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Nintendo's GCNext Direction Outlined By Iwata

simoniker posted about 10 years ago | from the more-popularity? dept.

GameCube (Games) 90

Thanks to GameSpy for its in-depth interview with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata regarding "what's gone wrong, what's gone right, and why Nintendo will end up on top." Iwata admits that "the competition is tougher than ever before; and in the short run, we have seen declining profitability", but makes it clear that the next-gen GameCube (which he calls "GCNext or GCN") isn't about raw processing power - rather, Nintendo are "discussing... what should be done to entertain people in a new way; and in order to achieve this, what functionality must be added to our current technology."

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First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8842874)

And this is a /. first for me :-)

"What functionality needs to be added": (4, Funny)

Txiasaeia (581598) | about 10 years ago | (#8842886)

-A small, cheap flash HD.
-Backwards compatibility.
-Kick-ass Mario game.

That should about do it. I'm a huge Nintendo fan, but even I know that this is all they need to add if they want to still KATN. A next-gen F-Zero game and 3D goggles would help too.

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (1)

SevenForever (770625) | about 10 years ago | (#8842937)

Something like this was one of their projects a time-ago, virtua-boy if I'm not mistaken. A product where you looked into a pair of googles and saw green lines.

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (1)

Delsphynx (688372) | about 10 years ago | (#8843163)

Actually, everything was red instead of green. It was a neat concept in my opinion, but kind of ahead of itself in terms of the technology (I think it would give people headaches or something, but I can't confirm that since I never used one for a prolonged period...) Plus, wireframes just get old after a while... Here is some information: Google [google.com]

Learn your Nintendo History! (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | about 10 years ago | (#8843187)

The lines were RED not green. But, given enough time using the VR-Gameboy, you would end up seeing green lines too (it really did mess with your vision).

Re:Learn your Nintendo History! (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | about 10 years ago | (#8844761)

Only if you didn't adjust the focus correctly. I never had any problems, and it was damned cool at the time.

Just overly expensive, nonportable, and saying it had a game library is a vast overstatement.

I suggest Nintendo bundles a free classics disc with their next console. That should move one heck of a lot of units.

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (1)

Paladine97 (467512) | about 10 years ago | (#8842974)

Good points. I especially agree with the backwards compatibility point. That would sell me in a heartbeat. I spent a lot of $$$ on GCN games, and to be able to reuse them and not waste space in my console area is very valuable to me.

The extra storage would help games for sure. Memory cards get on my nerve. As an added expense they seem useless. A built-in memory card would be nice. 256 megabytes at least though.

I don't think a next-gen F-Zero game would be a big selling point. Nor the 3D googles.

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (1)

Quobobo (709437) | about 10 years ago | (#8843440)

Yeah, and if they could use almost the same controllers (like the PS1/PS2), it would really sell me.. I've spent $150 CDN on 3 Wavebirds, and I really don't want to waste money on more wireless controllers that perform the exact same function.

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (2, Interesting)

SuperMo0 (730560) | about 10 years ago | (#8843650)

This would be something that Nintendo would be smart to focus on. While the controller design is one of those things that you either love or you hate, it's shown its versatility by being used in many games that the PS2 and XBox played on also.

All three controllers have a very similar button configuration (two sticks, a dpad, 4 face buttons and 2, or 4 on the PS1/2, shoulder buttons). This would enable Nintendo to simply rearrange the buttons on the controller (the resizing of the face buttons, while a good idea, has hardly been used to its potential) and making the C-stick simply a "right stick" and the d-pad usable (honestly, the thing is just too damn small). The L and R buttons provide a great sense of feedback and control that neither XBox's or PS2's shoulder buttons have, and I believe they're the one truly saving grace of the GCN controller.

All Nintendo needs to do is figure out a better configuration of the same amount of buttons, which would allow for play using an old Wavebird, but sometimes awkwardly (similar to a regular PS1 controller being used on games with the Dual Shock in mind, but not required.)

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (1)

jmccarthy (228531) | about 10 years ago | (#8845059)

That would be a good idea, if the Gamecube controllers weren't the devil. The c-stick sucks, the d-pad is too small, the buttons are laid out and shaped poorly, and there should really be another shoulder button to keep the poor little z-button company. And the really mind-boggling thing, to me, is that no 3rd party has just released a Dual Shock clone for the system to fix Nintendo's horrible, horrible mistakes.

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (2, Informative)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about 10 years ago | (#8845226)

Funny, that...

I think the GC controller is one of the best and most comfortable controllers I have used. I can literally play for hours without noticing any strain or discomfort. I have not met a single person who could honestly say the same about the Dual Shock.

Personally, I find the C-stick very usable for what it's mostly designed for: camera control. The D-pad is a bit small, but it's roughly the same size as the GBA D-pad, and nobody has had any problems with that particular D-pad. The buttons are laid out like they are for a reason. The big green A button is clearly the primary button, and it's also the most used button in all GC games. The B, X, and Y buttons are secondary buttons, and are meant to house functions that are not used as often. And due to the layout, they are very very easy to find by muscle memory, due to their unique positions and shapes. The Z button is in a somewhat awkward position, yes. But I'm guessing it's where it is, so the XYZ buttons could be arranged like XYZ coordinates in a 3D world. The shoulder buttons are just perfect, and much better than both the ones on the Xbox controller and on the Dual Shock.

The really mind-boggling thing to me is that people still think the Dual Shock is the ideal controller. People spout about how hard it is to simultaneously press the B and X buttons on a GC controller, but it's clearly just as hard or even harder to press X and Circle or Square and Triangle on a Dual Shock, even though they are right next to each other

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (1)

timftbf (48204) | about 10 years ago | (#8860937)

Odd. The really mind-boggling thing to me is that designers still think it's acceptable to ask you to press B and X, or circle and square, or any other combination of buttons that both sit underneath your right thumb, at the same time.

Two shoulder buttons I can live with, likewise shoulder button + face button. (I don't like either, but I can live with them). Two face buttons at once is fucked-up ergonomics.

Regards,
Tim.

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (1)

wheresdrew (735202) | about 10 years ago | (#8843191)

"A next-gen F-Zero game...would help too."

F-Zero GX just came out for the Gamecube last fall. Is that not "next gen" enough?

Re:"What functionality needs to be added": (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | about 10 years ago | (#8847023)

"F-Zero GX just came out for the Gamecube last fall. Is that not "next gen" enough?"

No, that is current gen.

"GCN" already means "GameCube" (2, Insightful)

thelenm (213782) | about 10 years ago | (#8842918)

the next-gen GameCube (which he calls "GCNext or GCN")

Huh? The GameCube is already abbreviated as "GCN". What's with console manufacturers reusing acronyms for their next-gen consoles? Sony also did it with "PSX", which was the abbreviation for the original PlayStation. Weird.

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (1)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8843036)

"Huh? The GameCube is already abbreviated as "GCN". What's with console manufacturers reusing acronyms for their next-gen consoles? Sony also did it with "PSX", which was the abbreviation for the original PlayStation. Weird."

It's just an internal project name.

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (1)

MMaestro (585010) | about 10 years ago | (#8844163)

Indeed. Even without knowing that, you'd have to be dyslexic to abbreviate the Gamecube as "GCN". The full offical name of the system is the 'Nintendo Gamecube' (NGC) or just 'Gamecube' (GC) for short. Console manufacturers like to fake names and abbreviations to confuse the market before releasing it. Don't forget, the GC was known as 'Project Dolphin' before than and momentarily after that as 'StarCube' (at least in one magazine).

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8844221)

"Don't forget, the GC was known as 'Project Dolphin' before than and momentarily after that as 'StarCube' (at least in one magazine)."

I think I can answer the 'StarCube' comment here. Around the time that the GC was shown to the public (August 01 I think?) Nintendo registerred a bunch of domain names, starcube.com being one of them. At least one news site speculated that was the name of the system. It was probably a diversion tactic so nobody'd know for sure what the final name is.

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8845189)

Incorrect. While any Westerner has little problem with using NGC (or GBA for that matter), Nintendo prefers using it as GCN (and even AGB at times).

Check their press materials from the E3 where the Cube made its debut. Nintendo issued an entire release to urge retailers and the press to use the GCN abbreviation. For the most part, that didn't take, but a few have actually still honored Nintendo's wishes...

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8843108)

japenese abriviate it to NGC just like GBA is AGB..

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 10 years ago | (#8843345)

Don't forget "NUS" which stuck even after they dropped "Ultra" from the name of the Nintendo 64.

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (0)

TechniMyoko (670009) | about 10 years ago | (#8843585)

stuck? Ive never even heard it referred to like that before

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 10 years ago | (#8843640)

Nintendo kept referring to the console as the "Ultra 64" pretty much right on up until it was released. That's why some of the first emulators for the system had names like "UltraHLE."

Re:"GCN" already means "GameCube" (1)

jx100 (453615) | about 10 years ago | (#8855608)

it's part of the model code. Everything Nintendo releases related to the N64 has "NUS" as part of its model code. The system itself is "NUS-001"

What is Nintendo thinking? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8842921)

They seem to be getting more and more out of touch with the general gaming populace. The first console I purchased this generation was a Gamecube. It had some great games, like the Resident Evil remake, RE Zero, Eternal Darkness, etc. And the Wavebird is an absolutely fantastic controller. However.. I ditched the GC in favor of the XBox after the very poor online game support and selection the GC provided. Wish they would get with the times, because Nintendo publishes some excellent games. I'd like to see them ditch the console hardware business and start publishing for other platforms.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (3, Insightful)

SevenForever (770625) | about 10 years ago | (#8842958)

It seems that Nintendo doesn't take example after any other system. If they were to take a minute and look at the competition, they might see what they are missing. I believe they're greatest fault is as you said, the poor online gaming.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (3, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8843051)

"I believe they're greatest fault is as you said, the poor online gaming."

I'm not sure I readily agree with this. The reason Nintendo isn't into on-line gaming right now is that they're shy about asking their customers to pay a monthly fee to play a game. Some are obviously willing to do this, but are enough doing it that it is profitable? I mean seriously, why isn't the XBOX a much greater competitor to the PS2 if all that really matters is the on-line play?

Yes, I'd like on-line play, too. But I understand why Nintendo's not keen on it just yet. It's not like people can just throw up a server and provide on-line pay for free like you can with PC games.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 10 years ago | (#8843781)

Xbox has too many modchips and they limited their online play. As more and more tunneling programs become available and the xbox gets cheaper we might see some growth.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (2, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | about 10 years ago | (#8843848)

It's not like people can just throw up a server and provide on-line pay for free like you can with PC games.

Why not? People have been doing it from the beginning with games on the Xbox. All the games are hosted on the boxes of individuals with Xbox Live providing the service for matchmaking (and, obviously, the consistent development framework). This is true for virtually all Xbox Live games. Xbox Live is, essentially, a service like WON/Steam for Half-Life where one logs on to search out an appropriate game and then connects to said game apart from the service itself.

Oh, and people are INDEED willing to pay for Xbox Live for the continuity of experience over all their online games. I expect Nintendo could expect equivalent, or even better (especially in Japan), numbers with a similar service and a nice selection of games. The fact that they haven't tried so far is an indicator of either stupidity (I don't think so) or a desire to really stick it to consumers and get ridiculous profits (like they do when they release two almost identical Pokemon games at the same time).

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (1)

quecojones (108609) | about 10 years ago | (#8844986)

It's not like people can just throw up a server and provide on-line pay for free like you can with PC games.

Why not? Isn't this what most companies are doing on the PS2 (at least the ones not charging for online play)?

The truth is that Nintendo doesn't even have to do much. Just provide the hardware and some support for the developers. The individual game publishers/developers can decide whether to offer/support online play if they want to. Nintendo is just being stubborn about it.

The reason Nintendo will continue to be #3 is that they don't offer the customer what they want. I got a PS2 and then a GC. I later sold the GC and got me an XBox. Why? Because with either platform, I can choose whether I want to play online. XBox Live is optional and the PS2 Network Adapter/HDD is optional as well. Why can't Nintendo offer me that option? It doesn't need to be built-in to the console. Just having the option would be nice, but their lack of support for online play has discouraged most developers from bothering with it.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (1)

mr_jrt (676485) | about 10 years ago | (#8846485)

Whats stubborn about releasing the modem and broadband adaptors for the cube?

Could have sworm PSO was an online game. Just because developers aren't utilising what Ninty are providing doesn't make it Ninty's fault. Sure they could push for more online functionality for cube games, but why would they do that if they're not sure if its a good idea or not?

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (1)

quecojones (108609) | about 10 years ago | (#8846881)

Could have sworm PSO was an online game.

Right. One game. That really counts. :P

Whats stubborn about releasing the modem and broadband adaptors for the cube?

They could at the very least advertise the fact that the GC has the capability of online play. They could, if not actively encourage it, at least refrain from saying it isn't time for it yet.

Sure they could push for more online functionality for cube games, but why would they do that if they're not sure if its a good idea or not?

How the hell can online play be a bad idea? It may not be a great idea, but that doesn't mean that it's a bad idea. If Nintendo can't see a market for it, fine, but why go to the trouble of discouraging developers from even trying it.

Hell, just by advertising that the GC can play online and getting a few developers to make a few games with online play, they could easily get a leg up on Microsoft in the console war. A lot of people (like myself) who are actually interested in it wouldn't have to choose one of the other two consoles instead.

Others have already mentioned how the gamers that are interested in online gaming are the ones who spend the most on games/consoles anyway. So how can catering to the demographic that spends the most on your product be a bad idea? I just don't get it.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8854660)

"The reason Nintendo will continue to be #3 is that they don't offer the customer what they want."

Speak for yourself, and speak truthfully. Let me fix that for you:

"The reason I think Nintendo deserves to be #3 is that they don't offer me what I want."

Nintendo provides no internet-enabled online games of their own, and in the U.S., only Sega has released two games for it (Phantasy Star Online Eps. I & II and PSO Ep. III Card Revolution). The only other games that use the GameCube's BBA are Nintendo's LAN-enabled games, for which unofficial third-parties have developed tunneling software for internet-enabled play.

However, the tone of your post indicates that you didn't even know that the BBA and modem adapter existed. That's because Nintendo has little faith in online games outside of what developers want to show them - and their low faith has bcome a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Me, I don't play online games or want to play online games. In that light, the GameCube and PS2 are the two current home machines to have, and of course a GBA.

BTW, you should think globally. Nintendo is not #3, they are #2. Even in the U.S., Nintendo is #2. It's only the __GAMECUBE__ that is __#4__ in the U.S. and Europe, behind PS2, __NINTENDO'S GBA__, and Xbox.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (1)

quecojones (108609) | about 10 years ago | (#8857171)

I did know about an adapter that let you use a modem, but I didn't know about an ethernet (or broadband) adapter.

I almost agree with you, but the thing is that I'm not the only one who wants to play online. I may be among the minority, but there are a few of us. No need to fix it for me. :P

As for Nintendo not being #3 because of the GBA, that's nice, but handhelds are another matter. I like the selection of games, but I can't really say that I like the small screen. That's why I don't play games on handhelds.

I'm talking about the consoles. No matter how much the Nintendo fanboys cry about how Nintendo is making money and is financially stable, it still doesn't change the act that the GameCube is basically #3.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (1)

Jahf (21968) | about 10 years ago | (#8843464)

XBox and PS2 may have decent, if different, online gaming architecture but neither has enough games for online play to make me remotely interested in paying the extra.

There is a LONG way to go in the online console world ... Nintendo still has plenty of time to work out their strategy.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (1)

Paladine97 (467512) | about 10 years ago | (#8848761)

It seems pretty clear to me why you ditched the system. All the games you listed as being great were from the shock-horror genre. The Cube has a much lower selection of these games as say the PS2 or XBox.

I think most gamers would think of the Zeldas, Metroids, Marios as the GCN's great games and this is where the strength of the GCN lies.

That's what's nice about having multiple consoles, each can tailor to different users.

Re:What is Nintendo thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8854954)

They seem to be getting more and more out of touch with the general gaming populace.

Let's assume that we are both part of that populace. Safe bet.

The first console I purchased this generation was a Gamecube.

For me, it was both the Dreamcast and PS2. I had the PS2 a couple of months before my GameCube, because the GameCube hadn't been released yet, and a few good games were already available for the PS2. And I had the Dreamcast a few weeks after it was released, because shit, it was the Dreamcast.

It had some great games, like the Resident Evil remake, RE Zero, Eternal Darkness, etc. And the Wavebird is an absolutely fantastic controller.

Oh, it still has those great games. Otherwise, agreed on all points, except I only wish the Wavebird had a rechargeable battery and a charging cradle.

However.. I ditched the GC in favor of the XBox after the very poor online game support and selection the GC provided."

Me, I have kept my DC, PS2, and GameCube, but I sold my Xbox to a family friend, because I could not justify the price of online gaming on XBL versus how much I'd use it, if at all. I bought a second Wavebird and a used GBA SP to replace an overused regular GBA with the cash. I could have kept it for the occasional worthwhile exclusive and for ports, but who gets thrilled about ports? I can play ports on GameCube with negligible quality difference, and those that don't exist for GC, I can play on PS2. Besides, I'm not going to send game licensee fees to Microsoft of all people, when they can go elsewhere to subsidize other things.

I digress. My point is that the Xbox's killer app - XBL - doesn't do it for me, and I'm part of the same general gaming populace as people who make broad, general, clueless statements to the effect of, "Nintendo is out of touch with everyone, because I am out of touch with Nintendo." I just think longer about such things.

Wish they would get with the times, because Nintendo publishes some excellent games.

It actually sounds like you are just fine ignoring Nintendo, the same way I am fine with ignoring Microsoft. No need to lament any imaginary losses.

I'd like to see them ditch the console hardware business and start publishing for other platforms.

I wouldn't. Not in a million years. Look at the quality of Sega's games since ditching hardware. You'd think they could focus their resources to their strong point, software, right? No, that's beyond wrong. Three great games have come out of them since then, and that's it: the Super Monkey Ball series, the Virtua Fighter 4 games and F-Zero GX (financially sponsored and supervised by members of Nintendo's EAD group, to be published by Nintendo using their own license). GunValkyrie sucks. Gungrave sucks. Billy Hatcher is fun for a few minutes, then wanes. PD Orta is the same way. Both of their Shinobi games are forgettable. The Sonic games all existed on the Dreamcast, and they were quite ho-hum to begin with. The one new multi-platform Sonic game is, by all accounts, even more uninsteresting as their Dreamcast/GameCube Sonic games. Rez, Shenmue 2, and Skies of Arcadia are all DC games as well (meaning we can't take them into consideration when discussing games from post-tragedy Sega). Virtual On Marz sucks because - get this, fanboys - you are expected to use the Dual Shock analog sticks as a replacement for Sega's traditional TwinSticks. Hmm, not making hardware any more didn't work out that well for the franchise apparently. All their Sports titles....well, I wouldn't know anything about them, other than the fact they are not even denting EA's market share.

Nobody speaks of Sega in the same breath as even Capcom and Namco any more, not to mention how they stack up today against Nintendo. So, the last thing Nintendo wants is to be the next Sega. Heck, they wouldn't even want to be the next Square, and Square was blessed with the best of all worlds: Partial ownership by a hardware manufacturer (Sony) who coddles them as a mother coddles her favorite child, new ownership and management by their once-mightiest competitor (Enix) who is now out the way, and the freedom to create for other platforms (both Nintendo systems). But their financials are in the shitter, despite fairly good game sales.

Third parties have it rougher than first parties do, unless they're shit factories like EA that has only to dangle Madden in front of everone's noses.

Consider this. Super Mario Sunshine (one fairly good game) had sold just as many copies as every Sonic game available on the GameCube, _combined_, until Sonic Heroes was released. That's the kind of power that first-party sales have, compared to what third parties with comparable franchises see.

Nintendo will not stop making consoles unless they could make more money on software alone, compared to the money they currently make as a software, hardware, and _platform licensor_. Given that Nintendo is a smart company, run by non-idiots unlike Sega, such an environment does not exist. This is one of two reasons * Microsoft is BUYING INTO THE INDUSTRY: developer licensing fees.

* The other is "the living room," however cliche and abstract that sounds.

New technology? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8842977)

I believe they may be thinking along the lines of something very different, like the GBA DS is. Part of me is hoping they don't come out with some hardware gimmick, because those are certain to fail in the long run.
However there is so much criticism for the lack of originality in games today, that part of me wants them to offer up this extremely unique device that will change the perspective of gamin in a drastic way. It just may be the breath of fresh air that the industry needs. Most gamers are comfortable with their current gaming, so something too drastic could also be a huge mistake.

Nintendo is in the best position, and is the best company, to attempt something like this, so I hope for the best. Our gaming future is at stake here!

Re:New technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8845525)

No doubt it should contain some key items, along with a few gems from other consoles...

Key parts:
1) Easy network and internet connection. Allow VPN multiplayer gaming. People will do this even if it is forbidden, might as well make it a feature, and make people happy.
2) Hard drive. Not only for quick saving and loading, it'd also probably allow for smoother gameplay. (Do not confuse this with capability to install patches, that's OUT.)

Optional parts:
1) Wireless controllers. (for obvious reasons)
2a) Use either GBA/GB DS like carts for optional memory. Reason for said carts is to allow easy connectivity to carts.
2b) If not, allow easy connectivity to the GBA/GB DS.
3) Have controllers similar to those Dreamcast ones. Having personal screens will probably reduce clutter on the main game-screen, especially for multiplayer.
4) Have headphone/microphone jacks, mainly for online gaming, though can be used for other purposes.

Re:New technology? (2, Insightful)

jasonditz (597385) | about 10 years ago | (#8845784)

A gimmick is not neccesarily a bad thing. The CD-ROM drive on the Philips CDi was considered a gimmick... a few years later virtually every console had one. The 3D extensions in the original playstation's hardware was considered a gimmick... now a console without 3D extensions would be unthinkable.

Its only a gimmick until it succeeds, then its "being ahead of the curve".

Forget functionality (3, Insightful)

Toxygen (738180) | about 10 years ago | (#8843031)

It's all about the games. Always has been. The reason people buy Nintendo is because of the marios, the metroids, and the zeldas, those kickass exclusive games you just can't get anywhere else. The reason people buy xboxes and playstations is so they can play those highly-advertised gtas and final fantasies after watching a dvd. Think about it. Nintendo's busy delivering the quality while sony and ms are giving us the quantity.

And screw backwards compatibility. I don't care at all about it. It works with the GBA because it already owns something like 80% of the handheld market, but who actually still plays psx games on their ps2? Whoever played sega games on their genesis? Or sega cd or 32x for that matter? I don't want my cool new console to be crippled just because it has to dumb itself down for 5 year old games.

Re:Forget functionality (1)

Vaevictis666 (680137) | about 10 years ago | (#8843150)

I agree. I'd rather have my next-gen GC be dvd compatable than CG compatable. The GC is a small box anyways :P

Re:Forget functionality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8843776)

I agree. I'd rather have my next-gen GC be dvd compatable than CG compatable. The GC is a small box anyways :P

Yeah, and remember to include some games on my dvd player too!

Re:Forget functionality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8843151)

I still play psx games on my ps2. I own over a dozen of the fuckers, and I've always been selective about which games I actually shell out for, which means it's a dozen or so games that I actually LIKE and WANT TO PLAY SOMETIMES.

People who are always buying and selling systems and games display, as I see it, some combination of too much spare cash and too little discernment. You know what you can do? You can RENT games. Wow!

Re:Forget functionality (-1)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | about 10 years ago | (#8846146)

I still play Final Fantasy and Castlevania PSX games on my PS2. You can get the games for 15 to 20 bucks. Backwards compatibility is a must for any console rig. Just look at how many pissed off people there are about the rumors that xbox games won't play on XBox 2. People feel cheated and taken advantage of when a game company says "hey fan boy. shell out another 300 dollars for this shiney new system and oh by the way, the hunderds of dollars you spent on our previous system is out the window now."

Re:Forget functionality (2, Informative)

Firehawke (50498) | about 10 years ago | (#8847455)

I still run quite a large selection of PSX discs in my PS2 and I'm sure I'm not alone. Games like Symphony of the Night don't exactly degrade even when compared to more modern titles.

Why do you think that a system has to be "crippled" to have backwards compatibility? Removing the PSX backwards compatibility would have NO effect on the PS2, and the Panasonic Q demonstrates that DVD playback could be added to a next-gen Cube without sacrificing backwards compatibility.

It's called the Internet. (3, Interesting)

b0r0din (304712) | about 10 years ago | (#8843102)

Nintendo has made a lot of bad decisions by failing to address a HUGE hole in their business: networked games. Ok, so there are four ports now, so it's more party-friendly, good for groups of kids who play together. So you've added features including interfacing with the GBA. Great tie-in. But what about adults, the original NES owners, who have their own lives in different areas apart from their good friends but still play regularly with each other? If you ask me, the GameCube has the best chance of creating solid networked games because you've got the potential for four people per Cube without a multitap - ie. the whole idea is multiplayer.

Also, I question the portability issue of the cube. It's not like they got rid of all the attachments necessary to make a gamecube truly portable. You still have to hook up the audio. You still have to plug it into a DC outlet. You still have to bring the controllers along. Sure it's lighter than a PS2, but that still doesn't mean it's a whole lot easier to lug around.

Get something going along networked gaming. M$ and Sony are killing along those lines.

Also, get some adult-themed games going. Maybe even allow independant parties to make games for your system without imposing minimums like a 10,000 minidisc purchase.

Re:It's called the Internet. (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8843189)

"Nintendo has made a lot of bad decisions by failing to address a HUGE hole in their business: networked games."

Hardly a bad business decision. It's not doing Sony or Microsoft a whole lotta good. Part of the reason for the GC's success is its low price. So either they'd have to include a network adapter and raise the price of the system (Microsoft's having difficulty keeping up with the GC despite having one) or they'd have to provide a peripheral system, which hasn't historically shown much success.

"Also, I question the portability issue of the cube. It's not like they got rid of all the attachments necessary to make a gamecube truly portable. You still have to hook up the audio. You still have to plug it into a DC outlet. You still have to bring the controllers along. Sure it's lighter than a PS2, but that still doesn't mean it's a whole lot easier to lug around."

Speaking as somebody who has lugged the system around a few times, I can assure you that the GC survives movings much more readily than any other system to date. The small form and the handle are very helpful, most TVs have a video in on the front, and Wavebird controllers make the whole cable mess disappear. The PS2 and XBOX are monsters in comparison, and far more fragile. The lack of a handle on either machine is noticably painful as well.

"Get something going along networked gaming. M$ and Sony are killing along those lines."

They're only killing Nintendo in the sense that they haven't provided a service yet. Yes, you are right there. The real question is whether or not Sony or Microsoft are making any real money with their on-line stuff. I'd be willing to bet the answer is 'unsubstantial', but would welcome clarification.

"Maybe even allow independant parties to make games for your system without imposing minimums like a 10,000 minidisc purchase."

What good would that do besides tying up their publishing business?

Re:It's called the Internet. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8844820)

NanoGator, you make some very good points. GameCube outselling Xbox despite Microsoft's expensive network is probably the best reason I've seen for Nintendo's careful online approach. However, some clarification is in order.

Microsoft does not make money from their network. They are collecting monthly fees from less than one million users (only 500,000 users worldwide as of last June, Microsoft's optimistic goal is one million by this June). That doesn't even begin to subsidize their high network maintenance costs and constant XBL advertising in perpetual rotation on every TV channel in existence. But damn, they are Microsoft. They will eat losses until revision 3, as always. That's what an OS and office suite monopoly buys them, the ability to bleed money while brute forcing their way into lucrative markets.

Sony makes a very small amount of money on their network, simply because there's basically no network to maintain, unless you're only talking about Everquest. It's all about per-game servers, which is much cheaper to do.

So Nintendo has the choice of losing money on the deployment of a network, or making very little money on the same patchwork model as Sony. They chose the latter. Good move, given the extremely low number of actual online gamers compared to the hype. This is not the PC games market, Xbox notwithstanding.

Ever wonder how all the PSO games work on GameCube? It's the Sony model! I've said it before with different words, but I'll say it again: When it comes to online gaming, Nintendo is doing the same thing Sony is. It's just that Sony is the market leader, while Nintendo isn't. Publishers are not touching the GCN BBA simply because of the perceived wasted resources that are involved in porting network code to the second place console, particularly when Nintendo isn't advertising the BBA or promoting its use to developers. Clearly a chicken and egg problem. Sega is the only one that's tried, but they're pulling it off, oh, somehow.

And just remember kids: MS has between 500,000 and 1 million online gamers by their own admission. But Phantasy Star Online eps I & II for _GameCube_ has sold 200,000 (!!!!) copies. Whether every copy is online is another issue, but it's not too shabby compared to the hype.

That is a tiny piece of the big picture (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8844079)

There are 77-million gamers around the world.

Total online console gamers are around 3 million.

Understand their decision now? Multiplayer is a huge benefit for games, and will ultimately be a large part of the future of games, but not right now.

Re:It's called the Internet. (1)

Reorax (629666) | about 10 years ago | (#8844778)

Also, I question the portability issue of the cube. It's not like they got rid of all the attachments necessary to make a gamecube truly portable. You still have to hook up the audio. You still have to plug it into a DC outlet. You still have to bring the controllers along. Sure it's lighter than a PS2, but that still doesn't mean it's a whole lot easier to lug around.

C'mon, it has a frickin' handle! Isn't that enough for you ingrates?

Re:It's called the Internet. (1)

Alban (86010) | about 10 years ago | (#8850364)

If you compare the number of online ps2 or xbox owners to the total number of ps2 or xbox owners, you will see that only a fraction of them are online.

As amazing as a service like XBox live is, it's still not the killer feature for a console.

Will the bubble burst? (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8843109)

I think Mr. Iwata is looking in the right direction. He makes the claim that the next generation will be difficult to distinguish from this current generation. I'm not sure that's 100% true. I recently saw a demo of 'modern realtime hardware' that involved a lot of shadow casting etc that would definitely make next-generation games more interesting. I think it'll be the generation following the next one that'll be difficult to be distinguishing.

Anyway, I have drifted a bit. Modern game consoles have reached a point where it's more about what the artist can do with the system than what the system can do for them. At that point, Mr. Iwata is right, competition becomes very difficult. His suggestion that there needs to be other distinguishing factors is spot on. It is, for this reason, that I think Nintendo has ample opportunity to retake the market. They, as a game developer as well as a hardware developer, know what it takes to entertain, and they certainly have the right talent to cook up those juicy new ideas. I don't have as much faith in Sony or Microsoft. Sony's too arogant (ask the developers about what making a PS2 game is like)and Microsoft is too inexperienced. Niether have any real experience making AAA games.

Maybe saying Nintendo will win back the market is a bit of an overstatement. All this talk of Nintendo losing market share conveniently leaves out figures of how much the market has grown in the last 5 years. Maybe Nintendo won't be #1 again. Maybe it'll be #2 and the market is big enough for them to be quite comfortable profit-wise. Personally, I think that's a bigger win. It means there's another company who's producing an alternative that another segment of the market likes. Who knows?

Well at this point I'm just babbling. Sorry. I just think that Nintendo has at least the right mind-set to continue to succeed. I also think that if Sony and Microsoft are smart, they'll listen to what Iwata has to say very carefully.

Re:Will the bubble burst? (2, Insightful)

SuperMo0 (730560) | about 10 years ago | (#8843596)

I also think that if Sony and Microsoft are smart, they'll listen to what Iwata has to say very carefully.

True. Nintendo came before either of these companies as a game maker, and therefore has the experience to know where the market is going. It's basically a sixth sense through massive amounts of experience.

All this talk of Nintendo losing market share conveniently leaves out figures of how much the market has grown in the last 5 years.

This is usually mentioned by people who are trying to declare Nintendo's downfall, ignoring the fact that they have billions of dollars stored away from previous systems and revenue still coming in from the GBA. Nintendo may be stumbling, but they're not dying by any means.

The next generation looks to be an interesting one, and with all three companies' positions in it basically up in the air. At least in my opinion.

Re:Will the bubble burst? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8854473)

"Nintendo came before either of these companies as a game maker, and therefore has the experience to know where the market is going."

Nintendo is older than Sony and Microsoft combined. But I'd say everybody involved knows what they are doing. All we can do as gamers is support the companies that will continue to release the games that we want to play. Because honestly, do you think some of these companies (one in particular) really see games as anything other than a means to an end, as opposed to a culture that they have a responsibility to nurture?

Nintendo is the traditional gaming company that has a great interest in making sure that software, not feature bloat, remains king in the game industry. This doesn't go over well with your average Americans, who buy oversized SUVs for trips to the grocery store. Gamers tend to know better, but sometimes even that can't be depended upon.

Sony is the electronics company that saw themselves as the company that SHOULD HAVE developed the Game & Watch, the Famicom, and the GameBoy instead of Nintendo. After their partnership with Nintendo soured (bad move, Nintendo!), they went ahead and out-played Nintendo and Sega at the console game. Even today, it can be argued that Sony themselves know relatively little about good games, but at least beginning 2-3 years after the introduction of the original Playstation, they have not been stupid when it comes to developer relations, resulting in a steady stream of third-party software, some of it very good. Technical development, yes, they often make stupid decisions. Quality assurance? Non-existent. But developer relations? They are the masters.

Microsoft is the wild card that has turned everyone on their ears. They don't care about preserving Japanese gaming tradition, even though they were a small part of it in the 80s with their contributions in the MSX platform. They don't care about preserving any gaming tradition, except for those which maintain Windows domination (including Xbox). They want to "own the living room" and make it the domain of the IT sector.

Microsoft's strategy is what has Sony and Nintendo pushing so hard to compete, even though Microsoft's performance has been somewhat underwhelming compared to the billions of dollars that they have been throwing at the market. Sony wants to retain the living room on behalf of the consumer electronics sector. Nintendo just wants to sell games.

And that's why Nintendo's is the only strategy that can succeed without the other strategies failing. Perennial second-runners can make lots of money in the face of overwhelming competition; just look at Apple, or even better, look at how well-off Nintendo was in the N64 days. Personally, I think that Nintendo is the one current gaming company that NEEDS to survive, for game culture not to degenerate into a wasteland like the music and movie industries.

Re:Will the bubble burst? (1)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | about 10 years ago | (#8849003)

I agree.
Remember, the gaming market is shrinking in Japan, Nintendo's constant stomping ground for the past 20 yrs or so. I think Mr. Iwata is just realizing that the same thing could happen in the US, and that wouldnt be good.

Don't believe me? Imagine the gaming industry without Nintendo. Innovation seems few and far between elsewhere. If I play another WW2 FPS, I will seriously barf. GTA was kinda innovative, but even that seems based on Zelda (with hookers!)
(Point: most -not all- game companies try and ride whatever cash cow is around at the moment)

What happens when all the 17-yr old males the industry depends on, get bored with the same old crap?

Iwata is trying to keep it new and interesting, and trying to keep the novelty of playing games alive. Rock on.

Re:Will the bubble burst? (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | about 10 years ago | (#8851150)

I agree.
Remember, the gaming market is shrinking in Japan, Nintendo's constant stomping ground for the past 20 yrs or so. I think Mr. Iwata is just realizing that the same thing could happen in the US, and that wouldnt be good.


N64 did shit business in Japan. And I doubt he thinks the same thing would happen in the USA, because there is no sign of that happening (outside of PC gaming, of course). See Gamespy's article with the CESA guy today for reasons why.

Don't believe me? Imagine the gaming industry without Nintendo. Innovation seems few and far between elsewhere. If I play another WW2 FPS, I will seriously barf. GTA was kinda innovative, but even that seems based on Zelda (with hookers!)
(Point: most -not all- game companies try and ride whatever cash cow is around at the moment)


Please. Name an innovative (by your unreasonable standards) game that Nintendo has released this generation. Pikmin is just a Lemmings rip-off, Animal Crossing is just a rip-off of Harvest Moon (and was released for the N64 in Japan, so it isn't even a new game), etc.

And when did Nintendo stop riding cashcows? Pokemon (always releasing two nearly identical versions at once especially), the Mario franchise (how many Mario Party games?), etc. They have created how many new settings (or groups of characters) this generation? One?

And personally, Nintendo's complete inability to demonstrate innovative design is why I have lost interest in them. They certainly had some in the N64 days, and even moreso before then. Now it is just rehash after rehash. Their most innovative recent game, Made in Wario, has already been given a GC sequel, that just happens to be a quick cash-in GBA port. Blah.

What happens when all the 17-yr old males the industry depends on, get bored with the same old crap?

Which industry are you referring to? The American videogame industry depends on gamers in their mid- to late-20s, since that is the market's main demographic. Europe is similar. Not sure about Japan, though.

Iwata is trying to keep it new and interesting, and trying to keep the novelty of playing games alive. Rock on.

I would love for him to do this. Maybe E3 will reveal something like this, but I expect yet another Zelda64 sequel, a new Metroid game, maybe another Mario platformer, a new Pokemon spin-off, lots of hype about the 4th Star Fox game...

Re:Will the bubble burst? (1)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | about 10 years ago | (#8854774)


N64 did shit business in Japan.

Youre thinking to specific, mr genius - and why so defensive?

Nintendo has how many millions(billions?) in the bank? Maybe the N64 didnt tickle your fancy, and wasnt much compared to the PS/PS2 successes, but, yes I would consider Nintendo a successful company in Japan over the last 20 yrs.


because there is no sign of that happening (outside of PC gaming, of course)

Umm.. The Japanese game market and world PC game market are starting to slide - 2 markets usually on the cutting edge of gaming...hmmm no sign?

And even if those arent direct signs, that does NOT mean the bubble won't burst. That's why they call it a bubble. POP!

Please. Name an innovative (by your unreasonable standards) game that Nintendo has released this generation.

I'm not talking about the current generation here, Snippy. Iwata is talking about the Future. There needs to be innovation or there may be a crash - thats the point. And why are my standards unreasonable just because I'm sick of WW2 games?

I'm not even saying riding cash cows is bad either. Just that eventually the fucker DIES.

Re:Will the bubble burst? (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | about 10 years ago | (#8856207)

Youre thinking to specific, mr genius - and why so defensive?

Eh, my Nintendo fanboy alarm was going off, so I panicked a bit. ;)

Nintendo has how many millions(billions?) in the bank? Maybe the N64 didnt tickle your fancy, and wasnt much compared to the PS/PS2 successes, but, yes I would consider Nintendo a successful company in Japan over the last 20 yrs.

Billions is correct. And to the contrary, I loved my N64, purchased at launch - never even bothered with the PSX (though I did play around with a few PSX games via emulation), and I didn't pick up a Saturn until around two years ago. As I did mention, Nintendo certainly did make some innovative stuff in that era. I will concede that if you focus on the past 20 years, your comment is correct.

Umm.. The Japanese game market and world PC game market are starting to slide - 2 markets usually on the cutting edge of gaming...hmmm no sign?

And even if those arent direct signs, that does NOT mean the bubble won't burst. That's why they call it a bubble. POP!


It has been a long time since the PC and (to a lesser extent) the Japanese market have been on the cutting edge. I say this as a huge fan of PC gaming and much of the quirky and/or old-school Japanese gaming designs (big fan of Sega and shmups, for example).

Anyway, the Japanese market is falling down for many reasons, not the least of which is the increasing dominance of Keitai (mobile/portable gaming). Can't see that happening in the USA - the demographics are very different when to comes to commuting, the importance of ownership helps out too (as the Gamespy article I mentioned [gamespy.com] points out), and just the nature of play in our culture (Americans like to do it at home, generally, with friends). The newly-allowed used game sales are most destructive to Japan's traditionally strong gaming markets (linear RPGs), whereas the strongest selling genres in America are stuff like sports games, which are massively resistent to that. And though neither the Japanese nor American economy is doing well, it will be quite a few years before the USA falls as much as Japan has. But the main point is that the Western console games market is growing, has been for quite some time, and has shown no signs of that stopping. We simply aren't at a saturation point, and no entertainment form seems poised to intrude on interactive gaming. And let's be honest - Japan overall hasn't been putting out all that great stuff, compared to maybe six years ago. The lack of risk-taking and cultural myopia ("We need to make games easier!") prevents new market expansion...

PC gaming is doing poorly for a number of reasons: a comparatively limited control scheme (only good for FPS and strategy games), more competition from older games (Ex: I would rather emulate or play Alpha Centauri in many cases than play a new FPS game), developer/publisher irresponsibility (the bugginess of PC games is criminal), driver issues generally getting worse and not better, and just a huge lack of innovation overall. Seriously, name a big PC release in the next year that isn't a RTS, FPS, or MMORPG.

And of course a bubble could pop. We could also we wiped out by an asteroid tomorrow. That doesn't mean either are all that likely. :D

I'm not talking about the current generation here, Snippy. Iwata is talking about the Future. There needs to be innovation or there may be a crash - thats the point. And why are my standards unreasonable just because I'm sick of WW2 games?

Well, why isn't he talking about the current generation? Both MS and Sony have put out more innovative and influential games than anything Nintendo has attempted, and I can't understand why.

Being a huge fan of Sega, I love innovative games. Don't get me wrong - I agree that innovation is massively important, if perhaps occasionally overrated. (Oftentimes the innovator loses money big-time, as Sega demonstrates! :D Still, it is important to keep at it - keeps the 'gaming biosphere' healthy and varied.)

I am sick of WW2 games, too - I was referring more to your reference that GTA3 was 'Zelda with hookers'. I just don't see that, though I could imagine how someone could argue it. It seems to me more to be a logical extension of GTA1, which was even less Zelda-like, IMO.

I'm not even saying riding cash cows is bad either. Just that eventually the fucker DIES.

Agreed - but why isn't Nintendo creating any new ones then? Where is all of this Nintendo innovation I keep hearing about, from both its fans and its employees?

Sorry this got to essay length. We mostly seem to agree on this stuff, I just think you are giving Nintendo too much credit right now.

Re:Will the bubble burst? (1)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | about 10 years ago | (#8857855)

I wasn't trying to sound like a fan or like I'm giving undo credit. We do seem to agree on most of this.

Basically, I was just trying to underline Iwata's point that the industry can stagnate and die without innovation. Not that it will. You said yourself that one of the reasons that the PC gaming is sliding a bit is because of the lack of innovation. Of course many other reasons are just as important, as you pointed out, but the lack of innovation is one factor you can control.

I still believe Nintendo is a rather innovative company. And although some of the recent attempts (GBA connectivity, controller design, "simpler" games, upcoming DS w/touchscreen) have taken a lot of critisicm, they are, in fact, trying.

It's in the controller not the visuals (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8843193)

Advancing graphics is one thing, but advancing control peripherals is just as important. Let's look at the history of games for a good example:

If you stretch as far back as the 70's, arcade games had very primitive visuals, but some of the better games offered sophisticated input control.

Examples:
PONG uses a rotary "spinner" control. So even though the game consists of controlling a rectangle to hit a square "ball", the input is still pretty advance, with the position of your "rectangle" moving up and down proportional to the rate at which you turn the spinner controller. Imagine if the game designers used a joystick instead. (For you younger folk, imagine the game "Arkanoid" with a joystick for input instead.)

Centipede, Missile Command:
Used a trackball for player control. So although quick reflexes are important to master a game like Centipede, there's also the skill of mastering use of a trackball controller to move the player object.

Tron: Both a joystick for player control, and a spinner for aiming your shots.

Track n Field: press two buttons as fast as possible to get your player to go fast. Imagine how boring this game would be with just a joystick you pushed left to run left.

Light gun games: Goes without saying... Light guns are one of those peripherals that HAVE made their way onto home consoles for pretty much every generation.

Racing games with steering wheels and pedals: Again, thankfully we have these available for most generations of game consoles (but not all of us bother to fork over the cash to buy such devices).

In the mid to late 80's, games tended to all use joysticks and buttons. It was no coincidence they offer little in the way of innovative control input. One exception was Street Fighter II. They introduced the concept of performing "moves", such as semi-circle motions with the joystick. I need not mention what that game "started"...

And speaking of Street Fighter... the original Street Fighter had two big huge rubber buttons instead of the 6 buttons of different strength. You'd have to literally punch the big button as hard as you could and the strength of your real-world punch translated into the strength of your on-screen character's strength. No, this didn't work that well, since you got tired or could hurt your hand (it didn't take long before these arcade games got retrofitted with ordinary buttons) but you all get the point right? There's a reason why arcade game designers even came up with new input ideas like this.

Back to consoles... When the Nintendo 64 appeared and had an analog joystick, and we saw what 3D could really offer, thanks to Mario 64, it opened up a new realm of gameplay. But I feel we could still explore new play mechanics through innovative input devices. Imagine playing a game like Super Monkey Ball with a trackball. (Or that new game from Namco where you roll around picking up everything you touch...) We need new kinds of controllers, and innovative use of the traditional analog controllers. The more games remain "push left and the thing moves left".

~RB

Re:It's in the controller not the visuals (2, Informative)

Reorax (629666) | about 10 years ago | (#8844794)

(Or that new game from Namco where you roll around picking up everything you touch...)

It's called Katamari Damashii. It's not that hard to remember. Especiallly when you have Google around.

GameBoy Extended pic (2, Informative)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8843215)

The article refers to a fan-made image of the "GameBoy Extended" machine that plays GC games.

I found a pic of it:

http://www.jeux-france.com/images0_4_2049.html

Yep, it's a hoax, but the artist did a darned good job.

Re:GameBoy Extended pic (0, Redundant)

GearType2 (614552) | about 10 years ago | (#8844143)

this isn't a real pic... ummm... and if I remember correctly wasn't it just something a magazine made based on what *they* wanted the next handheld to look like?

Re:GameBoy Extended pic (1)

spir0 (319821) | about 10 years ago | (#8844238)

I beg to differ. that monstrosity is gigantic! the PC Engine was more portable than that. if people fall for that you may as well tell them a PSone with lcd screen attached is a handheld.

Iwata knows... (3, Interesting)

Shakey_Jake33 (670826) | about 10 years ago | (#8843522)

In many ways, Iwata has made some good points (while loosing the plot on others of course)... First off, his comment about people finding it hard to notice the graphical improvements with the new formats, while not quite as insignificant as he makes them sound, are probably quite right. I don't know about you, but most non-gamers don't have a clue what the technical differences are between the current 3 formats. Sure some may know the XBox is more powerful than the PS2, but clearly few see it as a big thing. And one could argue that in terms of raw power, the XBox outshines the Gamecube, but lets be fair, you'd be kinda hard pressed to see it when looking at both formats top games. And I think this is the point Iwata was making here. The Gamecube wasn't as powerful as the XBox on paper (save the PPC vs Intel x86 debate guys), but it proved to be little hinderance in the real world, and saved Nintendo lots of money in the long run. Frankly if Nintendo used slightly less powerful parts for a fraction of the cost like they did with the GameCube, I'm all for it. What I'm not too sure Iwata has the right track on is this 'new technologies' thing he refers to. Why are they so hell-bent on changing the way games are played anyway? Sure, innovation is a good thing, but is the dual-screen feature of the DS really an innovation, or a gimmick? Will it be a key part of handheld gaming in the future? I doubt it. And for some reason, this also reminds me of the strange design of the N64 controller which, while very cool after a while, soon saw Nintendo returning to a more conventional design with the GameCube. I think Nintendo try too hard in this catagory and must realise that some things people just like better when they are familiar with them.

Re:Iwata knows... (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | about 10 years ago | (#8844835)

Disclaimer: Just my opinion and speculation of course.

Because they sense that their most important market, Japan, is ready for a gaming crash.

It's primed for it.

That's why Konami, Capcom and many of the older japanese dev houses are suddenly collaborating with Nintendo.

Think about it. How many differences in gameplay are there really between say Halo and Goldeneye, or Halo and Tribes. FFX and FFVII?

How many of these games are you going to want to go back and play through again in a decade, like a lot of us play back through(or emulate) our old "golden era" SEGA and Nintendo games.

I'd bet not many. I think we've hit a limit, there isn't much more new things that can be done with current hardware. Maybe Nintendo will come up with a solution and wow us all, maybe not, but I bet they're the only console maker who stands a chance at doing so.

Mod parent up (1)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | about 10 years ago | (#8849199)

This is exactly Iwata's motivation. (and what I was trying to say in an earlier post).

Believe it or not, games have always been evolving and becoming more accessible. Cutting back on the innovation kills the evolution and is not a good idea for the industry as a whole - and Iwata knows it. Go Nintendo!

Re:Iwata knows... (1)

jensen404 (717086) | about 10 years ago | (#8844964)

And for some reason, this also reminds me of the strange design of the N64 controller which, while very cool after a while, soon saw Nintendo returning to a more conventional design with the GameCube. I think Nintendo try too hard in this catagory and must realise that some things people just like better when they are familiar with them.
Um... I disagree with that. Nintendo was the first in many areas of game controllers.

The first gamepad as we know them today.
The first d-pad
shoulder buttons
analog direction control (thumb joystick)
rumble
buttons with different shapes (gamecube)
first console with 4 contoller inputs.

Re:Iwata knows... (1)

Shakey_Jake33 (670826) | about 10 years ago | (#8845805)

Oh I'm not doubting thta Nintendo have made some great evolutionary steps in gaming (well, I personally think rumble is an awful feature, otheres clearly disagree), just like the ones you mentioned.... but the difference is all of those examples added largely to the gameplay, something which, IMO, the N64 controller did not. That was a clear case of change where is was not needed, and I can't help but think that recently many of Nintendo's decisions have been a case of this.

Re:Iwata knows... (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | about 10 years ago | (#8850531)

The N64 controller remains to this day as the only console controller reasonably suitable for playing an FPS. Gamecube's sucks for it (Metroid Prime confirms it). Xbox's sucks for it (Time Splitters 2 confirms it, and that's based on the Goldeneye engine!). And PS2's is the same as PS1's, so it's no better now than it was when it was packed with a system competing with the N64 itself.

No, no other console controller has the unique arrangement of digital "movement" buttons and an analog stick for "looking" that the N64 had. Combined with the Z-button in its proper position on the bottom of the controller, that controller was perfect for FPS games. And Madden football games. And those 16-bit-era fighting games like MK and SFII.

The controller was the high point of the N64's design. 4 ports, plenty of buttons, innovative design, and the expansion pak port... it was perfect. Much of the rest of the system could've used such attention to detail.

No, no, no, no and no. (4, Insightful)

Nalgas D. Lemur (105785) | about 10 years ago | (#8843689)

Someone has to say this, and it might as well be me. In the comments on every story like this, there's always at least one person, usually several, who claim that the GameCube's major failing is the lack of support for networking. I must disagree entirely.

Unless something's changed a whole lot in the past couple months, the online aspect of the other two current consoles is very visible, but the number of people who actually are participating is incredibly small in comparison to how much we hear about them. Xbox Live and some of the online stuff for the PS2 is well done, and a lot of people who have used them are impressed by them. However, the people who have even used a console-based online gaming service are a tiny fraction of the number of console gamers who never have.

In the PC gaming world, especially with things like MMORPGs, RTS games, FPS games, etc., multiplayer network support is almost vitally important. I don't think everyone realizes that the console world isn't like that...yet. I think it will probably become more important in the future, and any console in the next generation without good support for it will probably suffer somewhat, but at this point in time, the vast majority of console gamers are completely unaffected by whether a game or console has network support or not.

Getting back to why the GameCube was less successful than it could've been, I suspect a least a couple things had something to do with it. Launching an entire year after the PS2 definitely did not help. While the PS2 had few, if any, compelling games in its first year, the same could be said of the GameCube, and by the time the GC started getting more games worth playing, the PS2 had already been out for a couple years, had much more support, and was in many more homes.

On a related note, the GC was pretty lacking in third-party support until more recently, too. Even now, I look at which games I've been playing lately on my GC and which games I'm looking forward to, and the vast majority are straight from Nintendo. Now, if I had to pick one and only one company whose games I could play, it would be Nintendo, so I'm not too bothered by that, but it would be nice to have more stuff out there to choose from.

Regardless, as long as Nintendo gets to the party on time with the next console, instead of being unfashionably late, I think they're on the right track. I buy consoles to play games, not to watch movies on or to use a PVR or a CD player or anything else like that. I play games because I want to have fun. As far as I'm concerned, they make some of the best games that are the most fun, and anything they do to make it easier to make good games and to create more ways for games to be fun is ok with me.

Re:No, no, no, no and no. (0)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | about 10 years ago | (#8843939)

The number of players online at a time is small but the types of players who are attracted to online games are the hardcore players - who spend the most money on games. The casual player who may buy a few games per year does not care about online play. But by not offering online play to the hardcore player, Nintendo is missing the most lucrative demographic; the person who plays a whole lot.

Re:No, no, no, no and no. (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | about 10 years ago | (#8843943)

Imagine how cool it would be if the Cube had more LAN-enabled games (think system link) which could be tunnelled -- or better yet if this "internet system link" was actually supported out-of-the-box. I don't care about the whys and wherefores, I just want to be able to play Mario Kart a little bit faster with friends across town over the internet.

It was strange to read a "network support is not important for GC" rant from a person who links to their MUD in their .sig!

Re:No, no, no, no and no. (1)

jasonditz (597385) | about 10 years ago | (#8845820)

On the other hand, giving the internet players that "little bit faster" might have required crippling gameplay in some way. That's something they wouldn't have been willing to do, obviously.

Re:No, no, no, no and no. (3, Insightful)

Trillian_1138 (221423) | about 10 years ago | (#8844921)

I think it's not that simple. I do totaly agree (it's hard not to, although some people try and argue) that online gaming for the current generation of game systems isn't that big. Likewise, playing DVDs isn't that important.

But people THINK that it is.

Best Buy/EB Games/Gamespot/etc have done a great job convincing people that being able to watch DVDs and play games online (even though 95% of the system owners don't use those features too often, if ever) is really important and "where it's at." I don't think Nintendo made a poor TECHNOLOGICAL decision leaving online games pretty much off the GC, because almost no one would take advantage of it. But consumers have a mental impression that they 'need' online gaming, a DVD player, a harddrive, a coffee maker, and the kitchen sink in their videogame system.

So while I will still probably buy Nintendo's next system, just like I've bought all their past systems - whether or not it has online gaming or not - I think having online gaming is a 'state of mind' that a lot of consumers find really important.

Just my 2 cents

-Trillian

Re:No, no, no, no and no. (2, Insightful)

jbohumil (517473) | about 10 years ago | (#8845237)

HD games are what is needed.
When I went to buy my GC at Best Buy, I asked if they carried the Component Video Cable, so I could get 480P. The guy insisted that GC had no such thing, and it "didn't do High Def, only PlayStation and XBox do." But, many GC games can run at 480P, which isn't quite HD but it's in the right direction. Oddly no one in town carries the Component Video cables, I had to order them directly from Ninetendo, and the still haven't arrived. This makes no sense to me. Almost every GC game I own says it supports progressive scan on the box, yet without these cables I'll never see it.

Re:No, no, no, no and no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8856520)

You can only order component video cable for GameCube from Nintendo, because they think that there isn't much demand for it. I ordered one to use with my 51" HDTV, and the games in progressive mode look much crisper compared to with the crappy composite cable that comes with the cube. According the Ninja guy on Penny Arcade's "Hookup", Nintendo's component cable has a special chip that is hard to reverse-engineer. It's not worth it for Monster cable or any other third party to make their own GameCube component cables that would otherwise be available in stores.

Sadly if you do have a HDTV, I recommend just plunking down the $35 to get the component cable from Ninendo.

Re:No, no, no, no and no. (1)

fr0dicus (641320) | about 10 years ago | (#8846943)

Unless something's changed a whole lot in the past couple months, the online aspect of the other two current consoles is very visible, but the number of people who actually are participating is incredibly small in comparison to how much we hear about them.
There's enough for me to always get a well matched game on PGR2 or a sound drubbing on TH:UG (TH:UG seems to have no skill level policing, and I suck very badly at it), and I'm based in Europe, which is seen as lagging in the online stakes. There's also tens of thousands of high scores that I'll probably never be able to beat on PGR2 (the only game with ranking that I currently own), which suggests more than a few people are actually paying for the privilege of playing online.

Considering the subset of how new this technology is and how many people who actually have the requisite broadband to get involved, there is a surprisingly high amount of online activity in my experience. To me it seems to be reaching critical mass and Nintendo appear to be missing the boat. Online gaming is not an 'extra feature' like a DVD drive or PVR, it's very much a core feature and even drives genres - MMORPG's for example.

Mario Kart was a wonderful opportunity to take a massive step into multiplayer gaming - all the original afficianado's will now be well into their 20's and would probably jump at the chance with plenty of dollars just to play it head to head again, but as it stands it's not the best game you can stick on when you're sat at home on your own, and I fear they'll just just plump for an Xbox with PGR2, which is a bloody good game offline before you get Live!

The reason why they'll win once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8845543)

Simply because it's so much god damn fun to develope for their consoles! I mean, GBA is one of the best things I've ever written code for, and I'm pretty sure it's the same with GC. There's plenty of information on these two subjects for home devers, and that makes it a lot more interesting to me than, example, OGL, Direct3D, etc, simply because Nintendo made a lovely little machine, because it isn't about what's soldered to the mainboard, but rather what kind of solder the maker has sniffed! (Yes, that was some hint about creativity).
GBA has a fine 16 Mhz ARM7TDMI 32bit proccessor, and all I can say is: Damn, it makes so much sense to me! I've taken a look at x86 ASM, and it's a lot more comfortable.
Second, it has a few lovely BIOS software calls installed that makes life just a *little* easier. Nothing fancy, but still, it's great to have.
Third, it has absolutely NO restirections on what you wanna do. You can jumble around with interrupts and DMA, and checking joypad input is a breeze. Changing modes on the run, making lots of experimental code, adding sound, getting ideas, etc. That's the source for a good time coding, and a lot of profit for the company, because they'll end up having lots of developers coding for their machine in the end.

How's PS2 and XBox doing when it comes to coding? I don't know, I haven't tried :P

Next Gen Nintendo (1)

transformer_dp (725430) | about 10 years ago | (#8847186)

Nintendo needs a presence on the Internet if they are going to survive. A good starting point for Nintendo would be to leverage their existing catalog to create a more enjoyable online experience. How?? Update some of their classics to include online play and include them on a chip on their next gen machine. Perhaps I'm an old-timer, but I'd love to fight someone in Punchout or go head to head with someone in the original F-Zero. The graphics are worn out and the music stinks, but the games are flat out fun and addictive. It seems like a simple way to ease their way into the online gaming arena and it would give them a unique product that no other console could compete with.

3RD Party support. (1)

the_DaRKaNGLe (652382) | about 10 years ago | (#8849058)

That's all they need atm... There are a few good games (mainly nintendo's own titles) but they need more support. Drop the ridiculus Licence agreements for developers, and they will come. The biggest problem is that I bought 10 games for the Gamecube, and there's nothing out there that deserves my money... I'm willing to buy a good RPG, but the sad truth is, there's nothing out there... same goes for most genres.... Now don't thake this wrong, i'm a nintendo nut from the first hour, but the support is utterly c.r.a.p. . No new software houses means no more new insights/innovative developments. Just a watered down backwash of the other consoles, that's not enough to keep me happy. And I think many will agree...

I think you guys are missing the point: (2, Insightful)

GaimeGuy (679917) | about 10 years ago | (#8855115)

Iwata DOES want Nintendo to go back on top, but the thing is, what he's REALLY trying to say is that the industry needs to be shaken up with new innovative ways to PLAY games. The advancements in technology have reached a point where a graphics card that can display more polys at once, or a processor with greater clock-speed, has a relatively minute impact than what it did before.

Compare the games of the SNES to the NES: The SNES has higher quality sound, more colorful graphics, the ability to display more textures, the ability to add more input into a game, with more buttons on the SNES controller, longer, bigger games, bigger levels (compare Super Mario World to SMB 3).... overall, barriers were removed, the possibilities for games were broadened.

: Ok, now, compare the N64 and the PS to the SNES/Genesis:
The full shift to 3D graphics, and optical based media becomes the new standard, allowing developers to make games bigger than ever before. Among the features that become common in this era are: full motion video, 4-person multiplayer gaming on the N64, orchestrated soundtracks (there are several examples on both platforms), even more buttons on a controller than before, and the use of both joysticks and d-pads is introduced. These technological leaps remove all technical barriers that prevent the games to potentially portray the real-life world (by that, I mean the fact that now all 3 dimensions which we live in could be rendered in our games, surround sound that makes games' sounds be expressed from all directions is brought in, etc. Basically, now, the only things left to do are increase the power of the currently-existing technology)

Now, compare games from the N64 and the PS to the games on the DC, GC, Ps2, and X-box.
The difference in graphics is less noticeable than ever before, with the only changes being smoother textures, better SFX, more polys: basic upgrades of current technology that have always happened over time. It's even harder to notice differences in the sound and music areas of games. The controllers for today's consoles have just about the same amount of buttons as last generation, and support the same number of players. The biggest change made is that development has become more complex than ever, with game budgets ranging in the multi-million dollar ranges, easily, and even longer development times are present. Basically, the basic hardware upgrades (more ram, more storage), with increased difficulty and prices to develop.

What Nintendo wants to do is make hardware changes that can help games become better on different scales, like adding 3D, or four-person multiplayer, or making a portable system with two screens. To keep things fresh, and keep people's interests Yeah, there will be the hardware upgrades, there will be more memory, more storage, more polys. But in addition, these new dimensions will be added to the hardware, adding new functions to our games.
THAT'S what Nintendo is trying to do.
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