N+: Beyond The Postmortem
March 21, 2008 Page 3 of 5
But if you think about a hundred games, the quality of most of the DS games, say, what's going to happen? You're going to have a whole lot of crap.
NW: But if there's a rating system in there, it might be okay.
RB: I've literally downloaded every game on GameHippo, and there's one good one for every thousand games. But it's a really good game! But I don't think many people are going to have the patience to slog through it.
And you can't trust the ratings on
GameHippo, either, because a lot of people rate up just shooters. Space
shooters are popular for some reason. Games that aren't necessarily
great get rated up. I think that's way more interesting. I'd love it
if it was more like PC. But then again... just play freeware PC games.
NW: There's no real "YouTube for games," though. [Microsoft subsequently announced its Xbox Live community games feature after this interview at GDC.]
But I don't trust YouTube ratings or number of views or anything like that. If there were searching and tags and stuff, and if you could see what your friends like, that would be good.
NW: Which is part of why that's such a big deal in Xbox Live Arcade, seeing what your friends are playing and stuff like that.
RB: I think the thing with Live Arcade, though, is that I remember the last year and the year before. Two years ago was when we were first talking with Microsoft about doing it, it was really exciting, because Live Arcade had just came out, and they were like, "Oh, it's new. It's not going to be like retail. There's not going to be all this crap. There's going to be all these small, great, fun things."
But now it's exactly the same. There's all these big-budget ones with big publishers making them, and the real problem, I think, is that the same people who are deciding what retail games get greenlit are deciding what Live Arcade games get greenlit.
I guess it's because they have a lot of power that no one has pointed out that that's the primary reason. Those decisions that are ruining Live Arcade... it's like, who greenlit Word Puzzle? Who green-lit that hoverboard game that's just shit?
Nick has this racing...do you know Iron Man Off-Road Racing, like the old arcade game? It's four-player, and a little isometric. Nick made a racing game like that, and Microsoft was like, "Well, racing is too saturated on Live Arcade." But that's because they've greenlit like ten really shitty racing games. There's no good racing games.
They have that Yaris game.
RB: Oh my god. Exactly! That's the whole thing. They all suck. It's like, when we started out, we were excited, just like with N. There were 30 games on Live Arcade. If N was one of them, it would stand out. Now there's like a hundred games, and they're all shit.
MS: People are used to seeing crap on there.
RB: If I was a consumer, I could see not even looking at Live Arcade games anymore if I had downloaded 10 or 20 demos, because at a certain point, you're like, "Whatever. Maybe there's a good game in here." But it's like GameHippo.
By the same token, one thing is that when they're only releasing one or two games each week, all you have to compete against theoretically for mindshare of new people is that one game, because the graphics in N are really different.
It's not flashy. It's really reliant
on people playing it to get it. If it came out with 30 games that week,
that might be rough, because it doesn't have a real attract mode.
RB: For sure. Going back to the demo thing, I think if there was no playable demo of N, nobody would buy it, definitely. I don't know. We'll see how it does.
It could go either way. One thing is, we don't have much information about what sells. It's really hard. We keep asking. I know you can get detailed sales. We have one spreadsheet from a year ago with very detailed everything, but they won't give it.
NW: It's not coming from Microsoft.
RB: No. It's like we had to sneak and get someone to give it to us.
Yeah, it's really hard to get industry sales figures anywhere at all.
RB: And we really want to know how many people do follow. The thing I suspect with N+ is that anyone who follows and knows what's coming out that week already knows about N. We don't need to attract those people. We need to attract the sort of people who are like... well, we don't really check.
We know what's come out in the last couple of weeks because they bumped us, but in previous weeks, it would be like two or three weeks since we checked, and we could go, "Oh, what's up?" And there's a list. It's that sort of appeal. If you're on the Internet, and you're hardcore, you're probably going to like N anyways. But I don't know how many people that is.
NW: I hope a lot of blogs and stuff
pick it up, because that's usually how I go and check out an Xbox Live
Arcade game. I see somebody mention, "Hey, this game just came
out and it's awesome." And I'll go check it out. But otherwise,
I'm not one of those people who goes back to look at what's coming out.
RB: It's like, how is Uno the best-selling game on there? That really... that doesn't make any sense. It really doesn't. Street Fighter II you can see, because everyone played it and it was popular. But Uno... I didn't realize the 360 was popular with that crowd.
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