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Nintendo Learns from Mistakes with GameCube 315

kukyfrope writes "Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, talks about what went wrong with GameCube and how Nintendo will not make the same mistakes when launching Wii. Reggie admits that the initial software lineup for the GameCube was simply not 'diverse and strong enough from a first and third-party perspective,' and by Nintendo's showing at E3 2006, the Wii will launch with a wide variety of games for may types of gamers."
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Nintendo Learns from Mistakes with GameCube

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  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gattman01 ( 957859 )
    What went right with the game cube....

    Actually they aren't that bad. Mario Party can make for a fun dmaily game night.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:04PM (#15405103) Homepage
      They did A LOT of things right actually, just from a hardware standpoint
      - Excellent Price point
      - 1st party wireless controllers (as usual ahead of it's time)
      - choice of colors
      - durable as hell, can easily take more of a beating then the other consoles of that generation
      - Widely available 480p video modes in games... 2nd only to the Xbox, and way more coverage then the PS2 had
      - easily the most comfortable controllers of last generation
      - from what I hear a fantastic development environment, almost Xbox 1 level graphics from apparently "inferior" hardware

      Despite the fact that most of the good games are 1st party, it still remains the best "party" system on any console. with the exception of say Halo, or DOA on the Xbox 1 you wont find as many quality 4 player party games on any other console...
  • by ASimPerson ( 138798 ) <asim.asimweb@org> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @04:50PM (#15404967) Journal
    Except it was called "Nintendo learns from mistakes with N64".

    Seriously though...I've seen a few articles like this for the Wii, but I can almost remember them saying nearly the same things about how the learned from mistkes with the N64 and promised for 3rd party support for the 'Cube.

    Hopefully, it work this time.
    • my thoughts exactly... anyone who thinks the GameCubes launch lineup was bad forgot that the N64 launched with only Maro64 and Pilotwings64 available. Both good games but it was quite possibly the least diverse launch ever... well with the exception of maybe the Sega Saturn which launch with only Virtua Fighter... or the Jaguar CD which IIRC launch with absolutely nothing... yeah there's some diversity for you.
    • by barawn ( 25691 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:04PM (#15405099) Homepage
      Seriously though...I've seen a few articles like this for the Wii, but I can almost remember them saying nearly the same things about how the learned from mistkes with the N64 and promised for 3rd party support for the 'Cube.

      Note what he's saying, though: it's not just 3rd party support (honestly, I couldn't care less about where the game comes from) this time. Here he's saying "yeah, the launch titles weren't diverse enough - period."

      That's a big deal. And actually, I personally think that the problem with the N64 was 3rd party support, and the problem with the GameCube was first-party support at launch. The Nintendo launch titles for the GameCube were.. well.. less than stellar. Note here that I'm going to glom first and second party together, as I'm never sure which ones are first or second.

      Here's Nintendo's at launch titles for the GameCube:
      • Luigi's Mansion
      • Wave Race
      • Rogue Squadron

      Even afterwards, it, uh, wasn't that much better. Soon-after-launch titles:
      • SSB:M
      • Pikmin

      Uh. Yeah. That's... not that stellar. Not even that many, either. It's not that they were bad games. It's just that they were... well, few. And not Mario. Or Zelda. Instead, Wind Waker showed up a year later. Mario, nearly a year later as well. Both felt like too little, too late.

      There's still plenty of time for Nintendo to screw up, mind you, but delaying Twilight Princess to the Wii launch (which virtually everyone thought that was what they were doing when they announced the delay) is actually quite smart. If they can get a good fraction of the titles at E3 out the door by launch, they're going to have a much, much more successful launch than the GameCube.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:30PM (#15405335)
        What a lot of people miss is that Nintendo has been learning from their mistakes since the N64. Basically, the N64's problems were:

        1) No/Bad third party support
        2) Difficult development enviroment
        3) Expensive, small capacity, storage format
        4) Huge waits between game releases

        The Gamecube's problems were"

        1) No exclusive third party support
        2) moderate capacity storage format
        3) moderate waits between game releases

        The Wii seems to be (once again) a small step towards fixing these problems; the system appears to be getting a lot of exclusive support from third parties (I think there are only a couple of multi-platform games), DVD is a perfectly reasonable storage format, and the lower cost development environment (as well as the virtual console) should limit the wait times between game releases.
      • Here's Nintendo's at launch titles for the GameCube:

                * Luigi's Mansion
                * Wave Race
                * Rogue Squadron

        Just to add my own personal feelings on the launch of the GameCube, I (and I'm sure many others) REALLY wanted a Mario game. Instead we got stuck with Luigi's Mansion. I remember trying it in the store, hoping that it was really the Mario game I was looking for. No dice. I played it for about 15 minutes, and just didn't find it fun.

        And who's idea was it to drag out another Wave Race? Wave Race 64 was fun for its time, but everyone knew that it was filler until Nintendo got the games ramped up. Launching with Wave Race as one of the three (!) titles when there was no Mario, was like screaming out to the world, "We have no software!" As for Rouge Sqaudron, it was definitely a Rouge. I mean, who thought that a specialized launch title like that would appeal to the greater Nintendo audience?

        While I'm not one to harp on the small number of launch titles (the SNES didn't exactly have a huge selection either), the quality of those titles will make or break the system on the first day. When the N64 was released, everyone wanted Mario. We didn't care about Pilot Wings 64 or even the upcoming Wave Race. We had Mario 64, and it kept our attention for more than long enough for Nintendo to crank up their game-producing engine.

        To put it bluntly, I lost all interest in the GameCube the day I played Luigi's Mansion. While Nintendo did eventually produce several hit titles for the GameCube, it was never enough to change my mind about wanting it. Titles like Wario World even managed to continue my impression that the GameCube games were dull. While I did briefly consider getting a unit for my kids, I found that pulling the old NES out of the closet was a lot more fun for them than the GameCube demos they tried in the store.

        So in effect, the GameCube (IMHO) just didn't reach its target market. But with the Wii, every part of my being is alreay screaming, "I want one!" Especially if I can play the games with my kids.

        I'm thinking that this is going to be a fun generation. :-)
      • 2nd party (Score:4, Informative)

        by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:05PM (#15405586)
        I'm going to glom first and second party together, as I'm never sure which ones are first or second.

        The first party is Nintendo.
        The third party is any outside developer.

        The second party is YOU. What Gamecube games did you release? :)

        Kidding aside, Pikmin was one of the best games released this decade. Kind of like Katamari in its uniqueness, except no waiting for the usual long Sony load times. This factor alone has kept me a Nintendo fan - the PS1 was absolutely horrid for the amount of time you had to wait, and even in the best PS2 games (Grand Theft Auto, I'm looking at you) I'm often spending half of my playing times waiting for some stupid cutscene or the next level to load.

        Quality over quantity in my book, any day. I'd be happy if Wii only ends up having 10 games I like, because as with the N64 and Gamecube, they'll be GOOD.
        • Re:2nd party (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dance_Dance_Karnov ( 793804 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:30PM (#15405746) Homepage
          2nd parties are those stuidos owned by nintendo, like rare(back in the day) or retro studios now.
          • Re:2nd party (Score:2, Insightful)

            by aichpvee ( 631243 )
            That's half right. Second parties are also those published by Nintendo (which I think is usually what makes them second party, not the ownership), such as Silicon Knights with Eternal Darkness.
            • I forgot to mention that part, in those instances the developer has an exlucivity agreement with the publisher. Nintendo has also published games by namco, sega, and square that doesn't make them 2nd parties.
          • If it's owned by Nintendo, it essentially is Nintendo and is first party.

            Retro is now owned 100% by Nintendo, and is a 1st party developer. They aren't really any different than Nintendo's EAD or NST divisions.

            Nintendo owned 49% of Rare, with the founders owning 51%. Nintendo had a large say in what Rare did, but ultimately did not call the shots there. Rare was a second party because they had exclusivity contracts with Nintendo.
        • Pikmin 1&2 are two of my favourite games, Pikmin 2 being one of those rare sequels which is better than the original in every way. I just finished Pikmin 1 again and noticed that it actually has a lot of graphical glitches (for a Nintendo game, that is). Just little things like buried Pikmin not being drawn sometimes or dead creatures getting stuck in bridges, which you almost never see in Nintendo 1st party games. I wonder if it was hurried out because their game line up so thin?
      • I didn't buy a Gamecube until Winkwaker was released and that was a year and a half after the Gamecube was launched (Gamecube was launched November, 2001 and Windwaker was released March, 2003). Rogue Squadron, one of the three launch titles, was a beautiful looking game, but the controls sucked and there just wasn't enough gameplay to justify buying a Gamecube for that one game. I have to concur that the launch line-up was shit; there just wasn't a "must have" title until Windwaker.

        The Xbox launched with H
        • Rogue Squadrons controls sucked? Except for maybe the D-pad suff, I don't see it. I've never heard that criticism before.

          Super Monkey Ball was a must have on opening day if you're into multiplayer.
          • The controls were fine for the speeder levels, but once you got into open space they sucked. I gave up playing at the mission in the asteroid field (4?) because they were so terrible.
          • I loved Jedi Starfighter for the Xbox as it resembled the open mission concept from Tie Fighter. The gameplay for Rogue Squadron on the other hand felt like you were playing on rails. You couldn't go anywhere and explore without the computer turning you back automatically and the radar system sucked.

            I guess what I really want is the amazing graphics of Rogue Squadron and the gameplay of Jedi Starfighter.
  • Correction (Score:3, Informative)

    by BinaryOpty ( 736955 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @04:55PM (#15405017)
    I think you mean Reggie Fils-Aime President and COO of NOA [].
  • GTA:SA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hotspotbloc ( 767418 )
    I know Nintendo stays away from games like GTA:SA and they are one of the greatest game makers ever (Mario is still the king) but it's games like GTA:SA that sell like gasoline at a SUV convention. IMO they'll problems if the hot games are PS3/XBOX only (kinda like the GC).

    I really hope they make it.

    • Re:GTA:SA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@y a h o o . com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:10PM (#15405160)
      I know Nintendo stays away from games like GTA:SA and they are one of the greatest game makers ever (Mario is still the king) but it's games like GTA:SA that sell like gasoline at a SUV convention.

      Nintendo would give their left nut for a port of GTA:SA, and don't let anyone tell you different.

      Nintendo themselves have no interest in making games like that, but nobody should ever suggest that they would turn down the opportunity to have a game that sold 10 million copies on their system.

      Nintendo's problem is attracting that level of support. They really just don't have complete control over their third-party situation - they can wine and dine developers till the cows come home, but at the end of the day they can't force anybody to do anything. So they end up with Spongebob Squarepants instead of GTA to fill out their E3 presentation.

      They can claim they've learned whatever they want from the GameCube, but the fact remains that they can only control their own game development for the system; they have very little say over third-party development (apart from veto power in licensing... which they'd never be stupid enough to use on a top-selling franchise).
      • Agreed, Nintendo has no issues with pretty much any kind of game on their system.

        See: Resident Evil 4. Try comparing that game to Spongebob.
    • "I know Nintendo stays away from games like GTA:SA..."

      I can sort of see that considering some of the lawsuits that have come from that game and who they've targetted. However, Nintendo's made some moves in the past that shed some light on the subject. When Mortal Kombat was originally produced for the SNES, Nintendo mandated no blood. So what you got was a fighting game where you were knocking 'sweat' off of people. Nintendo wanted to remain 'family friendly'. Lots of people were angered by this, and t
    • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @11:47PM (#15407345) Homepage Journal
      Nintendo has a reputation from the SNES days when they took the blood out of the first "Mortal Kombat," but after the outcry that caused they let up on that for MKII. Although they keep their first-party titles mostly clean, they have no problem letting the third-parties make whatever insane games they want anymore.

      Don't lets forget the awful but profane "South Park" games and the awesome but filthy "Conker's Bad Fur Day" for N64, and the gory "Resident Evil" titles for the 'cube complete with my favorite blood-covered-chainsaw -shaped controller.

      I feel dirty invoking anything Acclaim-realted, but this would be incomplete without a mention of the much-overhyped "BMX XXX," which had topless female bike riders and FMVs of strippers uncensored for Gamecube and Xbox, while Sony censored the nipples out of their version.

  • Mario games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j235 ( 734628 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:13PM (#15405184)
    I think the major problem with the gamecube launch lineup was the lack of a Mario game. NES launched w/ Super Mario Bros, SNES had Super Mario World, N64 had Mario 64, and gamecube had... luigi's mansion... It appears the Wii will suffer the same problem, as I hear SM Galaxy won't be out at lanuch. Oh well, personally I'll be happy with a Zelda and Metroid game at least. Hell I still need to beat Wind Waker and MP 1 and 2... also Super Mario Sunshine, though that game doesn't feel right to me... maybe it's the 'jetpack'/'flamethrower'
    • Super Mario Sunshine is actually a really amazing game. At first I was hostile to it because of the squirtgun too, but after giving it a chance, its one of my favorite platformers. Its a lot like the difference with Harvest Moon: AWL and the traditional Harvest Moons. Its very different, but when you stop comparing it to the previous games and evaluate it based on its own merits, it starts to look amazing.

      The levels in that game are crazy large and detailed. I've spent days just running around looking for a
      • I do have to say, whoever approved that concept needs a solid kick. Mario Sunshine was an amazing game, and there was a lot of fun things to do once you got through the boring bit where you had to clean up the world. It's like making an amazingly kinetic bedbugs eyetoy game, but first you have to make the bed and fold the sheets for two hours.

        I mean, really, cleaning up graffiti? Graffiti? Couldn't they come up with a concept that didn't sound like a punishment? What's next, "Mario Broccoli in the worl
        • I was lucky in a way because college forced me to take about an 8 month break from the game (well, that's my exuse. For real, the game is just damn hard and I got stuck at some point at like 80 shines. Then schoolwork came along and I just said "fuck it" and didn't pick it up for 8 months). When I came back to playing it, I had forgotten all about the backstory and just kinda sat down with the mindset that "this slime is my enemy and I'll kill it. Simple as that." No punishment, no princesses, no retarded i
    • I heard that Mario Galaxy would be doing what Super Smash Bros Melee did on the cube, where it's not exactly a launch title, but it will be released shortly afterward. At least that's the impression I've been given. I know SSB:Brawl probably won't be out until a year or so after the launch, but I would safely bet that we'll be hearing Mario "Wii"-ing around space within 4-6 months of that time.
    • Re:Mario games (Score:2, Insightful)

      by raezr ( 946135 )
      Mario Galaxy isn't a launch title, but it'll be released within the first six months. Nintendo seems to be intentionally holding it back (along with other games like SSB). Rather than squeeze all it's good games into the launch date, Nintendo's going to spread them out over a series of months so they can keep the "amazing new console" feeling for the Wii lasting longer.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:19PM (#15405233)
    I'm more interested in what developers have to say about Nintendo's third-party support than what Nintendo has to say. Nintendo's documentation (or lack thereof) was a nightmare to deal with when I was a lead tester at Atari (Backyard Football and Backyard Baseball). Where Microsoft and Sony provided extensive checklists on what they expected for a release candidate build, you had to roll your own checklist for Nintendo.
  • by L-Train8 ( 70991 ) <> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:26PM (#15405286) Homepage Journal
    The trouble is, Nintendo is a control freak company. They don't like to be dependent on 3rd party. They like to be in charge and they like to make money off of everything. When they were the only game in town, they could get away with it. If developers wanted to make a game, they had to do what Nintendo said. I remember some controversy in 1989, the president of Namco made some public comments about how Nintendo's control was hurting the industry. Nintendo responded by threatening to stop allowing Namco to make games for Nintendo consoles, and the Namco president shut up. When the PlayStation took off, it offered developers a choice, and Sony offered much better licensee terms. Nintendo hasn't been able to control developers since the mid-90's, but they still want to.

    For the GameCube, Nintendo invested a lot in 2nd party support. They put a ton of money into Retro, Rare, and Silicon Knights. Despite having first crack at development hardware, only one company, Silicon Knights with Eternal Darkness, had a launch title ready. Retro was working on 6 launch titles. Of those 6, only 1 ever saw the light of day - Metroid Prime, and that didn't come out until a year after launch. Rare was supposed to deliver Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero for launch. Two years after GameCube came out, those games were nowhere in sight and Nintendo sold their half of Rare to Microsoft. Nintendo poured tons of money into those companies, and it didn't pay off at all. They had companies they controlled, but those companies couldn't deliver.

    Now that Yamauchi has finally retired, maybe Nintendo can really change its relationship with developers. Maybe they can get 3rd parties on board in the competitive climate of today's console wars. But maybe a leopard can't change its spots.
    • "The trouble is, Nintendo is a control freak company. "

      Yeah, like Apple. And Apple sure is hurting these days....
      • Being a control freak company isn't always bad, (although it hasn't always been good for Apple - I'm not posting this comment from a Mac), it's just bad for a company claiming that they are pursuing greater 3rd party support. It makes it hard for you to play nice with others.

        If you own the market, like Apple does for mp3 players and Nintendo used to for game consoles, you can get away with it, and it can be great for you. Apple is able to use its position as market leader to bring the record companies in li
      • "Yeah, like Apple. And Apple sure is hurting these days...."

        Bad analogy. Apple isn't hurting now, but before the iPod they were. And it is still a valid argument that their anal-retentiveness kept them from being in the position that they could've been -- bigger and more powerful than Microsoft. If they had opened the Mac OS to PC hardware long ago, Microsoft would've never stood a chance. Instead, people who wanted computers cobbled together their own PCs and put DOS on them because they had little othe

      • Yeah, like Apple. And Apple sure is hurting these days....

        Na, I'm sure they have gotten used to the pain of only having a 3% market share.

        • Na, I'm sure they have gotten used to the pain of only having a 3% market share.
          Yeah, right. I'm sure BMW and Mercedes-Benz have gotten used to that level of "pain," too.
  • ...this time they are making completely new ones.

    Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii []
    • Does the name really matter? If you ask the average joe you'll find that most people just call it "the Nintendo". The company only makes one console at a time. Only pedants and supergeeks with Nintendo consoles from multiple generations need to call it "The Wii". Nintendo could call it the Happyscrappy Mindfuck Assclown Console System and it wouldn't change a thing for me. I still call it 'The Nintendo'. I always have and I always will.
  • Not even an s-video cable available for it. Hired one out and it looked awful, so refused to buy one. Hopefully they've fixed that on the Wii!
    • My PAL Gamecube looks great in RGB SCART mode on my TV, many times better than the composite connection did.
    • No it isn't, you could get RGB SCART as well[1], and there's also an RF adaptor if you have a really old or crap TV. For some reason Nintendo really liked messing around, so NTSC Gamecubes don't support RGB, and PAL ones don't support S-Video.

      Anyway, who has a PAL TV that doesn't support RGB SCART but does have S-Video? I my experince RGB SCART is far more common than S-Video, and it's better quality anyhow.

      [1] I bought mine for about £3 in a HMV clearance shortly before most HMVs stopped selling the
  • by bunbuntheminilop ( 935594 ) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:09PM (#15406252)
    They made $4.5 billion profit [] last year.
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @09:02PM (#15406491) Homepage
    The Gamecube's worldwide sales are almost exactly on par with the Xbox's at ~15 million units apiece. And the big N makes a profit off *every console sold*, while MS, at the beginning of 2005, was *still losing money* on every Xbox sold.

    So, tell me again what the mistakes are? Nintendo makes a boadload of profit year after year. Microsoft's entertainment division is hundreds of millions in the red. And we all know the boondoggle Sony is making of the PS3.

    I don't think anyone has to worry about Nintendo over the next few years....

    • Actually, the GC's worldwide sales is about 20m. XBox's, however, is about 22m, around 10% more.

      While Nintendo surely made a profit last time around, the loss of marketshare is alarming. Microsoft's stole Nintendo's second-place spot despite terrible sales in Japan and a very mediocre software library. A company needs to look out for its future, and going from first place to third in two generations is something that should worry management, regardless of current profitability.

      Of course, beyond that, the ar
  • The #1 mistake that Nintendo made with the GameCube was locking the system so hard that nobody was ever able to successfully run homebrew or backups on it. The competing systems allowed it, and that seemed to be the only reason the Xbox got any sales at all (not counting people who bought it just for Halo.)

System restarting, wait...