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Nintendo, AOL Enter Into Online Agreement

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the strangely-noninformative-as-usual dept.

GameCube (Games) 44

Thanks to IGN Cube for their story that Nintendo of America have reached an agreement for AOL to be the 'official preferred ISP' for GameCube. Nintendo have apparently informed IGN that "...developers who choose to create online games for GameCube will be licensed AOL connectivity software that will enable their games to connect online through AOL", but Nintendo also clarified that "...this does not indicate the unveiling of a new online gaming approach from Nintendo", making this partly an oddly cryptic co-marketing announcement, rather than any major breakthrough.

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Oh great (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927888)

A new marketing campaign. I need more coasters.

Re:Oh great (1)

_Sexy_Pants_ (703751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6929499)

Unfortunately, Gamecube discs are way too small to be used as coasters. How about poker chips?

Say it ain't so! (4, Informative)

redgopher (650527) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927898)

Nintendo partnering with AOL?
C'mon, that's like Ghandi partnering with Satan!

How can Nintendo make such a poor decision? Don't the Japanese hear stories of how hellish AOL's connection speeds and busy signal rates are?

I must be dreaming...

Let's hope our good ole Nintendo realizes the errors of their ways soon, and before too much money is lost!

Re:Say it ain't so! (5, Interesting)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927971)

This actually makes a lot of sense.

Both companies are aiming at the same 'simplistic' demographic.

"We make games that are easy to understand, and you can pick up quickly"

"We get you on-line, no matter how dumb you are"

People always complain that the Xbox and PS2 are less 'accessible'. So I think that Nintendo has found a good partner.

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6928030)

mod parent up

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928555)

While the 'dumbest common denominator' segment as I like to call them may enjoy both Nintendo and AOL because of the ease of which you can pick up their products, gamers who are looking for a good gaming experience are going to be disappointed with the lag and connectivity issues. Likewise, with AOL, many people sign up because they heard about this 'cool new interweb thing' and once they realize that the net exists OUTSIDE of AOL, they dumb it like a rock. There's a reason AOL is panicking about losing its userbase.

The content on AOL is simply NOT WORTH PAYING FOR. I mean, why should you pay top dollar out of all dialup ISPs out there ($24 a month!!!!) for a slow connection that boots you all the time, has a horrible mail client that thinks its helpful for deleting my mail after a certain number of days, and feeds me tons of ads (which slow the connection even more!). This is on top of the fact that they require you to have their clunky memory hogging software open to be connected. Now, I don't mean this whole post as a flame against AOL, but these are relevant facts. Anybody who's used the service would back me up on it. I unfortunately am stuck using AOL while I am home because my mother likes it and pays for it.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#6929463)

The last time I looked at the mail aspects of AOL, mail that was stored on AOL's servers was deleted after a certain number of days but the default option was that once you read your mail it went into your "filing cabinet" on your hard drive, and was not deleted until you deleted it. Maybe that's not the default option...but you might want to check into setting that up. I don't think the deletion of mail should be a problem. When I check the e-mail account that I use in conjunction with Outlook, all mail is downloaded and then deleted off the server - this works just fine for me. Also, there used to be a way to turn off all pop-ups with exciting offers from AOL. I don't remember the keyword (it's been a long time since I've had to help people with AOL) but it might be "Marketing Preferences" or "Marketing". Try it out.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

Mighty (653419) | more than 11 years ago | (#6931655)

Yeh, it would be nice if AOL would allow the option to control the content of the blogging down service (make it blatant - like a button that says "GET RID OF THE CRAP"), it takes me about 5 minutes to dial-up to AOL and get to a website like Slashdot... which is ridiculous especially since I do not usually go online at popular times. Thank God recently I've been able to convince mom to change to broadband, cancelling AOL (btw AOL has called several times after cancellation, to beg for us to come back) But back to the point, I've always remained loyal to Nintendo's consoles even when I know the competitors have something more powerful under the hood, but if I boot up the new mario for whatever new nintendo system, and see an "Exciting Offer" to buy discounted socks at Old Navy, I am going to flip.

Not simplistic. (2, Interesting)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 11 years ago | (#6934830)

Nintendo is working towards producing games that have an easy enough control scheme, but contain a great depth of gameplay (good examples of such games are Ico, Pikmin, Monkey Ball, Animal Crossing).

It's a good decision because gaming won't be free of people who decry its "violence" and won't be free of stygmatization until it's at least as mainstream as movies. Nintendo revived gaming in North America. Sony made it 3D. Now Nintendo is trying to make the initial barrier less so more people can game.

Re:Say it ain't so! (2, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927987)

"How can Nintendo make such a poor decision? Don't the Japanese hear stories of how hellish AOL's connection speeds and busy signal rates are?"

Nintendo has stated before that they won't do on-line until they can make it reasonable for the player. They don't feel that a per month subscription is a good idea. AOL's big enough (and available enough) that they can probably work out a close to free approach. Maybe paid for advertising or something?

I didn't immediately balk at this story. An alternative provider doesn't immediately pop into mind. Remember that Nintendo's not after the niche audience here.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1, Insightful)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928040)

Nintendo partnering with AOL? C'mon, that's like Ghandi partnering with Satan!
Yeah that pretty much sums it up. But it's not as if Nintendo hasn't fucked themselves in the past though. Don't get me wrong, I love Nintendo. They've always been my favorite console just because they make such wonderful quality games. But I've lost faith in their corporate ability years ago.

It all started when they got rid of Squaresoft. (Or when they let Squaresoft defect. Whichever interpretation you prefer.) No more Final Fantasies on Nintendo. Big problem.

Then they go and shoot themselves in the foot with the N64 / Gamecube. Playstation / Sega was using CDs; 700mb data freedom by now. Nintendo still used cartridges which seemed to max out at 128mb data (based on my ROM ripping experience.) Then Xbox / PS2 come out. They use DVDs. 4.x gigs. GC uses minidisks. 2 gigs is it? Xbox plays DVDs. PS2 plays DVDs. Gamecube? Sorry. You get the picture. Nintendo is using obsolete or less powerful technology in their consoles from, what I've been told, is fear of piracy. And judging from the progress on www.emutalk.net [emutalk.net] and various other Nintendo emu sites, all that extra effort didn't get them much.

Then, as if that weren't enough, despite pleading cries from die hard Nintendo fans like myself, Nintendo announces they are dropping all plans to develop online games.

To top it all off? Now they've teamed up with the Devil. Nintendo sure has lost their way. :(

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928068)

Then, as if that weren't enough, despite pleading cries from die hard Nintendo fans like myself, Nintendo announces they are dropping all plans to develop online games.
Self correction... Nintendo seems to frown upon [slashdot.org] online gaming, not completely dismiss it. As is obvious in todays article as well. ;)

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928445)

I agree, and it's really sad to see Nintendo be the console that lived. I think Nintendo should of pulled a sega instead of releasing the gamecube, and sega should of put out another console. Segas always lead the game with hardware innovations (Online gaming, LCDs on memory cards that plug into your controller in a way that you can still see the lcd,etc). Its a shame they decieded to go software only instead of Nintendo.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 11 years ago | (#6968251)

The 1.5G mini discs have only been a limit with Resident Evil, and that was worked around in a cool way (and the game sucked anyway, in my oppinion of course).

I'm surprised how noone talks about how Sony keeps shooting themselves in the foot with crap texture filtering. Heck, PS2 barely made it off the ground at the start (those first gen games, yergh!).

Gamecube is quite an improvement over N64.
I don't see as much difference between PS1/PS2.

Re:Say it ain't so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6935352)

Ever since N64, "bad decisions" is all nintendo is capable of!

Sounds better for Nintendo than AOL (5, Interesting)

tessaiga (697968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927985)

According to the article, AOL agrees to advertise Gamecube games by "spotlight[ing Nintendo products] on key AOL and AOL Time Warner websites". In return, Nintendo bundles more AOL coasters and agrees to feature AOL as their ISP of choice for internet games they don't plan to develop. We all remember Nintendo reporting [go.com] that, unlike Sony and Microsoft, "We still don't see online gaming as a mass-market thing".

The same IGN press release announcing the partnership even rushes to point out that "this does not indicate the unveiling of a new online gaming approach from Nintendo. Nor does it signify that we have changed our position on the current business viability in the online console gaming field." Unless I'm missing something here, sounds an awful like saying "Yep, we'll use you if we ever want to go online, but we don't, so we won't."

My Take Between The Lines (Salt Grain Included) (5, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927991)

I see this "partnership" as being something brought on by developer dissatisfaction with Nintendo's online strategy thus far. I expect that Nintendo chose AOL as a viable stopgap solution giving them access to already existing middleware that they can give to developers, without having to invest any additional money in R&D to get a solution out themselves.

I would further theorize that Nintendo sees this as a way to shut people up about Gamecube online connectivity which I don't think they're going to support to any large degree in this console generation. I think they've decided that they're not really going to make any money on GC connectivity, so there's no point in developing anything permanent for it.

If Nintendo is actively pursuing any online plans, they are probably slated for the next console. You know, the next console which they've now pledged will not come out later than Sony or Microsoft despite their early assertions that the Gamecube would have a much longer lifespan than the average home console.

My prediction for Nintendo's TRUE entry into the online arena? I'm glad you asked (haha). With their next console, Nintendo will roll out with Internet capability built in. At launch, it will have at least two first-party, online-playable games which will be playable through Nintendo's brand-new online service. Further, that service will cost about the same as Xbox Live (matching any price increases that MS implements over the next two years).

Nintendo has made their position regarding online play quite clear. They aren't going to commit until they figure out a way to make money on it, and I don't think they believe an online capability for the Gamecube is a money-maker.

Probably more good than bad... (I hope.) (3, Insightful)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928191)

Well my first reaction was *groan* "I can't believe they'd partner up with such a retarded ISP." But then I realized... "Oh, wait... I'm a net savvy slashdot reader... I'm not exactly the AOL target market." Which would be families who like things easy and homogonized... kind of like AOL users. It's not like Nintendo is going to force people to use AOL. They might provide free coasters in their console boxes. Either way, I think it helps Nintendo because it would give them in your face exposure to the millions of AOL users. Who knows maybe the cute goodness of Nintendo will bring a little more family fun into the home instead of bloody frag/crash/shoot fests. (Not that I'm apposed to that type of gaming fun... It's just not so appropriate for 12 year olds.)

Re:Probably more good than bad... (I hope.) (2, Interesting)

sabinm (447146) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928228)

What is probably going to happen (whether in this iteration of Nintendo's console or the next) is that AOL will offer a service much like XBOX Live's newly integrated browser with buddies and all. So instead of paying 29 a month for a gui for you internet service, you get 29 or 15 or 10 a month for a Gaming ISP, that is a clone of Xbox live out of the box. Think of it. AOL already has content delivery, streaming movies, and broadband to spare. Why not piggy back on it and make a viable gaming platform without having to rely on independent gaming companies or digging too deep into your pockets to do so. It is a intelligent move by Nintendo, to get *instant* online capabilities, and a coup for AOL time Warner, because there will be a whole new demographic (a growth area at that) that will subscribe to their AOL service.

Plus AIM is one of the superior IM clients out there.

Re:Probably more good than bad... (I hope.) (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928523)

Who knows maybe the cute goodness of Nintendo will bring a little more family fun into the home instead of bloody frag/crash/shoot fests.

All things considered this probably means that you'll be seeing less FPS and heavy-bandwidth games on the GameCube (or whatever future console Nintendo decides to add online capability to). If Nintendo is recommending the use of AOL-- which is primarily a dial-up service-- this makes it easy for most players to get online, but it also lowers the expected average bandwidth. Thus, you'll see more Animal Crossings than Unreals on the Cube, simply because those types of games require less bandwidth (AIM + encrypted "item trade" messages = online Animal Crossing).

Now, who wants to take a stab at how long it takes Nintendo to come out with a boot disc for the Game Boy Player that allows online link play....?

Re:Probably more good than bad... (I hope.) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6928915)

Maybe this is how they'll market AOL Broadband?

Re:Probably more good than bad... (I hope.) (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#6931105)

Yeah, that's it. Because Nintendo signed a promotional deal with AOL, the types of games that are going to come out for Gamecube is affected. Sure thing!

Did you know that when you buy the PS2 network adapter, the "recommended" ISP is Earthlink. AOL is more of a broadband service than Earthlink due to the Time Warner part of the company name - yet, (here's a shocker), the PS2 has first person shooters out! In fact, they've got some games out that require broadband only and won't let dial-up players in!

Some promotional deal for AOL to get a few coasters into Gamecube boxes and for Nintendo to get Gamecube games shown to AOL subscribers is not going to affect what online games are developed for the Gamecube. What will affect the Gamecube's online applications is Nintendo's desire to make money from online gaming and, as you can find out with a little research, Nintendo probably won't make a serious commitment to online gaming till the next console release.

Honestly, this story and deal is just fluff. It doesn't mark a change in strategy for either company. When Nintendo signs deals to have commercials on NBC, you don't expect the Gamecube to start playing television feeds.

Re:Probably more good than bad... (I hope.) (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6932528)

All things considered this probably means that you'll be seeing less FPS and heavy-bandwidth games on the GameCube (or whatever future console Nintendo decides to add online capability to). If Nintendo is recommending the use of AOL-- which is primarily a dial-up service-- this makes it easy for most players to get online, but it also lowers the expected average bandwidth. Thus, you'll see more Animal Crossings than Unreals on the Cube, simply because those types of games require less bandwidth (AIM + encrypted "item trade" messages = online Animal Crossing).

Half-Life uses about 5kb/sec (yes, kilobits, not kilobytes), UT a little more (but not much, maybe 15kb/sec max), and Q3 somewhere in between, maybe even less than HL. FPS games are not bandwidth-limited in the majority of cases, they just have severe problems with connections that have high packet loss (like say an AOL connection on a bad phone line).

Sure, if you tag AIM onto Animal Crossing and call online item trading a multiplayer game, you use less bandwidth, just like you do if you play Chess or Checkers online.

Most games don't have bandwidth problems at all, they just have issues with latency over the connections. The 'fast-paced' games moreso than others. Through years of development from many different theories, most FPS games have a pretty solid online experience with most latency and loss conditions, but the only time bandwidth has mattered has been when you had to download the patches, mods, and maps for the games. Many of the popular genres of console games haven't had a lot of developers putting them online yet, but they can still benefit from some of the work done in the FPS, RTS, and RPG genres on PCs in the last 10+ years.

The Nintendo apologist line forms here (0, Troll)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928315)

Everyone who is going to try to say that using AOL is a good thing form one line right here.

In ANY other context the use of AOL would be a joke, but I'm sure a few people will want to apologize in advance for Nintendo. Please use this parent to do so.

Re:The Nintendo apologist line forms here (1)

easychord (671421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928525)

Nintendo apologist for crying out loud. They are hardly the nazi party, they make games for people of all ages with the exception of surly teenagers and arrogant student/graduates.

Its typical of Nintendo, if they went online they wouldn't have an over expensive service that has limited availability.

On the other hand, AOL are of course SATAN incarnate. They are reposible for everything bad that ever happened to you, and you must use their software and servers because they are the only way to use the internet.

Re:The Nintendo apologist line forms here (1)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928927)

I don't think anyone is going to put the Nintendo system back on the shelf because they have some kind of cross-promotion going on with AOL. Unless they force you to use AOL Broadband in order to have internet connectivity, but that would be stupid.

Re:The Nintendo apologist line forms here (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6929480)

Mike Hawk is a known troll that believes the N-Gage is a good system. He loves the way Tony Hawk Pro Skater appears on the N-Gage. He also loves sucking cock and being a dumb nigger. Do not reply to his nonsense.

Hey Mikey, are the penis enlargement pills working? YOU FUCKING FAGGOT NIGGER!!! FUCK YOU YOU PIECE OF SHIT!!!

Re:The Nintendo apologist line forms here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6930831)

Hey now, be nice.

Mike Hawk is a troll, and not very intelligent at that, but there's no need to be homophobic and racist.

I for one don't care how black or gay Mike Hawk is. He's as transparent and stupid as they come, plain and simple.

Re:The Nintendo apologist line forms here (0, Flamebait)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6933262)

Wow, I didn't know Nintendo fans were racists and homopohobes too! But its ok, you do not inspire emotion in me. Maybe one day you will register and be a big boy on slashdot.

Now, who do you think makes Nintendo look worse? Me or you? Family system my arse.

Re:The Nintendo apologist line forms here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6937523)

I don't give a fuck about Nintendo you fucking moron. Do you not like Nintendo? I do not like you because your posts are pure drivel with nothing intelligent in them, ever. You are a nigger. It's interesting that you call me a homophobe. Typical faggot talk there - I'm not afraid of queers, I just hate them. But I guess you think it's wrong to hate homosexuals, right? YOU FUCKING FAIRY!! YOU FAGGOT FAIRY PIECE OF SHIT!!!

Good to see you're still a troll (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6935161)

Why would i want to appologize for Nintendo? It seems like a stupid decision to me and i can't figure out why they went that route.

You seem to think that people who like Nintendo have the same mindless devotion that you have to trolling and hating Nintendo.

Ob Transmetropolitan Quote (1)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928319)

Of course, it'd be filtered if I actually wrote it, but there was a certain 8000 word article that Spider wrote when the Beast became president, consisting of the same word written 8000 times...

An historic announcement (1)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 11 years ago | (#6929687)

Tire company Michelin makes a deal with Acme Granite Rectangle Inc.! Michelin has been ignoring the granite-loving demographic of other companies and plans to one day make a rectangular tire made of the material that will sweep the market.

Stupid question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6929778)

So if I don't use AOL, I don't get online multi in Nintendo's games? I already have a broadband ISP account. I don't want to sign up for AOL's "bring your own connection" service, since AOL's exclusive content has no appeal for me. Can't we have peer to peer connections for 2 player? Just enter your friends ip address and away you go.

Answers? Anyone?

Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6929953)

So, if I want to play a GC game online (provided that one ever comes out (PSO aside)) I have to shell out an extra $25 a month for dialup? Or $70 for Broadband? Yay!

Ya see, cause I'm paying $50 right now for my unfiltered access, highspeed access, and I wanna dump an extra shitty ISP on my GC to get hung up on, suffer crappy lagtimes, and listen to busy signals. This sounds fun!

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6930046)

you noob, they're not forcing you to use AOHell

Re:Wait... (1)

StocDred (691816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6930610)

Then somebody better re-word their press release, because that's what it seems to say:

"...developers who choose to create online games for GameCube will be licensed AOL connectivity software that will enable their games to connect online through AOL"

It doesn't say that AOL will be the only avenue, but it doesn't say it won't either.

Re:Wait... (1)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 11 years ago | (#6930862)

it'll probably be like how sega set up "seganet" for phantasy star online on the dreamcast: if you didn't already have an isp, you could sign up and use seganet, right there from within the game! otherwise, the game allowed you to put in your own ISP account information and work from there. I think this could be beneficial for both parties, so long as they follow sega's lead and allow the use of other isp's, not just their own. that said, I don't go online with my consoles. I enjoy sitting with my buddies, players 2, 3, and 4, right there on the couch with me. makes one of my favorite activities a social activity. (and no, playing online with random llama #87 is NOT being social, I don't care if all you do is sit and chat! human contact is important, even if its just "pass me the mountain dew while the game is paused.")

Pun is intended (-1)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | more than 11 years ago | (#6930154)

That's it. Game over for Nintendo. They are so not relevant anymore. They will now be associated with kiddy games and bad, over bloated ISP service. I will enjoy playing Mario and Zelda on my PS2 in a couple of years.

Forget AOL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6931654)

Forget AOL.

What the heck is up with IGN and Macdonalds [penny-arcade.com] ?

blah (1)

pmsyyz (23514) | more than 11 years ago | (#6933159)

Isn't it pretty well know that anyone who partners with AOL or Microsoft always gets the short end of the stick?

No different than Sony (1)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6937837)

AOL is Sony's preferred online partner for whatever partnership they signed almost a year and a half ago. This is contingent upon Sony bringing out the hard-drive for the PS2. I'm sure it entails having a branded AOL Instant Messenger bundled as well as a web browser based upon the Gecko engine. Personally, I'm tired of everyone bashing AOL. AOL is the company that has consistently beat Microsoft. In that retrospect, it should be rewarded kudos from the /. community. Broadband access kills the ping argument for having AOL as your ISP anyway...

Re:No different than Sony (1)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6937867)

And to continue, look how long AOL has bankrolled Mozilla development (up until recently). They [AOL] helped get TiVo out the door. They've [AOL] paid for projects to make Linux more end-user friendly (although that failed). So how exactly is AOL bad?

Hell Has Frozen Over (1)

nand13 (709538) | about 11 years ago | (#7018412)

I never would've thought that Nintendo could become so ignorant. Who in their right mind trusts AOL? Shigeru Miyamoto should listen to that fake AOL commercial, which in itself, tells the whole truth.
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