Second-hand consoles prices are without a doubt inflated

As of late I have been pondering on the value of old consoles. While we all understand the value of a collectable and how it truly has value only when another person who values it in a similar manner agrees on its price. For anyone who is not into them, the machines are more or less worthless. They are relics and there are better things to use your money on at this time.

We all also learned the price of rarity when were kids. I have no doubts that trading cards taught children to value the rare cards, but in the end of the day these cards are just pieces of cardboard. Their real world value is basically nothing. It’s a really interesting trick, if you think about it. Printing a collectable card is not all too expensive, especially when these companies order them in millions. Nevertheless, these pieces fetch insane prices. I can understand when you have a baseball card from 1909, as it has some historical value and is a mirror of its time. The same can’t be said of a Pokémon card printed somwhere 1999 or later.

That what the value of an item is on a micro level; you or your group of collectors may value a thing to the heavens. This rarely is applicable to macro level, where these cards are just seen as something less stellar. Video games and game consoles fall into this category harshly, as even in gaming there is a chasm between the retro collectors and those who simply regard them worthless junk due to rereleases and emulation.

And to be completely honest, I agree with the latter while belonging to the former.

The thing is that entertainment becomes valuable only with time. This time is not twenty or thirty years, but in larger time scale. The baseball card from 1909 is over hundred years old and has some sort of cultural and historical value as it portrays a real life person and conveys information. A NES is just a console, produced in thousands and it alone does not convey historical information outside design. As a console, it always needs its partner game cartridge in order to function. A card does not. As time goes by, the console will break down if not preserved in certain state, and it may end up becoming completely inert, unable to power itself. Even now you have troubles with the TV-standards, and God only knows when television sets will lose their RC-connectors for a better standard. There are screen sets already that lack any SD-input and carry only HD sockets. Because of this it is historically incredibly important to have at least one completely accurate emulator for a console. Through this the functions of the console are preserved for future.

But collectors usually keep their machines in a good condition, that’s certain. I would even argue that some collectors are building a collection in order to create a library for preservation rather than just for gaming’s sake. I admit, I sort of all into this category, thou every game I own has been played. It’s like with toys; a toy in a box is meant to be played with, not to be stored away in a box.

Then again, there are those who value games and toys only in their mint and unopened state rather than for their actual intended purpose.

Granted, I am willingly ignoring other elements that goes into the whole dynamics of buyer-seller, collector-provider relationships to make this into a two-point argument. This is because the micro and macro elements of retro gaming are almost polar opposites at this point in time. I have no doubts that consoles and certain games will become historically significant, but they will do this only through their cultural status. That’s not sub-cultural status, but the actual, governing culture at large. Allow a bit more time to pass, and at some point these relics could be regarded as something completely else.

There has been some accusations of certain group of people, namely retro hipsters, driving price points up on older games. Indeed, I have noticed the inflation in the after-markets as well, but I would point the main reasons towards the bad economical situation next and to the fact that the actual value of these products have been lost. Objectively speaking, a console’s value is directly proportional to the games it has. A console with lower number of high quality products is automatically regarded as worse than a console with higher numbers of said games, that should be a given. This doesn’t matter to an enthusiast, hobbyists or collectors. It’s the rarity, the obscurity and uniqueness that counts the most.

Of course, rarity is a real factor of value, I am not arguing over that. And yes, there are far more factors than just rarity. However, in practical terms it should be noted that an awful product, no matter how rare, will always be an awful product and of no use. I don’t care how much I hear Atari Jaguar getting rarer and rarer these days, especially with a working CD unit, there’s no way the console is worth anywhere near hundred and fifty dollars. Not only is the console’s library atrocious in quality, but the controller is abysmally designed to boot. The same arguments apply to multiple other consoles as well, especially to the likes of Virtual Boy where you have in almost literal terms only one or two games one can argue to be worthwhile of purchase.

You used to get a copy of Super Mario Bros. for the NES for five Finnish marks back in the day. That would be 84 eurocents, but with the devaluation Euro has seen the price is more like 1€. Nowadays the exact same cartridge fetches ten Euros of more. This sort of price translation happened everywhere, e.g. a cup of coffee used to be 5mk, now it’s 5€. It’s total and complete bullshit, but in this light the heightened prices can be accepted grudgingly. Or they would be, if this wasn’t a global phenomena. Same applies to used consoles, and the amount of the on the second-hand market has no diminished. Perhaps it’s more because the old consoles have become rarer sight at fleemarkets and such places and people with more ambition on the price.

Opinions may vary, but I’d like to ask anyone purchasing something collectable to stop for a moment and question whether or not the product is really worth the price it goes by. Never think for a second that so-called professionals don’t inflate prices to insane heights if they can. Diamonds, for example, are not as expensive or valuable as people are told.

Monster Hunter and multiplayer could be even more open

Few of my friends have been asking me to get back into Monster Hunter with MonHun 4G. I did enjoy MonHun on the PSP despite the controls being rather atrociously laid out. Claw Grip is one of the unhealthiest and hand hateful position you can have your hand in. Despite my stance against CAPCOM products due to their awful customer and business practices, my interest to play with my friends took the better of me.

Or it would have if Japan would still allow worldwide multiplayer as a standard.

It’s not surprising that CAPCOM divided servers. The division between East and West has been a standard, but there’s no real good reason to create the split. They can give reasons ranging from server problems to connection speeds to language barriers. Any and all customers who are even a bit tech savvy can call out on their bullshit. Language barrier wouldn’t even be a problem, if it was treated in a proper manner. 3DS’ own regional locking is not a problem either, as there’s more than enough games that don’t give two shits about regional lock in Online multiplayer, but for some reason you can’t play local multiplayer with different region consoles/games for some God forsaken reason. Granted, regional promotions, events and addons could pose a problem, but even in that the following example shows how it’s done. Much like with Pokémon, it would be possible to have every language mingle with each other with no problem, and regional things would only apply for that region. For example, if a Japanese and English version players would play together, Japanese would see チャージアックス (Charge Axe) while English would see Charge Blade. This is a matter of coding, and it would seem that CAPCOM doesn’t want to put that extra effort in making the series a worldwide experience.

That’s actually a point that should be emphasized. Monster Hunter has always been a game where you gather your party and go hunt some monsters, despite certain issues earlier in the series or the limit of access to other players. In Japan, AdHoc play is extremely easy as you could find Hunters in almost every corner of any of the larger cities. You could find a hunting party during your train trip and have a short session with the before the train trip ends. Not so much elsewhere in the world, locally practically impossible. I don’t expect Japanese developer to understand different cultures, as it is apparent not even Nintendo wants to deal with West. It’s sad to say, but Japan doesn’t give two shits about Western markets. That is the reason you see Monster Hunter most on handheld consoles rather than on home consoles nowadays. The average Japanese person has no time to sit down and play their consoles anymore. Then there’s the sad fact how the number of children in Japan has been in a steady decrease, which translates to whole lot of other problems to those who wish to create successful kids’ franchises from the past decades. As such, tapping to the Western market would be their absolutely best deed they could do. I can even offer an example in form of Nintendo; during the 80’s and mid to late 90’s, Nintendo had a strong Western presence. They worked with Western developers and have Howard Lincoln as their contact person, who communicated between the two sides. However, after Lincoln moved on, Nintendo’s attitude towards their Western developers, which at that point was essentially Rare, went cold. It’s all cultural of course, and Japan’ long history of being only with themselves and excluding everyone else is well known. It’s sad to see this sort of paradigm has not vanished with time, but has taken numerous different kind of forms.

If we could create the most idealised MonHun game, I guess that one would be Monster Hunter World, where CAPCOM would put every and any content from past games into one massively comprehensive game. Like the given title, the game would be worldwide, calling any and all players to join one massive community of hunters. All the differences the players would have from any point, they all would be connected by their wish to slay dinosaurs and dragons. Basic MMO solutions with servers and whatnot of course would apply, but the point is to bring people together without limitations. Knowing CAPCOM, this is impossible due to their ineptitude to properly satisfy their customers to a large extent. Otherwise it would be completely possible for them to do something like that, it’s not like CAPCOM has seen this sort of products, just in a more limited form.

In the modern era of online multiplayer gaming, exclusion is far from good form. There is no reason not to create an all inclusive multiplayer experience, where everybody could play with anyone from anywhere from the world. Connections can (and often will) vary from bad to worse, but that’s all part of the experience in the end. There’s a lot of people across the world with various attitudes and ways to communicate, and we can’t really understand these people unless we can mingle, even if it is through a hunt of Rathalos. The standard messages most online multiplayers have are often enough to convey the feelings and meanings of the players, but more than not the gameplay and how they act during it allows us to see the similarities we share. There are those who are there just to hunt and help others, there are those who are there to compete for the best pieces and some are there to show the ropes to all newcomers. It’s all about the experience, and limiting who we can play with is directly taking a piece out of that experience.

Of course, one problem is that Monster Hunter is far more popular in Japan than in Western regions but perhaps the more free multiplayer could help in this.

In the end, I could always buy an European 3DS or N3DS Flanders, but to quote a wiseman; Fuck that shit. While I understand why Nintendo chooses to go with region locking, I agree with all the people criticising it. It’s an old method to control a market, and both SONY and Microsoft have opted for better solution to some extent. I have to say that I am rather fond how PSN overall works with its regional differences, as it allows the gray area market to work full force via PSN codes, for SONY’s benefit no less. Screwing with customer can end up the customer screwing with you, and then it becomes a never ending cycle. For companies developing consoles, keeping an eye on the hack scene and what is most popular function among the users would be a good place see what the truly core customer may want to see from you.

Nintendo is like a rich brat

I’ve got no difficulties in admitting that I used to be a Nintendo fan. I liked their games and consoles and turned a blind eye to their worse decisions. At some point I began to wonder why Nintendo didn’t continue making as great products as they used to, but told myself that I had changed. The truth was that I still enjoyed the same old games they were producing, but the new ones just didn’t capture the same spirit. It was Nintendo that had made that change in themselves, and with these changes we’ve seen drop in quality and in their profits.

It all sort of came together as a whole this week, like seeing somebody into their soul and seeing how they really think.

With the DS and Wii Iwata told us that the only way for video games to survive as a business and as an industry is to expand the market, to include everyone in their user base. They succeeded in this, and Nintendo’s platforms flourished like during the NES days. Software and hardware sales were far higher than any of the competition. DS utterly devastated PSP. The Wii sold more than either of its competitors as one of Nintendo’s aim was to have a Wii in every household, at least in America. They pretty much succeeded.

The turning point in all this is hard to pinpoint. There’s two clear points to argue about; the release of Super Mario Galaxy 2 with its instructional disc, or the revelation and release of Wii Music.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 was marketed at the people who bought New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Nintendo clearly felt that Galaxy 2 was a superior product, but the consumers just needed to be taught how to play the game. That’s pandering, and an awful strategy. Everybody just laughed at this motion, and Galaxy 2 went to sell less and NSMB Wii. However, modern Nintendo always does whatever they want to, disregarding the customers. 2D Mario has always sold more than any 3D Mario. It’s what the consumers want, but that’s exactly what Miyamoto denies. He wants to do 3D Mario more than 2D Mario. Why? Because he wants and is allowed to whatever the wants to, and Wii Music is a prominent example of waste of resources.

Furthermore, Miyamoto has been pushing 3D Mario into 2D Mario with the 3DS to a large extent. Both Super Mario 3D Land and 3D World saw large amounts of 3D Mario elements pushed in while gaining long wanted properties, like the Tanooki Suit and multiple proper character that are not Toads, while the 2D Mario was essentially left into shadows and given very little attention, resources and effort. Latest 2D Mario games are like cheap flash games people do for practice. 2D Mario has always taken more effort to produce properly, but as mentioned, it also has produced more profits than 3D Mario. It would make more sense to give 2D Mario far more attention to maximise the potential profits, but that would mean Miyamoto would have to do something he doesn’t like and Nintendo can’t allow that.

It’s the exact same thing with Zelda. Aonuma doesn’t want to make an Action RPG, but a Puzzle Adventure games. It’s no wonder Zelda’s sales have dropped. Same thing with Metroid. Other M’s infamy is well known and everybody and their mothers knows what a Metroid game should be. Sakamoto clearly didn’t.

New Nintendo doesn’t just hate me, but it hates everybody. It’s common to see people blaming other mobile devices on the low sales of Nintendo products. Even Miyamoto does this in the Edge Magazine interview. It’s a common misconception. iPhone was released in 2007 and the whole pad boom began then, overlapping both DS and Wii. It didn’t impact the sales because the software was driving Nintendo’s profits just fine. The pad and mobile phone game market do no overlap with portable game console market. The only difference now is the quality of the products offered. It’s not the attitude of the customers of the expanded market they managed to create changed; the customer has always expected the service provider to entertain them. Nintendo was the one who changed from a healthy company to an incestuous self-back patters. The market pushed these games and consoles away because they ranged from mediocre to rubbish. This same market has no problems with games like Mario Kart, which saw high sales and for a while was a hardware seller as well.

But Miyamoto and Nintendo see their opinions worth more noting than what the market and numbers state.

That, of course, creates the question Who are the people Nintendo makes for? Sakurai has an excellent answer for this; the less vocal, not so visible group of players. Translation of that would say; our own imaginary customers. In the market there is two groups; the larger and the smaller. No matter how you hate the thought, the smaller group is the hardcore gamers, and out of these hardcores you have a smaller section of devoted Nintendo fans. This crowd is extremely loud and voices their opinion and the moment something goes online. They shout as strongly as possible in and out of the Internet. They are extremely passionate small group of users. The larger market, the ones Nintendo managed to expand to, remains largely silent and only voices their opinion on sales. With the Wii U and 3DS, Nintendo has lost most of its expanded market already because they began to cater hardcore group.

Aiming to sell only to a small, exclusive group of customers can be a valid strategy. This means that the products need to be more expensive in order to keep profits at a satisfactory level. Often these products are also have a high production value in every regard and come in limited numbers. This strategy often also sees support from products aimed at a larger market, but everything is of lower quality here. Nintendo’s strategy here is to just cater the one small customer group, the hardcore. This is not a sensible business decision as it’s not sustainable, especially in entertainment and video games. Nintendo’s aim to further diminish their market will equally diminish their profits, and seeing how mediocre products they’ve been cashing out toward the hardcore, like the few latest Zelda games and Other M, their products will see a drop in quality as well. Even more so, if Nintendo decides to cater just their core fans, it means they are able to do whatever they want. The small dedicated fanbase would probably buy anything and everything Nintendo puts out and defend it as the Second coming. I bet there’s Nintendo fans out there that defend even the Virtual Boy.

We’re seeing Nintendo’s disregard of their products even in Sakurai and Smash Bros for -console-. Sakurai has progressively put more characters from the games he has worked on for the sake of having them. Kirby is understandable and so is Pit. Then suddenly, we get King DeDeDeDe, Palutena and, for no good reason, Dark Pit. King DeDeDe is another understandable character, but Palutena and Dark Pit are slot wasters. There are more female Nintendo characters that would fit better in Palutena’s place, to promote another games series altogether too. I hope the leaks are incorrect and Dark Pit is merely just a colour change and nothing more. Sakurai pushes characters he regards as his own onwards, just as Nintendo pushes games that the expanded market doesn’t purchase. Fire Emblem, as much as fans tote the series as great, has never seen great sales in the West. It is inherently Japanese game for Japanese people to play, just like the Super Robot Wars series. Yet Nintendo pushes no less than four Fire Emblem characters to SSB for -console-. It’s surprising that Wii Fit Trainer got in, but I doubt it’s because of high software sales and more because of the infamy of Wii Fit with the hardcore crowd.

Sakurai calls other customers more interesting than others. What the hell does it matter if other customers are more interesting than others? Either group of people bring in money, and essentially are the ones funding his pay. Games won’t fade away if you don’t listen to a small group of people, it’s the complete opposite. By concentrating on a small group of people, like the hardcore crowd they’re now concentrating on, game will get monotonous, very similar and worsen in quality. There’s very little challenge in trying to make something that will appease small amount of people, but there’s incredibly challenge in producing something that will be a hit with everybody. And Nintendo has a history of doing the latter over and over during the NES era.

Then we have to talk about New Nintendo 3DS. I’m not sure if I should type it as *new*to emulate the logo. This, by all means, is further pushing the existing 3DS userbase away from the company alongside the expanded market. This is just a big middle finger from Nintendo. I almost typed CAPCOM there, I’m so used to using that sentence with them. The New 3DS, the N3DS, or as I call it; Stupid Flanders, is a dumbfounding product.

Pictured; The Customers' view at Nintendo giving a numerical value in how much they care about their customers
Pictured; The Customers’ view at Nintendo giving a numerical value in how much they care about their customers

Stupid Flanders is like the DSi, but worse. At least with the DSi, the games that supported it had no troubles running on the base DS models. While it’s typical for Nintendo to renew their handheld console design in its lifetime, never before we have seen this many; the 3DS has four different models now; the 3DS, 3DSXL, 2DS, Flanders and Flanders XL. The GameBoy had four iterations as well, if we count Colour, and that was during the span of nine years. The 3Ds has been out for three years, and now they’re making the decision to push a new hardware out that singles out previous version owners with their exclusive games. However, I honestly wish that the amount of exclusives will be small and consist only of home console ports.

The question is whether or not Stupid Flanders is worth buying? Sure, it has double the shoulder buttons and that C-Button, but those are worth crap if there’s no software behind it. It always depends on the software whether or not a console is worth purchase. Xenoblade Chronicles being announced for the Flanders is both dumbfounding and understandable. It’s stupid because it’s coming for Wii U and has been one of its hype driving forces among the hardcore, but bringing it on the Flanders seems would increase its sales. Stupid Flanders will most likely increase overall 3DS software sales as well, as they’re grown stagnant everywhere.

The stronger CPU means nothing if the developers are not up to the task. Even Nintendo’s own staff couldn’t port their own NES games properly into 3D. I’m still wondering what kind of black magic SEGA’s M2 section is using in order to make perfection 3DS ports of SEGA classics with the best possible 3D effects. Nintendo has been pushing GameCube games on the Wii U despite them never selling well on the original platform and the lousy success if Pikmin 3. I can see Stupid Flanders getting better CPU to accommodate GameCube ports of sorts. Even the included C-Button supports this.

And who the hell is heading the name department at Nintendo? NEW Nintendo 3DS? Super Smash Brother FOR WII U / 3DS?  Both of these are horrible names, just like the Wii U. But why should we care? Nintendo clearly doesn’t.

Why can’t Nintendo stop for moment and see what the market at large is wanting? Why do they keep pushing their own wants and desires over the customers? There’s only one real answer, and it is that they are selfish and in love with themselves. We’ve been seeing the slow death of Nintendo the Servant, and slow creation of Nintendo the Selfish Artist. Is this what the death of Hiroshi Yamauchi leaves? It seems like it. The sad thing is that Stupid Flanders will most likely sell decently, especially in Japan and among the hardcore Nintendo fans, but it won’t raise the quality of the products. Nintendo just isn’t in this business to make money anymore, but to make whatever they want to have fun with at the customers’ and profits’ expense.

The Wii U continues

A thing I keep repeating over and over again without much good examples is that modern video game developers need to learn from the past mistakes and not repeat them. Similarly, the developers need to learn from the past successes but not copy or repeat them but to see the inner workings of the customer mind.

Nintendo made an announcement of sorts that they will not abandon the Wii U. The game industry hated this. There is a recurring motif in the electronic gaming industry where Nintendo is absolutely hated, despised even, when they put out a product will sell like hotcakes. The NES was hated on many levels, but the customers loved it and it sold. The GameBoy, for what I can recall, is a surprising exception if you ignore how the competition barked at its performance power and computer side more or less hated it. The DS was hated when Nintendo changed it into a portable SNES and became a success. The Wii is still despised by the industry and the hardcore crowd despite almost everyone owning one.

The Wii U is a different thing, a console not really hated by the industry, but neither it is celebrated by the consumers like the Wii. At this moment, Wii U has gotten some steam, but it lacks uniqueness. Same goes for Xbone and PS4.

Why Nintendo shouldn’t abandon the Wii U, many have asked. The single most important reason for this is that it would be stupid.

Customer relations is hugely important, and losing customer trust is the worst thing a company can ever go through. SEGA will tell you that, as will any company who screwed up.

The SEGA Saturn was supposed to be a beast of a console. Technically speaking it is a very competent 2D machine for its time, especially with the RAM expansion carts, but the games did not attract customers. Well, most of the good games stayed in Japan because certain individuals pushing 3D games on the front. Actually, the whole console release was a disaster and SEGA ultimately just said that Saturn is not their future. That was a bitchslap to customers’ faces. Dropping promises and support for a product that demanded large amounts of money. Saturn was a disaster and one of the final nails on SEGA’s coffin.

Personally, I do like Saturn. It has some gems and the number of arcade games it has is nice. What I think of the Saturn doesn’t matter, only that it sucked, bombed and was buried.

If Nintendo were to abandon the Wii U now, they would repeat SEGA’s mistakes. Nobody wants that, except hardcore fanboys and people who would prefer one console with every game on it.

This would be a horrible model. A competition needs and demands a one-two beat. Another one needs to beat the first one, and another needs hit the second beat. It’s sort of dance, and there is need for disruption every now and then, if not in regular intervals. Everything different is not disruptive, but the keys that hit the points just right are. The NES, GameBoy, DS and Wii were all disruptive and allowed the competitive dance to hit the one-two beat.

Wii U can become a great console yet. All it needs products to hold it high. I doubt this, as Nintendo seems to fail to realize the full potential of their products. One thing everybody was thinking for the Wii was either a damn good Star Wars game, or a really good sword fighting game. It could not have been Zelda, because Aonuma hates fighting and masturbates over puzzles. The very moment we saw the Wiimote, we all knew what we wanted. That, and the light gun games, which could’ve worked slightly better. We never got any good sword fighting games, thou the Wii Sports Resort had a good basis, but it was far from being anything good and proper.

Another game customers thought when they saw the camera and tilt function in the 3DS was Pokémon Snap 2. It was a couple made in heaven, and nothing. Pokémon Snap is one of the most fondly remembered games on the N64 as well as one of them most well made camera based games, despite everything that went against the N64.

Often it is not all too good to give the customer what they want, but what they need. Sometimes it’s very recommendable to listen to your customers. This sounds stupid and may show hypocrisy to some extent, but in all reality it is about choosing the time when to put either choice into action. In reality, while market research follows very straightforward methods, but how, when and where changes with time and what were are researching as well as what we are researching for. Despite Nintendo promoting new ways of playing games, they haven’t pushed their new ways as far as they could have and without a proper example no company wanted to follow.

Actually, if we want to really talk about dropping system in the middle of their life, Nintendo did drop the DS and the Wii like a dead fly. Both systems saw very little supports from Nintendo in the last few years of their life. The Wii got software like Wii Music, which was hated practically everybody in and out of the industry. Those people who bought a Wii and experienced Nintendo taking their resources to 3DS, then to Wii U, never moved up a console. Why would anyone buy a console from a company that doesn’t even support it to the very end?

Nintendo wanted to have the Wii U as the console Wii users would move on to. Fat chance. The Wii U is not the Wii but in mere name similarity. It is a very opposite console. If I were to observe the current consoles from personal view, there’s very little games that catch my attention, and those which do are all multiplatform par few exceptions like Splatoon. While sequels are the things that seem to draw in most money, they cannot be repetitions.

Console exclusivity is…

Exclusivity in video games is polarising matter to handle. It might be strange to find out that while I am all for the customer always, I am a solid supporter of exclusivity when it comes to video games. As such, this is one of those rarer posts where I will voice a clear statement that is mine, rather than from a point of view that I might or might not agree with.

 A common argument why most, if not all, video games should be available on all platforms is that this would enable the customer to choose whatever platform he prefers and purchase those games for it. It sounds really good argument and tickles the hardcore crowd’s funny bone in their lower backs. A general customer would then ask Then what would be the point of having multiple machines?

That’s a question that thickens the plot and makes the spider spin its web. Why DO we have all these consoles? After all, the machine’s purpose it to run the game, and the machine shouldn’t matter, right? If all games would be released on all consoles, shouldn’t that increase the competition? Or if we just had one console, shouldn’t that increase the competition too?

Well, the very reason we have multiple consoles is that we would have different companies running their machines in our houses over the other. At the moment we have three competing machines, two of which are basically the same shit in a different package and then one that has a screen on its controller. On the handheld side we have a machine that’s barely successful and then one that repeated every fault its predecessor had and added new ones. In contrast to this, on the fourth generation of video games we had around nine consoles running against each other and at least three handhelds and buttloads of Tiger Electronics games.  And fourth generation of video games was insanely successful and popular in contrast what we have nowadays.

And all those consoles had large amounts of exclusive games and nobody complained.

As the Neo HD-Twins are the same shit with different package, the devs are having perhaps the easiest time of porting games from those to PC or back. Wii U is the only machine that they’re having trouble with, but according to an article it’s mostly because Nintendo themselves screwed a lot of things up with their devkits and helpdesk organization. Thus, Wii U will see lesser amount of stuff than its competitors. Then you add the cost of HD development, which again went up with the generation shift.

I don’t want game developers to have easy time. Their work is already relatively easy, as all they do is sit inside in front of their computers and type shit down while they chat and drink coffee. Most of them barely want to do the math how to take all they can out of a system anymore, and just want the best and most powerful machine out there so they can go all wild and not care how well their game is formed up. This might be shocking to hear, but I’d love to see games made with care, with high level of coding and so that it wouldn’t take three to six years. We’re barely getting a new real Zelda games twice a decade now, and we haven’t seen a well made 2D Super Mario game since Super Mario World. In hindsight, New Super Mario Bros. got a freepass because it was the first 2D Mario game in a long time. Now that Nintendo has milked half-assed 2D Mario to death, they’ve been forcing 3D game elements into 2D Mario and its failing.

A successful company is for the customers’ best. A successful company that has tough competition is better for the customer. A successful company that has successful competitors need to put our good amount of high quality products and hit the Blue Ocean market in order to eclipse their competitors, and this is good for the customer.

What I mean by this that the current situation is all kinds of wrong when you look at it properly. We’re seeing the exact same games repeated in slightly different forms, or in Fifa’s case just with a skinjob. Just as the Neo HD-Twins are same shit, their games to a large extent are the same with a different package. While there would be nothing wrong in having the same game on all machines, it does take out the uniqueness of each released game. Say you have ten games released on three different system. You’re basically left one unique game in that set of ten, because three games would be on three systems, effectively making you have either three to four games depending on the system of your choice. The competition is screwed, and even more so if that one game is for a whole other platform from the three others. On the other hand, the devs could make one of those games a multiplatform game, and the rest would be unique standalone titles. We would see seven different games that wouldn’t only compete with each other, but would also compete with the platforms. We would see a thing called variety.

When you have a large amount of variety aimed in different parts of the Blue Ocean with the aim of making the possible product, magic starts to happen.

The most successful console has the most games. Most of these games are also exclusive to this console. When it was said that the NES had the best games, it was true. It saw the most sales, and numbers don’t lie or change. People lie and change, and are prone to be biased. While quantity does not mean quality, there is a higher chance of having quality products in high quantity set than in small quantity set.

When you start thinning out all the multiplatform releases from the last generation, the overall amount of single games released starts to look a bit strange. A multiplatform game barely matters; it doesn’t sell consoles. However, games that sell consoles matter always, and the most games that move console sales are exclusives.

There are also sad sides on exclusivity, such as that it creates fanboys. The common customer doesn’t actually give a damn if they’re playing a Nintendo or Microsoft, all they care for if they have games they’re interested in. It’s the small hardcore crowd that cares if they have a certain console over another. I can completely understand the existence of Nintendo’s fanbase, as they’re basically the only hardware and software manufacturer nowadays, but seeing that most SONY and Microsoft fans always put multiplatform gaming on a pedestal and compare the exact same product side-by-side to see the minuscule differences, I don’t understand why these two would even have an issue with each other? Most of their competition doesn’t even come from the games, but from the company producing the machines. At least during the 8-bit and 16-bit Console Wars we used to compare games against each other.

There’s also the interesting point, that while the hardcore and the rest of the industry just laughs at Nintendo, they can’t help but say how much they’d love to play their games. In comparison, very rarely does Nintendo owners have a feel to play games on other consoles because they had ports of games or other games that filled the same niche.

And that where it all actually lies; by having these companies creating different games for different platforms, even within same genre, there would be competition to outwit the other. Even better if this would happen inside the developing companies too.

And when companies compete with each other, and with themselves internally, that can be highly beneficial to the customer.

Sadly, the game business is warped nowadays, and not just because of Neo HD-Twins being completely dumbed down PCs rather than game consoles and the hardcore crowd driving the industry further down, and the industry actually listens to these Red Ocean  people rather hitting the Blue Ocean with all their might and making money. Of course, the macro-economic situation doesn’t help in this either.

As such, I stand on the side that wants to see more different games populating the console libraries rather see the same games populating all the consoles. The customer would have much wider selection to choose from, as well as more reasons to pick one console over the other. As such, the customer would have the option to pick from multiple games rather than just one on many platforms. And naturally, this would also be good for the console business.

Technical burnouts

I have to wonder what has been going on in the Microsoft and SONY research and development laboratories during the days when both Xbone and PS4 were under development. Both of these consoles have been gaining far too much negative press on the systems’ faults rather than on the games. What sort of engineers and designers are proud of a machine that is too delicate?

It’s a good thing that both of the companies have admitted the problems with their consoles, but that’s too late now. The damage has already been done. The negative press is out there, and a well informed customer will steer far away from the launch consoles for some time now.

However, we live in the era of the Internet, where even the faintest fart in Sahara desert will be reported as a massive methane explosion in the middle of nothing.

All the reported breakdowns of Xbones and PS4s are a small number of all the sold units. That’s a fact, but it is also a fact that as these small number of units are faulty, there is a possibility that units produced with same components in same batch can have the same breakdowns. The only really reliable way to know if any of the problems with these consoles are common is to check if there’s more than one in your friend circle.

The PlayStation was a faulty console en masse as it used to cook the laser, and pretty much all of my friends fixed it by turning the machine upside down. The revision of the PS1 fixed practically all of the issues with the console, and is build a bit more sturdier too, except the lid that was built to break after the first two times you insert a disc in it. I’ve seen original PlayStations scratching the game discs too, which just prompted my friends to buy pirated games from Russia even more, as you could get something like ten games for twenty marks. That’s around ten games for four euros, and they just bought new games like that because the machine kept eating old discs.

The  360’s Red Ring of Death was also a major issue, as one popped up in the middle of a game session years back. When you have three friends cursing the 360 for the same reason, there’s an issue. Personally, I never had my second-hand 360 die on me, but then again I did change the fan to a more powerful one and tinkered with its insides to prevent any problems with overheating. PS2 units also had a lot of troubles from what I’ve heard and read on the news, but I have seen none die personally. Then again, it was commonly reported that watching DVDs on your consoles would consume the laser faster, but who would want to watch their movies on a console anyway? That’s why you have either a PC or DVD/BD player.

Then again, I do admit that I watched one disc of Raijin-Oh on my Wii.

There’s also the problem that people were expecting these mechanical faults and jumped on them as soon as possible. Microsoft already admitted the disc drive problems and SONY blamed on the console faults as shipping damage, I have to question how these machines are built. The 360 had an awful quality control, a thing an electronics producer should never overlook, and now there’s been two instances of the magic smoke that makes electronics running has escaped Xbones. Whether or not this smoke issue is true is an open question, as mentioned in the forum.

What causes these problems is pretty rarely mishandling, but the way the physical console is designed. For example, the Xbone seems to drain so much power, that its power brick has its own damn fan. Everybody hates the separate power brick, especially now that Microsoft seems to have moved towards their own locked-design power cords, that just have an extra nudge to prevent you from using any other power cord than Microsoft’s own. Which is bullshit. Apple has done the same thing with their products, and it’s just as bullshit.

There’s a problem with modern consoles… well, modern is loosely applied here, as even some of the machines from the 90’s apply here as well, but the problem is that in increasing amounts these machines are designed for ideal use and environment. You can’t put anything on top of them any more, they barely can withstand one nudge and the goddamn piano black surface will get scratched to hell the moment the machine is out of the box.

Let’s be straight here for a moment; game consoles are consumer products that exist there to be used in a normal family environment. They are bound to get hits, bumps, moved around when they’re on and the occasional fall due to children and adults alike. A basement dwelling hermit that barely goes outside is not a proper comparison point. If these machines are deigned to exist in an environment that barely exists and asks the consumer to treat them like newborn babies, that’s a completely idiotic way to design anything. Design your machine to last and work for a long time, and the customers will like it more. A satisfied customer is good press, and a returning customer to boot.

GameCube wasn’t the best console out there, but it could take a sledgehammer to its side and play games. It could be dropped from few meters to a concrete floor, and it would still boot up and most likely play games just fine. It was build to last, much like the GameBoy, which could survive a bombing during the Gulf War. Nowadays you close your 3DS and it scratches the upper screen by itself. The Wii was reasonably well built too, surviving pretty bad drops and still be completely fine.

And now you’re thinking that Nobody treats their machines like that. It’s not about how they’re treated, it’s how a normal family life is. If these companies really want to sell their product to everybody, the machines need to withstand daily life. If not, then they can keep selling to the hardcore nerds and their small market, and finally wither away.

I can’t even buy a PC game from a store without it forcing me to subscribe to Steam. That’s just bad design all around.