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How Apple Is Beating Nintendo At Its Own Game

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the super-steve-bros dept.

Japan 425

Zothecula writes "In an industry obsessed with polygon counts and frame rates, Nintendo's Wii console and DS handheld were the proverbial knives at a gunfight. They were grossly underpowered compared to the competition, meaning Nintendo could sell them at a profit from day one. Their innovative control methods ensured they still sold like hotcakes. An animated GIF of Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata holding a DS that printed money became the go to picture to run alongside quarterly announcements of Nintendo's gargantuan profits. If a disheveled man emerged from a time-traveling DeLorean with tales of a near-future Nintendo struggling to sell its latest handheld, I'd have been more surprised about the Nintendo thing. So what on earth happened?"

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General Purpose Device... (5, Insightful)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058694)

Because iPhones & iPod Touches can do a lot more than just play games?

Re:General Purpose Device... (3, Interesting)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058772)

Always thought Nintendo kick Apple's ass if they just added GSM to the DS and given it a bluetooth headset with a dialer. DS has games, a web browser, a camera(newer ones), etc. Just doesn't have a phone. They could have done exactly what Sony is doing with the Xperia Play and sold it subsidized. Too late now, though.

Just one word... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059050)

Always thought Nintendo kick Apple's ass if they just added GSM to the DS


Now in 3D!!

Re:General Purpose Device... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058792)

Yeah, I mean, people aren't looking for more crap to carry around these days, they're looking to unify their portable devices...look at the market for standalone MP3 players in general. The only people I even know that still carry one are the ones still rolling with dumbphones. Otherwise, they use their phone as an MP3 player nowadays.

Re:General Purpose Device... (1)

Scragglykat (1185337) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058802)

Your argument would be sound, if PC gaming was more popular than XBox/PS3 gaming...

Re:General Purpose Device... (1)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058858)

Well there is that, but PCs have a complexity that iPhones don't have. Living room video game consoles are successful probably because they offer operational simplicity compared to a PC.

Re:General Purpose Device... (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059090)

Not to mention it's easier to play Madden with three of your friends when you're in a living room, instead of huddled around a desktop.

Re:General Purpose Device... (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059322)

I think that the ability to watch DVD/netflix/blu-ray/networked avis & m4v files on your big screen has gone a long way towards promoting the popularity of consoles like the ps3 and the 360. internet connectivity allowing you to download demos, extra content, and classic games, online matching services matching you with online opponents... these are ALL notes that the consoles cribbed directly from the PC gaming arena.

I think it's fair to say that the only reason that consoles do so well compared to PCs is because they slowly are becoming PCs.

Re:General Purpose Device... (2)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059084)

PC gaming was, and still is, more popular than living room console gaming. The only way it's not is if you ignore casual games.

Re:General Purpose Device... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059144)

It is, it's just a much more fractured market without any central repository of data. Also, it's easier to pirate on the PC, so, for example in the last project I worked on, within a week over a 1/3rd of all running copies of the game were pirated.

Steam and GFWL both could have decent data, but neither of them has the big dog World of Warcraft, and while steam does some indi packs it's certainly not the whole marketplace.

Now if you want to talk about individual title sales sure, PC is thumped by 360 and PS3 for Call of Duty and so on. But that's very different than total gaming hours spent on a platform, and the MMO market is a huge chunk of gaming time.

But that's beside the point. I think everyone who's chimed in here, 1 device that does phone, music and some games is the way the market is moving. I cannot for the life of me figure out why the PSP2 (vita or some stupid name) is not going to be a phone right off the bat. Sony has vaguely understood how to blend markets in the past, DVD on the PS2, Blu ray on the PS3, PSP1 in a phone (although very late to the party on that one), but seriously it's just a freaking 4 core smartphone... without the phone.

Also, like the PC, I suspect android is kicking apple and nintendo in the games played area, because you can get decent emulators and Rom's for android pretty easily (including until recently several through official channels).

Re:General Purpose Device... (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058822)

Could it also be because people can buy about 20 iPhone games for the price of one 3DS game?

Re:General Purpose Device... (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058962)

The iPhones are not suitable gaming devices for anything other than casual gaming and possibly more hardcore card games. They just don't have the controls necessary to allow much in the way of gaming.

The reason why Apple is moving so many more units is that people need phones, even if not smartphones and with AT&T not offering a discount for people that buy their own, the phones are a lot cheaper than buying a Ds on top of a phone.

At the end of the day, it's mostly folks that are playing casual games that aren't worth the price that you'd have to pay if you bought the games for Ds.

.99 vs 39.99 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058704)

It's all dollars and cents baby.

Re:.99 vs 39.99 (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058860)

That is one big thing... Plus also the iPhone is something you can go to work with and not be looked at funny as bringing games to work, and you have a bunch of other non-game apps, and it is a Phone too. The DS game system or even the PSP is still just a game system. The iPhone is a Software Platform, that happens to run games well enough not to be embarrassing.
But added the cost of the game is huge too. If you can get 40 games at the cost of 1 combined that you can get these games when ever you feel board and want a new one it is very handy.

Re:.99 vs 39.99 (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059026)

0 vs .99

My refusal to pay for smartphone games is infinitely more better than your refusal to pay too much for console games.

DS is TOO underpowered (0)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058716)

It's OK to be slightly less powerful than competitors if you offer creativity.

However, if you are TOO MUCH underpowered then you're not going to compensate it with better _anything_. And iPhone is also a nice general-purpose computer - you can even make phone calls with it!

Re:DS is TOO underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058828)

you can even make phone calls with it!

If you manage to hold it right!

Re:DS is TOO underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058984)

you can even make phone calls with it!

If you manage to hold it right!

And don't have at&t as a carrier.

Re:DS is TOO underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058956)

DS maybe underpowered, but who is in the core market? Not you nor I, but that 12 year old boy you see waiting for the school bus on your street corner. Now if Nintendo made a powerful $350 GPU powered awesome 3D portable 1 billion polygons a second portable-Cray do you think his parents would buy it for him? Uh no ...

Wii had the awesome games with the wii-mote at the time during its release that were geared for everyone right when the recession hit and was $100 to $150 less. Sure it doesn't do HDMI but rich 22 year olds who have no kids yet are the main market for Sony.

The Xbox is starting to become popular now after the knetix and the drop in price.

Re:DS is TOO underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059286)

Please, do tell me where I can buy the popular new knetix?

Re:DS is TOO underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059292)

The Wii targeted simpler games for simpler people; that's why it sold. Remember, it used to be at a $300 price point when it FIRST came out, and it sold millions of consoles by word of mouth in it's first weeks.


What defines the game? The sum of the count of objects, count of object interactions (rules), and count of objectives (win/loss).

The formula defines the type of game:
RPG's have a lot of objects but few interactions and lots of objectives (Liniar e.g. Final Fantasy, less liniar such as Diablo or Gothic Series)
FPS have a medium number of objects, medium number of object interactions, and few objectives.
RTS have lots of objects, few types of interactions, and few objectives.

The count defines it's complexity and the mix, the kinds of minds it attracts.

As the counts increase, the sum increases exponentially, and so does the cost. The problem with simple games; you can only make so many until they all begin looking the same and you end up with 5 million versions of tic tak toe and chess.

When you get into very complex games, the risk increases as it becomes more difficult to balance it right.

With big complex games, you have to center the rules around a few core consepts and balance them in a PREDICTABLE manner; that's something that hasn't been done well.

The market's flooded with simple games; as gamers develop their minds they will realize the similarities and get bored faster, thus the economics will force them into the more complex games. The end result is you will have a pyramid like structure to gamers, and as it gets taller, you get your Tic Tak Toe at the bottom, your Deus Ex, StarCraft and Systemshock at the dead center, and your Total Annihilation, Tribes and others at the very tip top.

Whatever system possesses the easiest method by which to control the environment and can provide it at a reasonable price point will win out. That is until we get telekinetic interfaces. Then the complexity rapidly grows.

touchscreen phone is a terrible control scheme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058748)

I think Sony's PSP successor is going to take a proverbial shit on the competition. I know we love to hate Sony, but a touchsceen PSP will destroy any stupid phone platform. Particularly, all phones lacking a physical gamepad.

Re:touchscreen phone is a terrible control scheme (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058992)

I love my PSP. It is fantastic, one of the best electronics items I ever purchased... and I never use it anywhere but the shitter anymore. it's just too bulky to carry around when I've already got two cell phones (personal and business) on me as well as my rooted nook (which is now more than half a portable game console itself with cyanogen 7 on it).

I can't see why I'd buy the new one PSP. not without some killer app that I can't get for android (or windows). maybe i'd buy it to pack for trips to see family or something like that, but for those trips I can usually get away with bringing my laptop. Between laptop and nook, I've got most entertainment options covered, or at least enough to last through half a week at the in-laws.

As for control scheme, you're right... as long as you're gaming the way we've been gaming for the past 30 years. I never even tried putting an emulator on my phone or tablet, because the controls would be absurd. I don't even like emulation gaming on my computer, having never found a controller I like (I did eventually get a usb adapter for ps2 controllers. that was ok, when it worked.) I tend to prefer my emulation either on my psp or my ps3. But if you're playing a game designed from the outset for touchscreen, it's really not so bad. Take a look at Battleheart. That would actually be a much worse game on D-pad/joypad and buttons. you could do ok with it on mouse, but it shines with touchpad. you could never play robodefense fast enough with dpad/mouse unless you had korean starcraft reflexes. There's nothing wrong with touchscreen interface as long as the game lends itself to the interface (aside from devices that have generally bad/unresponsive touchscreens of course. Can't blame the games for that though).

As recently as 6 months ago, I'd have said that portable gaming isn't going anywhere. but now with smartphones getting larger screens and cpu/gpus at least as powerful as the computers I had a few yeas ago, and their big brother tablets getting so much software written for them... man it has got to be a scary time to produce a handheld console.

Add it (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059110)

Particularly, all phones lacking a physical gamepad.

Well I guess the iPhone is set then [] .

Being huge means that just about any accessory you could think of, has been thought of by a third party and produced.

Region Locking (3, Interesting)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058752)

This is the reason I will never buy a 3DS (until it is cracked, then..maybe) Every previous nintendo handheld was not region locked, I could safely travel anywhere in the world, purchase a game locally and not have to worry about it not working on my DS/GBA/GB. Now suddenly, Nintendo has decided to region lock 3DS games so if I go overseas I can't buy games for my console.

Re:Region Locking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058894)

so if I go overseas I can't buy games for my console

Most people who go overseas do it for pleasure travel. Who the hell wants to buy video games when they are on vacation? So, I am guessing you go over there for work. And since you are actually looking to buy video games while you are there, it must be for extended periods of time.

Are you in the military? Or some other job that takes you overseas a lot? Either way, you're in the extreme minority of people. It's a silly "limitation" to bring up. For all intents and purposes, it only applies to you.

I guess what I am saying is that no one gives a shit!

Re:Region Locking (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059010)

For some gaming niches the games never make it to the US. Also individuals that are looking for gaming in foreign languages are going to have a tougher time playing games if they have to buy a second unit to play those games.

And, if it really only applied to the GP, then they wouldn't be doing it. They're doing it because it applies to a lot of people.

Re:Region Locking (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059022)

Most people who go overseas do it for pleasure travel. Who the hell wants to buy video games when they are on vacation?

Very few. On the other hand, most people who fly somewhere discover on the way out that the flight is really boring and the in-flight entertainment is awful. They may well want to buy a game to play on the flight back. If they're driving a long distance, then something to keep the children in the back of the car entertained can be useful too.

Re:Region Locking (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059042)

How do you get overseas?
I normally do it by plane. Meaning I might want to buy a game just before the return leg.

Re:Region Locking (0)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059326)

Because when you return from that vacation you have hours on a plane and would like to play a game? You know what a hand held console is for.

Just because you are a moron who can't see the obvious uses that devices are designed for doesn't mean everyone else is as retarded.

Re:Region Locking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059280)

[Region Locking.] This is the reason I will never buy a 3DS (until it is cracked, then..maybe) Every previous nintendo handheld was not region locked, I could safely travel anywhere in the world, purchase a game locally and not have to worry about it not working on my DS/GBA/GB. Now suddenly, Nintendo has decided to region lock 3DS games so if I go overseas I can't buy games for my console.

You do realize that people who refuse to buy a console due to region locking is a vanishingly small — some would reasonably say "insignificant" — market, right? I'm certain the reasons presented in the article are hurting Nintendo a lot more than not getting sales from the sub-1% of the not-Japan gaming population who can't play TentacleDate!Sim~Sim~3~ Plus-X 12. Moreso if it's because they're too dumb to seek out a homebrew way around the region lock if they're that desperate for their Japanese game fix.

Re:Region Locking (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059352)

Sure for a normal console. But the topic is a hand held portable device. You know that you play on the plane trips often from other regions.

3DS == Virtual Boy (0)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058758)

It really isn't that surprising. Nintendo broke away from their pricing model because the reporters at E3 went GaGa over a 3D hand held, and then they forgot they tried this gimik before with the Virtual Boy. The VB when over well with it's initial reviews and people liked to fondle it at the local Block Busters, but no one really wanted to buy it. This isn't Apple beating Nintendo this is Nintendo beating itself up with a gimik it knew wouldn't go over well if they remembered their past.

Re:3DS == Virtual Boy (2)

HuntingHades (2010088) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059002)

I'm actually interested in the 3DS, and the reason I haven't bought one isn't because of the 3D being a "gimmick" - its simply that there aren't any "must own" titles out for it. This is really the same problem the Wii had as well, and it looks like the WiiU might have next year. There launch lineups for the last few systems have been fairly weak. In the old days, every Nintendo system launched with a brand new Mario title to show off what the system could do, and a lot of other Nintendo properties were available shortly after launch as well. What Nintendo really needs to do for all of their new systems is make sure one of their main properties has a title out at launch, like a new Mario, Zelda or Metroid, or for the handhelds, there should probably be a Pokemon game at launch.

Re:3DS == Virtual Boy (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059366)

This for me. I just bought a new DS not long ago I barely use. I use it some, but I just don't see the incentive (even if I see my DSi) to get a 3DS when there is maybe two games on it I want. One of them is a remake too.

Re:3DS == Virtual Boy (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059074)

On the contrary, I bet Nintendo thought they had bottled lightning with the new take on the virtual boy.

Look at it this way. Nintendo had tried motion control before (who had a power glove? I did! looked awesome, worked like complete shit), and it was a dismal failure. They tried it again with newer technology and hit the unexpected console home run of the decade with the Wii. they had console shortages like 3 holiday seasons in a row. You'll never convince me that they didn't purposely orchestrate the lack of supply to drive up demand, but you have to admit that the constant demand over that long a time period was unprecedented. I'm sure Nintendo was just trying to do the same thing again with the 3DS.

Re:3DS == Virtual Boy (2)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059418)

I remember the Power Glove. I even remember the Mattel logo on the box. Nintendo didn't have anything to do with its development.

Re:3DS == Virtual Boy (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059088)

The virtual boy wasn't really very good. I did have a chance a number of years ago to play around with some 80s era virtual reality gear, complete with blocky graphics and the virtual boy was a poor facsimile. Granted, it was also significantly cheaper costing probably only a few pennies on the hundred for what a proper set up would cost, but the device itself wasn't really very well marketed. They named it Virtual Boy, which was right there a huge mistake as it wasn't really a Gameboy successor and wouldn't have been even if successful. And they were only able to come out with I think something like 6 titles at launch.

As for the 3Ds, if it weren't for the battery life and cost, I'd get one, it's a much better unit than I would have expected. I was genuinely surprised at how good it was.

Misnomer (5, Insightful)

Lysander7 (2085382) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058760)

The title should read "Apple is Beating Nintendo at a Completely Different Game".

Honestly, it's not even comparable. People want iPhones because it consolidates multiple devices into one, eliminating the desire to carry a GameBoy around, and games from the app store hold an entirely different niche in the market than handheld console games. While yes, that niche is dominating the video game market, I don't think it's safe to call them "video games" as well.

But of course, naming the title this is a way to get more hits, so I really shouldn't be surprised.

Re:Misnomer (2)

Lysander7 (2085382) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058810)

To use the article's lingo, bringing Angry Birds to an E3 convention is akin to bringing a salmon to a knife fight.

Re:Misnomer (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058872)

You come off like an angry Nintendo fan. Nintendo has publicly stated that Apple is their biggest competitor, so they know all too well the threat of mobile gaming. You even refuse to classify app store games as video games, which is bizarre. A system that sells and plays games is a gaming system--if Apple is hurting Nintendo's sales, what other game could it possibly be beating Nintendo at?

Re:Misnomer (1)

Lysander7 (2085382) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059122)

But is it hurting Nintendo's sales significantly? From what I can tell, the demographic that they have in common is marginal respective to what they market mostly to. More to the point (and this is more my opinion than anything else), I doubt there are many cases where someone has to decide to purchase either one or the other, which is how Apple would be hurting Nintendo's sales.

Re:Misnomer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058930)

Completely agree, I had a palm m505 from work in 2001 or 2002. It was color, if I remember that was new for palm then. I thought it would be great to keep organized, I even got a case to keep it from getting scratched. I literally carried with me less than 5 times. I already had a wallet, keys and phone. I didn't want something else that size that it was to carry.

I admit the only games I play are on my iphone. I am not a hard core gamer of any kind. I just like to play whatever when I waiting on something, riding in the car, etc

Re:Misnomer (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059164)

I mentioned this in another thread, but I don't think we should even view IOS/Android games as competing against triple-A blockbuster titles. Mainly because I don't WANT them to try and migrate to a middle ground. I don't want the $15 or $20 game that's halfway between game dev story and Mass effect. Give me the two extremes. Do you want to have captain america at the multiplex and then come home to watch a hilarious amateur-but-well-done youtube series like epic mealtime or my drunk kitchen.. or do you want some semi-professional middle ground full of low-budget artistic crap nobody wants to see? Sure sometimes you get Juno or Clerks, but most of the time you get navel-gazing pretentious tripe that only Roger Ebert can sit through.

I'll take the former. keep cheap mobile gaming and expensive console/pc blockbusters separate.

If you want to kill flash games though, I'm ok with that.

Re:Misnomer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059198)

Not only because it consolidates stuff. It is because sometimes, it does what stuff did not do before.

Portable, practical, working, non-wap-crippled-shit websites come to mind. The fact that the first browser good enough to be actually used like in a computer everywhere and small enough to be carried on the pocket is argument enough for me to have one. If it happens to make calls, better.

I don't remember any handheld device with a decent browser prior to it. Perhaps the last psion color, but that thing is a monster compared to a mobile phone.

Re:Misnomer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059274)

iOS devices and handheld gaming devices have a very large overlap in markets. A large amount of casual gamers that get handheld devices want a device they can use to kill time and occupy them while they're away from home. iOS devices fill that niche nicely, having a large number of brainless games that are nothing but a waste of time. With the advent of achievement systems, you can even trick the users into feeling a false sense of achievement for even the most pointless and shallow of games.

The problem is that Nintendo decided to go after that market with the Wii and the DS, but aren't willing to do what it takes to keep their foothold their. They're going to quickly find themselves in hot water if they don't innovate themselves out of the corner they're headed towards, since the majority of consumers keeping Nintendo afloat are extremely casual and now have an avenue that presents games for a tiny fraction of the cost with most of the features the 3DS has (and possibly even better hardware, I haven't really looked into the specs for an iPhone vs. a 3DS, though).

What's better consumer value? (2)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058788)

A Nintendo 3DS that sells for a couple hundred, but costs $20-$30 for cheap little games?
Or the iPad2, costs $500-$600, but costs $1-$5 for cheap little games. Oh, and you can watch Netflix on it.

Re:What's better consumer value? (1)

Niomosy (1503) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058850)

It depends on the game. A good game may well be worth that $20-30. The latest iteration of Angry Birds is worth significantly less.

Re:What's better consumer value? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059252)

Why are people so down on angry birds? It's simple, clever, and innovative. It's the tetras of the 2010's. You're just a gaming elitist who is no longer capable of having fun. You've forgotten what games are for.

Re:What's better consumer value? (4, Informative)

custerfluck (888788) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058916)

Netflix is on the 3DS...

Re:What's better consumer value? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058986)

Enjoy your $1 Angry Birds on your $500 iApple, while I sit next to you in the train and enjoy my $40 basically perfect port of Super Street Fighter IV or Zelda on my $169 3DS. With actual buttons I can use as inputs.

Re:What's better consumer value? (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059080)

In the words of Penny Arcade, "You buy your one game, and I'll buy my 40 games, and we'll see who has more fun."

Re:What's better consumer value? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059128)

For how long on average do you enjoy playing these $1 games? (Honest question.)

Re:What's better consumer value? (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059200)

It depends on which one. The crappy ones I play once. The good ones I'll play for hours (especially social ones). I spend more time on Zynga "With Friends" games than I care to admit.

Re:What's better consumer value? (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059222)

As an addendum to my previous post: I have a Nintendo DS. I have never played any of my DS games as long as I've played Bejeweled on my iPhone.

Re:What's better consumer value? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059332)

> It depends on which one. The crappy ones I play once. The good ones I'll play for hours (especially social ones).
That was kind of the reason I asked for an average. I can easily believe that there are cheap games that can be fun for a good while, but on average their effective cost might go up a bit if you consider the games you buy, try once and than never bother with again. As a comparison, according to the activity log, I have spend 60-120 hours per game on the 3DS games I bought, which is pretty good value in my opinion. Of course the 3DS has bad games too, and spending $40 on those... Well, let's say that it pays to be careful.

Re:What's better consumer value? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059028)


Sure... if you equate ipad games with nintendo games. But even a 4 year old would rather play the nintendo games. There's a lot more value in "New" Super Mario Bro's DS than in Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies. They just aren't even in the same league.

Re:What's better consumer value? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059152)

I hope you realize that there's a difference between a $1 game and a $30 game typically. There are definitely some games that are underpriced and others that are overpriced, but by and large the games that are listed for $1 wouldn't sell for even $10 let alone $30.

There's also the matter of controls, the iPad2 does not have any provision for gaming built in, you're stuck with using the touch screen, which is great for games like angry birds, but if you're wanting to play even a classic platformer, you're largely out of luck.

Image matters (5, Insightful)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058848)

We should not forget that people tend to associate handheld gaming consoles with nerds and children, whereas mobile phones are *cool*. Every day I see high powered businessmen suited up for a day at work playing Angry Birds on the subway, but I have never seen an adult using a Nintendo.

Re:Image matters (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058996)

That's only because Nintendos don't run Angry Birds.

Re:Image matters (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059178)

I'm not sure how true that is any more. Sure people in their 20s and younger are more likely to have time to dedicate to gaming, but I hardly think that it's the case anymore where people associate gaming with kids and nerds to that extent.

Casual gaming via the iPhone is popular largely because it's casual and on a device that people are likely to be carrying with them. I'll often times break out my Nexus One to do a bit of gaming when I'm waiting somewhere, mainly because I carry my phone with me more than my GBA.

Re:Image matters (1)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059296)

I hardly think that it's the case anymore where people associate gaming with kids and nerds to that extent.

Caveat: IAAPCG (I am a PC gamer).

Just going by experience, even in my circle of friends comprising mostly scientists, most people I meet consider gaming to be the domain of kids or people with no life.

We could always run a Slashdot poll but I suspect the results would be somewhat biased... :)

Apple isn't doing jack here. (5, Insightful)

Jartan (219704) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058866)

I love how everyone acts like this really has something to do with Apple. The reality is it would of happened no matter what. Nobody wants to carry an extra device.

The moment selling graphically powerful phones became normal was the moment handhelds were doomed. Apple brought this about earlier perhaps but Moore's law said it was going to happen no matter what.

Re:Apple isn't doing jack here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059044)

parent ...low six digit Slashdot user ID ... up yours Fanboy!p/Apple is now EVIL - get over fag!

Re:Apple isn't doing jack here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059072)

Durr I hate Apple, time to complain that a discussion relevant to Apple contains Apple, or that there are too many Apple articles on slashdot.

Re:Apple isn't doing jack here. (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059148)

It's not even new. My last phone, from around 2004, had a 3D version of snakes on it. For the last 5 or so years, any time I've been waiting for a bus, I've seen people pull out their phones and play games on them. People have been buying games to play on their phones for almost years, and many of these people would never consider buying a games console of any kind. Nokia tried to tap into this - established - market with the N-Gage in 2003.

The difference with the iPhone is purely one of timing. Phones with a Cortex A8 CPU generally also have a relatively competent GPU on die. This means that they suddenly can run graphically intensive games, which makes them competition for dedicated devices. A modern handheld games device will have the same Cortex A8 or A9 CPU and the same PowerVR, ARM, or nVidia GPU as a modern mobile phone. The only thing that differentiates them is the input devices. There used to be clip-on control panels for adding things like d-pads to Nokia phones, and I'd be surprised if the same didn't exist for the iPhone and friends.

Re:Apple isn't doing jack here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059194)

No kidding.

Apple has nothing to do with this, hasnt beat "nintendo", and hasnt even seriously tried to compete with ANYONE as a gaming platform.

Sorry, Angry Birds just isn't on the level of one of Nintendo's AAA franchises.

Those franchises (mario, zelda, donkey kong, kirby) are big N's bread and butter, the hardware is a side business.

If the hardware business failed, they'd shift gears to a game dev shop, a la Sega, and will likely be around forever.

PS, that time travelling man with the DeLorean, is going to be saying "whats Apple?" When Steve Jobs dies, the company's image will die with it, and suddenly there is no compelling reason to give a shit about the next iPhone announcement. Unless apple has another turtlenecked hipster cult leader to take his place.

Re:Apple isn't doing jack here. (1)

Uhhhh oh ya! (1000660) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059346)

I think you may be taking it to an extreme, it was inevitable that powerful phones that could play game would steal some of the handheld market but I wouldn't go so far as to say it doomed all handhelds. Just as it was inevitable that netflix would steal money from cable providers, but then it became the job of cable providers to adapt (something they are doing poorly).

However, just because many of technologies have died because they failed to evolve with the times doesn't mean handheld gaming devices will, in fact Sony and Nintendo are both very aware of the changes and have each developed new strategies.

*Apple has designed a phone that can play games. Problem is the games available are nowhere near as powerful or well developed as the competition, and will have a very hard time luring real gamers away from their current devices.

*Sony move the same direction but from the opposite starting point and is creating a gaming device that can do the same functions as a smart phone. This allows gamers to still play their favorite games while being able to get rid of their smart phone, however, it will turn away people who want the their device to be for more serious applications.

*Nintendo on the other hand has taken what I think is a very smart move, while Sony and Apple head in the same direction where one inevitably has to win, Nintendo has decided to distinguish their device and go their own direction. While many would argue Nintendo is doing a poor job currently, I would like to remind people how Nintendo has come from behind and turned a silly childish idea into a huge success. Just because they released one flop doesn't mean they have met their end, many didn't really like the GB Advanced but then they release the GB Advanced SP and sales shot through the roof.

The time may come where technology advances so far that there is no reason why our handheld device doesn't have a phone in it but that time isn't now. Apple may want to claim they are winning but Nintendo would state that they aren't really competing in the same arena.

Re:Apple isn't doing jack here. (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059396)

Well three thing that have changed.
  1. The distribution system. Console games have traditionally required physical media. That normal is costlier and take a little longer to distribute and restricted by the number of physical copies. The iPhone games as well as Android games are limited only the download speed of the network. For consumers who want games now, that is a difference.
  2. Development model. Android and iPhone games allow for independent and companies to develop games and distribute them whereas the licensing and media of the 3DS means development was limited to developed who could afford a large initial investment.
  3. Type of game. The smaller capacity of an iPhone means you can't develop epic 4GB games if you want to sell them. iPhone and Android games are smaller and cheaper in nature.

De Lorean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058874)

It's "De Lorean"

Re:De Lorean (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059176)

It's "de funct" now, so no one cares.

Daft story (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058906)

Me being in the pub beats both of them at their own game. I'm spending money on things. How else is this story about products competing for your money. As for games on a phone being worthless. You tell me someone with an R4 cartridge did find that one out by game 20. Lots and lost of utter dross. Shame on the people that made it.

Re:Daft story (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058972)

Me being in the pub beats both of them at their own game. I'm spending money on things.

They still have a Pac-Man machine in that pub?

3DS is doing fine (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058922)

The sales figures for the 3DS were respectable, and the price drop will continue those sales.

Electronics (and everything, it seems) have taken on the blockbuster movie vibe -- if it doesn't hit BIG IMMEDIATELY then it's a total flop.

Not really .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058926)

Apple and Nintendo doesnt really play the same game; Both games and (primary) target audience differes a lot.

I also think its almost ridiculous to say the DS is particularly innovative, it was kind of innovative when it launched 10-15 years ago, but the recent upgrades are just about increasing size, adding 3D and ballooning the pricetag. I should also be noted that the DS still makes huge profits, its just the recent attempt at joining the 3D hype that has flopped and that can be said for lots of 3D implementations.

Most people here should also remember that the gamecube flopped much harder than any ds model ever has.

And I care, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058934)

One giant corporation eats away at the market of another giant corporation. Wake me up when this movie is over, because there is nothing to see here.

How many points is Cut-and-Paste Attack!!? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058954)

Wow. I want to be a /. contributor with nothing to say! It's supa-kool!

Re:How many points is Cut-and-Paste Attack!!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059260)

Wow. I want to be a /. contributor with nothing to say!

*looks through blair1q's posting history*

Wish granted.

Asymptotically approaching incoherency (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058958)

So, Nintendo brought a knife to a gunfight (bad) except that they could sell these knives for a profit (good) because they were underpowered (underpowered knives ?), so they could print money (good), except that if a disheveled man emerged from a time machine (say what ?) he would be surprised that they weren't selling after all, or something. And then

A wild STEVE JOBS appears! STEVE JOBS uses DESTROY VALUE. It's super effective!

And they say you don't need editors on the Internet.

Re:Asymptotically approaching incoherency (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059210)

I found it 2BEE a perfectly cromulant article that EMBIGGENED SPACETIME. It's very informatic.

No one wants 3d (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058964)

The 3DS's major selling point over the DS is the 3D. I'm mildly interested in getting a hold of one just to see how well the 3d works, but I have no interest in owning one. I imagine a lot of people are just perfectly happy with their DS and don't see a need to upgrade for a function they're not interested in.

What happened was this: (0)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059016)

Nintendo released a new handheld that has the following "features:"

1. A much lower battery life than its predecessors ( I believe the numbers are half the DSi XL battery life and one-quarter the DS Lite battery life.)
2. A gimicky feature that something like 10% of the people in the world can't see (myself included).
3. An $80 system price increase. ($250 versus the DSi XL's $170 and DS Lite's $120)
4. Game prices increased $5-10.

and most importantly

5. No "killer app" so to speak.

No, seriously, Nintendo's flagship 3DS title is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because Nintendo originally released it 13 years ago for the Nintendo 64.

Re:What happened was this: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059182)

3. An $80 system price increase. ($250 versus the DSi XL's $170 and DS Lite's $120)

It's $170 as of tomorrow. Target and Wal-Mart are already selling it for that price today.

Daily "Apple is reat" article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059068)

The same fucking thing every time. Make up something that is not happening and give credit to Apple, repeat "IPad will replace desktop pcs, notebooks, smartphones, gaming consoles and everything else", give Apple credit for something it has little to do with.
While I do not like Apple at all this would piss me off even if I was a fanboy, are articles like this paid or editors are too dumb to realize the amount of BS this is?

The animated GIF in question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059104)

OK, no big deal but you can see it here [] .

Re:The animated GIF in question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059172)

Thanks for the filename; this link actually works. []

People are waiting for the 3DSLite (1)

RotsiserMho (918539) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059116)

I think they've shot themselves in the foot. The poor battery life and high price lead one to consider just waiting for the inevitable 3DSLite. Why be an early adopter when you know from Nintendo's track record that there will be a better version coming in the next year or so? That and the small launch lineup wasn't very compelling.

Here's what happened (4, Insightful)

YojimboJango (978350) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059126)

I remember reading (cant find source) that some of the big wigs at Nintendo told their stock holders that the hardware was done, but they wanted to hold off the release of the 3DS till they had an impressive line up of launch titles. Stockholders wanted a quick pay day from the successor to the system that printed money, and forced it out early.

The system then launched with no games. And gamers, well as much as we like cool new hardware, we actually seem to like games more. No games? No sale. Sorry, that's just how it works. Now the 3DS isn't selling well and there's this sentiment that it won't sell well in the future and everyone (stockholders) is all up in a panic. Actual gamers? Well when that must play game comes out around Christmas then I'll jump, till then... why?

I'm not convinced that iPhones are killing the dedicated hand held market. Maybe diluting it a bit, but nothing like the scare tactics that we're seeing. You're not going to find a game with depth on your iDevice or android that you will with a 3DS or a Vita. If only for the reason that even last gen portable games often went over a gig in size (UMD discs could hold 1.9 gig on them). Your iPhone would be able to realistically hold about 5 games of psp quality before you'd have to delete the old ones to make room for the new. When you start looking at the vita, you're looking at 6 to 8 gig per game. You'd fit one? Maybe two games on your phone?

This is all over inflated.

Or more accurately (1)

Godai (104143) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059130)

It should have read "Apple's boat swamps Nintendo's boat by accident". I don't think Apply set out to create some sort of challenger to handheld gaming devices. I'm sure they're pleased to take your money for all those crappy $0.99 games, but I doubt 'dethrone Nintendo' was on their list of objectives for the iPhone.

That said, I find the whole thing a little troubling. One of the advantages of a dedicate machine is dedicated gaming inputs. Touch is cute, and can be quite a good input for some applications, but in a lot of cases its just goddamn awful. Unless the game is designed around touch, touch just plain sucks. I can't see phones regularly building in dedicated inputs anytime soon (I know there are a few isolated cases, but it doesn't look like a trend that's taking off) so if phones replace handheld gaming devices, I think that's going to be it for a lot of people for handheld gaming.

And even if its not, it'll just push everyone into an ecosystem where games are either free or a dollar. Games for passing the time on the subway or something are fine at that price, any game that's not meant to be played for no more than five minutes at a time isn't going to get developed if the best they can hope to sell it is at $1 a pop. I wonder if we aren't seeing the start of something akin to the Atari crash, but for mobile gaming.

Something happened? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059146)

All that happened is that Wii is nearing end of its life cycle, and 3DS didn't sell as well as they hoped. So what? This summary makes it sound like Nintendo just declared bankruptcy. Wii 2 is slated for next year, and 3DS has a much more attractive price tag now, so let's hold off on premature doomsaying shall we?

I'll tell you what happened. (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059192)

Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology.

Gunpei Yokoi coined the phrase. As long as Nintendo adheres to it, they win every time. When they start blindly grabbing for MOAR POWUR, without offering any meaningful improvements to gaming but only pretty pictures, they lose. They can't compete on graphics-are-everything; that's Sony's and Microsoft's model, and they just plain do it better. Nintendo's only hope to compete is on actual quality, and when they bother to do this, they come out on top.

You'd think that the Wii and DS would have taught them this lesson once and for all, after the disaster that was the N64/Gamecube era. Apparently, however, they need another go-round.

It's about portability. (2)

ultramk (470198) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059218)

I can't speak for everyone, and I know that there exist many /. UIDs with a strong preference for dedicated devices... but for myself and the people I know, it's all about portability and flexibility.

There's an old saying in photography that the best camera to use is the one you have with you. The same thing goes for personal electronics. A few years ago, I used to carry around a backpack with the following in it:
- Spiral bound note pad
- Paperback book
- 10" laptop
- hand-held GPS unit
- cell phone
- portable CD player
- CD wallet case
- Canon Elph camera
- assorted and sundry other stuff
- extra batteries and charging cables for the above
- (I never got into portable game players, my bag was full--and HEAVY)

Today, I have two options. Either I just carry my iPhone in my pocket, or I include a small bag just big enough for my iPad and an external battery pack which can be used by either device. (if I bring the bag, I also tuck in a bottle of Ghost Pepper sauce--sealed up super tightly--because it's awesome.)

The crazy thing is, I haven't really lost much if any functionality over my previous carry, and at the very worst, it weighs less than 1/4 what it used to. I've also added a ton of functionality: always-on internet access is a big one. Also video recording and conferencing. (And 650k scoville hot sauce, but I digress.)

The absolute last thing I want at this point is to add yet one more device I would have to keep charged and haul around. I don't care if the games are 50 times better, 90% of the time that I play games I'm waiting in line somewhere and don't want a deep gaming experience anyway in the 2 minutes I have.

Re:It's about portability. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059388)

"I never got into portable game players, my bag was full--and HEAVY"
"The crazy thing is, I haven't really lost much if any functionality over my previous carry, and at the very worst, it weighs less than 1/4 what it used to"

Sounds like your bag is now lite enough for you to carry a 3DS !

Nintendo refuses to learn from Apple (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059250)

Apple has taught the world how to capitalize on fanboy mentality. Wanna know who has an even larger fanboy base lying in the weeds? Think back to your childhood - Nintendo, Super-Nintendo, 64 games... Don't you miss those? Wouldn't you love to play some of those again on the go? Imagine: "New Feature to 3DS: all Nintendo games from older systems - $5 a pop." Guess what would happen to 3DS sales then? Shoot, they could even sell them on the iPhone if they wanted to go that route. The fact that Nintendo doesn't tap into this full-throttle is, and continues to be, the strangest enigma in free-market capitalism I have ever seen.

Wow, why does everyone keep saying this crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059266)

The price cut has people acting like morons.

The iPhone and its ilk may have contributed, but the main reasons the handheld isn't selling are the same as any other less-then-stellar game system launch.

* Weak Library

* Released at an awkward time, try a bit closer to the holidays next time Nintendo.

* and finally they just overestimated how much people were willing to pay

Can every dumb ass stop rattling on about phones taking over the market? I agree that there is an overlap, but come on its like saying that no one who has a PC is ever going to buy a game console.

It's a load of crap. People buy systems for the games. Put some good games out, and people will buy the fuck out the thing. Case closed.

hmm (0)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059302)

It's interesting, Nintendo fanboys and Apple fanboys are neck and neck when it comes to the most annoying people on the planet; I wonder how much overlap there is between these groups, and if so what happens when the two objects of your mindless worship compete with each other?

After losing the carts and the cost of each game.. (4, Interesting)

boethius (14423) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059320)

.... the Nintendo DS became a non-starter for me. My middle "hyper-active" child destroyed 2 Nintendo DSes then after a Craigslist buy of a used DS went badly - the screen was broken - I had had enough of the overhead of the DS. I would find the cartridges all over the house and each new game was typically $35-$45 a pop (yes I know there are used games that can be had much more cheaply and there's also the flash drive attachment) but the fact was my kids were always losing the carts and/or simply breaking the DS much too easily.

I was almost ready to get a new DS for my eldest child at Costco when I scanned over to the iPod Touch for another $30 or so and it occurred to me it was ultimately way, way cheaper to own the iPod and just use the free app store games - and the occasional $0.99 game as a "treat." I practically started a trend with my friends and relatives as suddenly all their kids had iPod touches after that.

Now roughly 3 years later the Touch is still around - unbroken! - and we never lose games, pay only a buck here or there when we want a bit nicer game, and those paid games are stored in iTunes so we never lose them regardless. The iPod Touch just seems a whole lot sturdier too, if only because it doesn't have a swiveling base. Overall, for a family when you want your kids to have a road trip gadget, the iPod Touch is a way saner and ultimately less expensive choice - not to mention your kids can also have videos and music on the same device, which is also a huge win for those long road trips.

People are sick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059372)

of playing the same 3 games over and over?
Just a guess.

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