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On Nintendo And Marketing Myopia

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the mister-magoo dept.

GameCube (Games) 123

Thanks to Nintendojo for their editorial discussing why Nintendo may be heading for a fall by branding itself a 'video game company', as opposed to Sony and Microsoft's wider goals as part of the "entertainment or technology industries". The writer points out: "Theodore Levitt introduced an idea called Marketing Myopia. To summarize the basic idea of his concept: in an industry where future growth seems guaranteed, a leading company will mislabel itself and ultimately lead to its own downfall." Apparently, the best historical example of this is the railroad industry, who "...labeled themselves as being in the railroad business and not the transportation business, limiting themselves and causing their own downfall." The writer concludes: "The industry has changed. Nintendo is no longer the biggest player in a relatively large niche market. They are in last place in a huge segment of the home entertainment sector, and they need to remember this fact, because no one needs another Amtrak."

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As we all know... (4, Funny)

infornogr (603568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591572)

Because, as we all know, video games may not be around in a few years.

aha! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591573)

Will of warrior! Primary post!

real world problem, but applicable here? (4, Interesting)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591582)

so they said they were a "video game company"

that's not a console only company. that's not a hardware company, it's not a software company.

the video game brand isn't exactly that restrictive. they can do software, hardware, etc.

if i want video games, i want video games. i don't want something that records tv, plays dvd's, answers the phone, does spreadsheets and whatever else.

i want a gaming machien to play games one. unless they are that 1 in 100 company that manages to get a product right that does 5 different things, they just cripple themselves with either inadequite hardware or tacked on afterthought "features".

total waste of my money to toss shit on there i don't want.

could've done better (3, Insightful)

gearheadsmp (569823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592091)

As far as I'm concerned, Nintendo didn't make the GCN able to play DVD's because 1) it would have required the addition of a SPDIF (optical digital audio) - which the other two have. And 2) the ability to read normal 120mm discs. Don't forget quite a few Nintendo-branded games still MSRP for more than $30 - despite how their gameplay is oh so similar to some of the Mario 64 titles.

Re:real world problem, but applicable here? (4, Interesting)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592166)

if i want video games, i want video games. i don't want something that records tv, plays dvd's, answers the phone, does spreadsheets and whatever else.

Absolutely correct. The railroad analogy is a poor one; Amtrak still makes millions of dollars a year, as do Union Pacific, Sante Fe and a host of other carriers [webmagic.com] - one can hardly call them unsuccessful. While rail transport is nowhere near the powerful money-making machine it was 150 years ago, that's simply because the market has matured and other technologies have filled niche portions of what used to be the rails' market more efficiently than the rails themselves could do it.

It is ALWAYS better to be a niche player in a specific market than to try to be all things to all people. It allows you to focus on those things you do best, and forces you to concentrate on your core business instead of spending resources on things you really know nothing about.

Nintendo is in no trouble from this decision. In fact, this decision will help them weather other things like bad management or adverse market conditions much more profitably than they might otherwise.

Re:real world problem, but applicable here? (4, Interesting)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592458)

You're kidding about the Amtrak part, right?

Amtrak receives billions of dollars (okay, actually 1.2 billion approximately) per year from the federal government. It is a subsidized service, because it cannot make it on its own. They had they highest number of riders ever, in 2003- but still, nobody cares.

Soon, (or recently) Amtrak is/was supposed to get off the federal tit. They said they would need to go bankrupt.

Amtrak should not be mentioned along with the other companies as a group comparison.

Re:real world problem, but applicable here? (1)

Nevyn (5505) | more than 10 years ago | (#7603336)

Amtrak receives billions of dollars (okay, actually 1.2 billion approximately) per year from the federal government.

And how much government money goes towards supporting car travel? So do you consider the car industry to be "unprofitable"?

Re:real world problem, but applicable here? (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605173)

Well I'm sorry, but I don't see where I was comparing Amtrak to automobiles at all.

I was trying to refute the poster who said that Amtrak "makes" millions of dollars per year. I was taking that to mean that he thought Amtrak profited millions of dollars. Amtrak as a distinct entity loses tons of money each year. I was only attempting to address that single issue.

Now, if you want to turn this into a discussion about how the government actually subsidizes automobiles (and air travel too) then that is a different thing.

Are you now thinking that government subsidies have something to do with Nintendo?

Re: Cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7598884)

Yes, a company should be focused and not diversify itself to the point where they are stretched beyond their core competencies, but you must strive for growth and change otherwise you're basically setting up your own expiry date.

Consider this: Nintendo started out as a playing card company. Imagine if they labelled themselves as such and never broke out of that core business.

Imagine if Disney labelled themselves as an Animation House, way back when. You wouldn't have the mega-corp they are today if all they focused on was making cartoons. No, Disney's mission statement isn't "To make the best cartoons", it's "To make people Happy". That leaves the door wide open, while still giving themselves a lofty goal. It's with the mission of making people happy that a small animation company ends up inventing the theme park, making movies, tv shows, etc, etc

Last I checked (4, Insightful)

M3wThr33 (310489) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591586)

Sony saw huge profit drops this year as well and only EA made more money than Nintendo selling games. Nintendo is still fine and any doubters just base their "research" on American sales.

Should Pepsi or Dr. Pepper give in because they aren't #1 or diverse?

Me too, I'm sick of this (4, Insightful)

gangien (151940) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591636)

Every article about Nintendo is about how they are failing and how they are going to die and blah blah blah. THey are , as the parent said, making more money than MS and Sony, they are selling more units than MS, they produce the best games, and all have all the crossovers like the other stations. So how the hell is Nintendo dying or sure to die or whatever it is? they aren't. They will be around a long time. And they are sticking to what they know, and do well, games. Unlike MS and Sony which are trying to make mass media centers.

Re:Me too, I'm sick of this (4, Insightful)

dimator (71399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591877)

Yes Nintendo is not a poor company, and yes they make A-list games, but aren't you being near-sighted if you think the company is doing great? The author's main point is that there's no such thing as the "Video Game" industry, at least in terms of consoles. Consoles are becoming more and more powerful, and he argues that the consumer is going to see machine A which plays games, and machine B which is $80 more, but plays dvd's, goes online, etc., not to mention the fact that it has a game library at least an order of magnitude larger than any other machine.

Nintendo makes great games. Sony makes a popular machine, so that other developers make great games for it, so they really don't have to produce A-list titles. What's the difference in these strategies? The way I see it, Nintendo can't make a dozen A-list titles every year. They just can't do it themselves. Sony can just sit back and watch the hits roll in, because developers want to target PS2, because it is the most popular, because its a more versatile machine. Makes sense to me.

Nintendo to Sony isn't a worthwhile comparison. (4, Interesting)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592569)

When you compare Apple to Microsoft, you start to think "wow, Apple really needs to get their act together--both sell operating systems, yet MS makes way more money." But if you compare Apple to Dell, (they both sell computers), Apple starts to look pretty damn good.

You're making the same mistake here--Nintendo is not a Sony that also makes games, instead Nintendo is a Capcom that also sells consoles. Sony and Microsoft are way the heck larger than Nintendo, and it's ridiculous to expect Nintendo to out-Sony Sony. Sony's model is to encourage other people to develop PS2 games so they can sell PS2s. Nintendo's model is to make gamecubes so they can develop Gamecube games.

Perhaps the future of Nintendo hardware is in question. But that's not a big problem, Nintendo can simply abandon its hardware side if it no longer makes any sense to keep selling hardware. In other words, take the Sega route.

Re:Nintendo to Sony isn't a worthwhile comparison. (2, Insightful)

mst76 (629405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593137)

But if you compare Apple to Dell, (they both sell computers), Apple starts to look pretty damn good.
How does Apple look good compared to Dell? The market value Dell Inc is over 11 times that of Apple Computers Inc.

Re:Nintendo to Sony isn't a worthwhile comparison. (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593354)

Whoops, guess my example is a few years old.

Re:Nintendo to Sony isn't a worthwhile comparison. (2, Insightful)

gamgee5273 (410326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7594096)

You can't just look at the "market value," but you have to look at the performance of the company. Apple, in its niche, does outperform just about everyone else - save Dell. Of course, one could argue that Dell is overextending itself... but I'll wait for that to happen instead of saying it will..

Just as Apple isn't going away any time soon, Nintendo isn't, either.

Re:Me too, I'm sick of this (4, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592752)

I thought the same thing as you.

I went to buy a game boy advanced, but for just a little bit more (99) I could buy a pportable system that was also and MP3 player, a cell phone, had network games, had blue tooth, could save games to a flash card. It was awsome.

wait, no. The nGage sucks ass. I have a diskman, I have a good cell phone. And I don't want to play lan games on the bus, dealing with assholes at work is bad enough.

I would also imagine that the saturation of DVD players is high enough that it is not a selling point. And I am skeptical that any console will have a PVR as good as Tivo's (unless they liscense from Tivo, that would be an add on I would want).

Today at Walmart (I lie it was Friday) they had cheapo DVD players for 30 dollors. The last DVD player I bought was good, and it still broke quickly, so cheapo is good enough now. I would also doubt that this all in one machine has anything it is good at (I no the multi function faxes suck) 80 dollors is a large premium on a 30 dollor device. the thought that the built in DVD meant anything past the first season is rediculous.

Re:Me too, I'm sick of this (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593785)

Don't forget, using your console as a DVD player will also cause it to break sooner.

Re:Me too, I'm sick of this (2, Insightful)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7597646)

and I heard that people were fighting over $30 DVD players this weekend at WalMart, so I doubt that 'plays DVDs' is worth $80 more to many people, especially when you consider that those $30 DVD players are probably better than the PS2's DVD player.

The reason the PS2 plays DVDs is because Sony makes movies. The reason the PS1 (and PS2) plays CDs is because Sony makes music CDs.

The reason the XBox plays DVDs and CDs is because the PS2 does, and a DVD drive is a low-cost standard piece of PC hardware (in fact, they use a full-size drive in the XBox iirc).

The reason the Cube doesn't play DVDs and CDs is because it's a game system.

Re:Me too, I'm sick of this (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593714)

as previous posters have pointed out, more or lesss, there are basically different markets, Nintendo is in one and sony and MS are in another. Yes they compete, but they are after different things, and as such will be successful, unless someone comes in, and directly competes with Nintendo. Which doesn't seem likekly since everyone seems to want to build the media center. maybe Nintendo will end up as the Apple of the console world. I'm fine with that. But my point is, they are not anywhere near dead as everyone seems to think.

Re:Me too, I'm sick of this (1)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7595938)

Maybe so, but do I really need three machines that play DVDs? Hell, I'm kinda doubting whether or not I'll need the DVD playback in my next generation system because my PS2 seems to play them fine. So, DVD playback won't really be a huge factor for a PS3/XBox2 purchase, at least for me-- and I kinda doubt it'll really affect Nintendo in the long run because they can keep their prices lower for having the more narrow focus.

The only thing Nintendo REALLY needs to do is to shake off this "kids only" perception they've had since the N64-- that's what's killing the title base.

I don't see Nintendo failing, though, even if they lose the core console market, simply because they've got the Game Boy brand. Sony's trying to make a move on that market, but I forsee a few issues with the PSP in terms of battery life, game experience, and the discs themselves. Particularly, Sony isn't known for making _durable_ hardware in terms of consoles, and durable is what you really need on a handheld. If the drive mechanism dies as frequently on PSPs as it has for PS1 and PS2 consoles, that'll be the end of the PSP outright.

according to the WSJ (1)

newsdee (629448) | more than 10 years ago | (#7598351)

The "Video game" industry, that you say does not exist, has netted in more than $10 Billion in 2002, surpassing (according to the WSJ) the "Movie" industry...

What the author is trying to say is that people will shift out of videogames towards "house entertainment", in which Nintendo is not currently competing, and Sony is very strong at. It could be true for new customers, people who never played before and want to have integrated machines because they don't see gaming as a main activity. But many existing gamers will not want to update their DVD players every time they get a new console (and pay triple)... so, this business model is unlikely to work in the near future.

Check Again (1, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591671)

Last time I checked... Nintendo posted their first loss [gamespot.com] since 1962.
So base your "research" on some facts.
I was going to mod you down, but stupidity like this shouldn't be silenced, it should be corrected.

Also.. Pepsi is an incredibly diverse company. They have 11 unique brands and a bunch of variations [pepsi.com]
like a decaf this [starbucks.com] and french vanilla flavored that [liptont.com] that.
Dr. Pepper is owned by Cadbury Schweppes [cadburyschweppes.com] , another large multi-national corporation.
Gee... it seems like those two examples you gave suck... just like your 'insightful' commentary about EA Games and Nintendo.

Burn Karma Burn

Re:Check Again (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591695)

Usually quarterly losses don't mean shit come end of financial year. Funnny you don't mention Sony and particullary Microsoft's massive, consistent losses.

Re:Check Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591753)

Microsoft's losses in this industry are unprecedented and legendary in scope. They are desperate to get into the gaming industry, and with the amount of money they have wasted, it shows.

Sony's occasional losses are consistent with the rest of the industry: If the industry does poorly, Sony's Playstation-related companies do poorly. But really, Sony's Playstation-related companies do very well compared to the rest of their companies.

Nintendo posting their first loss ever is just proof that nobody is bulletproof, especially when fighting two strong enemies. It had the appropriate effect of lighting a fire under Nintendo's ass, which led to the amazingly-effective price-cut on GameCube systems, which are selling like crazy now. (Black Friday sales numbers for the GameCube were OUTRAGEOUS, especially at Wal-Mart, a non-NPD-tracked retailer.)

Re:Check Again (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591857)

The reason Nintendo posted a loss was because of their money-market investments doing poorly, not their performance as a company.

Re:Check Again (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591930)

The main reason Nintendo posted a loss was the massive loss they took due to their overseas holdings since dollar has been loosing ground on the yen.

The dollar has fallen about 7% compaired to the yen over the last 3 months. Now take into account Nintendo's $5 billion US in cash which is held mostly outside Japan and we can see they took up to 7%*$550 billion yen = 38.5 billion yen in losses just from the devaluation of the dollar. (Thats about $350 million US)

Nintendo isn't suddenly floundering on thier games sales. Its just the US recession pulling down the dollar. Once the dollar strengthens they will have record profits.

On a side note even posting MS size losses Nintendo would still have the cash to finance at least another consol generation or two.

Re:Check Again (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593091)

It is the first time Nintendo has posted a loss since going public. That has a whole hell of a symbolic meaning to the CEO and Corporate Officers. I wouldn't be surprised if a few people had committed suicide over it. Talking about devaluation and x-change rates is a distraction from the underlying loss of revenue Nintendo is experiencing. Go look at this graph [ela.co.nz] to see a 10 yr history. Look mighty careful and you'll see (from 1994-1996 and mid-1999 through late 2000) that the dollar has crashed against the Yen in serious ways before.... and Nintendo did not post losses.

One of their problems is the GameCube; its not selling like they thought it would. Nintendo has only sold ~10.5 million Gamecubes since its release (2001), while Sony sold twice as many PS2s in 2002 alone. Its not about the economy, its about poor sales. I agree Nintendo will survive, but they've lost the market edge and they need to take it back.

Re:Check Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7593948)

"I wouldn't be surprised if a few people had committed suicide over it."

Yeah! Just like in the movies!

YEAH!

Re:Check Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601190)

"Nintendo has only sold ~10.5 million Gamecubes since its release (2001), while Sony sold twice as many PS2s in 2002 alone. Its not about the economy, its about poor sales."

Actually, I'm still of the opinion that Sony's PS2 numbers are inflated due to poor production quality. I know people who are on their THIRD Playstation 2, because the first two broke. My first-weekend GC has been running fine even with really heavy use. Of course, there's really no way to confirm that one way or another, but it would certainly help to inflate numbers.

Re:Check Again (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592510)

Actually, on Pepsi, you just hit the tip of the iceburg.

The link you gave goes to the Pepsi-Cola list of products. Pepsi-Cola is owned by Pepsico. Pepsico also owns Frito-Lay, Quaker (oats and stuff), Tropicana, and Gatorade. Here is a good link to all of their brands: http://www.pepsico.com/company/brands.shtml [pepsico.com] . Stock ticker symbol is 'pep'. The main Coke stock ticker symbol, if anyone wants to compare, is 'ko'. Yes, Coke is diversified too, and is a larger company, based on market cap.

So Pepsi(co) is really in the same boat as Microsoft and Sony. It's a huge company, where soft-drinks are only part of the picture- albeit a large part.

Nintendo on the other hand has, according to the original article, claimed that they only make video games. But, then again, the article did state that they have a new advertising campaign.

Re:Last I checked (1)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591672)

At issue isn't so much Nintendo's current status as its current trajectory. They have very little margin for error: if their next-gen console is a bust, or if they go a year without any software hits, they may slip to a distant 3rd in the rankings. At which point companies like EA might stop porting their EA Sports line to Nintendo's consoles, etc. Nobody's saying that's going to happen, but... just look at Sega if you need proof that it can, and that past success is no indicator of future existence.

Incidentally, you picked some bad examples. Pepsi owns several other drink brands as well as Frito-Lay, and Dr Pepper is owned by Cadbury-Schweppes in the US (who also own 7up; somewhat oddly, Dr Pepper is owned by Coca-Cola in the UK). Pepsi and Coca-Cola also have distributor agreements, which is why you always have one of two selections in movie theaters and restaurants: in other words, even where they don't own all the brands being sold, they get a cut from them.

You also make a bit of a straw man. Nobody is suggesting that Nintendo "give in." We just think it might be a good idea for them to stop defining itself in terms of a battle it appears likely to lose (the battle of remaining a contender for the #1 spot in console gaming).

Re:Last I checked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591766)

"At issue isn't so much Nintendo's current status as its current trajectory. They have very little margin for error: if their next-gen console is a bust, or if they go a year without any software hits, they may slip to a distant 3rd in the rankings. At which point companies like EA might stop porting their EA Sports line to Nintendo's consoles, etc. Nobody's saying that's going to happen, but... just look at Sega if you need proof that it can, and that past success is no indicator of future existence."

Looking at the amount of money Microsoft has already lost in only two years of presence in this industry, I am surprised that more people tend to focus on Nintendo's _profitable_ "failures" and likely and/or impending "doom." After all Microsoft's past successes in other industries is no indicator of future existence in thegaming market, either, so why does Nintendo always get the short end of the armchair analyst's stick?

"You also make a bit of a straw man. Nobody is suggesting that Nintendo "give in." We just think it might be a good idea for them to stop defining itself in terms of a battle it appears likely to lose (the battle of remaining a contender for the #1 spot in console gaming)."

Firstly, I don't understand how NOT aiming for the top and landing comfortably in second place would a better situation for anyone. Would you be better served if Nintendo put stickers on the GameCube that read, "We are not aiming for the #1 spot in console gaming!"?

Secondly, who are these "we" by which you refer to yourself?

Re:Last I checked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591869)

It must be the "royal" we. As in "we are not amused."

And, Nintendo seems to have the #1 spot if you define winning as "making the most money," instead of "being the most popular." This isn't a democratic election, after all. It's business.

Re:Last I checked (1)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7595971)

Well, while I mostly agree with your statements, I have to put some clarifying thoughts forward on the topic of Sega.

Sega went wrong on an entirely different front, and it came back to bite them in very large ways-- three generations of systems, and five different cases of them shafting the consumers and game manufacturers.

Game Gear. Sega CD. Sega 32X. Saturn. Dreamcast.

Each one of these was yanked before its time, but for different reasons. The Game Gear never had a killer game, so it might be justified. The Sega CD never really got the marketshare. The 32X was abandoned at the very beginning-- Sega never had any intention to support it. The Saturn COULD have done well, except Sega of America was too busy pissing off 3rd party developers. The Dreamcast was abandoned because Sega was finally feeling the effects of the prior generations; of course it stayed alive for several years in Japan, just like the Saturn, but nothing more over here.

Sega's failures can be completely tied to shafting their customers and developers-- with a shaky customer base and angry developers, it's no wonder they couldn't hold on.

Not really a decent parallel with Nintendo, unless you want to try to go from the angle of them having completely boned the N64 from concept to execution.

EA? (1)

t0ny (590331) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592273)

Im sure we will see EA go out of business long before Nintendo does.

Nintendo has long been doing the 'right' thing, despite not being #1. They are able to just put their stuff out on the market and turn a profit; they dont have a "#1 at all expense" complex. IMO, the quest for #1 has been a greater downfall than focussing on a single market ever has been.

BTW, Pepsico is very diverse (but its a good example of not worrying about #1 and focusing on being a profitable company). Dr. Pepper/7Up, Inc. is a very appropriate example; they have 16% sales of the N. American market.

Anyway, Nintendo is making serious bank on having the #1 handheld gaming system for the past several years. With the release of the GBA SP, they have a sleek product which is selling to tons of people who previously would never have owned a GameBoy.

Personally, I would like to see a GBA/PDA/Phone, but if they are focusing on just Games, I guess that may never happen. Oh well.

Re:EA? (1)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7595985)

I'd be happy if they'd just produce the next generation GBA with a port that allows me to hook it up to a cellphone; I'd rather buy my own phone and have it seperated from the system so that I'm not wasting battery life on the phone when I'm playing single-player.

Re:Last I checked (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7594322)

Should Pepsi or Dr. Pepper give in because they aren't #1 or diverse?


I agree with your points on Nintendo but Pepsi and Dr. Pepper are horrible examples of "not diverse" companies.

Dr. Pepper is a bad example because it's not its own company any more; it's owned by London-based Cadbury/Schweppes, which makes all kinds of things including candy around the globe.

Pepsi is one of the most diverse corporations, having its hands in all kinds of food production -- they own Frito-Lay, they own Quaker, they own Gatorade... http://www.pepsico.com/company/brands.shtml for a handful of their brands.

I think a GOOD example would be Sears, who recently SOLD OFF their only profitable division, the Sears Financial Network (including the Discover credit card) to Citi, so that they could focus on their retail stores. The end result? Within the very first quarter of doing so, the retail stores became profitable. By focusing on one thing and doing it well, and by not diverting corporate resources to more than one thing, they ended up doing it much better.

Sometimes, as in the case of Pepsi, diversity can help a company weather the storm and do a better job. And sometimes, such as Sears' case, you do a better job with a narrow focus.

-1 Flamebait (5, Insightful)

Locky (608008) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591596)

Videogame Journalism is going great guns when one of, if not the most profitable gaming companies can be identified as 'dying'.

There are 3 main markets (PC, Console, Handhelds) for videogames, and Nintendo is the only company who currently dominates any one of them.

File this one in the ever-growing anti-Nintendo wing of gaming journalism.

Re:-1 Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591625)

...is going great guns...

Don't ever use that phrase again, it indicates you watch too many Australian renovation tv shows.

Re:-1 Flamebait (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591669)

"Videogame Journalism is going great guns when one of, if not the most profitable gaming companies can be identified as 'dying'."

It's especially funny considering the popularity of the Game Boy Advance and any title made by Nintendo.

Seems like a fluff piece... (4, Insightful)

Julius X (14690) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591602)

While the information presented is good, I don't think the hypothesis is sound. Nintendo isn't just a Video Game company, it is merely their base. MS & Sony are first a software company and a media hardware company, respectively, but both delve into each others' realms, and into video gaming.

Nintendo's had its hands deep in the media industry for years - movies, television, toys, etc etc etc - are all extensions of Nintendo's little media empire. Think about all the various Pokemon TV Shows, Movies, Toys, heck I think they even have a cereal now. The same is true for other Nintendo properties - like Mario Bros., although some may argue that the plumber brothers may be past their prime in the marketing dept...

So it's not that Nintendo doesn't have its hands in the other industries, it focuses more on pure entertainment mediathough, instead of other media hardware.

The part about Nintendo having always made the highest quality games made me laugh, and discredit the article as little more than Nintendo fanboy pleading...

Re:Seems like a fluff piece... (3, Insightful)

Osmosis_Garett (712648) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591810)

You have to understand that 'quality' is different for everyone. I recommend you read 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' for an idea of what 'Quality' can represent to some people. I personally think that the quality of Nintendo games has generally been low, but a few specific titles have had more quality than any other game, ever. Have you played the early Zelda titles, or enjoyed super mario 3... or even more recently enjoyed Pikmin? Admittedly not for everyone, but most certainly for anyone.

Re:Seems like a fluff piece... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7592805)

Yeah, to me Nintendo games mean "lack of bugs"

Ultima 9 - Floating goats, upside down rats
Simpsons hit and run - floating mailboxes
SSX Tricky - Going through walls/the floor/griding upside down

misc games... getting stuck in walls and being unable to continue.

These types of things just don't happen to me in Nintendo made games. Which is one of the reasons why I bought the system. That being said, I have found bugs in their games on the cube.

In metroid you hit one of the elevators and it hangs. Another time I instantly went from 100% health to 0 right before a save point and after defeating a boss which wasn't nice (Not sure if it was a bug).

With Kirby (Not sure if it's nintendo or not) I noticed that the pause button doesn't stop the lap timer.

I don't remember having problems with zelda or mario though. Nor mario kart.

Context Error (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591656)

"They are in last place in a huge segment of the home entertainment sector, and they need to remember this fact, because no one needs another Amtrak."

Psst, the video game market isn't Russian Roulette, you really can have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies. Nintendo may not be the largest, but they are raking in oodles of cash, and they have distinctive titles that you simply aren't going to get with Sony or Microsoft. Sony could easily be unseated by the next newcomer with whizbang flashy graphics, Nintendo is a lot harder to replace.

I'm getting a little tired of the "one company to rule them all" mentality that flies around here.

Hahaha... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591694)

This article sounds like an insult. An insult from a pathetic anti-Nintendo fanboy who uses stock quotes and sales numbers at slashdot to justify his non-Nintendo purchase.

Get along.. nothing to see here.

Do we really need another 3DO? (5, Insightful)

Chris Canfield (548473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591708)

Nintendo once upon a time claimed to be a "cartridge company." They would live and die making cartridges. After the market reality of the N64, they changed their tune. If Nintendo had stayed a "cartridge company," then they would be in the position that the author of this article describes... they would be the locomotive industry not realizing their impending obsolescence.

But Amtrak it is not. 1st of all, Amtrak was created in the 1970's by mandate of congress long after the battle with cars was a forgone conclusion. 2nd of all, Nintendo has broadened its perspective to see what it industry it is in. It is a videogame company. It does not make movies, it does not release multimedia CD's. It sells videogames, and players that play videogames. Sony can rightfully claim to be an entertainment company, because it owns movie studios, theme parks, musicians, etc. Microsoft can rightfully claim to be in the technology industry, as it does, well, techie stuff. But Nintendo's primary market is in gaming, and their competition in the gaming arena is with other video games (some would say they're competing with homework). They are right to be focused upon being the best gaming company they can be.

The article mentions several things the XBox does which the 'Cube does not, and rightfully so. The hard drive was a great addition to a console, as was the ethernet port. Some would say they are as revolutionary as the N64's addition of the analog stick. However, These were great in service of the videogame playing part. Nintendo was one of the first companies to test market a modem adapter (for the NES), and the rewritable bulky drive was a predecessor to the hard drive in the Xbox. Both were ahead of their time, and both failed. Now apparently the market is about ready for them, and hopefully Nintendo will notice on their next generation of hardware.

On the other hand, the author exposes a deeply flawed perspective of the situation claiming that Nintendo's lack of DVD playback capabilities are due to being videogame-only. DVD playback is a great feature in modern consoles. It's also the only feature mentioned that has nothing to do with videogames. Why is DVD playback not included in the GameCube? The reason Nintendo cited at the time was that they expected people who wanted to play DVDs would buy a proper DVD player, much like how the PS1 was capable of playing CD's but people kept buying real players. Furthermore, by not including DVD playback capabilities, Nintendo saved themselves an estimated (at the time) 50 dollars per console. That allowed Nintendo to ship at the magic $200 mark, and stay the low-price leader throughout the console wars. Stand-alone DVD players are now available for less than 80 dollars, with PC DVD drives hovering around 40.

Nintendo is attempting to avoid falling into the trap of so many systems before them. The historical landscapes are littered with systems that tried to do more than play videogames. The Saturn, for example, had a modem adaptor and a copy of Netscape available shortly after launch. How did it do? It died in the market. 3DO wanted to play games, read children's storybooks, play movies, surf the web... After about a year of beating around the bush, they refocused upon purely gaming, but by then the damage had been done. CDI? A console whose most compelling piece of software is an encyclopedia? The game.com organizer, game player, trivia master? The N-Gage? Admittedly, many systems that didn't try to be more than game playing machines have also died over the years. Dreamcast for one. Virtua-Boy for another. But no system that tried to market itself as a set-top box managed to survive.

Perhaps someday the set-top box analogy will be correct, but perhaps not. To function as a set-top box, the machine requires a fast connection to the web. That kind of connection will only exist if the person already has a computer. Why does this matter? Well, if downloadable content is your goal, the computer you already have can download from iTunes and movielink. If communications is your goal, your PC's keyboard is much more adept at e-mail and IM.

But as I mentioned, Nintendo does work with these types of things. If the movie industry was ready to do rentals online to consoles (which they aren't yet), Nintendo would probably be right on top of it. They already have the first cellular-enabled handheld gaming system and the first online gambling console. They may seem a bit pedantic here in the US, but in Japan they experiment quite a bit.

The author seems to somehow feel that anything labeled "videogames" won't sell to adults. By producing a console and using the forbidden word, they are alienating the older crowd, who only buy "entertainment" items. His argument about DVD compatibility carries weight, but little more does. Nintendo sells a videogame console. Microsoft's XBox is a videogame console. The PS2 is a videogame console. That's the reality of the market. The "entertainment industry" is broad enough that it covers everything from satellite radio to strip shows. Nintendo is in the "entertainment industry." But it is more specifically in the "videogame industry." History has shown that any gaming company that ventures out of that known market without a razor-specific plan is doomed to failure. This may someday change with integration, but for now it is very true.

About the only good that came out of Nintendo's fleeting belief in itself as an entertainment company was Captain Lou Albano.

Re:Do we really need another 3DO? (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591748)

Nintendo once upon a time claimed to be a "cartridge company."

Nintendo never claimed that. They claimed that CD technology was too slow at the time of the N64 to be useful for games.

I, for one, agreed with them. It wasn't ready yet. There were few of my Playstation games that I could stand playing because of load times, and there were several cases where I gave up in frustration (Parasite Eve, anyone?).

But now that optical media technology has improved, Nintendo is using it, and you almost wouldn't even be able to tell in many games that it *wasn't* being read from carts.

It's like quoting Bill Gates' infamous "640k" statement: conveniently forgetting the context of the statement/stance to fit the 'argument'.

--Jeremy

Re:Do we really need another 3DO? (1)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592230)

It has never occurred to me before, but now that I think about it, hard drives in a console are an absolutely horrible idea. Here's what is great about consoles:

1) Don't have to upgrade them like computers
2) Usually only have one or two moving parts so they...
3) Last for years and years

Hard drives are the thing I've seen fail the most in my short time using computers (about 9 years). I don't think the XBox hardware will last as long as my NES & SNES. But I do think my Gamecube will: it only has to spin a disk and a fan.

Maybe some sort of swappable solid state drives, like compact flash, could be used to store downloadable content instead.

Re:Do we really need another 3DO? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592252)

Having gone through 3 sets of PS1s and being on my 2nd PS2, don't expect any of this current generation of hardware to last. At the QA center where I worked last year, dead consoles were a fact of life. The laser assemblies died long before the HDD's.

Spinning a disk is tough work for an electronics device... especially if it has to spin constantly.

As a follow up note... (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592258)

The only other console I've had die on me was a Jaguar, and that was because I plugged in the wrong power supply. The old SNES, SMS, GB, Genesis, TG16, SNES, and Sega CD systems still work fine, despite having been in storage for years.

Re:Do we really need another 3DO? (1)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592494)

That's sad to hear. I'm sure emulators will save the day :)

Re:Do we really need another 3DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7592866)

My friend had his cube for a year and a half. Games would run for 10 minutes and then an error screen would popup. After yelling with nintendo on the phone, he got another year on his warrenty so they would fix it for him (They were asking him to pay $150CDN for the repair when a new system is $135CDN).

Turns out the problem was the laser and they just pulled it out and slapped another one in.

The lasers do fail. His failed after a year and a bit. Mine is still going strong though.

Re:Do we really need another 3DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7592495)

Captain Lou Albano.

God that was mind warping...

Do the Mario!

Re: Do we really need another 3DO? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596007)

"But Amtrak it is not. 1st of all, Amtrak was created in the 1970's by mandate of congress long after the battle with cars was a forgone conclusion."

Amtrak's problem isn't cars, Amtrak's problem is that, whenever they want a passenger train to get from point A to point B, they have to say "Please Mr. Freight Train Company, sir, can we use your railroads for a moment?" Passenger jets can share airspace with cargo planes, busses can share roads with tractor-trailers, cruise ships can use the same ports as container ships, but you can't have more than one train on a stretch of track at the same time, and the owner of the track always gets priority.

So, going back to the analogy, maybe Nintendo should stay in the hardware business instead of going all Sega on us. Nintendo's abusive monopoly of the NES wasn't so bad since, when all was said and done, Nintendo's first-party games were still good. What happens when Sony or Microsoft gets such a monopoly?

Re:Do we really need another 3DO? (1)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596418)

Some would say they are as revolutionary as the N64's addition of the analog stick.



The Saturn introduced analog control for Nights: Into Dreams. I believe they even started packing them in with the system after they released Nights.

Re:Do we really need another 3DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601236)

Yeah, and I believe that they didn't release Nights until after September 1996, when the N64 came out.

Check it... It was certainly later than June '96 (the Japanese release).

Uninformed, Uninsightful: Mark Martinez (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7591735)

"The Nintendo Difference, we've all heard the term."

Yeah, it refers to the high quality of their software. When you were 10, it was what made you pay attention. Now that you are 20, you may no longer care about it, although you probably may have lost sight of the fact that it still exists and is still what appeals to those who are 10 right now. Regardless, it still matters to me and the other 11 million people who own GameCubes worldwide.

"150 years ago, the big railroad companies controlled transportation in the United States.....They labeled themselves as being in the railroad business and not the transportation business, limiting themselves and causing their own downfall."

Well, too bad for the railroad companies. They didn't market themselves to the people who NEEDED them. But the video game industry is not the railroad industry. Nobody NEEDS video games, they are a luxury. (Fanboys, shut up.) People needed cheap, flexible transportation, and non-railroad transportation methods served that requirement. Regardless, the railroad industry is still quite large, since it serves its original purposes very well to this day.

With games, nothing about movie DVD playback makes the software gameplay better. Nothing, other than free MPEG support (which is easy to do otherwise) and the optical disc technology itself (which the GaemCube also uses). So, if Nintendo can deliver a system that is not encumbered by DVD licensing fees and misdirected movie-playing features, while delivering a low-cost yet very powerful system which is easy to develop for and which features A-quality software, who is to say that the decision is a wrong one?

Then there's online gaming. Sigh. I have very little interest in it, but let's spell out the facts:

- Online gaming takes significant R&D ($$$) to do right.
- Due to system inconsistencies, cross-platform online gaming is non-existent in the current generation.
- Because of the above two facts, it makes sense for 3rd parties to support online play only for (A) the market leader, Sony, or (B) the alternative who is willing to foot most of the bill and technical development, Microsoft.

- Nintendo understands that they are neither the market leader nor are willing to develop an expensive online infrastructure while there are no guaranteed revenue streams in the online gaming sector. So, they release their online adapters as a token gesture, then tell developers, "Online gaming will be what you make of it. Go crazy."
- 3rd parties shrug their shoulders, since by forging ahead with online GameCube games, they would be going after a smaller market than the PS2, and there is no pre-existing network architecture as with Microsoft's offering.

Hmm, let me summarize another way: Cube online gaming doesn't exist, because it makes no direct money for Nintendo. However, by not investing in a network, Nintendo isolates developers who would want a network in order to develop games on Nintendo's platforms, which themselves would make money for Nintendo. Problem is, since Nintendo isn't THE market leader, there's no guarantee that developers would develop for Nintendo's network even if such a thing existed. So, given the risk, Nintendo played the safe hand and watched as two differing approaches battled against each other.

The market leader did the same thing that Nintendo did, release a token adapter and let 3rd parties largely figure it out for themselves, but they also released 1st party online games with much success. The alternative threw dumptrucks of money at the issue and developed a lovely online system for gamers and developers alike, but at extremely high losses for the company. If Nintendo is smart, they now have one example of how to do online gaming adequately well, and one example of how to do it extremely well while going bankrupt in the process: the smart way, and the Microsoft way, respectively.

"Let's face it. Most 13 year olds wouldn't be capable of dropping six hundred dollars to invest in a system at launch. More importantly, thanks to Sony and Microsoft, the average consumer now expects their video game machine to be able to do more than just play video games."

Stupid, weak argument. Now that I have more liquid cash than when I was a kid, I somehow need to have a substandard DVD player built into my game system?

"For a mere eighty dollars more than the GameCube you can get a machine with comparable graphics, more games, and the abilities to play DVD movies and online games."

Actually, for a mere $80 more than the GameCube, you can only really get a machine that has ALMOST comparable graphics, more games of varying quality, and the abilities to play DVD movies, but not online games (PS2). A PS2 that can play online games can be had for $100 more than a GameCube (PS2 network bundle).

Xbox? Can't play DVD movies or online games (where "online" refers to officially internet-play-enabled games) at all without additional purchases/subscriptions, even though both functions are technically enabled in the hardware. That is the "Microsoft" difference.

And if you were able to take advantage of the Wal-Mart $79.44 GameCube bundle deal this past Friday-after-Thanksgiving, you can jack those comparative prices up by another $20.

The GameCube is a steal, and any argument that factors price as an argument AGAINST the GameCube is poorly developed.

"By designing and marketing a machine that only plays games, Nintendo is limiting how much money it can make."

No, totally wrong! By producing a machine that only plays games, they maximize the likelihood that THEIR investment in the hardware's production is subsidized by software sales. They guarantee that their machine is not purchased for use as a DVD player, for which Nintendo makes no profit on software (movie) sales.

It is Sony and Microsoft who limit their revenue by allowing their systems to be used as re-dedicated devices. When you play a DVD on an Xbox, Microsoft makes no money, and the money you spent on that DVD was not spent on an Xbox game. Same thing with Sony and non-Sony DVDs. Fine by me, but why do the morons out there fault Nintendo for being smarter than Microsoft about this very issue?

"Even if the company posts huge profits and has a large reserve of cash in the bank, money won't be able to save them from losing their entire share in the market, thus forcing them to leave the Video Game business altogether."

Which is why they produce exclusive software which is unparalleled in the industry. Nintendo has fans, like them or not, for a very good reason. When Nintendo calls itself a GAME COMPANY, please don't be stupid enough to ignore them, thanks. DVD playback is not the messiah you want it to be.

"Video gaming is about more than just playing games now."

This is the best example of bullshit in the entire article.

"So do I think it is too late to solve this problem? Not at all, but Nintendo must make a conscious effort to keep up with their competitors and see the market for what it is: an entertainment industry."

It's very easy for an idiot to tell a millionaire to burn his cash in a bonfire. If the millionaire follows the idiot's advice, the idiot has lost nothing.

To Mr. Martinez, author of this article: Do you realize that you are suggesting that Nintendo fight Sony on the non-gaming entertainment front? I suggest that you go pick a fight with an army of sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads.

"I've said it once already in this editorial, the industry has changed."

Yes. It's grown big enough to support three major players with vastly differing goals extremely well. It's grown big enough that Microsoft is paying attention, buying its way into this market, with the hope of recouping costs much later. It's grown to the point that supporting all major platforms is pretty much standard practice by every developer that matters. It's grown to the point that uninformed opinions like yours don't mean diddly shit.

"Nintendo is no longer the biggest player in a relatively large niche market. They are in last place in a huge segment of the home entertainment sector, and they need to remember this fact, because no one needs another Amtrak."

Actually, in terms of software sales, they are the second biggest player behind EA. In terms of international hardware sales, they are in solid second place, not third (Tsk tsk, somebody is confusing "Nintendo" with "GameCube," ignoring the GameBoy completely - big surprise). And they are that big, while ONLY supporting their own systems. Does this fact elude you, Mr. Martinez? Do you not know what this means?

Marketing Myopia? (5, Insightful)

aitsuda (633462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591794)

Looks like somebody at Nintendojo's taken marketing 101, then... Levitt was insightful in the context of his time, and "Marketing Myopia" remains a classic text in the context of understanding professional marketing's roots. But marketing theory has moved on a hell of a lot since the 1960's. The point of the text is more sophisticated that the idea that companies need to do "more things" in order to compete. Quite the contrary - the point is that to be competitive a company has to understand not what it does ("we're a train company"), but what its (current and potential) customers need. So rail companies' customers don't want trains as such; they want to be transported from A to B. Nintendo's customers want to be entertained interactively. But that's as far as it goes. Whether "what customers want" is some kind of ill-defined "entertainment device" (second-rate DVDs attached to a console?) rather than high quality separates is debatable, to say the least. It's also a hugely unoriginal idea - people have been saying that games consoles will somehow mutate into "entertainment devices" for years (everyone in marketing is familiar with Levitt - you can be sure that Nintendo's marketing department is too!) In fact, there's already am enormously popular device for non-specific electronic entertainment, including games, media, networking, messaging etc - and the majoriry of us reading this are sitting using it right now. There's not one "marketing strategy" which all companies should blindly follow; expanding your market is often a good thing, but not always (AOL Time Warner?) In my opinion, Nintendo would be exceptionally unwise to take on Sony directly - Sony are already in the "electronic equipment" game and could frankly squash Nintendo if they tried. Not, of course, that I would ever admit to being in marketing on Slashdot...

Re:Marketing Myopia? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596021)

"Looks like somebody at Nintendojo's taken marketing 101, then..."

Maybe it's the same 'dojo staffer who took Japanese 101 [nintendorks.com] .

Video games is about playing games (5, Insightful)

hlee (518174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7591852)

Video gaming is about more than just playing games now ... this isn't just about games; this is about hardware, games, and pure unadulterated Marketing.

Huh?

We play games cause they're fun - something no amount of marketing or hardware no matter how good can impart.

The railroad industry and transportation sector isn't such a good example of marketing myopia either. Rail and air are such different beasts, its tantamount to abandoning one business for another. A better example would be to make use of the existing track infrastructure by laying fiber optics across it (I forget which company now) and diversifying to the telecommunications sector.

Hahaha... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7592106)

I just imagined how this stupid article would be commented at japanese slashdot [slashdot.jp] and started to laugh...

Railroads (4, Interesting)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592679)

Anyone who believes that the railroad industry has died should spend a night in my apartment, which has railroad tracks about 15 feet from my bedroom window.

Your lack of sleep will prove you wrong.

The railroad companies were very wise to declare that they're in the railroad business. It turns out that the railroad business was and still is a very useful business - huge amounts of US product are shipped via rail.

It turns out that although trains make crappy methods of transportation nowadays, (Planes do the transport to a limited number of points faster, and cars can go anywhere), they're still the best thing if you want to, say, move several tons of coal, lumber, etc. I mean, trucking is nice for some things, but, really, there are some things that railroads can do that no one else can do.

I think Nintendo offers a kind of game that no one else offers. When I pick up Zelda, or Metroid, or even one of their B-titles like Mario Sunshine, the game has a particular feel that other game companies don't match. I'm not sure what it is - I've hypothesized several times, but I'm never happy with the answer.

If I want to play a Nintendo-type game, though, the fact of the matter is that I need a Nintendo-made game. So, more than simply being in the video game business, I think Nintendo is in the Nintendo business. And I think that they're "who are you?" marketing, as odd as it is, is a conscious move in that direction.

Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (-1, Troll)

Lemental (719730) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592726)

In my opinion the best game for the cube right now are the ones Nintendo doesnt produce. This is the opinion of an older person though. My kids will play Animal Crossing all day if I let them. Its just a brilliant game and a fun machine.

What I want an Xbox for is a DVD player and a more adult gaming console.

Who has the money. Parents. Who do they spend it on? Kids.

Sure Nintendo may have beat earnings this quarter, but, what abou the dry summer months. I bet for the next 3 quarters they will be losing money, stopping production, etc.

I wish my cube played DVD's. It would make it more useful. Instead all I have is just another gaming machine, and, where I work, trying to convince mom and pop consumer that they should get a gamecube for jimmy because thats all it does is play games when they hear from the joneses that thier PS2/XBOX plays DVD's, and thier XBOX doesnt need expensive memory cards, it isnt easy.

People want the most bang for your buck, and when they see the titles they want on all three machines, and the machine does more, they are going to pay the premium to get it.

Its human nature for joe consumer. Not the educated.

We took in 4 used gamecubes yesterday. Not a good sign.

Re:Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (1)

StocDred (691816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593253)

trying to convince mom and pop consumer that they should get a gamecube for jimmy because thats all it does is play games when they hear from the joneses that thier PS2/XBOX plays DVD's, and thier XBOX doesnt need expensive memory cards, it isnt easy.

What happens when they hear from the Joneses that the PS2/Xbox cost twice as much, that nobody but Nintendo is doing first-party wireless controllers, that there are benefits to portable memory cards, and that they can buy an add-on to support their kids' immense library of Game Boy games?

Re:Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (0)

Lemental (719730) | more than 10 years ago | (#7595731)

First off, we have NEVER sold a game boy player. Second immense library? Kids trade the damn things in as fast as they can. Whats the point, if you have a gameboy, why buy a part that lets you play them on your TV.

At 39.99, people dont see the point. I guess that is why the gameboy player for the SNES sold so well.

And at 179.99 You get more bang for your buck out of the Xbox because it just does more, and does it better. The PS2 on the other hand does the same with a 29.99 part and a 99 dollar part.

You go on to claim that there are benfits for portable memory cards, but state none. And you label me a troll?

Must be nice to be a moron, like the people I deal with all day.

Kthxdrivethru

Re:Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (1)

GaimeGuy (679917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7595800)

Uh, where do you work, because it sure doesn't soudn like a regular store. Cubes are flying off the shelves lately, and GB Players have been selling well since they were released. Here's a resaon why someone might want a GB Player: They don't already have a GBA or an SP, and the GB player is a cheaper way to gain access to the GB library. That's just one of the many reasons they're selling. Also, here's something that makes memory cards better than HDs: you can bring save data with you wherever you go. For instance, you can bring your memory card and your SSBM record with you to a friend's house to play SSBM. I'd like to see you lug your X-box's hard drive around to a friend's house.

Re:Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (1)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596014)

Your points are mostly valid, but you might want to know there ARE X-box memory cards; they're mostly only useful for taking your saves to a friend's place though, so most people won't be buying them.

Re:Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (1)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7599571)

And as another poster pointed out, certain games are having saves too big to transfer via memory cards for the Xbox. The game known, so far, is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It's save is more than 8 MB in size. If more games start using bigger saves than 8 MB, well, the mainly useless memory cards for the Xbox become even more useless.

Re:Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (1)

StocDred (691816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596369)

I never labelled you a troll. (But thanks to anybody who did.) I just wanted to point out that there are benefits to the GameCube, and that it's stupid to try to start a pissing contest between console "benefits."

Lots of kids do have large collections of Game Boy games. You'd think a store employee would be more aware of that. Many parents who already own a growing pile of old and new cartridges see the GB Player as a benefit at least as worthwhile as a DVD player. GB games are cheaper, so a thrifty parent could keep kids happy by buying new GBA games instead of new GC games. Being able to play GBA games on a big tv is a benefit because it turns your personal GBA experience into one that siblings and friends can enjoy too.

As for portable memory card benefits, how's this one from GGA [gamegirladvance.com] . The writers needed to split up their KOTOR saves, but can't because the KOTOR save file is too large to be moved onto a memory card. The supposed "freedom" of the Xbox hard drive allowed the KOTOR developers to make a save file that is too large to be moved around (or you can argue that MS simply doesn't make a large enough memory card, but then again they also have no way to transfer files from hard drive to hard drive, as talked about in the article.)

You're speaking in bold, unprovable assertions ("it just does more, and it does it better") and instead of actually listening to any opposing viewpoints, you fly off the handle.

Fuck you.

Re:Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (0)

Lemental (719730) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601136)

Fuck You too.

I sell the things, thus I know more than you.

I have my pulse on the consumer.

You are just a useless fanboi.

Re:Nintendo, good idea, bad implementation. (2, Funny)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596476)

First off, we have NEVER sold a game boy player.

I don't doubt it. McDonalds isn't known for selling video games and devices.

Whats the point, if you have a gameboy, why buy a part that lets you play them on your TV.

Or you could be like me, and not own a GBA or GBASP. I happen to find my GBPlayer works just fine for letting me play GBA games when I don't own a GBA.

At 39.99, people dont see the point. I guess that is why the gameboy player for the SNES sold so well.

I'm sure you have the numbers for the Super GameBoy to back up your claim.

And at 179.99 You get more bang for your buck out of the Xbox because it just does more, and does it better.

Really? The Xbox plays Nintendo first party games? It plays GC exclusive third party games like Viewtiful Joe? It plays GBA games on it? Wow! I never knew! Why did I waste my time buying both an Xbox and a GC? Damn my foolisheness!

You go on to claim that there are benfits for portable memory cards, but state none.

Remember that the next time you have to lug around a 9 pound Xbox console to a friend's place to use your saved game.

And you label me a troll?

Somone did, but the shoe does seem to fit. Oh, and here's a hint, he couldn't mod you down and respond to you under the same username, jackass.

Kthxdrivethru

I see you have a lot of experience with that statement. Now, if only you could spell it correctly....

Thursdae

Nintendo is not in the Videogame Business... (4, Insightful)

Metroid72 (654017) | more than 10 years ago | (#7592888)

Nintendo has repeatedly said that the company is in the Video Game business. Not the entertainment or technology industries, like Microsoft or Sony, but the Video Game business. Sure, the difference is small on paper, but it represents a huge gap in what Nintendo is willing to do in comparison to what their competitors will do.

What the author of the article doesn't seem to get is that Nintendo is in the business of MAKING MONEY, and they are kicking everyone's butt in that aspect.

Since we're consumers, we'd love Nintendo to put the gloves on and play Microsoft and Sony in their own turf, we'll benefit, but when that happens, that's when Nintendo will succumb. [The other two guys have too much money].
Remember... survival of the firm is first.
Nintendo will choose to fight at a leveled field (or at the level that they're best -making games-), worse comes to worse, Nintendo will become a 3rd party, but on their own terms.

Bad example (1)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593305)

The truth is the railroads tried to get into the airline business, but the courts ruled that was anti-trust. If they'd succeeded, our airlines would have names like Union Pacific and Illinois Central instead of United and Midway. And none of that had anything to do with Amtrak.

Nintendojo's myopia... (3, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593594)

"Apparently, the best historical example of this is the railroad industry, who "...labeled themselves as being in the railroad business and not the transportation business, limiting themselves and causing their own downfall.""

Yeah, because we've all seen now how incredibly popular locomotives that also functioned as a tractor-trailer and a jumbo jet have been. I mean, who wouldn't want a train with wings?

"The industry has changed. Nintendo is no longer the biggest player in a relatively large niche market."

Whether it has changed for the better remains to be seen. The gaming industry is still far too young to make long-term predictions.

"They are in last place in a huge segment of the home entertainment sector"

Apparently he hasn't looked at the numbers since the $99 price drop.

But actually that's besides the point. Sony and Microsoft are jumping up and down about the 18-25 male market while Nintendo has never targeted so exclusively. Their main target market is still there and still churning out lots of cash for Nintendo.

movies in DVD playability (3, Insightful)

OleMoudi (624829) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593767)

Apart from the relatively small variety of games Nintendo has compared to Sony or MS, the article only points out the gamecube is unable to play movies as a example of one of the reasons for the future fall of Nintendo. Seems to me the ability to play dvd movies on your videogame system is more a marketing thing than actually a real advantage. I think almost everybody owning a PS2 or GC has some other kind of platform (dvdplayer/computer) to watch movies on DVD. Yes, the PS2 can play movies but... is it really the main reason for its success? I guess not. People don't buy a console only to play movies, but they do only to play games, or games and movies. Consoles are still all about games, and Nintendo knows it.

After Nintendo posted a loss.... (-1, Troll)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7593778)

You all have it wrong. Nintendo is in the business of selling cards and plush toys. Here they are positioned ok, so long as pokemon remains popular. Nintendo will never, ever, innovate in video games again. Period. Any talent they had in the 80's is now old and senile, and the designers that have replaced them have done nothing but copy the predecessors.

Wait, they did invent the e-reader! They found a way to both sell cards and make you pay for either: software you paid for long ago or the chance to use all the features of the software you just bought. At least one person over there is still clever; too bad he is in the card/plush division and not in video games.

Re:After Nintendo posted a loss.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7593981)

Hello there mr Mike Hawk, Nintendo Troll first class. I would have guessed you would have found some other means of keeping yourself entertained but it would seem not.

Flame Nintendo Blindly in an attempt to feel good about yourself and compensate for some real or imagined inadequacy? Check.

Re:After Nintendo posted a loss.... (1)

gamgee5273 (410326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7594193)

You realize that you're trolling, right?

I'm also assuming you aren't a GCN owner, since you've no idea what a spectacular and innovative game Pikmin is, for one.

I would say that you should stop posting on /. and return to your Xbox, but then I would be as insulting as you are...

Ugh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7594626)

Mike Hawk - the troll has returned! Quick! MOD HIS ASS DOWN! MOD THE TROLL DOWN!

Downfall of the railroad company: CAR COMPANIES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7594054)

Railroads and local trollies were devastated near the beginning of this century by the car manufacturers. Specifically, Ford bought up local rails all over the country and then shut them down to prevent competition with the automobile. There was all sorts of collusion and dirty tricks back in the day when people still had a choice of whether to ride the train or trolley.

Seriously, saying a company or industry's downfall is due solely to marketing failures is truly myoptic. There are an entire host of problems associated with both the railroad industry and the gaming industry. It may not help for Nintendo to mislabel itself, but whether or not the company folds will have a lot more to do with the types of games that are available, the trustworthiness of the CEO's, and Gamecube sales in general. Marketing helps, but marketing alone is rarely going to make or break an already established company.

Now if Sony started buying up all the other gaming companies and then closed them to stifle competition, now that would be an accurate comparison to the fate of the commuter rail industry with the gaming industry.

Oh for God's sake, DOES IT EVER STOP?! (3, Insightful)

GaimeGuy (679917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7594286)

WHY, WHY, WHY do I always see articles about the demise of Nintendo, when they're in EXCELLENT condition? Here are some examples:
1. Nintendo has NO DEBT.
2. Nintendo went FORTY ONE YEARS without posting a half-year net loss, and are on pace to go for forty TWO years without a full year net loss.
3. Nintendo has over eight billion dollars cash, and probably a couple more billion dollars in assets, making it an 11 figure company, with each cent of its money spendable for itself.
4. Nintendo will ALWAYS have dedicated fans who will buy their products, who will raise kids that will become dedicated fans, ensuring that Nintendo's products will ALWAYS sell.
5. The highest selling publisher of console games and handheld games, worldwide, is Nintendo.
6. GBA and GC are the only systems to see INCREASED sales in 2003.
7. Sony posted a net loss of over 1 billion dollars last fiscal year. MS lost money, as well. Nintendo posted a profit. Who's in bad condition, here?
8. Nintendo has maintained firm control of the handheld market for two decades, and it's stronger than ever.
9. Sure, Sony and MS are valued at over 50 billion dollars. However, they have to spread that money over several different markets: PC hardware, PC software, CD players, TVs, movies, video games, etc. Nintendo can focus all of its resources, all 10 billion + dollars on one market: Video games.
It's funny. I never hear complaints about MS losing billions on the X-box, nor about how they're in 3rd place in worldwide console sales. In spite of the skeptics, the crticism, and the reminders of every little thing that goes wrong, Nintendo is in a comfortable 2nd place in the console market, on top of the software charts, as always, and on pace to continue to profit yearly. Nintendo is doing much more than merely surviving: They're expanding, and it doesn't look like they'll be slowing down any time soon.

Unfortunately... (1)

xQuarkDS9x (646166) | more than 10 years ago | (#7594601)

Unfortunately it won't stop because there will always be some moronic reviewer, market analyser, or some joe blow dreaming up ways how Nintendo will die, which is a bunch of BS to begin with.

Hell, they've been around since the 1890's when they first made card games for crying out loud.

Re:Oh for God's sake, DOES IT EVER STOP?! (1)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596330)

7. Sony posted a net loss of over 1 billion dollars last fiscal year. MS lost money, as well. Nintendo posted a profit. Who's in bad condition, here?

Um, I can't say for sure about Sony because I've never really looked at their financials, overall....but Microsoft didn't lose money last fiscal year overall. The Home and Entertainment Division, which does hold the Xbox Division bled money left and right (anyone still in denial on this needs to be shot, the Xbox is not making any money for Microsoft, and the Xbox is the single biggest money loser to date for the company); but thanks to the subsidies from the Windows and Office divisions, Microsoft still made a few billion dollars in profits overall

But that's the key. If you mentioned Microsoft's Xbox Division as losing money, then you'd be absolutely correct (probably over a billion dollars since launch and climbing by the hundreds of millions per quarter); but Microsoft as a whole doesn't lose money because they make so much profit from Office and Windows to make up for all the other divisions which bleed money.

Thursdae

Re:Oh for God's sake, DOES IT EVER STOP?! (1)

GaimeGuy (679917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602772)

Whoops. Heh. I lost my post during a preview, first, so I kind of rushed re-creating it, and I guess I forgot to put "X-box Division" after MS.

Read your (corporate) history. (3, Insightful)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 10 years ago | (#7594864)

The classic story of the railroad tycoons who didn't realize that they were actually transportation tycoons is all well and good but Nintendo does not have the same problem.

According to the COmpany History [nintendo.com] , Nintendo is over 100 years old. They started out making playing cards. Read the history on that link. It shows them going through a few different changes. The important common factor? Nintendo has always made games.

That's right. Nintendo is not a console company and it's not a video game company and it's not an entertainment company. It's a game company. They make games. They have been making games for over 100 years. I think that we can all agree that "making games" is a pretty broad understanding of what the company does.

Myopia, indeed.

Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (2, Insightful)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7595604)

It seems some people here and limited hindsight. They seem to forget that Nintendo had to halt production on the GC for a while to let warehouses reduce stock.

I'm not saying Nintendo is doomed but the number one thing they've got to do is wake up and join Sony and MS in a couple of things. Number 1 is online gaming. I could care less how many Nintendo fanboys (and I used to be one) say Nintendo can survive without it, they are wrong. The console market has moved that way (look at the proliferation of people saying that the next Gameboy should have wireless capabilities to make multiplayer gaming even easier). Number 2 is they are gonna have to consider hard drive storage in the future. Memory cards aren't going to cut it for next generation games (if trends continue towards online extras especially).

This article is a bit stupid to harp on Nintendo for calling itself a video game company though. What else does Nintendo do?! The fact that they stay completely focused on games is the only thing that keeps them in the hardware market. If they were merely about creating games for the industry, the GC probably would fail...instead they have a desire to make their hardware do useful things (like the GBA link, the first wireless controller...). Nintendo is far from dead in the water for admitting that their only focus is what it should be...gaming!

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

GaimeGuy (679917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7595810)

GC's are cheap and easy to manufacture, resulting in a 4 million backstock of cubes last November. Nintendo was producing Cubes a LOT faster than Cubes were being sold. That doesn't necessarily mean Cubes weren't selling well.

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (3, Insightful)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596412)

Number 1 is online gaming.

Except that it isn't the number one priority, really. And I play online on my Xbox and PS2 all the time. But I'm not fooled into thinking online is the big thing in console gaming right now.

Look at the facts.

Sony only sold 780k online adapters before launching the new online bundle for the PS2. Out of, what, 60+ million units? That's less than 1.5% of the total PS2 userbase that bought the online adapter. Sony isn't making any money off of their online abilities.

Microsoft has touted 500k Xbox Live subscribers as the number since before E3. 500k is around 5.5% of the total Xbox userbase. It hasn't gone up signifigantly since then, or beleive me MS would definitely toot their own horn. Now they're giving away 2 free months of XBL with every single Xbox sold, in order to try and get people to subscribe. Notice that in order to get new subscribers they're resorting to giving away two months of something they want you to subscribe to. Yeah, seems like XBL sales have more than flatlined over the months.

Sorry, friend, but online is not the big thing. Not right now, anyway.

Microsoft is losing millions of dollars per quarter on Xbox Live; and for what, a measly $25 million per year in subscription revenue? They lose more than four times that on the Xbox every single quarter, so $25 million a year in subscriptions isn't doing jack shit for them.

Sony is losing money on the hardware they bundle with the PS2, and they don't get a whole lot in return.

Nintendo can easily see this. And Nintendo is all about profits.

Microsoft is willing to throw money at the Xbox to make it suceed; but they have Office and Windows to fall back on (at least for now, who knows what the shareholders might say after seeing the quarterly loss of the Xbox this Xmas season... it's going to be a huge sum of money lost).

Nintendo doesn't have the luxury of having a product that brings in twice its operational costs in profit each quarter *cough*Windows*cough*ripoff*cough* like Microsoft does. Nintendo can't afford to try and do what MS is doing with Xbox Live, and then not make any money from it; or at least not lose too much money from it. They don't have overpriced operating systems and office suites to make up for every other money losing division within their company, like Microsoft does.

And Nintendo knows this. Nintendo needs to show a profit each year to keep going. Trying to make a huge deal of online gaming, when the numbers clearly show it is a niche market in the console world, is not conductive to profits.

Microsoft could never turn a profit on the Xbox and never care; because their Windows and Office divisions will subsidise every single money losing venture they delve into. And trust me, XBL isn't making any money any time soon.

Thursdae

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596576)

Live is doing quite well I'd say.

Take for example a few weeks back...on Nov 2, a total of 83,652 players were online at once. Last time I checked, that rivals and excels the numbers of some computer games (and let's face it, most computer games sell because of their multiplayer aspects).

As for total people subscribed, worldwide figures put it about 500k easily (as you said). They say the goal is 1 million subscribed by June 04 but I wouldn't be surprised if it hits that mark months ahead of schedule.

Finally, let's not forget stuff like XSN. While the current incarnation of the sports network is inclusive to MS games, if it includes 3rd party game someday it could be one of the best ideas console gaming has ever seen.

I often enough find that people who say online gaming isn't that great are the ones who are in denial just because they see no use in it. Sorry, you aren't representative of many gamers. Just because 50% of the consoles owners aren't online doesn't mean they wouldn't like to be. I'm not using Xbox Live yet but the reasons have to do with my internet connection sucking at the moment (why try to play when I get horrible packet loss?). If it weren't for those troubles, I'd be playing Xbox Live right this moment. There probably are plenty of people who don't due to lack of broadband connections. The reasons could be numerous.

Nintendo has to make a profit, yeah, but no one ever said their online gaming has to work the same way as Nintendo. They could focus on coming up with a system that works for them.
In the end, my main complaint with Nintendo is that they don't take the current trend seriously. Online console gaming is beyond a niche now. Look at SOCOM. Game sells well considering it is for multiplayer play. It already has a sequel too. When you can make a whole game that focuses on multiplayer and it is extremely anticipated and sells well, you've proven that online gaming is already in demand!

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

phil1984 (709709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7597133)

Alright then, lets assume that by June 2004 there will be 1 million subscribed to Xbox Live around the world (and that is a big if) and assuming that there will around 15 million Xbox's sold that will mean that there is only around 6% of Xbox users who are signed up to Xbox Live! The reasons that you cited as to why people are using Xbox Live are exactly the reasons why Nintendo has steered clear of online gaming this generation! One day in the future, the majority of people will have trouble-free broadband but that day is not today. Nintendo will join the party when more people are able to benefit from a system such as Xbox Live but untill then Nintendo is 100% correct in staying out of this technology.

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (2, Insightful)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7599494)

Live is doing quite well I'd say.

Not saying it isn't. But it's hardly doing as well as MS originally hoped.

As for total people subscribed, worldwide figures put it about 500k easily (as you said). They say the goal is 1 million subscribed by June 04...

After the initial good launch of XBL in North America, MS said they expected 1 million subscribers by November 2003, worldwide. Then sales started falling on XBL, and by May 2003, they only had 500k, worldwide, after a nearly 250k intital burst in November-December 2002, they only got another 250k in the next 5 months. So, they revised it to June 2004 instead of November 2003. Not surprising, as they've revised forecasts on the Xbox hardware multiple times to make it look like they've met projections...

but I wouldn't be surprised if it hits that mark months ahead of schedule.

It's December 2003. In late April 2003 they said 500k subscribers. Nearly 8 months have gone by and they haven't even been able to say 550k or some such to make it appear that XBL sales are still going. Now they're giving away XBL to try and get subscriptions. I'll be very surprised if they hit that number before June, and keep it. Trying to use the free 2 month people who may not keep going doesn't count, you know. And who knows how many people didn't re-sign up in November? I almost didn't. If it wasn't for Crimson Skies, I would have called up MS and cancelled until Halo 2 came out.

Finally, let's not forget stuff like XSN. While the current incarnation of the sports network is inclusive to MS games, if it includes 3rd party game someday it could be one of the best ideas console gaming has ever seen.

Good idea? Yes. Good sports games? Hardly. The only two I've heard good things about are Links and Top Spin. All their other major sports games are almost as bad as the 989 Sports titles, and the ONLY selling point they really have for their MS Sports titles is online play. If I was a sports game player, I think I would rather forget about XSN. I'd rather go with Sega Sports' offerings than Microsoft's first party sports titles.

I often enough find that people who say online gaming isn't that great are the ones who are in denial just because they see no use in it.

While I'm home stuck in bed with this blood clot, I see very much a use for online gaming on my consoles....but I'm not fooled like you are into thinking in straw man arguments. In fact, I'm still playing more offline games, especially RPGs, while I am stuck in bed.

Just because 50% of the consoles owners aren't online doesn't mean they wouldn't like to be.

Like to be and are are two entirely different things. I'd like to be banging Rebecca Romijn Stamos all the time, but I'm not. I'd like to not have a blood clot taking up a good chunk of my leg, but the reality is that I have one. I'm sure more people want to be online with their consoles, but the reality is they aren't. Wants and reality are two seperate things.

And, if we add up the 60+ million PS2s, and the 10+ Million Xboxes and then figure out the percentage of them online... well it's more like 98.28% of the PS2 and Xbox console users aren't online; not just 50%. Hey, just for fun let's add in the 10+ million GCs and the probably 100k online adapters they've sold and see how much it is! Wow! A whopping 1.725%, or less, of all the current gen consoles out there are online! That's still 98.275%, or more, of all the current gen console owners not going online with their consoles.

That's slightly more than the 50% you seem to think are online now.

Hell, MS claims that 50% of all Xbox owners could get online with XBL... so why are there only 5.5% of the Xbox owners online? Most PS2 online games support dial up, which I'm sure a vast majority of PS2 owners have....so why is the total PS2 online userbase at less than 1.5%?

Online console gaming is beyond a niche now.

Yes, you're right. Since the PS2's 1.5% and Xbox's 5.5% represent a huge majority rather than a niche. Wait, those aren't majority figures!

When the numbers move past 25%, let me know. Then it won't be a niche.

Look at SOCOM. Game sells well considering it is for multiplayer play. It already has a sequel too. When you can make a whole game that focuses on multiplayer and it is extremely anticipated and sells well, you've proven that online gaming is already in demand!

Except that SOCOM also has a single player mode. If you notice they had to add a single player mode to Counter-Strike for the Xbox as well. Why do these games have single player modes? Because they realize that not every person who may pick up the games will be able to play online with them.

Most of the people who pick up SOCOM and SOCOCM II will do it for the online aspect, yes. Same with Counter-Strike for the Xbox. However, without a single player campaign, then they'd ONLY sell to those with the ability to play online...which diminishes sales of the Xbox version of CS down to a maximum of 500k units right now, and of SOCOM II to a maximum of 780k units right now.

From a buisness standpoint, that's pure suicide in the console market. I mean look at how quickly Unreal Championship fell off the charts and dropped to budget prices. Why? Because the game's 'single player' mode was a freaking joke. Uncreal Championship's only selling point is online play....and it's been out for over a year and still hasn't sold 500k copies.

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601604)

Nearly 8 months have gone by and they haven't even been able to say 550k or some such to make it appear that XBL sales are still going.
I think that is mostly attributed to the fact that they'd sound pretty damn stupid announcing a milestone like "550K"
Good sports games? Hardly.
Hence my comment that it needs support for 3rd party games.
Hey, just for fun let's add in the 10+ million GCs and the probably 100k online adapters they've sold and see how much it is!
Since the number of online capable GC games is practically null compared the number Xbox has (approaching 100 by the end of this year I believe and will probably double that next year since every game is practically getting it now whether or not it needs it), you can safely remove GC from your calculation.
That's slightly more than the 50% you seem to think are online now.
I wasn't trying to give a specific value, or else I would've said something in the 90s...I merely threw out a number for the hell of it since the precision of the number had nothing to do with my argument.

I only argue this crap because it is already obvious...there will not be a next generation console WITHOUT online support. Period. It is guaranteed. Therefore, as I already said, Nintendo needs to get its ass in gear so that it doesn't easily lose due to inexperience in the area. All of you can argue all you want that current online experience is obviously inadequate in terms of numbers to prove it is a wanted feature, but the fact that Sony, MS, and Nintendo already plan on online service in the future proves that the service is already important NOW.

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7604976)

I think that is mostly attributed to the fact that they'd sound pretty damn stupid announcing a milestone like "550K"

Yes. You're right. But as of now, MS looks like it's sold all the Xbox Live kits it's going to, since in nearly 8 months the number hasn't grown to 600k or more. Remember, it's all in perception. With 8 months at the same number, the perception is Xbox Live is simply not selling.

But the point I was making is to make that 1 million number by June, they damn well need to show it is selling already. If the market thinks it isn't selling, then it won't sell.

If you look at the math, they had a good Christmas for XBL last year. Nearly 250k subscribers, including myself, to a pretty much big unkown. Then sales dropped after Christmas, as expected. Then Japan launches, with little fanfare. Then Europe launches, to the tune of 80K units over the fist month or so. Then we get to May.

If we say they had 250k by January, then by May had another 250k, that means that they should have been selling an average of 50k XBL subpscriptions a month. Which means by now, if they kept that rate, they would be close to the 1 million goal already with around 900k subscribers.

But they aren't. At least not vocally. And we all know MS isn't not vocal about things they expect to be a huge success unless they aren't being as big a success as they thought. We have to face facts. XBL has flatlined as far as new subscriptions go (raising the price to $70 for the starter kit certainly didn't help). They need each and every Xbox sold over this Christmas to activate an Xbox Live account and stay past the free two months if they even have a prayer of reaching 1 million XBL subscribers by June. And with no word as to the real release date of Halo 2, that isn't likely to happen.

Since the number of online capable GC games is practically null compared the number Xbox has (approaching 100 by the end of this year I believe and will probably double that next year since every game is practically getting it now whether or not it needs it), you can safely remove GC from your calculation.

While it's true that there is but 1 GC online game right now (soon to be 2 with PSO Ep III C.A.R.D. Battle), we can't take it out of the equation. It has online capabilities, and it has at least 1 online game. Therefore it has to be included in the equation.

But, again, the point of the equation is to show that, yes, online console gaming is a niche market right now. When less than 2% of all the consoles in this gen sold are going online, no matter how many titles are available for each system, it is definitely a niche market right now.

You may feel it isn't a niche market, but the numbers don't lie. The vast majority of console players are not going online for any number of reasons. When a small minority are doing something in a market, then it is a niche. Online console gaming falls into the very small minority area, thus niche.

[... T]here will not be a next generation console WITHOUT online support. Period. It is guaranteed.

You are most likely correct. It doesn't mean online console gaming will suddenly explode into the 'next big thing', but you are most likely correct that no console will be released in the future without some form of online ability built in.

Therefore, as I already said, Nintendo needs to get its ass in gear so that it doesn't easily lose due to inexperience in the area.

You do know that Nintendo had a modem for the Famicom (NES in America) in Japan, right? That was years before Microsoft even cared about the Internet. I think they'll have something set up, but I don't think they want to tip their hats as to what it is right now.

They'll say what they've got planned when they're ready. It may not be the smartest decision they could make, holding back info that is, but it is how Nintendo does their thing.

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

Naffer (720686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596674)

I've got a great idea... lets bring up a point that is no longer applicable!

Cube sales were slowing with all video games in 2003. Nintendo stopped production to sell a backlog. They dropped their price, and suddenly they sold their whole stock of cubes. Slashdot ran an article a few months ago saying Nintendo had started production again.

I love my Gamecube. I've got a PS2, but I don't use it online. Nintendo is not going to die because they didn't innovate online play.

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7596728)

It is quite applicable! Plenty of people are acting like Nintendo didn't run into a problem for a while. People need to acknowledge that Nintendo has struggled a bit. A side note...I thought I implied that the started production again...I had considered it understood but that's my bad.

I'm not saying Nintendo is going to die. But as I said in /. a month or so back, if Nintendo does not find some way to start planning and testing an online gaming system before the next generation of consoles comes out, they are going to shoot themselves in the foot. Face it, if MS has nearly perfected an online system and Sony has spent plenty of time developing theirs, Nintendo will look like a bunch of lazy jackasses for having a system that is still a work in progress.

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602134)

If online play is so important, why has the X-Box tanked in Japan?

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7604496)

There are several answers to that, but I'll give you one that perhaps you don't know about.

A while back MS fired a bunch of Japanese employees by escorting them one-by-one into an office, telling them they were fired, and having armed security make sure they got out quickly. This kind of action is not taken well in Japan, where employers often enough try to do as much as possible to assist those they have to let go in respect.

That kind of action gives MS a bad name in Japan. So besides Nintendo and Sony being more popular brands, you have the fact that MS shot itself in the foot too.

Re:Nintendo's down but its marketing is fine (1)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605100)

A while back MS fired a bunch of Japanese employees by escorting them one-by-one into an office, telling them they were fired, and having armed security make sure they got out quickly. This kind of action is not taken well in Japan, where employers often enough try to do as much as possible to assist those they have to let go in respect.

Um, the Xbox had been tanking in Japan for over a year, already, when MS did this. While it certainly didn't help Xbox sales, it couldn't have made them much worse, since the PSOne and Wonderswan Crystal consitently outselll the Xbox in Japan. (In fact, this happened a few months back, and the Xbox just had it's best week EVER in Japan, selling aroun 7k units in one week; which shows this didn't affect the Japanese market too much, and, in fact, Xbox sales increased by a few dozen units right after they fired the people.)

While this did happen, it has had positively no bearing on why the Xbox is an absolute failure in the Japanese market. It certainly doesn't explain why they could barely move units each week for a year or so before the firing of the people in the Japanese Xbox Division.

Any other reasons you'd like to hypothesise?

We suffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7596362)

we suffer under the confusing description of editorials as journalism. This is just an immature attempt at editorial on game industry were no research or any aparent attempt at looking at sales inside this industry was done. This article belongs on slashdot for that reason alone but not on any respected industry site. That being said it was on nintendojo and that may be explanation enough.
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