Okamoto: DS Market In Danger Of 'Atari Crash'
Talking as part of an in-depth interview
published on Gamasutra, Game Republic founder and Street Fighter II
creator Yoshiki Okamoto has issued a sharp warning on the glut of DS software.
Okamoto was a 20-year veteran of Capcom, creating titles such as Time Pilot
, and also ran independent developer Flagship (Zelda, Resident Evil
titles), before going on to create Genji
developer Game Republic in 2004.
According to initial comments from Okamoto, whose firm recently signed a deal
with Brash Entertainment to work on a major Western movie license, Nintendo's success is still leading to problems in the market - firstly with first-party game software dominance:
"Looking at the way things are right now, it is a fact that first-party Wii games are the only titles selling well. But if the first-party titles are selling, third-party games should be able to sell too, so long as their creators have a good working relationship with Nintendo.
I think the problem is a lack of understanding between third-party developers, like us, and Nintendo, and this relationship needs to improve for the games to improve.
Also, as a developer, when you admit that Nintendo's games are selling well, you also have to face the fact that the games you've made that flopped haven't been good enough."
Later on, when asked for specifically about the Nintendo DS market in Japan and worldwide, Okamoto explains the concerns of some:
"...actually, and again, and this is those whispering voices saying this, but you've started hearing the phrase "Atari crash" pretty frequently. People are talking about how the second "Atari crash" is around the corner. And Nintendo is the one that has to figure out a way to stop it.
In Japan we often say that history repeats itself, and it's going to take some serious effort to keep it from happening this time.
Japan had its economic bubble in the late eighties, and that burst. I think some of the same things are happening in the American economy right now. Like, they're going to have to do something to prevent it. It's foolish to keep making the same mistakes people have already made.
So, Nintendo's going to need some sort of strategy to deal with this. I think it's a fact that the market blew up more rapidly than even they thought it would. And the faster something expands, the easier it is for it to deflate again, right? I hope they come up with a way to avoid this with the DS. But for one thing, there are way too many titles out all at once."
Finally, when asked about the expansion of the kind of companies making DS software - particularly true in Japan, Okamoto explains:
"[At least in Japan] all sorts of companies that have never made games before are getting involved. I mean, the cost of development is really next to nothing. And what about this flood of "brain training" games? Can they really keep that up?
Nintendo put a lot of thought into the original, and ran some really cool commercials for it. But some of these companies just slap something together, put the word "brain" in the title, and release it. There are a ton of them, and barely any of them are interesting."
The full interview with Game Republic's Okamoto
is now available on Gamasutra, with a wealth of other information about the executive and designer's history with Capcom, his views on Game Republic's titles to date, and much more.