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Microsoft 'Refocusing on Fun', Alien Hominid Comes to XBLA

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the what-were-they-focusing-on-before dept.

XBox (Games) 33

C&VG offers up some news on Microsoft's next-gen games platform today. Most interesting are comments from Peter Moore indicating the company will be refocusing on fun, inspired by the financial and mass-market success of Nintendo's Wii. Says Moore "From a first-party point of view, it's not just about E-rated games, it's going to be about the experience that, quite frankly, Nintendo has done a tremendous job in capturing, in bringing back fun - if you will - to the gaming platforms." He's quick to point out that this is something they've had on the back burner for some time, and they intend to aim for 'experiential' games. The article wonders out loud, questioning whether this means Microsoft is planning to roll out a motion-sensing controller, or just more E and T rated games? Additionally, CVG points out that this week's Xbox Live Arcade release is The Behemoth's Alien Hominid . It's a tremendous side-scrolling 2d shooter, and well worth checking out.

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Wild Limb (2, Interesting)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154152)

I'm going to go out on a wild-limb and assume that what Microsoft means is they're re-allocating their development money and focusing on less graphically intensive games. As a (rough) estimate Halo 3 will probably end up costing Microsoft $20 Million to develop, this means that they could probably develop 5 to 20 simple 'fun' games for the same cost as one big budget game. From a business perspective this makes a lot of sense because the risk per game is much smaller and you're far more likely to find a couple of games that really connect with consumers when you develop 20 games rather than 1.

Re:Wild Limb (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154190)

Not that the price will go down... sigh.

Re:Wild Limb (1)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155096)

You might be surprised. I think Alien Hominid debuted at $20 on the Gamecube when it was published a couple years ago. (Granted, it was originally developed as a Flash game, so the overhead of the GCN port was probably pretty low.)

Re:Wild Limb (1)

haddieman (1033476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165922)

IIRC the Gamecube version wasn't actually a port but a new game with new levels and bosses.

Re:Wild Limb (2, Insightful)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155612)

As a (rough) estimate Halo 3 will probably end up costing Microsoft $20 Million to develop, this means that they could probably develop 5 to 20 simple 'fun' games for the same cost as one big budget game. From a business perspective this makes a lot of sense because the risk per game is much smaller and you're far more likely to find a couple of games that really connect with consumers when you develop 20 games rather than 1.

Also something to note, if you make a critically acclaimed game that fans cannot get enough of, you will find yourself having a hard time getting into their pockets for additional $60.00 a hit. You could collect a $10.00 monthly fee, but it would be more profitable to create games that only interest someone for a week or two.

If you're playing a game for hours, days, months on end - you're not exactly buying other games in that time-frame. Well, in theory you're not.

Playing a game for months on end (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18160102)

If you're playing a game for hours, days, months on end - you're not exactly buying other games in that time-frame. Well, in theory you're not.
Explain Animal Crossing then. A player can beat it in two months [pineight.com] , but you have to play it for a year to finish some of the optional objectives (golden rod, golden net). Yet Nintendo still sells other games. Does Viva Piñata also include calendar-based objectives?

Re:Wild Limb (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18162610)

I used to think that too-

But the publishers WANT you to hang onto the game for a while, just so you don't sell it back...creating lost sales from the used market.

That's why multiplay is so important- longevity.

Re:Wild Limb (1)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18161934)

Considering that Halo 2's release was the highest grossing release in entertainment history, it's probably safe to assume that MS don't really mind putting up that $20 million to develop it. They're the platform holder, the game is developed and published by them... I imagine you're talking about at least a 20% profit off each sale. Assuming a 20% profit per unit, with $60 US per unit, then MS need to sell 1,700,000 to break even. Halo 2 sold 2.4 million in 24 hours, and has moved 9.2 million copies worldwide. Not a problem. More money going into a project means greater risk, but with greater risk comes greater potential returns. I very much doubt they could make that order of magnitude's profit from simple casual games.

Like OMG wow (-1, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154182)

I was saying that gaming should be about fun not glitter for the last 5 or more years. The Wii is proving my bitching, and now msft is playing "me too".

6 months from now they'll claim they invented "the video game" and dismiss Wii as a "fad" while introducing their own tri-axis sensor controller as the "Xmote" or something. Just watch...

Tom

Re:Like OMG wow (4, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155276)

while introducing their own tri-axis sensor controller as the "Xmote" or something.

They'll call it Microsoft Sidewinder Freestyle Pro.

They put out Viva Pinata (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154274)

So it's not like they've been producing only FPS games this entire time, and Viva Pinata is fun as hell.

Piñata Crossing (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18160160)

Viva Pinata is fun as hell.
So is what they allegedly copied [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Piñata Crossing (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167352)

What? I've seen Viva Pinata compared to Dungeon Keeper but Animal Crossing?

So, I guess the lesson being learned here is... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154858)

Solid, well designed, gameplay is better than "rich graphics" and a "M for Mature" rating?

Not that you can't have all of the above, but the latter can't substiture for the former. Very interesting that the "lower end" Wii doing so well by comparison.

You need to cynicism that up a bit... (1)

2008 (900939) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156046)

Solid, well designed, gameplay is better than "rich graphics" and a "M for Mature" rating?

That's not what they said! They're focusing on "fun". When game designers try to make "fun" we get games like Fusion Frenzy, Mario Party, Eyetoy and Buzz - stuff you'll probably enjoy if you're drunk at a party* but not exactly games for people who appreciate and enjoy quality gameplay.

*which is fine, but I'd much rather be at a spin-the-bottle party than a Mario Party party...

You mean like.... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158534)

Samba De Amigo? DDR? I guess I would say that, if the game is fun....it's well designed

Re:You mean like.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165946)

Yes, but the reverse is not always true. Fun means well designed, but well designed does not necessarily mean fun.

For instance, Civilization, tetris, chess and go aren't fun at all, but are well designed and enjoyable games. There's more to games than fun, and there's much more to games than Microsoft's idea of fun.

Re:You mean like.... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167388)

Depends on your definition of fun. To me fun and enjoyable mean the same thing, something I like to do.

Re:You mean like.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18174696)

+1 Shut up on this thread

does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18192842)

The quote under discussion is that Microsoft's game development is going to start "focusing on fun". If all types of enjoyment are included in the word fun then they were clearly already 100% focused on fun because games are entertainments with no other purpose than enjoyment of various kinds (be that competition, eye candy, exploration, learning, picking flowers (Oblivion) or whatever).

Define fun (4, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155642)

My problem with this is that the industry usually defines fun as party games or mini games. There's this delusion that for a game to be fun, it must be simple. A game can be both fun and deep. It's not an either/or situation. What's more, people assume that there is no value in a game that is not "fun". I would not qualify games like World of Warcraft, Shadow of the Colossus, and Oblivion as "fun". However, there is value in the kind of experience they offer. Think of the film industry as an analogy. A movie can be fun and still be deeper than your typical Will Farrel comedy. Likewise, movies like Schindler's List and Hotel Rwanda are not fun in any way. That does not make them bad movies or the experience they offer worthless.

Re:Define fun (1)

marcybots (473417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156054)

Good point, I dont consider Oblivion a "fun" game either, its boring as watching paint dry mate! I actually started playing Final Fantasy IV while waiting for day to change to night and eventually just turned the game off. Oh yeah, World of warcraft isnt fun either (its a chat room with graphics) ....for fun games see Gears of War, Rainbow Six Vegas co-op, Super Mario World, Mario Kart, Warioware, Resident Evil 4, Final Fantasy V, Castlevania Symphony of the night, Super Monkey ball (monkey target).

Re:Define fun (2, Funny)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156602)

Oh yeah, World of warcraft isnt fun either (its a chat room with graphics)

In the same sense that your house is a cave with windows, yes.

Re:Define fun (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167452)

My cave runs Linux!

Re:Define fun (1)

mingot (665080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157464)

I actually started playing Final Fantasy IV while waiting for day to change to night and eventually just turned the game off.

Um, next time try using the 'wait' command. Hit the back button. It'll go by quicker than the boot screens for FF IV.

XBox out for repair (0, Offtopic)

JoelMartinez (916445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155920)

awwww, I've been waiting for alien hominid, but my 360 is currently awaiting it's shipment box to be sent for in-warranty repairs (3 red lights on ring of light) :-(

My first XBLA purchase! (3, Interesting)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156288)

Alien Hominid will be my first XBLA purchase since getting my 360 about 5 weeks ago. My flatmate bought Geometry Wars, which is very good, but I can see myself downloading a lot more games through the service in the coming weeks and months. C:SotN, Castle Crashers (the new 4-player co-op game by the Alien Hominid team), Worms HD (Worms + Xbox Live = instant fun). I heard even one of the original TMNT games is coming the Arcade, which I may well pick up for a fair price.

Re:My first XBLA purchase! (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157344)

Kazza, download Heavy Weapon and give it a try. Its a silly, sidescrolling shooter game, similar to Geometry Wars. Its quick, its cheap, and I've had a great time playing it.

Personally the best part of these kinds of games is that my wife enjoys playing them with me. Give her a game like GoW and her character ends up staring at the ceiling performing some kind of extremely complex River Dance as my wife complains how her controller is "broken."

Re:My first XBLA purchase! (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157546)

Since I still have a sealed 2100 points card that I bought weeks ago, consider your advice taken, sir - I'll at the very least try the demo (I LOVE that all the XBLA games have trials, unlike the Wii's Virtual Console). It's nice that MS (and other devs) take the time to at least not just emulate the original game and add Achievements, scoreboards etc.

Party Games (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158682)

I hope that by fun they don't mean "party games". The Wii has all I can take right now in that department.

XBox Live Arcade (2, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#18159244)

He's quick to point out that this is something they've had on the back burner for some time, and they intend to aim for 'experiential' games.

Wasn't the one of the more advertised facts about Xbox Live Arcade was that developers could make experimental games at little/no risk? (Remember Geometry Wars?)

Re:XBox Live Arcade (1)

OoSync (444928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168566)

Remember Geometry Wars?

Except Geometry Wars was done by an experienced game developer while working on one of the Project Gotham Racing games. My understanding is that the game (sans some effects) is also availble as an ulockable extra in one of the XBox versions.

Metal Slug (1)

js92647 (917218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18163528)

That game has a striking, striking resemblance to Metal Slug. I hope slashdotters remember that game (Hell, MS6 came out recently).

http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=62433052119 56602090&q=Metal+Slug [google.ca]

The game looks nice, I suppose it plays nice too, but honestly: when the hell is Contra III: Alien Wars coming? We've had too many games without manly haircuts.

I think Ikaruga and Castlevania are going to redeem XBLA.
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