There’s something wrong when even Bushnell shows lack of interest

So the Wii U was released the November 30th in Europe. I went through the stores, and checked how many Wii Us were sold. Six years ago when the Wii was released, I bought the second to last Wii in one of the largest local stores around. When I checked the store on the release day, almost at the same time mind you, there was three units sold. Now here’s the sad thing; I didn’t feel anything. I was standing there in melancholy.

Cry me a damn river

I’m no longer concerned about video games. It has become more or less apparent that they’re not just in decline, but at the verge of imploding. Let’s put it this way; when Nolan Bushnell, the grandfather ofmodern video games, tells you that he doesn’t see the Wii U as a big success, something is more than seriously wrong.

“I actually am baffled by it,” Nolan K. Bushnell, the founder of Atari and the godfather of the games business, says of the Wii U. “I don’t think it’s going to be a big success.”

“These things will continue to sputter along, but I really don’t think they’ll be of major import ever again,” he says. “It feels like the end of an era to me.”

I still remember my initial reaction to the Wii U. It was constant laughter and crying during the whole E3 presentation. I thought it was a level of add-on, like the never-released pulse measurement gimmick. No, it was just a controller for the console.

I can’t be mad at Nintendo. I pity Iwata’s decision to change Nintendo from games company to a technological innovation company, and even on that level they fail. Whenever you hear anyone talking about innovation, be aware. There’s 98% chance that they’re talking utter crap. So few people actually know what innovation is and even fewer understand it. I’m not yet the person to talk about innovation (I lack certain experiences and qualities) but I can tell you that the Wii wasn’t innovative and neither is the Wii U. What Nintendo did with Wii was that they replicated the NES and were successful. The DS replicated the GameBoy after a slow start and became successful. Naturally, Iwata hates money and successfulness and forbids people to aim for success. This sounds something that SONY should be talking about rather than Nintendo. The linked IGN interview is pretty bad anyway, and Iwata himself is putting out outright lies, such as Nintendo creating something unprecedented to the world. Super NES wasn’t anything unprecedented, nor was the GameBoy line.

Nintendo is actually a good example of the problems that plague the industry. Rampant will to create rather than to produce, neglecting success, refusing to open eyes and see their mistakes and not expanding the market. Iwata has said that what Nintendo aims to do is to surprise the customer. According to him, surprises sell. Just looking at the 3DS should tell you that surprises don’t serve their bank account well.

It’s actually more true that Nintendo is de-innovating than anything else. This is the same company that revived the game industry, and now under Iwata it has progressively stomped it back to the ground. Whatever income the Wii and the DS brought is now gone, as both 3DS and Wii U are sold at loss, first ones for Nintendo. Both of these consoles were aimed back at the Red Ocean, where the 360, PSVita and PS3 reside. Why would they want to tap there? That region has been oversatured with competition, and this has also caused their expanded market to move back to the second level of blue ocean.

I have not been surprised of Nintendo’s products. I’ve been surprised of Nintendo’s attitude of ignoring its customers. I hear people speaking of these Nintendo kids all day long in the Internet, and yet most kids I know own a 360 or PS3. Only my adult friends own a Wii, and then their parents may own their own Wii. The same happened with the NES, GameBoy and Atari; the blue collar workforce bought these consoles. Kids did have access to these as well, which expanded the market incredibly. PC gaming has never really expanded and has always stayed the same. Now the PC gaming has stepped on consoles, and these same people are playing the same PC games on consoles. My father is still the best example, a man who beat Dr. Mario never cared for Mega Drive or anything after that. Those games- no, those consoles were not aimed at the blue collar workers any more; those were aimed at the hardcore gamers.

As games have become a commodity, they have become progressively worse. Six years ago, before the Wii was released, Iwata talked about resetting the skill level, meaning that all people could take on the Wii and play it. Not all people could play the SNES, N64, GameCube, but all people could play the Wii.

The simplest way to show the difference between the Wii and the Wii U is between Wii Sports and Nintendo Land; the Wii Sports throws you right into the game. The Nintendo Land doesn’t. This is what the industry does the most; taking away the game to play. You know why I like the NES so much? It just plays games.

I do not wish to play old games, at least not all the time. What I wish to play is good console games. Those haven’t been made since the very early 90’s. Here and there we find a gem that pulls us in and makes the stay worthwhile. Oftentimes you’ll just end up having shit in your hand and wondering why you ever bothered buying the game. You could’ve used that 60€ for something long lasting, something more satisfying, something that won’t become just another case on the shelf. You could buy an expensive dinner for two with that money, or a fleshlight if you’re a lonely person. You’d get more enjoyment out both of those than of modern games.

I should change the title of this post. It’s not a question whether or not the game industry is in downfall. The industry’s slowly imploding, and if you work in the game industry, I really hope you have an exist plan and that you will start aiming for a real work.

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