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Industry Vets Talking Crazy 50

IGN has a piece today looking at ten completely outrageous claims made by games industry veterans. My personal favorite: "Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi may be retired (and frozen in a cryogenic coffin), but he would be proud of new company head Satoru Iwata for his May, 2004 assertion that, 'Customers do not want online games.' The Big N has long made bold claims about the marketplace based solely about what is - or, as it happens, isn't - happening in Japan, but this one definitely earns Iwata a spot on our list. Two years later, we're quite confident that two million Xbox Live subscribers, more than five million World of Warcraft subscribers and, ironically, more than a million DS Wi-Fi Connection users would disagree with Iwata's statement."
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Industry Vets Talking Crazy

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  • Missing one... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by creimer ( 824291 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:42PM (#14928871) Homepage
    New and original gaming content that challenges the player without being a cheap knock-off copy of a successful game from the 1990s (or even the 1970s).
    • Re:Missing one... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JohnFluxx ( 413620 )
      Oh jeez, these comments always annoy me.

      Name one new and original book that isn't a knock off of some older book.
      Name one new device that isn't a knock off of some older device (dvd player = copy of video player. ipod = copy of walkman, etc)
      Name on new _idea_ that isn't a knock off of some older idea.

      We progress in increments. One step at a time. Deal with it buddy.
  • by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:55PM (#14928986)

    "I'm going to only say that it'll be expensive. I'm aware that with all these technologies, the PS3 can't be offered at a price that's targeted towards households." - Sony's Ken Kutaragi

    There you have it. Sony isn't targeting households with the PS3. I'm not sure **what** he's targeting, but it's not the "masses" so I guess the PS3 is not intended for the mass market or to be produced in any real numbers. It seems to be intended for the same people that drop 50 grand on a home theater system.

    I really can't say who will be buying these things, but clearly, Sony is thinking on an entirely different track for the rest of the human race. Maybe there's a market for PS3 on Altaris VI, or in the Alternate Dimension of Lemmu - yeah, that's the ticket, they'll buy these things like hotcakes, and not even know they are being taken.

  • My favorite (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hitto ( 913085 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:58PM (#14929009)
    "[People who play RPGs are] depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games" - Hiroshi Yamauchi

    Damn, he owes me a new keyboard.
  • by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:07PM (#14929080)
    >10 Million DS sold = < 10% online
    >16 Million XBox sold = < 13% online
    • Yeah, but not every DS game uses the wifi connection. In fact, I think only Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and Tony Hawk.
      I don't know the worldwide sales figures, but I do know that Animal Crossing has sold ~ 2 million and MKDS ~ 1 million in Japan alone. So maybe it's more like 20%?
      Also, you have to pay to use an xbox online! I think that would depress the numbers quite a bit.
    • Maybe its because N shoots itself in the foot by offering only a very small segment of its DS games in online versions.

      Not to mention that the DS's WiFi ability only works with newer routers and often fails to connect with success.

      Jeez. If you're going to run your business under the assumption that no one wants online games, you'll cripple your online game offerings.

      N should take a serious look at user experience on their WFC network. Maybe they'd see what their quick-tally numbers are really saying.
  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:25PM (#14929193)
    Two years later, we're quite confident that two million Xbox Live subscribers, more than five million World of Warcraft subscribers and, ironically, more than a million DS Wi-Fi Connection users would disagree with Iwata's statement.

    100 million+ PS2 sales.
    30m? XBox1 sales.
    Several million XBox360 sales.
    Who knows how many tens of millions of PCs that games are played on.

    Quoting eight million users against roughly 200 million gives maybe 4%.

    That's the kind of figure people call statistical error when figuring out say how many people like or dislike a president.

    Sure, there are plenty of other games with online components. But to quote 2m plus 5m plus an additional million and claim that makes a mockery of a quote regarding ~200m systems is kind of stretching things.

    Even on the XBox - 2m Live subscribers across 30m? sales implies the statement is true: the majority of users do not want an online experience under the terms it's currently offered? 1 in 15? 6.7%? Curiously, 6.7% of the population is also the same percentage that has a sub 80 IQ [members.shaw.ca] which puts them in the Borderline Deficiency to Definite Feeble-Mindedness range.

    Now I'm all for online gaming. I met my wife on a mud. But "the percentage of the population that are significantly mentally subnormal is also the same percentage as XBox owners who subscribe to XBox Live" is not really a compelling argument that "clearly customers want online gaming."
    • the problem with those numbers is they ALWAYS say "30 million Xbox's sold" yet that's world wide, then when they say "2 million are on Xbox Live" they refer to the US only, so naturally those numbers get borked...cause as we know the only people online in the entire world is in the US, no one else is online at all.
    • One small problem in your math: PS2 users basically can't go online, even if they wanted to. As a result, the sample size is about half, which means the percentage just doubled. At this point, you're not talking sampling error anymore (which is irrelevant anyway, since this is not statistical sampling), but a significant fraction. If you add to it that Online game play is available seriously only on a small fraction of games, and online gameplay suddenly becomes very important. Yes, there is still a signifi
      • PS2 users basically can't go online, even if they wanted to.

        What the hell are you talking about? Every new PS2 ships with ethernet built in, and for old PS2s there's a plug-in adaptor available.

        I've used my PS2 online, but only to download Action Replay codes. I haven't played any games online, because I've yet to see any that interest me. Include me in the 96%.

        • What's the point of going online if your games don't support it?

          I believe that was his point at least. I'm inclined to agree. If there is no compelling reason to get online, people will not do so.
          It is at least a detail to be considered in order to understand the statistic.
          • But, uh, PS2 games *do* support online play--quite a few, actually.
            • and for what exactly?
              the only game in my personal library that does is srs - and that game crashes on the ps2 for some reason.

              this includes like 10 gundam games, ffx, ffx-2, srs, gt3, gt4, star ocean ex.

              None of those games are really multiplayer in any sense of the word. Much less heavily multiplayer dependant as to encourage a multiplayer environment.

              With as many games as the ps2 has I'm sure there are quite a few. I just don't think the game is really such that it would encourage or require multiplayer, a
      • One small problem in your math: PS2 users basically can't go online, even if they wanted to. As a result, the sample size is about half, which means the percentage just doubled.

        The GP addresses this point in the second-to-last paragraph - even if you are only looking at Xbox owners, the percentage who game online is tiny. Another way to look at it is that the PS2 outselling the Xbox by such a wide margin is a vote of "I don't care significantly about online gaming" by over 3:1.

        Clearly there is a market for
    • Not only the level of usage is a relevant metric, the trend is relevant too. Got some data on that handy? (I would bet we are seeing a significant upwards trend, that is likely to continue.)

    • Sampling error has nothing to do do with this, you're the one who's introducing bad statistics here.

      Quoting eight million users against roughly 200 million gives maybe 4%.

      What you're comparing is a few examples to the total number. It's like having a quote saying "CmdrTaco and Zonk are administrators of Slashdot", and then saying "with almost a million registered users of Slashdot, only two are moderators!" That's obviously not true, and neither is your statement you're getting so worked up about.

      Bt

  • by Castar ( 67188 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:33PM (#14929242)
    I don't think IGN gets it. FTA:

    "The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal." Thanks, Raph. Memo to Capcom and Sony: Resident Evil 4 and God of War - incidentally the two most critically acclaimed titles of 2005 -- are apparently unnatural and abnormal.

    Raph was making a very valid point here, though, if you read the quote in context. He was saying that throughout human history, we've played games with each other. From throwing rocks at Ogg and Ug to Snakes and Ladders, there hasn't really been a "single player" game before. Games are all about playing with others. It's only computer games that are single-player. (And solitare, I guess...)

    His point may not mean much, but it's a lot better thought out and more thought-provoking than the article gave him credit for.
    • by blueZ3 ( 744446 )
      There are many non-computer, single-player games, and there have been for a long time. The game where you catch the ball in the cup (where the ball and cup are attached by a string) is at least several hundred years old. Games where you move a single piece to eliminate others on a board are also old.

      His "point" is nonsensical to the point of idiocy,
    • by __aatgod8309 ( 598427 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:01PM (#14929399)
      The thing to bear in mind is that pretty much all single-player games are actually two-player - the other player is the computer.
      • Please explain to me how Tetris is two player or how mine sweeper is two player. Hell please explain to me how a set of code which tells it to react exactly how it does became a person, hence making it two player.
        • how Tetris is two player

          The same way pinball, a jigsaw puzzle, or a stairmaster is.

          how mine sweeper is two player

          The same way Mastermind is.

          please explain to me how a set of code which tells it to react exactly how it does became a person, hence making it two player.

          I think that games, especially simple ones, make particularly poor Turing tests. Wanna play Tic-Tac-Toe against an unseen opponent and tell me if it's human or not?

        • I'll half agree with grandparent poster.

          SOME games pit you against the computer taking the PLACE of another player. Most notably, recently, FPS games, eg Unreal Tournament. You could play unreal tournament against people or the computer, and the game is the same, except for the tactics/AI.

          The half that is wrong about grandparent poster is that the player is playing against a SYSTEM, and in two player (human + human) games, they are both playing against a system cooperatively, or within a system against each
        • how mine sweeper is two player

          You didn't know?

          Bill is sitting on the other end of the Internet, rapidly moving the mines so that it's impossible to actually win!

          He does this to kill time in between counting the emails you've forwarded.
      • The thing to bear in mind is that pretty much all single-player games are actually two-player - the other player is the computer.

        You can make that definition work, but only if you stretch it REALLY far.

        My favourite type of game could be described as "exploring a new and mysterious world." Here are some notable examples:

        - Soul Reaver
        - Metroid (2D more than 3D)
        - Ico
        - Reverse-Engineer the Commercial Game File Format

        These sort of have a second player, in the form of the people who designed the game world, but I
    • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:09PM (#14929430)
      From throwing rocks at Ogg and Ug to Snakes and Ladders, there hasn't really been a "single player" game before.

      Since the first cave teenager yelled, "Mom! Knock before coming in to my cave!" I think you'll find there has always been at least one "single player" game that's stayed remarkably popular.

      And, cheap joke aside, to say there haven't been single player games ignores every kid that's kicked a ball against a wall, driven toy cars or flown toy planes around, flown a kite, used a hulahoop, jumped rope, played with a yo-yo, had a dolls tea party, built a cardboard and tinfoil spaceship for a trip to the moon, or kept a hoop rolling with a stick.
      • Let's also not forget that killer app for Windows. Solitaire.
      • to say there haven't been single player games ignores every kid that's kicked a ball against a wall, driven toy cars or flown toy planes around, flown a kite, used a hulahoop, jumped rope, played with a yo-yo, had a dolls tea party, built a cardboard and tinfoil spaceship for a trip to the moon, or kept a hoop rolling with a stick.

        But are those "games", or are they toys?

        And is there any reason why "video toys" like the ones people have been enjoying by themselves for the past 21 (???) years couldn't continu
    • I liken the single-player gaming experience to someting along the same lines as reading a book, solving a puzzle, or watching a movie. Comparing computer gaming to all other gameplay throughout human history is not really applicable.
    • If you carve a neat definition of what a game is, you can pretty much claim anything whatsoever. If you look however at the grand scope of what people do to keep themselves entertained, there were always a _lot_ of things people did alone, not only Solitaire. E.g.,

      - reading a book or watching a theatre play or music/dance performance (I like to think think that when people in ancient Greece watched the Illiad or Odysey, it _didn't_ involve any real multi-player interaction. It may have been in a public plac
    • And if you don't think they count as games, then Tetris shouldn't count as a game either. Not just jigsaw puzzles, but word puzzles (crosswords, etc), verbal and spatial logic puzzles, those things you buy at souvenir shops where you have to pull two pieces of metal apart, peg games where you try to only have X pegs standing, the list goes on and on.

      For millenia, people have found plenty of ways to pass the time outsmarting someone (the puzzle/game writer/constructor/programmer) when there's no one else a

  • Hmm Mhmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:43PM (#14929307)
    "Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi may be retired (and frozen in a cryogenic coffin), but he would be proud of new company head Satoru Iwata for his May, 2004 assertion that, 'Customers do not want online games.' "

    Oh brother. I love how these out-of-context quotes keep coming up again and again despite how laughable they are. I mean, seriously, he said this in 2004 AFTER Wifi was announced for the DS.

    Anyway, here's the rest of that quote:

    "most customers do not wish to pay the extra money for connection to the Internet, and for some customers, connection procedures to the Internet are still not easy."

    He wasn't talking about people playing on-line, he was talking about the subscription model that Sony and Microsoft were using. He also backed that up with numbers that showed a small percentage of PS2 and/or XBOX owners were actually playing their consoles on line.

    Shame on IGN and Slashdot for perpetuating this quote.
    • so they took 10 quotes from 4-5 people out of context and made it a list. slow day at IGN?
    • His comment in #7: "There are many people in the industry that know nothing about games. In particular, a large American company is trying to do engulf software houses with money, but I don't believe that will go well. It looks like they'll sell their game system next year, but we'll see the answer to that the following year."

      He wasn't barking complete bull plop. If companies had to have profitable business plans, the Xbox would have been right there with the Phantom. They lost, what, 4 billion? And who kn
  • ...was: Gosh, those poor doctors must have contracted some nasty disease from their bovine patients.
  • by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @04:36AM (#14931370) Journal
    If you're supposed to examine 1000 cow carcasses a day, you MUST go crazy and as result you will go crazy. Industrial veterinarian is one of the worst jobs you can get.
    Just wtf it gets into the games section?
  • ok, 2 million Xbox live subscribers
    probably 2 million PS2 online players. (FF11/SOCOM/etc)
    50 million (?) Xbox sold.
    75 million (?) ps2 sold.
    25 million (?) GC sold.

    So using these estimates, only 2.6% of gamers have made console online play a priority. Yes there are a lot of online pc gamers, but he was referencing consoles with the statement. Personally I think there is a huge untapped market for offline multiplayer gamers. There are VERY few sold, and those are 90% sports/racing/fighting.

    • There is a huge untapped market for *cooperative* multiplayer games, both on and offline.

      There is likely also an untapped market for gamers but it is unclear where they can be safely purchased. I liked Todd a lot, even though he was a console guy, but Sweden announced a crackdown on www.pirategamerbay.org and I didn't dare.

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