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Wii

Rick’s Rant - Episode 5: Powers Strikes Back

by Rick Powers - January 26, 2009, 9:27 am PST
Total comments: 74

Rick’s back, and he’s angry.

While I’ve been gone from Nintendo World Report (formerly Planet GameCube) for some time now, I continued blogging on technology and games for my good friend Andru Edwards and his network of sites until last year. I took some time out for myself and made a series of sweeping life changes, but when I ran into Justin Nation on Facebook I figured it was as good a time as any to put the band back together. This might just be a one-time reunion, or maybe I’ll go out on tour. Who knows?

Unlike Nation, I’m not going to bore you all to tears talking about how old I am or how hard we had it back in the day. I’m here to continue my tirades on Nintendo, calling them out on decisions they’ve made and continue to make, and I’ll do it out of love. Or at least, do it out of some deep-seated need to be right all the time. It’s only because I’m almost always right anyways. Speaking of which, I clearly whiffed on my diatribe regarding the selection of “Wii” as a product name. Yes, it was non-sensical, and yes, Nintendo still faced all of the challenges I outlined. And as the title of my editorial suggested, we did indeed get over it and led Nintendo to where it is now, quite literally writing themselves blank checks.

But let’s move on. My last editorial for NWR was about Nintendo whiffing on their PAX ’06 appearance. Since then, Nintendo has changed in some ways, but has also stayed the same. I waited in line for my Wii in November ’06 (along with Andru) just like a lot of Nintendo’s hardcore fans, because it was clear Nintendo was trying to innovate in the gaming space. Two years later, I hardly turn my Wii on any more. It’s currently at my girlfriend’s house, where she and her sister use it to “play” Wii Fit. I figured it was better off over there than gathering dust on the shelf at my place.

Does that make Wii Fit a brilliant move by Nintendo to capture the casual market? Absolutely. Business-wise, Nintendo struck gold with their “blue-ocean strategy”; they’re attracting a whole new market with games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit. Nintendo owns the casual market right now, and they’re perfectly happy selling to people that will turn the Wii on once a day to work out, or once a month when they have a kegger on campus. They make enough money on the console (and controllers, and peripherals, and licensing) that they really don’t care much about the attach rate. And that’s where their fatal flaw lies: Nintendo doesn’t know how to transform this casual market into consumers that will buy more software.

The Wii is priced to be an impulse purchase for the market they’re tapping. Nintendo is quite happily boasting about being responsible for 99% of the industry’s growth, but were they really? If Wii owners bought it for Wii Sports alone, or for Wii Fit, can you really claim to have grown the segment? Until Nintendo can prove that they can convince those people to buy more software, more GAME software, they’ll continue to get the same eye-rolling response they did when they made that statement. A rising tide is supposed to raise ALL the boats, not just the ones owned by Nintendo.

Sadly, Nintendo doesn’t realize that not only could they have it all, but they’re at risk of losing the casual market with the same strategy that got them there in the first place. The same people that lauded the Wii’s ability to get gamers off the couch and active are starting to realize that those games have little depth, and are only fun for such a brief time that their benefits are minimal. Even Wii Fit owners are coming to the conclusion that it’s no replacement for “real” exercise. If the dearth of entertaining software continues out of Nintendo, they’re seriously at risk of losing that same market they’ve fought so hard to attract, through what I call “Wii fatigue.” I suspect that for every Wii they sell, someone stops using theirs. Those Wii’s aren’t getting traded in though, so Nintendo still has an opportunity to capture those hearts again.

Which leads me into my closing statement: I received some very disturbing news recently and turned to gaming as a way to ease the pain. With all the gaming systems I had access to and all the games I could play, I went back and spent time with my old friends Donald and Goofy. I loaded up Kingdom Hearts 2 (via my PS3), and enjoyed every moment with these childhood friends. I passed up playing with Mario, or Link, or any of my former favorites. Square-Enix recently released an updated Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the PS2, which used to be a Game Boy Advance title. Why did Nintendo not pursue having this game on the Wii? The audience for a game like Kingdom Hearts should be right up their alley. Instead, they’re satisfied with having an upcoming DS game while Square-Enix releases similar games on the PSP and mobile phones. This is a gaming franchise perfect for the casual market built by Wii, with recognizable characters from outside the gaming world, and Nintendo let it get past them.

Nintendo is fat, dumb, and happy. They’re in a place right now where they have become complacent in their success with casual gamers (similar to their GameCube-era complacency), and it’s showing in the kinds of product they’re selling. Uninspired and shallow Wii Remote experiences; third-party shovelware that is a slap in the face to those that still remember the Nintendo Seal of Quality; Wii-makes of N64 and GameCube games that hearken back to a time when Nintendo was more innovative; plastic, high-margin accessories that do nothing but inspire even more plastic, high-margin accessories from licensed vendors. Nintendo used to inspire the best kind of copy cats, people who would steal Nintendo’s innovative ideas and release software that raised the level of competition. Now the only competition they inspire is for the space in the box that holds all my plastic crap. Nintendo is slipping into the realm of being merely an expensive toy manufacturer, a purveyor of plastic and digital bits, the equivalent of gaming junk food. Nintendo hasn’t just partnered with McDonalds, Nintendo has become McDonalds - the 800-pound gorilla selling whatever you’ll buy to anyone who will walk in the door, empty calories in a pretty white box.

At least now you have a scale in your living room to weigh yourself afterwards.

Talkback

Nice to see you back, but... I'm sorry to say you're out of touch with Nintendo's accomplisments this generation Rick. (please don't fire me!)

Quote from: RickPowers

   


Speaking of which, I clearly whiffed on my diatribe regarding the selection of “Wii” as a product name.  Yes, it was non-sensical, and yes, Nintendo still faced all of the challenges I outlined.  And as the title of my editorial suggested, we did indeed get over it and led Nintendo to where it is now, quite literally writing themselves blank checks.   

If you were wrong about that, aren't you humbled to consider how wrong you might be on other things?

Quote:

They make enough money on the console (and controllers, and peripherals, and licensing) that they really don’t care much about the attach rate.

The Wii is said to boast a 6.0 attach rate, higher than the PS3 and slowly catching up to the XBox360's attach rate. Why does the Wii have a lower attach rate than the XBox 360? Because the Wii hardware outsells the XBox 360 hardware so consistently that new owners constantly drag down the Wii's attach rate. High attach rates are a bad sign actually because they mark a niche product. New users, which you want, cause a lower attach rate... too bad the PS3's lower attach rate comes with lower install base too.

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And that’s where their fatal flaw lies: Nintendo doesn’t know how to transform this casual market into consumers that will buy more software.

Nintendo has repeatedly stated that their intention is to do EXACTLY THIS. See: bridge titles.

Besides, did you see the recent December NPD numbers? Mario Kart Wii sold to TONS OF NEW OWNERS. Even the three-year old Mario Kart DS climbed back into the top 10 sales for December because the CASUAL DS owners bought up the Kart Racer, a beloved Nintendo franchise from the SNES, in droves.

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Nintendo is quite happily boasting about being  responsible for 99% of the industry’s growth, but were they really?

Yes. 49% of all software sold in 2008 was for Nintendo platforms.

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Until Nintendo can prove that they can convince those people to buy more software, more GAME software, they’ll continue to get the same eye-rolling response they did when they made that statement.

Stop eye-rolling. See sales for 2008.

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A rising tide is supposed to raise ALL the boats, not just the ones owned by Nintendo.

It's not Nintendo's fault if the other boats are hole-ridden. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

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Which leads me into my closing statement: I received some very disturbing news recently and turned to gaming as a way to ease the pain.  With all the gaming systems I had access to and all the games I could play, I went back and spent time with my old friends Donald and Goofy.  I loaded up Kingdom Hearts 2 (via my PS3), and enjoyed every moment with these childhood friends.

I agree, Kingdom Hearts needs to be on the Wii. I am holding out for KH3 being on the Wii.

Quote:

Nintendo is slipping into the realm of being merely an expensive toy manufacturer, a purveyor of plastic and digital bits, the equivalent of gaming junk food.

Wow, so toys are digital junkfood? You really haven't followed Nintendo's, and even Miyamoto's, unifying theme throughout their history: entertainment for everyone, evoking emotions and smiles from regular people instead of evoking drool from cloistered gamers, and using innovation to surprise and expand, not dig themselves deeper into a hole.

I understand these are your opinions, but... this amounts to anecdotal evidence, personal dislike, and a lack of perspective. Just like Steven Kent's recent, and unfortunate, apology-not-apology about his being so utterly wrong about the Wii... which he didn't sound apologetic for by the way, I can't help but feel that this editorial is an artifact of a misguided, outmoded, and unenlightened viewpoint. You know, like clinging to the idea that the earth is flat.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorJanuary 26, 2009

I think this editorial combined with Cai's response brings up an interesting comparison of a persons view from the outside and a person's view who adamantly follows Nintendo.

I know Rick used to be super into Nintendo, but it's obvious he hasn't paid near as much attention as he used to.

I'm not sure what I'm getting at here, other than saying "it's interesting."


One clarifying thing on the PS2 Chain of Memories release.  That game was actually developed a couple years ago.  It released as part of the Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix in Japan.  That came out in March of 2007 there, so development was some time prior to that.  Hence the Wii was barely even out, so I'm not sure it's necessarily fair to say that Nintendo didn't go after that particular game.

That said, Kingdom Hearts 3 BETTER be on the Wii.  Square has made it obvious that they are ok with releasing different exclusives across different systems, which means its well within Nintendo's power to secure that game.

I've said this a million times, but they just need to get the game on Nintendo systems, then give Square access to Nintendo IPs, and it would be a combination of Disney, Square, and Nintendo.  Donald, Cloud, and Link could team up to kick some ass.

D_AverageJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: RickPowers

At least now you have a scale in your living room to weigh yourself afterwards.

Nice...    8)

StogiJanuary 26, 2009

It's good to see you back Rick!

Kairon, can I gravel at your feet? Seriously, your responses were my own.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

I have to agree with Cai here, this feels misguided and just ... wrong. The argument presented here is so tired, I'm just sick of it already. Somehow plenty of us have found a nice array of games to enjoy. Sure not all of them are epic blockbusters, but games don't need to be in order to be good.

Prior to the release of the Wii, Iwata talked about his vision of the future of gaming, and part of that was variably priced games that reflect the scope and budget of the title. This generation we have seen this vision become a reality with a variety of Wii software. There are a number of shorter, more focused games that offer a reasonable amount of gameplay for a reduced price. The model works for me, and has actually opened the door for a number of developers to stray from big budget games and make more niche products. Combine this with the advent of WiiWare and the Virtual Console, and the Wii lineup is one of the best in Nintendo history, believe it or not.

That's ok though, no one else has to see it but me. While the rest of the industry bitches up a storm about the Wii lineup and continues making dust-collecting jokes, I'm getting in some of the best gaming in a long time.

KhushrenadaJanuary 26, 2009

Man, bad timing. With Bill's farewell speech, there's a lot of discussion going on about negativity on these forums and against Nintendo and concerning the staff. This wasn't the best time to release an editorial like this. Not to mention, it just seems to exasperate the hardcore/casual debate. Like Stogi said, Kairon replied with any points I'd have brought up.

RickPowersRick Powers, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

The interesting thing about numbers, Kairon, is that they lie.

You mentioned that the high sales rate of the main Wii console is bringing down the attach rate.  The question then becomes, how many games are selling to the hardcore Wii fans to bring the average attach rate down?  An average is a truly deceptive number, statistically speaking.  (Be careful with blanket statements like "high attach rates are bad because."  Try telling a third-party developer that high attach rates are bad.)

For example, an average can suggest a very positive result (as in this case), and it's completely wrong if you end up with a bi-modal result set.  And while I don't have the numbers to completely back it up (yet ...), the discussions I've had with retailers and gamers suggests just that; Casual gamers are making up one bell curve, with "core" gamers making up an entirely different bell curve.  Your suggestion that Nintendo is trying to create "bridge titles" suggests Nintendo's own admission that this is the case.  The core gamers are still an incredibly outspoken minority, and their purchases are skewing the results.

It's funny that you bring up Mario Kart to defend your point, because I would point to it to defend mine.  How many games outside of Nintendo's stable are making up that high attach rate?  If I were to suggest that out of a six-game attach rate, those games are likely to be Wii Play (because of the cheap Wii-mote), Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, Wii Fit, Metroid, and Mario Kart ... how happy do you think third-parties are likely to be with that?  49% of all software sold in 2008 was for a Nintendo platform.  And how much of that was made by Nintendo?  Give me that number, and I'll think about conceding your point.

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Wow, so toys are digital junkfood? You really haven't followed Nintendo's, and even Miyamoto's, unifying theme throughout their history: entertainment for everyone, evoking emotions and smiles from regular people instead of evoking drool from cloistered gamers, and using innovation to surprise and expand, not dig themselves deeper into a hole.

Not only have I followed Nintendo's mantra of making games accessible, but I was one of their biggest supporters.  The problem is that they've realized, much like the TV networks, that they can spend less money (thereby making more money) by giving us shallow game experiences and a nifty plastic add-on ... the gaming analogue of Reality TV.  Link's Crossbow Training?  Seriously?  Look at all the ridiculous plastic add-ons for Wii Sports, the yoga mats that I can buy in Best Buy on any given weekend.  You don't see those accessory manufacturers trying to make stuff that works with other games. 

Nintendo made a conscious, deliberate business decision this generation to lower quality control on third-party submissions, because the market they wanted to tap into wanted the illusion of choice.  Illusion ... because even the least educated consumer knows you won't go wrong buying a game made by the company that made the console.  Not to mention that if they're going to ask a sales clerk for advice on what to get, they'll steer them towards a AAA title every time.  Meanwhiles, sales of games like Boom Blox suffer because of the halo effect from other third-party drivel. 

So while Nintendo is making money hand over fist, a great deal of it is either from their own AAA titles, hardware (either controllers/balance boards or controller "shells"), and of course, licensing.  Third parties have been VERY vocal about how their software isn't selling.  If you're going to tell me that Nintendo has no control over that, you'd be wrong, because it hasn't been as much of an issue in other console generations.  This one in particular is unique, and it's due to these decisions.  Yes, Nintendo grew the games business, but only for themselves, despite having had the power to grow it for everybody.  Yes, the third party titles have, by and large, sucked, but I think there's blame to be shared all around.

I will say this, Nintendo has been outrageously successful, and they did it entirely on their own.  And if they can keep that up, good for them!  But if the third-party support evaporates because they can't make money too, they'll be back where they were with the Nintendo 64.

D_AverageJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: Mr.

Somehow plenty of us have found a nice array of games to enjoy. Sure not all of them are epic blockbusters, but games don't need to be in order to be good.

True but there are still plenty of others who are just bored with what some consider "Wii gems".  Its not like we're forcing ourselves to dislike Wii games, nobody wants to spend $250+ on a console they'll never use, its an investment.  Its just very disappointing for many of us b/c we can imagine so many good titles the Wii could provide.

Thnak you for your response Rick! I'm ecstatic that we can have a rational discussion about this and that my quickly posted reponse won't be the cause for an internet flame war! Once again, the maturity of NWR posers shines through, so I thank you.

Unfortunately, now I have to take a 2-hour drive to another city to accompany a bud on a job interview... so I'm afraid that I'll have to return to this thread (and not a separate blog post, I assure you this time) to continue our discussion and further explore the issues at hand.

Quote from: D_Average

Quote from: Mr.

Somehow plenty of us have found a nice array of games to enjoy. Sure not all of them are epic blockbusters, but games don't need to be in order to be good.

True but there are still plenty of others who are just bored with what some consider "Wii gems".  Its not like we're forcing ourselves to dislike Wii games, nobody wants to spend $250+ on a console they'll never use, its an investment.  Its just very disappointing for many of us b/c we can imagine so many good titles the Wii could provide.

There certainly are. As much as we'd like it to be the case, the Wii is NOT the PS2. But I think the Wii has exposed the diversity of gamers, and of viewpoints, and I think it would be faulty to think that one way of looking at the Wii is prevalent without examining it further.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: Khushrenada

Man, bad timing. With Bill's farewell speech, there's a lot of discussion going on about negativity on these forums and against Nintendo and concerning the staff. This wasn't the best time to release an editorial like this. Not to mention, it just seems to exasperate the hardcore/casual debate. Like Stogi said, Kairon replied with any points I'd have brought up.

My point exactly. But Kairon defended himself well. I won't even argue it because I want to chill regarding the Nintendo negativity.

Quote from: Khushrenada

Man, bad timing. With Bill's farewell speech, there's a lot of discussion going on about negativity on these forums and against Nintendo and concerning the staff. This wasn't the best time to release an editorial like this. Not to mention, it just seems to exasperate the hardcore/casual debate. Like Stogi said, Kairon replied with any points I'd have brought up.

Just because there's concern about this site being biased against Nintendo in the forums doesn't mean we're going to shy away from all Nintendo criticism.  And again, this is Rick's opinion and not NWR's opinion.  I figured it would be interesting to see how he would defend such an unapologetically extreme stance in a forum thread.  Rick is also an "outsider" to the scene at this point, and outside opinions are always welcome.  Outside opinions either get everybody thinking in new ways, or galvanize already-held beliefs, both of which are positive things.

Ian SaneJanuary 26, 2009

Welcome back Rick!

The general vibe I get from this rant is that Nintendo is coasting.  I agree.  My beef with that is that as a gamer it's a damn insult.  Nintendo's legacy is based on quality.  Not targetting everyone.  Not being accessible.  Their legacy is based on making the best damn games there are.  They have compromised that key piece of their identity that made them special in the first place.  To me that's unacceptable.  It's the one thing I never wanted them to do.  The fact that they're successful or not is of no real concern to me beyond me wanting them to remain in business so they can make the games I like or attract better third party support to their consoles.  I don't like how they have been successful with this business model but that's entirely because I feel it will just encourage them to continue in this direction.

Rick seems to be taking that a step further and arguing that Nintendo shouldn't do this even from a business point of view.  I don't know if I agree with it because I don't have all the facts.  Quality and sales don't always go hand in hand.  I do know that Nintendo doesn't really deserve their number one spot.  They don't have the best lineup of games.  If you base it on quality the Wii doesn't deserve to be number one.  Knowing that there is always the risk that suddenly the Wii userbase will realize that and then Nintendo is in trouble.  I don't know if that will ever happen though.  Nintendo didn't really learn from their mistakes though, they just targetted a new audience.  They do the same annoying Nintendo stuff.  The old market would never have given the Wii the time of day but they sidestepped that issue by targetting a new one.  I think that will be a problem in the future.  I know they've made a lot of money but isn't targetting a new group instead of winning back the old group just a quick fix bandaid solution?  What does Nintendo do if they lose THIS market?  The can't just find a new untapped group to target again.

If they ever lose the non-gamers I think they're screwed if they don't shape up.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 26, 2009

I think I'm going to stay far away from this.

D_AverageJanuary 26, 2009

I agree with Ian and Rick.  In short, Nintendo has trimmed their hair and gone casual:

http://www.galeon.com/allmusic/caratulas/m/Metallica_-_Load_-_back.jpg

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: D_Average

Quote from: Mr.

Somehow plenty of us have found a nice array of games to enjoy. Sure not all of them are epic blockbusters, but games don't need to be in order to be good.

True but there are still plenty of others who are just bored with what some consider "Wii gems".  Its not like we're forcing ourselves to dislike Wii games, nobody wants to spend $250+ on a console they'll never use, its an investment.  Its just very disappointing for many of us b/c we can imagine so many good titles the Wii could provide.

Well I can't argue with opinion; however, just because you don't like the "Wii gems" doesn't make them bad games, and it doesn't mean that the Wii has only "third-party shovelware that is a slap in the face to those that still remember the Nintendo Seal of Quality."

I can level with your other point though. There are PLENTY of amazing game ideas just begging to be made, someone just needs to take the initiative and do it. I'm hoping Wii Motion Plus will aid developers in realizing some of the dream projects, and we will see even more unique and innovative titles on Wii.

Quote from: RickPowers

It's funny that you bring up Mario Kart to defend your point, because I would point to it to defend mine.  How many games outside of Nintendo's stable are making up that high attach rate?  If I were to suggest that out of a six-game attach rate, those games are likely to be Wii Play (because of the cheap Wii-mote), Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, Wii Fit, Metroid, and Mario Kart ... how happy do you think third-parties are likely to be with that?  49% of all software sold in 2008 was for a Nintendo platform.  And how much of that was made by Nintendo?  Give me that number, and I'll think about conceding your point.

I will throw this article out there:

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21917

"When Klotz looks at platform-by-platform, the Wii numbers are most significant. "13 percent of the SKUs that were released on the Wii account for 80 percent of the sales." The other platforms, he says, are closer to the 80/20 principle.

And in 2008, Wii produced some especially stunning numbers, according to Klotz: "When you're looking at the Wii, what's really interesting is, when you look at 2008, the top ten SKUs accounted for 44 percent of the sales. There were 432 titles available in the market for the Wii... strictly retail."

"You're looking at 422 titles that are competing for the remaining 56 percent of the sales," Klotz tells Gamasutra. He compares that to the PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360, where the top ten games only account for 31 percent to 32 percent of the sales.

"Those top ten games are such a huge piece of the Wii business," says Klotz. "And if you look at the top ten titles for the Wii, it's Mario Kart, Wii Fit, Wii Play.

"It speaks to the amazing job Nintendo does, producing games for their own platforms," concludes Klotz."

Quote from: Ian

Quality and sales don't always go hand in hand.  I do know that Nintendo doesn't really deserve their number one spot.  They don't have the best lineup of games.  If you base it on quality the Wii doesn't deserve to be number one. 

Ian, please refrain from making these types of outlandish comments.  I can see where this thread is going and I don't like it.  It doesn't have to go that direction.  Thanks.

I lean more toward Ian & Rick's opinion as well, but it doesn't bother any more.  I've pretty much come to accept that the Nintendo I loved so dearly all those years essentially doesn't exist anymore.  And that's fine.  It's not like I'm running out of games to play between third parties on DS, 360 games, and classic titles I missed.

Is there a reason this is an editorial as opposed to a blog?

RickPowersRick Powers, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

Did IanSane just agree with me?  I might have to rethink this entire argument.  ;)

Thanks for the link to the Gamasutra article, Lindy.  I knew I had seen the numbers before, I just couldn't remember where from.  The memory is the first thing to go, kids.

So the issue here is two-pronged.  First, there are a LOT of third-party titles, because there's so much money to be made from the installed base that a third-party simply can't say no.  Plus, it's so easy to make games for the Wii, that there's a lot of people doing it.

Second, the quality of the third-party titles doesn't come close to approaching first-party efforts, and further, that's it's a more or less intentional effort on the part of Nintendo.  Partly because it brings in licensing monies, and party because poor third-party software pushes people towards first-party software.  As support for that viewpoint, I can only point to the disastrously bad Super Monkey Ball for Wii.  That game should have been a home-run, and in an era where Nintendo was quality testing third-party software, it would have been.

The maddening thing about it is that because the money is rolling in, Nintendo doesn't see a problem.  Nintendo used to be for Quality over Quantity, and now they've got the other way.  They've been successful, business-wise on both sides of that fence.  What's I'd really like to see them do is knock the fence down and raise the bar now that they've got everyone's attention.

Quote:

Is there a reason this is an editorial as opposed to a blog?

I wish I could say it was because the NWR staff wanted me back, but also wanted to disavow everything to do with me.  That would certainly help my mystique.  But the honest truth is, I posted it to the wrong place.  :)

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: insanolord

Is there a reason this is an editorial as opposed to a blog?

That is what I was thinking. It seemed odd to have this show up on the main news page.

You know, I have a pretty good collection of Wii games. And yeah, I barely every play them anymore, even the ones I still have to beat (Galaxy with Luigi, Corruption on Hard, etc.). This is more a product of sloth, than dislike, though. I'm gonna be honest here. Remember a few months ago when I was singing the PS3's praises from the top of the mountain? Well, now that I've beaten most of my PS3 games, I haven't been playing IT as much, either.

Now I find myself going back and forth between the two. Wario Land one night, Portal the next, that kinda thing.

Can't say I'm enthusiastic about the Wii's upcoming lineup, but I can say the same for the PS3. Aside from RE5 in March, there's nothin' for me. So I think the Wii (and the PS3, and probably the 360) goes through fits and starts of software releases. My PS3 collection grew very quickly not because I bought the system at a time of high release volume, I just had a lot of games to catch up on that had been out for a long time. I've had my Wii since Day One, so I've been steadily buying new games as they come out.

So it's an artificial comparison. I have just as many Wii games as PS3 games, and now I play each system about equally. If anything, I play my Wii more now because I'm really trying to catch up on my VC games. In fact, that's my current "theme." Downloadable games! Castlevania 3 one night, Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 2 the next...

KDR_11kJanuary 26, 2009

250$ an impulse purchase? Geez, people must have a lot of money over there.



Kairon, attach rates simply go up as a system has been out for longer, it's normal that the 360 has a higher attach rate than the other two systems and does not indicate that it's more or less niche. All three systems are performing pretty much equal in that arena.

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Sadly, Nintendo doesn’t realize that not only could they have it all, but they’re at risk of losing the casual market with the same strategy that got them there in the first place.  The same people that lauded the Wii’s ability to get gamers off the couch and active are starting to realize that those games have little depth, and are only fun for such a brief time that their benefits are minimal.  Even Wii Fit owners are coming to the conclusion that it’s no replacement for “real” exercise.  If the dearth of entertaining software continues out of Nintendo, they’re seriously at risk of losing that same market they’ve fought so hard to attract, through what I call “Wii fatigue.”  I suspect that for every Wii they sell, someone stops using theirs.  Those Wii’s aren’t getting traded in though, so Nintendo still has an opportunity to capture those hearts again.

Without evidence to the contrary I suspect that the "Wii fatigue" mostly applies to veteran gamers. The new gamers seem quite comfortable to play the same games over and over because they are fun (as your anecdotal evidence would support and I have the same experience). Back when I was a kid our game system could only play one extremely simple game (Pong) and yet we kept using it for a long time. On the SNES I got new games so rarely that the current Wii situation is much more plentiful in comparison yet I kept playing.

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Which leads me into my closing statement: I received some very disturbing news recently and turned to gaming as a way to ease the pain.  With all the gaming systems I had access to and all the games I could play, I went back and spent time with my old friends Donald and Goofy.  I loaded up Kingdom Hearts 2 (via my PS3), and enjoyed every moment with these childhood friends.  I passed up playing with Mario, or Link, or any of my former favorites.  Square-Enix recently released an updated Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the PS2, which used to be a Game Boy Advance title.  Why did Nintendo not pursue having this game on the Wii?  The audience for a game like Kingdom Hearts should be right up their alley.  Instead, they’re satisfied with having an upcoming DS game while Square-Enix releases similar games on the PSP and mobile phones.  This is a gaming franchise perfect for the casual market built by Wii, with recognizable characters from outside the gaming world, and Nintendo let it get past them.

Well, for one S-E probably went PS2 for the large market there and would have been fairly hard to sway. The other problem would be that RPGs are not "casual" friendly, recognizable characters won't help there because a "casual" gamer doesn't want to slug through dozens of hours of low-challenge story-based gaming. Many "casual" gamers were gamers in the Atari or arcade era but were alienated by something that happened between then and now, some suspect the rise of the movie-like story game to be at fault here. When you want to relax for 20 minutes or so after work an RPG does not work, the fun density is so low that playing for 20 minutes wouldn't give you much entertainment.

Quote:

third-party shovelware that is a slap in the face to those that still remember the Nintendo Seal of Quality

Er, besides nostalgia have you ever checked the quality that seal approved of? The NES era was also home to some of the worst shovelware to ever disgrace the earth.

Quote:

If I were to suggest that out of a six-game attach rate, those games are likely to be Wii Play (because of the cheap Wii-mote), Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, Wii Fit, Metroid, and Mario Kart ... how happy do you think third-parties are likely to be with that?  49% of all software sold in 2008 was for a Nintendo platform.  And how much of that was made by Nintendo?  Give me that number, and I'll think about conceding your point.

I don't get how that invalidates the point that new gamers are buying games too and not just using it as a "Wii Sports player". Yes, third party games don't sell well (with a few exceptions) but that comes to no surprise, the third party games fail catastrophically at meeting the demands of the new market. It's not Nintendo's job to remold these customers into core gamers, it's the job of the game developer to appeal to them. They have demands and it seems the third parties are completely oblivious to them, operating in complete birdman mode (copy the surface instead of understanding the underlying).

Quote:

Link's Crossbow Training?  Seriously?

What, lightgun games suddently not good enough to be "real games"? That was a completely valid genre in the arcade days. Yes, the use of Link is silly but they didn't exactly have any known franchise at hand that would fit for this. And hey, the people who played the game liked it.

Quote:

Nintendo made a conscious, deliberate business decision this generation to lower quality control on third-party submissions, because the market they wanted to tap into wanted the illusion of choice.

Nonsense. Their standards have not lowered, they have been pretty damn low ever since they decided that third party support is important (which means the GC and GBA were affected). Remember Charlie's Angels (GC)? Remember Superman 64? The only standard Nintendo applies is "doesn't crash or wipe out the console's save data". Never been different.

Quote:

Meanwhiles, sales of games like Boom Blox suffer because of the halo effect from other third-party drivel.

Maybe EA shouldn't have attached their name to so much crap, eh? Either way, I think the game had a bigger issue with having no appealing theme. It looks like a game for children (and AFAIK it was designed to be one, too), why would adults buy that? Children aren't "casual" gamers.

Quote:

Third parties have been VERY vocal about how their software isn't selling.

Oh yes, I remember the complaint from that 2k CEO, especially the annotated version with the review scores listed.

Quote:

But if the third-party support evaporates because they can't make money too, they'll be back where they were with the Nintendo 64.

From what I've seen the third parties who took the Wii seriously instead of using it as a garbage dump did make money. Yes, the sales weren't gigantic but most of the games weren't designed to be AAA blockbusters anyway and could survive on fairly small sales. I think the de Blob devs were pleased with the sales, as was Suda 51. Red Steel is getting a sequel. We Ski too.

Quote:

Second, the quality of the third-party titles doesn't come close to approaching first-party efforts, and further, that's it's a more or less intentional effort on the part of Nintendo.

Um, what? How does Nintendo reduce the quality of third party games? They're not witholding anything like on the N64, the shit that results is completely the fault of the third parties. Iwata already said that 4th and 5th string dev teams will not stand a chance against Nintendo's best.


On another note, don't articles like this go into the staff blog or is there something different about an editorial?

UrkelJanuary 26, 2009

I was going to stay away from this thread because it was nothing I haven't seen before, but then I saw this...

Quote from: RickPowers

Second, the quality of the third-party titles doesn't come close to approaching first-party efforts, and further, that's it's a more or less intentional effort on the part of Nintendo.  Partly because it brings in licensing monies, and party because poor third-party software pushes people towards first-party software.  As support for that viewpoint, I can only point to the disastrously bad Super Monkey Ball for Wii.  That game should have been a home-run, and in an era where Nintendo was quality testing third-party software, it would have been.

Now this is a new one. You're suggesting Nintendo is deliberately encouraging third parties to make sub-par games in an effort to funnel people burned on crappy games towards their own first party efforts?

And since when did Nintendo ever quality test 3rd party software, aside from making sure the game actually ran?

RickPowersRick Powers, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: Urkel

Now this is a new one. You're suggesting Nintendo is deliberately encouraging third parties to make sub-par games in an effort to funnel people burned on crappy games towards their own first party efforts?

And since when did Nintendo ever quality test 3rd party software, aside from making sure the game actually ran?

No, I said that Nintendo is allowing third-party software into the marketplace without what used to be a more stringent quality control process because it makes them more money, and makes their software look superior.  They're not encouraging bad games, but they're not discouraging them either.

And Nintendo did indeed quality test 3rd party software through the GameCube era.  No, that doesn't mean that there weren't disastrous failures of that process, but it was less of an issue.  Nintendo used to be able to deny you releasing the game if they just didn't like the game idea.

By the way, apparently I'm not the only one noticing these trends.  http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10149797-17.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

And while it's not Wii-related, I suspect we're going to start seeing articles like this one about Wii Fit or Wii Sports soon as well.  Mostly due to Nintendo being a huge target, but there's some glimmers of truth here.  http://ds.ign.com/articles/948/948080p1.html

KDR_11kJanuary 26, 2009

How exactly should they discourage bad games? Their third party relationships are fragile, if they just went and said "we think you've made garbage, you aren't allowed to release that" the third party would get massively pissed and unwilling to risk making another game for the Wii if it can just get rejected. And hell, with the volume of shovelware the system is getting (seems to have absorbed the PS2's shovelware development and maybe a part of the GBA/DS's, remember you didn't see those titles in the US because SCEA was a very draconian company that would reject many games, including good ones) rejections would either be very inconsistent (making companies wonder why it happened to them and not the others) or cover like half the releases.

They could do something against 1-2 really bad games but stemming against this onslaught would just make third parties angry. The crapflood happens to any system that's in first place, it's not some unusual situation on the Wii.

D_AverageJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: Halbred

Can't say I'm enthusiastic about the Wii's upcoming lineup, but I can say the same for the PS3. Aside from RE5 in March, there's nothin' for me.

Waaah!??  What about our precious Fat Princess, she'll be here in just a couple months!!!

UrkelJanuary 26, 2009

The Gamecube saw fewer bad games because third parties decided not to make any games for it in the first place. Things were just as bad on the NES, and that was with a stricter 5 games a year limit.

Speaking of Super Monkey Ball specifically, Nintendo was in no position at that time to play hard ball with 3rd parties. They got the reputation of being unfriendly to 3rd parties since the NES days, and the last thing they needed to do was piss off a company like Sega by delaying a their launch game.

ShyGuyJanuary 26, 2009

Quote:

Nintendo is fat, dumb, and happy.

Personal insults are against forum rules. LULZ

I like the fact this isn't hidden away in the staff blogs.

Quote from: insanolord

Is there a reason this is an editorial as opposed to a blog?

This was an oversight that has been fixed.

ShyGuyJanuary 26, 2009

crap now it is hidden away in staff blogs.

vuduJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: RickPowers

How many games outside of Nintendo's stable are making up that high attach rate?  If I were to suggest that out of a six-game attach rate, those games are likely to be Wii Play (because of the cheap Wii-mote), Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, Wii Fit, Metroid, and Mario Kart ... how happy do you think third-parties are likely to be with that?  49% of all software sold in 2008 was for a Nintendo platform.  And how much of that was made by Nintendo?  Give me that number, and I'll think about conceding your point.

As Kairon already said, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Nintendo fans will purchase quality games that are marketed correctly.  You can't honestly blame us for not buying crap, can you?  And you can't fault us for ignoring well-made games if the publisher doesn't advertise them.

Guitar Hero III and Guitar Hero World Tour sell the best on Wii, despite being arguably the worst version of the game.  We bought RE4 by the truck-load and that was a port of a 2-year old GCN game.  Okami sold just as well on Wii as it did on PS2 despite the large difference in established user-base.  I believe Shawn White on Wii outsold all other platforms combined (fact check, please).

Did we largely ignore Bloom Blox despite the fact that it's a highly acclaimed title?  Yes.  Why?  Because EA didn't bother to advertise the game.  Same goes for Zack & Wiki.  Casual users don't actively seek out up-coming games.  If no one tells them Steven Speilberg has a new game out no one's going to buy it.

Additionally, the Nintendo's approach to evergreen gaming has changed the way we look at sales charts.  When Wii Music launched in October it sold less than 100K copies.  Everyone declared it a flop.  Since then the game has gone on to sell over a million copies (and it's still selling!).  Boom Blox, has sold over 600K copies since launch (based solely on word of mouth and awesome cover art), despite selling less than 50K copies when it launched in May.

Nintendo fans are exactly the same as Xbox 360 and PS3 fans--they'll buy games that appeal to them.  You can't stealthfully launch a sub-par product and expect it to sell like hotcakes.

Quote from: ShyGuy

crap now it is hidden away in staff blogs.

We now post blogs as headlines on the front page, so they aren't hidden any more.

PlugabugzJanuary 26, 2009

By targeting a new market nintendo have detached themselves from the original issues that "existing gamers" have and presented themselves with a whole new boat of challenges. I think their legend of oo prototype is their attempt to tackle the bridge.

I'm gonna get killed for this reference but things like Mario Kart DS (and even New Super Mario Bros) can be compared to Amy Winehouse's Back to Black: years later it's still selling.

Frankly, the NOA 2008 DS lineup is the far better example of Nintendo being fat and lazy lately. I agree that Nintendo has done a lot with the Wii, but right now they do appear to be coasting.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 26, 2009

I wouldn't call publishing a niche title like Sin and Punishment 2 coasting or bringing back a long anticipated franchise like Punch Out. Heck they even have a sequel to Endless Ocean in the works, not to mention that space exploration game. Sure they aren't so called "hardcore" games but they still are games (with Endless Ocean being one of my favorites). Not only that but they no doubt have Pikmin 3 in development along with their other established franchises. 2008 wasn't coasting when you have big titles like SSB:B, Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit, Wario Land, and yes Animal Crossing all coming out within the year. Sure they may not all appeal to you but it isn't a sign of coasting. I think the dry spells in 2008 were more to do with poor planning (or planning more around Japan). Just because you don't like some of their more casual titles doesn't automatically mean they are just cruising right along doing nothing.

UltimatePartyBearJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: RickPowers

And while it's not Wii-related, I suspect we're going to start seeing articles like this one about Wii Fit or Wii Sports soon as well.  Mostly due to Nintendo being a huge target, but there's some glimmers of truth here.  http://ds.ign.com/articles/948/948080p1.html

That article is one of the worst things I've ever read.  First of all, the researcher is a psychologist.  I have nothing against psychologists, but they aren't neuroscientists, unlike Ryuta Kawashima.  Cognitive psychology is about stuff like problem solving.  Brain Age doesn't have any problem solving.  Brain Age doesn't claim to improve problem solving skills.  Brain Age is about improving the health of your brain, not learning.

Second, he tested a group of ten year olds.  Brain Age is for adults!  The best possible brain age score is twenty.  That's twice ten, for any psychologists who may be reading this.  Nothing about Brain Age should have made anyone think it was supposed to help little Billy with his math homework, unless perhaps little Billy is in kindergarten, but a group of ten year olds still in kindergarten would have a different set of problems that Brain Age still isn't meant to help with.

The fact that this guy used the word "charlatanism" to describe it is hypocrisy at its finest.

OptimusPrimeJanuary 26, 2009

First, Hi, I posted in some ancient time once, but i mostly read this site because of the great forums mostly. Now I'm used of the arguments Rick uses on other forums, but here...it feels like sacrilige...if i only believed in such thing.

Second, there is a premise with the Wii no one should forget in an attempt of analyzing it: it's a disruptive product. Now i'm not going to go malstrom on all of you, but I am using the Disruptive theory as perspective in my thesis about the history of videogames...and I live in Belgium for those wondering (it's next to the big german nation which brought birth to KDR). Now being a disruptive product, this has a couple of implications.
1) Analysts and journalists will become useless because of the new markets being tapped, the new values and processes being used and so forth. Everything is tipsyturvy so using any kind of traditional or classical way of analyzing the market must be trown overboard. The comments of the n-Space president around the Winter game supports this. Third parties still being unable to figure out the Wii in general supports this, Nintendo being the only one succesfull supports this.
2) The keyword concept is: chain value-system. The chain value-system of the gaming industry is being forcilly changed by Nintendo by the most powerful force that humanity has created : market forces, the second one being demographics, but that's another story. The problem is, the gaming industry is a content-driven industry and Nintendo isn't the only content-provider, there are a lot of content providers here. So to drive a console as a product, you need content, you need conent providers. because Nintendo is the one that launched this new chain value-system, it is the most adapted to the new values and processes to products (games, content) in accordance to this system. Here comes the problem: third parties aren't!

Now you could say: that put's the blame on third parties for the 100% and you would be right. Third parties are companies, companies need to make profit to keep existing. Since the old system is being replaced, these companies must prepare for the new one, they haven't so now they're in big shit with some exceptions (Ubisoft, Atlus, Marvelous ect.). That's the pure market-driven perspective.
You could also say, that puts the blame on Nintendo and third parties. Nintendo is forcing a new system on the market, maybe it should have warned us...no wait...it did! Now to be fair, being warned of a tidal wave that will flood everything while you're behind a mountain range so you won't see it coming and well, you're behind a bloody mountain range, it can't flood over those mountains right? That's the more nuanced "yeah, but" market-driven perspective...let's give Nintendo some indirect blame, but the grand majority lies with third parties in the end.

And then you have the conservative old fart perspective about "the good old days" which...has never won in the course of history. But it does have a social purpose of buffering in the people's grievances about change so they don't go into a bloody riot if these grievances can be vented into a politcial-social place of significance (parlements are a prime example of this).

Weaknesses in Nintendo's strategy are however
1) Nintendo has practically always counted on other developers to make more "mature" content be it by second or third parties. However Nintendo seems to forget that third parties are mindless sheep (thank you marketing and financial departments) and follow the first and second parties and Nintendo's second party collection is a bit slim this generation. Combine this with third parties absolute lack of adapting to the new value-chain and some pseudo-hardcore gamers (pseudo-hardcore gamers are gamers that see themselves as hardcore but dismiss a type or several types of gaming therefore abondoning the one crucial feature of a hard-core gamer: loving gaming in all its forms) arbitrary defining some games as now casual (banjo-kazooie is suddenly a casual game...what?) which distorts the perception of the social acceptance pre-requisites of belonging to the status-group of "real" gamers.

I will say that averages are indeed useless without additional info like quarter averages and others, but this also makes attach-rates useless (as they are a average). However, the NPD article actually also confirms that third parties are not adapting (or refusing to adapt) to the Wii value-system. Nintendo is the best adapted so they will make the best content on the Wii receiving the best sales. If third parties adapt well enough, they will taste the same succes.

But then I also like to introduce the concept of the game-platform-compatability grid which third parties also suck at in general. This concept declares that a game in development has certain factors involved in its development (budget, man-power, concept, function, technology) which creates a natural compatabilityfor certain platforms in accordance to their charateristics (specs, market share, marketstrategy, , marketperception, oppurtunities ect.) it should be released on. In other words, a game should be released on the platform(s), taken into accounts the factors of game and platforms, it makes the most sense to increase market potential.
No More Heroes should have launched on the Wii and/or DS using this grid. Marvelous does not have the budget for HD-projects and Suda51 puts too much freaky stuff into it. Even if the money was there to make NMH into a HD-game it will have bombed on the the HD-consoles because of the punk character (Killer 7, Viewtifull Joe, Toe Jam and Early, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Beyond Good & Evil have all proven that the Sony and MS audiences do not buy quirky punk games). On the Wii it had a chance to be actually made and be profitable.

What I don't like is the lack of flak to the other side. But offcourse that requires thinking in scenario's nobody likes to think in. I'll give a nice example. Now the EU is getting quite a bit of flak because Turkey (a mostly islamic country, and a rather big one too) is going trough the procedure of becoming an EU-member (aka Turkey incoporating every bit of EU-law there is with no questions allowed to be asked...they call this the negociations phase...bit euphimistic though). Now the public opinion in a lot EU-countries is against this (including my own and Germany's), but the country with a actual beef against Turkey is Greek-Cyprus. Now, EU-law consist of 36 chapters ad these chapters are integrated into a future EU-member one at a time during these negociations. Every EU-member has a veto to stop the membership procedure before opening and closing each of these chapters...so every country has 77 possiblities to veto this procedure. Not one EU-country has used this veto so far and Turkey has advanced quite a few chapters already. Why?
1) the EU has no administrative and legislative reason to refuse Turkey, Turkey abides to all the norms and requirements (hell, the EU even invented a couple just for Turkey, Turkey adapted itself).
2) refusing Turkey opens up a very nasty scenario, one where the radical moslim-groups inside turkey take power, so instead of a reasonable stable islamic democracy on its border, the EU suddenly has a radical islamic country on its border with a full-fledged army and acces to several high-tech weapon patents (60% of the EU's weapon pantents are being produced in Turkey, including the british conventional bomb with the same power as the Hiroshima-nuke).

So yeah, giving Nintendo flak is nice, but also...it could have gone the way of the crapper if Nintendo didn't do what it did.

vuduJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: UltimatePartyBear

The fact that this guy used the word "charlatanism" to describe it is hypocrisy at its finest.

Direct insults are not allowed on the NWR forums.  You have been reported.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

I agree that it seems Nintendo is content to simply ride the long-tail success of titles like Mario Kart DS and New Super Mario Bros for the most part in the handheld software market, but I don't think Nintendo is coasting in general. Wii MotionPlus is a relatively unconservative move for Nintendo in that it risks segmenting the market, and the same can also be said of the DSi to an extent.

Also, as GoldenPhoenix points out, the Wii software line-up for 2009 is shaping up very nicely even before we know what the major holiday titles will be, and Nintendo is still willing to pursue niche titles like Wario Land Shake and Sin and Punishment 2, even if they aren't so willing to develop such games internally these days. 

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 26, 2009

If Nintendo is coasting it is on the DS, but really I can't blame them, 3rd parties are doing a wonderful job with it (Looks like 3rd parties may do a great job for Wii this year as well). Also Nintendo tends to coast when it comes to marketing dollars but really that is how Nintendo has always been, they've always been extremely conservative, it was only with the Wii that they took a huge risk and it paid off.

UltimatePartyBearJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: vudu

Quote from: UltimatePartyBear

The fact that this guy used the word "charlatanism" to describe it is hypocrisy at its finest.

Direct insults are not allowed on the NWR forums.  You have been reported.

I used the term intentionally to protest that garbage, actually.

RickPowersRick Powers, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

Some interesting replies here.  First, to Yoshidious, be careful using terms like "long-tail success" if you aren't sure what that means.  A "long-tail" business strategy refers to being able to profitably service a niche.  Mario Kart DS and New Super Mario Bros. are not niche titles.  A better analogue would be a company like Atlus making RPG's that appeal to a small market segment.  If Nintendo's strategy were truly long tail, you wouldn't be hearing third-parties complain, and Nintendo wouldn't be dominating sales of software.

OptimusPrime brings up an intriguing argument about the Wii being a disruptive product.  But again, the problem here is that a truly disruptive product is disruptive only to COMPETITORS and to other industries, not to partners, licensees, and such.  One thing I've noticed is that Nintendo likes to toss a word like "disruptive" around like it's a good thing.  It's not.

The iPod / iTunes combination was a disruptive technology and business model.  While other similar products had been out for a while, it had the right mix of price, features, promotion, and "curb appeal" to get the market to latch on, and it completely upset the business strategies of the content producing industries (record companies, etc.)

Similarly TiVo is a disruptive technology.  Advertisers are still struggling to find ways to cope with people skipping ads.  TiVo has been smart in partnering with advertisers, to try to minimize some of that disruption.  TiVo hasn't been as successful, because of flaws in it's business model, but the technology itself is disruptive.

For the Wii to be called truly disruptive, it would have to be threatening the business model of a previously unrelated industry, or it would have to give Nintendo such an obvious competitive advantage that everyone else would have to take a back seat.  Neither has happened.  If you want to call the Wii disruptive to anything, perhaps it's to other forms of entertainment that it mimics with motion controls (like bowling), and even that's a stretch, since I don't hear tennis racket manufacturers complaining.

No, the problem here is that Nintendo has simply created a business model where they lowered development costs at the same time increasing profit margins.  They've manage to do this by realizing that there was a market that doesn't care about quality or depth and for whom a short, repeatable play experience is acceptable.  Why spend money creating an epic game when you can lower your costs 90% by making a game some people will enjoy playing for just an hour or two?

I'm oversimplifying in my last statement, but the point is that third-party developers are trying to duplicate that success by making clones of Nintendo's games, and rather than rejecting the games lack of any originality, they pass it on through.  Why wouldn't you if you're going to make your money whether it sells or not?  Doubly so if it pushes people to your superior game where your profits are higher.

The issue is that as satisfied as the casual market has been with Nintendo's games so far, I think there's an attrition rate that is getting ignored.  Nintendo has been able to ignore it to a degree, because you haven't been seeing the Wii end up on the secondary markets in large numbers (yet).  But I believe that eventually the "Wii fatigue" is going to set in and people are going to realize that their money might be better spent elsewhere.

What's going to be very interesting is how Wii Motion Plus is received.  It's not an innovation, it's a refinement of an idea.  It's what many thought the Wii was going to be in the first place.  It's possible the core gamers may reject it, having moved on to other systems or games, or deciding that the cost is too high to upgrade their multiple controllers.  Casual gamers may fail to see the need for it, or even what it gets them ... these are the people that are perfectly satisfied with the imprecision they get with the regular controller.

Or it's possible that it could be a wild success, the Trojan horse designed to bring the core gamer back into the fold.  But that's going to take software.  Curious that we haven't seen anything about a new Zelda title yet ...

Hehe, of course Rick couldn't stay away and let me enjoy my return without a fight. If you all think it is bad with Rick hitting Nintendo from the hardcore side, wait till I put up my next blog slapping them from the casual / family side. I don't want to be lumped into the group being blamed for the ruin of the Wii, especially when I have misgivings about how Nintendo seems to be failing to plan for the future concerning the market they may not control much longer if they continue to be comfortable.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

I was referring to Mario Kart DS and New SMB as long-tail successes in the sense of a time series plot of their sales data, not with respect to their position in the overall distribution of DS software sales--clearly, they're firmly in the centre of that. Perhaps it would have been best simply to use Nintendo's preferred phrase for titles with staying power, "evergreen", as that would have avoided any confusion. 

Optimus: You pulled a "Denis Dyack on 1up Yours" in this thread.  Very impressive.

Plugabugz: Dark Side of the Moon would have been a MUCH better example, though perhaps at the risk of seeming hyperbolic.  :-)

Rick: Nintendo hasn't had concept approval since the NES days, although it was rampant back then.  History has shown that concept approval for games has a delayed but very negative effect on platform holders.  It bit Nintendo in the ass by the mid-90s, and it's now hurting Sony on both PSP and PS3 (they had strict concept approval for PSone, early PS2, and early PSP).  However, I should note that both cases were accompanied by other modes of poor licensee relations.

RABicleJanuary 26, 2009

Oh man and here I was mistakenly calling out Justin Nation when the real guy with an identity crisis posting a blog.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJanuary 26, 2009

CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY COMING UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Anyone find it funny that just as we moan, bitch, whine, complain, argue, discuss and talk about Bill leaving the forums and the whole negativity among the staff and the members many former NWR staff members (or current staff members that have been hiding) appear out of nowhere and start ranting about said issues?

I would say it was coincidental, but with Lindy being director and Bill leaving due to forum issues its like they want to rile up the forums even more so it attracts more discussion and thus more hits to NWR.

Berto2KJanuary 26, 2009

Hey the old man is back. Lets not forget how completely wrong you were about the DS and PSP too.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusJanuary 26, 2009

I'm in agreement with Rick (you know, I recall frequently being in agreement with Rick actually).

Quote from: D_Average

I agree with Ian and Rick.  In short, Nintendo has trimmed their hair and gone casual:

http://www.galeon.com/allmusic/caratulas/m/Metallica_-_Load_-_back.jpg

Yeah, that's perfect.  Now we just need to wait for Nintendo release reload, crash and burn with St. Anger and finally release some decent games again 10 years from now.

Quote from: Berto2K

Hey the old man is back. Lets not forget how completely wrong you were about the DS and PSP too.

I've heard that a few times now, but I can't find any article he wrote that suggests that.  Link?

EDIT:  nevermind, I think I found it.  FWIW, in March 2005, he posted some very legit concerns about the touch screen control interface.  He never says anywhere in the thread that I can find that DS will fail and PSP will reign supreme.  He remains skeptical. 

I don't remember getting ANY use out of my DS in March 2005.  The first games I remember really loving on my DS (which was purchased in January 05) were Kirby's Canvas Curse (June 05) and Meteos (June 05).  Fact is, in March 2005, I was skeptical too, and rightfully so.  I had very real doubts about the viability of the DS until I played those games.  They made me a believer.  Until then?  I would have taken a PSP over the DS, hands down. 

Okay, sorry for the derail.  Rick was being accused of saying something, and I wanted more information on that accusation.  Back to crucifying him for being a critic.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 26, 2009

Not sure about that, but I found a hilarious quote of my own!

Quote:

The people Nintendo wants to reach with the console will not be caught dead walking into a store and asking for “Wii" within earshot of friends.

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/editorialArt.cfm?artid=11407

Dead on! Oh wait. ;)

Or from his blog (Yes I was bored)

Quote:

Yes, hardcore fans will get used to the name, but the mainstream won't even give it a chance.

https://www.nintendoworldreport.com/forums/index.php?topic=12039.0

There's the DS vs. PSP thread, by the way.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: DrewMG

https://www.nintendoworldreport.com/forums/index.php?topic=12039.0

There's the DS vs. PSP thread, by the way.

Read like a rerun of what is being said about Wii (or was said).

Berto2KJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: DrewMG

Quote from: Berto2K

Hey the old man is back. Lets not forget how completely wrong you were about the DS and PSP too.

I've heard that a few times now, but I can't find any article he wrote that suggests that.  Link?

EDIT:  nevermind, I think I found it.  FWIW, in March 2005, he posted some very legit concerns about the touch screen control interface.  He never says anywhere in the thread that I can find that DS will fail and PSP will reign supreme.  He remains skeptical. 

I don't remember getting ANY use out of my DS in March 2005.  The first games I remember really loving on my DS (which was purchased in January 05) were Kirby's Canvas Curse (June 05) and Meteos (June 05).  Fact is, in March 2005, I was skeptical too, and rightfully so.  I had very real doubts about the viability of the DS until I played those games.  They made me a believer.  Until then?  I would have taken a PSP over the DS, hands down. 

Okay, sorry for the derail.  Rick was being accused of saying something, and I wanted more information on that accusation.  Back to crucifying him for being a critic.

It wasn't so much a blatant comment he made, more various hints and touches he made in different threads and such.

I lean towards Rick's attitude right now. I'm not touching the disruptive terminology with a 20-foot pole. However, Wario Land Shake It, Punch Out!, and S&P2 are not good examples of Nintendo not coasting on the Wii. Regardless of their quality (and Wario is awesome), Nintendo isn't developing those internally.

I'm interested to see Justin's thoughts on Ninty failing from a family-friendly angle. I tend to think that Mario Kart Wii is the only good, accessible, family-friendly title the publisher has released since Wii Sports. Wii Fit is kind of a personal product, and Animal Crossing requires a large time commitment and was totally phoned in, anyway.

I reserve my judgement until I see what all Nintendo is developing for Wii MotionPlus. If they have two or more great internal games for the device at/near its launch, I'll consider this to be a "downtime" period for Wii a la N64 and GameCube, and acceptable.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 26, 2009

I swear, and I'm going to blunt here, if people really think Nintendo is "coasting" I have little to no respect for that opinion. NIntendo had a HUGE first year of Wii and 2008, while tamer still had several internally developed games. Not to mention the fact you really have to be out of touch to think they aren't working on various games internally as we speak. Whether you like it or not, Wii FIt was a HUGE internally developed "game" which more then likely had large R&D expenses. Don't even get me started on the AC: CF hatred either, it is about as obnoxious and condescending as those that trash Wii Music.

It is absolutely hilarious to hear this talk of "coasting" when the N64 had some of the largest droughts in gaming. Was Nintendo coasting then as well? Or how about the Gamecube? Were they coasting then? Few games were internally developed for GC, many were published. Believe it or not, publishing a game actually takes FUNDING, which is far from "coasting". It is like saying movie studios are "coasting" when they finance or distribute a movie made by another studio.

Anyway I'm done with this. At least it vindicates some of the members here who said that the staff had a very anti-Wii and Nintendo tone. While I will say it definitely is not all the staff, I think this thread proves it is true for some. Only Nintendo (or former) fans will complain even though we've seen Mario Galaxy, Brawl, MP3, LoZ: TP, Mario Kart, and yes even AC stating it is not enough.

Jamaican Mario ScholarJanuary 26, 2009

Good question... why did Wii Music and why is Wii Sports 2 (almost) taking as long as OOT?

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 26, 2009

Quote from: Zap

Good question... why did Wii Music and why is Wii Sports 2 (almost) taking as long as OOT?

Wii Music was made in conjunction with a couple of other games from what I understand. Wii Sports 2 is taking 2 and a half years because Nintendo doesn't want to abuse the franchise (like they have with others). Not to mention it may also be because they want to time it so Wii Motion Plus is affordable enough to manufacture on a large scale. I really doubt it has been development since the Wii came out. My guess is that Miyamoto didn't want to do anything with the franchise until they could use it to show off a new attachment. At its heart, Wii Sports 1 was meant to show what the Wii could do, it only makes sense for the sequel to do the same for some other device.

DjunknownJanuary 26, 2009

Quote:

KnowsNothing: We need Rick to come back and whip this board into shape.

Quote:

Me: Oh Mr.Powers, where art thou?

Coincidence? ???

Mr.Powers, check this guy out if you've been out of the loop. Some of the posters have danced out around this in this thread, but give it a read so you know what ideas they are talking about; if you get a moment.

Quote:

This might just be a one-time reunion, or maybe I’ll go out on tour.

All we need now is Billy Berghammer to make an appearance, and the band will be complete...

Well, just got back! *cracks knuckles*

Quote from: RickPowers

Casual gamers are making up one bell curve, with "core" gamers making up an entirely different bell curve.  Your suggestion that Nintendo is trying to create "bridge titles" suggests Nintendo's own admission that this is the case.

I don't see this as a bad, or even a new thing. Nintendo's whole deal with getting casual gamers into the rest of gaming as general is so that Nintendo can leverage those same new gamers into their strengths. Again, take a look at Mario Kart Wii, whose long sales legs suggest that it's the casuals who are warming to the racer. Or even more interesting, take a look at Kirby, a character who Nintendo created in the NES era SPECIFICALLY as a "beginner's platformer" to bring in new gamers who weren't quite able to tackle Nintendo's bread and butter Mario series.

Quote from: RickPowers

It's funny that you bring up Mario Kart to defend your point, because I would point to it to defend mine.  How many games outside of Nintendo's stable are making up that high attach rate?  If I were to suggest that out of a six-game attach rate, those games are likely to be Wii Play (because of the cheap Wii-mote), Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, Wii Fit, Metroid, and Mario Kart ... how happy do you think third-parties are likely to be with that?  49% of all software sold in 2008 was for a Nintendo platform.  And how much of that was made by Nintendo?  Give me that number, and I'll think about conceding your point.

We'll get a better picture of 2008 numbers when Nintendo releases financial statements that expose those topics.

But with regards to the amount of third party sales on the Wii... let us consider some recent sales revelations from these past months. More third-party software sold on the Wii than any other console during last November and December. It doesn't matter what percentage that is if it's just, simply... a bigger number to begin with.

Yet beyond that, I would like to direct your attention to some charts that Iwata presented last April, conveniently reported here on our very own NintendoWorldReport. As you can see, it is true that Nintendo took up a significant percent of sales on the Wii, 40% in the latter halves of 2006 and 2007 (Nintendo dominated early 2007 due to a third-party drought and Nintendo's willingness to release games in that time period whereas the rest of the industry is Q4-fixated). Seems to play into concerns about third-party marketshare right? BUT... take a look at the DS sales comparisons...

From 2004-2006, Nintendo DOMINATED the DS, even more so than the Wii. But three years into the DS' lifespan, third parties started taking up a significant percentage of the sales. I believe that the DS platform looks like a Sony Platform or Microsoft platform once it matured into year 3: a real third-party-centric sales machine. Now, This doesn't mean that the same thing will happen to the Wii, but Nintendo CEO Iwata argued that it would.

Quote from: RickPowers

The problem is that they've realized, much like the TV networks, that they can spend less money (thereby making more money) by giving us shallow game experiences and a nifty plastic add-on ... the gaming analogue of Reality TV.

Wow, really? So... Wii Music taking up Miyamoto's attention, and taking two years to develop is somehow Nintendo being cheap? So EAD's groundbreaking work on Wii Fit, designing something never seen before with a wholly new hardware concept is considered coasting? Is Mario Kart somehow NOT a major project from Nintendo all of a sudden? Does Brawl count for nothing? Is bankrolling everything from 2D sprite-based platformers (Wario Shake It!) to the a fourth iteration of a horror franchise (Fatal Frame 4) cheap? Is courting exclusives like Monster Hunter Tri or Dragon Quest X lazy?

Or let's go somewhere else with this... Have you even considered that Nintendo's R & D costs have TRIPLED since the Wii's launch?

Oh yeah, and I'm sorry, I have to say this. I'm not a TV watcher in general, more of a netflix guy, foreign movies, classics, BBC miniseries, all that jazz. But I LIKE watching TLC's "What Not to Wear" (this show is a fascinating exposure of our sense of self-image) and a couple months ago was rapt with attention watching the end of Cycle 10 of America's Next Top model via on-Demand TV. My little cousin knew who would win already, we were watching reruns... but I didn't.

Just because something is Reality TV doesn't mean it's bad, and I think it's close-minded to make blanket assumptions like that, or even bring that into this discussion as an intended slight.

Quote from: RickPowers

Second, the quality of the third-party titles doesn't come close to approaching first-party efforts, and further, that's it's a more or less intentional effort on the part of Nintendo.  Partly because it brings in licensing monies, and party because poor third-party software pushes people towards first-party software.  As support for that viewpoint, I can only point to the disastrously bad Super Monkey Ball for Wii.  That game should have been a home-run, and in an era where Nintendo was quality testing third-party software, it would have been.

I think that the line of argument rising from this ludicrous claim has been pretty much closed already, thanks to the efforts of various posts, including Jonathan Metts chiming in to state that Nintendo has not had concept-approval since the iron-fist days of Yamauchi. The line of thought about Nintendo encouraging poor third-party game quality is utterly outlandish, and I absolutely can't believe it was even put forward here.

PlugabugzJanuary 27, 2009

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Plugabugz: Dark Side of the Moon would have been a MUCH better example, though perhaps at the risk of seeming hyperbolic.  :-)

That may have been a better choice. I chose Back to Black simply because it was a (what i reckon to be) an interstellar jump from the first album to the second, and it happened recently enough for everyone to know it ;)

A good example, back to games, is both Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii practically fighting amongst themselves for the #1 wii games position here in the UK. Things continue to sell but those 2 continue to just sit there since release (except when both of them fell out completely because of stock constraints).

OptimusPrimeJanuary 27, 2009

Quote from: RickPowers

OptimusPrime brings up an intriguing argument about the Wii being a disruptive product.  But again, the problem here is that a truly disruptive product is disruptive only to COMPETITORS and to other industries, not to partners, licensees, and such.  One thing I've noticed is that Nintendo likes to toss a word like "disruptive" around like it's a good thing.  It's not.

For the Wii to be called truly disruptive, it would have to be threatening the business model of a previously unrelated industry, or it would have to give Nintendo such an obvious competitive advantage that everyone else would have to take a back seat.  Neither has happened.  If you want to call the Wii disruptive to anything, perhaps it's to other forms of entertainment that it mimics with motion controls (like bowling), and even that's a stretch, since I don't hear tennis racket manufacturers complaining.

No, the problem here is that Nintendo has simply created a business model where they lowered development costs at the same time increasing profit margins.  They've manage to do this by realizing that there was a market that doesn't care about quality or depth and for whom a short, repeatable play experience is acceptable.  Why spend money creating an epic game when you can lower your costs 90% by making a game some people will enjoy playing for just an hour or two?

Well
1) That's why I referred too content-character of the Industry. Because consoles as a product are driven by content, you need content providers. Nintendo, with making the Wii disruptive has also disrupted every content provider on the planet (excep a few who quickly adapted or new entrants in game-development), so you're argument against my argument is moot, i allready had incorporated the argument in my argument (phew...). Now I don't know if Nintendo accounted for this, maybe they thaught everyone would follow sweet after they become the market leader with the seoncd scenario being Nintendo going bust.
2) The Wii is actually a very text-book example of a disruptive innovation, except the text-book doesn't exist that long though. A Disruptive innovation is a product that is inferior on the dimension of quality that it's customers historical have valued but is cheaper and more accessible then the established powers (Sony and MS). The Wii is this.
A disruptive product first aims at market oppurtunities away from the established powers, aka the lower tiers. The Wii was from the ground-up designed to be marketed to well...everyone. Again, check.
A Disruptive product does not have to have innovative features, it can also exist out of already existing technology/components but in a new bussiness model which represent new vlaues and processes. The argument that Rick uses that NIntendo just made a bussniness model that benefits them actually makes it fit the disruptive description (wha??).

What Rick says implies that the Wii has a new bussniness model based on casual games (which is a new value for a console maker)...a disruptive product can also just be a new bussniness model representing new values and processes. So yes, Nintendo having this new bussniness model is a sign of it being disruptive, that it's based on casual games is a sign of a new value and so of being disruptive, the last thing are the processes. Well let's take WiiFit and Wiimusic or even Nintendogs. Let's compare the date we know these games where in development and when they were released. Notice how for all three games this has been around 2 years! That's the difference in proces, Nintendo makes its "casual" games with its best people and giving them ample time. This let's them create the best game possible in regard to the market it is aimed at and can be seen as one the reasons why these games sell so good for so long, they're just bloody well made. This is also why Nintendo doesn't really make sequels out of these games: they don't want to satuarate the market and the game they have now is good enough.

It's clear that Rick does not understand the nature of disruptive innovations, as can be seen of him cramming it in his traditional think-structure.
1) Disruptive products do not compete with established powers from the get go. They first need to built up their base-market (the lowest tiers which are ignored by the established powers anyways), after which they will move up the tiers trough sustaining inovations (WiiMotion plus). At some point in moving up they will bump up against the established powers.
2) Disruptive products take time to be established and become the awesome force that strikes down estalished powers. The musket needed 150 years before it replaced knights and bows during the last decades of the 16th century with the Maurits reform. Steam engines needed decades of redesigning and refining before they became center-piece of the Industrial Revolution. The iPod needed 3-4 years before it got to the "Almighty White"-status it has received. So maybe you could excuse the Wii for not being such a force that pushes out it's competitors. But rest assured, the Wii is becoming it.
3) disruptive innovations not a good thing? Sure they are...if you're not a nostalgic-driven old fart. Disruptive Innovations are the things that push mankind forward in terms of technology. The disruptive innovation of farming made mankind settle, the disruptive innovation of metallurgy made mankind into warring city-states...well ok, maybe not always good. But steam-engines, PC's, the internet, the Enlightment are all disruptive products (now those four I like to see as Disruptive Hotbed products since all four ushered in a new technologic era and caused a lot of other disruptive innovations). And there are always people against it. There are examples of regions in germany who re-inforced serfdom to compete with steam-engines in the textile sector. The internet is still making people who hide behind author rights to maintain their markets very mad, the Enlightment made a whole bunch of people (nobles, clergy, princes, kings) uneasy, power to the people? Absurd! What good could come from that!

What Rick does is trow around some stuff he has seen, crams it in his traditional structure and then claim it must be like this because it makes to most sense to him. Disruptive innovations means that a new structure, thinking and logic is being formed ready to take over the tradtional one. So his methods of forming arguments are allready by default wrong which makes his arguments wrong. It sounds harsh, but this is mankind's history in a nutshell: a very long march of constant change in everything. Rick, I welcome you to the gaming's equivalent of old farts mumbling about the "good ole days".

Now again, what he does is not useless. His traditional structure thinking does still apply to MS and Sony, it just fails horrendously against the market leader. Also he gives a social relief to people who refuse to adapt to the new change, which stops them from going into bloody revolts so to say.

Short: he's wrong, what he's complaning about is third parties fault of non-adapting to something very natural in the world: change. And he can't see why he's wrong because of the same reason.

I thought that the remaining point to be argued was third-party performance on the Wii? I think we've already agreed that Nintendo has been successful, and that their success hasn't come through neglect, but by making smarter decisions and putting their best people on the job.

Indeed, the only remaining question left in my mind isn't whether Nintendo has generated a hard-earned success and a disruptive product, but whether they're leaving everyone else behind, for better or for worse. Rick's original write-up implies that he believes that Nintendo is leaving the rest of the industry in the dust, and that the only ones who will emerge out of the other side of the tunnel are the very few companies and games and gamers who are directly aligned with this ascendant Nintendo.

I too share this concern, and for the same reason I think Rick has it: I'm a Nintendo fan, through and through. And I'm a Nintendo fan who enjoyed River City Ransom on the NES, Pieces on the SNES, Turok 2 on the N64, and Cubivore on the GC. As Nintendo disrupts this industry, and creates exciting and surprising new experiences on the way that I never thought possible, from Wii Fit to Metroid Prime 3, I want more, and I look to third parties to provide for me. To me, Nintendo's disruption is entirely based on a single premise: Games can be more diverse and inventive than we have trapped ourselves into believing. I want to see other companies pursue that belief just as I believe Nintendo themselves have pursued it.

It's not a question of whether the Wii is a disruption. It's not a question of whether Nintendo deserves success or not. It's not even a question of whether someone likes Wii Music or not. It's a question of whether Nintendo has to go it alone, or whether there are others out there brave, inventive, and hungry enough to do some disruptions of their own.

If Nintendo is "saving the industry," as some would argue, I'd be disappointed to find out that they have to do it alone.

Not sure what drama there is/was with someone leaving the forums or whatever else due to negativity on this site about Nintendo but really, precisely what value would the site have if it were only worshiping mindlessly at the altar of Nintendo? Especially with their success with the Wii it isn't like being critical is losing them money, especially to this market segment who is less likely to read websites (at least beyond the reviews/previews), so then why do you think the criticism is here?

Rick and I both in particular have always been extremely critical of Nintendo and their policies because we'd like to see them not only be successful today but in the future as well. As we've now seen with not only Nintendo losing their lead in one generation to Sony but then ironically 2 generations later winning it right back being complacent and comfortable in the lead doesn't keep you in first forever, and perhaps not even for long. Now, granted, the weaknesses of Sony and Nintendo are very different animals. Sony's weakness is arrogance and a blindness to anything other than their agenda to release the end-all-be-all entertainment hub in your living room no matter what the cost (especially blind when many people with a good income like me don't like all-in-one devices for the jack of all trades master of none-ness). Nintendo's is outright greed... it has visibly driven all of their worst decisions over time: reluctance to let go of cartridges, traditional heavy-handedness in third party involvement, Rick's point about the preponderance of plastic add-ons and accessories that dominate more space for the Wii than any other system to date... it has its place but it can be annoying too and it can certainly blind you to the rug coming out from under you.

So I'm not sure, for myself, what the problem would be with being critical. Hell, Rick and I were giving 30+ hours a week to sites discussing the crown jewels of Nintendo's "failure" years with the N64 and GameCube trying to both defend and push Nintendo back into the ring... requiring quite an active conspiracy theory to reconcile as us ultimately being here only to bring them down. Yes, we gave up our time, lives, and in my case one full-time job to then go into hibernation and then dump all over Nintendo to bring them down right when they finally hit the big time. MWUAHAHAHA! Nobody would ever suspect it!

KDR_11kJanuary 27, 2009

It's fine to be critical but it's silly to critique things that aren't issues or blame Nintendo for things they didn't do. Like blaming Nintendo for the flood of shovelware. The only part they had in that was taking #1, shovelware always follows the leader (I think the HD consoles have surprisingly little shovelware compared to the PS2, all that development has to go somewhere).

OptimusPrimeJanuary 27, 2009

The real issue here is actually a much deeper structural one but also very simple: we're in a transitional phase. Being in a transitional phase means growing-pains from the emerging side and outright refusal with some minor adapting from the established side. Now this doesn't mean you can't be critical and say "well emergent X should have done this and this to make the transition easier" but that is using hindsight. Applying a disruptive innovation is for the disruptor itself a shot in the dark, it does not know what will happen afterwards, so it can also not know what growing pains will happen.

Now I would like to call into the defense against Nintendo's greed arrogance that Nintendo could not be doing what it does without it. Nintendo is a very unique company in the industry with only Blizzard as a kind of equivalent. Nintendo owns the majority of its own stock (trough Yamauchi and itself as company combined), it's excutive board is full of people with backgrounds in making games and it has a huge warchest. Now this give Nintendo some possiblities that no other game-company has:
1) It can do whatever it wants and pay for it themselves
2) It does not have to listen to stockholders or investors in the same degree as other companies in the industry
3) It can say "screw you" to some departments that other companies can not (marketing and financial ones in specific)
The greed-arrogance is a bit a neccessary evil to keep Nintendo...well Nintendo. Not to say that the greed-policies of Nintendo do not create very bad decisions, it does. But Nintendo choose to stick with cartridges and it's heavy-handed third-party policy for the same reason why the big third parties are refusing proper support for the Wii: it seemed the most logic from their established company-structure.

So being critical towards Nintendo is a good thing, but not being critical to third-parties for the same reasons...that's a bit hypocritical?

But as how 2009 seems to be forming in some kind of high-quality exclusives Wii-landslide...it seems more and more companies are willing to adapt. Also you can count that 90% of all the new game-companies to be or have formed will jump on the Wii since they don't have the means to do anything in HD.
So yeah, it's a pity that Nintendo seems to be leading the charge on its own but eventually, market forces will make the others follow, it's just too bad we're in that transition now so it looks like not much is happening.

Well, you can't necessarily blame Nintendo for a phenomenon like shovelware but at the same time when you're somebody who has seen the industry rise and fall like with the Atari 2600 you can't help but be a little concerned. We're seeing a glut of what had traditionally been non-gamers come rushing into the industry. Everyone is happy as hell and seeing growth for the games industry with an entirely new demographic on the scene. Terrific! It truly is great.

BUT

As someone who personally got at LEAST 8 people who are family or friends into the Wii who had never owned game systems before or weren't terribly excited about the systems they had. Hell, 3 of them I got in line and purchased their Wii for them when they were tough to get and I still would get a tip about where or when they'd be somewhere. They were stoked about the Wii and for good reason. Thing is, for most of them 3 or 4 "casual" titles later they're on the wrong course... their interest is dwindling. Whether or not this is Nintendo's fault, they bought the bad game true, the fact is their opinion and the opinion of people like them will certainly impact Nintendo greatly. Getting the people in makes some great cash and is terrific, if they get discouraged too quickly though you will not only lose them but you may lose them for a long time as they feel burned.

This is the Atari 2600-ish scenario I'm talking about. Granted, the hardcore gamer crowd can sustain AT LEAST 2 major systems regardless of the casual market so it won't be a total crash. Even so, acting as if shovelware isn't Nintendo's problem is highly incorrect. It may not be directly their fault, it may be incredibly difficult for them to stop, but nonetheless this new "casual" gamer they're attracting is a fragile market segment who are prone to bad decisions and like it or not they'll take it out on Nintendo by hanging up their Wii-motes in disgust and potentially ignoring their next system for spite.

I plan to discuss this and expand into more things they could certainly be doing better in a new blog soon but this is a serious problem for them that they need to take seriously for the good of their bottom line and for the sake of the overall industry itself. Legitimize and fully suck in the casual market while they're there for the taking, miss or blow the opportunity and that market may not be back or at least anytime soon. If greed is their motivator think greed in the long run, not just now.

KDR_11kJanuary 27, 2009

Look, shovelware didn't crash the PS2 (and now that system has a flood of Singstar and Buzz versions that are not going to be bought by hardcore gamers), why would it crash the Wii?

Sales are going mostly towards quality games, even Carnival Games is said to be pretty good if you want to play carnival games. I don't think the data supports the theory that "casual" gamers are just randomly buying games and end up finding Sturgeon's Law the hard way. The sales aren't scattered randomly, they are concentrated. Concentrated at a few top titles. That concentration must have a reason and I don't think it's just the frequency of TV ads.

13% of the Wii titles make up 80% of the sales. If any significant portion of the Wii's userbase bought games at random that could not be possible. On the other consoles it's 20% that make up 80% of the sales, that means their sales are MORE spread out. Something must be guiding Wii owners to buy the same games as other Wii owners. The system has a tie-in ratio of 5-6, that means the average library will have one game that is not part of the top 13%.

RickPowersRick Powers, Staff AlumnusJanuary 27, 2009

Wow, Justin managed to make my point, and did it succinctly?  :)

The main thesis of my argument is that Nintendo is doing very well financially, and the numbers are hiding a terrible secret ... they are starting to lose the very same market that they carved out for themselves, and they're losing it because even casual gamers will enjoy more complex games once you've whetted their appetite.  Sadly, those games aren't coming fast enough, and interest is dwindling.  The point is that the games that the "core" gamer is waiting for are ironically the same ones that the "casual" gamer wants.  The sales numbers hint strongly at that point.

Taking the Reality TV analogy a bit further, look at American Idol.  Still has the strongest ratings of almost any show on TV, but ratings are dropping and they're trying to find ways to fix it, like adding a fourth judge.  Dig into those ratings a bit further, and you uncover the terrible secret ... the people watching American Idol most are not the ones they were trying to attract.  Turns out it's older people, and not the teenagers sought after by advertisers.  Trust me when I tell you that there was a bit of shock when they finally realized that.

I'm hoping that Nintendo will realize that their short-term success has a potential long-term cost, and maybe the financial crisis just has me a little pissed at companies so focused on the short-term that they ignore the potential pitfalls, but this is an easily solvable problem as long as Nintendo isn't so focused on this new market that they fail to see that they've done exactly what they're claiming to have done and can't capitalize on it.

And before I forget, while you make some very good points, OptimusPrime, essentially saying I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to disruptive innovations is just not accurate.  Two of the research papers I wrote in business school were about disruptive innovation, and deep within all your analysis you're missing the one important detail ... Nintendo is also disrupting the people that they need to succeed WITH them, and that is not the kind of disruption any company wants.  A successful, healthy business is about having multiple, long-term revenue streams.  Licensing is one of those streams for Nintendo, and if third-parties can't replicate Nintendo's success, that revenue stream is going to dry up.

Nintendo has not disrupted "every content provider on the planet."  Despite Nintendo's original desire to have the Wii be a message board, news center, etc ... it's just not being used like that.  A great many people are consuming other kinds of content on other devices ... Xbox 360, PS3, iPhone, etc.  The Wii is not a disruptive product.  You might be able to claim that for the controller, but if that were true, Xbox 360 and PS3 would have clones by now, and while they've researched it, there's no need.  Casual games on those systems are doing just fine.

Nintendo's business model is disruptive, but again, I would suggest not in the "textbook definition", and certainly not in a way that is healthy for their long-term success or the success of their partners.  Apple's business model for the iPod and iTunes was disruptive, but their success also translated to success for their partners.  Nintendo doesn't have full control over their business model; they knew where was money to be made and moved there with a product that market wanted.  That's just classic business strategy, not a true disruptive business model.

And this will be your only warning about hurling insults ("old fart") ... attack the ideas freely, but leave personal attacks out of it.

PeachylalaJanuary 27, 2009

Quote:

The main thesis of my argument is that Nintendo is doing very well financially, and the numbers are hiding a terrible secret ... they are starting to lose the very same market that they carved out for themselves, and they're losing it because even casual gamers will enjoy more complex games once you've whetted their appetite.  Sadly, those games aren't coming fast enough, and interest is dwindling.  The point is that the games that the "core" gamer is waiting for are ironically the same ones that the "casual" gamer wants.  The sales numbers hint strongly at that point.

Um... here's the thing, it takes a long time for Nintendo's core games to go through the development cycle. Anyone who has stuck with Nintendo's systems knows this, which is why they release B-rated titles because these games fill out a release gap, and they sell. The GCN saw four Mario Party titles and a slew of spin-offs, but the Wii has only seen one and a couple of Mario sport titles. Why? Simple, the GCN was suffering for an audience. The Wii has an audience, but the declining interest everyone is harking about towards the Wii is, personally, just a cheap ass pot shot towards the Wii. With all the BS that happened last generation, I was planning on giving up on console games because nothing really changed. Then Nintendo showed off the Wii, and I was sold. Why? Because, whether you like it or not, there has to be change.

Quote:

Taking the Reality TV analogy a bit further, look at American Idol.  Still has the strongest ratings of almost any show on TV, but ratings are dropping and they're trying to find ways to fix it, like adding a fourth judge.  Dig into those ratings a bit further, and you uncover the terrible secret ... the people watching American Idol most are not the ones they were trying to attract.  Turns out it's older people, and not the teenagers sought after by advertisers.  Trust me when I tell you that there was a bit of shock when they finally realized that.

American Idol isn't that great of a show. Sure, outside of Simon's snarky comments (to people who deserve it, mind you) and the horrible first auditions, it's just an over-the-top game show about people singing. If I wanted to choose any Reality TV show I would watch in good taste, I would pick Gene Simmons Family Jewels or TMZ (shut up it's funny).

Quote:

And this will be your only warning about hurling insults ("old fart") ... attack the ideas freely, but leave personal attacks out of it.

Attacking forum posts = a very good time waster. =D

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 27, 2009

Funny, I recall in one of my Business classes praise of the Wii and how it disrupted and innovated the market. I have far more respect for him because of his experience in business, and I'd gladly turn to him in regards to defending that case over someone else, including myself. I'm willing to bet his knowledge and experience far outweigh anyone here when it comes to knowing what is or is not a disruptive business strategy and what is a GOOD business strategy, considering he was CEO of various companies all over the world. Nintendo has been extremely profitable for years, I think they know what they are doing even if you wrote two research papers and stated that the Wii name would chase away casual gamers. Sorry if I don't take your business expertise that seriously compared to someone that actually does have a ton of real world experience.

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precisely what value would the site have if it were only worshiping mindlessly at the altar of Nintendo?

Maybe when these arguments have been beaten to the death that people are frankly sick of it. Maybe because of the fact these ridiculous arguments have been chasing people away? Then again individuals like Rick Powers are not really apart of the community and seem to step in to stir things off with no regards to the community. Like a certain someone that has been a valuable member of the community for years, who just left a couple days ago because of stuff like this and if various staffers even cared about the community would at least tone this down for a little while. But all they care about is spouting their "Nintendo is actually being stupid in the long term" rhetoric masked by "Oh it is for their own good". Not to mention the fact that Nintendo seems to take the most flak with people that are never happy whether they are on top or not.

Ian SaneJanuary 27, 2009

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Look, shovelware didn't crash the PS2 (and now that system has a flood of Singstar and Buzz versions that are not going to be bought by hardcore gamers), why would it crash the Wii?

Yeah the PS2 had shovelware but it also had awesome third party support.  Aside from the odd Xbox or Gamecube third party exclusive pretty much every notable third party game showed up on it.  So no one identified the PS2 with its crap because it had all this awesome stuff.

Much like the Cube the Wii is in the situation where often the major third party games are released for every console BUT the Nintendo one.  The PS2 never had that.

Let's make a list:
Soul Calibur IV
Bioshock
Virtua Fighter 5
Grand Theft Auto IV
Devil May Cry 5
Fallout 3

And upcoming:
Resident Evil 5
Final Fantasy XIII
Street Fighter IV

All of those are a pretty big deal.  The PS3 and Xbox 360 all got them but the Wii didn't and there are no plans for the Wii to ever get them.  When the PS2 was the market leader it got those games every time plus a whole bunch of other exclusives.  The Wii gets the shovelware of a market leading console but doesn't get the major third party exclusives or multiplatform games.  Dragon Quest X was such huge news because the Wii never really had a third party announcment like that before.  We always got spin-offs or last-gen ports or obvious junk with the odd decent but clearly not high profile release here and there.

So YES the glut of shovelware could hurt the Wii because it isn't hidden behind all these awesome third party games like the PS2's shovelware was.  It is part of the Wii's identity.

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I reserve my judgement until I see what all Nintendo is developing for Wii MotionPlus. If they have two or more great internal games for the device at/near its launch, I'll consider this to be a "downtime" period for Wii a la N64 and GameCube, and acceptable.

I think that's fair.  Nintendo really lost me with that lousy E3 and Punch-Out and S&P2 are not enough to win me over.  As someone already pointed out they're not developed by Nintendo internally and I want something from EAD, IS or Retro that really knocks my socks off.  That'll make it or break it for me.  They just bust out Wii-makes and Wii Sports 2?  Then I'm buying a PS3 and then my Wii will probably get almost no playtime at all and my Nintendo fandom will just fade away as I had to get another console to satisfy my gaming tastes.  I really hope they blow me away and win me back.  It would be nice if it wasn't just more sequels too.  As good as Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3 are the lack of new franchises for core gamers feels like coasting to me as well.  Sequels are an easy way to keep the fans on board and it feels like they're abusing that.  Like "we don't have to bother making something fresh and different for the old fans because we just need to trot out Mario every once and a while and they'll stay in line."  I hear all this talk about innovation with the Wii but from a core gamers perspective I don't see it at all.

I don't think the Wii truly deserves to be the market leader in that it probably has the weakest lineup of the three consoles.  If the rest of the world realizes that then Nintendo would be in trouble.  But I felt the same way with the DS and they managed to turn things around any actually make a portable worthy of being number one.  If they can do that with the Wii then they'll be fine and we'll have a much better console.  Nintendo should certainly not assume that the Wii as is is all that's required to remain number one.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 27, 2009

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I don't think the Wii truly deserves to be the market leader in that it probably has the weakest lineup of the three consoles.  If the rest of the world realizes that then Nintendo would be in trouble.

In your opinion, I find the Wii to have the most diverse lineup of all three. It has games for everyone. Also I thought you were warned about stuff like this?

Oh wait you were!

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Quality and sales don't always go hand in hand.  I do know that Nintendo doesn't really deserve their number one spot.  They don't have the best lineup of games.  If you base it on quality the Wii doesn't deserve to be number one.

From the head guy. Lindy Luthor.

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Ian, please refrain from making these types of outlandish comments.  I can see where this thread is going and I don't like it.  It doesn't have to go that direction.  Thanks.

I do find it funny though, if Nintendo would have listened to Ian, Rick or others here chances are they would have even less market share. It was because of them taking a big chance on the casual market that they are even number 1. The "core" sure didn't get them there.

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hen I'm buying a PS3

::prays that Ian does::

I'm locking this thread so everybody can go back to their respective corners.

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