Former Grand Theft Auto producer at Rockstar, Jeremy Pope, has told Games Industry that he can’t see there being three consoles in the next, next generation. Pope says it will be extremely challenging for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, and says that it is hard to fathom that we are going to have these three big players in the console market in the future. Pope wouldn’t be drawn into who he thought might leave the home console market, but he did say that several companies have stopped developing console games because it’s become so expensive and time-consuming. Here’s what Pope had to say.
“It’s going to be very challenging for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see by the next generation some consolidation of some sort — it seems hard to fathom that we’re going to have these three big players again and again with the way everything is shaking out.”
We already know that EA has no games in development for the Wii U, but what does the publisher think of the console? Bob Summerwill, a Senior Software Engineer and Architect for the company, went on Twitter today to voice his opinion of Nintendo’s latest console. According to Summerwill, ‘the Wii U is crap, it’s less powerful than the Xbox 360, it has a weird tablet and a poor online store.’ Summerwill went on to say that, at this point, Nintendo is ‘walking dead.’ Although he deleted some of his outspoken comments from his Twitter account, you can view screenshots of them on IGN.
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Venture Beat writer, Dean Takahashi, firmly believes that Nintendo should have acquired Kickstarter sensation, Ouya. Takahashi says that Nintendo desperately needs to bring hit franchises to Wii U, and he believes that the deluge of indie software for Ouya would have helped the ailing console. He went on to say that Wii U has had a shortage of hits, and the big games from top publishers either haven’t materialize or alternatively they didn’t sell well. Takahasi concluded by saying that Wii U is now dead in the water.
“We’re not sure what the valuation was, but Ouya just got a lot more expensive as a potential acquisition. Nintendo should have grabbed it while it had the chance. Nintendo, meanwhile, had its window to sell Wii U game consoles during the last six months. It had a shortage of hits, and the big games from top publishers either didn’t materialize or didn’t sell well. Nintendo generated some good digital revenue through the app store on the Wii U platform, but it hasn’t had a huge breakout hit on that front. Now the Wii U is dead in the water.”
Dylan Cuthbert, the president of Q Games, has told online gaming publication Siliconera that he believes that the Wii U needs something akin to a super IP to shift consoles. Cuthbert says the Nintendo really needs to create, or use an existing franchise, which will dramatically increase sales of the ailing console to make consumers sit up and take notice. Cuthbert points to the incredibly successful Nintendo DS which had a slow start but quickly became one of the most popular gaming devices out there selling hundreds of millions and bringing lots of innovative and fun franchises to the table.
“They are going to have to figure out the games. They probably need like new super IP, a special IP that makes people really interested. But they always come up with something. They are always very innovative. Even with the DS when it first came out people said that’s not very good and it’s not going to do very well, but it sold hundreds of millions and had lots of innovative titles. I think they will find something that will sell a lot. Who would have known Wii Fit would have sold like 15 million units?”
Games Industry International has gathered together a group of industry analysts to find out whether Nintendo is making the right call by not participating in a press conference at this year’s E3 event in June. Industry analyst Brendan Sinclair says that the company isn’t having a press event this year simply because it knows it can’t compete against the next Xbox from Microsoft and the PlayStation 4 from Sony. Here’s Sinclair’s thoughts.
“Yes, Nintendo bailing on the Big Three press conferences is an admission that the company doesn’t have faith in its ability to go toe-to-toe with Sony and Microsoft’s new system unveilings. But that’s just being realistic at a time when Nintendo can ill-afford to blow money for the sake of keeping up appearances. But I think the more interesting thing this move tells us is not how Nintendo feels about its own efforts, but how it feels about the relevance of the gaming media in general, and E3 in specific.
“By putting its announcements into a series of Nintendo Direct videos, Nintendo has realized that its fans want big, eventful news, but they don’t actually need a big event to deliver it. All they need is a pre-recorded streaming video of announcements and a countdown clock. If Nintendo can provide that, gamers will show up in droves, because it delivers on the things they value (excitement, immediacy, and actual news, in that order) while eliminating things they don’t value (an expensive venue, the uncertainty of a live event, and the media’s function as a filter of information).
“As for E3, it’s clear the show doesn’t work for everyone; it’s just too big, too busy, and too expensive. The industry tried adapting to those realities in 2007 when it had a radically downsized E3 in Santa Monica. The show received a mixed reaction from attendees and publishers alike, and was returned to the cavernous Los Angeles Convention Center the following year. But the gaming industry was still growing in 2007, just a year ahead of its all-time peak. If the Santa Monica experiment were held this year, it’s hard to picture the same support for moving the show back to essentially the format that everybody complained about in the first place. It’s doubly unlikely once you consider the products E3 was designed to promote–packaged retail games–are no longer the focus of the industry. Times are tough, and companies are increasingly pragmatic when it comes to expenses of any kind.
“Nintendo’s move is simply an acknowledgement of this, and an attempt to optimize its limited resources, putting them where they will do the most good for business, not image. It’s an approach you can expect plenty of other companies to follow, which should be more concerning for the gaming media and E3 as a whole than it is for Nintendo.”
Games Industry International has gathered together a group of analysts to discus Nintendo’s recent fiscal report and the company’s move to appoint Satoru Iwata as CEO of the North American division. David Cole of DFC Intelligence described Nintendo of America’s marketing as being a “disaster on every single level.” Cole then went on to say that “they forgot Marketing 101 for the Wii U” and that “a change in execution was long overdue.”
“Nintendo of America’s performance the past couple years has been a disaster on almost every level. Much of this was due to lack of execution on basic stuff like product marketing. They forgot Marketing 101 for the Wii U and no product could have done well without basic marketing support. Clearly a change in execution was long overdue. The damage done is enormous but there is the possibility of a turnaround. The fact is that the general public is not really aware the Wii U even exists so it is an opportunity to almost start from scratch.”
Mark Pacini, the director behind the Metroid Prime trilogy, believes that while the series was praised by the critics he still believes that the games “sucked.” Pacini admits that all he sees in his games are the bad things and he says that the same thing happened with regards to the Metroid Prime games. Pacini says the original Metroid Prime was the best designed game in the trilogy. Metroid Prime 3 is the most fun one to play, and Metroid Prime 2 is divisive. You either like it or you don’t. Here’s his thoughts on the well received trilogy.
“I think everything we do sucks. But that’s just me because I thought all the Prime games suck. At the end of the day all I see are all the bad things. Prime 2 was a blur to me. It was so quick, it was so fast. That thing just went out the door and it was a very divisive game. People either liked it or thought it sucked, and I can completely agree because I couldn’t tell you what that game was because it happened so quickly. Prime 1 was the best designed game. Prime 3 I feel is the most fun one to play. Prime 2 is divisive. You either like it or you don’t. That’s kind of the way I look at it.”
Splinter Cell Blacklist game director Patrick Redding says that stealth aspects in certain games aren’t necessarily a “nice thing”. Trying to keep players on the edge of their seat and remaining undetected or careful for long periods of time can really spoil the flow of the game. Redding points to games such as the well received Batman Arkham games as a series that gets the balance just right. Here’s what Redding had to say about stealth aspects in games.
“In terms of stealth action we’ve always wrestled with how do we stay fresh. How do we evolve it and keep it something that mainstream players are interested in”.
“Stealth is not a nice thing. The majority of people know there’s a manageable period of time in which they’re either going to have to be patient or undetected or careful. It’s how you segment the action. You want to keep that loop, you don’t want that loop to run for half an hour or an hour, you want it to run for 5 or 10 minutes at a time to allow players to move into the next area and engage in some exploration. Games like Hitman, Dishonored and the Batman Arkham games are a good reflection of that approach and so we took those lessons to heart”.
Legendary video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto has told CNN that he believes that consumers will genuinely begin to depend on a second screen. Miyamoto feels that as people get more familiar with Wii U and other touchscreen devices there’s going to come a point where they feel like ‘I can’t do everything I want to do if I don’t have a second screen.’
“There was a period when we first released the Nintendo DS that people would say there’s no way people can look at two screens at once.”
“I almost feel like, as people get more familiar with Wii U and these touchscreen interfaces, that there is going to come a point where they feel like ‘I can’t do everything I want to do if I don’t have a second screen’.”
“I feel a device like Wii U, with its ability to continue to offer new features and that network connection and the connection to the TV and the interface, really makes it feel that it’s more than just a game machine, but something that offers a lot of practical use and practical purpose in the living room.”
Famed video game industry analyst Michael Pachter has finally had some good words to say about Nintendo on the latest edition of his show, Pach-Attack. In the latest episode of the show Pachter discusses the HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker as well as the Nintendo eShop. Here’s what Pachter had to say.
PDantas: “Mr.Pachter, do you think Nintendo is expanding their eShop services for countries outside the US anytime soon? I’m in Brazil and I fear I won’t be able to download the new Wind Waker HD when it comes out.”
MP : “Yeah I think so, I think Nintendo is very late to the party with the eShop. But so far what I’ve seen it actually works quite well, you know, I think in typical Nintendo fashion they did it right, they just did it late. So I think it’s their intention that any place you can download their games, they’re happy to sell them to you.”
Marc42: “What do you think of Nintendo re-releasing Wind Waker? No mention of Mario, Metroid etc. Creative troubles?”
MP: “Urm, I think Nintendo is an enigma wrapped up in a question mark. I have no idea what motivates Nintendo to release the games they release. I think you can safely assume that if Nintendo thinks they can make money re-releasing a game, they’re going to re-release the game. I certainly wouldn’t diss them at all for bringing back Wind Waker, and I would not rule out that because today there is no mention of any other game they’re not going to do that. I think that pretty much anything that is Mario or Zelda is under Miyamoto’s control and I think that Miyamoto is given complete freedom to pick and choose what he wants to work on, what he wants his studios to work on. I think that he decided that Wind Waker would just look great in HD. The demos we saw it looks pretty great in HD. It’s a big big franchise and I think they will sell a lot of units. The only constraint to selling units of Wind Waker is the amount of Wii Us out there. So far not very many, but in time there is going to be 10, 15, 25 million and I when there are they are going to get a very high attach rate. That audience is super loyal to the Zelda franchise, of course they’re also loyal to Mario but you’re going to get a new Mario title, probably more of these retro titles later on in the Wii U’s life cycle, but again I’m at a complete loss to explain what motivates Nintendo to do anything, they have their own method, it has worked for them for a long time. I would never ever question their software strategy, I think they do a great job on software, I consistently question their hardware strategy but not software, I think they know what they’re doing.”