Silly Rabbit, Nintendo is for Kids!

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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 07:26 pm:

Interesting how this so closely echoes what I was saying about Nintendo.

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/feature.cfm?sid=2766

Granted the source is high up in the Xbox hierarchy, so it's not like he's unbiased, but FWIW I agree. And not just in the case of the GC. Compare the PS library, the DC library, and the N64 library.

wumpus http://www.gamebasement.com

--

Allard: I went over on set up day on Tuesday, so I saw Sony and Nintendo assembling over there, saw some of the stuff they were showing.

CVG: What did you think of it?

Allard: The thing that struck me when I looked at the Nintendo reel is how they have such a strong visual look across the games, and I first looked at it and I said "that looks like an N64 game", but really it looks like a Nintendo game. Thereís this very, very distinct look and I think part of it has to do with the technology, maybe from the beginning but what they do, much like Disney did with animation, they focus so much energy and love on the characters. They put all the technology and all the investment and all the artistry into the characters and very, very spartan backgrounds and that, just thematically if you look across all the games it gives you a good sense for why people have such a strong bond with the characters and why it has such a distinct look. You know, you put in a Perfect Dark or a Goldeneye and it kind of scrambles the pot, but the games that theyíre showing, maybe with the exception of Rogue Squadron, all have that same distinct characterisation, and thatís a stereotype, but itís very powerful as it was with Disney. I walked by and I said "wow, Nintendo" - it just made me feel good. I think itíll be very successful. Itís a game console for kids but they do well with that audience.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 07:34 pm:

From the same article

--
Allard: What I would like to do is I would like to see this generation of gaming change the language that we use to talk about our audience. More than anything else. Truly go mass-market. Think about film. Steven Spielberg talks about his audience. If you think about books, Michael Crichton talks about his audience. If you talk about sporting events they talk about an audience. They donít talk about TV viewers, movie-goers, sport enthusiasts, theyíre just people, theyíre an audience. We talk about our community as gamers, which is a subset of people, right, itís a smaller audience, itís a specific audience. Thereís not a game console next to every television set out there. There can be. We can make it a legitimate form of entertainment.
--

This is also what I was getting at with the "kiddie stuff is just as bad as T&A" argument. Don't ghettoize the industry. Au may be kind of a boob (we knew that from his B&W review), but HE IS RIGHT ABOUT THAT.

wumpus http://www.gamebasement.com


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 07:42 pm:

Okay, maybe I'm a big kid then, because I'm very fond of Nintendo, and their products. I'll grant you, their goal (graphically) is not typically to have their characters look like real people. Is that so wrong? I still think a lot of their games are not aimed specifically at kids.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By doug jones on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 09:33 pm:

The Xbox "strategy" is a bit confusing. From what I understand all of there games so far are aimed more for an adult hardcore sort of audience That definitly seems to be what there gunning for. Yet Allard speaks about the desire to go "mass market" That sort of implies entirely different sort of games and game designs. I actually find that sort of scary. Not because I'm afraid of anything new in the gaming world but if devolopers actually could target a huge amount of people with a different likely simple easy to learn completly with out depth sort of games. Why would they need or want to make games for us?

Thats right who would want to make turn based strategy games, rpg's and rt's that really wont appeal to most people. They would be reduced to niche genra's and likely reflect that in quality. Anyway just some rambling thoughts from a guy who doesnt really want his mom to spend as much time playing games as he does.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bruce on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 10:38 pm:

"This is also what I was getting at with the 'kiddie stuff is just as bad as T&A' argument. Don't ghettoize the industry.

Why not? Who cares? What's the difference if in ten years there are that many more gamers out there?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason McCullough on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 10:39 pm:

Really, I don't think MS knows what the hell they're doing with the Xbox. They're planning on a console that runs PC game, from what I can see.

Unfortunately, everyone who wants to play PC games.....buys PCs. Maybe there's more to the MS strategy here than I'm seeing, but that sucker is going to lose money hand over fist.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 10:43 pm:

"Unfortunately, everyone who wants to play PC games.....buys PCs. Maybe there's more to the MS strategy here than I'm seeing, but that sucker is going to lose money hand over fist."

That's how I see it too, but Microsoft has the money to lose. They have the money to have the time to figure out the market and perhaps do well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brad Grenz on Saturday, May 26, 2001 - 12:04 am:

I think Microsoft will be satisfied if all they end up doing is fracturing the market place. This is a company that thinks nothing of dropping huge amounts of money to damage companies that they don't even directly compete with yet, but are still percieved as a future threat. Microsoft will be a lot happier if they, Sony and Nintendo all only sell 30 million consoles because that is better for them then Sony having 100 million Windows-free internet access points.

The Xbox was never about winning, or turning a profit. I think privately Microsoft will consider the Xbox a successful endeavor if they prevent Sony from busting 50 million units, even if they loose a billion dollars doing so.

As for Bach, he is of course blowing smoke out his ass. Making the GameCube look like it's for babies suits their strategy at the moment. I do think it's funny to see him bashing Nintendo for having childish games when you look at all the cel-shaded games being worked on for the Xbox. Cel Damage, Johnny Drama, Jet Set Radio Future...

I think it's funny to think of the industry as so extremely different from other forms of entertainment. Like there aren't childrens books and nobody has ever added gratuitous nudity to a film to pander to the male audience before. I think the industry needs to mature, especially in repect to what is considered "mature" content. Conker was championed as this great achievment in adult-themed gaming, but in the circles I run in jokes about piss and shit haven't been considered cutting edge since the 2nd grade. I think an important shift needs to be made in the mindset of developers. I'd like to see them approaching games with the belief that they can be art or literature and not simply entertainment. Oh, and marketing professionals should all be crusified (in every industry).

Brad Grenz


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Saturday, May 26, 2001 - 03:15 am:

Microsoft may face some pressures from their other lines of business that may make it a bit harder to absorb Xbox losses. The high tech sector's in a bit of a downturn and things like Office upgrades tend to be put off in a lot of companies.

Microsoft really needs some hot third party exclusives for the Xbox. Square going exclusive with the PSX really made that system for Sony. Microsoft needs something of that caliber.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Westyx (Westyx) on Saturday, May 26, 2001 - 07:57 am:

I feel the xbox is the frontrunner for the microsoft netpliance. It has more than enough power, and it's cheaper than a full on computer.

It also has that 'black box' theme that's so important for a terminal of some kind.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Saturday, May 26, 2001 - 09:55 am:

Yeah, I can't help but wonder if Microsoft kept the rather dull-sounding "Xbox" as the name simply because they want to use it for non-game stuff at some time in the future.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By (Jeff_lackey) on Saturday, May 26, 2001 - 09:58 am:

MS has high hopes for Sierra's Lord of the Rings for the Xbox. I'm not sure it will be the "Must Have" title they're hoping for (although it did look cool, in a simplistic way) - but I'm certainly not the guy to ask when it comes to consoles.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Saturday, May 26, 2001 - 12:40 pm:

Yeah, the LotR Xbox game could be a big seller. Will it be available at launch?

At least Sierra isn't getting sued over this one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brad Grenz on Sunday, May 27, 2001 - 02:01 am:

But EA has Lord of the Rings games under development too, no? Only using the film license. I'm assuming EA's will be cross-platform.

From what I've read about the Sierra game that they've shown so far it is an action/adventure title where you basically run around as Frodo the whole time. Now, I like the books and all (actually, I'm just now working through the trilogy for the first time. I've just begun Return of the King), but playing as a hobbit is not what I'm interested in in my Lord of the Rings video game. The MMORPG sounded more my style. Ir at the very least controlling the fellowship as a party.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By doug jones on Sunday, May 27, 2001 - 09:39 am:

Inbetween consoles and computers they have made like half a dozen lord of the rings games over the years. There all horribly done maby someone will get it right after the movies though I admit that I dont actually see how that makes a difference. Oh and speaking of Sierra and adventure. Do they still make the king quest games last I played was number IV I hear they were getting up to the double x's but I dont know what happened to them.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Rob_Merritt on Sunday, May 27, 2001 - 10:16 am:

Sierra got out of making adventure games. Their last one, Gaberial Knight 3, was released 2 years ago. The last Kings Quest, 8, was released a year before that. Since then, Sierra layed off everyone in adventure game design. The odd thing is, out side of the two 3d bastardizations, all the adventure games sold very well even after adventure games died. Leasure Suit Larry 7 sold near 500,000 and it was released in early 98.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Sunday, May 27, 2001 - 12:33 pm:

Sierra abandoning Leisure Suit Larry is a bit baffling. It's a mainstream title that's well-known and doesn't require a huge development team.

The Gabriel Knight abandonment I can see, to some extent. Jane Jensen seemed less and less interested in the series. It probably would have been a better fit to have her just write the story and have someone else create the game and puzzles.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By (Jeff_lackey) on Sunday, May 27, 2001 - 02:06 pm:

Now, that's what MS needs for the Xbox - and exclusive "special edition" of Leisure Suit Larry. ;) The designer demo-ing LotR indicated the game was about a year away from being done.

We chatted about the difficulty of making folks happy with a Tolkein game. The hardcore LotR people already have in their heads exactly what the world and it's inhabitants look like, and it's unlikely any realization of that world in a computer/console game will get it "right." OTOH, if you're targeting a mass market for a console game, how many of them will have actually read the books? How many people will buy the game with their sole knowledge coming from the movie?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Rob_Merritt on Sunday, May 27, 2001 - 05:37 pm:

The X-tra Large Please Pack of LeasureSuit Larry? =)

BTW the creater of LLL has a web page.
http://www.allowe.com/


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Sunday, May 27, 2001 - 10:58 pm:

The Xbox plan is for all the first-year titles to be "grab the hardcore gamers" titles. MS thinks that those are the only people who plunk down the initial cost of a console anyway (and they're probably right...the mass market buys once the price drops), and the hardcore will talk about how cool it is to all their friends and spread the word.

Then they start to push into the "everyone with a TV" market in years 2 through 4 or 5.

That's the plan anyway...not sure if it's the right move or not. Time will tell.

As for Nintendo, check this out:
http://www.iemag.com/search/wholestory.asp?ID=6294

It's a transcript of an interview with Yamauchi and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
"The ideas behind Xbox and Game Cube are fundamentally different. Xbox has a built-in hard drive and is being touted as an extension of a PC. Microsoft is going after performance only, and does not understand that the game is played with software. A Nintendo is ultimately a toy. It is the most advanced machine for playing games, and it is totally different from the Microsoft product. It is just like trying to compare a sumo wrestler and pro-wrestler; they play by totally different rules. We do not consider Microsoft to be our competitor."

Now, ignore for a minute that Yamauchi seems to have big misconceptions about Xbox--Microsoft has gone WAY out of their way to make people understand that it is in no way an "extention of a PC." And they've been saying "the GAME's the thing" so often they sound like a broken record. It's Sony that touted the power and not the games (to the tune of not even SHOWING games in their launch ads!) But the telling statement is that "A Nintendo is ultimately a toy." You can really see that in the Gamecube. It's shaped like a toy, rather than a piece of consumer electronics like the Xbox or PS2. It's targeting the toy-buying crowd. It comes in a variety of fruit colors.

They've been very successful with that approach in the past. I wonder, though, if the fact that the gaming market is 10 times as large as it was when Nintendo called the shots in the days of the NES means that this approach won't cut it anymore? Is the "game system as toy" market only good for 30 million units?

Is Microsoft maybe right when they say "I imagine two-system homes. Maybe you've got a Gamecube for the kids, and in the den or in the older brother's room you've got an Xbox."?

I tell ya, the console market just gets more fun to watch all the time. It's too bad it'll probably take another 18 months or more before we start to see how this is going to really play out in the long run.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brad Grenz on Monday, May 28, 2001 - 04:51 am:

>"Microsoft has gone WAY out of their way to make people understand that it is in no way an "extention of a PC." And they've been saying "the GAME's the thing" so often they sound like a broken record.">

Well, there is a difference between what MS tells people and what the truth is. "Games only" may be the Xbox team's current mantra when they talk to the public and the media, but you've still got Bill Gates talking about browsing the internet and downloading MP3s with the Xbox. Telling people "Games only" is just a PR thing. A way to get the hardcore and the skeptics on your side before you pull the switcheroo. It's like those gurantees they used to have a video rental places. This hot new title is guranteed to be in stock, only you go to the store and they don't have a copy and as it turns out the gurantee was worthless. If it's out of stock you don't get anything. Stupid video rental corps... Don't get me started on that whole 12 extra hours to return your movie promotion Blockbuster ran. Only they actually give you 12 fewer hours! Bastards!

Brad Grenz


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Monday, May 28, 2001 - 10:55 am:

I think MS has something else up their sleeve with the Xbox also. Why wouldn't they want to sell an Xbox version of Windows and Office at some point? Bundle it with a cordless keyboard with a built-in pointing device. Seems like a natural evolution of the system at some point, and note that the name, Xbox, has nothing to do with games. For a game system, it's a terrible name IMO. However, calling it the Gamebox would have made selling it as a TV computer harder to do.

As to Yamauchi I don't know if he's right about the toy approach, but I think Nintendo is probably being smart about not building in the extra expense of a hard drive and making it Internet ready. I just don't see console gamers really flocking to Internet gaming. If the Gamecube really is a break-even proposition at $199, Nintendo will be at $99 with it by the time Microsoft gets the Xbox down to $199.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Monday, May 28, 2001 - 06:13 pm:

>but you've still got Bill Gates talking about browsing the internet and downloading MP3s with the Xbox.

I'm not calling you a liar, but I've NEVER seen him say that anywhere at all. In fact, he contradicted that very thing in his keynote at the spring Tokyo Game Show, reiterating that it's JUST a games box. You have a link to anything where he says that? I'm curious, because it appears he's been coached very well (Bill is obviously not in charge of the Xbox program).

>Why wouldn't they want to sell an Xbox version of Windows and Office at some point.

Because you lose money on the systems, and they make back like $45 selling Windows for the PC. They make more than $100 selling Office. They have to sell a lot of software to offset the system's price and marketing budgets. If Mom & Dad buy an Xbox and just use it for email and web browsing, they lose money. They're better off selling them PC software.

We can all assume that they're going to turn Xbox into a PC on your TV, but the fact is that currently there's just no evidence of that. I can see a lot of places they could have left it open for PC-ness, but didn't (like proprietary controller ports, even though electrically it's USB). You could say "that we KNOW of," but how fair is that? Even if they're not doing something, we refuse to believe it, with no evidence, just because it's Microsoft?

PS2 has far more "PC on your TV" plans than Xbox does. They've got keyboards and mice and a deal with AOL to let you browse the web and write email and AIM people. They've talked about downloading movies and music and stuff.

I think it's hard enough to become a leading games console without worrying about being a PC as well. Once they sell 40 million Xboxes, maybe then they'll start worrying about email and web browsing and word processing. And then, I think probably only if the consumers demand it. Personally I doubt it'll happen.

Microsoft isn't dumb--these convergance devices have been attempted in the past, and they always tank. They MUST have noticed that. They own WebTV and know that the demand for it isn't a tenth of what Xbox demand is. It's just not worth the risk.

As for the name--what did Genesis, Saturn, Mega Drive, Famicom ("FAMILY COMPUTER?" HELLO?), or Atari 2600 have to do with games? =)

I doubt Gamecube costs only $199 to make. That flipper chip is 54 million transistors with 4 MB of embedded DRAM. It alone must cost $60 a chip or more. They're losing money as well, and probably around $100-120 a unit just like Microsoft. Being a third less expensive than the competition is a huge advantage, though.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 12:41 am:

"As for the name--what did Genesis, Saturn, Mega Drive, Famicom ("FAMILY COMPUTER?" HELLO?), or Atari 2600 have to do with games? =)"

Yeah, but Xbox is so cold and unfriendly. I really think it's an awkward name for a console. I guess Microsoft kept it because it already had a lot of name recognition due to all the coverage it received even before it was unveiled.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 03:00 am:

It was always a code name, but yeah, it stuck so well they kept it. Not because of "recognition" (nobody knew what Xbox was but 100,000 hardcore gamers and press, and they're concerned with 100 million). Supposedly, people just liked it. That's their story, anyway. I wonder how much money and manpower was spent thinking of an official name and was tossed out the window? Or did they ever even get that far?

Personally, I think it's fine. It sounds high-tech...certainly more high-tech than "Playstation" or "Gamecube," both of which evoke toy imagry. Your average consumer doesn't know DirectX from the X-games. In fact, the association of all things "X-someting" with extreme sports (there's EXPN now...seriously...expn.go.com) might help give it that hip image with the 16-28 market they're targeting.

To me, Famicom and Atari 2600 sound worse. Remember when Playstation was announced? Everyone thought it was the lamest, most kidde name ever. They HATED it. The press harped on it big time. It sounded like a kid's toy, not a super-sohpisticated $349 game system with amazing 3D graphics. By the time it came out and the marketing had been drilled in to everyone's heads, they accepted it.

Same with Dreamcast. It was called the Katana as a code name--what a cool console name! But not marketable, so Sega thought, and they gave it the official name Dreamcast. Which everyone said sounded passive, obtuse, and childish. Especially for a company trying to promote a hip, edgy image. It, what, "casts dreams?" But again, after all the marketing and stuff, nobody seemed to mind anymore.

I bet it'll be the same way with Xbox. Some people hate it now, but by the time they've heard it for the 7 trillionth time, nobody will care anymore.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 03:08 am:

"I really think it's an awkward name for a console."

And Dreamcast/gamecube/playstation.. isn't? I don't think the name matters too much in the final analysis of why a console platform succeeded or failed. Don't get hung up on this. Ditto for the form factor argument, while I'm at it.

"Why not? Who cares? What's the difference if in ten years there are that many more gamers out there?"

Because 90% of everything is crap. If there are only 100 games, that means only 10 of them are worth playing. But if there is a larger audience, enough to support 1,000 games, that means 100 of them WON'T SUCK!

More great games is good for me-- screw all you guys.

"I'm not calling you a liar, but I've NEVER seen him say that anywhere at all. In fact, he contradicted that very thing in his keynote at the spring Tokyo Game Show, reiterating that it's JUST a games box. You have a link to anything where he says that? I'm curious, because it appears he's been coached very well (Bill is obviously not in charge of the Xbox program)."

I have to agree with Jason here, Mark, there has been ZERO indication that Xbox will ever be anything but a console. And everything I've seen or read on the console confirms that position. There will never be an "MS Office for Xbox" or anything remotely similar. Although you can rest assured the linux freaks will probably get linux running on it, fueled on open-source pride and anti-Gates hysteria.

"I tell ya, the console market just gets more fun to watch all the time. It's too bad it'll probably take another 18 months or more before we start to see how this is going to really play out in the long run."

I'm predicting a mini-crash. The economy sucks, and all the console systems have pros and cons. None really stands out to me as a "winner". If you ask me, the real winners this Christmas will be the $99 PS1 and the $99 Dreamcast. Honestly, are there any games on the $199+ systems that justify the purchase for _anyone_ but the hardest of hardcore types?

Hell, if I was a parent, I would buy my kids a PC instead of a console anyway. It's a much better investment on several levels; it does gaming, internet, plus it's a learning tool. And it runs in the family: my Dad forced me to buy a TI-99/4A instead of a new game console. And look where it got me!*

wumpus http://www.gamebasement.com

* Okay, bad example, but you get the point. Nobody ever got hired for getting 10 million points in Space Blaster, to paraphrase the classic C-64 ad.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brad Grenz on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 03:27 am:

Crap, wouldn't you know it, but I can't find a link for you. I'm quite certain that he did say this and it was quite a while ago. I believe it was during an interview with a mainstream or financial news organization around the initial GDC announcement, or maybe around CES. I got the impression this was before he was warned off that topic.

But I'm not saying it is neccisarily a bad idea for your console to have these kinds of capabilities. I'm just saying what MS tells us and what is actually up ain't neccisarily the same thing and it would be dangerous to assume so.

And I think Nintendo can probably break even on the GameCube. The flipper chip is expensive but there isn't much else in the system. The PowerPC can't be too expensive and then all you have is 16 MB of DRAM which costs like $4.00 and the 1T-SRAM which is supposed to be lots cheaper to make then RDRAM and DDR. Plus a circut board, a optical drive mechanism, some plastic and labor. Squeaking b, but breaking even, I bet.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 04:20 am:

The specs for the XboX are nice for a 300 dollar console. Though there are no games that make me excited about it... maybe DoA3, but just a little. as well, none of the Nintendo stuff looks too interesting to me (except that zelda rpg) and PS2...bleh already have a Dreamcast.

based on developers opinions I've read, supposedly they are waiting to see how well the XboX does with release, if it sells enough they are gladly going to jump on the MS bandwagon. The hardware is there and the licensing fees are supposedly VERY cheap compared to the other consoles. So maybe XboX can do it, might take a year or two, unless we see TERRIBLE sales for Xbox...which is a possibility.

Xbox needs to get Blizzard; Diablo Starcraft and Warcraft would be the best selling franchises for Xbox, imo...

etc


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 03:56 pm:

>If you ask me, the real winners this Christmas will be the $99 PS1 and the $99 Dreamcast.

I doubt there will be any $99 dreamcasts left. =)The stock they have can't last six months, and they stopped manufacturing ("for good") awhile back.

I'd say $99 PSOne and $99 Game Boy Advance. Well, maybe...there just might not be anything new this holiday season for PSOne.

>Honestly, are there any games on the $199+ systems that justify the purchase for _anyone_ but the hardest of hardcore types?

I think Gran Turismo 3 (due in July) will be the first of those. I think they can sell Metal Gear Solid 2 to anyone if they just show 30 seconds of it in an ad. And I think some of Nintendo's stuff, even if it seems pretty hackneyed gameplay-wise at this point, are SUPER mass market. Slap Luigi's name on a game or put all those characters in Super Smash Bros, and you've got a several-million seller. They may not be adult games, but they're certainly not "hardcore only."

>Xbox needs to get Blizzard; Diablo Starcraft and Warcraft would be the best selling franchises for Xbox, imo...

Well, all those games are really made for sitting in front of a monitor with a mouse. They just don't work with a gamepad. Now, Blizzard would be good, but they need to design a game for a console (which they've done in the past).

I saw on the front-page story about how they seemed surprised that there's no online for Halo on Xbox. Bungie's basically said this all along--the Xbox online stuff won't "turn on" until Spring of 2002, about a quarter or two after launch. None of the launch titles can expect to have online play, just like with every other console. Several of them (including Halo) have LAN play already, though.

It would be great if the Halo guys could just build in all the hooks so that 4-6 months later when the online service starts up, the online portion of the game magically works. But it's probably unreasonable to expect developers to support features available after release, especially those on a tight launch schedule.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 04:53 pm:

"I doubt there will be any $99 dreamcasts left. =)The stock they have can't last six months, and they stopped manufacturing ("for good") awhile back."

Eh, I think there will be enough DCs out there through Christmas at least. It's not like they were selling that fast before, so where can they go? Good point about the GBA-- another $99 system that should outsell all the $199+ big boys. I should have included it here.

"Slap Luigi's name on a game or put all those characters in Super Smash Bros, and you've got a several-million seller. They may not be adult games, but they're certainly not 'hardcore only.'"

Yeah, but for littler kids, why not just get them a PS1 and some budget kids titles? It's not like these kids are all that discerning. And parents will appreciate the $150+ savings compared to the full-price GameCube and full-price software. Plus, once you get to be around 11 or 12, do you _really_ want to play with kids' games, whether the stigma is perceived or real?

I don't see GameCube doing any better than Xbox or PS2, really. The jump from $99 to $199 is plenty large, and don't forget the wider choice of budget titles for the cheaper systems too.

"I think Gran Turismo 3 (due in July) will be the first of those. I think they can sell Metal Gear Solid 2 to anyone if they just show 30 seconds of it in an ad."

Possibly. I'm not totally sold on either title as a must-have worth $350 (the console plus the cost of the game), though. I really regret buying my PS2; it's gotten maybe 5 hours of play time total. I recently purchased Crazy Taxi for it and was totally bored by that game within 15 minutes. I guess I should have gone for Ring of Red, but I was having a _tough_ time finding a PS2 title at EB that I had any interest in, at all.

I admit that if you already own a PS2, buying GT3 and MGS is pretty much a no-brainer though ;)

wumpus http://www.gamebasement.com


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 05:01 pm:


Quote:

Plus, once you get to be around 11 or 12, do you _really_ want to play with kids'
games, whether the stigma is perceived or real?




Well, based on the reaction from people around here who played Luigi's Mansion (or whatever it was called), I'd say yes. It sounds pretty cool.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 05:07 pm:

"Well, based on the reaction from people around here who played Luigi's Mansion (or whatever it was called), I'd say yes. It sounds pretty cool."

I was referring to the teenage market, which usually wants to distance itself from perceived "kids" games.

As I understand it, teenagers (12-19) make up the bulk of the gaming audience. They are most responsible for Sony dominating the last round of the console wars-- largely because of the more mature software library Sony cultivated around the PS.

If parents have to pay for it, I think they'll go for the cheaper $99 systems-- I just don't see kids 12 or under really caring whether they get a gamecube, or the previous gen n64. Whereas older kids are more interested in being "cool" and that means the latest and greatest gaming system.

Just some thoughts.

Jason probably knows the demographics better than I do, though.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 11:38 pm:

"Yeah, but for littler kids, why not just get them a PS1 and some budget kids titles? It's not like these kids are all that discerning."

What? I'm not sure what you mean by littler kids, but the under 14 market is pretty savvy. They know what's new and what's old. They'll be asking for a next gen system for Christmas, not a PSOne or N64. A lot depends on what mom and dad want to spend.

The over 14 market will probably favor the PS2 over anything else due to the games available for it, though I think the hardcore videogame crowd will want all three next gen systems, or at least two out of three.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 02:15 am:

>Yeah, but for littler kids, why not just get them a PS1 and some budget kids titles? It's not like these kids are all that discerning.

Dude, you OBVIOUSLY don't have kids. When they're screaming and pleading for the nintendo game they saw on TV, they are NOT going to be pleased with a PSOne and Crash. Kids are SUPER specific. They are TOTALLY discerning. They want a PARTICULAR KIND of pokemon. Not Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon SILVER, and certainly not that Digimon crap. Don't you remember being a kid? Didn't you have to have Optimus Prime, and NOT some other Transformer, and HELL NO not a Go-bot?

I don't think it matters all that much. Both Nintendo and Microsoft can't possibly ship more than 2-2.5 million systems by the end of the year. Even if most of the market doesn't want to pay a high price or whatever, they'll have no problem getting rid of that many to their respective niches. They'll sell as many as they can make.

The IDSA's 2000-2001 state of the industry report has the most recent demographic data I've seen. For video games (not computer games), 47% of the market is under 18. The other 53% is over 18 (37% is 18-35). That's game PLAYERS. Game purchasers is different--90% are over 18 (parents buying for kids makes up the disparity).

14 of the top 20 video games last year were rated "E" for everyone. Five were Teen. Only one was M: Perfect Dark.

On the PC, 12 were rated E, 6 Teen, and 2 M (Unreal Tournament and Diablo 2).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 02:53 am:

"Don't you remember being a kid? Didn't you have to have Optimus Prime, and NOT some other Transformer, and HELL NO not a Go-bot?"

A go-bot doesn't cost $350! But that's the cost of a PS2 + MGS2. Everyone's in the market for a new _console_, right? I think the high cost of the initial purchase will shunt most parents towards the cheaper options-- DC, PS1, GBA. Surely there's something kids would want on at least one of those three platforms that is comparable. Not to mention the many titles that are available on multiple platforms, fex, Tony Hawk.

None of the platforms has a title so strong it can justify a $300+ investment of software, hardware, memory cards, etc. IMO of course, and you're right, I don't have kids. ;)

"I don't think it matters all that much. Both Nintendo and Microsoft can't possibly ship more than 2-2.5 million systems by the end of the year. Even if most of the market doesn't want to pay a high price or whatever, they'll have no problem getting rid of that many to their respective niches. They'll sell as many as they can make."

Possible, then the question is, how many PS2s will sell? I don't see any concrete leader emerging this year or well into next year. Other than the cheaper systems, which I think will absolutely dominate the sales charts in the same time period.

Interesting stats, btw. Too bad the demographics aren't broken up into smaller age ranges-- how many players are 12 and under?

wumpus http://www.gamebasement.com

p.s. Of course, none of this matters, because four years from now Jason will probably be a pimp in Detroit who has too many hos on his hands to possibly worry about gaming in any way, shape or form. Or he'll be dead. ;)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 03:28 am:

"Possible, then the question is, how many PS2s will sell? I don't see any concrete leader emerging this year or well into next year. Other than the cheaper systems, which I think will absolutely dominate the sales charts in the same time period."

The PS2 already has a decent embedded user base. Provided the economy's not in the tank, I think the PS2 will do really well this Xmas, especially if Sony drops the price to $199.

The N64 and PSOne may sell well, but I wouldn't be surprised if the PS2 outsold them. If the PS2 is $199, then for $100 more than a PSOne you get PSOne game compability and a DVD player. That's pretty compelling.

So I'm saying that I do see the PS2 as being the leader this holiday season. Next holiday season things might be different as second gen Xbox and Gamecube games are rolling out. They may look significantly better than PS2 games. The lack of full screen anti-aliasing may hurt the PS2.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By wumpus on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 03:33 am:

"The PS2 already has a decent embedded user base. Provided the economy's not in the tank, I think the PS2 will do really well this Xmas, especially if Sony drops the price to $199."

Where are you getting this $199? I heard Sony was _considering_ $249, but I haven't heard $199 for the PS2. Seems unlikely to me, but whadda I know anyway.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 04:06 am:

I got the $199 from some UK news article several weeks back. It may not happen. The article was speculating based on something Sony said, as I recall. I posted it on our news section, but I don't remember what day and I don't have a way of searching the site. Doh!

OTOH, Sony's probably managed to trim some of the production costs by this point, and they may be willing to eat a bigger loss to keep the Xbox from selling as well as it would if the PS2 were $299.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 09:28 am:

I remember hearing that Sony would drop the price to $199, but it seems like last week I read somewhere (sure wish I could remember where) that they had decided to go with $249. Of course, there's no telling where this information came from, so who knows the legitimacy.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 09:38 am:

If Sony doesn't drop the price of the Playstation 2 to $199, I'll EAT MY HAT!

It's almost a given. Price is the leading factor for mass market appeal (not the hardcore). With Sony's one year head start, the death of Dreamcast, the low entry price of Gamecube and the history of console sales (year two is always a price drop year), there is almost no question that sometime before the first week of November, the Playstation 2 will be $199 to match Gamecube.

Microsoft are the ones in trouble. If the game lineup gets even more bad press between now and then (and there's a lot of negativity around, especially with snooty console game magazine editors), and the price remains at $299 which it almost undoubtedly will due to costs, it will be the 3DO of the current generation. Too costly and too many crappy or PC-like games are major problems for any console.

I'm not saying Microsoft won't sell though that paltry 600,000 they're throwing around as the initial launch day number, but I think we all know that even a million in the first couple weeks means nothing anymore. Now if Nintendo pushes through 2.5 million (and they are quoting manufacturing of 600,000 a month between now and then) before the end of fiscal 2001, look out. Those would be substantial numbers to build and grow a user base.

BTW, Sega's games are the only ones getting real raves on Xbox. Also, Crazy Taxi is the number one game on PS2 (published by Acclaim). Their support and franchises could really help be the deciding factor in any console's ultimate "victory". It also looks like Electronic Arts is slowly sliding downward. EA lost its COO today and it looks like he just didn't dig the whole online plan. Majestic is delayed, their sports package for online gaming is delayed... I guess Riccitello should have kept his mouth shut after Sega decided to go 3rd party.

--Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 10:49 am:

Sega software will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. I'm sure EA is very unhappy about competing with the Sega sports games on the PS2. EA Sports has really been the mainstay of EA. If they lose marketshare in that area to Sega, that will put some pressure on them.

EA.com is in trouble too, I think. Sony's going to really push EverQuest across the seas with the language localizations, and I wouldn't be surprised to see UO's numbers finally start to decline. Although I thought Majestic actually looked kind of cool at E3, I don't see that being a big seller. Likewise with Motor City Online and Earth and Beyond. The Sims Online is the only big hit I see them having.

About Microsoft, until they get games that look better than PS2 and Gamecube games or get a really hot exclusive, I think they'll be outsold if they really do end up being $100 higher. They really need something like a Squaresoft exclusive. They were rumored at one time to be looking at buying Square. If they had the opportunity to do so, they should have grabbed them.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By jshandorf on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 05:25 pm:

As for the XBox being more...

I read and article that stated that the XBox will be able to play DVD Movies.

That is more than a game console.

Besides all this stuff.. personally I hate game consoles. All they do is take resources away from PC game development. How many great games have been canceelled because of the added cost of being console portable, or how many titles eventually went Console only? Too many if you ask me.

I hope they all drive each other out of business and eventually everyone will return to their PCs again for games.

Jeff


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brad Grenz on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 07:36 pm:

The Xbox doesn't play DVDs out of the box, you have to buy the remote/software bundle which'll cost something like $20-$25. The PS2 will play DVD movies without any added purchase and will be a hundred dollars cheaper then the Xbox when it arrives (I too am offering this gurantee, though I have no insode information whatsoever. I just think Sony wants to fuck MS over real good and will take the financial hit to do so.)

I'm too lazing to learn the actual quoting code...

>"EA Sports has really been the mainstay of EA. If they lose marketshare in that area to Sega, that will put some pressure on them.">

They've had fierce competition before, but since 989 can't find their ass with both hands anymore (gotta love cliches), they've really only have Sega to worry about. But Sega as a developer/publisher does smack them from pretty much every angle. EA must be a little preturbed that Sega is no longer confined to a single, weak platform.

>"About Microsoft... They really need something like a Squaresoft exclusive. They were rumored at one time to be looking at buying Square. If they had the opportunity to do so, they should have grabbed them.">

MS couldn't buy Square unless Square wanted to be bought, which they don't. If Square could be bought, don't you think Sony would already own them? Microsoft has reportly been in "negotiations" with Square over their possible support for the Xbox, but I don't see it happening. I imagine these "nogotiations" must bare a striking resemblance to 2 years of begging. Sony sank some serious dough in the Final Fantasy movie which is bleeding Square's coffers dry. I think that's something that won't soon be forgotten.

Brad Grenz


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 11:31 pm:

>I got the $199 from some UK news article several weeks back.

199 pounds I believe. 199 dollars is harder to swallow. Simply put, the PS2 is a production nightmare, and it costs Sony $120 for each one they sell right now. It's hurting them bad, and the software tie ratios aren't there for them to make up the difference. Maybe they can reduce cost of production a bit by fall, but I doubt by $100, and I doubt they're willing to take a BIGGER loss per unit. I can see a $50 reduction, but $100 would be a surprise to me.

>If Sony doesn't drop the price of the Playstation 2 to $199, I'll EAT MY HAT!

By what date? By November? I might just have to take you up on that...

>About Microsoft, until they get games that look better than PS2 and Gamecube games or get a really hot exclusive, I think they'll be outsold if they really do end up being $100 higher.

Well, they can sell as many as they make, and beyond that it really doesn't matter much until production ramps up next year, even if that means they're "outsold." Even if they had more demand, if you can't make more systems, you can't sell 'em. As for exclusives, they'll have DOA3 and a couple cool Sega games for Xmas. Next year they have more--Lord of the Rings and Matrix license come to mind.

>Too costly and too many crappy or PC-like games are major problems for any console.

I see far more PC-like games on the equally costly PS2, which is selling pretty damn well.

I also don't think 600-800,000 is a paltry Day One shipment for north america. Sony claimed a million, but every retailer on earth said "uh, no way Jose. We've PAID for more systems from the distributor, but we got a third of our allocation. They sold 300-400,000 on the first day and 50k a week thereafter." If MS actually gets 600,000 to stores, it'll be a better start than Sony had for sure. Which ain't saying much, of course.

If they can get 1.5 million between launch and Xmas as they claim, and they ACTUALLY ship that many, that'll be better than Sony did (and in a shorter span of time).

re: Sega and EA - EA had better tremble. All of EA's competition before was single-platform and ultimately couldn't touch EA's cross-platform sales. Now Sega comes and makes sports games just as good, games in every single genre that are good, supports all platforms except PC, and they even got their sports games working online on consoles LONG before EA.

Plus, Sega can snap their fingers and put out 20 quality GBA games in a year with Genesis ports. And I think once the GBA installed base creeps up there, they'll do just that.

>they are quoting manufacturing of 600,000 a month between now and then

Out of curiosity, where'd you see that? That's a little more than Xbox (125,000 a week) and about the same as Sony claims, but certainly reasonable, split between territories. US allocation will probably be 1.5 to 2 million between launch and Xmas.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Thursday, May 31, 2001 - 03:00 am:

Im a little excited with the Sega Sports 2k gaems going to XboX... I liked NFL 2k1 a whole lot more than Maddens 2001.

Xbox should try to get an Asherons Call 2 souped up with more GENERIC fantasy elemetns ala EQ to be on Xbox. I think that would sell the system...possibly. make it between pso and EQ...maybe just maybe.

and I really want Xbox to succeed (the hardware is there), but the development for it right now seems pretty ... boring. though DoA 3 will give me some of those jigglies, yeah i like that! Kasumi jigglies! okey dokey....

etc


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Xaroc on Thursday, May 31, 2001 - 01:57 pm:

NFL2K was very good but on the hockey front Sega has a long way to go to catch NHL 2001. NHL 2001 is the best hockey game since Wayne Gretzky Hockey 3. I played the Sega hockey game and returned it within a day I was so disapointed with the lack of a challenge.

-- Xaroc


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