Thursday, May 11, 2006

Here we go...

It's time to remind everyone why you come to my site. The reason is that it is not specifically "news" oriented. Rather it is based on the marketing and buisiness side of the gaming market. That doesn't mean I don't get excited about the news, on the contrary. What it means is that I try and think about what we hear as news and then give my personal view on how it will affect the gaming industry. This is the major reason I am so excited about Nintendo, because the things they do CHANGE the industry. They were the company that introduced the d-pad, the trigger style button, the analogue stick, camera control on the 64 evolved into the dual analogue, rumble pak, the list goes on and on if you start to count some of the gameplay implementations that Nintendo introduced. There is no other company on the face of the planet that has changed gaming nearly so much as they have, and it is the thing I most respect about them. It is the reason I have this blog in the first place.

Now I want to make it clear that I don't consider myself a 'fanboy' because I like Nintendo for legitimate reasons and in a like manner, the things that I don't like about Sony and Microsoft are equally legitimate. If I could bring one console company back from the dead it would definately be SEGA as they are the company next in line based on how many gameplay and hardware innovations they have made such as shoulder buttons, first color handheld, first online capabilities, first CD drive on a system, etc. SEGA and Nintendo were bitter rivals but I think I would love to have a SEGA console right now and if they were making a next gen system it would probably be on my list because I could bet you that it would bring new things to the industry.

Having said that I would like to give my take on the E3 press conferences as well as some of the breaking news. First this whole Sony implementing tilt sensors in their controller. Sony says that they were toying with the idea long before TGS in November but it is easy to say that Nintendo influenced them to go for it. Speculation since E3 2005 was that the Wii controller would have tilt sensors, it was what made the most sense when they spouted off about making their controllers different. Even if they had the idea on their own, which is almost laughable given the timing of the whole situation, they still waited for Nintendo to take all the heat about their "retarded" controller. Nintendo defended itself and only when the waters calmed and Sony saw that it was good did they hop on board, no risk and no shame I might add. But there is a bit more to the story than first meets the eye. The PS2 DualShock controller is considered to be one of the finest controllers available, but something about the rumble feature infringes on patents filed by Immersion Corp. I don't know more detail than that but last year Sony was fined over $90 million (000,000!!!!) for this infringement and was denied permission to sell the controller and quite a few games in the US market. They appealed the courts decision but it has only delayed the probably inevitable outcome. Now we see the PS3 controller with a tilt sensor and by the way "rumble interferes with the sensors so it has been removed from our controllers." Does this seem convenient to anyone else? The link I found is here. And how many people will miss the now commonplace rumble feedback we have all grown so accustumed to?

Next up is the press conferences. The most new information regarding hardware was released by Sony only because they told us the release date (November 17th) and the price tag ($500 or $600 depending on the package you pick.) Nintendo didn't give us much in their press conference and neither did Microsoft. All in all the press conferences were rather uneventful. The crowd favorite was Nintendo though if you are wondering.

The last secret regarding the Wii controller is a speaker on the controller itself, this may seem weird or stupid but I think it will be cool. I mean when you shoot the sound would come out of the controller, when you fish in Zelda the casting of the line and the sound of the reel are heard on this speaker, it sort of elevates surround sound just a tiny bit. Not really a huge innovation but I think it will add to gaming. I of course, was hoping for an announcement about stereoscopic vision being added back into gaming but no such luck. This doesn't mean however that such technology won't still come out on the Revolution. I said a minute ago that I try and put the news into a perspective of how the industry is moving. Nintendo doesn't need to market stereo vision, if they had it in the works and they announced it every hardcore gamer would find out about it within 48 hours, thats how tight the gaming industry is. The people that Nintendo are marketing to are non-gamers, people who might likely be put off by space age goggles. At the same time Sony had JUST announced that they were ingeniously ripping off Nintendo's controller idea (and doing a lame job of it as you can read about in my last blog). Why would Nintendo want to give their competition any more time to ready their own responses to their disruptive technologies? They could hold on to this secret up to a month before launch and it would do them much more good than harm. Now don't take me the wrong way, maybe Nintendo is doing this and maybe they aren't but we have heard a lot of rumors and weird quotes from industry leaders that back it up. Nintendo themselves clearly stated that they had "not revealed everything with the controller" and that there was a huge secret left and they made it sound alot like they were two different things. Furthermore they have stated that the Wii can output to a computer screen. Stereoscopic glasses are technically identical to computer screens but quite a bit different from TVs. I would say at this point that stero vision is not any less likely or more likely to be real after not having heard about it from Nintendo this E3.

Next I want to show this: This is a controller shell prototype for the Wii controller. Made by Nintendo this bad boy holds the controller securely and turns it into a lightgun. It also has an analogue stick meaning it could be used in place of the nunchuck attachment for games like Red Steel and Metroid Prime 3. You can see how the trigger button on the controller could act as a secondary fire button with ease and I think this attachment would add a lot to some of the FPS games coming for the Wii.

Now about games, almost every single game for the Wii is totally fresh and new. Even the games based on existing genres feel brand new thanks to the incredible new controller. Furthermore, the proprietary nature of the Wii controller make it veritably impossible to port games from the Wii on to any other system but the 'normal' controller for the Wii makes it possible to port games from other systems to the Wii. Remember though that the best games on the Wii will be ones that take advantage of the new controller meaning that all the best titles will be exclusive titles for the Wii. I think Peter Moore (VP Microsoft games) said it best when he said "Tell me why you would buy a $600 PS3? People are going to buy two (machines.) They’re going to buy an Xbox and they’re going to buy a Wii … for the price of one PS3." Thank you Peter.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sooner than expected...

It seems Sony thought Nintendo was on to something with their new controller. So much so that Sony has put a 6 way tilt sensor in their own PS3 controllers. This is of course expected, but still cheeses me off as it is one more example of a company not having the balls to come up with (or implement) a new technology until Nintendo puts everything on the line and stakes their whole reputation on it to find out if people will respond positively, then, when they do who do you see jumping on the bandwagon? Sony. Of course Microsoft is in a little world of their own still believing that Nintendo are a bunch of idiots, I wonder what they are thinking now? I bet they are saying "Ah, our number one perceived competitor thinks that whole motion sensing thing might be a good idea. Crap."

Now don't freak out. Sony's controller is very low-tech compared to Nintendo's. The Sony controller only has tilt sensors whereas the Wiimote can not only detect TILT, but also the controllers position in real space meaning the Star Wars exclusive I just blogged about can ONLY be made on the Nintendo and can only work with Nintendo's controller as far as the lightsaber goes AND as far as the 'point-and-click' lightgun characteristics of the Wiimote. Not to mention that the nunchuck attachment for the Wii has the same 6 way tilt sensor in it meaning that you will have two 6 way tilts as well as being able to ditect the main controller in real space. Sony's controller is sort of a cheap knock-off. They are trying to steal some of the big N's thunder but I don't expect it will work

Don't forget that Nintendo has been saving the best for last, so according to them what they consider to be the best secret is still to be unveiled tomorrow in 10 and a half hours. According to most people Sony had a very poor press conference this year. Just like you can read about in my E3 predictions they showed mostly tech demos and basically blew alot of hot air around, nobody hardly cheered except at a couple of games. If you missed it the PS3 will be released this November and will cost $500 for the base unit and $600 for the premier version, taking a page out of Microsoft's book.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

It begins...

I just found out about a confirmation of a Star Wars exclusive for the Wii, lightsaber battles and all, from a very trusted source over at the former Definitive Revolution Speculation you can link to on the right. He has debunked countless phonies on the web so I find it impossible that he would stake his reputation on anything other than fact. Expect more Wii news to trickle in until Tuesday cores your brain out.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Some blurbs.

Hey I was surfing around and caught a few blurbs that I want to post about the first is from Brian Farrell, president and CEO of THQ. He was talking about a Spongebob game of all things but had this to say about the Wii. "One of the things we like about that platform is the development costs…on the Wii are nowhere near what they are on the PS3 and Xbox 360. That’s something that’s quite encouraging...[The Wii] wasn’t a whole new programming environment. So we had a lot of tools and tech that work in that environment. So those costs–and again, I hate these broad generalizations–but they could be as little as a third of the high-end next-gen titles… Maybe the range is a quarter to a half. "

Of course this is what Nintendo has been saying from the get go but it is very good to hear it from someone who is unnafiliated and hence, unbiased. One of the things I love about Nintendo is that they don't blow a bunch of smoke around. Either you agree with them, or you don't, but they don't exagerrate about what their hardware can do, in fact, they usually underestimate their hardware from a 'power' standpoint. Alot of people thought that the Gamecube would be underpowered when compared to the current gen but they were surprised when quite a few Gamecube titles ended up looking better than Xbox and PS2 titles.

The second comment I wanted to post really made me think about MY reactions to some of the announcements Nintendo has made recently. Here is Greg Szemiot, Director of Crossbeam Studios Entertainment. "Just like everything else Wii related, the name caught me off guard, and I think I had the same initial reaction as everyone else. When the controller was shown, a slight sinking feeling. when the specs were shown, a slight sinking feeling. when the name was revealed, a slight sinking feeling. So why am I supporting Wii after all those sinking feelings? Becasue that only lasts until we understand the reasoning behind it" I realised that I had gone through ALL those same feelings. When I saw the controller I was thinking "WHAT?" I mean, Nintendo had told us time and again that they wanted something simpler than today's norm, but nothing could really prepare me. By the end of Iwata's speech however, I was VERY excited about the new controller and it's possibilities. The quotes here and there about the power of the Wii was also sort of disheartening, and I don't even place much stock in graphical power. But as I came to understand the reasoning behind WHY it was underpowered I quickly came to not only accept this reasoning, but to agree with it wholeheartedly.

I think about how I feel about the name "Wii". When I first heard about it, it was through the little video that Nintendo released. I wasn't thinking 'that sounds like wee' I was thinking how strange it was. It took getting around the internet and hearing the opinions of others that really got me thinking that it was a bad move. It wasn't a bad move because of the way I feel about it but rather because I was wondering how many kids will never talk about Wii or get one because other kids make fun of it. That and the fact that I would have named it something different makes me dislike the name.

On the other hand, all Nintendo needs to do to get over this is be perfect. If they can show us all why their console is the best without peer and gamers will flock to it, because gamers want to play games, and they want to have fun. Maybe when we understand the reasoning behind the name we will accept it, and perhaps agree with it too.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


June 11th will mark the release of the DS Lite in the US. The price will be a cool $129.99. The only confirmed launch color is white. This is official. So like, 38 days.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


It's not that I haven't heard. I mean really, how could you miss the splash that "Wii" has made? The reason my blog hasn't been updated to reflect something so intimately connected to Nintendo is because I have been lost down in the bottom of a bucket of Ben & Jerrys ever since I heard the news. Wii, Wii, Wii all the way to the psychiatrist.

Don't get me wrong, I will own a Wii. I swear I will have it in my house the day it hits the market. This doesn't change the incredible hardware or the incredible gaming opportunities that the Wii will have, but I will be reserving a "Nintendo" and when I go to pick it up I will ask for "my new Nintendo" console. And I will buy two, so that I can melt one down into a miniature urinal will real flushing action.

Now there is a movement out there. Basically a group of Nintendites who are in system shock over this announcement. They say that the name "Wii" has not been reserved or trademarked in America or Japan and on average it takes 25 months or so to pend a trademark. I must admit, I have a darker side to me, a side that reminds everyone why the word "fan" is short for "fanatic". This darker side says "Yes fool! How could you believe that NINTENDO could stick with a name so ridiculous as "Wii"? Now swear to me your firstborn and I will raise him as my own!" And the angel on my other shoulder is saying "Please don't kill anyone! How could they know that everyone would hate it?" By a tiny little bit of what we like to call RESEARCH that's how. Holy crap. I don't know if I subscribe to this theory, but I would LIKE to.

Realistically though, I read something where a guy compared this to Winnie the Pooh. Despite all the poo related jokes about Pooh when you hear about Winnie the Pooh it's not like you think of the rocket you built a minute ago. In a similair manner I fully expect Wii to rise above it's name and dominate. It just shouldn't have to.

From a different perspective maybe Nintendo KNEW that Wii would be pretty much hated the way people hate satan, which is why they let us know a week and a half before E3 so that Wii don't rain on their parade. Now we all get a chance to think and stew and grow up past the retarded jokes and start associating the word "Wii" with the word "we" like it should be. Also, IF stereoscopic vision were coming back with the Wii the double 'i's would be a clever sort of hint wouldn't they?

In short, I am officially renaming the Nintendo Wii to "Revowutiion" (pronounced as if you were Elmer Fudd, heh heh heh heh.) It's not quite as silly and doesn't make me want to kill myself.