people must think they're fun.

Video Game Crash of 1983 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148580)

Cheap games are nice but too cheap and nobody can make any money, including developers. That might recreate the Video Game Crash of 1983 when so many video game companies went bankrupt.

As for me, I like games with fancy graphics and neat controls. Fancy graphics needs hundreds of artists who each have a salary. Fancy controls needs developers everywhere. Unfortunately, pretty soon, I won't be in the majority and the consumer will take over. The consumer is voting for cheap games and Farmville. If the money is where Farmville is, people who like fancy graphics and fancy controllers are going to be in big trouble. I'm still waiting on Sim City 5 with more fancy graphics but I think it just took a backseat to the cheap games :(

Valid point (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148722)

He actually does have a point. If you take your average small indie developer, which could very likely be one guy sitting in his parent's basement cranking away on a small game... this guy will never have the development costs of a company making commercial releases. No lawyers, no marketing department, no no art people, no advertising, no support people... basically it's one or a few guys doing these small indie games. They are happy they can get their app/game into an app store where people will discover it, like it, and recommend it to friends. This is very different than commercial development where there are a lot of upfront costs not to mention normal "running a business" costs. Like it or not, most of these small indie developers will either a) eventually be bought out by a larger company and no longer be a small indie developer anymore, or b) go out of business, or c) survive on a tiny income of residual sales.

I'm not saying one or the other is the correct way to do games, that is for another discussion. But the guy really does have a point.

Re:Valid point (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148820)

Big deal so does a pencil ...
They have to come up with good ideas that I am willing to spend money on.
 

Re:Valid point (2)

guybrush3pwood (1579937) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148870)

No, he doesn't. Those indie developers are, like it or not, part of the industry. If they're willling to eat rice for a year just because they'd rather code in their parents' basement than at a Nintendo cubicle, that's just fine. Their being inconvenient to Nintendo's sense of status quo is not a valid point. It's rather a symptom that the status quo might be changing. He's trying to say "we are the industry, their not", which is obviously crap.

Walmart sales bread. Does that mean that the little, bakery in the corner is not part of the "bread industry"? And of course you know that what the little bakery sales is fresher and tastier, while Walmart sales tons of shit labeled "bread".

I, for one, would rather have countless small companies such as www.introversion.co.uk [introversion.co.uk] than two or three big motherfuckers endlessly delivering the same rehashed games.

Re:Valid point (2)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148970)

To make the situation fair, the small basement indie developer would not even be able to release his game on a Nintendo console, Nintendo gives only away devkits for their market if they are registered developers with an office and at least one game on their track record.

Ad Supported Games (1)

Lvdata (1214190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148874)

On the Android platform, Angry Birds is ONLY available as a ad supported game. There is NO pay version. I don't know how much AB gets in revenue, but I'd bet they get MORE money from the "free" version with ads, then the paid one on IOS with out ads. Corporate Nintendo probably has NO idea how to compete with free for the long term.

Satoru Iwata is the president of Nintendo (1)

darkeye (199616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148898)

the article if factually wrong, Nintendo's president is Satoru Iwata: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satoru_Iwata [wikipedia.org]

I guess the rest of the article is similar in terms of factual content

What? (3, Interesting)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148918)

This is just so off the wall I don't even.

Angry Birds is a simple concept with some great levels and compelling replay value. Would I pay $40 for it? No. However, conversely, I probably wouldn't pay even $2 for some of the "mini-game compilation" titles that have been released for the Wii (having been burned by one such abortion, priced at GB£15), nor would I pay $2 for any of the hastily hacked together "Dogz" clones for the DS. I love those platforms, but some of the crapware that's been released for them should give this man pause for thought before throwing around insults about "cheap" games.

There's a market for AAA US$40-50 titles and a market for US$1-10 casual/indie titles. These are two separate things, and complement each other. What he's probably worried about is that these $1-10 casual/indie titles will compete with similarly priced re-releases of 1st/2nd generation console titles on WiiWare/DS like Super Marios Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin etc.. Now, do I really want to play Sonic on my Wii or do I want to try out VVVVVV [steampowered.com] or Chime [steampowered.com] or Clickr [steampowered.com] on PC?

Now, if you price your SDK and impose restrictions in such a way as to exclude or discourage casual, indie or hobbyist developers then don't be surprised when they turn to other platforms with lower barriers to entry...

Re:What? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149086)

This is just so off the wall I don't even.

Well, maybe you should.

Nintendo is threatened by $2 games that should and do cost $2 because they want to sell you games which should be $2 for $10. Hope this helps.

You earn what you give. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148958)

I can't speak for everyone, but personally I like games that have actual content and I'm not the only one out there. Games you actually play, as opposed to interactive movies like Fallout 3 and the CoD series. Of course, that requires to work hard, doesn't it?

Even if game developers believe I'm demanding, the above is the reason why I don't buy expensive games anymore. I go for $2-$5 games, even on computer. Sometimes up to $10 if the game seems to offer something original. I'll pay $60 when they make a game that has the following:
- Open world
- LOTS of things to do
- Lots of items and weapons (and customizable weapons too, hell I even want different ammo types!)
- Mechanics that require you to think and devise a good strategy, sometimes think outside of the box, not just develop your reflexes at pressing buttons.
- Improved micro-mechanics (like a health system that is closer to the Metal Gear Solid 3 health instead of just a health bar, and reloading replaces your half-empty mag with another one instead of magically refilling your mag to 100% with the bullets in your pockets).

I know this is not what the majority of gamers want, most prefer simple games that are easy to get your hands on. Complex games are only appreciated by gamers who want to take the time to climb the steep learning curve and who don't need to play a new game every week. But the casual gamer market is split between dozens of developers, whereas the 'pro' gamer market is left pretty much untouched, so there might be more money to make in the 'pro' market than the casual market. Not to mention, gamers like me are willing to pay $100+ for the kind of games we like. I'd rather buy ONE great game at $200 than 6 CoD's at $50 a piece because none of them satisfies me and I always want more.
Too bad developers can't see that. Some indies try to aim for our market, but as indies they don't have the means to make perfect games. At least they try and their games are better than the simplisitic and shallow casual games.. In any case, I'm not buying casual games, no matter how many are made. If devs want my money, they need to make the games I want.

He's right. (5, Insightful)

DavidDM (1981824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35148960)

Slashdot honestly doesn't seem to get content creation or business sometimes. By constantly lowering prices and conditioning customers to accept them, you actually stifle innovation and drive out businesses. In the bricks and mortar world this is what Wal-mart does, and they've managed to destroy and dominate markets while offering less overall quality and selection. For media, there is less barrier to entry, but the sheer number of crapware games competing at artificially low pricepoints are eventually going to start killing a lot of midrange developers as they simply can't make enough money in a reasonable timeframe. What the low price does is benefit AGGREGATORS not developers, who take a long tail approach and try and get tremendous amounts of content to make pennies on over time. And, of course there are no end of eager lemmings to help push themselves off the cliff. The low price points may make Apple and Steam rich, but not devs.

Put another way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35148972)

..."Cheap games a threat to our business model"

Someone needs to remind this guy that the world doesn't owe him, or Nintendo, a living. Games don't all need to be expensive epics to be good; that's as true now as it was when, say, Tetris hit the streets nearly 30 years ago, and it's not going to change. If companies such as Nintendo can deliver games that can justify their price differential in some manner (whether that's in the nature of the game, the depth of play or just about anything else), then all well and good - they'll continue to find a market. If they can't, they don't deserve to be in it (and having watched games publishers trying to charge an arm and a leg for rafts of mediocre titles, alongside the occasional gem, for nearly four decades now, I for one won't mourn their passing).

Nothing to see here - move along.

What he's really saying is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35149100)

"Low cost, excellent, indie games make our shovelware look over priced."

Never have I seen a console hamstrung by so many low quality, gimic-y, titles. Nintendo may well be pursuing the casual gamer demographic, sadly they think these people are also morons. Take notes from popcap Reggie otherwise $2 indie titles will continue to eat into your margins...

Note this didn't come from Sony or Microsoft (2)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149110)

Nintendo is the Apple of the gaming world, and they just ensured that a console version of Angry Birds will show up on the Xbox and PS3 downloadable market things. They like their own brand, they don't like opening it up to external developers, and they don't like following someone else's lead. Thank God, because if Nintendo made Angry Birds, it would be $40, have birds with Mii faces, and involve Mario or anime children or something. And be called "Flappy Bird Slingshot Adventures Party", or some s. And be a rail shooter.

Sorry, I'm a little bitter after buying a Wii and finding that, in exchange for no hard drive and crappy graphics, I got a controller that doesn't quite track motion accurately, a library of games suitable for a ten year old girl ("Say fellas, let's buy a case of beer and play Cooking Mama tonight!"), and a DVD drive that doesn't play DVDs, but does sound like a tiny gnome is attempting to cut his way free with a miniature Sawzall. I exaggerate, but not too much.

What's especially bizarre about Fils-Aime's statement is that the Wii Market channel carries an s-ton of casual games in the $5-$15 range. Thanks to their scam "Nintendo points" purchasing system (similar to Microsoft's Live point system), you can't get a game for anywhere between free and $5, but most people buying games via the Wii would have no problem dropping $5 on an Angry Birds-type title.

Frankly, there are some pretty terrible games for download that cost more than $5 for the Wii; for that matter, there are some pretty horrible games on disc for the Wii that are well in excess of that price. I doubt highly that the availability of cheap games on mobile phones will make an appreciable dent in Nintendo's market share, although Fils-Aime is more than welcome to suggest that consumers ought to be paying $25 a pop for games on a mobile phone. Preferably during an outdoor press conference after handing overripe tomatoes to the spectators.

What is he complaining about? :) (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35149122)

even free porn is legal these days :) (slashdot post about redtube case a couple days ago) ;)

I'm tired all these business whiners that have not adapted their business plan (including recording industries, newspapers, banks who expect a bailout any time something goes wrong)... I understand how it was important to intervene... but really... a little less whining, a little more sanity would be nice

games ripping off games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35149212)

some cheap mobile games for 1-2 dollars are overpriced, like angry birds which is just a simple rip off of another flash game that was already created. so for games that were just stolen from another game and given a new name, 1-2 dollars is way too much, for new concept games it would be an okay price even though I still would not pay it.

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