Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

September 19, 2005

Revolutionary Nintendo - An Essay In Many Parts

The Industry of Non-Games

With a bevy of Nintendo fanboy hatred looming on the internet for people who dare speak against Nintendo's "Revolution", I say fuck you. A big fat fuck you. It's not arguable: Nintendo's controller is not innovative. It does nothing new. It doesn't introduce any new technology, and certainly doesn't break any ground on the gaming front. Every tech demo or flashy controller setup on the Revolution, has been done before in arcades all across the world. Innovation is something that is next to impossible to acheive with gaming hardware, since the intended audience isn't willing to throw massive amounts of resources into purchasing a brand new technology, that is obviously pricey. And while naysaying fanboys will say "But it's never been done before in games", I say get a life. Better yet, get a god damned education, or even a dictionary for crying out loud. The dictionary definition of innovation is the creation of something new or introducing something new.

Again, fanboys will cry "Nintendo is introducing it into gaming", which again is wrong on two levels, the first being a contrived version of the latter. First, everything the Revolution does, has been done to some degree in arcades and with home console peripherals, historically speaking. Even the design isn't brand new, as one handed controllers are what started this industry in the first place. In no appreciable amount, is this a newly introduced concept or application in gaming. Second, and this is the real clincher: Revolution's technology was introduced many years ago. The technology itself was introduced in a medium that isn't videogames, and was ported (the Nintendo fanboys favourite deragatory reference) to the Revolution controller. This DVD remote control doo-dad, is ported technology, old news, the salad shooter of console technology. On the same tangent however, while Revolution is not innovative, the ideology Nintendo presents with it is inventive. In other words, it's creative, and thinking with an open mind.

I should add one caveat to the previous rant, and that's the Revolution concept, and the notion that it's innovative and industry saving is what I was attacking. Yes, Revolution will fail, and fail miserably, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a total miss with the crowd that does buy into it. As I did mention, for I all know, it could be rather fun to play around with the Revolution, but to call it a "new standard" in gaming, and claiming that it's here to save an industry that just doesn't need saving at the moment, is pretentious. It's round-about insane to even call this thing "anything saving". It's just not going to have any significant impact on conventional gaming. People will buy Ps3 and Xbox 360 in droves, and no amount of radical new controller design is going to change that. Even today, Nintendo claimed that the Revolution is going to be imitated by both Sony and Microsoft in the coming years. I say just watch. The only people to even attempt imitation are going to be third party developers with peripherals and game specific devices for non-Revolution games. The ideas and products won't sell, and Nintendo will have to barter with themselves on whether or not their Revolution was actually as impactful as they boasted years prior.

In the same address, Nintendo also believes they're going to become market leader again, or at least think they can with Revolution's new radical design. Claiming, that there is an untapped market of gamers that are too afraid to try gaming due to intimidating numbers of buttons and functions. This just isn't the case. In order for Nintendo to regain market leadership, they're going to have to make up well over 100 million units; units that aren't represented in today's unit sale demoegraphics. That means Nintendo believes they've honed in on a select group of people that number in the tens of millions, that haven't tried or are too afraid to try gaming. Again, this just isn't the case. There are 5 year olds playing Halo (immorally and illegally in some cities), and completing the hard and Legendary difficulties faster than most adults can. In the same sense, there are 7 year olds teaching grown men and women the ropes of Halo 2 (see EGM: October 2005) for a fee. This "intimidated" demographic, just doesn't exist. If anything at all, people are becoming more and more adept at videogames and the complex controllers at much earlier stages.

Though, to be fair, what Nintendo believes and what is reality are two things that have never really meshed in the past, and they aren't about to start going to now. For what it's worth, Nintendo's industry is profitable. Being the profit-mongers that they are, they are constantly performing a disservice to their loyal fanbase by overcharging on hardware. I won't dwell on the matter in length, but as a rule, hardware is almost always sold at a loss or at cost, and the profitable dividends are made up in software and peripheral sales. This time around, Nintendo has cornered all 3 aspects as profit sources, and one can and cannot blame them. I'm merely pointing out that the gamers Nintendo call "hardcore", are in fact the masochists of gaming culture. Nintendo fence sits on the blurred line between honesty and dishonesty far too often, and while I can't say Sony and Microsoft aren't run by money grubbing maniacs, Nintendo's entire sales pitch seems to be oriented around that idea. This is partially why I'm not pleased with Revolution. It's an old technology, that will be cheap to manufacture considering it's age, and they'll insist on charging large sums for it, even though the inner specifications are barely comparable to Ps3 and Xbox 360. I just don't see the honesty there.

Cheating the Cheap on the Cheap

Nintendo is known for gouging their fanbase for money. First they released the memory card for Gamecube that could save about one game, and then after a few months of bitching, unleashed the real memory cards that were actually useful, again for a sum that only equated to more profit for Nintendo. You want to play Donkey Kong 64 or Majora's Mask? Sorry, you're going to have to pay for an add-on that gives your N64 the power to play them. The worst part about the expansion-bay massacre, was that Nintendo had planned on gouging it's fanbase, even in the earliest planning stages of it's Ultra console. The GameBoy (the original) is probably the most pitiful example I can think of on Nintendo's part, taking 7 years to gift the GameBoy with a colour screen, merely to turn around a few years later and launch the GBA, regifting the SNES technology and making all other GB's obsolete. Even worse, they launched the GBA with no back light, and a battery guzzling infrastructure that was later replaced with the real version of the handheld, the GBA SP. Which is truly a great piece of hardware, it's just shameful it took Nintendo ten years of cash cowing the GB to get it out there. That's the Nintendo industry that I don't jive with. Most informed gamers don't either. Those who do are the abused bastard children of Nintendo's ideology.

Self Supression

Nintendo has never been able to outsell their anterior console in their entire history as a videogame company, and aren't about to start now. Nintendo becoming market leader is like saying N-Gage is poised to take the handheld industry by storm. Nothing will come of it, and it's in foolishness to even make such baseless conjectures, especially in international press releases. And while Nintendo's handheld industry continues to go strong, it isn't as stampeding as it used to be. Nintendo DS is selling wonderfully, but it's also neck in neck with the Sony PSP, worldwide. Nintendo is only outselling the PSP on a weekly basis in one market, and that's Japan. Launching early in Europe and in North America has netted Nintendo a respectable 1 million unit lead on the international market, but both the NA and EU launch of the PSP have outdone the DS launch by a factor of 2, on both occasions. PSP and DS are on the verge of sparking a true handheld war that will bring about fantastic software in a truly competitive market. Being an owner of either in today's gaming populace only means good things for the future. As a console gamer though, if not now, in the years to come, third parties will nearly abandon Nintendo's console industry. Not because there aren't great opportunities to create unique software, but because of Nintendo's image in the console world. Nintendo is profitable, and therefore can sustain losses on software if a game doesn't sell, but for third parties, their hopes and dreams reside solely on a silicon coated disc, that if sold poorly, won't be considered for future versions or sequels on the Revolution. You can convict me of feigning clairvoyance, but come back to me when the next generation is over, and show me Nintendo in the lead, and show me that Nintendo has created a profitable environment for third parties. I really don't think you'll find either though.

Innovative Non-Innovations

Nintendo's ideals rest solely on convincing their ignorantly loyal fanboys that what they do is innovative, and somehow convince them that being "innovative" automatically makes the games they make good, no matter how the innovation (if there actually is any) is executed. That's not a business model I particularly enjoy, but do partake in because I'm a sucker for the likes of Super Smash. Bros., the newly addicting Nintendogs and the truly innovative software like Kirby: Canvas Curse. These are the games that keep me coming back, but Mario Party 23, Donkey Konga 5, and Super Mario 341 are what invoke these feelings of a battered and bruised son, fathered by a drunkard, inebriated on his own selfish, personal gain. If Nintendo truly embodied the goodness and well-being they say they do, they wouldn't be in last place, they wouldn't have people like me, skeptical of every move they make and disgusted by rehashed mascot franchises. Nintendo has embroidered themselves the "Everybody company", but it's somewhat of a misnomer. Nintendo is the gaming company for those who want convenient gaming, not emotional, rich, deep or engaging experiences, that are created manually by software developers, not automatically created using one gimmick or another.

Are there unique concepts and game designs that could blow me away with the Revolution's controller? Absolutely, in fact I expect some games to do just that. That doesn't mean all of Revolution's generation is going to be filled with titles like that. Most of Nintendo's gimmicks are only ever used properly by Nintendo, while third parties dodge the firey bullets of innovation by using the DS' second screen for a puny map, or never using Gamecube's peripherals or online development. I have no doubt that third parties will weasel out of creating innovative software on Revolution by discovering an obvious, ambiguous and mundane feature to use the controller for, while keeping everything else the same. Myself, I like more of the same, so long as it's new and enjoyable. For the most part, I was never given that with Nintendo's "innovations" like the DS. Developers were too concentrated on finding a use for the second screen, rather than focusing on the game itself. To the same effect, third party Revolution software will follow suit.

Do I hate the controller? I suppose I don't hate what it does, just what it stands for, and what Nintendo wants to make it out to be. Deep down, I think Revolution could be a niche gaming toy that provides momentary fun and excitement, but in no way will it replace or reinvent the way we play games. No one is going to copy it, and if fortune smiles upon the industry, Nintendo will realize they can't simply "save" something that doesn't need saving, or "reinvent" something thats already perfect. Nintendo doesn't need to standardize an industry that already has a standard that works almost too well, and they certainly don't need to "innovate" with something that isn't innovative. I don't hate the Revolution, but I certainly don't like it. Call me Revolution bipartisan.


Blogger Auron255 said...

Keep trying, Adam. We care, we really, really do.

September 19, 2005 11:21 PM

Blogger luke said...

Fairly well written opinion-based peice, but with its flaws. For instance:

"(the SP) Which is truly a great piece of hardware, it's just shameful it took Nintendo ten years of cash cowing the GB to get it out there."

Now read that over. Does that make sense? Do you really believe they could develop the GBA SP ten years ago? Because that is what this sentence implies. Be careful with your english.

Of course, I agree with you on some points, but disagree on others. But, that is the tragedy of opinion...


September 20, 2005 7:52 PM

Blogger Adam said...

I think you've misunderstood what I was trying to get at. It took Nintendo 10 years to get a handheld out on the market that wasn't completely inferior to every other device in existence. Thats was the point.

September 20, 2005 11:01 PM

Blogger Erik said...

I'm going to stay out of this particular argument, and merely say that I disagree with you and leave it at that.

But I would like to know when I can expect a review for Advence Wars DS.


September 21, 2005 4:21 PM

Blogger luke said...

" It took Nintendo 10 years to get a handheld out on the market that wasn't completely inferior to every other device in existence. "
See, that is completely not true. When the Original Gameboy first came out in 1989, there was nothing else like it on the market.

Now if you're trying to say that Nintendo milked the Gameboy for all it was worth by not inventing something like the GBC - I completely agree. They did milk the GB, but they are a company. They need to make profit just like Sony and Microsoft.
If they had released the GBC within a few years of the launch of the original GB, then consumers would have been annoyed and frusterated with handheld gaming (much as they are today).

September 21, 2005 6:35 PM

Blogger anonymous said...

lol, Reggie just pwned Adam.

September 30, 2005 12:09 AM

Blogger Adam said...

Oh really. Good to know for never. If you're at all in awe that Nintendo is pushing their own product then I have no words for you.

September 30, 2005 7:34 AM

Blogger jcd said...

While I agree that Nintendo is certainly not going to become an industry leader with the revo, the rest of your fanboish rot isn't even worth reading.

All video game companies exist to make money. In fact, just cut out the words "video game" in there: all companies exist to make money. Arguing that nintendo gouges their customers because they are the only company not selling systems at a loss is absurd. Sony and MS are doing what is called "buying marketshare." It's generally a desperate move only used to get a foot in the door. That said, I'm not surprised MS is doing this, but I'm a bit at a loss over why sony is planning to buy marketshare. My guess is they feel threatened by MS.

September 30, 2005 5:16 PM

Blogger Erik said...


Pleas answer my question, when can I expect a review of Advance Wars DS?

September 30, 2005 5:31 PM

Blogger Adam said...

Arguing that nintendo gouges their customers because they are the only company not selling systems at a loss is absurd. Sony and MS are doing what is called "buying marketshare." It's generally a desperate move only used to get a foot in the door. That said, I'm not surprised MS is doing this, but I'm a bit at a loss over why sony is planning to buy marketshare. My guess is they feel threatened by MS.

Check your facts pal. Sony has been "buying marketshare" (a term you made up) since Ps1. In fact SEGA did it, so has Microsoft, Nokia, heck, the only company not "buying marketshare" is Nintendo. Again, I recommend checking your facts, as selling for a loss (or at best for cost) is the market trend, and anything above that during the first year of any console cycle, is frowned upon, as it means you're looking to gouge the consumer for something they're going to have to buy software for.

I guess your knowledge of how the industry works is rather limited.

October 01, 2005 9:22 PM

Blogger Agoaj said...

Wouldn't the Gameboy line show that the hardware doesn't matter? Then again one could make an argument that the Gameboy name was solidified and is why the color and advance have dominated the market while others have launched imrpoved hardware to lackluster results.

But it's not just technical power we're talking about here, simple user interface, a light.

Why did people choose the gameboy? Surely they arn't all fanboys.

October 02, 2005 10:46 PM

Blogger Adam said...

Why? Because it was the only handheld on the market with a powerful marketing team behind it. Game Gear dominated the sales charts when it was competing with GB, but was yanked for the Nomad, which SEGA thought was going to be a bigger success and wipe Nintendo off the market.

Other than the Game Gear, Nintendo has had no viable competition, which gives portable gamers one choice: Game Boy. Being the only product on the market doesn't make it a choice, it's a monopoly. Something Nintendo can't claim anymore.

October 02, 2005 11:17 PM

Blogger Agoaj said...

Nintendo's marketing team powerful? I will have to digest that with a bigfoot pizza from pizza hut.

October 03, 2005 1:38 PM

Blogger John Comma Doe said...

Just because company's have been selling their products at a loss does not mean that selling for profit is "gouging." If you wanted to be picky about it, I suppose you could just say that nintendo is turning their profit up front, as compared to a company like sony which is turning its profit on the backend.

Let's face it, sony's major motivator in the coming console cycle has nothing to do with profit, any more than microsoft's motivation in the present cycle was profit. Sony wants to sell the ps3 so they can use it to leverage blue ray hd movies against toshiba's hd dvd technology. Sony is buying users by giving away consoles at a loss in order to make money later by marketing their proprietary high definition movie media to film makers.

That's not to say that the ps3 isn't going to be a great gaming system. It is. My guess is that it will perform about the same as the X360, although there are fanbois on either side who will argue the superiority of their console. Whatever. It's going to be a hot system, it will sell well, and it will have amazing graphics.

Nintendo has never been in the industry of making movies, so nintendo has to makes its money off either the games, the console or the peripherals. There's no money in peripherals, at least not anymore since most people would just assume buy knockoff brand peripherals for less. There is still money to be made in games, but as someone so into the industry as yourself surely knows, the cost of producing games is skyrocketing--that 'cash cow' is yielding less and less milk.

The fact is, for a company that isn't trying to sell hd movie media or an OS to show double digit growth in this rising cost environment, the sales of the console need to be profitable. It's not a question of "knowing the industry," its a question of knowing business, knowing stockholders, and knowing that you need more income this year than last--preferrably 10% more--in order to keep your shareholders happy.

And as far as the gameboy vs. competitor issue goes, the GB always owned its competitors. The other systems had lighted screens and color displays, but for the time this technology simply was not practical. People didn't want a game system that only worked for an hour or two before it needed new batteries. Hell, I remember my friends having game gears and how much it sucked that the battery life was so bad. I assume from your angsty rants that you aren't old enough to remember this, adam, but back then we didn't have nickel metal hydride or lithium ion rechargeable batteries--you either used crappy nicads that lasted about 1/3rd of the time of alkalines, or you bought one-time-users.

The fact is, the gameboy did so well because the most powerful system with the flashiest graphics isn't always the best. I suspect that this is also why the psp has fared so poorly in comparison to the ds, but that is another debate for another day.

Stop thinking about 1s and 0s. There is more to gaming than numbers on a spreadsheet and polygon counts. Just because a system can push the most polygons in a second doesn't make it 'best.' You're a power gamer, and you'll never understand why the players in the market do what they do unless you try thinking like the average consumer.

The average consumer buys based on value. The ps2 was (and still is) a great value: a moderately powerful gaming system PLUS cd player PLUS dvd player PLUS a massive software library, all in one set top box. If a three of the next gen system have the same value points (cd/dvd playback, backward compatibility, and next gen power), then nintendo might actually edge sony out based on its price point.

The average consumer buys based on benefits. There is no appreciable difference between the X360 and the ps3--despite your sycophantic love affair with sony, you must realize this. Nintendo is the only next gen system to offer benefits--a new means of game control--its competitors don't have. Now I couldn't tell you if it'll work, much like the touch screen on the ds we'll simply have to wait and see how it is used. Nintendo has a chance of buying back some market share because their system does something the others do not.

The average consumer buys based on emotion. This is a little harder to gauge at this stage of the game since microsoft is the only company really marketing their next-gen console; the other two will probably wait until 1st quarter '06. But frankly, if sony doesn't drum up some hype around the ps3, they might lose marketshare there.

There's a much bigger picture here than you wish to see, little one.

October 08, 2005 11:56 PM

Blogger Adam said...

Let's be real for a second, SCEW does not, I repeat, does not connect with the profits and benefits of Sony Pictures, both cinematically and on home video. It's part of the same parent company, but both operate of different budgets, with different forcasts for - suprise suprise- different markets. So the excuse that Sony makes it profit behind the scenes is absurd. If SCEW was non-profitable, why keep it around? If it isn't a money making venture, then there's no way Sony would say "Oh well, we'll just break even using our other divisions". That's not how it works. If SCEW's business model was as "background" as you say, then the losses would have been cut years ago. The fact is, Sony's business model, of selling consoles at a loss or at cost, and letting the software barrel roll the profits into their wallet, has been the most successful overall ever. Sure. their net profit is never as large as Nintendo's, but keep in mind, Sony isn't the one losing market share day by day.

Profit is always motivation, there's no way around it. There's always the movitivation that money will be made, in either the short or long of things. Nintendo does not understand the concept of a long term plan. At least, they don't show it anyway. Selling hardware, that's brand spanking new, for profit IS gouging your fanbase. Who buys consoles the day they hit shelves? The most loyal and hardcore of gamers. What ends up happening is that these hardcore gamers buy into Nintendo's machine early, only to have a price drop follow a year later for the casual consumer. So in the long term, Nintendo is screwing over their hardcore fanbase. Though, there isn't much that can be done, since they keep coming back to be abused more and more.

While there's no denying the Ps3 is huge bargaining chip in the Blu Ray - HD DVD war, the Blu Ray is the superior format. Cheaper manufacturing cost and better storage space. So whether or not Sony wants to get the Ps3 out there to standardize Blu Ray, it's better that way regardless. It's the superior format this time around.

The argument that budget prices are sky rocketing doesn't hold either. The prices of games from a retai point of view are increasing to mirror this budget change, so saying profits need to be made up else where is misinformed.

The fact that in the midst of your argument, you went right for my age proves that the legs you're standing on are shakey at best. When you're trying argue battery life with a soon to be Chemical Engineer it's best to get your facts straight. Oh yes, NiMH cells can run up to 35% longer than Ni-Cd batteries, but that only translates to an extension of about 4 hours, from the 3 hours of normal play time on the Game Gear. I did play Game Gear, and I am old enough to know what the battery life was like. On the flip side of the same coin, the GameBoy offered very little besides battery life. The games were never good (save for a few like Metroid, F-Zero and World Cup), the front lit bronze and brown screen was barely visible in almost any light, and the fact that Nintendo overcharged for the thing right up until GameBoy colour came out, meant consumers were getting next to no bang for their buck. You can defend the battery life all you want, I'll let you. It's nothing compared to the atrocity of a device the original GameBoy was.

Not that these last points don't matter as much, I'm just going to tackle them in point form to make it simpler for your small mind to understand.

-The PSP has fared well, not poorly. When your running neck in neck with the DS, with a million unit separator between you, you're doing better than just "poorly". The DS right now has only just more than 50% of the market. That's a far cry from Nintendo previous 94% market share.

-There is a significant appreciable difference between the Ps3 and Xbox 360.

1) The Ps3 is more powerful. Sorry fanbase. More powerful by a whole order of magnitude as well. Every non-first party developer has mentioned this. This isn't news to anyone other than deaf fannies.

2) The Ps3 is backwards compatible in all forms, out of the box. Xbox 360 requires downloads of cracks for the firmware to run them, which also requires the HDD. If you can't see the advantage there, this conversation should end here.

3) The Ps3 has more of everything. More HD outputs, more controller "porting", more polygons, more processing, more everything. The Ps3 is far and away the more powerful console.

- The Revolution is far from offering the same value as the Ps3 and Xbox 360. For starters, it's not going to be DVD ready right out of the box (and the Ps3's advantage above both is Blu Ray AND HD DVD playback as well), you're going to have to purchase a dongle off the store shelves. That's far from putting Rev, Ps3 and Xbox 360 on some normal plane.

- Revolution will not have next-gen power. In fact, those specs that you claim are from a reliable resource, are in fact contradictory to what Iwata is in fact quoted as saying. Revolution will not be near as powerful as Ps3 and Xbox 360. Where the Ps3 is an order of magnitude more powerful than the Xbox 360, Revolution will be several orders of magnitude less powerful than both*


-While there's no telling how well received Revolution's concept will be, it won't save Nintendo and it certainly won't increase their market share by any appreciable amount. Nintendo is already long gone. While I'm not going to dwell and digress on the matter for long, Nintedo is on their way out of the market. A decade, maybe one or two years more, Nintendo is gone. Their only successful market is their handheld market, which rocks right now.

- While on the very surface of this pooled mentality that "It doesn't matter what you buy, it will rock" puts all three big guys on the same playing field, Revolution isn't even competition for the Ps3 and XBox 360, and the Ps3 offers far more bang for the yen than the Xbox 360. That's how it is.

There's a much bigger picture here than you wish to see, little one.

And I've painted an even bigger one for you, kid.

October 09, 2005 12:17 PM

Blogger John Comma Doe said...

Are you really so daft as to suggest that Sony as a corporation is incapable of accepting the concept of giving $5 out of their left hand to get $10 in their right? The suggestion that sony has no interest in pushing their proprietary media formats via their console is absurd. You can't buy stock in SCEA; you can only buy stock in Sony.

And again, I'm going to have to go back to the basics of any business discussion: you need to turn bigger profits this year than last in order to satisfy shareholders, and if you're losing money on console sales, you must be making it somewhere else (and I don't believe for an instant that software licensing and peripherals are anywhere near capable of showing the growth needed to satisfy shareholders).

As far as cutting prices after the console is no longer new goes, it is only fair to say that ALL of the players in the market do this. The cost of a GeForce 6xxx series video card will be less a year from now than it is today. Costs for technology drop.

The hardcore fans who buy a system the day it comes out get the benefit of accessing the technology a year earlier than those who wait for pricing cuts. Perhaps that doesn't sit well with you, but in the interest of fairness, I would suggest that you at least admit that Sony, the company you seem to vastly prefer, has done the very "gouging" you are describing.

Regarding HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray, I frankly don't care. Blu-ray could well be the superior format. Doesn't matter to the end user; all most of us will care about is which format is used by the big media companies (harkening back to the vhs vs beta-max war, which resulted in the technologically inferior vhs winning out). I'm planning on sitting that one out until one or the other becomes the standard.

As far as the increasing cost of software goes, its simply not sufficient to offset the rising costs of production. Software for next gen consoles seems to have found a price point at around $60--that's about a 17% increase. The cost of game production has gone up far more than 17%, especially since the $50 price point has been in the market for over 10 years (I can't remember what nes games sold for, but I think it was either $40 or $50).

As far as the gameboy vs. game gear debate goes, there's nothing to argue. Nintendo kicked the crap out of Sega in that field. Blame it on whatever you want, but I think even you would have to admit that there was "something" that set nintendo apart from its competitors in that market.

Regarding the X360 vs. the ps3, I neither know nor care which console will be more powerful. People on either side will argue the technical superiority of their system. Whatever. Again, you need to start thinking like an end user and not a power gamer. Can you really tell a difference between 200 billion polygons on screen and 220 billion polygons? Does it really matter?

The specs I cited for the revo could be wrong. They are only an internet rumor. The source has some credibility because of his previous successful predictions, but he could be wrong.

My guess is they're probably pretty close to the real deal--they put the revo below the competitors technologically while still fitting in the next gen environment. But no one will know for sure until nintendo releases their specs.

My speculation:

The revo will gain some marketshare in the next console cycle by avoiding some of the mistakes made with the gamecube ('kidsy' design, late release, and poor marketing) and by adding some value over their competitors. They will not become the dominant console by a long shot.

The X360 will also gain marketshare, making microsoft an actual competitor this time around (vs. the current cycle where microsoft is a joke). Their marketing dollars have been well spent, and their console will be plenty powerful enough to stand on its own.

Sony will lose marketshare, if for no other reason than because they have so damn much of it right now. I suspect Sony will remain the dominant player in the next cycle, but their sheer dominance over the industry will be cut back now that there is some serious competition out there.

All 3 companies will make money and have happy shareholders. Sony will leverage their blu-ray technology and start selling high definition movies. Microsoft will continue integrating their peripheral hardware (pocket pcs, pmcs, consoles, etc) with their os, maintaining their OS monopoly. Nintendo will continue leveraging their properties (mario, zelda, etc) and their new game designs, turning profits in all of their business venues.

And life will be happy, except in the world of blogs where everyone is angry about everything.

October 14, 2005 11:21 AM

Blogger Adam said...

I'd rather not sift through your rebuttal to point out it's many inaccuracies, but this glaring one should be made clear.

I would suggest that you at least admit that Sony, the company you seem to vastly prefer, has done the very "gouging" you are describing.

Get it through your head: Nintendo is the ONLY, I repeat ONLY console manufacturer to sell a console at launch for a profit. Sony and Microsoft (and even the late SEGA) all sold their piece of hardware at a loss. You can't gouge people who you're losing money to. It's impossibility. Nintendo are the only people doing the gouging, and thats a reality you have to face.

October 14, 2005 4:17 PM

Blogger Art said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 04, 2005 10:26 PM

Blogger Art said...

Starbucks charging for water after 9/11 is gouging. Selling goods for a profit really doesn't count. I mean by your logic shoe companies should sell shoes are a loss and make the lost money back on socks. You can do that, but it isn't despicable to actually make money on the shoes.

If tomorrow Nike started selling shoes at a loss and made it back with proprietary socks I sincerely doubt I'd see a screaming rant from you about how Reebok is screwing up by not doing the same.

November 04, 2005 10:28 PM

Blogger Jebus said...

Wow, whoever wrote this article is obviously uneducated in the subject.

I'm sorry, but some "facts" aren't true, and most of your arguments are groundless.

Go read an article or two, don't just look at the pretty pictures and pretend you have any idea what you're saying.

November 04, 2005 11:08 PM

Blogger Ciral said...

You seem to know more than I do and I'm not being sarcastic.

I have two questions and if I at anytime start to be offencive, I'm sorry.

I see your point about Nintendo gourging its costomers by selling their system for a profit and scrweing those people over by lowering the price a year later. But how is this comparable when Sony and Microsoft sold their systems at higher prices? And did not these two companies lower the price of their systems around a year after release as well? As long as I'm asking about milking, how is the new slim PS2 not milking?

2. Have you ever heard of Just-Noticeable difference? It is a term to describe how much a stimulus needs to increase or decreas before we notice. The noticable differnce needed for recognition of change goes up the more there is. A more specific term is Weber's law which says that a constant percentage of a magnitude change is necessary to detect a difference. For example, a person who loses 10 pounds and was origialy 110 will easily notice a difference. A person who is say 300 pounds will not notice 10 pounds.
Now I'm not argueing with you, just explaining my thoughts.
Apply this to a video game. As advanced as games are getting, creating just a differnce in appearance is EXTREAMLY expensive and for a very small differnce. I came to this idea appling Weber's law; with greater graphics comes a higher percentage of magnitude change needed to notice a difference. Now we dont know much about it since we havent seen the Rev's graphics but I can see nintendo's mind set. Why go overkill on price of graphics when most advances will not even be preceved by human sence?
Another comparable example is when people put down a much greater amount of money for a "advanced" Sub-woofer that functions at frequencies that other sub-woofers cant. What they did not tell these people is that only dogs will be able to hear the very expencive and worthless improvment.
This generation is another good example. On paper Xbox was the best followed by gamecube followed by PS2 (I'm pretty sure but order is irelivant to the point I'm making). With these systems, there never was a game that could not be done on all three in terms of graphics and the difference was so small, you really had to have a trained eye to see them.

Now I've already exepted the fact that you are more knowledgeable than me in this catagory so if anything I said is dumb or wrong, my apologies. I just want to hear your thoughts on this.

November 05, 2005 12:49 AM

Blogger Adam said...

You're absolutely right, Microsoft and Sony do drop the prices of their consoles, as does Nintendo. The point I was trying to make was that Nintendo will gouge their biggest fans for money - and turn around and do the same to their not so hardcore fans - but they charge them more. For example, at the launch of the Nintendo DS, the DS only cost Nintendo about 75 dollars to make. They were making 75 bucks off of every Nintendo DS owner.

Now with the price drop, they're only making about 50 bucks. It seems like a moot point, but why would Nintendo gouge their best fans more than their smallest? It makes no sense. Which is why the model of selling at a loss early, and then making the profit up a year later works best for the company and the fans.

a) It allows for a more powerful machine. Selling at a loss means companies can put more power into a system without changing the price point. Once cost has been saturated, then you lower the price, take the hit and deliver a powerhouse machine at your expense, not the consumer (ie: your hardcore fanbase).

b) A year later, when the machine becomes cheaper to produce, you drop the price to a profitable number or at the very worst cost. Sony employed this model with it's PS and Ps2 machines, as did SEGA with the Genesis, Game Gear and Dreamcast. It means you're making a self sacrifice for your hardcore fanbase, and making your money back later on those who aren't. It's the lesser of two evils I suppose.

c) It means you aren't cheaping out on the consumer. With the DS, the guts of the device are obsolete. No questions. It's a dumbed down N64 in a handheld. The bulk of the cost comes from the touch screen and second screen. Without those, the machine would cost pennies to manufacture. So Nintendo is selling obsolete technology to the consumer at a 200% revenue margin? There's no honesty in that. Paint that next to Sony's PSP which is leaps and bounds above anything a handheld was ever expected to be able to produce, and is sold at a 50 dollar loss (a year ago anyway, I haven't kept up on the cost of either system as the cost of parts has come down).

In the end, when you take the hit and not the consumer - because ultimately the consumer will have to pay money regardless - it looks better, and to be frank, just more honest to be saying "Look, we know you're going to have to shell out some cash, but we're going to gouge ourselves here, not you".

That's my problem with Nintendo's model. They're overcharging for technology that is ten years old. (In spite of the fantastic games the DS has received in these last few months).

As for your point about "Just noticable difference", I'd say you're right, just noticable difference is somewhat important. However, you're applying it to next-gen, when the difference is more than just noticable. Where the Xbox could push at maximum about 60 million polygons per second, the Xbox 360 can push 500 million. Where the Ps2 could only push at max 30 million polys, the Ps3 will do 500M+.

The only place I can see just noticable difference applying is with Revolution, and the rumours of it being only 2 times as powerful as GameCube was. That's a just noticable difference. However, the difference is more than just notciable with Ps3 and Xbox 360, it's a tens of orders of magnitude difference, and I'd say that your point doesn't hold much water outside of Nintendo's camp. And believe me, that difference is going to be more than perceptable by the human senses.

I also don't subscribe to your notion that the three consoles are even almost equal. They aren't. The best the Xbox can do is probably double the best the Ps2 can do, and so on. I mean, there's no way Ps2 could ever handle Half Life 2 or Ninja Gaiden. It just couldn't. There's no comparison. With multiconsole games, the Xbox version almost always looks the best, sounds the best and is overall more polished.

However, I do subscribe to the idea that all 3 major consoles do trump each other, and commonly too. There are moments when the Gamecube trumps the Xbox, Ps2 the Gamecube, or even Ps2 the Xbox. It's very contextual, but overall, I'd say rearing up to finish this generation of titles, all 3 systems are getting some high quality software that really tap the limits of each's power.

I guess I should thank you for not bursting into flames and replying with dignity. I respect that. A lot.


November 05, 2005 1:00 PM

Blogger Ciral said...

Again, I'm not trying to argue with you or be offencive. Just trying to have a conversation with someone with a different view.

About my comment on just noticable difference, I was not commparing this gen with next gen, I was comparing next gen to next gen. The 360 for example will probably look just as good as the PS3 even if the PS3 is technicaly better. How I've heard a rumor that the Rev will be 10 times as powerful as the GC but that is just as reliable that it will be 2 times as powerful. I'm not going to argue with you on this, I just want to know if you can see how less can be more this next generation, thats all.

Now as much as you hate Nintendo's business, you have to recognize the fact that Nintendo is a company that only does video games. Microsoft and Sony dont need profits on their systems, they have so much profit coming in from other branches that they can survive easily without video game profits. Nintendo does not have this luxury. If nintendo attempted what Microsoft did this gen, it would not have been terrable for the company due to lost profit.

Not to change the subject but your point on overpriced technology in the DS makes sence. I bet you just love the GB micro (GBmirco=slim ps2 for the record). But I think one aspect that your not considering is gameplay. I know that you said you hate the whole concept of the DS, but what about the PSP? The reason I did not buy it is because a PSP is just what it sounds like. Despite its graphical feats in such a small shell, it is really no different from the PS2. The experiance does not change in the PS2-PSP transition. Here was my thinking and let me know if it was ignorant of me.

PSP= very expencive for my budget
DS= not as expencive

PSP= same experiance of PS2. Nothing new.
DS= a new experiance. Could not get that anywhere else.

People say that it is a strength that the PSP does what the PS2 does but to me thats the PSP's weakness. I'm sure that the new GTA game will be good much like its predesesors but what will change?

Again sorry if anything I said is upseting.

November 05, 2005 3:03 PM

Blogger Adam said...

I'd have to disagree. While the Ps3 and XBox 360 have a closeness in power, the Ps3 is still far and away the more powerful console. The Cell processors 8 internal cores trump the Xbox 360's 3. There's no question there. While Xbox 360 has a unified memory architecture, the Ps3 just has better memory. Designed to be a graphics machine, not just an upgraded PC in a box. It's optimized for videogames. Not to mention, overall the GPU's of the Ps3 is capable of producing more than twice as many floating point operations as the Xbox 360.

It's true, a lot of currently known games do look similar on Xbox 360. But one look at MGS4, and you can already see the beauty of Gears of War being outdone, and that was a rushed Ps3 demo, made specificallu to raise eyebrows at TGS. If an early Ps3 rendering demo for MGS4 can look better than a fully complete Gears of War, that speaks volumes to just how much more horse power the Ps3 has.

Of course the next generation isn't going to be made or broken with specs. It's software. And while Nintendo has chosen to go a different route with software, they aren't any more safe than MS or Sony. They've shown that they can make good games with their "different" technology like the DS, but those are the hits. Seven times out of ten, Nintendo will and has missed the nail when striking for innovative games on their unique platforms.

You'd be absolutely right in saying less can be more. It can...but only if you try. So far, Nintendo isn't trying to do more of anything. They're just making it different. So my biggest fear with Nintendo's minimalist approach to console power, is that they're going to release Metroid Prime 3, Mario 35, Zelda 10, and Donkey Konga 11 on Revolution, and they're going to be different, but regardless of whether or not they're good games or not, it's not going to be more.

We already get good games from Nintendo. Changing the way we play them isn't going to make 1 great game, 2 great games. They aren't increasing their clout any with this controller. So when I see new IPs coming out Nintendo's doors, then I'll speak to this matter in greater length. But right now, Sony has equal numbers of new IPs and continuing titles coming to ps3...and that's a great attraction.

I don't think the DS is piece of crap, in fact I love it and some of it's games. I just gave one of my highest recommendations to the new Castlevania game, and if no other title comes along, it's guaranteed to get my vote for handheld GotY. That isn't to say I don't find the cons to be slightly disheartening. The price is steep for such an obsolete piece of technology, but the games forgive that.

How do I feel about the PSP? I think it's a great piece of tech. The machine itself is sexier, more powerful and has more games than the DS, and more features that make it a better package...and Sony isn't trying to gouge me for a profit, they know the machine already costs enough on it's own. That's an honest business model. I don't feel UMDs will take off, but they aren't all rip offs or bad deals. Overall the PSP is the better machine. You can't deny that. However, PSPs software drought which began at the end of this summer is beginning to get a bit tiresome. GTA isn't enough to support a machine, and hopefully we'll some higher profile releases come this Christmas or in the new year. Right now, this holiday season will more than likely see the DS as the must have handheld, especially with games like Castlevania, Nintendogs and Advance Wars.

I personally am not against the idea of the PSP resonating with Playstation 2 performance. I prefer console gaming to handheld gaming, so if I can take console gaming on the road, the better off I am. Everyone has their preference, but there's no denying the PSP is a better machine. It's more powerful, more versatile and has online play...something DS won't have for another two weeks. Right now, Nintendo is still playing catch up with the curve ball that was the PSP. Trying to mimic and copy everything that makes the PSP the superior handheld.

Hope that addresses your concerns.

November 05, 2005 7:39 PM

Blogger Ciral said...

This is the last thing I will say;

I know and see you point about Mario 35 Donky Konga 11

How is Xbox and PS3 not setting themselves of the same way with the idea of Halo 10, Dead or Alive 45, and GTA 23?
I know you dont like Nintendo because you dont think its that revolutionary but it is different to what is currently out.
Sony and Microsoft are really not changing anything but sharper graphics. So how is that point you made on going both ways?

November 05, 2005 8:42 PM

Blogger Adam said...

A more appropriate hyperbole would have been Halo 5 or GTA 10, but I digress...

Yes, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 will retain continuing IPs and third party support. That's a given with any consoles. Sequels are a good thing for fans of the series...however, what about those who aren't? If you paid any attention to Sony's press conference at E3, you'd know that on top of a trailer reel sporting about 10 high profile sequels, there was a second trailer reel, with an identical number of brand new franchises, no sequels. How is it different? The difference lies in that Sony and Microsoft are creating new franchises, and not just rehashing the old ones like Nintendo is.

(I should also correct you, as I don't hate Nintendo. I just don't appreciate that they think they're the industry saviours and know what I want...let alone the fact that they constantly contradict themselves and blatantly ignore their faults.)

November 05, 2005 8:50 PM


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