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  1. #1
    Audentes fortuna iuvat Wiinter's Avatar
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    PS360 answers the Wii, finally

    Now Nintendo Needs to Figure Out How to Respond.

    The Wii put up a heck of a fight, first blowing away expectations at opening, and then continuing their sales juggernaut to this very day (contradicting the 'Wii sales will die any day now argument).

    Sony and Microsoft Fight Back
    A big part of the reason "Wii" were able to have such a large advantage over the other consoles, despite inferior gfx abilities, was the price range. The PS3's recent price cut is likely to boost the PS3, but it isn't likely to dent Wii sales. Now the xbox 360 is expected to get cuts, with the core unit falling all the way to 250$; an answer to the PS price cut, and one that can have a big effect on Wii sales (eventually). With the Wii's promised hardcore support still floundering (and with no announcement in sight to fill the online vs FPS hole in the lineup), hardcore gamers are going to be hard-pressed choose it over an xbox. Also, once buyers consider the cost-spreading of owning a now-cheaper 360 (online fees and hardware addons), they may even consider a PS3 as an alternative. This is more than a shot across the bow to Nintendo.

    Sales numbers haven't really had a reason to change until now (now being when price cuts actually take effect). Sony and MS and their respective fanboys all thought the Wii was a passing fad, that they wouldn't need to respond. They still haven't come up with an answer to the control system, and likely can't (they're aren't going to give up standard controls, and having an alternate control system won't be effective and could be confusing--likely developers would ignore it and it would have no impact), but now they are finally addressing the Wii as a potent threat.

    Anyone who believes nothing can stop Nintendo is deluded. Doing nothing, as MS and Sony have proved over the past 9 months, will indeed change nothing. However answering the price discrepancy promises to have a big impact over time. Having closed the gap considerably while still offering far more features compared to the Wii, the arguments for the xbox and the PS3 have never been stronger. They've always been subsidizing impressive hardware, but now they're pushing it into a difficult-to-resist 'zone'. Nintendo is simultaneously showing signs of taking all their hard-earned success for granted--going on vacation. Their desire to still please the hardcore gamer gets mentioned now and again, but it's not showing up in the lineup, or even in announcements of future lineups. Their desire to deliver any online experience gets talked about, but the actual commitment is tiny. Pokeman, Soccer, SSBB. However good their reasons for cutting 3rd parties out of online this year, the choice has consequences: a weaker lineup. A lot of talk, not much action.

    Personally, I have no desire to return to button mashing, and current price cuts have no impact on what I'll be playing--I've already made my purchase. I'm not financially equipped to own 2 consoles, and likely wouldn't even if I could. But Nintendo isn't delivering the hardcore goods (yet). Although I don't Want to go back to the dual-analog way of life, I do WANT to actually use my snazzy now-gen controller for now-gen games. Nintendo's decisions will effect what ultimately gets dev'd for my Wii, and whether it will get resold or not. You want me to be patient Nintendo? Give me a date: when do you really enter the 7th generation? Sony and MS waited almost a year to respond to the Wii threat. Nintendo needs to be quicker on its feet with a counter-move.

    The New Breakdown

    They are focusing heavily on casual gamers, despite protestations to the contrary, and leaving people like myself with little to do. They are leaving potential new buyers with an ever more slanted feature and lineup disparity, begging them to end Nintendo's money-printing days. Basically, it breaks down like this:
    Wii: great controller, mini-games galore, traditional N franchises

    Xbox: better gfx, last-gen button mashing, now-gen online, mature hardcore lineup, cost-spreading (through add-ons and fees)

    PS3: even better gfx, now-gen online, last gen button mashing with optional ineffective sixaxis, full price upfront (everything you need in one package, no fees)
    The sole remaining selling point is the controller--it's a strong selling point, but less so unless you've experienced how great it can be. Right now, there's little to demo that greatness. MP3C will be able to demonstrate how powerful the controller can be, but while doing so will simultaneously remind any hardcore gamer just how feature-poor the system is. I have this powerful control system, I just can't use it against real people.

    Will Nintendo Respond?
    No, I'm not suggesting that today is the day Nintendo died. I'm suggesting that these price cuts represent a real threat to Nintendo's juggernaut sales. What they need to realize is that they must answer this challenge. The easy way, especially since they are the only console making a profit on hardware, is to answer with a price cut. The more likely way, given Nintendo's history, is to answer with a console revision: colors, extra media features, maybe even additional storage space. What they should do is close the lineup and feature gap by encouraging online support from third parties, finding a new or existing IP to fill the hardcore lineup gap (if they need to partner with 3rd party to make it happen, if they need to make heavy investment and take on most of the risk, then that's what they should do) with something in the AAA category (once it has proven the Wii has the audience, 3rd parties will line up to provide additional content of the same type).

    I got sick of hearing how MP3C couldn't have incorporated online vs play (as opposed to how it shouldn't have the features) because it would make the single player mode suck, or because Retro has limited resources, or because of deadlines. It's all malarkey. For every such technical problem there is a viable technical solution. If it means additional hiring, or farming out parts of projects to 3rd parties, or partnering with 3rd parties--there is a way to make it happen. If Nintendo chooses to let their lineup continue to languish in late 5th gen, it is a choice, not a necessity. They are rolling in dough, in 3rd party support, in hype, in media love and attention, and all evidence to date says they aren't willing to leverage this to meet the hardcore gamer's desires on any near timeframe. Until I see evidence to contrary, it appears Nintendo is on vacation--reaping the harvest of their past year's labor.

    If you're nearing the 7th gen console market, and you like the Wii, you might want to wait until Nintendo returns from vacation. I don't think there's any company better suited to deliver a casual gaming experience--and they're on top of that. That alone can make them bags of money. I don't think there's any console with more potential to change hardcore gaming for the better--but Nintendo seems only vaguely interested in exploiting that potential. If you care about the latter, you might want to wait until they get serious about it with a little less talk and a lot more action.

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  2. #2
    Member of Wiichat WiiBad's Avatar
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    Yep. This is very comparable to my thoughts on the subject. Maybe saving up the dough to have both is the answer, but it would be nice to have it all in one. What is Nintendo missing? Slightly better graphics (maybe a bit more) and online play. Either of the other two totally answer this shortcoming. However, Nintendo could flat out have the market wrapped up and waiting only opens the door for the competition. Maybe this isn't a bad thing though, as for prices next gen.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member CantGetAWii's Avatar
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    Alright, one thing to get straight is the Wii is not dead. I can accept the term on vacation I guess, but with e3 coming up who knows what they have up their sleeves. And some solid titles for the wii are coming out later this year. The other thing is price cuts may help sony and microsoft a bit, but the only thing is when are some really great games coming out for sony. At least xbox has some old games out already, since they've been out for a year now. I dunno I am rambling a bit, but all in all the Wii is not dead.

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  4. #4
    ₪ ۩ ₪ vagrant's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Audentes fortuna iuvat Wiinter's Avatar
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    @Wiibad: I can do with little-to-no gfx improvement. If developers continue what they're doing, it won't hurt my feelings. But it's long past time to fulfill the online promise.

    Quote Originally Posted by CantGetAWii
    I dunno I am rambling a bit, but all in all the Wii is not dead.
    You won't hear me disagree. Even if they choose to abandon hardcore completely, their casual focus + built-in franchises are a proven money-maker. My only point is that for gamers like me, they haven't made good on their promises (yet), and that given this new pressure in the market, they should (with great haste). At this point in their lifecycle, they're on top (Even if they haven't yet completely surpassed the xbox's 1 year lead in total sales). They CAN stay way, or they can lose ground. It's their call.

    I desperately want them to succeed in both cas and hardcore markets, because I like their conception of how a game should be played so much better than anyone else's, and I wouldn't mind casual gamers subsidizing my hardcore games. But as it is, I'm being virtually ignored, and I don't intend to pretend I don't mind.

    @Vagrant: don't feel obligated to hurry through deathly hallows.

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  6. #6
    ciper's Avatar
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    The backlash is coming. Mark my words.

  7. #7
    Banned Sovieto's Avatar
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    i love the "last gen button mashing" part of it, where as nintendos key title for the more mature crowd is SSB, which is all about button mashing
    also, the part of about saying the wii was a passing fad, but is still going, dosent make sense, people who say that dont mean 6-8 months into its life when its still a baby, they mean 2-3 years in when the next gen consoles are all in the middle of their life cycle.
    besides that it was a good read.

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  8. #8
    ssb4life mushroomedmario's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sovieto
    i love the "last gen button mashing" part of it, where as nintendos key title for the more mature crowd is SSB, which is all about button mashing
    also, the part of about saying the wii was a passing fad, but is still going, dosent make sense, people who say that dont mean 6-8 months into its life when its still a baby, they mean 2-3 years in when the next gen consoles are all in the middle of their life cycle.
    besides that it was a good read.

    ssb about button mashing


    *scratches head


    ARE YOU ****ING KIDDING ME

    ssb is one of the few fighters that isn't about button mashing

    you give it to a hard core korean button masher, and on the screen, he would be just doing a b-up move the whole time

    man this is made by nintendo

    not capcom

    get yo facts straight

    ^_^


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  9. #9
    Audentes fortuna iuvat Wiinter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sovieto
    i love the "last gen button mashing" part of it, where as nintendos key title for the more mature crowd is SSB, which is all about button mashing
    Yeah, that stings me a little too. The wiimote isn't the perfect interface for everything. I'm not sure they really could have done much different there. But the wiimote is a better interface for my favorites: RTS, FPS and RPG.

    also, the part of about saying the wii was a passing fad, but is still going, dosent make sense, people who say that dont mean 6-8 months into its life when its still a baby, they mean 2-3 years in when the next gen consoles are all in the middle of their life cycle.
    Fair enough. People were talking about different kinds of fads. I believe there were some who believed that, 'of course all the old Gamecube owners are going to buy the new system, but after that...' and then there were those who looked at the Wii as store-brand novelty game machines that happened to be selling hot right now, but would follow a Elmo type fad line (weeks and months around the holidays), and for those two groups, I think they really were caught off-guard. Further, I don't think even the console makers imagined that the Wii's lead would be this high for this long, while still gaining (x to 1 against the PS3, then x+1 to 1, and so on).

    But you're right, others were comparing it to the longevity of say, the PS2 in real console life terms, or making commentary about how well it's souped down hardware would age as HD TVs became more and more standard. It's be some time before we find out if they were right or not.

    besides that it was a good read.
    You're too generous.
    Last edited by Wiinter; 07-09-2007 at 05:37 PM.

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  10. #10
    Super Mοderator Fox's Avatar
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    Good scribe, but im pretty sure Nintendo is going to eventually fall behind, and keep falling...
    The GC folly is proof. However, as long as Nintendo starts online gaming (like you said) and gains some 3rd party support (also like you said ) they might stay afloat in sales, but if 360 actually drops to $250, in my opinion, its all over in sales.
    PS3 may just turn out alright now with this price cut as well. I like the cut! But for now, its all =ι
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