Growing up I first fell in love with gaming thanks to Nintendo. While not my first experience with gaming, it was the first time I can say I knew this was something I would always want to do. I remember a friend of my brothers bringing over the original NES and playing the original Mario and some other games. Before that I had only played on old PC’s, Intellivision’s, and various Atari systems that barely worked. The Nintendo put them all to shame; intense graphics, sound, easy of use and complex but simple controls. Since then, I’ve owned nearly every system and played every genre I can, whittling it down to genres I follow very closely. Nintendo was always in the forefront of this “hobby” (word comfortably interchangeable with addiction.), holding a special place in my heart, as I’m sure many others do as well. And like many of you, probably followed them into their future endeavors with the SNES, N64, and other systems. Even the disappointing ones like the Virtual Boy and Gamecube. Whether they were Nintendo’s fault or the industry at the time is here nor there.
As of right now… I’m sad to say I’m frustrated with Nintendo. The Gamecube was forgivable, it was a nice piece of tech with a great line of 1st party games. I blame many things. But that is a different story. I’m frustrated because of their newest console, the “Wii U” which spec wise, seems to be a PS3 and iPad mashed together. Obviously the Wii U is a little more beefed up, but are we going to notice a difference? I doubt it. Is this going to dethrone Microsoft from it’s perch? There is a chance of that… Will it hurt the industry as a whole? I believe so.
When the Wii was released, it was already behind the ball and banking everything on the Wii-mote. Which was hailed as the next best thing and would make up for it’s lack of EVERYTHING THAT IS NOW STANDARD (HD, Hard Drive, strong online multiplayer.) What’s a little sad is it worked for a good while, being the top selling console for a couple years. Again, banking on it’s wiggle controls, 1st party line up that at this point was getting long in it’s tooth of sequels, and it’s endless stream of horrible shovelware that many developers made for the Gamecube and NEVER released because the Gamecube was a dead fish, instead dropping in on the Wii because it had a ridiculous install base. Then suddenly it’s sales fell, and kept falling, while the other systems where staying steady or getting better. The PS3 sales were bad for a full year after it’s release, it took 2 years before finally competing with the Xbox 360!. Sony stated multiple times their system is meant to have a life span of 10+ years and the amount of money they put into it’s hardware and R&D proves that. They’ve stated also that the PS3 “Has to make it”. Essentially saying “This is it guys, we put all our money on black and if black doesn’t hit.. we’ve out” Microsoft never stated that, but it’s also obvious that their system was meant to last as well. Sharing the same chip architecture as the PS3 (bet you didn’t know that did ya?) The 360 and PS3 were meant to last. They were released in 2005 and 2006, respectfully. Which means the PS3 and 360 should hold us until 2015 right? I mean… I’m good with that, aren’t you? That’s if Nintendo wasn’t releasing the Wii U.
My opinion is that we will have a new xbox by 2012 (as some rumors have leaked out already.) and a PS3 but 2013 at the latest, all because Nintendo double dipped. Why do I think this is bad for the industry? Look at the price it costs to develop a triple-A title these days. in the 10’s of millions, all because of this generation of console, I’m not saying that is a bad thing, it’s elevated gaming to Mainstream which is great, it’s no longer a “hobbyist” activity, it’s gone Hollywood and many games are as emotionally gripping and knee jerkingly scary as many movies being released. In order for Sony and Microsoft to compete directly with Nintendo means they will have to jump the gun and release a new console before they are ready, before the tech is at a price WE as consumers can afford. If they release another console that is just a little better than their current powerhouse boxes, it’s not going to instil a lot of consumer confidence, it’s ok for Nintendo, they are already behind with the Wii, they have to catch up!. But the PS3 and 360 are already there and they were huge leaps from their previous systems. We’re kindof expecting another, right?
What would this do to developers who already work years on some games with budgets as big as Hollywood blockbusters?
It’s a great move for Nintendo… I think it’s a bad step for the industry right now…