Keeping Nintendo Outside the PC Box

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Posted by Rotondi (1834 posts) -
What Game sold the best last year? Call of Duty you say? Give me more of that, just name it Titanfall or something.

The opinion that Nintendo needs to do what it can to pull itself back into booming positive sales figures by firing Iwata and putting in his place someone that better "understands" the Western market is asinine. Not because it could possibly increase sales (which is the obvious way to look at it) in the future, but what it does to the integrity of Nintendo. Nintendo is a company which has been one of the (if not the) leading innovators in video games in hardware and in software till this very day and will continue to be if they maintain their same leadership. Nothing suggests otherwise. When someone looks at anything solely in terms of profit and increasing sales, something which Nintendo has never prioritized, innovation and creativity ALWAYS fall to the background.

PC has got more leaves, more light, SAME GAME, and a bigger draw distance.

A main complaint about the Wii U is that it has lost third-party support more than any other console in the history of consoles. Low sales figures are certainly a reason for this, why produce a game for a system that nobody owns? Yet another reason, a more important reason, is because right now risk-taking in game design is at an absolute LOW. Sony designed a console that was easy to design for, one that is pretty much a PC. Microsoft did the same thing, of course. In the world of PC, Playstation, and XBOX gaming, video game design will continue on the way it was before. The developers who made games for the PS3 and Xbox 360 don't need to learn anything new or think outside the box. If you just watch any interview with developers about creating games for "Next-Gen" hardware (specifically the PS4 and XBONE), you'll find their answers to be rather deadpan and redundant. Answers like, "yea, we're looking forward to putting more stuff in our games and boosting the graphics; where we were hitting design walls before, we can bulldoze right through those now [...until we hit are next wall]".

To give third parties what they want, Nintendo needs a device that looks and acts like the other devices on the market. This way it is absolutely no pain for them to bring their game over to a Nintendo console. Now, at the end of the day, we have not two, but three video game consoles that from a hardware standpoint are virtually the same thing. For major third-parties, game design is about producing something that has been tested to work. The way they impress you (and by distinguishing it from what came before it) is by boosting the graphics, the frame-rate, the amount of crap you can do in a game. Nintendo has rarely thought this way. Video games to Nintendo are about producing a product that survives the test of time, a product that is replayable alone and with your buddies. Everything else is lower in the totem pole.

Is it a movie? Is it a game? Whatever dude! There's SPLOSIONS!!!

Sony and Microsoft exclusives are pretty much in line with what is being produced by third-parties in terms of gameplay design. Which is, visuals and a gameplay structure that has been proven to work. For example, games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us and Assassin's Creed are all very similar type of games and are marketed as such. Microsoft does the same thing with Halo and Gears of War, visuals are at the helm of design. Third Parties and Exclusives on those two consoles are almost all indistinguishable (There might be an exception or two -- little big planet). While it may seem like nothing, The Wii U has a much stronger and clearer identity than both the PS4 and XBONE. The software you can play on the Wii U is vastly different, within its own library and weighed against the software on other platforms.

How do I make a game that's not just about SPLOSIONS and maxing out the consoles graphics card?

In this sense Nintendo encourages third-parties to think outside the box. To put a game on the Wii U isn't as easy as just porting the game over. Visuals can no longer be the priority. Take Zombie U: Zombie U was a struggle for Ubisoft. It required them to break from their comfort zone and put in probably the most video game design effort they put into a game since the first Far Cry. Anyone who has played Zombie U KNOWS that Ubisoft was on the brink of creating something absolutely brilliant. Far more brilliant and unique than anything they're producing today. However there were bugs, probably due to rushing it for launch, and many of them. Whatever the reason, fans of the game still scream for a second. When Watch Dogs arrives on the Wii U the impact will be far less remarkable. Sure, Ubisoft will find a few clever uses for the gamepad but at the end of the day it will still just be Watch Dogs, which is playable on all platforms.

They are always easy ways out. Nintendo could just produce a PC in a box right now and maybe see some higher sales figures. Is this is the answer though? Is this the right thing to do? I personally would love for Nintendo to keep thinking outside the [PC] in a box and keeping designing hardware that hasn't been tested before. To continue to lead innovation through software and creativity then to see Nintendo just become another "Box."

Here's to another Nintendo console that's more baffling to Western consumers than the Wii U!

#1 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19319 posts) -

I'l drink to that ! :p

#2 Edited by CarnageHeart (18316 posts) -

Your claim Nintendo has never worried about profits or marketshare is flat out false. Nintendo bragged about its profits and marketshare all the time (when/where it had them).

The Wii U wasn't risky, it was stupid. It was literally the opposite of the philosophy that made the Wii a success (a simple, novel interface, cheap HW and original games aimed at people who found conventional games boring or intimidating). The Wii U had a hideously complex interface which mashed together tablets and conventional controllers (both very familiar to gamers), expensive hardware (in no small part because of the controller) and even its minigame collection was aimed at Nintendo's core fans.

Its also worth pointing out that making a system hard to program for and giving it a gimmicky interface doesn't foster creativity. While Sony and MS have a broad range of games on their platformers made by a broad range of developers (first, second and third parties plus indies) on the Wii U, an ever more isolated Nintendo has been cranking out Mario games faster than ever. 2013 was the Year of Luigi. 2014 will apparently be the year of Cranky Kong. Maybe that will work out better for Nintendo, but I doubt it.

If one wants to foster creativity, one should make hardware easy to develop and try to create the sort of audience that appreciates original games (by giving them a steady supply of such games). Sony and MS have done a good job of that. Nintendo has not.

Nintendo has focused more on short term profits ('There are lots of Mario fans, so we should make lots of Mario games!') than anything else. Since companies reap what they sow, their ever narrower portfolio has resulted in an ever narrower core audience (in the console arena). As a result, the odd original core game (Zombi U, Muramasa, Zack and Wiki and The Wonderful 101 spring to mind) goes over about as well on Nintendo consoles as a hamburger that is offered every 99th day at a vegan restaurant.

#3 Posted by LeftClick007 (77 posts) -

I thought the Wii U was a "PC in a box", just relatively weak box compared to the new xbox and ps4...From the looks of it though Nintendo might end up like Sega