I never know exactly what I should put in these things so I usually leave them blank.... >.<;
Well, I suppose a short summary wouldn't hurt:
I like video games and gaming in general. I'm still pissed that Gintama was cancelled by viz. My brain refuses to learn Japanese (or maybe I'm just too lazy?... nah.)
Penguins are awesome, as are giant robots and feudal samurai armies.
And I'm pretty awful at introductions, if this passage is anything to go by.
Well, that's enough self exposition for one day. ^_^;
Look, we all know by now the details of MS online and Used game policies. This isn't about those things directly, but about something seemingly out of place about all of this; GameStop. Or rather, the fact that they seem ok with all of this.
Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out why... even if we have to go deeper. So brace yourself for....
Used game inception: Gamestop is okay with this because it will edge out the used games industry.
...Wait, wuh? To be more specific, the Used industry that Isn't Gamestop themselves.
We all know that simple renting and trading will be severely limited, and used sales will have to be done at *Specified Retailers*. Of course that would include GS. So, what is the real harm to them in this situation? It is actually a boon; If you want used games, you will Have to go to Gamestop. No Amazon resellers. No Ebay. No friend swapping or D-toid sellers; These specified retailers only, with Gamestop being the biggest in this section of the industry.
In effect, Gamestop wants to do to private sellers what Pubs want to do with *All* used games; edge and phase them out. Irony has never played out so deeply.
Wheels spinning within wheels indeed.
So used games. XBOne. The situation isn't looking too pretty, with publishers and MS each getting a cut of the sales of resold products. For many, the blatant reach into the used market is the last straw, keeping them from purchasing the Xbox One. For others it is merely aa brick in the wall of a myraid of problems. In any case, it is bad... but HOW bad?
Our own Chris Carter broke the report for us on d-toid: in the write up, he explained how the Pie Cut would drive up used costs and damage the feasibility of the used market as a whole. That seems pretty bad... but that is only the begining.
So, Who wants to play "Pass the Buck"?
Let's set up 2 different scenarios: A free used market and a publisher -cut in used market. We will attempt to follow cash flow through each and see where we end up. Now obviously the games industry doesn't exsist in a bubble: people won't always spend money they have on Games. But we are exploring the potential of how that money could affect the game industry ONLY, so let's disregard other markets for a little bit. Everyone cool? Ok, Here we go!!
In a free Used market, Billy has a game he no longer wants. So he procedes to sell it. He gets an amount obviosly less than he paid and the store gets a potential investment(Or loss: thus why some store have hideous used prices). In this scenario, we will say the store does sell that game. Now, Let's Follow the Money!!
Bill now has more money. He can spend it on anything he wants, and he buys another game. That is more sales for the industry.
The store has made a tidy profit. They can now spend it on resupply, including more used and new games, which will mean more sales and more profit, which means more sales... ok, you get it. But that resupply comes from... where? Game companies, who now have more money. That is sales for the industry.
And Geoff walks in. He is the purchasor of Bills game. He has a new game in his stable, and the store has his money. Further, he has managed to save money on the sale, and could be a potential customer who would spend more on games. That is sales for the industry.
Scenario 1 just went off without a hitch. Now, before we begin, can anyone guess how Scenario 2 will play out? I think we can all guess...
The market is now cut-in by MS and pubs. Bill wants to sell his game, so he heads to the store. He gets an amount less than he paid for(How the store may charge differently from a free used market is currently unknown, so for fairness let's assume it is the same) and the store sells his game. Now let's follow the money!
The store sells the game to Geoff. He now has a game(the price of which in fairness we will assume the same) same as before. Bill has more money same as before. But what of the store... and Pubs?
The store has less money to resupply. That means less money for the industry. Fewer used or new games. "But Wait!! The amount is the same!" Yes... but remember, the name of the game isn't "Change the amount". It is "Pass the Buck". And where does that buck end up?
The Pub/MS have more money. In fact, they get money everytime someone resells their game. Money that would have been spread to everyone is now Pooled collectively to a select few. They are now bloated, while the rest of the industry suffers. Alone, this may not be a bad thing: A company growing larger must be a strong company doing a great deal for the industry. But not in this case. The only "Product" They are giving us for this EXTRA revenue is a mandatory restriction. They are, in effect providing a product FOR THEMSELVES. Now if this sounds familliar to you, it should; have you ever been accousted by a highway man in Oblivion? That is what a Cut-in used market effectivly is. A set up designed to squeeze money from the industry for themselves, no matter if it is deserved or not.
Further, this is the BEST case scenario: Remeber, out of "Fairness" Those who resold and bought used were not directly affected at all in these examples. And this also completely disregarded the possibility of Bill wanting to give/sell his game to Geoff directly... which we all know is not truly possible under MS set-up.
So in the end, MS and the Pubs have more money. Money that naturally flowed freely and healthily throughout the industry stagnates. Companies and retailers suffocate. And the industry itself is stunted and stifled.
No Good can come of this. Even MS and the select few pubs will crumble under their own weight. Better to let *Them* crumble now than bring everyone else down with them.
So; WiiU. PSVita. Many would say they are birds of a feather. Two peas in a pod. They are both struggling in the market and are garnering much attention and claims of an early grave.
Except, they aren't at all the same. One has had a year to a year and a half to build its presence, something it has utterly failed to do while the other has just started. For the WiiU to recieve the same level of ire and criticism seems slightly skewed, but don't worry about that too much; because it is actually recieving WORSE treatment.
Just this morning, two previews for the Vitas heavy hitters popped up(By Hamza; I'll post them at bottom of the page) These two games seem standard at worst, so they are certainly worth paying attention to and deserve the spotlight they have been given. But my personal peeve lies with the wording... it seems so Rosey. So positive and lovey, it would seem like the Vita isn't in trouble at all. Which isn't a bad thing on its own... but then, nothing exsists in a vacuum.
Perhaps some of this is me being hyper sensitive. I have always noticed a sort of... double standard not just here, but through the whole industry. Both the 3ds and wiiu were trashed out the gate pretty much everywhere(Including here on d-toid), but the Vita was given more praise than criticism, more optimisim than doubt, and some very rosey wording where otherwise there would have been pity or scorn. But that's not all that compells me here: a few days ago, I read this:
Something I already knew... or felt I knew, but with added depth. More meaning... and a greater emphasis on the possibility that this biaism might actually be capable of having some effect. Something Nintendo has been dealing with for years now, long before 3ds or wiiu. But... why? What about everyone else?
Well, let me tell you something; The Vita has been tanking. Slower sales than WiiU. Few quality games all its own. A ridiculous price package(once Memcards are taken into account). Recently, a major price cut in Japan sparked the system into new life... but has since settled down. During all this has been a mix of Praise, criticism, doubt, death calls, hope, indifference. But for the media itself? Mostly just hope, if D-toid can be used as a sign to the matter; and seeing as how they are often quite harsh compared to their peers, I believe we can.
So, I've shown you the past and present... but why does that matter? Clinging to old feelings of "injustice" just makes one seem bitter, and certainly isn't wholly worth discussing or writing a blog about. Well, that's just it; My frustration is that this has everything to do with the Future. Not only how it May be affected, but [u]How it looks already[/u] and the respective amount of negativity. Now, like I said earlier nothing exsists in a complete vacuum. Not even time; so there will be some retrospective and past-to-future analytics here, but that is the nature of the beast.
WiiU. Floundering. No games. But its future is highlighted by 3 prospects; Unknown support, known mysteries and unreleased long awaited titles. We know the system has had troubles, but there is something obviously appearant that we seem to blind ourselves to; its best moments haven't even begun. We are cursing and laughing at a "Failure" that hasn'tEven played the hand [u]we already know it has.[/u] Not to mention there could be aces up this proverbial sleeve; something this player is known for.
So, what does that have to do with Vita or double standards? The aforementioned previews help shed some light onto this: Negativity Vs positivity in similar situations... situations that couldn't be farther from each other when actually analyzed.
The Vita has had a year more to build support... that isn't there. Those two games are pretty much it, and then what? Well, not much. Japan has already seen its biggest releases this year, and now Vita has to try to keep sales going against a 3ds that hasn't seen ANY of its big releases for 2013. Japanese devs have shown very little support going forward in part due to favoing 3ds. And the west.. has never liked handhelds. Looking at the upcoming support, this should be pretty obvious. Post september, Vita has run out of games... but what about surprises? Well, 3 factors hamper this; first, Sony aren't good at keeping secrets. Most often, what we can see is what is coming, including mumors and rumors, of which there have been none. Second, Sony is most likely focuing on PS4, especially since they are a much smaller company than just 7 years ago when they could barely support ps3 and psp. And third, 3rd parties aren't too heavy on the system, as detailed above.
That is the situation; 2 systems. Both floundering. One with a potentially bright future, one with a potentially empty one. One company constantly under fire, the other constantly given free passes. One with an unescapable negative perception, the other with an overly sunny one.
There is clearly something wrong here, and I don't like it. A problem there may be no answer to, and That really annoys me. So I guess the only way I can cap off this blog is with an irritated statement; Double standards, lopsided treatment and baseless perceptions? Yes, they are shit.
(Speaking os shit, No pics... Maybe I'll add some if I can use an actual computer later. Blogs are finnicky on android...>.>;)
In the last few weeks, WiiU has had key dev support stripped away. Lost exclusives. Yearly Titles not being developed. Publishers taking pot shots at the fledgling system, and supposedly canceling games outright. One would think Nintendo has done something wrong to be in this position.
And they have. They have committed apparently the greatest crime in the eyes of Western publishers: Not doing Good enough.
Reports have come in that the system has under-performed. Even Nintendo has cut forecasts, which is admittedly a bad sign. But lets take a step back and think:
The system is outperforming all but its most powerful of its predecessors(the Wii). It is outperforming its most recent "sibling" in the Vita. While sales have under performed what some could argue were overly ambitious goals anyway, on its own it is performing decently.
Right in line with previous console launches in fact. As many of us would have expected, if not perhaps a little worse. And yet, the result is so disproportionately different than those other systems... But why?
Because they haven't done "Good Enough".
In case you didn't already hear, take a look at this:
Devs are supposedly cancelling games in development, as I have previously stated. But that isn't what I want to bring your attention to. It is this line:
" I had a data point yesterday at lunch with a high budget Wii U game that was hoping to sell “millions” over time. It only managed “tens of thousands”."
Does anyone see what is wrong with this? If you can't, I'll make it perfectly clear:
You would have to be a total DUMBASS to expect a new console to push out a seller "in the MILLIONS" only weeks after launch. This is a ridiculous level of expectation, bordering on delusional. Yet, publishers are lamenting about "under performing targets" and "less than expected install base". What on earth were they expecting? Wii levels?
The Wii was an anomaly. Certainly, no one in their right minds would put such a burden of expectation on the company that recently failed to copy the Wii already with the 3ds? But to some extent, these Western companies DID. Once again, look at that statement. "Millions"? Lets look at the anomaly that the wii was again. One would have been hard pressed to come out with a million seller even in that instance, yet at least one Western pub expected a NORMAL console launch to outperform a market phenomenon?
Surely Ubi must have understood the risk of "exclusivity" when they made their commitment, right?
By now, you have no doubt noticed my choice in descriptors. "Western Companies". "Western Devs". "Western Publishers": Why the distinction? The difference lies in the focal point of this situation. Expectation.
Of all the devs and publishers, The Western based ones have been complaining far more, if not exclusively. But what of Namco Bandai? Capcom? Tecmo Koei? Look at the link again: the poster singles out Japanese participators from the list of devs walking out... why the signifigance?
The WiiU didn't exactly set Japan on fire either. In fact, sales have continued to fall week over week as titles remain sparse. The newest Mario is pretty much the only title in the top 20 at this point. And yet, look at the difference in reaction. Of key note, Capcom:
Monster Hunter is THE Japanese franchise in many eyes. It is a massive seller and console pusher. So, how did the WiiU version perform, based solely on numbers?
It is currently being outsold by its handheld counterpart a year older than itself. It did not remain in the top 20 more than a few weeks, if that. And yet, it is still a "Smash Hit".
WHAT. THE. HELL.
The WiiU has "under performed". But it hasn't at the same time? The only noticeable variable is the Western publishing sphere and their "expectations". A group now touting the glory of their next money grab target; the new consoles due out this year. I wonder what their "expectations" are for these entries in the market? And should they fail to meet those targets, what next? Is this a one sided, anti Nintendo street... with 3rd parties creating issues in their mind and willing them into reality against only them? We have already seen this behavior with towards the Gamepad, after all.
Or maybe these companies are preying on early adopters to make a quick buck off low cost ports. Hyping these New devices to drum up easy sales, just waiting to complain when unrealistic expectations fail the platform holders so they can run back to the large install base of the last gen... and by this point, perhaps the WiiU? It isn't like new consoles haven't gone through this little play already... since that is exactly what they are doing to WiiU now.
Regardless of the reasoning, Something isn't right with this situation. One would be daft to expect the "next gen" dev costs to not rise, the returns to most certainly be met in spades, and the consoles to be instant "Million sellers". WiiU had a 25 year history and the phenomenal Wii name behind it, relatively cheap dev costs, the hype of being the first new console in years, but even so most knew it wouldn't exactly come into the industry in such an all consuming blaze of glory. And yet some idiot group expected, or perhaps NEEDED a *Launch* game to be a Million seller in order to make its desired return. To make things all the more puzzling, they are ditching a system committing no outrageous crime against the industry or market, other than failing to meet "expectations". A system which could only continue to grow so long as it is given the attention it deserves as a new console... while simultaneously preparing to do an unpredictable launch all over again?
I am a conspiracy nut, and could go for paragraphs on all the potential BS companies could be pulling behind the scenes. But even without such ludicrous imaginings, this recent trend is still horrifying to anyone with vested interest in the industry. That so many companies could be so blind, stupid, or short sighted as to damage the industry and themselves with their horrible practices and decisions and not even notice cannot spell out good fortune to come for our favorite hobby.
Well, regardless of reason, I guess I know one thing to certainly expect: Those consoles better do "Good Enough", or it will be the WiiU all over again.