Nintendo, Social Gaming, and Why I Quit My Job

Truly social gaming isn't just clicking on stuff and broadcasting it to a list of acquaintances online; it's sharing experiences together in the same room. Nintendo gets this in ways that others do not.

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Just five short years ago, when people talked about making games more "social" it usually meant gathering people around the TV in the living room and playing games together. Not clicking on coin icons that appear above simulated cities/farms/restaurants/space stations/petting zoos and badgering your friends to send you gems/coins/mana/vegetables. Being "social" meant being with other people and interacting, not simply broadcasting events at a collection of meaningless names on a list and begging for equally meaningless stuff in return.

Though E3 was far from an impressive event in 2007, the games on show were significant because they took the whole market down a new path. Though core games were still very well represented, something exciting was happening: the games industry was remembering its roots and acknowledging that games were at their very best when shared.

That summer I came away from E3 so impressed by the direction that video games were taking that I quit my job running a bunch of magazines and websites focused on core gamers.

In fact, that summer I came away from E3 so impressed by the direction that video games were taking that I quit my job running a bunch of magazines and websites focused on core gamers. Was I bonkers? Possibly. As the father of a young family (I have two boys, both under 10), I'd started to look at my passion in a very different light. I'd become acutely aware of my view of the gaming world shifting, and it just happened to have been evolving alongside an enormous shift in the way that developers and publishers were thinking about their audience. I grew up loving games, and wanting to be a part of the way that people learn about them. Now that I was at a new point in my own life, I wanted to help the new, emerging audience--people with families that knew they needed to be more engaged with this cool form of entertainment, but had no idea where to start. As is often the case in a young industry, many of us involved were starting to have similar life experiences. Much of the creative talent was at a similar point in their own lives, and they wanted the opportunity to make games that they could share with their new families, and subsequently with a growing audience of similar young moms and dads.

So what did I do? With a small team of like-minded individuals, and with a phenomenal business partner, I somehow convinced an investor to put up a big fat wad of cash and started a video game website aimed at families called What They Play. Some of you may remember it, but many of you will not because you had absolutely no need for it. It was intended to educate moms and dads about the games that their kids were asking about. I'd link to it, but sadly it is no longer online. Long story. Anyway, the point is that not so very long ago, the whole industry was talking about "expanding the audience" and "reaching out to families" while "bringing games out of the basement and into the living room." After being ghettoized as being for "the hardcore" for so long, games were now… whatever the opposite of ghettoized is. Gentrified? Gamers were no longer characterized as overweight, basement-dwelling, Dorito-crunching mouth-breathers, but doting dads and gorgeous Lululemon-clad moms surrounded by broods of children who used video games to enrich their lives.

At E3 2007, Nintendo led the charge down this path. It unveiled Wii Fit and the Balance Board, it showed Mario Kart Wii with the wheel peripheral (which many of us sneered at, not realizing it was genius considering the audience Nintendo was targeting), and it showcased "new kinds of experiences" on the DS like Brain Age and My Word Coach that were foolishly dismissed as "non-games" by many. These all went on to sell hojillions of copies and expand the reach of the DS and the Wii beyond archetypal "gamers." Even your mom was playing games on the DS back then. Probably.

It was the dawn of a new age. A true maturation of gaming. So what the hell happened? Sure, smartphone and browser games have had a big impact on who is playing what and where, but what happened in the living room?

Fast-forward to 2012, and E3 for the most part was a callous display of brutality focused squarely on attempting to attract aggressive, young, male, core gamers with the assumption that they want nothing other than to kill things.

Fast-forward to 2012, and E3 for the most part was a callous display of brutality focused squarely on attempting to attract aggressive, young, male, core gamers with the assumption that they want nothing other than to kill things. There were notable exceptions, of course, but there was a lot of violence, and hardly any company was choosing to hang its hat on anything other than this kind of action.

Only one company at E3 2012 still talked about "social" as something requiring physical proximity: Nintendo. While Wii U games weren't particularly impressive visually, many of them were very interesting physically. At a time when every bleak, brown-hued, gritty, throat-punching, M-rated action game is boasting online multiplayer whether it really warrants it or not, the Wii U gave us the tiniest glimpse at something that I really hope becomes a thing: existential gameplay.

That may sound like a grandiose label to give something so simple, but I think it's an important trend that needs to be embraced by game designers in a variety of forms, but thankfully the Wii U gamepad has the potential to act as a convenient focal point.

At best, the majority of same-screen co-op game experiences tend to require the same behavior from everyone playing. We compete, we race, we fight, we shoot. With the Wii U gamepad in the mix, an additional element is added: external influence. One of the players can impact the game in unexpected ways and change the overall experience. Not only that, but possession of that controller becomes part of the fun too. The players need to acknowledge a social dynamic that exists outside of the primary game experience and are free to make an additional game out of who "deserves" that control along with the ability to disrupt the normal flow. Do you pass it around? Take it in turns? Give it to whoever "wins" or "loses" a level? This requires a level of trust in the players that video games have increasingly moved away from over the course of the past 20 years.

Hopefully what we're starting to see now is a glimpse at the future and that the true meaning of "next generation" when it is inevitably unveiled next year will be far more than just more impressively bleak, brown-hued, gritty, throat-punching, M-rated action games. Instead, let's hope for a next generation of "social" gaming that acknowledges the fun that we have when we are truly together.

Would I quit my job again, based on what was shown this year? Well, no--but it's clear that we're fast approaching a crossroads, and I hope that console games start to chase broader audiences again and don't simply cede that ground to the browser and the smartphone.

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Discussion

212 comments
TiGHT_CTRLs
TiGHT_CTRLs

Last time I had a gaming party was with my Dreamcast, playing Worms World Party and Chu Chu Rocket. It was also funny when we played Street Fighter Alpha 3, because everyone wanted the only arcade stick in the room, so we had to play with it in turns, hehe. Crazy Taxi breaking gaming time in different modes was also cool, so that everyone new what to expect and patiently await their turn. Oh, and how could I forget Virtua Tennis 2? Good times...

David_M_Spiker
David_M_Spiker

The last time I player a 4 person multiplayer with all 4 people in the same room was in 1997. The game was 700 Golden Eye..It was one of my good childhood memories.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

The best multiplayer experiences are always the ones we share with friends in the same room. 

poorboy13
poorboy13

I agree with the fact that Nintendo is great. They try hard. They lost their entertainment monopoly when other consoles came out, and they are trying hard to earn it back.

 

Although I must stress that Nintendo was not the only company that was avoiding gratuitous violence in their games. Sony wanted to branch off from this genre and quite riskily introduced their new upcoming product: the WonderBook. They spent a ridiculously risky large amount of time showcasing this new product in their E3 press conference. Also, many may debate that Sony is ripping off the Super Smash Bros. series by releasing "their own version" (PlayStation All-Stars). It's quite judgmental, but look at it this way: Nintendo did something right in creating the Smash Brothers series, and PlayStation saw it as a new, acceptably entertaining concept, and wants to expand on it. Plus it gives a break away from shooters and other male-hormone-fueled hard-action games.

 

All the luck to Nintendo with their new console.

benandmax
benandmax

Very nice article.  I don't play M rated games and I'm 35 years old.  In my mind FPS have no imagination, they just keep either pushing the envelope with violence or do the same thing over and over (most, not all).  It's good to see a well written article and I really hope Nintendo sticks to what they've been doing.  (P.S, Nintendo : please make a decent racing sim)

antoun32
antoun32

As an older gamer, one of my all time favorites was Metroid. I cannot understand why Nintendo refuses to release a new, 2D, Metroid. Something very similar to Shadow Complex.  I have been waiting years now for a TRUE sequel to the Metroid series. I admittingly have not played Other M, but have no desire too. I wasn't really a fan of the Prime series either. With each new system Nintendo releases, I always wait for the day that Nintendo announces a new 2D (2.5D) Metroid game. I have been disappointed for years now. The 3DS would a perfect candidate for such a game.

 

Nintendo has alienated the core gamers that grew up with Nintendo. The new Kid Icarus....eh.  They basically made ANOTHER 3D shooter, put some wings on the main character & called it Kid Icarus. Not what I remember...

TBoneTony
TBoneTony

I remember the what they play website.

 

I used to go on it to check if it was informative and simple to use by parents.

 

I felt it was spot on most of the time, but it is always hard to appeal and make it accessable for parents who have non gaming experiences. It is even more harder to make a website for them that is calm, informative and contains none of those news media political stuff that they often were.

 

what they play site is not around anymore?

 

I am sad :(

Lei_11
Lei_11

Your philosophy is honest and interesting, but we are definitely on a different page regarding the subject. For me, the shift towards a wider gaming audience was where many games took a hard hit in terms of quality (i daresay even effort put into them). This of course has everything to do with my taste in games, as it always does. Most certainly do I praise the experimental nature of the nintendo-branch, but I do not applaud their choice of target audience. It's ironic you refer to it as the 'maturation' of gaming, when in fact the games are being dumbed down to the point where I am left unfulfilled (a development not unique to nintendo unfortunately). For nintendo specificaly, I feel the wii was a horrible direction. It only has had 5 games that were fun to play with my mates: like SSBB and Excite truck.

Even mariokart wii failed to copy what made its predecessors so great. They failed to copy that! Copy paste, come on! But even metalgear solid 4 failed to copy paste the good parts of 2 and 3 so it must be a fad to screw up or something.. i digress..

 

Fast forward to 2012, there are at least some games that try to stay rich in content, push the bar both graphicaly and technically and deliver an experience that might still stir the brain for guys like me who've been around for a while. I admit that most of them are just repeating some formula (another fps, another coverbased 3'dps etc), but I can clearly see that they have tried to go 'deeper' experience-wise (lastofus/watchdogs/tombraider).

 

I was going to rant more, but I just found out I can sum it up with: "I cant believe you are praising those crappy nintendo games as being genius. I cant believe it!" I think the wii-u has great potential, but its likely to just become a wii-fit tool, if they keep up those mii-inspired games

 

 

 

28362g
28362g

I know how biased I might sound when I say this, so I'll just start out by strictly saying that this my opinion and nothing else. I'm not declaring anything or whatever.

 

So the way I view it, I would say that the PS3, by far, gives the best single-player experience. However, Nintendo consoles, closely followed up by the Xbox360, gives the best multiplayer experience, and when I mean multiplayer, I don't mean online; I mean with your friends, all in the same room. While FPS games like COD are fun for a while, its easy to get tired of them and not everybody plays/enjoys FPS are COD especially. And correct if I'm wrong (I might be), but some of the best multiplayer experiences from the Xbox360 and PS3 are from FPS. Nintendo on the other hand gives a variety of games that are both unique and whacky and sometimes don't even make sense (which are sometimes the ones that you have the most fun with when playing with friends). And to say more, many people I know played the Wii at least once, either they owned it, sold it, or played it at someone else's house. In that sense, its really easy to find people who have played Wii games and enjoy playing them with other people. I think Nintendo, when playing games with friends, provides a nice break from hardcore games and FPS.

 

Then again, I could be wrong and it is just my opinion. Feel free to respond.

28362g
28362g

I don't think you can ever emulate the feelings you get when you play against/with your friends and laugh and enjoy at the awesome/stupid things you do with them.

marco1k1
marco1k1

I'm sorry, but your out right wrong.

 

Well to be more correct your generalizing to much, oh and thanks for the insult by the way - that was called for and totally not just stereotyping a whole category of people.

 

My peak of fun with gaming has mostly been with a couple games namely World Of Warcraft and the Halo series from 1-3 to even Halo: Reach but to a much lesser extent.

 

Oh and before you say it, yes I knew at least half the people I played WoW with and the other games I played online, I didn't need to be in the same room with them all the time (although yes that can enhance game play sometimes but its not necessary to get the most out of gaming) I had a fantastic time doing casual raiding and in doing so made a really good and frankly healthy circle of friends online and offline.

 

I don't play the game any more but I've kept that strong circle of friends and talk to them daily, as for the 'casual gaming scene' I don't dislike it however I do feel that it really has and will continue to dumb down the experience of many titles that otherwise could of been great.

 

The problem with peoples opinions of gaming is that when they see a Video Game they see it as something completely different to watching a movie or going out and playing a sport when it really isn't different than either, Its a pass-time just like the others, no more important or different or most importantly worth any more time than the other things mentioned.

Fresh_C
Fresh_C

I can't believe he actually used the phrase "existential gameplay".

 

I really hope that particular buzzword does not catch on, since I'm 99% sure it doesn't mean what he thinks it means. At least not if you're using a dictionary. And if he is referring to the actual meaning of existentialism, I think he got a lot more out of that Wii U presentation than I did.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

This is a great article, one that I completely agree with. While I do play my share of violent M rated games (primarily for the story line, sometimes for the gameplay), I'm always super eager to be able to sit down with a group of friends and play a game together. I love what the Wii U represents and support it completely. Waiting on a price set so I know how much I need to save up.

adnauseum88
adnauseum88

Shigeru Miyamoto sounded off on a similar subject at the last E3, saying that games aren't what they used to be and that games nowadays are too focused on 1st person shooters. This IS the guy that created Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda after all...

http://bit.ly/KPlsit

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

'After being ghettoized as being for "the hardcore" for so long'

 

ya now games are made for scum of the earth noobs, and they dont make products for us anymore, why do you think the market is down this year ANOTHER 25%?  The industry has lost touch and has focused so hard on expanding their borders, they drove away the base of players that followed them most.   I used to purchase games every week, now i go months at a time, and even then pick them up in the $5 bin.

TeeniestChaos
TeeniestChaos

What is the 'long story' behind What They Play?

 

I'm not a parent, but used to use it to search for T-rated games that would still be appropriate for younger siblings and extended family.

 

 

spiritualchemy
spiritualchemy

I appreciate this article and the perspective that is has brought in terms of how gaming can facilitate social development in an enjoyable and harmlessly distracting fashion.  I would say, however, that Nintendo has painted itself into a corner.  The company largely shunned "core gamers" to capture a generalized audience new to the gaming atmosphere.  Many of these individuals were new to gaming and found the Wii more than approachable.  Problem now is Nintendo faces advancing technology and competition from Microsoft who has aimed at the same audience while still serving the core gamer.  How does Nintendo convince their newfound consumer base to shell out the cash for the Wii U?  Most of these folks aren't concerned about graphics and processing power, they need to be sold on the functionality and experiences you have illustrated.  Is this promoted experience enough to sell these individuals on a system that has also needed to boost it's processing power to recapture the core gamers?  Is the moderate boost in processing power (presumably so for cost effectiveness) enough to convince core gamers when the new X-Box and PlayStation will be graphical behemoths in comparison?  When the Wii U was first unveiled and reacted to with a loss of investor trust seems to echo the same concerns and skepticism I have.  A precarious position indeed.

swanlyjosh
swanlyjosh

While E3 may have been somewhat depressing for you, don't forgot that in the last few years the Kinect and Move have been EXTREMELY successful (the Kinect moreso of course).  So while this year may have been dark and gritty, don't discount what's been happening in the 'real world' of gaming.  There will always be a place for hardcore gaming but with the gaming revolution brought on by the Wii and expanded upon by the Kinect and Move, you can be sure social gaming is here to stay.

 

If there is a problem with social gaming it isn't with Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft or any of their peripherals they've produced, it's with the game developers not willing to take a risk and develop for these new technologies.

eastley000
eastley000

I agree.  I think services like Xbox Live and PSN are impressive, but I also really like Nintendo's take on it.  I honestly don't mind the Wii is stuck with friend codes. I mean it does hurt the online play aspect, but when it comes down to the most enjoyable gaming moments I've had, they are when I had a tons of friends packed around the TV playing Smash Bros. or something like that. Other games like Battlefield 3 are awesome, yet I feel their 'social' aspect is missing because if I want to play with my friends, it means we are simply on a team together and get to talk through a microphone. Nintendo's take on social gaming is refreshing to me, and that's why I find the WiiU appealing.

ScorpionBeeBee
ScorpionBeeBee

4 player SSBM in my living room with my best buddies has been the best "social" gaming experience I have ever had.  I never got that feeling from online multiplayer, even with friends instead of randoms.  Sitting near each other and gloating in each other's face cannot be replicated over the internet tubes.

-Shadowbinded-
-Shadowbinded-

Very nice article.  It's even made me rethink something... I tend to think the Wii U will be way less powerful than the next XBox and PS3, but Nintendo DOES have a strong philosophy about games being for everyone and also trying to bring everyone together.  Rethinking my point of view, by making the Wii U not-as-powerful, it is more affordable (just like the Wii was so affordable, that many households had one, even if it was a secondary console).  By making it more affordable, you're inviting people to enjoy the console, while the console invites them to enjoy this kind of entertainment with friends and family.

 

The world needs more companies like Nintendo.  Focused on their audience and consumers.

NickyWithATicky
NickyWithATicky

Good article.

The newest NFS Hot Pursuit (the one made by Criterion) used 'autolog' to show how social it was, declaring on the back "Race against your friends" in large letters.

But it didn't have local play. I was enraged!

RX-78MajiGundam
RX-78MajiGundam

there was waaay too many shooters in e3 this year. i found it really odd. btw, theres was many fighting games through the year. i find that to be very social.  

Gaticus
Gaticus

Well said sir!  This article perfectly sums up my feelings on game direction over the past 15 years or so.  My sons play only approved games and I get to enjoy the dynamic that having them involoved in these games brings to me and them.  I feel enriched by the experience that I have with my family while gaming, instead of divided and I'm glad someone else noticed (Nintendo Wii U) that this is the way it needs to be!

noah364
noah364

Wow. Most sentimental article about video games since, uh, since something.  He makes a very good point, but so many people have already thrown "social" gaming to the wind, that I fear for Nintendo's future.

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

I like what this guy is saying--but I also love games like BF3 or Counter Strike: Source. I wouldn't trade those for any "social experience". But he does have a point. Whenever I play Super Mario Bros. Wii with all of my brothers, it's always a blast. Always. Nintendo really has nailed it on the whole "social" thing, but I won't be getting the Wii U and I hope it the best of luck. But I also hope Microsoft and Sony continue doing what they do best: making a powerful system that is capable of handling all of the "hardcore" games, if that's what you want to call them. Microsoft is able to reach out to both the social and hardcore gamer markets with Kinect, and I hope they keep it that way. I'd rather MIcrosoft reach out to both of the markets than reach out just to the Social market, like Nintendo has been doing.

poorboy13
poorboy13

 @benandmax but games like Portal 1 and 2 are counted as FPS and they are very intriguing concepts, that must have required a fair amount of imagination. They also do not flout extreme violence, and actually use the player's brain, rare in recent games.

alchemist-Ed
alchemist-Ed

 @antoun32 Kid Icarus Uprising was not some lame generic shooter wannabe. Its a lot better then you are giving it credit for. But i do agree that nintendo needs to pick up the slack. I liked the Prime series but a new 2d Metroid would be an awesome idea. I loved the old Metroids so that would a nice trip down memory lane. Also Other M was a Nice mix of new and old. My only complaints about Other M was that while it was cool to hearSamus talk more she talked waaaay too much. So if they make her talk again they should tone it down a bit.

Orbitz89
Orbitz89

 @28362g I just wanted to say that you didn't sound biased at all.. at least not to me, I agree with what you have said.

swanlyjosh
swanlyjosh

 @Crush_Project some of those 'scum of the earth noobs' are 'social gamers' who help boost the industry. 

 

As for the market being down somewhat it's because there really haven't been any exciting game releases recently apart from Diablo III.  Everything is cyclical anyway, there's no point bringing up negative market figures unless they're continuously negative, which might signal a real issue.

swanlyjosh
swanlyjosh

 @spiritualchemy I don't think Nintendo have ever 'shunned core gamers'. I know that it's a popular Nintendo-gamer-victim attitude to suggest they have and given there's no other group of people in the world that like to regurgitate victim rhetoric like gamers the attitude prevails, but I've never felt that way.  The current problem isn't with Nintendo, it's with game developers.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

 @swanlyjosh 'There will always be a place for hardcore gaming'

 

Um ya it was called the 90's.  If you think hardcore gaming still exists today, then your not a hardcore gamer...

spiritualchemy
spiritualchemy

 @ScorpionBeeBee It cannot be replicated over internet tubes, I agree.  But, when the GoldenEye generation (as I hail from) grows up, gets careers, has families, moves to new locations, etc. how do you recreate these experiences?  I suspect efforts such as "X-Box Live Party" is probably the best method in place until the idea is innovated upon.

trollkind
trollkind

 @-Shadowbinded- Meh. Nintendo has the most expensive controllers though and they bet on you to get 3-4 of them and if one of the three next gen consoles is a bit weaker but not weak enough to warrant it's own version, it will drag down multiplatform titles. As similar as the hardware now get's, the big three should just get together and produce a single console for all of them and sell games and peripherals. More media services for everyone, three online shops, everybody can play every game, developers can get the most out of the hardware.

spiritualchemy
spiritualchemy

 @RX-78MajiGundam Not sure what you mean by having more fighting games being more social in comparison to shooters.  GoldenEye was every bit as social as Street Fighter and Tekken.  These fighting games, however, have taken the online route every bit as much as shooters.  I doubt many more people are actually gathering together to rock Street Fighter/Soul Caliber/Mortal Kombat any more than they are for Halo Reach/Battlefield 3/Gears of War/CoD.

LinkLuigi
LinkLuigi

 @RX-78MajiGundam I would really love to agree with you on fighters, but that is one of those genres of games that tends to divide. My brother is a champ at fighters, enough for tourney level play. He grew up on Street Fighter. I can never play with him, as he's just too good; he'll have to lower himself to me, and that's no fun, and I'll be losing without a chance of victory.

 

Same with my mother and games. It's no fun playing games with her, as I'm much better at games than she. Nintendo seemed to understand that. She loves Mario Bros. Wii. I can still outdo her easily, but it doesn't feel like I'm lowering myself to get to her level.

spiritualchemy
spiritualchemy

 @Gaticus Question is, does Nintendo offer an experience in Wii U to casual gamers rewarding enough to convince them it's worth $400+?  How do you convince them the Wii U is a must have when most feel the Wii still satisfies that need? (Especially when graphics aren't a concern for them)

benandmax
benandmax

 @poorboy13 100% agreed - I actually owned Portal 2 for a while, and while it wasn't my type of game, it was a very clever game.  I think it would be easy for the big N to just put out a high performance machine, fill it with violent titles and make lots of money (much like the 360).  Instead they're going the innovative route, which I think takes courage.

-Shadowbinded-
-Shadowbinded-

I'm not sure what your point here is.  Although from what you're saying, you're practically comparing all three consoles.  You are welcome to disagree with me, but I'd say each has their very unique paths.  It's not just about hardware, it's about software and their goals and philosophies.  Nintendo has always stood out precisely because of that: they've tried to appeal to every gamer, to bring people together via gaming experiences.

And I was pointing out that just maybe Nintendo makes a weaker console so that it's more affordable to the general public (even to families who aren't precisely interested in gaming; families with little kids in which parents aren't gamers usually have Wii over PS3 and Xbox).

 

Also, I think a merge between the three wouldn't be too successful for the same reason: all three have different approaches, philosophies, audiences, policies, etc.  They are different worlds in terms of what defines them as companies (not just having a console which can play the same games as the other console).

RX-78MajiGundam
RX-78MajiGundam

 @spiritualchemy most shooters nowadays have completely ditch there split screen capability. goldeneye was an nintendo classic that was very fun and simple to play, unlike most shooters nowadays... im not sure why you brought that up. with fighting games,  its always best to play with a friend offline. you can joke around, fight drunk, run a tourney (a very social event might i add) and form a team. the thing that fighting games bring to the table is hype. with hype , you can have fun just watching others play. kinda like chilling with your friends and watching a boxing match. 

 

also im not saying fighting games are more social than shooters, but if you look at this year's e3, most of the shooters are single player to online multiplayer ONLY. we need split screen and fun, not so complicated gameplay to comeback hard.

Gaticus
Gaticus

 @spiritualchemy I agree with you about the pricetag concerns, but I believe that Nintendo will address those issues, or maybe already have, by not having a capacitive touchscreen.  Capacitive TS's are much more expensive, but allow for multitouch use.  Whereas Resistive TS's only allow a single touch input at one time.  By doing this I believe that Nintendo will keep the cost either just at or just under the $400 mark.  Now I know you will have to buy a game, but that is a hurdle with all new consoles.  Perhaps they will bundle some hardware showcase game akin to Wii Sports with the Wii U to get ppl on board with the new console much quicker than with a console that doesn't come with a "showcase" game.  Also, the ability to use your online streaming accounts out of the box, i.e. Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu, etc.  While not tieing up the television to which the console is attached will be a selling point as well.  Remember, while the Tablet market is growing, not everyone has one and the Wii U gives you a "Tablet" and gaming console... For right around $400.  $200 for a tablet and $200 for the newest console, I think consumers will buy it on the promise of a cheap "Tablet" alone.  I'm on board for the console, as I'm sure you can tell. ;)

Orbitz89
Orbitz89

 @Crush_Project So then where are the Hardcore gaming "master race" to save us poor idiots from the impending doom of gaming? Oh right, they're not buying anything because jack shit is being released and everything is being recycled into purified bullshit. Thank god for companies like Nintendo who actually want to change something.. anything, in this boring bro-tard focused industry.

-Shadowbinded-
-Shadowbinded-

 @trollkind On the first note, Nintendo did, in fact, try to appeal to every gamer.  They just failed miserably; the Wii Remote was not at all conventional.  Those mistakes will cost them a whole bunch of Wii U sales (I, for one, am not planning on getting one); where is the support for hardcore gamers?  When developers see a conventional controller versus the Wii Remote, and they want to make a conventional control setup, they quickly discard the Wii as an option.  Right there you lose a lot of third-party support.  Again, I'm not saying 'hey, let's all forget about Sony and MS and go buy a Wii U', I'm just saying that, for now, it looks like a friendlier console when you're considering good ol' entertainment (*sigh* those were the days, playing N64 with friends).And you're talking about the consumer and developer sides of the story.  Every consumer would rather have a single box to watch TV, play games,  surf the web and do everything, but it's not a possibility.  Why do we have different phone companies? Why not mix them all together and have a wider variety of phones and better coverage?  It's the same thing.  Why not play on a single box, and simply connect whatever you're going to use to that box?  It's a win for consumers, a win for developers, but an enormous loss for the big three.  So I'm not at all against having a single Wii-XStation that does everything, but I know that it's not going to be a possibility for the foreseeable future.  Why does everyone carry around a different brand of laptop?  Why do some run on Windows, others on Linux, and others on Mac?  Why not take the best of each and make one heck of a machine?  Some ideas are just perfect for most and horrible for a tiny few...

trollkind
trollkind

 @-Shadowbinded- Nintendo doesn't appeal to every gamer, that's what held them back the last decade, they only appeal to long time Nintendo fans with their first party staples and introduce new audiences to console gaming, be they seniors or families. Maybe they manage to get everyone now with the next gen but I doubt that the  GoW and Halo crowd will suddenly consider the Wii-U as their first console.

 

" It's not just about hardware, it's about software and their goals and philosophies."

Exactly, so why not stop making three consoles, now that they get more comparable in their tech inside. At least at the beginning, they lose money on every console sold anyway since it's basically a PC for half or a third of the normal price. They could all still use their controllers through USB and adapters, same with Kinect/Move, you could multiboot into the three services. I only see upsides, especially for us gamers. It won't become reality anytime soon though since none of the three want to give their competitor any ground. On rereading your comment, I don't mean the companies merging, not at all, just all three staying the same but producing for the same box. Rather acting as a super publisher than a hardware seller I bet developers would love to only produce one version of every game too.