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Nintendo Europe boss blasts Microsoft, GTA

David Gosen launches attacks on Xbox Next, M-rated games, European retailers, and the games media during his ELSPA Games Summit speech.


During a recent speech at the ELSPA Games Summit in London, David Gosen, the managing director of Nintendo Europe, reportedly accused both Microsoft and the games media of focusing too much on the next generation of consoles. Gosen also took the opportunity to level criticisms at European retailers and the Grand Theft Auto series.

Microsoft, according to Gosen, is attempting to drive the industry into the next hardware transition too early by aiming to launch its next console in 2005--just four years after the Xbox launch. Gosen even went so far as to suggest that games' profitability is not Microsoft's key motivation, and he described the current generational cycle as a "self-fulfilling prophecy."

"In every cycle, some manufacturer not profiting from the current cycle is eager to kick-start the next one," said Gosen, who went on to cite the failed 3DO console as an example of why he believes that being the first console to market isn't necessarily important.

The games media, Gosen believes, is also to blame for the industry's preoccupation with next-generation hardware and software because it focuses on it at the expense of current-generation coverage. "For every game magazine editor bored with current products, there are hundreds of thousands of gamers around the world just discovering them," argued Gosen. "Hard as it may be for those editors to believe, not everyone outside their circle is prepared to pay a high price for a new console."

European retailers were criticized primarily for bundling large numbers of games, many of them of poor quality, with consoles. "If we give consumers 10 games in a bundle, of which eight are sure to disappoint, what have we actually achieved?" Gosen asked. "A disaffected consumer." Gosen went on to claim that every game given away for free with a console is potentially taking away hours that players could be spending with titles they've actually paid for.

Seemingly not wishing to exclude anyone, Gosen also found time to criticize the industry as a whole for its preoccupation with mature games. He accused publishers and developers that, at the expense of older, female, and younger players, catered to gamers that grew up with video games (and who are now in their thirties). Gosen went on to describe the Grand Theft Auto franchise as a "dead-end street," and that, as a businessperson, he doesn't relish the role of trying to defend the games industry from charges of gratuitous violence.

Ending on a slightly more positive note, Gosen concluded that the games industry is smarter for having been through these transitions before and learning from them. He also stated that he remains optimistic about the transition to the next generation of consoles.

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