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Mixed News for Nintendo, Microsoft

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the take-the-bad-with-the-good dept.

Nintendo 155

If you were to just look at downloadable content this week, Wii and 360 owners would have a lot to cheer about. Virtual Console downloads include the (under-appreciated) Legend of the Mystical Ninja and the original Castlevania. Xbox 360 owners can finally sink their teeth into the board-game spectacular that is Settlers of Catan. Classic titles Millipede and Centipede will also be on offer via Xbox Live Arcade. Unfortunately, there are some less cheery things to discuss as well. Virtual Console sales are down, apparently, and some analysts are questioning whether Nintendo's success may be bad for the industry overall. As for the 360 ... the Elite may be bringing back some old problems. 'Red Rings of Death' have already been reported with the just-released consoles, and DRM issues with Live Arcade titles on the 'upgraded' system are making some new owners frustrated.

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155 comments

Red Rings of Death (2, Funny)

shakey_deal (602291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930143)

ugh, I get goatse flashbacks when I hear that phrase!

RRoD? (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930283)

From TFA:

Reports have already emerged that the some Xbox 360 Elites are showing the red ring of death. This comes just a day after the model's release in the US. Apparently disc-scratching issues are also emerging, with the video below demonstrating that one unit (in the owner's words) "always sounds like a screaming banshee on crack". At this stage, however, SPOnG's treating the reports as rumour only until we see more evidence.
Given that there has been no evidence other than "reports," I call bullshit on this one.

Re:RRoD? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931473)

Would you like a broken 360 shipped to you for 'evidence' when you read an article on a website?

Maybe this is happening, and maybe it isn't, but 'reports' are all the evidence you get from any media outlet.

It seems to me that given how many of these consoles that get produced, the question isn't whether or not some of them are failing. The question is "How many are failing?"

Re:RRoD? (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931567)

Maybe this is happening, and maybe it isn't, but 'reports' are all the evidence you get from any media outlet.
Spong.com is not a "media outlet."

And agreed on your next point, however this entire thing smells like FUD to me.

Re:RRoD? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931777)

however this entire thing smells like FUD to me.


Yeah, but how do you distinguish real negative news from FUD?

Do you think Tycho from Penny-Arcade [penny-arcade.com] tends to spread anti-360 FUD?

Re:RRoD? (2, Informative)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932683)

Well, I respect Tycho from Penny Arcade, but he is referring to a launch day console that he purchased over a year ago; not one of the newly redesigned "elite" units being reported on in TFA.

I own a launch unit Xbox 360 as well, I've never had any problems, but I also maintain the largest (if not the only) FAQ on the subject of Red Rings of Death [xbox-scene.com] (at least it's the largest one I know of).

There is no denying that a large number of Xbox 360 consoles have gone belly up, I see that crap first hand on a daily basis. Even still MS claims the failure rate is between 3 and 5 percent. Considering they've shipped 10 million consoles... 3 to 5 percent is still 300,000 to half a million units. When you consider a chunk of consumers that size and the speed in which bad news travels over the tubes... whether it's FUD or not, you get a reputation for that sort of thing.

I have no doubt that some of the new elite units are throwing errors out of the box, despite the fact that it was "redesigned" the problematic components haven't been fixed or even addressed in the elite units and a potential fix [xbox-scene.com] wont go into production until sometime next month.

FWIW: If I had to make an educated guess I'd say 90% of the broken Xbox 360s can be traced back to a single design error and that is a GPU that runs too hot due to a shoddy cooling system resulting in either weak or bridged solder connections in it's Ball Grid Array. Neither the GPU, it's cooling system, or it's attachment to the motherboard have been modified since the console's launch, why would any new systems be any different from the older ones.

Re:RRoD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18931929)

It seems to me that given how many of these consoles that get produced, the question isn't whether or not some of them are failing. The question is "How many are failing?"


Yes, but it seems odd that considering how many Wii units have been produced, we haven't seen many (if any?) reports of unit failures, versus the repeated reports of the XBox 360 failing. Also, despite how much the media seems to dislike the PS3, we've seen very few (again, if any?) reports of PS3 unit failures.

Yes, the Xbox 360 has been out loads more time than either of its competitors, but both consoles certainly have enough units out that reports should have surfaced (if issues had been as widespread), and the media's general hate for Sony should have blasted those reports on front pages everywhere.

As a side note, I'm impressed at how well the PS3 is selling, even with the media bashing it at every turn. If things keep up like this, the Wii may take first place, but the PS3 will probably take second (especially is the XBox 360 keeps squandering its lead).

Re:RRoD? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932141)


Yes, but it seems odd that considering how many Wii units have been produced, we haven't seen many (if any?) reports of unit failures, versus the repeated reports of the XBox 360 failing. Also, despite how much the media seems to dislike the PS3, we've seen very few (again, if any?) reports of PS3 unit failures.


Well, there were the Wii system update failures that bricked the systems early on, and the reports of PS3 kiosk failures.... Also, there has been no mainstream news of the 360 issues...

Anecdotally, I know somebody who has been through 3 Warrantied PS3s so far, and has been cut off from additional replacements by Sony. He's also killed a few 360s, and went through several PS2s though, so I think he just treats his consoles like shit though.

Re:RRoD? (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932325)

Well, there were the Wii system update failures that bricked the systems early on, and the reports of PS3 kiosk failures.... Also, there has been no mainstream news of the 360 issues...


True, the Wii update failures appeared early on, but they resolved those pretty quick (along with shipping out refurbished units, but I suppose in that case the Wii's success could have overwhelmed any continuing Wii refurb issues), but the PS3 Kiosk issues are hardly unique to the PS3. Previous generations have also had issues with console's overheating in Kiosks where airflow is minimal. I would be more concerned if there were the same level of reports as the XBox 360 had when it was released.

Anecdotally, I know somebody who has been through 3 Warrantied PS3s so far, and has been cut off from additional replacements by Sony. He's also killed a few 360s, and went through several PS2s though, so I think he just treats his consoles like shit though.


I'd say those consoles just aren't getting enough airflow, and he must be hard on them. Of course I had a friend who went through about 3 SNES's in the time, so yes, some people are just naturally hard on electronics.

This is just. plain. stupid. (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930321)

some analysts are questioning whether Nintendo's success may be bad for the industry overall.

What? From TFA in question, ""Nintendo has not only increased the size of the market, but it has also re-segmented it in its own favor, in our view," Mitchell wrote. "Nintendo is dominating software sales on its popular hardware platforms, leaving the publishers with a smaller slice of an only somewhat incrementally larger pie."" What this sentence says to me is that the market grew, so it's good for the industry overall, but that the current players in the market are less innovative than Nintendo and so they have a smaller slice of this generation - which is good for the consumer.

"He continued, "Moreover, we feel that the likely shorter product cycles of Nintendo's platforms puts the publishers in a permanent catch-up mode. We think the upcoming releases of Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption will highlight this phenomena [sic] this holiday season."" Interestingly, Microsoft had the short generation this last time around. Not Nintendo.

"What Mitchell alludes to is the tendency for Nintendo-published titles to overrun the top end of sales charts on Nintendo platforms, leaving third party publishers out of luck sales-wise." Also known as the tendency for third-party developers to be worse at making fun games than Nintendo is.

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (5, Insightful)

Zaphenath (980370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930535)

Agreed.

So Nintendo is good at making really fun and well-polished games....and they make a big profit....they increase the amount of people who might call themselves a 'gamer'....this is a bad thing?

I think the whole argument is flawed because it says to me "Nintendo makes great games, they sell well, are fun, and get new people to play them. This is a bad thing because third party developers can't sell their crappy games, and have to spend more time and resources to compete by making decent games."

Maybe the fact that Nintendo makes some good stuff shows that a lot of games/developers suck? I don't know, perhaps it is the phenomena of "wrecking the curve".

It makes sense if you think of 'Coopetition' (1)

Metroid72 (654017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932613)

The principle of "coopetition" states that ultimately is not to the best interest of a firm to destroy their competition.

Competing with Nintendo is formidable as they can start designing for their innovative consoles ahead of time, they take their time and put out products that sadly put 3rd party efforts to shame. Since 3rd parties want to maximize profit the previous model of "Develop for the biggest installed base and port to the others" is not working well with the Wii and DS (Any IP depending with the Wii or DS input controls doesn't work well as a port).

If you look at the article that way it makes sense as the outlook for 3rd parties is not good.

Oh well... let me go back to playing SPM...

Re:It makes sense if you think of 'Coopetition' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18932823)

Does Nintendo not provide development environments/emulators for 3rd party developers prior to the console release? I would expect Nintendo (Sony, and Microsoft) to gladly provide 3rd party vendors with the resources to develop games. Isn't it in their interest to have as many 3rd party games available at the console release? You seem to indicate that Nintendo is trying to keep 3rd party developers from having anything available at console launch.

Jim

Re:It makes sense if you think of 'Coopetition' (3, Informative)

Metroid72 (654017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933067)

Jim,

Sorry if it came out that way, Yes - Nintendo provides them with the tools ahead of launch.
What I meant is that the fact that their current platforms are so 'unique' that it doesn't conform to their business model; they have to come and play against Nintendo, with their platform and with a design philosophy that is unorthodox. I don't think that for now we'll see very compelling games from 3rd parties unless they really commit to the platform.

Meanwhile Nintendo will cream the competition in their own platforms hence the assessment from the analyst.

R.P

Re:It makes sense if you think of 'Coopetition' (4, Interesting)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933385)

Heres the problem. Nintendo does NOT compete with other developers. Hell they don't even compete with MS & Sony. To Nintendo, competition really doesn't exist. They aren't worried about beating out their competitor, but concerned with making money. If anyone else wants to make some money too they aren't going to complain. You'll find if you look at the problem with devs that don't do as well are relying on existing IP. It's not Nintendo's fault developers can't take a risk on something new (primarily Western developers are this problem). Hell, take a look at Elebits for a good example of a dev that did something unique. It's no Super Paper Mario by any means, but at least it shows us the people who brought us DDR can think outside of the box enough to make a good game.

Developers can piss themselves all day that they won't make as much as Nintendo, but it's kind of hard to have any sympathy for them when their mantra is to develop for one console, and port to the rest (and ones like EA weren't even on board till just recently!). Of course people aren't going to buy Prince of Persia in droves. It's been out for the previous generation of consoles for how many years? Developers need to just stop complaining, and stop giving excuses so they can get out from underneath Nintendo's shadow, and *gasp* do something new & interesting.

Re:It makes sense if you think of 'Coopetition' (1)

Metroid72 (654017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933639)

I understand your statement... Let's say that Nintendo is not there to compete... ALL are there to make the most amount of money... now read this statement... If you publish a game for Wii or DS, you are automatically competing with Nintendo and other 3rd party publishers for the particular segment that the game is aimed to, but guess what... Hard core gamers aren't where the bulk of money is made; it's those who buy 2-3 games a year CONSISTENTLY that make the bulk of people (Harcore gamers may buy 10 games, but also buy used, trade, etc.) - If you are only buying a few games a year, that is where the Nintendo proposition becomes much more attractive to you. They are all in to make money, sadly one company (Nintendo) makes a better product and that is causing that "beat down" effect on 3rd parties, that ultimately is not good for Nintendo or for us the gamers.

Re:It makes sense if you think of 'Coopetition' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18933545)

I'm not sure that they have to come and play against Nintendo, with their platform and with a design philosophy that is unorthodox. any more than changes with the Cell processors in the other consoles or even the significant OS changes in MS Vista. I guess I'm confused as to why people were complaining that Apple should have had iTunes ready for MS Vista release but in this case people are complaining that Nintendo is at fault when 3rd party developers aren't inline for Nintendo's platform changes. I understand that the interface is very different (haven't been able to get my hands on a Wii yet, even with casual looking at the local stores near my home) but I'd expect the SDK to buffer the 3rd party vendor from the grunt work and really just interpret it much like a standard controller.

Meanwhile Nintendo will cream the competition in their own platforms

Hasn't this always been the case though? We come to expect that console and OS vendors will generally have an advantage over 3rd party developers. Zelda games have always been the seller for me on any of the Nintendo systems and I'd expect that to continue for future consoles too, just like Halo will drive people toward XBox systems.

Jim

Re:It makes sense if you think of 'Coopetition' (1)

Metroid72 (654017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933683)

Hasn't this always been the case though? We come to expect that console and OS vendors will generally have an advantage over 3rd party developers. Zelda games have always been the seller for me on any of the Nintendo systems and I'd expect that to continue for future consoles too, just like Halo will drive people toward XBox systems. Not really... See 8 bit and 16 bit generations. Zelda didn't sell more than SFII Also even in 32 bit, Sony is not the most profitable publisher.

Re:It makes sense if you think of 'Coopetition' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18934269)

Sorry, I've only really played with games on the N64 and GameCube, at least for systems I owned. I did play a bit on a friends SNES and the Zelda game but not enough to compare it to much else. I had the C64 for most earlier games until the original Civilization game came out for the 286. I intentionally left Sony out of the post because they really seem to focus more on hardware and licensing over their own software development. Comparing Sony to Nintendo or Microsoft isn't exactly a fair comparison. The only reason I included them in the post before was that the Cell processor presents a challenge for 3rd party developers, especially if they wish to tap into the full power of it.

Jim

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (4, Insightful)

zerocommazero (837043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930625)

"What Mitchell alludes to is the tendency for Nintendo-published titles to overrun the top end of sales charts on Nintendo platforms, leaving third party publishers out of luck sales-wise."

This is because Nintendo has been the underdog in the last couple of system releases and didn't merit the attention of the more polished hits. Who wants to put the effort in releasing a stellar game for a system with a limited audience? Nintendo had to put more effort into their first party games to keep themselves afloat. If they didn't, they wouldn't be around this long because most of the third party games were just trash and rehashes. Now that the Wii is selling so well, we may finally start to see an influx of quality 3rd party software. And they will sell well as long as the games are exclusive.

Truth be told, Nintendo dominates the software sales because their games are that good. Did Resident Evil 4 sell badly?

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (1)

The Warlock (701535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930835)

Sounds like whining to me. But hey, when your games aren't good enough to compete, hey, it's either start whining or start making better games, and whining's a hell of a lot easier.

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (2, Interesting)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930961)

If you're looking at consoles, last gen MS did have a very short generation relative to Sony and Nintendo. However, if you look at how Wii has been created, you see that Nintendo is trying to make their consoles more like their handhelds. Since 2001, Nintendo has released 3 GBAs and 2 DSes (money that gamers could have spent on more games), and moreover GBA was virtually completely replaced by DS in 2004, just 3.5 years after it was released in North America.

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (3, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931441)

moreover GBA was virtually completely replaced by DS in 2004, just 3.5 years after it was released in North America.

Buh? The DS isn't a replacement for the GBA. Nintendo has continually stated it's a "third pillar", and as such, should continue to exist and be supported. After all, last I checked, the GBA wasn't being discontinued any time soon, and games continue to be published for the platform.

Further, the release of revised handheld models has nothing at all to do with generational churn, so I don't even know why you brought that up.

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931823)

I think that Nintendo's statement that the DS was a third pillar was in case the DS flopped like the Virtual Boy did back in the day. The new hotness of development is on the DS. I'll admit I don't keep up with things like I used to, but what's the next big title coming out for the GBA? With the DS able to play GBA carts, I would say that specific development for the GBA is about gone.

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (1)

flink (18449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932769)

The GBA is no longer the hottest handheld, but it continues to move over 120k units per month. This puts it just behind the PSP and just ahead(!) of the PS3. I think people buy the GBA because it's cheap, obtainable (still iffy finding a DS in stores), and has a great back catalog. You probably won't see new AAA titles on the GBA, but it's still a great casual gaming platform or gift for a younger sibling who's too young to care what platform they play Pokemon on.

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933717)

The DS isn't a replacement for the GBA because the DS doesn't have complete backwards compatibility. The GBA can play all gameboy games, but the DS can only play GBA games. Many people own a very large collection of GBx games, and Nintendo would be stupid to abandon them after building an empire based pretty much solely on the backwards compatibility.

That's bull... (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931883)

The "DS is not a GBA" thing was meant as a safe-guard. In case the DS failed, they could always fall back on the GBA. But now, GBA sales are now practically non-existant, and I think the last game released, that anyone had ever heard of, was Final Fantasy VI. Even Nintendo has started making noise about how the DS is replacing the GBA. Don't get attatched to the GBA, if you can't hear its death rattle... its time to remove those earplugs.

Re:That's bull... (2, Informative)

KevinKnSC (744603) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932415)

But now, GBA sales are now practically non-existant

Um, are you talking about the same GBA that still outsells [neogaf.com] the PS3?

Re:That's bull... (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932637)

The GBA is dying *now*, but the DS was released in 2004, and the GBA saw fairly solid releases for 2 years after that. Usually, when a console replaces another the older console has maybe 1 solid Christmas season, and that's the end of any decent releases. Has any decent game come out for the Gamecube since Wii came out (besides Zelda, which was for both)? The DS *was not* a successor to the GBA.

GBA is in the ports, sequels, and TV/movie phase (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932869)

After all, last I checked, the GBA wasn't being discontinued any time soon, and games continue to be published for the platform.
As a gaming platform reaches the end of its life, studios stop developing unique franchises for it, instead choosing to release games that rely on a TV or movie license. I look at a list of the ten newest GBA releases on Pocket Heaven, and three are TV-related and three are movie-related. The other four are a rhythm game featuring Britney Spears, an RPG ported from the Super Famicom, and two virtual pet games. More worrying is We're also in the phase where publishers take completed games and throw them away because they're for an older platform [gbadev.org] .

Well perhaps it is bad for consumers (1, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931415)

Point One: I do not like nintendo games. I own a DS but not single nintendo developed game. Worse, all the games listed as being developed by nintendo leave me cold as well. So if other publishers, who make games I do like, can't survive, then I loose out.

Nintendo becoming the biggest player is only good if you like nintendo games.

I think people still expect that the DS and Wii are intermediate consoles, the DS was even claimed NOT to be the next gameboy but a in between. This might have been nintendo trying to safe itself from a potential failure BUT the idea has stuck.

Point Two: IF HD-TV takes off then the Wii might age a lot faster then previous consoles. HD-TV might not take off, especially if people do not buy the Blu-Ray player or the HD-TV addon player. *cough* PS3/360 *cough*

Point Three: See one. Oh and remember, to read carefully. Nintendo overruns the top end sales of charts on NINTENDO platforms. This can also be read thus. Do not publish games for the Wii because they won't sell because Wii buyers only buy the kiddie Nintendo games. Sure, you might claim that this market is big enough, but Nintendo itself seems to think it needs third party titles to reach that audience that its own games cannot.

Blizzad created a huge success with WoW BUT it also can be seen as bad for the industry as all that money is NOT going to other publishers and ultimately this leads to fewer games and less choice.

Does it help if you replace Nintendo/Blizzard with Microsoft and talk about the OS market instead to see the light?

What the game industry does NOT need is a monopoly. Not by MS, not by Sony and certainly not by Nintendo (especially the US half of it).

Re:Well perhaps it is bad for consumers (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931635)

Nintendo becoming the biggest player is only good if you like nintendo games.

That's not true. It's also good if you like the way Nintendo does business, or if you like the way Nintendo makes controllers, or if you like the way Nintendo makes systems. Because if they are on top, everyone will want to emulate or out-do them.

When one player who has been on the bottom gets on top, it usually leads to change.

Some change, at this point, could only be positive. The games industry is in a serious state of stagnation.

IF HD-TV takes off then the Wii might age a lot faster then previous consoles.

HDTV acceptance doesn't affect the Wii significantly for a number of reasons. The first reason is that the Wii is not an HD player, while still being cheap enough to purchase alongside one. The second reason is that HD might go nowhere, as you say. The third reason is that game consoles typically make shitty video players with the included software; for example the PS2 was an amazingly horrible DVD player (slimline is better but still not very good.) And in the case of the Xbox it's an external peripheral. External peripherals for video game systems have never succeeded. Even if it sets new records in that regard it will be an extremely niche product.

Sure, you might claim that this market is big enough, but Nintendo itself seems to think it needs third party titles to reach that audience that its own games cannot.

I don't see the problem here. Third parties ARE making Wii games, and they are more interested in making games for Nintendo in this generation than they have been of late, largely because of the Wii's massive popularity. And they are less interested in developing for Sony than ever before, largely because of the way Sony has totally blown their attempt to capture this generation so far. Whereas Microsoft is still a hit-and-miss sale to developers. They like the tools, they fear doing business with Microsoft, both very logical stances.

Blizzad created a huge success with WoW BUT it also can be seen as bad for the industry as all that money is NOT going to other publishers and ultimately this leads to fewer games and less choice.

It can only be seen as bad for the industry if you don't ask Blizzard.

If the market grows, it's good for the industry. "Good for the industry" doesn't require that it's good for all the players, you know. If it truly led to a monopoly that would be one thing, but we all know that's not happening here.

Also, no one with a fucking clue can seriously argue that Nintendo has only slightly increased the size of the gaming market. The GBA SP and later the Wii (and the DS lite of course) have done more to legitimize adult gaming than anything all the other console manufacturers put together have done since the dawn of time (as we measure it on game consoles anyway.)

Does it help if you replace Nintendo/Blizzard with Microsoft and talk about the OS market instead to see the light?

This is a stupid argument and you are stupider for having suggested it, and I am stupider for having read it. Microsoft has a monopoly position, Nintendo does not, stop using this stupid argument, thank you.

What the game industry does NOT need is a monopoly. Not by MS, not by Sony and certainly not by Nintendo (especially the US half of it).

There is too much money for anyone to give up and unless the other players deserve to die, they will figure out that some innovation is what is required in the market.

Microsoft will probably be there for at least one more generation. There is no reason for Sony to give up at this point. Nintendo will not have a monopoly by the end of this generation, or the next. I am not an atomic playboy.

Re:Well perhaps it is bad for consumers (2, Interesting)

daveisfera (832409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932831)

You also have to consider the "EA effect". If one company does dominate an industry, then you lose competition and innovation. Nintendo is very innovative right now because getting their butt kicked last generation forced them to be, but if they're all alone at the top then don't expect the innovation that you're seeing right now.

Re:Well perhaps it is bad for consumers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18933619)

Also, no one with a fucking clue can seriously argue that Nintendo has only slightly increased the size of the gaming market. The GBA SP and later the Wii (and the DS lite of course) have done more to legitimize adult gaming than anything all the other console manufacturers put together have done since the dawn of time (as we measure it on game consoles anyway).
A: I have a fucking clue and I have no idea how much Nintendo has actually increased the game market. How many of the people who have bought Wiis had already bought another console at some point? How many would never have bought a video game console until the Wii came out? I'd say, if I had to guess, that there was a slight increase.

B: Why the fuck does the video-game industry need to be 'legitimized'? It already does more business than movies or music, shouldn't that size of a market provide enough legitmacy for anyone delicate enough to not want to be seen doing anything "uncool"?

As to my own opinion, the Wii is boring. Some of the games are pretty cool, but most of the games boil down to 'shake one hand while pointing with the other'. I am a hardcore gamer, so it's not really aimed at me, but don't pretend that the Wii is Jesus come back as a game machine. It's mildly interesting, but apart from the controller (wiimote + chuk = $102.58 cdn after tax, sixaxis = $62.69 cdn after tax, 360 wireless = $68.39 cdn after tax) it's just an over-clocked cube. I'm no graphics whore, but I'm also not going to bury my head in the sand and say that graphics don't matter.

It'll be interesting to see how Q4 this year shakes out. When people see Halo 3 and Metal Gear 4 I think they'll be blown away. What does Nintendo even have slated for Q4, I don't know.

Re:Well perhaps it is bad for consumers (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933663)

You seem to be under the impression that natural monopolies are a bad thing. They are not, especially in a market like video games, where there are no barriers to entry. If one company comes to dominate, it is probably because they have hired all the good talent. If that company starts to suck, there are always a bunch of start-ups hoping to be more than a one-hit-wonder.

Re:Well perhaps it is bad for consumers (1)

mehemiah (971799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933677)

There is a BIG difference between Nintendo and Microsoft. The biggest being that you should probably equate Nintendo with Apple, Innovate cause your at the bottom. Linux is like Sony, etc. In this case, Nintendo is still a dream for the developers for the same reason mac is, the 360 market is saturated, everyone is afraid to develop for ps3 and the Wii is not a gamble IF you do a GOOD job. In this case, if you build it WELL, they will come. Nintendo is just inspiring developers to do a good job, like Apple does. Also, This is good for consumers. Better, you can buy a Wii AND a 360, owning a Mac Mini and a Vista ready (not just capable) PC isn't worth it.

Re:Well perhaps it is bad for consumers (1)

mehemiah (971799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933763)

I must ask what games for DS you Own. why did you buy it in the first place? for what game? Finally i say your SIG says it all, an Ad hominid (hominim?) argument for vi attacking the argument it self.

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (2, Insightful)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931485)

But it's not quite that simple; Nintendo has an advantage over the third-party developers in that they also designed the hardware. For the first games of their big brands that can be very useful as they get much longer to play with the hardware. For instance, Mario 64 actually drove many of the design decisions behind the N64. That's not to diminish the ability of Nintendo's dev teams; they are excellent and have been much more successful than the other first-party dev teams.

Re:This is just. plain. stupid. (1)

Bookswinters (985359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934611)

Price may also play a role.

Do you think it coincidence that the GBA, the DS, and the Wii are the least expensive systems available? I don't. Nintendo knows that many people don't want to pay more for their system than they did for their TV.

N bad for publishers? (5, Insightful)

wframe9109 (899486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930377)

The whole "It's hard to make money because people only buy 1st party Nintendo games" schtick is really, really obnoxious. People buy quality titles (for the most part). Nintendo makes quality titles. The few third parties that do make quality titles sell well. It's not like I picked up Zelda because it was made by Nintendo; I picked up Zelda because it has gameplay that I enjoy, great artistic direction (vs. throwing mounds of polygons at you), and has proven a dependably excellent quality series. I also picked up Rayman, despite the fact that it's a third party title, because it looked to have some excellent off-beat humor and gameplay, and it lived up to that expectation.

Re:N bad for publishers? (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931805)

DISCLAIMER: I have *absolutely* no background in business or economics, so don't trust a bit of what I say...

I'm not sure about newer consoles like the Gamecube and Wii, but as far as I've always known, there are hardly any 3rd party development houses (compared to how many there are for Sony and MS). So the way I understand this is that somebody is trying to look at the differences of profit between 1st party dev house(s) and 3rd party dev houses as absolute numbers, and then trying to say that because there are only a few 3rd party houses, 3rd party dev houses in general make less profit...

Re:N bad for publishers? (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932409)

I'm not sure about newer consoles like the Gamecube and Wii, but as far as I've always known, there are hardly any 3rd party development houses (compared to how many there are for Sony and MS).

Seriously, you need to think before you post. Even if you combined the output of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, they wouldn't begin to compare to the number of titles released by third parties. I'll name just a few of the "hardly any" third-party development houses currently extant: Capcom, Konami, Square Enix, Sega, EA, Activision, Bioware, Vivendi, Take Two, Valve, Tecmo, THQ, and the list could go on.

Having a background in business or economics wouldn't have helped you at all...

A few thoughts... (3, Insightful)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930397)

"Nintendo is dominating software sales on its popular hardware platforms, leaving the publishers with a smaller slice of an only somewhat incrementally larger pie."

How is this a new trend? Unless I'm mistaken, I believe Nintendo has always dominated the sales charts of their own platforms, and deservedly so - why buy a generic licensed platformer when you can get a Mario title that's been polished to near perfection?

He continued, "Moreover, we feel that the likely shorter product cycles of Nintendo's platforms puts the publishers in a permanent catch-up mode. We think the upcoming releases of Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption will highlight this phenomena [sic] this holiday season."

Shorter product cycles are a bad thing? Since the Wii is less powerful than the PS3 or the Xbox 360, I'd have to imagine that any experience the publishers get on those platforms would carry over nicely to the Wii's eventual successor. Besides, it looks like - for the time being, at least - Nintendo's "less powerful hardware for lower price" strategy is working far better than Sony's "buy it now for $600 and we'll support it in ten years, we promise" plan of action.

Moreover, Mr. Todd Mitchell seems to be missing something key here: while this may not be the most favorable trend for third party publishers, Nintendo is going to make buckets of money from all of this. Since he's an investment analyst, you think he'd want to point out the bright side there, that being that Nintendo is going to make you rich and that, perhaps more importantly, Nintendo succeeding in this generation - even if entirely due to their own titles - means there will still be some form of a gaming industry in five years instead of the supposed game industry crash [slashdot.org] that is supposed to happen in the near future.

Re:A few thoughts... (1)

dankasfuk (885483) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931533)

I doubt investing in Nintendo would make you rich as its privately held...

Re:A few thoughts... (4, Interesting)

Lord Apolon (805331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931641)

Think again. It trades in the U.S. over-the-counter (ADR receipts) under the symbol NTDOY, and on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as #7974 (latter via wiki).

As the owner of a lovely ten shares of Nintendo ADRs, I can say that it WILL make you wealthy.. mine are up about 125% (yes, ONE HUNDRED and twenty five percent) since last March. If only I had more than ten.

Nintendo is bad for Publishers... kinda one sided (4, Interesting)

shawngarringer (906569) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930449)

I think its somewhat one-sided to say Nintendo is bad for the industry. It's bad for today's publishers who continue to pump out the same crap year after year after year because most of the new people who are getting into games (older people, etc) won't enjoy that garbage. It's good for gaming, though, because those more creative video game publishers will be more successful...

I say let the big companies fail, I'm hope I don't have to see Madden 2015 advertised...

Re:Nintendo is bad for Publishers... kinda one sid (1)

shawngarringer (906569) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930503)

Whoops, either I'm hoping or I hope. Pick one... we're at war :)

Re:Nintendo is bad for Publishers... kinda one sid (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933151)

Actually I think it's more of a marketing issue. Nintendo has a reputation, characters that are well known and now even a competent marketing department. When Nintendo makes a game the press talks about it. Nintendo has everyone's attention and that's why their games sell better than everyone else's. The error some third parties make is to put out a game and think it'll sell just as well as the games of this marketing behemoth. You have to compete with Nintendo not only on quality but also on marketing and it's going to be fucking difficult to get a similar marketing force out of nowhere. Nintendo is a familiar brand for people without a clue (i.e. those who don't read gaming publications to know what's good and buy stuff on a whim based on what their friends and the box say), your game can be the best thing since sliced bread, if you don't make sure people know about that people will pick a game over it that they know something about.

By the way, if you want to knock companies for uninspired Wii ports EA should be the last company to take that blame, they've put more effort into their Wii ports than any other company.

Huh? (3, Interesting)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930469)

"Nintendo has not only increased the size of the market, but it has also re-segmented it in its own favor, in our view," Mitchell wrote.

Um... Isn't that what virtually any business aims to do? You don't think Microsoft and Sony are trying to do the same?

What Mitchell alludes to is the tendency for Nintendo-published titles to overrun the top end of sales charts on Nintendo platforms, leaving third party publishers out of luck sales-wise.

Although I haven't been following video games nearly as actively as I used to (read: at all), I thought Nintendo was making great strides to bring third parties on this generation, or at least claiming to.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18930825)

the only thing beneficial to argument your comment has that the article you're debating doesn't have is that yours has a disclaimer proclaiming how little you know about what you're discussing.

Re:Huh? (1)

NeoPaladin394 (1044484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931563)

That article is the personification of "making a mountain out of a molehill." It's like if a meteor the size of JUPITER(!!) were on a collision course with earth, and Superman saves the day by deflecting it.

A NORMAL person would be happy that, hey, they're not gonna die!

Mitchell would be sad, because he wouldn't get to discover what it sounds like for a JUPITER(!!) sized meteor to destroy the earth. That and the shade it would cast would prevent UV induced skin cancer for a WHOLE DAY!

Re:Huh? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933177)

The sales charts I see (mostly Japanese stuff) do include quite a few third party games for the DS. Not so sure about the Wii but that thing isn't in the charts very often anyway.

Listen to them cry now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18930539)

"Nintendo has not only increased the size of the market, but it has also re-segmented it in its own favor, in our view," Mitchell wrote. "Nintendo is dominating software sales on its popular hardware platforms, leaving the publishers with a smaller slice of an only somewhat incrementally larger pie." Waaaaa! How dare you sell consoles to non-harcore gamers!!! Waaaaaaa! The truth is they did not want to be part of the launch of the Wii. Now they are blaming strong sales of Wii consoles as hurting 3rd parties. Waaaaaaa

Re:Listen to them cry now! (5, Interesting)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930963)

And this is why we have the first gaming "drought" all the hardcore players are complaining about. No one expected the Wii to sell like it has, and instead focused on PS3 which was supposed to dominate from Day 1. Fast forward 6 months and we get a drought of Wii games and developers are jumping the PS3 ship. Go figure.

And how is this any different from Nintendo's business strategy from past generations?

Re:Listen to them cry now! (3, Funny)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931303)

Someone should print off one of the /. threads that predicted the Wii vs. PS3 performance over a year ago, and send it to Sony. Possibly with a xerox of some buttocks attached as well.

Re:Listen to them cry now! (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931361)

Lets also not forget that Nintendo keep the Wii secret for quite a long time. So developers simply couldn't prepare any titles for it, since they couldn't guess what Nintendo was doing. Back when the Wiimote was announced a lot of developers told something along the line of "Nice idea, but it would have been even nicer if Nintendo had told us a bit earlier". Nintendo is simply developing their stuff in isolation, they are the ones who now what they are doing a lot sooner then any third party, so they always have quite a head start. The 'problem' Nintendo has is that they are developing stuff for their own good and not for the demands of the third parties.

Nintendo is the Future, Dammit! (3, Interesting)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930559)

So getting more women and older users buying their first personal consoles, expanding the market, lowering the entry point for new enthusiasts, and coming up with a series of great first-party titles to buoy these systems rather than depending on third-party support is a BAD thing?!

Okay, I may buy 'this is bad for all the people doing things the old way', but this is only because the Wii and DS are two radically different paradigms. Once these interfaces take off, we may see the WiiMote and Nunchuk turn into a smaller, sleeker 'WiiWand' with 'Wiiry Stone' attachment, or the DS Lite become the DS Nano (or maybe the DS Slim, or DS Micro, DSleek . . . you get the idea.)

Nintendo is unlikely to change the interfaces AGAIN so soon, simply because these were so dramatically different from the norm, and I estimate that even if they update the hardware within the next few years, what we'll be seeing are not new systems in the vein of the PS3 where the engine development is the radical difference, but rather changes in form factor.

Expect crazy leaps of intuition like a WiiDR pad or DS games that are both DS-playable but have DS++ elements for whatever the DS's successor is, by all means, but since the most drastic part of Nintendo's great leap forward has already been accomplished, we shouldn't see another new switch in the actual computational hardware anytime soon.

Re:Nintendo is the Future, Dammit! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931103)

is a BAD thing?!

If it means an endless stream of Mini/Party game collections disguised as real games, maybe. Not that there's anything wrong with such games, but I needs me some Oblivion & Mass Effect level gaming as well.

Although I have started looking for a Wii to play Super Paper Mario as I've been in a retro mood lately. And Super Mario Galaxy looks to be shaping as a digital acid trip.

I think some developers are just whining because they may not be able to make a living cranking out WW2 shooters, racing and banal movie tie in games anymore.

Re:Nintendo is the Future, Dammit! (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931399)

I think some developers are just whining because they may not be able to make a living cranking out WW2 shooters, racing and banal movie tie in games anymore.

Better yet, let's make a Kart racing game out of Medal of Honor, then pitch that to Hollywood to make a crappy movie about. It'll make BILLIONS!

In other news... (5, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930587)

What Mitchell alludes to is the tendency for Nintendo-published titles to overrun the top end of sales charts on Nintendo platforms, leaving third party publishers out of luck sales-wise.

In other news, analysts made the shocking discovery that the Nintendo Gamecube had the least amount of support from third party publishers leaving Nintendo-published titles to overrun the top end of sales charts on the Gamecube.

no ring of death in the video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18930597)

This video that has sparked the 360 elite controversy:

1. Doesn't show a ring of death

2. Shows a game that can't be read - that game - a $4 game from Burger King that could either be a bad disc or all scratched up (we can't see the bottom of the disc)

Are there any real elite user's having issues? or is this just a scare tactic or someone doing some 360 flaming...

Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18930727)

People all over the net are reporting dead 360 Elite consoles. It has been a year and a half since the 360 was released and if Microsoft still can't keep brand new versions of the system from failing something is seriously wrong in the Xbox group. I know one huge Xbox fan who after going through three 360s bought an Elite and it was dead within a minute of turning it on. He is done with Microsoft and consoles now. I've read other Xbox fans saying the same thing after going through multiple dead 360s. Even for the people with functional 360 Elites, the noise from the system is still as bad as the original 360 model.

Add in the insane peripherial prices, having to pay for extended warranties, the charge for online play, and even worse the shockingly bad Halo 3 glimpses and Microsoft is really treading on thin ice in the console market.

This was supposed to be when the Xbox became dominant. The system was supposed to be profitable and funding the Zune stuff and building on the first Xbox userbase. Instead Microsoft is bleeding cash at an insane rate and it sounds like the break even point is still a few years down the road. And the 360 is doing almost exactly the same in worldwide installed base as the first Xbox.

And the stuffing the channel stunt they did late last year to make that silly '10 million sold' claim has now come back to bite them in the ass with now only having to ship 500k new 360s worldwide last quarter.

I think people who believe that Microsoft will endure any losses and stick it out in the console market indefinitely are going to be in for a surprise unless things dramatically turn around for the 360.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18931269)

I think people who believe that Microsoft will endure any losses and stick it out in the console market indefinitely are going to be in for a surprise unless things dramatically turn around for the 360.


As much as I agree, MS just has too much money to burn, and Nintendo has proven the gaming market is lucrative.

Those two things combined mean that MS is probably here to stay (even if they keep providing a crappy product that needs to be sent in for servicing every 3 months).

Perhaps we'll see MicroSoft Certified Xbox Repairman as a new "certification". That would solve the problem of out of work tech sector people, and provide more cash for MS :/

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931395)

The #1 goal for the Direct-X Box is to promote Direct-X as a programming API. Any analysis of it has to take this into account.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931675)

The #1 goal of the X-Box is to promote Microsoft's DRM. They want it to become the industry standard so they can use it to shore up their OS market share with additional vendor lock-in.

Direct-X games that don't run on the 360 generate *zero* revenue for Microsoft, and Microsoft only cares about them enough to prevent a "lack of games" opening a chink in their marketshare-protecting armor. If Xbox were a lever for Direct-X adoption instead of Direct-X being a lever for Windows adoption, Direct-X 10 would have been available for XP. (All the technical reasons given by Microsoft are bullshit.)

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931401)

It frustrates me to no end when I hear people taking rumors of XBox 360 owners who have gone through 3 or more replacements and automatically assuming it must be true and all cases were Microsoft's fault. Yes, the first launch systems had issues with a couple machines here and there, but the problem has been nowhere near the level some people would like to fantasize.

I still have my first generation 360 from the original launch supply and have had none of these issues. Perhaps that is unusual in some circles, but maybe it's because I take care of my system and keep its area open and free from dust. I have no fancy add-on fans or other external modifications on the unit... it's simply the same exact setup rhat came out of the box the day I got it.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

paintswithcolour (929954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931513)

Rumour has it an Xbox dies everytime Sony sacrifices a goat....

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

angelasmark (856143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931631)

In related news Sony has just announced they've successfully cloned multiple goats...

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932221)

I assumed they were rumors until I saw the financials for Microsoft's previous quarter. The 360 supposedly costs less to make than its sticker price, yet they lost a boatload of money on them last quarter. That money is going somewhere... To replacements maybe?

The problem is probably triggered by some user variable, and you're not doing whatever it is that triggers the problem.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (2)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931595)

I know two types of 360 owners: People who's consoles still work, and people who have been through multiple 360s.

Perhaps there is a flaw in the design that causes failure, but given the none/multi dichotomy of the situation (and I say this as somebody who is as anti-Xbox as you're likely to find without being a fanboy for another platform) the question I want to know the answer to is "What are these people doing differently to their system that is causing it to break?". Sure, maybe they're victim to a faulty device, but it's got to be something about the way they use the system that is triggering the failures.

The other question I want answered is that, given the mainstream media's willingness to report on every minor Xbox development from Microsoft, why aren't they reporting on this problem. It's clearly widespread, as it had notable impact on Microsoft's bottom line. Are CNN and the New York Times really in Microsoft PR's pocket? I mean, I know they spend a lot on advertising....

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931743)

Disclaimer: I don't own a 360 and no little about the specifics of the failures that these "multiple 360" owners have experienced.

It's possible, perhaps, that the 360 is very susceptible to noise on the incoming power line, to the point that such noise causes permanent damage to the device. Is that a problem with the power system in many homes? Maybe. Is the power company going to fix it? No. Should Microsoft fix their product to be more durable? Yes. (Well, yes, if it would cost less than replacing units over and over with some customers, losing some of those for life, and the bad press it generates.)

So, that's one example of a source for this problem. It would explain why certain people have to go through many Xboxes to find one more tolerate to a third-party problem, while others are fine from the start.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931885)

Yeah, that seems like a plausible explanation. Maybe it's something as simple as horizontal vs. vertical use... Maybe it's related to dust... Infrequent vs. Frequent use (people I know who have had the problem have all been casual players... The more frequent users have had no trouble). No matter what the connection, there's got to be a way to find the common element. That way if Microsoft is unwilling to solve the issue, these people can protect themselves from future failure.

Everybody you see posting about it online always suspects or disclaims heat issues. People need to get out of the '1337 0verclocker mentality and actually gather some real data.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932373)

I'm even more surprised that nobody has filed a Class Action Law Suit against MS re: the XBox 360 failure rates. Of course that might be because MS extended the warranty so that they would replace the box, so less people have an "unheeded" grievance.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932527)

Maybe MS simply send not-fully-working-as-new consoles to people whose consoles break, that seems the simplest (not saying the right one) explanation for why this is so.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932689)

That's an excellent point. I hadn't considered that, and it seems quite plausible.

Re:Microsoft Treading On Thin Ice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18933655)

It's more than plausible - it's likely. My partner works for a multinational company with a three-letter name that earns its money through software and services. Her employer has contracts to provide customer support for the products of other large multinationals.

The first company she supported was in the laptop business (which was purchased from her employer a few years ago). They would often replace faulty parts with second-hand parts. This includes repairs both under and out of warranty! One of the more common second-hand replacements were fans. I wouldn't want to be paying for that.

Her current contract is supporting a popular portable music player. They certainly provide refurbished units as warranty replacements, but I'm not sure about out-of-warranty repairs.

I think it's pretty likely that Microsoft (along with Sony and Nintendo) do the same.

Wii tarding the industry? (0, Flamebait)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930755)

... some analysts are questioning whether Nintendo's success may be bad for the industry overall.

Yeah, like Chris Hecker, who was run out of town on a rail for saying as much.

Not quite sure I agree with article summary here (4, Informative)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18930887)

I don't understand why there's this psuedo-FUD regarding the VC sales by everyone carrying this article. Sales are not down. What he's pointing out is that VC sales have not been growing proportional to the skyrocketing sales of the Wii console.

My guess is that the average user isn't going to care a whole ton about the VC. The hardcore gamer might because they are trying to play games they never got to play before or are trying to consolidate their retro catalog legally into one location. I would be willing to be that the initial buyers for the Wii were in-fact hardcore gamers or previous gamers, not necessarily the soccer moms and grandma's who are now starting to actively seek the system for themselves. These newcomers to the system probably have less interest in the VC than in buying the Wii mostly for Wii Sports and a couple other titles. Finally, anyone who's been following the VC lineup knows that signal to noise ratio hasn't been incredibly high. There's a handful of must-haves on that list, but there's a lot of games waiting in the wings for some reason or other (my theory is to help keep gamers going if there's a big drought of Wii games).

A better description of what's happening is that sales are slowing or plateauing, not "down". I don't think Nintendo and its partners really care anyways. 1.8 million units sold with price tags >= $5 and only bandwidth costs to consider is nothing to scoff at.

New gamers not digging the lackluster VC... (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931271)

My guess is that the average user isn't going to care a whole ton about the VC. The hardcore gamer might because they are trying to play games they never got to play before or are trying to consolidate their retro catalog legally into one location. I would be willing to be that the initial buyers for the Wii were in-fact hardcore gamers or previous gamers, not necessarily the soccer moms and grandma's who are now starting to actively seek the system for themselves.

EXACTLY! I got a Wii at launch, and I am a gamer. I think I have 14 VC titles, and maybe 10 Wii games. LOVE the system. My Parents loved WiiSports over the holidays and I got them one. Currently they have 3 Wii games (WiiSports, WiiPlay, and Tiger Woods) and ZERO VC games. Why? NONE of them are appealing to them.

How about a crossword puzzle "game"? SuDoKu? Online Poker? Online Hearts? or Uno? The VC is a GREAT service for old gamers like me, with nearly 100 retro titles but for 'First time casual game players' they offer crap. The most 'Casual friendly game' they have (Pacman) isn't available in the US yet. Why is it that XBLA has more 'casual friendly' titles available? (and don't say because it's been out longer, there are currently more VC titles available than XBLA ones. It's an issue of 'what types of games are available' rather than 'how many')

My parents wouldn't go near an X-box (despite the XBLA selection), but really enjoy the Wii. When will Nintendo recognise that despite being able to 'capture the casual market' early, they aren't catering to them with their current releases?

Re:New gamers not digging the lackluster VC... (3, Interesting)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931507)

I'd kill to get Carcassonne and Settlers on the Wii. Same with TMNT Arcade, SotN and Worms, among other games. Nintendo really should look into getting PopCap to hop on board as well. I'd be interested to see them pull of a 2-Player Bejeweled game a la 2-player Tetris.

One of the problems the Wii faces is that this is Nintendo's first major foray into areas that Microsoft came in, established, and is currently doing a "2.0" with. It seems to me that the VC is essentially Nintendo in the wading pool with online distribution, they're just trying it out for now. Same with online connectivity. Just be patient is what I keep telling people.

I still haven't explored purchasing anything through the VC yet. I have a sizable NES, SNES and N64 collection but they've got me very close. If the prices were like $1-2 less I would seriously drop the money no questions asked.

Re:New gamers not digging the lackluster VC... (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931659)

I still haven't explored purchasing anything through the VC yet. I have a sizable NES, SNES and N64 collection but they've got me very close. If the prices were like $1-2 less I would seriously drop the money no questions asked.

Shop around for the Points cards then. Around the holidays CircuitCity was offering $5 off any Wii accessory $19.95 or more. This was also good for the '2000' Wii Points cards, so I was able to get a few of those. I haven't seen the word "Wii" and "discount" in the same flyer for some time now, but bargins will come available.

Re:New gamers not digging the lackluster VC... (2, Insightful)

dunezone (899268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931799)

The prices are unjustified on the Virtual Console. NES games should be a dollar, if they were a dollar I wouldn't mind dropping 10$ easily in one sitting for ten games. But the current price tag of 5$ is just ridiculous, the game is already finished. Its either emulated or modified to run on the Wii, which more then likely takes little to no time to do. Yet I sit here looking at Super Mario Brothers for the price of 5$, and the majority of us already purchased the game in our life time (if not several times). I feel like I'm getting screwed by buying games on the Virtual Console.

Re: The VC is not over priced. (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932709)

The prices are unjustified on the Virtual Console. NES games should be a dollar, if they were a dollar I wouldn't mind dropping 10$ easily in one sitting for ten games. But the current price tag of 5$ is just ridiculous, the game is already finished. Its either emulated or modified to run on the Wii, which more then likely takes little to no time to do. Yet I sit here looking at Super Mario Brothers for the price of 5$, and the majority of us already purchased the game in our life time (if not several times). I feel like I'm getting screwed by buying games on the Virtual Console.

Welcome to Capitolism! I love how people complain that the VC prices are too high 'because the games are already finished' and 'their development is already paid for', For some reason I don't see people complaining that Gears of War isn't in the $3-$5 range. The reason is the same. The game is finished, and despite it costing nearly $10 million they certainly made their money back after selling over 3 million copies, so why not sell it for the incremental cost of pressing and distributing the disk?

The market has determined that it is worth more than the incremental cost, and pays what they feel is a reasonable price for the experiance. The VC is no different.

Residuals (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933063)

But the current price tag of 5$ is just ridiculous, the game is already finished. Its either emulated or modified to run on the Wii, which more then likely takes little to no time to do.
What about paying for the lawyers' time to figure out who gets residuals on the game?

Re:Not quite sure I agree with article summary her (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931681)

Could also be that early adopters were more likely to have home WiFi than later purchasers.

Re:Not quite sure I agree with article summary her (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933249)

but there's a lot of games waiting in the wings for some reason or other (my theory is to help keep gamers going if there's a big drought of Wii games).

I recall reading on /. an interview with a NofAmerica rep who basically said that. He was explaining the difference between the Japanese and North American VC release list, saying that in Japan they released a bunch of stuff early, but in America had decided to be more "strategic" about when to release the A-list games. I don't think he explicitly said "to keep gamers happy during a drought of Wii titles", but he did say he didn't want, e.g. a Zelda Wii game and Zelda on VC conflicting with each other, which basically means releasing the VC titles when no major Nintendo-published Wii game was coming out.

Why can't MS get it right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18930967)

FTFA:

'Red Rings of Death' have already been reported with the just-released consoles, and DRM issues with Live Arcade titles on the 'upgraded' system are making some new owners frustrated.


If I owned a 360 I'd be getting sick and tired of all the "Red Ring of Death" reports. Both Sony and Nintendo don't seem to have this problem. Why is it MS seems to have an issue with making a console "just work"?

Re:Why can't MS get it right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18931525)

"Why is it MS seems to have an issue with making anything 'just work?'"

Fixed it for you. ;)

Re:Why can't MS get it right? (1)

theRiallatar (584902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932081)

Because only Microsoft would use Windows XP as the core platform for their Console OS.

Success a bad thing? (3, Interesting)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931439)

The Wii success article is 100% whining.

Translation: "The old third party "same port across the board" style of developing doesn't work in this generation, we'd have to change the way we do things, but we don't want to or want to know how, so we will just whine about it instead."

Games are supposed to be about fun, not profit. If the game is fun, it will sell. if the Wii's first party games hurt Third-party devs' profits, it's not the Wii's fault!


Could it be that third-party devs would have to... god forbid, work a little at making a game for the wii? This reminds me of the same Bullshit that went on with the N64: Lack of third-party support. But that was for a different reason.

There really IS no reason now.

This exposes something about a few third-party publishers, and it isn't pretty at all.

Hooray... Catan 360 !!! (1)

flaknugget (938238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931553)

Can I get an Amen Brothers and Sisters?

Nintendo's Software Dominance (3, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931893)

So let me get this straight... Nintendo is dominating software sales on its platform because its fans aren't tolerating the relative crap put out by the third parties, and this is a bad thing?

Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18932183)

is like the first game developper company ( if not software? ) by it's dev team size...or something like this, not only they take time to really polish theirs titles ( unlike blizzard who just are awefully slow for bugged shit, hello D2, hello W3, hello WoW and its expension ) and they are almost always original despite being the same franchise.

Analysts Are Stupid (2, Funny)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932439)

I'm late to the party here and I'm terribly sorry if what I'm about to say has already been said... I just need to say this.

Goddamn, analysts are dumb!

"Nintendo has not only increased the size of the market, but it has also re-segmented it in its own favor, in our view," Mitchell wrote. "Nintendo is dominating software sales on its popular hardware platforms, leaving the publishers with a smaller slice of an only somewhat incrementally larger pie."

So, apparently Nintendo is not only adding new people to the market, but they are killing all the old ones

Also, it is apparently Nintendo's fault that 3rd parties refuse to do something original, rather than slapping Wii controls onto a PS2 port and calling it good. Next I suppose it will be Nintendo's fault that publishers do heap piles and piles of shovelware onto the DS and Wii in the hopes of making a quick buck. Absolutely ridiculous.

Wii Heresey (1, Funny)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932573)

Hello, I'm here to tell you about a threat to our way of life. This heinious trend will inevitably turn all of our children over to the clutches of Satan, and send our great nation spiraling into entropia. I am, of course, speaking of the Nintendo Wii. This is video gaming, as God never intended. The Wii will most likely destroy the video game industry as we know it, turning meaningful crusades like F.E.A.R and Crackdown into fun... and enjoyable entertainment. This must be stopped, at all costs.

But what can you do to prevent it? Here are a number of tips:

1) Spread the word by catering to the adolecent fear that the Wii is a childs toy. Obviously, this is not true, but it will eat at the soul of any person between the ages of 12-18. "You don't want to remain boys forever, do you? Then stop playing with your Wii!"

2) LET THE WORLD KNOW! Let the world know that the Wii is a threat to our God-given way of life. For God is kind and good... and the Wii is shitty and white.

3. Make Zonk pay. Did you know that Zonk is actually spelled L-U-C-I-F-E-R? Well, it is. He's the devil, and he spreads his heretical message far and wide. Make sure he can not get a word in edge wise by picking apart his every sentance. Only the pure crusader can curb his demonic message

4) Spur ideological discussion on how our fine, under-achieving game developers will be swollowed into the maelstrom of bedlam if Nintendo is able to continue; continue it's satanic tyrade of developing better games, at the expensive of others. This will confuse idiots, easilly, and throw the more knowledgable off, at least throw them off enough to get a few more jabs at Zonk.

In closing, use your head, but not too much, as knowledge is the gateway to hell, and the gateway to hell, as we all know, is the Wii. Be irrational, spontanious, and do not be afraid to be utterly obnoxious. For this is a crisis bigger then ourselves, and it must be stopped. As the penis must be stopped from entering the bowel, the Wii, too, must be stopped from seducing our young people, and our elderly, from the temptations of evil.

Thank you, and good luck.

You guys have short memories (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932971)

What they are talking about is the primary reason the Gamecube did so poorly. Nintendo titles sell better than third party titles...for obvious reasons (quality, fun, etc.). Particularly for a system like the Wii that appeals to more causal gamers...they are going to sell less games per system per year (nothing wrong with this, just casual gamers are going to buy less than hardcore gamers by definition). Most of the games that will be bought will be first party Nintendo games leaving sales for third parties be somewhat poor.

So what is different this time around? Well, developers have short memories too apparently. They see the Wii selling like hotcakes and they want in on the action. Of course, they most likely won't sell as many games as they would like to since Nintendo's titles will soak up most of the casual sales (and the few quality third party titles). Thus people will stop developing for the Wii and third party developers will go where they can sell more titles. Of course, the people who have Wii's won't care because they are still getting what they want...first party titles. This time around the casuals plus the Wii's price point might be enough for people to ignore the lack of games allowing Nintendo to win number of consoles sold this time around.

In a way, this sucks for PART of the industry. The model that Nintendo invented (improve the console through improving hardware and offering a reinvention of the typical controller) may not be seen as viable any more. XBox and PS survive off of game sales in the early years since they take losses on the consoles. The advantage to the consumer is that you get expensive hardware cheap and developers can create cutting edge graphics and develop better AI on these top of the line boxes. The downside for them is that it is is more costly to develop for these systems compared to the Wii which is basically just an elite Gamecube with an innovative controller. They feel the need to develp cutting edge graphics for the PS3/XBox while with the Wii they can get away with putting a lot less effort in to that because the games just don't have to look that good.

Now, while it is more expensive to develop for the 360 and PS3...I don't think they are "sacrificing" fun. The people who work on the mechanics of a game are separate than the art team. Slashdotters have this stupid idea that you can't have good graphics and good game play. Are there games out there that have "ooh, shiny" graphics but play like crap? Of course...but there are games that look like crap that have that as well.

Personally, I like to have top of the line hardware. The Wii is a fantastic product...I just hope MS and Sony don't do the same thing the next generation (i.e. offer up something that is an iteration of the PS3 and 360 rather than pushing the limits). I know anything that says the Wii isn't a gift from God on here is taken with offense. I am not trying to say the Wii is bad...I am just saying that I hope everyone doesn't go down that road. There is room for all 3 console makers and I hope they all do well. Competition is good for everyone.

Neo-Geo (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932987)

I've heard about Neo-Geo games for the Wii in Japan, but no mention of this for the rest of the planet. Why?

It's not like the Neo-Geo games were never made in anything other than Japanese...

You can also blame Nintendo for not releasing enough games every week. If they release five or six games a week, what's the probability there's gonna be a game you want in that lot?

And of course sales are down. Just like for CDs and DVDs, people are simply buying the games they used to have/play at first, then buy a lot less after that. It's not that "sales are down", it's just that "sales are now at their normal level now that most people bought their favorite games".

If we had 500k players and now we have 1.2m player (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933147)

But the new 700k players only buy a few titles a year, is that "bad news" or is it "good news"?

Realize that the new casual gamers are ... casual gamers.

They only buy games once in a while.

They only play games sometimes - and for brief periods.

They don't start WoW Care Bear guilds like me. Or upload their Sim families to MySims.

They don't play every segment of Star Wars - from Episode 0.1 to Episode 6.5 - over and over, using different characters, with and without cheats enabled.

They might play a light saber game with the Wii a few times, but they'll never reach Elite Status as a Jedi - at least, not without cheats.

huh? (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934481)

"Moreover, we feel that the likely shorter product cycles of Nintendo's platforms puts the publishers in a permanent catch-up mode. We think the upcoming releases of Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption will highlight this phenomena [sic] this holiday season."

What planet is this guy from? If anything, Nintendo has been guilty of keeping their old tech going far past its expiration date. Look at the Gameboy Advance and the Gamecube, both are still getting games long after their replacements have been on the market. I know that the DS was advertised as a new platform and not the sucessor to the GBA but seriously with the amount its selling can you really see them going back to the single screen format again? You have to go back the N64 to find a console that was abandoned and even that had more support than the sales should have deserved. The biggest thing I can see being "bad" for the industry is that the Wii and DS prove that a reliable Volkwagon can beat a broken down Porsche. Multi-Million dollar high tech games are getting trumped by comparitively low tech but innovative game. For the immediate future its a loss for the big game companies who put their eggs in the wrong basket and are now having to back pedal but its definately a win for the smaller developers.

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