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Nintendo's hard path to third-party support in 2013 Exclusive
Nintendo's hard path to third-party support in 2013
February 11, 2013 | By Matt Matthews

February 11, 2013 | By Matt Matthews
Comments
    86 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



We'd like to see the Nintendo Wii U attract great third-party software support -- but Nintendo's shrinking share among third-party publishers' revenues is difficult to ignore. Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews takes an in-depth look.

With Nintendo's Wii U finally on store shelves, the company has a brief window during 2013 when it can lay sole claim to the "next-generation console" moniker.

In a few short weeks, both Sony and Microsoft will make announcements for their next iterations of video game hardware, but these systems likely won't be in consumer hands until October, at the earliest. For the majority of the year the Wii U should technically be the system to watch.

Regrettably, during what should be a honeymoon period, Nintendo is beset by troubling stories on all fronts. I wrote in January that the number of titles scheduled for release through the beginning of March seemed low, even though the system did launch with a large number of titles in November. In the company's third fiscal quarter briefing a few days later, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata addressed this very aspect of their business, saying "because of some delays on the development side, we were unable to continuously supply [Wii U] software at the beginning of this calendar year."

On the technical side, Nintendo has been cagey about the full Wii U specifications but the investigators at Eurogamers' Digital Foundry believe that new high-resolution shots of the hardware inside the system "finally rule out any next-gen pretensions for the Wii U." In other words, the Wii U could still be a step behind in terms of processing power when newer systems from Microsoft and Sony launch later this year (though that didn't hurt the Wii so much, at least for its first few years on the market).

A quick look at UK software

After I expressed some disappointment with November and December Wii U sales in the U.S., I knew the next time I could likely get a good bead on another market would be when the tally of figures from the UK arrived. While Wii U software has largely been absent from the charts in the UK, it's difficult to get a real sense of size just from the placement (or, in this case, absence) of software titles on a chart.

But with the release of some additional information, the picture has gotten a bit more clear. According to the retail trade magazine MCV UK, the figures for January 2013 paint a grim picture for the Wii U and for Nintendo in general. I've laid out some rough estimates for the changes over the past two years in the table below.



While everyone has suffered in the UK market, it is clear that Nintendo has suffered more than either Sony or Microsoft in the past year. In absolute terms, each lost between 200,000 and 300,000 units from January 2011 to January 2012. However the Wii lost 350,000 units of software from January 2012 to January 2013 while the Xbox 360 and PS3 saw their sales decline by merely 50,000 and 28,000 respectively.

More troubling, the decline in Wii software is eight times larger than the increase due to the introduction of the Wii U. This isn't to say that the Wii U should pick up right where the Wii left off. Rather, the timing of the Wii U launch so late in the Wii's life has all but guaranteed a very rough generational transition. The company appears to have abandoned the Wii too soon and now the Wii U is stumbling out of the gate.

A similar story is playing out with the transition from the Nintendo DS to the 3DS. Not only have sales of the Nintendo DS dropped over 75 percent in the past two years, but the Nintendo 3DS itself didn't see its sales rise from January of last year to January of this year. Far from making up for lost NDS software sales, the 3DS is itself contracting, at least in this first month of the year.

The third-party challenge, in numbers

On the NeoGAF forum, some of these figures were made public last week in a post I made there, and in the ensuing discussion a common theme emerged: The state of third-party support for the Wii U as development for Microsoft's and Sony's new systems begins to take shape.

One instance that may encapsulate third-parties' console strategies is Ubisoft's announcement last week that its Rayman Legends title, formerly considered a Wii U exclusive, would be delayed until September, when Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions would launch alongside the Wii U version.

All of this got me wondering just how dependent Western third parties were on Nintendo for their revenues. So I pulled together the data I had lying around and came up with the following picture for Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Take-Two and Ubisoft. It shows the total revenue for those four big publishers over the past three years.

(Here's the fine print: These are, I believe, all GAAP figures which account for deferred revenue. This is a somewhat involved accounting technique whose effect, I believe, is less important when viewed over longer periods of time, like a full year. The Ubisoft revenue was converted to U.S. dollars using the average exchange rate from euros on a quarterly basis. Moreover, I have excluded the revenue from World of Warcraft, which would add about another $2 billion per year on top of each bar.)



Back in 2010, Nintendo accounted for around 20 percent of the revenue for these publishers. That fell to 17 percent in 2011 and then only 12 percent in 2012. This isn't just a case of Nintendo maintaining the same level of revenue as the pie got bigger, however. In each year, the amount of revenue that Nintendo's platforms are contributing is also getting smaller.

By contrast, every other segment is seeing growth: the Xbox 360 revenue is up 18 percent since 2010 while revenue on Sony's PlayStation platforms has gone up 16 percent. That other segment, which contains PC video game revenue, revenue on mobile platforms, and (in the case of Activision Blizzard) all those Skylanders toys, has more than doubled in value, up over 140 percent in just two years.

The reality is that for every $8 of revenue these four biggest third party publishers generated last year, only $1 came from Nintendo platforms. And when they look back at prior results, they see that Nintendo is one of the segments where they are seeing contraction rather than growth. Even if that $1 has a higher profit margin than the other $7, it will likely be the Nintendo project that gets cut when a big publisher is making the tough decisions.

Nintendo has a rough road ahead of them this year. Once Microsoft and Sony make their announcements, Nintendo will need to work very hard to control the message that gets repeated in the media. They need third party developers out there putting the Wii U right at the top of their big software projects. The Wii U's exclusive features will need to be touted loudly and often, like the ability to take a game off the TV and continue playing it on the Wii U controller's screen. And the network capabilities of the Wii U will have to continue to improve, since Sony and Microsoft will certainly attempt to provide a generational leap over what their current systems offer.

Later this week, the NPD Group will release its estimates for January 2013 retail video game sales in the U.S. Those figures will give us our first glimpse of how Americans feel about the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS after the holiday rush. Look closely at what Nintendo says and does after that.

Early in the Wii's lifetime they gave a full-throated defense of third-party sales on the Wii, and with good reason. At that time, a few third parties did find very solid sales on Nintendo's platform alongside the platform holder's own evergreen titles. A lot of that success had to do with the rise of the plastic music instrument genre and the innate understanding consumers had for the Wii's controls.

The Wii U doesn't have as many natural advantages, and Nintendo needs to beat the drum for the third party titles every chance it gets, and build strong relationships to last them through a full console cycle. Really, they should have started that years ago. But here we are, and if those third parties are looking at the same revenue figures we can see -- what must they be thinking?


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Comments


Joe Zachery
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Nintendo has always done what it takes for them to be successful. Even during the Gamecube years where Nintendo was without a doubt last place. They still made more money the entire generation than the market controller Sony's PS2. During the Wii generation Nintendo's own games have out sold several of the top 3rd party giants who are multiplat games. While the market has changed again in this new generation. Nintendo's common sense practices when selling their hardware, and their still profitable exclusive 1st party content. Nintendo may not be the market leader this generation, and fall back to 3rd place in the market. They can still make the Wii U a moderately successful console. Moving at least 40 to 50 million systems world wide.

EA has already moved away from Wii U support. Still with their performance on the Wii Nintendo console owners are not missing much. Gamers who wanted those games have been bought them on other consoles.
Companies like Rockstar release shovel ware on the Wii during the casual party boom. So Nintendo never got any of their major titles.
Then Ubisoft who provided a mixture of support from core to casual games. Despite the success that is Assassin Creed their most successful game last generation was Just Dance. At one time a Wii Exclusive, and to this day sells best on Nintendo consoles.
If anything Nintendo will lose the smaller 3rd party support they saw during the Wii lifespan. Overall I believe that a lot of small 3rd party developers will be affect by everyone's move to more power consoles. So they will not be able to produce games unless they are backed by major publishers. So like I said the Wii U at worst will become a console similar to the Gamecube, and at best a niche console like the Wii. Featuring games in genres that have moved on to mobile devices or Japanese exclusive content.

Still since the topic is all about Western support. Before the Wii U launch there was signs of lack of support coming from them. They want to see Nintendo burn, and will do everything they can to make it happen.

Ian Fisch
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The Wii could get away with lackluster 3rd party support because it was cheap.

Hardcore gamers could buy it on impulse to play Mario Galaxy and Smash Bros. Casual gamers could buy it on impulse to play Wii Fit.

$350 is not an impulse buy.

Jimmy Albright
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Didn't the gamecube actually make the least amount of money? Does the total include Nintendo Exclusives?

I was reading about one of the Penny Arcade guys talking about how great it was to play Black Ops 2 on the WiiU gamepad while his kids watched tv. I'm a long-time CoD player, spending hundreds of hours on each iteration despite arguably marginal improvements on each title. For the first time in my life, I decided to give this a shot and buy a game I already own on 2 different systems. As a married man who has to share the upstairs TV, the prospect of playing some fully fledged call of duty against other guys online while my wife watched tv sounded like a pretty good idea.

Can't say I've been disappointed so far. I was able to change the control scheme to classic to mimic the default xbox controls, and am already almost prestiged from rockin' it in online team deathmatch. Usually I get full bars or one bar short, and have dealt with a surprisingly strong connection most of the time, despite having a MUCH smaller audience than other platforms. (I also live in Alaska, so full bars from Alaska is really great.) My only gripes would be lack of touchscreen support. WHen I call in an airstrike I have a minimap pop up on the gamepad but it's actually not controlled via touch. This is a huge missed opportunity, as gleefully swiping airstrikes with my hand (as my on screen character pulls out a touchscreen tablet) would be an awesome addition that should have been included.

Honestly I think if they take full advantage of it Activision could have a big player on their hands with the WiiU. Even ZombiU is a great launch title which shows the level of integration the gamepad is capable of, despite it's shortcomings. (Leaps and bounds ahead of Red Steel) I honestly expect Ubisoft to knock a ZombiU 2 sequel straight out of the park. Now, if only Nintendo actually lets me play the new smash brothers game online. The fact that I couldn't play Brawl 7 miles away from my friend without a 3 second delay made me permanently shelve that game. If I can play east coast from alaska with a 1 second delay (sometimes less) there should be no reason to deal with 3 second delay within 7 miles.

Bob Johnson
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@Jimmy

Yeah CoD rocks on the Wii U. Just picked it up last week. Was surprised to find out it wasn't a shoddy port. And love playing on the gamepad when the tv is being used or when I am watching some sports that I only partially pay attention to.

A W
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The road is gloomy ahead...

I wrote in a post on IGN just last night that I believe that Nintendo may have been in a profit bubble while the third party and hardware companies suffered significantly during the economic downturn that still plagues markets till this day. Because of this Nintendo can afford to wait a bit before releasing it first party titles while third party has to hurry up an make costs effective decisions to keep even. I believe that Nintendo took to heart the criticisms that their titles always do well on their systems while third parties (who put little to no effort behind their ports to Nintendo platforms) suffer greatly. So this go round they allowed for the third parties to go first on the Wii U and to that they made yet another mistake. I think Nintendo should take an approach now that AAA third parties are up to only making excuses and not up to making a buck on Nintendo hardware. They should no longer hamper their release titles in hopes that third parties will support their products with honesty. They should also cater more to individual developers through e-shop who seem to be growing the market while the AAA publishers and developers continue to take the conservative approach of support Microsoft / Sony first because they have higher specs. If they do this, I see more interesting games coming down the road exclusive to Wii U while the other two giants will have to wait it out. Now is the time for them to change the message before the media gets out of hand (even though we may already be there.)

Ian Fisch
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I don't know what Nintendo was thinking here.

The Wii U is roughly as powerful as the Xbox360 and PS3, but with far fewer titles, and an inferior online experience....for $350.

They could, and should have, released an HD version of the Wii, with built-in motion+, for UNDER $200. The insanely expensive tablet gamepad thingy is an anchor weighing them down.

Thom Q
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Whats wrong with the online expierence?

I have not yet got a Wii-U myself, so I'm seriously interested.

A W
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I haven't had any problems with the online experience on Wii U... If you have a Wii U please share your experience so I can know what is inferior about it.

Eric Geer
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I have no problem with the $350..there just isn't anything on the console yet that I am dying to play. Come March--Monster Hunter comes to the Wii U--I will be dropping a small fortune for WiiU(probably opt for the ZombiU bundle-$380) Monster hunter for Wii U as well as for 3DS so I can play the game with my wife.

If it was a simple upgrade to HD-probably wouldn't buy it. I like the Gamepad and I suspect many others do as well.

Jimmy Albright
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I wrote above about my WiiU online experience with Black Ops 2. It's leaps and bounds ahead of the Wii, at least in my experience. Even little things like seeing what the community is buzzing about on the main screen right when you login make the WiiU feel like less of a solitary experience than even logging in to XBL.

Once you play a game that takes full advantage of the gamepad (ZombiU is one of my favorite examples) it will change the way you view the controller. The big downside is only having 1 work per console. Nintendo has stated they're working on getting 2, but it cuts the framerate in half. A lot of potential with the WiiU if developers take advantage of it.

Here is just one example, from last year on Penny Arcade.

http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2012/09/10

I'm not sure what the development experience is like, if they had something really accessible though similar to what Microsoft had with XNA I would be all over it.

Bob Johnson
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The online experience is great. Got CoD:BO2 last week.

GAme is smooth as butter. And was very surprised I didn't have to set up an account to play online. The game instantly knew who I was. It took my Nintendo Network id. I was somewhat shocked.

Also great - I was able to set up a second NN id for my son under his Mii log-in. So he has separate stats and everything. And the account was setup with parental controls via the step by step registration process. All free. Nintendo has come a long ways.

also $350 isn't that much money. I think the comparison to the 360 or PS3 is a good point because those systems are competition and because Wii U isn't any more powerful (although has 4xRAM and who knows what else,) but at the same time a bit unfair since Nintendo's whole aim with the Wii U and where much of the cost goes, is the Gamepad experience.

They essentially spent their money on the Gamepad experience instead of doing a "standard" console with next-gen power. That's what they are trying to sell you. Difficult here in the West because many are trained to look for graphics first. But they had success with the Wii so ...

Thom Q
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@ Jeferson Soler: I will most definitely get a Wii-U, just didn't get around to it yet :)

I was inquiring about Ian's statement because it seems to me that all the Wii-U has to do to be on par with the Xbox & PlayStation is offer multiplayer, partysystem & voice-chat, which i believe i've read that they had, plus more.. I'm still curious what Ian found so negative about it.

Jonathan Murphy
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Nintendo relied on Ubisoft, EA, Activision, and THQ to help them with the Wii U launch. But those companies are multi platform centric. Instead of investing in many indie games that are now on Steam, Nintendo; like Sony and MS gave Valve the shoulder. There's a market shift. If it's ignored we'll see THQ bankruptcy x10 in the next 5 years; Not just from the U, but the rest that don't adapt.

It's about the games, not the bells and whistles.

Jimmy Albright
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Valve has largely given the console market the shoulder, so I don't see why they should be doing anything but that. Gabe has said some pretty distasteful (although possibly true) things about ps3 development, and has also done a rather unfair amount of fearmongering with Windows 8 and Microsoft. If there was any chance of the big 3 doing something with Steam, it's 100% gone now.

There was also that whole Binding of Isaac 3DS port that got botched, although I've heard so many different stories regarding that I don't know what to believe.

Kevin Fisk
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To me it just looks like there won't be a true innovator this next generation. The Wii really stood out as being different and Wii hardware sales inflated the industry. The tablet controller is actually cool to me and I feel like it's the perfect evolution of the standard controller. To the majority of people that bought the Wii though, it must be pretty uninspiring since they aren't buying Wii U systems. This should be troubling for all the hardware makers since no one is guaranteed this crowd.

The way I see it this is a big problem for the games industry as a whole. I just don't see either MS or Sony stepping up and providing an innovation that will be a big enough hook to earn mass appeal. Third parties want to develop a game once and push it out on all platforms easily so any future innovation that sets you apart from the pack will probably be ignored and could even cost you support. I don't think it's a good sign that the only rumoured features of these consoles are designed to fleece consumers either.

The rumored specs from both MS and Sony sound plausible but they also sound extremely close in overall architecture. Ideally this will push Nintendo, MS, and Sony to push software innovations but you can't really predict that kind of thing. I might sound pessimistic but the general consensus I get from forums like NeoGaf is that Sony and MS will profit more now that Nintendo is seeing trouble but I don't really see it that way. Although some are also predicting the end of dedicated gaming hardware but I'm not sure I'm willing to go that far yet.

Jonathan Murphy
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I agree. The big three aren't paying attention to what is needed. Valve is in a very good position. A fully upgradeable console, with the ability to play on PC or TV. One thing is clear the market is going through a massive change. In time we'll know who was ready.

Jimmy Albright
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Jonathon: The Steambox is going to have hardware "tightly controlled by Valve". I wouldn't call that fully upgradable, if so we have very different definitions. :P

Jonathan Murphy
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Jimmy, your investigative skills are questionable when you lack the ability to properly spell my name right. You try selling a customer a win8 PC. Half, HALF of the returns I see at my side job are Win 8 laptops. You are projecting Steam as the big guy with the ability to pressure the console makers into doing what they want. Look up Nintendo's track record with Project Rainfall, La-Mulana, and the PS3 dev kits year 1 blowing chunks before lecturing us on who's right. Some of us were there for that crap.

Jimmy Albright
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I don't understand where the kneejerk reaction is coming from.

I also fail to see the relevance that misspelling your name by 1 letter has anything to do with the points I was making. (It really doesn't, but still I'm sorry that I accidentally spelled your name wrong.)

Regardless of consumers returning laptops with Windows 8 (users are horrible about adapting to change, there is a reason close to 40% of users are still in XP) Windows 8 actually runs everything better. I get the same (or more, in the case of Counter-Strike and DoTA2) frames on everything in my steam library, and it boots up, loads applications and does everything FASTER. It certainly takes time to learn the hotkeys but I guarantee if you spend time with it there is little reason to stay on Windows 7.

There is also zero evidence that shows that Windows is going to wall off their OS. It's complete fearmongering.

"You are projecting Steam as the big guy with the ability to pressure the console makers into doing what they want." Where exactly are you getting this notion? I'm not doing this at all. I don't think I've seen Gabe Newell say a single positive thing about consoles. Ever. He's done nothing but rip the Xbox and the PS3, and I did say the PS3 remarks were probably even validated. (in regards to dev kits, cell processors are horrible to deal with) It seems silly that after the kinds of things Gabe Newell has said about consoles (some of it true or not) would make you think that you're right in saying -> "Instead of investing in many indie games that are now on Steam, Nintendo; like Sony and MS gave Valve the shoulder. " They don't owe Valve anything. No one does.

For the record, here's the article with Gabe Newell stating the hardware will be tightly controlled. http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/8/3744314/gabe-newell-valve-conso
le-living-room-steam-box

"Our hardware will be a very controlled environment." - Gabe Newell

So how exactly is that, fully upgradable?

As far as Operation Rainfall goes (Operation Rainfall, not project. Herp derp your investigative skills are questionable) that was a SNAFU specifically Nintendo of America, and has little to do with any of the points I've previously made or even on this topic at hand.

Oh and La-Mulana? The game that Nicalis cancelled? They seem WAY more interested in milking cave story than doing anything else. Somehow this is Nintendo's fault though? This also has nothing to do with my points, with yours, or the topic at hand.

Michael Pianta
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I think this problem is actually largely outside of Nintendo's control, because I think at the root of it is gamer culture. Only certain kinds of people buy $350 machines and $60 games and a great swath of gamers between the ages of, say, 13 and 23, see Nintendo as categorically uncool. It's just this big barrier that Nintendo has to overcome and can't.

Mike Griffin
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It feels like the Wii U was either 1 year too late (as mentioned, a cheap HD-capable/native Motion+ Wii upgrade may have been easier to swallow wide-scale), or 6 months too soon -- a larger library and slightly reduced manufacturing cost with a $299 32gb SKU price may have helped, despite skipping the Thanksgiving>Holidays window.

The U sort of dropped itself in limbo without enough app and value to gain the rapid traction that Nintendo desired. Irrecoverable? Of course not. But it's the second straight Nintendo hardware release (3DS' early hiccups) that will need to scramble back into the spotlight via cost cuts and delayed key releases, just as the competition prepares to unleash new devices.

Devices that will, unlike the Wii's relationship with 360 and PS3 this round, end up competing directly with the Wii U despite its unique novelties. Nintendo needs to buckle-up and put the pedal to the metal.

Duvelle Jones
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I will be honest, I don't see what Nintendo gets with a price cut at this point. WiiU has profited for the company, but it's done so by loss-leading... Much like the Vita, it's not a matter of if they will price cut, it's a matter of can they cut the price.

Given that the mark down already is about -$60 on the system price, they may have some room around the time that e3 hit, but it would be extremely lucky. There are also some things that would need to shake out by then. The two pending system updates, more details on the coming games, etc.,
I would honestly wonder what happens if Nintendo just moves around the third-party issue with indie developer games... given how developer reactions have been around the eShop (mostly positive), I would be shocked if we don't hear more about that around GDC.

John Flush
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Nintendo's problem is they put out too many recognizable games. If people only buy 5-10 games for their console, which 5-10 do they pick for a Nintendo console? The Nintendo ones. They are highly promoted through My Nintendo (website, console, etc) and happen to have some of the most famous mascots in gaming.

Only people that are gamers will even look beyond the Nintendo library when buying games for their console - the fact that they pretty much avoided hitting a cord with gamers in the Wii generation means that the same thing will happen again. Only this time I don't see a whole bunch of people dying to play more videos games after that 'wii' thing they bought and never played much.

And as a gamer I don't see much reason to drop the money for a Wii U yet. There isn't any amazing tech I can't miss out on (or at least really want to try). I know most developers, especially with Multiplatform requirements, that will even use the hardware the Wii U provides and honestly I don't see how the second screen doesn't $300 of innovative that I felt needed to be 'fixed' from a normal console experience. And the platform specific games just aren't there yet enough for me to care.

Bob Johnson
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The Gamepad tech is amazing.

John Flush
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For what? Menus? a portable gamepad so I don't have to use the TV? I saw the demos Nintendo gave, none of that looked 'amazing' it just looked like more gimmicks that will only be used in 3 - 4 games and poorly implemented by everyone but Nintendo.

Bob Johnson
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Streaming the game to the Gamepad is amazing. The latency is just as good as on your tv.

John Flush
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Why wouldn't I just sit in front of my TV for that? Really the most innovative feature is they made the Vita only you can't take it with you?

Bob Johnson
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Yes. But if your wife or kid or significant other wants to use the tv then you can move the game to controller. Or you can game while having the football game on.

And of course this just one use of the tech.

It is also used in sp games like ZombiU for inventory management in a novel suspenseful way. You have to look at your gamepad to pick up supplies from backpacks while the action on the tv continues on in real time.

It is used for multiplayer where the player with the Gamepad sees information the other players don't. The player may control Mario in a maze with overhead views of the maze while the other players looking for Mario only have a 3rd person view. Or the player controlling a ghost sees the other players in the maze. But the players chasing the ghost can't see the ghost unless their flashlight hits the ghost.

In the cooperative Pikmin game one player controls Olimar and uses the touchscreen to do that. Flicking Pikmin onto enemies with the swipe of the stylus. The other players control individual Pikmin that can attack on their own.

These are a few of the uses that have been demonstrated so far.

John Flush
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I appreciate the honest feedback from someone who has played it. Unfortunately all of those uses are things I already knew about and none of them tip the scale in thinking there is anything revolutionary about it. No third party will make game changing design decisions around that tech that can't be simulated using one screen anyhow. In fact when you play the game only using the tablet it would effectively break / remove said features anyhow? So which is it? does the game need this hardware, or can you play without it? and if you can play without it then why is it even a selling point anymore?

And sharing the TV isn't a seller for me. I have 3 TV's in the house. When I want to play the console TV, I use the TV and others move to the other TV's.

The only part of the tech that always made me excited was the fact you could play games and have a separate view than the rest of the players... unfortunately only a max of two tablet controllers can ever be connected (or at least that is what Nintendo said at one point) and that again defeats the purpose as no one is ever going to program for that case anyhow.

I still think it would have been pretty amazing to have the 3DS be the satellite views to games and the Wii U be the server that helps stream them all together. Don't have 4 3DS's, split screen it. Then we would have had a real local multiplayer experience again.

Back on topic though, how does something this 'unique' though, with very limited defining benefit, garner any 3rd party support? Yeah, it doesn't.

A W
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A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

Bob Johnson
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Yeah just wanted to beg to differ that the Wii U didn't have amazing tech as I actually own the system.

And also wanted to find out why you thought that. I guess you just have a real personal definition of amazing that only you can define. And if you don't want to be amazed you won't be. :)

You did make a good point about 3 tvs. I have 2 tvs and 4 people in my house. Still, even if you had 1 tv per person, it is cool to still continue to game when a show you wanted to watch comes on tv or to be in the same room as significant other or your child while you game or they game.

Also don't downplay the tech because you can't have more than 1 Gamepad. I find this a bit disingenuous since you haven't the tried system and yet want more "tech."

I do understand why someone wouldn't want to get a Wii U this early. Prices are highest this early in the life cycle and the number of games to play are at their lowest. And there are early adopter pains to go through. This is true for most customers most of the time for most console launches from what I can tell.

Eduardo Raposo
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"On the technical side, Nintendo has been cagey about the full Wii U specifications but the investigators at Eurogamers' Digital Foundry believe that new high-resolution shots of the hardware inside the system "finally rule out any next-gen pretensions for the Wii U." In other words, the Wii U could still be a step behind in terms of processing power when newer systems from Microsoft and Sony launch later this year (though that didn't hurt the Wii so much, at least for its first few years on the market)."

While I agree that the Wii U will be a step behind the new Sony and Microsoft consoles, people are seriously underestimating the console's hardware. It is one of the dangers of taking video game articles, even by people with good reputation like Digital Foundry, for fact.
That whole hardware argument was debunked by the creators of that technical analysis thread on neogaf (source of the content), and the person responsible for taking the photographs of the GPU.
Their conclusion was that the GPU and CPU were highly customized (completely) and all in all quite impressive, and that even if they weren't sure what a big part of the chip did, it was a high-grade piece of technology entirely not cheap to make. Just as some people _claim_ that the next Sony and Microsoft consoles will be in a different league, _facts_ have some shown that the Wii U is in an entirely different league from the Xbox360 and PS3.

Anywho, the hardware isn't even that important. In my opinion, the troubles Nintendo has with 3rd party support is mostly that of a vicious cycle, started at the end of the N64 era.
Nintendo didn't treat their 3rd party suppliers very well in the NES, SNES, and N64 era in multiple ways (for example, the use of cartridges). But with the coming of Nintendo consoles that were easier to develop for, and especially towards the Wii and Wii U, Nintendo softened up a lot, and seemed to realize that they needed to change their game in order to compete with Sony and Microsoft.
The problem, of course, was that the bigger 3rd party devs had learned to fear/distrust Nintendo's old practices, which didn't make them especially enthused to release major software on their consoles. So, the only way they can play it safe is by waiting to see if the console's install base grew. Of course, this results in there not being a lot of software to make that install base grow, and so, the install base among the core audiences doesn't grow because there's not enough hardware.

This only got worse when, out of caution and greed at the prospect of milking the massive Wii install base, major 3rd party devs drowned the console in a vast wave of shovelware and children's games, while the considerable core audience was starved for AAA content. (http://pietriots.com/2010/12/17/the-3rd-party-wall-of-shame/ contains all game from all the major devs released on the Wii). This resulted in 2 enormous problems for Nintendo:
1) People introduced to core gaming in that generation, and some of the more easily-influenced adults, came to see Nintendo as a kid's company (a lot more so than before).
2) The abundance of shovelware sold really bad and those 3rd party devs came to believe (which is incomprehensible to any person with a basic business sense) that releasing games on the Wii wasn't profitable.

This second point is even more mindbogglingly irrational when you consider that, apart from the vast casual audience that didn't have a very high software attach rate , the Wii also had a considerable core install base that just wasn't interested in the shovelware.
Devs, either in a total disconnect from reality, or in damage control mode, started claiming that no one but Nintendo could make a profit on Nintendo consoles. But when you look at the list of anything remotely related to a AAA game on the Wii... the list is dismal. Devs made perhaps 1 or 2 attempts at releasing a major new IP or existent franchise on the Wii. Most of the new IP was at launch, when sales are naturally quite limited, and buggy because of unfamiliar hardware. The existent franchises, when ported over to the Wii, came almost solely in heavily butchered ports, and cheap spin-offs.
Yet the myth grew that Nintendo consoles were a desolate landscape for 3rd party.

Interestingly enough, smaller and even some larger third party devs that DID have the courage and vision to create _worthwhile_ content for the Wii were quite succesful. Just look at Monster Hunter Tri.

I'm not exactly a huge Nintendo fanboy, but it still hurts to see so much negativity surrounding the Wii U.
Especially since the problem lies with the actions of third party devs, gaming news sites and magazines, and the mindset of the gamer population.
Nintendo is such an important part of gaming history, and still perhaps the driving force of innovation amongst the gaming titans; I just can't seem to understand why people would hate it so.

All in all it shows a glimpse of something I've always felt while majoring in Economics and Business Management: numbers and calculations, theories and dissertations, left or right—these things might have their value when analyzing economic phenomena and situations, but in the end, the most important things, the most influential things are thoughts, mindset, and reputation. Humans are superficial, and so they think and act superficially.

Duvelle Jones
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I have noticed that myself, and it's become rather disturbing. But I think that the actions that Nintendo makes now will be what make or brake the system.
If anything, this launch isn't as bad as it looks, in fact this is relatively smoother than I expected. It's not great but then again few transitions are.

I have been looking into the issue myself and I have come to a rather sobering conclusion. Western development might simply not be in Nintendo's interests to continue to pursue. There might be a point of no return on now much Nintendo can and will put investments in the North American and European markets if they continue to be much like what we have seen in the pass week.
Given that, I am not so sure that I have been hearing the same kind of things from the Japanese market... which is odd considering the same kind of free-fall seems to be happening. But then again the flow of game within that market seems to be somewhat more stable.

Still, it would be rather painful loss should Nintendo just pick up the ball and go home. And I don't see how the market comes out the better for that, should it happen.

Jimmy Albright
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@ Duvelle Jones
"Still, it would be rather painful loss should Nintendo just pick up the ball and go home. And I don't see how the market comes out the better for that, should it happen."

This is so incredibly true. It would be silly to think that Nintendo going away wouldn't have a negative impact on gaming. I'd honestly go as far as saying the success of the Wii is the only reason Microsoft and Sony embraced innovation. (although I'm not sure if I would call the move innovative) Honestly, I'm quite a bit more concerned about the PS4 than the WiiU. With The Last of Us coming out in May on PS3, It doesn't look like the folks at Naughty Dog are going to have an Uncharted 4 ready in time. (Although I could be wrong) The failure of the Vita means that Sony needs a compelling argument for gamers to fork out 5-6 hundred dollars to upgrade from their arguably still powerful PS3. Like Nintendo, I don't see what exclusives they plan on having ready on release.

Duvelle Jones
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@JimmyAlbright
With concerns to the Sony's seemingly impending launch... there are a few thing that I have been watching with concerns with the PS4.
First off, there seems to be this rather strong idea that the PS4 will be this "impressively amazing machine with high-powered graphics".... And as much as Sony has been rather caged on that notion, what I have seen comes to this, I don't think that the PS4 will not be the graphical monster that PS3 was, mostly because Sony can't really afford to do so. Will it be an improvement... yes... But I am not sure that we will be talking by leaps and bounds here. We'll have to see once it's out... But I have been telling everyone around me to curb the enthusiasm over the PS4, much as I did with the WiiU.
Second, I think that should PSN continue as it has now... it will lose it's lustre. Especially if Sony forces the issue of PSN+ on the next platform.
Third, given the beating that the PS3 had in it's early life and the details of the Vita being a counter to the things that lead to the PS3. I don't think we are seeing the meme again (ehm, the Five-hundred-Ninty-nine-US-dollars machine). But that said, what will the market support... because I don't think that $400 is it, as much as that number keeps coming up.

That said, Sony does seem to look better heading into the next-gen than Microsoft. To be honest, I fear what happens with Live much, much more.

Jimmy Albright
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@Duvelle Jones I think the always on live feature would be Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot, bigtime. I remember people saying the same thing with the PS2 and PS3 releases, so I'm not inclined they would do something so drastic. There was also some information that came out today from someone with a devkit who made no mention of the always-online requirement people were previously skeptical about.

(Personally I feel the money spent on live is reasonable given the entertainment value I get out of it.)

I think that you're right in that this next system from Sony won't be a huge powerhouse, I think forcing power over developer accessibility (with cell processor technology) was a mistake. I was told that Rockstar actually had huge troubles getting GTA4 to get more than 10FPS while running on the PS3, and Sony had to send someone out there to straighten things out.

I'll be getting it no matter what, as my love of gaming trumps any sense of fiscal responsibility. :D

Duvelle Jones
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@JimmyAlbright
That doesn't surprise me much, but we will see what happens come the final devkit. That will say alot. But I am doubt that we would see such a feature... but I expect to see much more online-pass usage, even from Microsoft itself.

Let me explain something, my fear with Live doesn't come from how it works... per se. It's more to do with the fact that it *is* a platform unto itself. The last time that Microsoft changed platforms (from Xbox to the 360) with it's online systems, it was incredibly bad. Patches-o-plenty, conversion issues, etc. Buy the end of it... only one title seems to be worth keeping (is it any shock that it was a Halo title?) because Microsoft supported it tirelessly and everyone else either had to rebuild & re-buy product, or gave up in frustration.

Should Microsoft do that again, I don't think that Live will survive the backlash. There is a lot more product that needs to be protected and converted to the new system and any issue that happens will be magnified by the enthusiast press. Should the deficiencies be large enough, it could make the PSN hack and WiiU Launch troubles look quite small.
Transition into the new Live MUST be smooth. For Microsoft's sake.

And that is not even getting into the issue of what to do with Live. Outside of gaming, the view isn't as great as it is.

Jimmy Albright
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@Duvelle Jones

Thanks for clarifying, I didn't own the original Xbox, and didn't pick up a 360 until Halo 3 so I think I missed a lot of those problems.

Andrew Chen
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@Duvelle: If Nintendo is losing money on the Wii U tech, PS4 and Durango will surely be loss-leaders as well. But the thing is, U's lackluster performance at $299 and $350 must surely have the other guys getting a bit nervous.
Thus I think $400 (or less?) is the high end for a base SKU. Microsoft, in light of their successful 360 release strategy, will likely look at reprising the $299 and $399 pricing. Especially with the Playstation brand losing some of its luster this last cycle, Sony has got to match them to have a chance at regaining market share.
Perhaps we will see the subsidization model expanded as well?

Duvelle Jones
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@Andrew Chen

Frankly, the PS3 have been a rather pyrrhic victory for Sony. Aside from the usual loss, the company didn't get the expected return until VERY late in the cycle. If the Vita is anything to show, they are done doing that again... the next system that they do MUST profit or be at cost. They can't rely on software licenses making up the difference because it will be slow going for at least a year.

As for "Durango", You might be right... if Microsoft sees that. The problem is that I don't think that they currently do so. But there are a few things in my projections that are likely however.
Microsoft is pretty much signalled that they like what they saw with "causal" base... the direction that they are likely to go in will cater to that, and it will do so at beset of the "core" market.
Again the same thing that I said about the PS4 not being as much of a Graphical monster would also seem to apply to Durango... you will likely see just enough power to run DX11, but I can't see them going big with graphical capability unlike the 360.
They might expand the subsidization model but you'd be best to note what I said about live earlier, if Xbox live is a mess like the last transition... Microsoft will not get the numbers they would need on early adopters to shift that model. Anything that moves into the subsidization model will be dependant on Live's performance on the new system.
I can't really say anything on pricing but they got to be looking at this. I am not entirely sure that this is "Just Nintendo" matter... but we'll see.

Alan Rimkeit
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Metroid. Not like Other M. Like Metroid Prime. No Metroid? No deal. I will buy one then and only then. Nuff said.

Andrew Chen
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Alan, I don't think Metroid is the cure for their woes, much as I love the series.
The first Prime, the highest grossing of the trilogy, sold perhaps 3 million copies. At 2013 development budgets, for the AAA Prime experience that you want, is that even enough to justify their costs?

...Then again, disregard this if Retro announces in May that they are working on Prime Rebirth (actually hoping for a Starfox or Zelda spinoff myself, let those guys spread their wings more.)

Alan Rimkeit
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@Jeferson Soler - I hope so. Retro rules and Metroid Prime was the best Metroid ever made IMHO. I must have played it through at least four times. Metroid would make for a great game with the Wii U second mini screen as it depends on maps. Who knows what other innovative ideas Retro could come up with?

@Andrew Chen - I am just being selfish. I want a Metroid game. It is pretty simple. I know I am not the only one. Lots of people have agreed with me on multiple forums. Metroid would be a system seller.

John Flush
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If it was more like Prime and less like Echoes and Corruption then that would be a pretty good idea. I felt the last Prime game put too much 'super hero' F-Zero like garbage into the Metroid universe.

Kevin Fisk
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I personally think Super Metroid is the best (also the best game from the 16-bit era entirely) but Prime would definitely follow close behind. To this day, Prime plays like no other FPS out there and they really brought everything together way beyond my expectations.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Jeferson Soler - I have not played Batman on the Wii U, but I will take your word on it. The game play mechanics you mentioned sound awesome.

Come on Ninty! Give us a Metroid game. =D

Duvelle Jones
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@AlanRimkeit
Honestly, I feel for you... I do. I am in a similar rut when it concerns Capcom and Megaman "Can I just get a new ZX game... please?"
We'll have to see if Nintendo has something planed for the series, and given the reception that Prime continues to have... the company can only ignore it for so long. That said, You could be in for a wait.

Bob Johnson
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Nintendo is not going to get any AAA 3rd party support except for cases where the 3rd party has to make a sku like Madden has to be on all platforms (NFL license terms I'm guessing) and a big AAA game like CoD where the game is so big it is worth their while and the latter might not happen again if sales are really bad.

They will get some Japanese 3rd party support because Nintendo knows their home market and have closer relationships with with 3rd party publishers in Japan. But these titles will be smaller budgeted titles.

The 3rd party support that they will get in the US is for titles that fit the Nintendo 6-12 yr old demographic as Mr. Bobby Kotick referenced during Activision's earnings call. Skylanders, Just Dance, Scribblenauts, Lego, Rayman... those are the some of the more well known 3rd party franchises that the Wii U will be home to.

That's it.

The Wii U may see ports of 360 and PS3 games. And considering that the 720 and PS4 install bases will take awhile to grow you will see 360 and PS3 versions of many games for a few years yet. And thus perhaps will see a few of those ported to the Wii U as well.

Duvelle Jones
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@Bob Johnson "They will get some Japanese 3rd party support because Nintendo knows their home market and have closer relationships with with 3rd party publishers in Japan. But these titles will be smaller budgeted titles."


Bob, the shift to HD has been rather painful for all that have been involved... If Nintendo can look forward to smaller Japanese titles, then at the bottom line that might be for the best.

And honestly, if that is coming from the likes of Namco-Bandai, Koei, Atlus, etc. That would be rather interesting should that happen.

Eduardo Raposo
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By releasing PS3 and Xbox360 versions of Nextbox and PS4 games Sony and Microsoft would be cannibalizing their own market in a rather severe way. I can see third party doing that in a limited way, but I somehow doubt that will happen for first and second party content.

Also, according to Mr Kotick, the Wii U has performed quite badly in the 6-12 age bracket, hence his misgivings. But of course, any proof that Nintendo's core audience is actually the people who grew up with Nintendo consoles, people who are usually at the very least 25 years old or so, gets instantly forgotten and replaced by the "Nintendo is for kids" mantra.

Moreover, I keep seeing this new idea popping up since the latest Nintendo Direct. "The Wii U will become a home to Japanese video game content, while the western studios ignore them."
I don't think that's quite right. Interesting as Monolith Soft's X and the Fire Emblem/SMT cross-over might be, and while the 3DS and DS have attracted a fair share of JRPG material, as far as I know, Sony still dominates that market since the PSone, and the PSP is still a preferred JRPG console for most Japanese adult gamers.

If anything, Nintendo has the most chance to become a haven for indie games. Analysts and journalists alike have been cautious in their praise of Wii U's eShop platform, but the truth is that, despite some details (such as hardware-bound Nintendo ID's), the eShop is by far the best digital game platform on the console market, where infrastructure is concerned.
This will only improve in the future as Nintendo has announced their efforts to improve the overall OS performance, to do away with their "Office" requirements, and to establish a Nintendo ID system that isn't locked to your hardware.

Leon T
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I'm pretty sure Sony has not dominated the JRPG market since the DS. If anything it was split between the Sony systems and the DS. Now I would say Nintendo has the chance to take it over with the 3DS since the Vita is not performing like the PSP. I doubt the Wii U or PS4 would be more JRPGs than a handheld will, but if DQX does decent numbers I can see the Wii U getting more JRPGs than the PS4. DQX came out too late to help the Wii .

Bob Johnson
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WEll Nintendo always seems to have relationships with the Japanese 3rd parties to take over a Nintendo franchise or two, and release a few rpgs or odd game and Capcom gives them some RE love. This is the 3rd party support that will come from Japan. The other point that should be taken from this is none of these titles are likely to be big sellers in the west save for perhaps anything with RE on it.

Kotick was referencing Wii U sales in general not that it is doing bad with 6-12 yr olds in particular. He mentioned 6-12 yr olds because they released Skylanders Giants on the console and they expected to do well because I believe Skylanders did the best on the Wii previously. 6-12 is who Skylanders is aimed at. I don't think anyone forgets that Nintendo has its share of fans of all ages. But we all know that it isn't the home of the AAA western 3rd party market the past 2 going on 3 generations.

Yes I wouldn't expect Sony and MS 1st party to release games on their older systems when their new systems come out. They after all want to promote their new systems. 3rd parties want to sell copies and are likely to hedge some bets for the 1st year or two until success of the new platforms is more guaranteed.

I hope indies find a place on the Wii U. I have read Nintendo is more open to them and that the Unity development environment is Wii U ready so ..maybe?

Duvelle Jones
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"Sony still dominates that market since the PSone, and the PSP is still a preferred JRPG console for most Japanese adult gamers."

Not really, from the development side of things... I don't think that Sony has 1) locked down Japanese development to it's platforms, and 2) extend themselves farther than niche titles over the PS3 life span.
The biggest issue that I see Sony having in Japan is this.... there is a shift away from them that is happening, should they not see it, the industry will ignore them till they address that. Nintendo has been managing, but we'll see... this effects them as much as Sony.

Leon T
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Whats funny about what Kotick says about 6-12 gamers is that Skylanders and Just Dance are still selling best on the Wii. Those kids don't need to buy a Wii U to play those game so they didn't.

Duvelle Jones
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@Leon T
That might be one of the bigger issues here... Nintendo has managed to keep the Wii alive when launching the WiiU. I wonder how much of an error that might be...

At some point, they will have to put the Wii "out to the back". My question is when does that happen?

Bob Johnson
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@Leon

Exactly. Also consoles launch fairly slowly. I had a Wii at launch and it was a good year or two before it really dawned on neighbor families what it was and that they should get one.

Leon T
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@Duvelle Jones
I think Nintendo just can't sell their new Wii U to Wii owners. The Wii has had almost zero support for about two years now, but the userbase is still buying games. They are not going to buy a Wii U without the games being there and right now all Nintendo has is Mario. The other exclusives don't have mainstream appeal and the other consoles, including the Wii, still enough games for people to buy to tide them over.

If the Wii support was 100% dead the Wii U still wouldn't be the next choice to jump to when there are two older consoles with bigger libraries and active support. The 360 only had one active older system to up against when it launched and had a visual edge to play up. Microsoft didn't do the soft launch that Nintendo is doing either. Nintendo needs to push the Wii U harder and once the games come the system will do okay.

Duvelle Jones
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@Leon T
I don't think that Nintendo has much of a choice in the matter. If they don't cater somewhat to the pool of players that they found in the Wii days... I don't think that they do much better in the long term, because they lose that base.
I honestly think that the plan is to cater to both markets as much as possible, and unlike Xbox... their 'core' market is not hostile to the notion of new players.
For the moment, there has not been much for the 'casual' player to consume... which was expected, Mario was more or less an attempt at stabilizing the install base. While that has work, has not worked as much as they hoped. Adoption has been slow, but again that is expected.
A title that I have been keeping an eye on is WiiU Fit.... which is a summer title at this writing. Should that be compelling enough to sell people on the system, then.... I don't know what happens.

Leon T
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Outside of partnerships and publishing the games themselves Nintendo should expect very little third party support. They need to work with more outside developers to help fill in the gaps. I think they need to go as far as fund a bunch of exclusive indie projects for the platform too. One way or another they need open up their warchest and makes some things happen. They need to push DQX in Japan as if the system is relaunching and do the same for Monster Hunter/Lego City in the west.

I'm surprised that they are not even trying to hold on their audience from the Wii so far. Nintendoland appeals more to their core audience than the expanded audience. The expanded audience were sold on the Wii Sports and Wii Fit games, but Nintendo still has nothing launched for them. I hope their efforts are better their Nintendogs+cats/brainage games on the 3DS that failed to get the spark that the DS games got.

Bob Johnson
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What is Nintendo thinking?

Well what is the gaming media thinking that they think Nintendo wants to play the same game as everyone else? And just can't figure it out.

They obviously do not. They knew very well the type of console they were releasing. They knew it wasn't going to be what MS and Sony were going to release. And they knew that western 3rd parties were extremely likely to support the usual standard console with better graphics that Ms and Sony were (presumably going to be) doing.

Nintendo chose to spend their money on tech other than the best graphics/cpu/ram for their pricepoint. They instead chose to spend it on the Gamepad. That is their vision of next-gen gaming.

Are we surprised? WE shouldn't be yet every day the gaming media seems to be stuck in the script for the movie Groundhog Day. Always forgetting that Nintendo doesn't believe that graphics are the only answer. They believe in experimenting with interfaces and new types of gameplay those interfaces bring about.

One look at the titles they have made over the years also should eliminate any surprise that Nintendo doesn't require uber graphic machine numero uno to make the graphics for their games. I think that not only do they envision making a 3rd similar console for the marketplace as a money losing cutthroat venture, but that they looked at each other one day and said, you know none of our games, the games that sell 25 million copies or 10 million copies, none of our franchises, need uber-realistic graphics. Let's put our money somewhere else.

Let us differentiate ourselves from the competition.

And so they did. And have done.

Why are we still talking about this 7 years after the release of the Wii? 9 years after the DS came out? ..as if we are restarting the same day again.

Is is that foreign to us in the west? I guess so.

But clear as day to me.

warren blyth
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* i think the point is more : what are third parties thinking of WiiU?

I agree that Nintendo is clearly trying to do it's own unique thing, to distance itself from the MS/SONY graphics/Networking battle. (I think nintendo's research indicated phones and tablets would be a big thing, so they sought to make their own integrated experience from day one of the WiiU. People decry tablets as not offering console-level graphics and gameplay depth - but that is exactly what WiiU offers. modern console games on a tablet! Why isn't anyone excited?!) (answer: because the message is muddled)

* But can Nintendo survive without third party support?
I'd really like to learn more about why 3rd parties are drifting further and further away from Nintendo. You'd think less beefy hardware would equate : easier to develop for. which would equate easier dev kits and smaller budgets and faster turnarounds.

but apparently no?
???

- I asked a business friend if Nintendo might just be trying to give 3rd parties a chance with the sparse 3DS (and now WiiU) launch launch lineups. Maybe they wanted to say "We gave you that shot you've always asked for, 3rd party people! no competition from our core franchises!" My older business friend scoffed at the idea, saying NO company would ever purposefully lose money in order to prove a point to other companies. basically he thought i was retarded for suggesting it.
Now i see many other people suggesting it. sup?

(i'd also like to think that Nintendo purposefully muddled the message of WiiU, since they knew it would sell to early adopters and fanboys, and at E3 will see this suprising clear message - as a way of keeping MS and SONY at bay. but that it is also starting to smell like such bad business that it isn't possible).

* I think the biggest problem isn't 3rd party "support" so much as 3rd parties not being interested in embracing Nintendo's unique features. 3rd parties would rather rest on better graphics and repetitive sequels then actually explore unique uses for the wii motion plus or the gamepad touch screen.

People seem to think 3rd parties just need to dump shit into Nintendo's blue sea to keep Nintendo afloat. but really what they need to do is make games that can only be played on Nintendo's unique console features. How can Nintendo make this happen more?

Bob Johnson
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I don't think NIntendo did the Gamepad because of tablets. Wii U was in the making for a few years before it launched. These things don't launch overnight. And Nintendo was the company that put a touchscreen on a gaming device. And did 2 screens with their handheld. And has fiddled with multiple screen experiences before like 4 Swords on the GC.

MS is a reason why 3rd parties don't do NIntendo. They became a 3rd competitor in 2001. 3rd party AAA game sales on the GC faded away and 3rd parties then dropped support for the GC. That is where the Wii took over which wasn't powerful enough for the games 3rd parties were making. MS was a western company too and better understood western developers. MS also had deep pockets. They have lost billions since getting into the console market. IT is a drop in the bucket for them. For Nintendo, even with $10 billion in the bank, it would be a big dent in their cash reserves.

Nintendo did not purposely not release titles for the 3ds or Wii U. They have done what they always do. Release games when they are ready. They also don't spam their franchises annually. I mean this has been going on since the N64 at least.

Nintendo can't make publishers make unique games for their console. Ok they could always dump money bags. But they aren't going to do that. 3rd parties mostly like going to multi-platform. I don't think 3rd parties think a unique core AAA game would sell enough on the Wii U.

and unfortunately there was one company that put some effort into making a really AAA type experience just for a specific Nintendo platform and it flopped. GTA on the DS. No one bought it. Shows you who the audience was on the DS. It probably didn't help that it was cartoony and top down style which wasn't going to win over western gta fans.

Nintendo is also so conservative. They really focus on the Japan Market. And I get the drift that they throw some peanuts at Nintendo USA so they can sell some of the stuff they make for the Japan market. And when they do focus on the west it is always balanced with what sells in the East. Whatever they get in the West is they will take. Might be a big hit. Might not be.

GameViewPoint Developer
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When the announcement came of the Wii U I was excited as anyone to see what console they were going to announce. Finally there was going to be a Nintendo machine that had the graphics power to take on the new Xbox and PS. Super Mario World, Mario Kart, Metroid all with next gen graphics, I couldn't wait.

And then they released the details/images of it and within 30 seconds it was obvious it was all over for Nintendo. The "unique" feature, of the controller just looked like a joke, everyone immediately thought of the Dreamcast controllers. Sure if you could take your game with you on your controller/tablet, if you could leave the house, go to work, and still be playing the same game, that would be cool, but no, instead all you have is basically another screen to play the game on within the house.

And then there are the graphics, which at least in those early images looked like Wii graphics! STILL! things have definitely improved graphics wise with the latest games but they still don't look that much better than an Xbox or a PS.

I think it's very likely Nintendo will become a software only company and you will see all of it's franchises on every platform going and I suspect that will make them very successful.

But still it will be a huge shame. I rate the SNES and Cube as 2 of the best consoles of all time, and that's what we wanted, a next gen SNES or Cube, and that means actually being out front for once in regards to what the machine can do.

I think they have one hope with the Wii U and one hope only. And that's to make it as cheap as possible. If they can make it say $149 within a year, then maybe with the great software it will no doubt have, people will buy it along side the new Xbox or PS, but if they don't do that I think Nintendo won't be at the party this time.

Jimmy Albright
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"I think it's very likely Nintendo will become a software only company and you will see all of it's franchises on every platform going and I suspect that will make them very successful."

People said this when the 64 was released and they found out it was going to play cartridges. They said the same things with the gamecube when they found out it was going to play tiny propietary discs and not boast the impressive hardware it's competitors were showing. They said the SAME THING again when the Wii was released, and scoffed at the gimmicky controllers.

I think when Nintendo does something the community actually agrees with that's when I'm going to be worried. I urge you to play ZombiU on the gamepad, you will see how it's a great step in the right direction with innovation and appealing more to traditional gamers. The controller is fantastic for gameplay integration, it doesn't provide 2 separate experiences like the wiimote/move or the kinect do. The online service is 100x the improvement over the Wii, i've played online titles from Alaska to West Coast (and beyond!) with no noticable lag difference between the WiiU and it's competitors.

You can play full HD titles on the WiiU while someone else uses the TV, this is huge for the living room. I can sit on the couch and play it while my wife watches whatever tv show she wants to be watching.

Graphics certainly influence sales, but games also do. Look at the Vita for example, that thing is a BEAST but Sony can't even give those things away. Just like people only bought the first xbox for Halo, millions of gamers will buy Nintendo products just to play the new iterations of their favorite titles. I think it certainly could use some improvement in things like the speed of loading different screens in the UI, but for the most part it is a huge improvement over the Wii and a big step in the right direction.

I think you (and everyone else who criticizes it without using it) owe it to yourself to give it a shot. Find a friend who has one, go rent super mario bros wii U, and you'll see what all the fuss is about. Turn the lights down and get some headphones for ZombiU.

Microsoft and Sony pay *very* close attention to what Nintendo does, and quite often copy a lot of their ideas. If Microsoft and Sony take Nintendo seriously (especially Sony, they're getting their asses handed to them in the handheld department) you should too.

GameViewPoint Developer
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I totally will give it a shot :), not for it's current price though, but yeah just to play Mario Kart and Metroid, but my point was that even with great software, it's just not going to be able to compete with what Sony and Microsoft release this year, it's going to be seen as belonging to the 360/PS3 generation. The Wii got away with it because of a gimmick, from what I've seen/heard (regardless of my own personal opinion of when I try it, this seems to be the consensus so far) the controller/tablet is not innovative enough in the say way the Wii controller was.

I think if they dropped the price by a far bit, and release great games, then yeah it has a chance to stand along side whatever the big 2 hit us with this year.

I would also add that I think the biggest threat though to Nintendo is not from Microsoft or Sony, but Apple, especially if they do something more with Apple TV, this is because they both target the more casual gamers.

What they should of done, is launched a true console/tablet. They could of brought together their "handheld" businesses and their console business into one device. You can plug it into the TV and play the games there or you could of left the house with it. That would of sold by the truck load.

And you see then they could of got away with current gen visuals, because everyone would of been like "Well it's a tablet so you don't expect xbox 720/PS4 graphics"

Jimmy Albright
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GameViewPoint Developer

Apple at its core only cares about gaming as a means to draw people to their overpriced hardware. (I'm sorry if that rubs people the wrong way, just my honest feelings) Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have both publicly stated they don't plan on entering into any sort of gaming markets. I know some people love their extensive app store, but for the most part the console /living room gamers (who they'd be trying to attract) aren't going to be touching an apple console (or apple tv) with a 10 foot pole. The big 3 have so much going for them that I honestly doubt that Apple or even Valve with the steam box can currently enter that market and come out of this generation a success.

Chuong Ngo
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While I think it is very likely that the Steambox won't be crowned the "winner" of this generation, I don't believe it needs to win. If it manages to establish a foothold, the big 3 will have to respond in some fashion. With consoles becoming ever more similar to each other in terms of hardware due to the need for multi-platform games, what is the point in having proprietary hardware? While the short-term looks rough for, what I hope will be a more open platform like the Steambox, I think that it or similar devices will win out in 2 or 3 generations.

GameViewPoint Developer
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I think it will be great if there's an open platform like the steambox to develop on but I don't see how it's going to happen. The problem is hardcore gamers, developers etc are not the people that make Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft rich, it's the casual gamers that make them rich, hence the success of the Wii, "Ville" games on FB, Apples app store and on and on, casual gamers drive the success on these different platforms. And I don't regard most who play COD, or even Skyrim as hardcore gamers, perhaps 6 years ago for those types of games but not anymore.

I take your point regarding Apple not wanting to get into console gaming, but that might happen indirectly anyway if they introduce the App store to their Apple TV.

To me it's not about consoles, it's about App stores, plain and simple, and whoever get their App store into the most homes via any method possible is going to win over the next 5 years.

That's the problem with Steambox as I see it, and I can't see linux being the saviour for that, not without a large effort on someones part to make it what it needs to be.

What we have now is a very interesting time as mobile/Console/Desktop and all the rest of it is coming together, and I'm fairly sure not all of the current players will make it out of that situation.

Jimmy Albright
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@Chuong Ngo "If it manages to establish a foothold, the big 3 will have to respond in some fashion."

This could be really good for indie developers if they respond by making their platforms a little more accessible. This could also be really bad for us if the Steambox is a failure. Personally I agree with you, it doesn't need to dominate (it won't, Valve doesn't have the resources to make this happen) and it's going to need some exclusives. I mean TRUE exclusives, not the same titles you can already play on your PC.

warren blyth
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In the past it's always been scripture that the console with the biggest games library will win the generation (yes?.) And this generally went hand in hand with being the first console to market.

Why isn't this happening with WiiU?

John Gordon
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If you look back the console that was first to market has not been the leader more times than it has. For example the Genesis beat the SNES to market, but the SNES was ultimately the leader. The Saturn was first to market over the PS1, and the XBox360 was first to market but it is currently third in its worldwide install base.

First to market seems to help in nabbing a little early market share, but it's not the deciding factor in the long run.

William Johnson
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First to market doesn't mean anything.

Dreamcast and 3DO were first to market for their respective generations.

Derek Poole
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Not sure if anyone has addressed this yet, but I think one major problem with the Wii U's launch was the lack of a killer app. The Wii had Zelda, which was THE reason for me to buy one at launch.

Jimmy Albright
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Right but Zelda was just a mirrored port of the gamecube version. The problem is it takes so long for a Zelda title to be developed and unfortunately it hasn't lined up even close to a release since, Ocarina of Time I think?

Edit: I think it was Shigeru Miyamoto who recently stated that one of the reasons for the Wind Waker re-release was due to the time it's going to take to development the next Zelda title. They've also said they've had a Zelda announcement for the 3DS coming, and I believe it was confirmed that it was a new title and not the Majoras Mask remake, although I still expect that to come.

Chris Melby
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I was going to buy a Wii U regardless -- just wasn't on my top priority, but now with Zelda:Wind Waker( My favorite 3D Zelda. ) being updated for it, I'm buying one as soon as I can spare the time.

John Gordon
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I haven't bought a Wii U yet, but I would have if they bundled in the Mario game instead of Nintendoland. They did launch with a killer app, but they should have bundled it with the console.

ian stansbury
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I didn't have a Wii, so one of the main motivations for me getting the U was to go back and play the older Zelda games that I missed. Having a good time playing Skyward Sword right now.

Bob Johnson
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Zelda isn't a huge title compared to SMB or MK or Smash Bros. Not sure that would do much for the launch. Maybe it would have grabbed more diehards initially.

I think the $350 isn't an impulse buy. I don't think the public really knows about the Wii U. I think a lot of money is being spent on tablets and smartphones and iPod touches. Mind you not directly as a console replacement but after a family buys a kid an iPad I would think a console purchase is out off for awhile. While the games aren't direct replacements the gaming experience is enough to entertain for the time being.

I think the software on the Wii U is ... a bit been there, done that except NintendoLand and that title is a bit difficult to understand unless you play it. When you do play it with friends and family you see the fun. You see the depth. Still it wasn't absolutely magical like WiiSports. But it is fresh and entertaining in a more subtle way.

Otherwise you got a SMB game which is a good one. But ...there have been now 4 SMB titles in 5 or 6 years if you count their handhelds. On the other hand SMB Wii U will have a long shelf life. And it is a good game. And many youngsters coming into the Nintendo's demographics haven't played SMB.

ZombiU is interesting. But the type of title that sells to folks that have 360s and PS3s. Problem is those folks probably know that the Wii U is not going to be a next-gen home for those types of games. They aren't going to buy a Wii U just for ZombiU.

The rest of the stuff are 360 ports. And isn't Sing Party from Nintendo? But that stuff has been done on other consoles and is nothing new although maybe I am being superficial. I don't think reading lyrics off your Gamepad is enough to get folks to buy a Wii U. Someone could probably make a free Karaoke game on the iPad.

Also no one really needs Netflix or YouTube or Amazon on Demand on another device. :)

Although I really like using those services on the Wii U. They work pretty well.

And the browser works good too. Still when everyone has tablets, phones, iPod Touches, laptops, not sure a pretty good browser on the Gamepad counts for a ton.

btw did you know you can go to Youtube on your browser, play a video which is also beamed to your tv and then hit a button and surf the internet while the YouTube video plays on your tv? Kind of cool. SAw that on the internets the other day. I owned the Wii U for 3 months and had no idea. You can't do that with the YouTube though.

Oh and TVii has potential. I haven't been able to test it much because I don't have a traditional cable box. I have some uncommon WMC pc dvr setup. Anyway you use it to find content across cable, netflix, amazon etc. And it will change your cablebox channel to the show you select. Suppose to eventually support Tivo too. Problem is I have my doubts on whether this will really be fully realized. They need to do more. The tv remote needs to support audio video receivers. The tv remote needs up/down arrows to make switching inputs faster instead of having to cycle through your inputs to get the one above the one you were at. Little things like that. Also once you know your show and the time do you need to turn on the Wii U, touch your show icon to have the Wii U change the channel for you? The Wii U isn't as quiet as a cable box either. It ain't loud, but at night you hear the fans. To make the Tvii stuff work they almost have to become a software/web company too. Halfway or 3/4 won't cut it. They won't though. Too region/tv provider specific.

Wii U is going to be what every Nintendo console has been for the past 3 and now 4 generations. A 1st party machine with a handful or two 3rd party games worth playing. IT will be the console for fans and families with younger children.

ian stansbury
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I feel the opposite of most people on this thread. While the U required little convincing for me to buy it, the new Xbox and PS will. The main reason behind this is the fact that i already have a PC game rig. They are going to have to come out with something amazing that can convince we to blow 500 bucks on that rather than get the newest, snazziest video card on the market at the time. Same reasoning I, and most people out there I think, only own either PS3 or XBox. I simply can't justify another console purchase just to play at most 2-3 titles only on that system.

I've been having fun with my Wii U as well though and don't regret the purchase. But if your looking for an apples to apples comparison between the Nintendo and the other consoles, your gonna have a bad time. I didnt get the U to play the games with the greatest graphics, thats what my PC is for. I got the U for the 'neato!' factor of the gamepad, the classic mario/zelda/metroid games, and as a system to play with friends. Nintendo land is fun in groups and shows off the game pad. I've been playing the Wii zelda games when alone. My girlfriend loves just dance and mario. None of the things I got the system for really are what the other consoles are known for.

The U was released for the early adopters this christmas. I expect a much better line up by this christmas, and more steady sales.

Bob Johnson
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Nicely said. This is how I feel too. The Wii U is a complement to my pc gaming rig.

ray G
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Its not even about the power for me..its lack of games that are comparable to some of the great games on PS3/PS2 and 360. This whole controller approach is cool idea but just not when you have to consider games that have multiplayer, now everyone needs one, now wait Big N addressed that, use Wiimotes! really?? I would have been open to a classic controller bundled in and wii u controller as an accessory. Played WiiU and not impressed one bit, just like both of its showings at E3 it just did not deliver when you play it.

A lot of people gave N a huge chance after botching the WIIu showing the 1st time at E3 after leaving disappointed and they botched it again, having one of the worst E3 debuts in all of recent console history.

With PC having great graphics, it does have the issue of a lack of quality made games VS console. Only recently is that gap closing, but you still wont get amazing pieces of work like Uncharted 3, White Knight Chronicles,Nino Kuni, Valkyria Chronicles,Journey, Persona 4, Last Guardian. I mean it does depend what you are looking for, but if its not an FPS and you want quality in different verity Console is the way to go. BTW those are all games exclusive to PS3. I yet to see any game on PC with better art direction and output then Nino Kuni and White Knight chronicles..

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A W
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No.

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ray G
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Why would anyone want a WiiU?? I mean seriously what we know as a "hardcore gamer" should be able to do just fine with a PS3,360 and honestly still play a PS2 over WIIU. Their best games are mostly games that are have been out for a long time on other consoles...Not to mention no one plays Zelda and Mario anymore (like they used to). Seeing kids with these mascot shirts have been ousted big time by games like Angry Birds, that should tell you something. I asked kids (pre teens) if they played or liked Zelda, Mario, Sonic or even Mega man.. They knew who Mario and Sonic were and only knew link from old Smash games but they dont play those games. kids know IOS games these days more then console games...Ninentendo's real only fanbase are fanboys orgasaming over any table scarp Nintendo will throw their way. Some guy seriously tried convincing me on some TV service. "You serious mate???"

Call it "hate" or whatever, bottom line is the only person who actually wants a WIIU are fanboys.

Johan Wendin
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Thank you for your well thought-through and eloquent venting.

You might be interested to know that Gamasutra isn't your normal forum but rather a more mature, industry-close site.

If you do a little more research, you will find that your statement "nobody plays mario and zelda anymore" to be highly inaccurate. You can fully expect WiiU sales to surge once their respective new titles appear.

People don't seem to realize that not everyone wants AAA-games on their console. I have a much more powerful PC for that. For my console I want games that I can play together with my kids - and they are absolutely loving the WiiU. Anyone who can't see the use of the gamepad has obviously either not tried it - or has been indoctrinated hard enough to believe that what's currently out there is the ultimate in gaming experiences.

The fact it provides something no other current game console can offer. (asymmetry in game experience on the same TV) - like a game master in pen-and-paper RPGs, means a lot more to *their market* and gaming as a whole than slightly improved graphics (which also happen to mean even higher development costs and thus less risk-taking and innovation)


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