Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel
This is IGN's rendition of the next Nintendo game controller. Nobody is going to buy this.
I still can't believe Nintendo and their investors would allow the company to literally turn 180 degrees around and release a PS360 clone that appeals solely to the dying "hardcore gamer" crowd. I can't believe that Nintendo would, in effect, renounce its Blue Ocean Strategy that has made the company billions of dollars. And, yet, this is what many inside sources are saying. Nintendo is desperate to win the favor of the core gamer and the software community. Never mind that both are in terminal decline. Facts, schmacs.
Sooner or later, Nintendo is going to face a very unpleasant truth: for all their whining and bawling, the "hardcore" gamers never deliver the goods. They scream and cry for games to be made just the way they want it, but they don't show up with the money, and they don't buy the games. Did Goldeneye become a major hit? Did Epic Mickey become a major hit? What about Monster Hunter 3, Sin & Punishment, Metroid: Other M, NBA Jam, Kirby's Epic Yarn, or even Donkey Kong Country Returns? Even Donkey Kong Country has only been a modest success. The strategy of "bringing home the core gamers" has failed. The core gamers never bothered to show up.
The best-selling Wii game of the 2010 holiday season? Just Dance 2 - a dreaded casual game. Oh, noes! The horror! And Wii Party was the last breakout Wii hit in Japan. No more. Sorry, folks. If you bought the Nintendo Wii because you loved Wii Sports, and you thought you were getting a new era of family-friendly video games, the kind we haven't seen since in 30 years, sorry. No soup for you.
Nintendo seems to believe what the market demands is not two identical, interchangeable HD consoles, but three identical, interchangeable HD consoles. Because that's what yer getting, whether you like it or not. The software business model today is wrapped around $50 million "blockbuster" games, and the only chance anyone has of not going bankrupt is to publish that $50 million video game on as many machines as possible. It means having the exact same Resident Evil, the exact same Metal Gear, the exact same Grand Theft Auto on multiple formats. In other words, what software publishers want is for Nintendo to subsidize their terrible losses and bad business decisions.
Here's some simple numbers for you, courtesy of Wikipedia. In Generation 6, he Xbox 1 sold 25 million consoles worldwide, and Playstation 2 sold 150 million. That's a total of 175 million consoles sold for the hardcore gaming systems. Now look at the sales in our current Generation 7. The Xbox 360 has sold 50 million units, while the Playstation 3 sold....50 million units. That's a total of 100 million "hardcore gamer" video game consoles.
Generation 6 = 175 million
Generation 7 = 100 million
This is the market that Nintendo suddenly wants to pursue. They're damned fools. The millions of new gamers and lapsed gamers are not interested in another PS360. If they wanted an HD console with Hollywood cinematics and a controller with 14 buttons, they would have done so. Obviously, that hasn't happened, and it's never going to happen. They didn't care in 2006, they do not care in 2011.
Let me repeat that again: Expanded Audience Gamers Will Not Buy This. Not now, not ever. The grandparents and soccer moms and children young and old have had 15 years to play around on a 14-button game controller. They don't want that. What the general population wants is ease of use, simplicity, and an iconic design. Something like...the Wii Remote. The Wii Remote should be the foundation of the company. End of discussion.
Can I play Just Dance 2 or Michael Jackson with that hideous controller? No. Can I play Wii Sports or Wii Play with that controller? No. Can young children, parents and grandparents who have never played video games understand this controller? Can they jump in and play and have fun? No and no.
That leaves the hardcore gamers, who are shrinking and disappearing at an alarming rate. You wouldn't guess this from all the noise you hear from websites, magazines, and programs on Youtube. But this is a market in terminal decline. And they're not going to flock in great numbers to an HD Nintendo console just to play PS360 ports. Remember what I said about there being no new consoles form Microsoft and Sony? They can't find anyone to lend them money, because the PS360, while successful commercially, has been financially crippling. There is no Playstation 4 and Xbox 3 because nobody is willing to finance them. Maybe in another three years, investors will get their money back. Maybe.
If everything said about Project Cafe is true, then it's the worst decision Nintendo has ever made. It's worse than the Virtual Boy, worse than the N64 or Gamecube. They will have literally turned their back on the emerging market that they themselves created, and turned around to embrace the very chaos they predicted in 2004 and 2006. Does that make any sense? This is madness. The 3DS was a foolish and ego-driven idea, but this? This is far, far worse.
If I were an investor, I'd be mad as hell and I'd want somebody's damn scalp. This is going to ruin the company.