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The Pressures on the Next Nintendo Console 341

Posted by Zonk
from the big-shoes-to-fill dept.
With the launch of Nintendo's next-gen offering a little more than two months away, the importance that Nintendo is placing on this console is finally becoming apparent. Dyed-in-the-wool Nintendo loyalists and haters alike have both come to the same conclusion: if Nintendo is to stay a force in the non-portable console market, this system has to succeed. Along those lines, WhatEntertainment offers an editorial entitled Failure is not an Option. It explores the reality that Nintendo's failure would have repercussions on the industry as a whole. "Most of all I'm worried what this might do to the industry if it's a failure. In a landscape already filled with the carcasses of those that dared to try something new, and publishers more afraid than ever to try something a little different, the high-profile failure of a system that tried to put innovation and fun before graphics could be the final nail in the coffin of creativity." Meanwhile, GameInformer has a piece entitled Will Wii be Dissapointed Again? Billy Berghammer says what he doesn't want to say: the Wii could be another flop for Nintendo. From that article: "The launch price is low enough (outside of the $60 for controller costs) to avoid damaging my wallet the same way the purchase of a Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 will, and the possibilities and promises from Nintendo somehow still keep me hoping for a bright future. But for now, the future is made up of many of the same promises and hopes I had when the N64 and GameCube were announced. I just hope I don't end up being disappointed once again."
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The Pressures on the Next Nintendo Console

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  • by ACAx1985 (989265) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:27PM (#16131452) Homepage
    As long as Nintendo continues the Mario, Zelda, (etc) franchises, their consoles will continue to sell with or without third party support. Fact is, their first party games are just THAT good.
    • by masklinn (823351) <slashdot,org&masklinn,net> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:35PM (#16131544)

      Indeed.

      Plus the Nintendo war chest that dates back from the NES era (remember kids: nintendo has never EVER lost any money, even on hardware sales, even for a quarter, even during the worst of the GameCube era) is humongous, and the DS Lite prints money after all [uncyclopedia.org].

      They can afford several more gamecube-level failures, especially since gamecube-level failures still nets them profits without even the need for first-party games.

      • by DorkusMasterus (931246) <dorkmaster1&gmail,com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:42PM (#16131637) Homepage
        Well, I didn't read the article, but the the implication I get is not that Nintendo needs this to be a hit financially, as much as in the public opinion arena, to be a true contender in the console market in the future.

        I don't think anyone in their right mind could justify saying Nintendo is going to be in trouble (as a company) if the Wii disappoints. However, it is likely that if it doesn't sell well, and people generally don't adopt it well, that Nintendo may start to be seen as "the" handheld company, and not the "video game" company it is currently. Does that make sense? I just think it's deeper than financial. Sony's not going to fail if the PS3 fails. But it's games division, SCE, will be rocky. But Nintendo, as stated, will make a profit on each unit, ensuring Nintendo isn't going anywhere soon.

        But it may not be on people's radar unless they make Wii stick with gamers.
        • by masklinn (823351) <slashdot,org&masklinn,net> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:59PM (#16131778)

          Well, I didn't read the article, but the the implication I get is not that Nintendo needs this to be a hit financially, as much as in the public opinion arena, to be a true contender in the console market in the future.

          Whatever happens in the west, even if the Wii utterly fails, Nintendo will always be a "true contender" on the japanese market (especially with the success of the DS, Nintendo has become omnipresent there).

          Nintendo won't stop making consoles anytime soon, trust me on that one.

        • by Doytch (950946) <markpd@gmailFORTRAN.com minus language> on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:58PM (#16132359)
          I just think it's deeper than financial. Sony's not going to fail if the PS3 fails. But it's games division, SCE, will be rocky Huh? The only division in Sony that actually makes money is the Games division. The fact that every division in Sony is throwing their products onto the PS3 only shows that the PS3 is their only hope. Pioneer forced Sony out of plasmas pretty much by themselves, and Sharp is killing them in LCDs. Throw in the fact that the PS3 is incurring massive costs for Sony and you'll see that if the PS3 legitimately fails, Sony will be in big shit.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2006 @09:14PM (#16135058)
            Hey there. It's me, the guy that fixes stuff at your local technology store here, to talk to you about why you shouldn't buy a Sony anything any time soon.

            From the designs of their products, you can see that Sony has no interest whatsoever in making products that last beyond the warranty period. Their laptops have no latch securing the screen to the lapboard of the computer. When you put a Vaio in its sales floor box, with the hinge down, it literally falls open and cannot be closed. (I've even seen the new Blu-Ray equipped Vaios do this.) All the holding power that's supposed to keep the screen and the computer together when closed is in the hinge. Bad design.

            Even better, Vaio laptops have the thinnest screen enclosures on the market. The enclosure has no ridge on the outer edge (like the ones you see on most other laptops, Apples and HPs to start) that redirects pressure to the outside of the enclosure and protects the screen. Instead, all the pressure goes directly on the screen. Maybe this is why all Vaios come back from repair with a note saying, "Your Vaio is designed for maximum durability. However, please refrain from putting pressure on the screen enclosure."

            Sony cameras are probably worse. From their Handycams, that look and operate like relics from the late 90s but retail at futuristic prices, to their CyberShot cameras with touch screens on the back. One model has nothing but a power button and shutter on top and a touch screen covering the entire back of the camera, which controls everything else. It makes me wonder if Sony has an entire department dedicated to Putting Large LCDS on Things That Go In Pockets. Oh yes, and the batteries are proprietary, too.

            Sony isn't doing too badly in audio equipment--their stuff seems to be on par with everyone elses. And their optical drives are decent but you wont see one in any non-Sony OEM machines. Not to mention their drives are more expensive.

            For almost every technology thing you can name, Sony makes a souped-up, talked-up, marked-up version of their own. 99% of the time, it's just not worth the extra money.
        • But Nintendo, as stated, will make a profit on each unit

          This is a misconception. Just because the console isn't sold at a loss doesn't mean that Nintendo will "make a profit" on each unit.

          Sure, each unit sold makes a positive contribution to the financials of the Wii project, but in order to determine whether Nintendo makes a profit on the console, you must factor in R&D, marketing, and a number of other support expenses. The amount of money that Nintendo brings in on each console (and accessories

      • by Joe5678 (135227)
        They can afford several more gamecube-level failures, especially since gamecube-level failures still nets them profits without even the need for first-party games.

        The HARDWARE costs nets them a profit, they still have R&D costs though.
        • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:12PM (#16131900) Homepage
          The HARDWARE costs nets them a profit, they still have R&D costs though.

          Right, right. So they have to do well enough to recoup their R&D cost. The reason why having a for-profit hardware console is important is that it means the very first sale of their console starts paying off that R&D cost. This is why they were able to make all their money back and them some despite the "failure" that was the Gamecube. If they had tried selling their console at a loss, like Microsoft, then they would most likely have ended up losing money overall, again like Microsoft.

          Instead, they made money. And that was on what was possibly the least exciting most "me-too" Nintendo console ever.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by antifoidulus (807088)
        Actually, in 2003 they DID lose money, but that was because the dollar took an (probably expected) nosedive versus the Yen. However, after that, Nintendo has been keeping much more dollars and euro on hand to avoid another fiasco.
    • by grumbel (592662)

      As long as Nintendo continues the Mario, Zelda, (etc) franchises, their consoles will continue to sell with or without third party support. Fact is, their first party games are just THAT good.

      On the NES, SNES and N64 Mario and Zelda games where awesome, however that time is long long ago. MarioSunshine and Zelda WindWaker on the Gamecube disapointed for most part. So did NewSuperMarioBros on the DS. Sure, none of those games where horrbile, but they where far away from the legendary status that those fran

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by joshsisk (161347)
        "On the NES, SNES and N64 Mario and Zelda games where awesome, however that time is long long ago."

        There has only been one Zelda game and one Mario game since then. One game is not "long long ago".

        Windwaker was good, though not quite up to the standard of the N64 games. I never played Mario Sunshine, so I can't comment on it as a follow up to Mario World (or was it called Mario 64, I forget?).

        New SMB, however, was great fun! It's a retro-esque game, though, deliberately designed to be a succesor to the NES/
      • by 7Prime (871679)

        Yeah, I'm gonna have to echo a strong dissagreement with you on those. The only game that pretty much, universally, dissapointed was Super Mario Sunshine. New Super Mario Bros was a smash hit, much bigger than even expected, with gamers thoroughly satisfied and rivitted by it's attention to keeping true to the original series, while adding more modern features. Zelda - Wind Waker, is a staple, noone's going to call that anything close to a failour or dissapointment. Certainly, everyone had some issues with

    • So it's nice that it'll run all these games and such, but will the design be open enough to run Linux on it? Sounds like the processor is pretty fast, though neither the Nintendo website nor Wikipedia said how much RAM it has (there's 512MB of flash storage, but there's USB so you can easily add more.)

      Imagine a game called Beowulf for it....

      • Its got a decent graphics card, but its processor would certainly suck for normal computing uses. I may be wrong but it probably would be slower than an XBOX 1 for emulated PC software.
  • by Aeron65432 (805385) <agiamba@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:30PM (#16131486) Homepage
    Another flop? Did I miss something?
    "Nintendo reported that as of June 30, 2006 they have sold a total of 21.00 million Nintendo GameCube units worldwide."
    "With 32.93 million Nintendo 64 units sold worldwide..."

    They're not #1, but they are certainly a strong (read: profitable) second-place contender. I wonder what these flops are?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Valharick (903629)
      Typically when someone talks about a Nintendo flop they like to pull out the Virtua Boy. Pretty much the one system Nintendo had that didn't do too well. Personally, I'd rather work for a company that sold 50M units in the black than one that sold 70M in the red.
    • by masklinn (823351) <slashdot,org&masklinn,net> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:38PM (#16131580)

      Nintendo was actually 3rd place worldwide on the last generation... in unit sales (Microsoft shipped 24 million xbox)

      Of course, Nintendo trounced MS in Japan and got a damn huge lot of profits out of the gamecube era (hint: you're nearly the only game publisher for a 20million user base. Ohhh look, every single release gets a million sales!) while Microsoft lost $2billion in the process. But on shipped units count, they lost.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by steveo777 (183629)
        The OP was merely pointing out that none of Nintendo's systems have flopped... and that he did forget about the not so venerable Virtual Boy. *Sigh*

        So, even though their home console sold the least, they were the clear winners of the last generation with regards to profit. And I agree with your statement about their lack of 3rd party support.

      • by sqlrob (173498)
        Shipped or Sold? Nintendo reports in sold, not shipped.

        How many XBox are actually sold out of that shipped number?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by justchris (802302)
        That is a nice argument, but it has one serious flaw. Aside from the 360, the 5th generation is still going.

        Microsoft only reports shipped numbers, Nintendo only reports sold numbers. As of the release of the Xbox 360, Microsoft has stopped shipping original Xboxen. That shipped number will never increase. Nintendo, on the other hand, still ships the Gamecube, because the Wii has not shipped yet. They continual to outsell the original Xbox by 1000 to 1 in every region (and until March of this year, w

    • by ClamIAm (926466) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:50PM (#16131699)
      I don't think you understand... Nintendo is always on the brink of failure. Yeah, they completely own the handheld console market. True, they don't lose money on hardware like Microsoft. Oh yeah, and they've only had one unprofitable quarter in their 100+ year history. But wait! No! They're doomed! (really)
    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      Read the complete article [gameinformer.com]. Billy Berghammer fairly clearly defines what he means as a flop: third-party developer support never really materialized.

      If you read through the article, it's fairly clear that he's a Nintendo fanboi. His concerns are essentially that the Wii will fail to gain developer support, and essentially float by on only Nintendo games.

      With the new control scheme, there's a very real risk that third-party developer support will never materialize and the Wii will suffer the GameCube's

    • by DrWho520 (655973)
      The main problem is the definition of failure. The definition of failure for Sony and Microsoft is vastly different than for Nintendo. Everyone thinks of the Sony/MS definition - market dominance/media purvasion/household presence. Nintendo does not need this. All Nintendo needs is one little box sitting in an 11 year olds bedroom hooked up to a standard 25" TV.

      - No need for buying special cables.
      - No need for buying a special TV.
      - No need to share special TV with dad on Sunday afternoon (for there
  • huh? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    quote: Dyed-in-the-wool Nintendo loyalists and haters alike have both come to the same conclusion: if Nintendo is to stay a force in the non-portable console market, this system has to succeed.

    Says who? Oh, someone on the internet. So it MUST be true.

  • "I am of course talking about the Wii (pronounced as we), which while perhaps being the strangest name ... [snip]"

    Alert, alert! They call it "THE Wii" when the Nintendo Wii style guide explicitly says to call it just plain "Wii". Deploy the style sentinel drones of doom!
    • Their style guide is boneheaded and doesn't seem to have had any input from a native English speaker. "Wii" just doesn't automatically parse, when heard verbally, as a proper noun. "I have Wii" "You mean, you have ... us?" "No, I bought a wii." "You bought away? You bought a wee ...?" "No, I bought a Nintendo Wii." "Oh, I see. Nice, short name there."
  • by DorkusMasterus (931246) <dorkmaster1&gmail,com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:31PM (#16131498) Homepage
    that of the big three, Microsoft seems to be in the most stable place currently. Now, I'm by no means an M$ fanboy, but it does seem that the analysts are correct in their looking at Nintendo as needing a solid hit out of the Wii, to have a future in the console market. (They will still be fine with handheld sales alone, of course). Same thing with Sony and their PS3 (excepting the haldheld market, as the PSP is still struggling to find a foothold anywhere). PS3 will no doubt sell well to loyalists and such, but will it be enough to keep the company making as much money as they did in PS2 and game sales?

    Only time will tell, but it's very interesting that this all places quite a bit on Microsoft's side, as they are going to be regarded as the "established" player in the market, come Christmastime, and with a well timed and measured price cut, they could be looking at a very good situation over there...

    I personally (and here's the fanboy side) hope the Wii does well. Even if it's not all we hoped, it's still someone trying to innovate in a market crowded with sequels, little improvements from generation to generation, and I hope they are rewarded for it. I think it will do much better than say, the Dreamcast. But, overall, it's going to be an interesting year from here on out to see where the consumer speaks with their wallets...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by masklinn (823351)

      that of the big three, Microsoft seems to be in the most stable place currently.

      Uh... what? So basically, losing $2b on each generation of your console and not being able to get any decent foothold in japan is "a stable place" now?

      God, and there I thought that earning money meant you were in a stable position. The times, they are a-changing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I replied to your previous comment on this as well. You're looking at things from a purely financial standpoint, whereas I see it as a "on the gamers' radar" standpoint.

        If Wii doesn't sell well, and for argument's sake, neither does the PS3, who stands to benefit in the minds (and living rooms) of the world? Microsoft.

        Again, that is not to say Nintendo won't make more money (because truthfully, Nintendo will hedge everything very well as they always have, with a great business-savvy, and be fine).

        Just to
        • by masklinn (823351)

          Microsoft will be there with the "successful" consoles, (perhaps not in terms of profits, but in terms of perhaps brand loyalty, if anything), and Nintendo will have to "prove it" in terms of the system.

          Having to prove itself all over again is the position Nintendo's been in since the (relative) failure of the N64 and the successes of the PS and PS2.

          For Nintendo, this generation is more of the same, they're the challenger and they want to get back to the SNES era.

          My point is that Microsoft may look goo

        • by tourvil (103765)

          But I still think that MS is not trying to profit on the 360, at least the system itself. They're trying to build a brand that's successful with gamers and synonymous with fun/good product.

          Microsoft is trying to build a brand with gamers for the express purpose of making a profit. They knew up front that xbox 1 was going to be a net loss in the end, but what they were buying was mind/market-share. That was true for xbox 1, but you can be sure that they're going to do everything they can with the 360 to

          • by Chris Burke (6130)
            Microsoft is trying to build a brand with gamers for the express purpose of making a profit. They knew up front that xbox 1 was going to be a net loss in the end, but what they were buying was mind/market-share. That was true for xbox 1, but you can be sure that they're going to do everything they can with the 360 to make a profit. What good is building a brand if it doesn't result in making you more money?

            Sure, Microsoft is going to try to make money. It isn't clear to me that they actually expect to make
            • by tourvil (103765)
              I see where you're coming from, though I don't know if I agree that investors will continue to let Microsoft spend money on the xbox project if the 360 doesn't break even or better.
        • by kabocox (199019)
          Don't get me wrong. I love Nintendo, and hope the Wii is a success... I plan on getting one. And I DON'T have a 360. But I still think that MS is not trying to profit on the 360, at least the system itself. They're trying to build a brand that's successful with gamers and synonymous with fun/good product. And if Sony and Nintendo don't do that this generation, then Microsoft, by default, wins in that arena.

          You make a sound case that if Wii & PS3 don't sell well then MS would have to win. Here is somethi
    • by NinjaFarmer (833539) on Monday September 18, 2006 @05:53PM (#16133982)
      IBM. IBM won this generation hands down. They managed to convince not one, but three major companies to bankroll their R&D for brand new top of the line chipsets. So, here is the story as I've managed to put together so far:

      IBM: Alright, we seem to be falling a little behind on our high end chipsets, and we need to develop something new and spazzy. Hm... phone rings

      Sony: Hey IBM! Were starting to develop a new console and were interested in developing a new chipset for it.

      IBM: I know JUST what you need. You want the biggest baddest most powerful chip ever created. You want more power, speed, and flexibility than anything seen before. I'm telling you, 8 cores! Eight!

      Sony: Power hm.... I don't..

      IBM: cutting in This will be the fastest chip in the world! Your box will be more powerful than a supercomputer! How can you say no to that!

      Sony: Hm... Ok were sold. We'll send our guys over to work out the details hangs up

      IBM: Alright! That problem solved (idiots). Hm... Maybe Microsoft will be interested in something similar. Calls MicrosoftYo Bill!

      Microsoft: Hey wazzup!

      IBM: Well... I'm not supposed to tell you this but... let me let you in on a little secret about what Sony is up to...

      A minute later
      Microsoft: Hm... it sounds a little expensive, but we've gotta match them in power. Hm... maybe if we got our system out waay ahead of them.... How about we help develop an earlier version of your super processor, and we'll say that you really don't need a supercomputer to run games. That works. Alright deal.

      IBM: Alright! I'll talk to ya later! Hangs up

      IBM: I wonder what my pool would look like full of Benjamins. Man I can't believe those dupes agreed to bankroll our superchip. Now... it seems like our high end embedded processor could use a boost. Now what idiot will pay for the fastest and most energy efficient chip ever created.... Well now those guys at Nintendo might actually do it. Yea... They'll jump right on it, just as soon as they see the cost estimate for Sony and Microsoft... hehe.

      IBM dials the phone
      IBM: Yo Shiggy! Have I got a deal for you! I'm not really supposed to tell you this but... Sony and Microsoft are in the works to develop the most powerful chip ever created. Why don't you take a look at the materials here... emails Nintendo a set of documents. The cost estimates is very prominantly displayed throughout the documents

      Nintendo: Hm... That's pretty impressive. But I don't think we can do that. It is awefully expensive....

      IBM: That's no problem! In fact, I had something else in mind for you! Here let me send it over. This set of emails contains documentation on a chipset based on previous technology, but still very advanced. The word 'savings' can be seen repeatedly throughout the documentation

      Nintendo: Wow! This is just what we wanted! Its perfect! Those fools at Sony will never know what hit them (hehe what a waste of money). Hangs up

      IBM: Hehe... heh... dials on the phone Hey Bob and Sons construction? Yea hey! Yea the pool is awesome. In fact, that's why I called... No no, nothing's wrong with it, in fact... I want to expand it. Yea... Olimpic sized doable? Great.
  • by dividedsky319 (907852) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:32PM (#16131504) Homepage
    I don't think anyone expected the DS to be as big as it has become. The same could turn out to be true for the Wii.

    Plus, BECUASE the DS has become so popular, I think that people will be a lot more willing to give the Wii a chance.

    Obviously only time can tell, but I think the DS's success is very important to the Wii...
    • by DorkusMasterus (931246) <dorkmaster1&gmail,com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:35PM (#16131541) Homepage
      Mod Parent Up!

      I also believe that DS sales are going to really help the adoption rate of the Wii. People didn't take the DS seriously at first, and now, they're flying off the shelves. I think that people are seeing that Nintendo is not just being innovative to be wierd (okay, not ALL the time, at least), but really trying to push what we consider regular gameplay to be.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tremor (APi) (678603)

      I agree with that, certainly. I do think that Nintendo Wi-Fi has boosted the DS significantly, and I find it alarming that we aren't going to see any online-capable titles on Wii until 2007. The 360 is all about Live, which is doing really well for MS, even though they're really using Live as a giant profit machine. You get your 360 and your headset and hook up the ethernet cable and you're good to go. Built-in WiFi on Wii is a good move - it keeps you down to just the power and A/V cables because of the wi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Don_dumb (927108)

      I don't think anyone expected the DS to be as big as it has become. The same could turn out to be true for the Wii.

      EA certainly didn't expect it, only a month ago /. posted a story about EA complaining to Sony about the failure of the PSP (and probably their wasted development).
      I don't think the size of the DS' success was as much of a suprise as the fact that they were able to find a new market for consoles (if only portables). I dont think Dr Kawashima's Brain Training, has been given enough recognition f

  • by MuNansen (833037) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:34PM (#16131534)
    The same arguments that were made against the DS are being used against the Wii ("gimmicky," lesser graphics power, etc.) as that Game Informer article proves. He hardly even mentioned the DS. He also neglects to mention the Sony backlash, and the fact that we're now in a time where people are a bit tired of the graphics arms race between M$ and Sony, and would like something new. At least to a further extent than has been true for consoles in the past.

    That doesn't guarantee success by any means. There's just a lot of positive angles that the author was ignoring.
  • by Jerf (17166) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:35PM (#16131538) Journal
    I think we'll know whether it's an abject failure pretty quickly, and it's probably not even worth worrying about this close to release.

    Just wait for the reviews about two weeks after the Wii has been released to the reviewers, after the novelty has had time to wear off and there's a better sense of whether the games are actually fun, or if the controller is just a useless gimmick.

    Right now, probably nobody really knows. The game devs and their testers are too close to the game to know whether it is any actual fun, and almost all of our reviewers have at most a few hours experience, all in the same day.

    I think we'll only know it's an abject failure if the controller simply becomes tiresome, or hard to use, or to sum it up "no fun" with real use.

    Otherwise, I'd expect the first Wii generation to look like the first DS generation, for the same basic reasons, and again for the same reasons, if you tried to determine the success of the DS based on that first generation you'd have been way off.

    Anyhow, of all the times to be worrying about whether the Wii is going to fail, this is really the silliest, when we're this close to release. Just wait and see.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cowscows (103644)
      A few weeks won't really be enough time to tell, because Nintendo won't be able to ship out the systems fast enough in that time frame. Every console launch is like that (except the xbox in Japan).

      The DS sold well at launch and was hard to find, even though there weren't that many great games available for it for a while. It was only months later, when better games started coming out, that the system really gained momentum. And then the DS lite made things even crazier.

      The Wii might be a smash hit right out
      • by Jerf (17166)
        We won't need a lot of systems to know if the controller is no fun; heck, ten shipped right now to the right people would do the trick.

        The word "abject" wasn't tossed in to my phrase "abject failure" to show my vocabulary; it's an essential part of my point. Dreamcast-failure takes months or years to show. Virtual-boy failure, another abject failure, takes days for the hype to go from stellar to hellish, once people actually get their hands on the system for real and the hype fades like morning mist in the
  • In the hardware department, Nintendo has been the king of portables for a long time. And Nintendo seems like it'll always have Japan... Microsoft is (and should be) trying hard to break into Japan, but Nintendo is still a very firm #2 there.

    In the software department, Nintendo's first-party titles have routinely done very well.

    Nintendo also has somewhat of a niche in coming up with interesting control schemes... maybe they'd have less flexibility with this if they ever left the hardware market. But

  • Doom and gloom (Score:4, Insightful)

    by urbanradar (1001140) <timothyfielding&gmail,com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:38PM (#16131588) Homepage
    It seems to me that TFA is just trying to cash in on the current Wii frenzy. It's the old trick: Write something controversial, watch it get slashdotted before long, and watch the ad revenue flow in.

    Personally, I'm unconvinced. IMHO, the Gamecube failed due to two points. It was underpowered compared to the XBox and the PS2, but yet didn't have enough innovative features to really differentiate itself from the competition. And, secondly, there weren't all that many games for it. The N64, too, suffered from this.

    With the Wii, Nintendo has already taken care of those points upfront. Not only are we going to have tons of classic games from older consoles, a lot of vendors have also already pledged support for the Wii.
    And as for being underpowered, well, yes, the Wii isn't as powerful as the XBox360 and the PS3, but the sheer freshness of its gameplay and its innovative games should more than make up for it. Especially since the Wii is being marketed as the "console for everyone". If Nintendo's strategy works, a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise have bought a console will buy a Wii, and they won't care about sheer raw power. And neither will Nintendo fanboys.

    So I don't see why the Wii should suffer from the same problems as the N64 and the Gamecube.
    • Personally, I'm unconvinced. IMHO, the Gamecube failed due to two points.

      Ummm, so selling slightly fewer units than the Xbox and making money is a failure, while shipping slightly more and losing money is a success? I find your inherent statement that the Gamecube was a failure a little unreal... and I've never owned one.

      So I don't see why the Wii should suffer from the same problems as the N64 and the Gamecube.

      I certainly hope it suffers from the same widespread adoption and profit problems. I'm a v

      • by grumbel (592662)

        Ummm, so selling slightly fewer units than the Xbox and making money is a failure, while shipping slightly more and losing money is a success? I find your inherent statement that the Gamecube was a failure a little unreal... and I've never owned one.

        The Gamecube might not have failed to make Nintendo money, but it did fail to capture the interest of third party companies. If the console is treated as if it doesn't even exist by some third parties than you can tell that something has to be wrong. And speak

        • by webrunner (108849)
          The strange thing is, there's no real reason for the third parties to do that. Look at Soul Calibur 2: the Gamecube version was the highest selling of the three (probably due to Link), but SC3 was PS2-only. WOuldn't you stick with what sold you the most copies?
    • by trdrstv (986999) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:13PM (#16131914)
      It was underpowered compared to the XBox and the PS2,

      Incorrect. The PS2 was the least powerful contender this time around (after the Dreamcast dropped out fo course) The only thing the GC didn't have hardware wise over the PS2 was disk capacity, since they went with mini DVDs, and not DVD9's. For a good comparison of capable graphics, play RE4 for each.

      I don't understand the 'Graphics Arms Race' much as The PS2 was technically inferior to both the GC, and X-box yet the PS2 had the largest user base. The PS1 was inferior to the N64 (except for disk / cartrige capacity) yet the PS1 sold more. The DS is weaker than the PSP, yet is sells more. The Gameboy was weaker than all competitors, but crushed the competition.

      Clearly 'power' =/= greater sales. There is more to it than that.

  • Failure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:41PM (#16131620) Homepage

    I agree it would be a terrible thing for the industry if the console were to fail, but it would be OK with me.

    I had an N64 and it was my favorite console of that generation by far. Some people say it "failed" because it didn't put The Big N back on top. I really enjoyed the thing, and I'm glad I bought it.

    I have a 'Cube and many people say it failed (or is close). I've bought FAR more games for the 'cube than my XBox and PS2. It was a great little system. I don't regret buying it at all.

    If the Wii fails, so what. I can afford to lose $250 on a console that that will only have a bunch of great games during it's life (Marios, Zeldas, Pikmins, Smash Brothers, etc.). That's OK with me. It will be sad, but I'll still love the games.

    Let's not forget that even if Nintendo's grand experiment fails (the controller) everyone could always use the "classic" controller for the rest of the console's life-span (not unlike the NES Zapper was basically forgotten about). The Wiimote can still be used for fun with light-gun games (and is worth it for me for that fact alone).

    The PS3 is $600. I'm not buying that until I'm dead sure there are tons of games I want for it. Even with the price drop that will have to happen by the time I buy it.

    The 360 is $400. It's not as worrying as the PS3 but that's still a fair amount of money.

    The Wii is $250, and worse case scenerio I can use it as a replacement 'Cube and have a few new fun games.

    The Wii may "fail" because it doesn't take over the industry or ends up in 3rd place, but I bet I'll still love it anyway.

    All that said, who do we think... objectivly... is the most likely to fail? The cheap one with the "gimmick", the expensive one that is more of the same, or the obscenely expensive one that currently seems like more of the same?

    • What is interesting is the lateral thinking that Nintendo is doing on all levels. It's not just the fun factor and the targeting of women, older gamers and families. It's the recognition that Moore's Law doesn't dictate that more power is the only option. Nintendo is focusing on making smaller cheaper consoles to exploit advances in technology, just as they have with the DS Lite. The DS is compact, elegant, and innovative. Sony on the other hand is focusing on more power at the cost of everything else, resu
    • I am pretty sure that Nintendo has made more money off the GC than Microsoft has off the XBox. I have a GC and a PS2. Over all I enjoy the GC games more than the PS2 games. I am going to get a Wii but have no real interest in the PS3 or the 360. Maybe when they come down to $199 I will pick one up.
      I thought that making money was how you win? In that case Nintendo has a winner with the GC.

  • FTFA:

    There are so many people out there that love to buy the new Madden release or the latest Final Fantasy sequel that it's difficult to believe that Nintendo can change their mind or be a success without them.

    Ummm .. but we will have them. (or in the case of FF, we probably will have them. Square-Enix is in a love fest with nintendo these days)
    Madden is coming to the Wii. And in fact, will probably be the first (American) football game I buy since like '98. After reading that developer interview [ign.com] over at I
  • In a landscape already filled with the carcasses of those that dared to try something new, and publishers more afraid than ever to try something a little different, the high-profile failure of a system that tried to put innovation and fun before graphics could be the final nail in the coffin of creativity.

    Yeah, if the Wii fails, who's going to make interesting games like Katamari Damacy and Shadow of the Colossus?

    Oh, wait.

    Rob
  • by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:02PM (#16131807) Homepage
    I keep seeing these jabs on the price of the Nintendo controller (both parts). I can understand the disappointment. After the prices for x360 and ps3 people are looking to Nintendo as cheap affordable fun. Add on to that, Nintendo is well-known for making great party games and seem in a position to continue that so multiple controllers for a nintendo system seems a given. Given all that, is anybody seriously surprised by the price of the controllers? Sure, they probably could have taken a loss or a smaller profit by pricing the pair for $50 (35 and 15?) but is that typically the place to have lower profit margins? You're going to pay $50 for a wireless x360 controller and likely at least that much for a ps3 one. Why would anyone expect to see less for a two component wireless controller that probably has more state of the art technology in it? I wish they released a wii bundle with an extra controller rather than a game but I can see why they went the other way. To me, this is just further evidence that they will be successful. Financially, they'll make money. And because the wii is so much cheaper to develop for, they don't even need to have a HUGE install base for developers to continue giving support. Developers don't need to sell as many to make all their money back and then some. Finally, if the games are frequently $10 cheaper it won't take long before you've saved enough from the games to pay for the $10 more expensive controllers.
  • by Maul (83993) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:43PM (#16132200) Journal
    The failure of Nintendo has been incorrectly predicted by game magazines and other "journalists" for well over a decade... more like 15 years now that I think about it. It always is supposedly right around the corner. It started in the 90s when Nintendo was late to the North American 16-bit market and hasn't let up since.

    Nintendo is still around making consoles after all this time. Maybe because they know how to make a profit without having to necessarily be the top-seller.
  • There was video from last week's announcement of a guy demonstrating bowling in Wii Sports. He was making the point that it's so great because "hey look, I'm standing in front of the TV and actually making bowling movements to bowl, just like real bowling!" That certainly has a cool factor, but having to jump up from my seat and flail about to play a game is going to get old fast. It seemed to me that the demo/ad for Red Steel also had a guy jumping off his couch to play. I really hope I can sit in a cha
  • by dolson (634094)
    If you let the fear of failure stop you from making the purchase, you're contributing to the potential failure.

    If you want something to succeed, you need to be a part of it. It's a little bit of the chicken-and-the-egg, but if you really think about it, 3rd party support isn't going to happen unless there's a market. The market will come if people believe in this console, and believe me, I haven't been so excited about a gaming system since I got my TurboGrafx 16... I'm sure I'm not the only one.

    Step
  • Nintendo's profit levels are higher than the games divisions of both Sony and MS combined. Nintendo claims it has never sold a console at a loss (though I dont see how the DSLite can be cheap enough to manufacture to do that). There are already several time more 3rd party companies for the Wii than it did for the Gamecube, the unique controller also assures that many of the 3rd party titles will be exclusives or at least have exclusive features. Nintendo is not at threat, but nice job on the fud. Even i
  • Will be be able to use the controller on any USB ready device..like, say, my PC?

  • by jchenx (267053) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:32PM (#16132736) Journal
    IMHO, one of Nintendo's biggest pressures (and arguably their largest problem too), will be the hype generated by all the Nintendo fanbois. They are hyping the Wii as if it's the biggest thing EVER for gaming. All you need to do is read the buzz being generated here and on all sorts of gaming forums. There's a lot of "Nintendo can do no wrong" sentiment, which is very, very dangerous.

    I want the Wii to succeed, but I don't like to be told by fanbois that it will (or "wii-ll") succeed, without them or myself even having tried out the console ourselves. I still have a lot of doubts, such as how sensitive the control will be, whether or not I'll get tired after a period of time, how long it takes me to adjust to, and more importantly, just how much "more fun" Wii games are, versus titles on other platforms.

    I think it's healthy to be skeptical, but it seems like everyone brings up these valid points, a Nintendo fanboi shoots them down, saying that it's not going to be a problem, bashing all the other consoles, and claiming that Nintendo games have a monopoly on fun games. Puh-lease! This is starting a very dangerous precedent.

    Don't get me wrong, I like what Nintendo is doing with the Wii, and I will get one this year. But you Nintendo fanbois need to back down a bit and let people have their doubts. Like or not, we're all going to get the real story once the dang thing ships.
  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:49PM (#16132931) Homepage
    They include gimicky sports games which nobody would ever want to play except to try out the new controller, but only include one controller so you can't even do that decently. For $250, you get a bill for $60, which you can either use to buy a decent single-player game (meaning the bundled game was an interesting waste of plastic), or buy a second controller.
    • Not a mistake, a calculated move.

      They leave the store having spent 250 + taxes, but...
      They'll be back... and they'll bring more money! Yay!
  • ...or some BS like that.

    Whether or not the Wii succeeds is not the point in the long run; the Wii is going to have a massive impact on Gen 8 and beyond, regardless.

    Because of this new interface and these "gimmicky" controls, people are going to realize that we've been using basically the same pad we have been since the NES, only with more buttons and joysticks. The Wiimote is an almost radical redesign of what gaming input is, and it's going to create one hell of a wave. We can already see the tide rising a
  • Wi + $60 = Wii (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Monday September 18, 2006 @04:10PM (#16133127) Homepage
    Let me begin by saying I used to be a Sony playtester and a reviewer, I also was running a Revolution/Wii website until a week ago. I went from excitement and enthusiasm in the Wii, not fanatical fanboi stuff - just happy that at least one company "got it," to pretty much not caring at all. A normally priced console that offered a fun experience accessible to everyone and doesn't engulf my entertainment system with its presence. Or so I thought.

    As more and more details appeared, my excitement level dropped rapidly. I'm a jaded reviewer so my excitement level generally peaks at a 3 or 4, and the Wii had me at a 5 or a 6 which is pretty rare. Then to find the console will be $249 (and Nintendo then has the nerve to hype the fact that they are making profit on each Wii) and come with just one controller. Wi + $60 = Wii. Bringing the total to $310. Then for families and those who bought into the four player experience hype, we have $430.

    The launch lineup isn't spectacular, and the control of Zelda and Red Steel have both been constant issues and received multiple redesigns *after* the games were well on their way to completion... not a good thing, especially when a 1st-party title can't get it right. In addition the sensor bar is small but still a drag.

    Nintendo is resting way too much on the success of the DS and I think they may be in for a surprise. There haven't been any great DS releases in some time, with many of the top rated games being launch titles or pretty close to it. I think the Wii will sell out of its stock for Christmas and the next couple shipments but I think it will then taper off. Mario Galaxy doesn't do it for me personally and while it will help pick up sales down the road there isn't a whole lot on the radar still.

    I still hope it does well because I think Sony and MS need to learn a bit of a lesson and bring gaming back around from a pure money-making venture into a *fun* and diverse money-making venture, instead of the next gangsta-simulator, racing, FPS now with 20% more polygons!!!!
  • by blueZ3 (744446) on Monday September 18, 2006 @04:35PM (#16133351) Homepage
    But rather than compete with them head-on in what can only be described as a graphical arms race, Nintendo are going to win the war by not taking part

    Interesting game, professor. The only way to win is not to play.


  • Over Reacting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheZorch (925979) <[thezorch] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday September 18, 2006 @06:12PM (#16134110) Homepage
    Where has this guy been? Nintendo isn't in any serious financial crisis. If any game company is in serious trouble its Sony. The Gamecube wasn't a failure nor was it a money looser for Nintendo. They had their niche market and it made them money, and the DS is outselling the PSP by the truckloads. Also, the Wii was cheaper to manufacture than both the XBox 360 and PS3.

    No, Nintendo is nowhere near being in dire straits. What planet are you from!?

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