I've been gaming for about 20 years now, I regularly study the workings of video games everyday and aim to know everything about the industry and add to it the best I can. Around here I'm known as very negative which may be a positive thing to some people.
I'll say it now so I can pat myself on the back years from now, "Nintendo is vital to this whole industry".
I won't front, the gaming world looks bleak, and it would seem as if it's all starting to peak out. We have PS4 that was just announced that didn't really impress anyone but the quirky gaming community and if things are to pan out as usual, Microsoft will eventually introduce their version of Sony's solution.
Basically what we've seen for the last 13 years.
Then there's Nintendo, which once again will be marching to beat of it's own drum. Well, it would seem.
I may go on a tangent here, but why does the gaming community pretend that the whole industry hasn't been pointed in the direction that Nintendo lays out for them? Do we really need to go into where the thumbsticks, dpads or triggers came from at this point? Why do we ignore the fact that Sony and Microsoft released Move or Kinect? Where do you think that PS4 controller touch screen idea came from? Come on people.
But then, gamer say, 'we'll fuck that, that shit's not important anyway, have you seen Nintendo, those games look like shit on my 1080p... I just can't get myself to play them."
Personally, I battle with the same thing sometimes. Like, what the fuck is going on with this 480p signal, get that haziness off my Super Mario Galaxy, Skyward Sword, Smash Bros, my Mario Kart and No More Heroes. This aside, I usually am able to adapt minutes in and enjoy the game. I personally believe this has always been a resolution thing though. Because the games look great in 1080p, have you seen what these things look like in the Dolphin Emulator? Do you see what Nintendo can with just last gen graphics? Still I understand this Wii-specific problem.
So suddenly, next gen comes into view, and Sony shows off shinier versions of (what I consider) PS3 games. Sure, the gamer in everyone saw the reflections bouncing off every window of the multitude skyscrapers as the camera panned downward in that Kill Zone trailer. But do you really think that CNN, MSNBC, Business Insider or anyone else saw any of that? No. Graphics mean EVEN less this generation, if you haven't noticed. I personally believe that the stage is finally set for Nintendo to really take off... because suddenly the PS4 is starting to look like the PS3 which already looked a lot like the 360 which will look a lot like the next Xbox.
So think about it, who REALLY is the most cutting edge? The ones who change the whole INTERFACE of gaming or just the look?
Despite the climate of everything, my vote is once again with Nintendo with this one. It's not like they've reinvented the whole thing but it's the most important system I've seen so far. One that incorporates everything that has ever been innovated in gaming, in one machine. I consider it the ultimate game designer's dream console.
Also, I'l digress a bit, what do you think is going to happen to PS4 and Xbox style games once Steam hits the market? Just saying. I know that Nintendo will be different enough to hold there own. Take a look at the 3DS, iPhone and the PS Vita. Now take a look at the Wii U, Steam and competition. It's too early for me to put my chip down on anything yet but if Steam is able to take off in console market, Sony and Microsoft should be shaking (especially Microsoft). Anyway, it may be too early for this Steambox conversation. I'll save it for another blog.
Back to next gen; have we ever considered the finances needed for projects on a PS4? Or more importantly, the modeling talent that would REQUIRE specs transcending a PS3? Think about it, RE4, Vice City and Ikaruga are on PHONES now. Watch_Dogs is also on Wii U, Assassin's Creed 4 just got announced on Wii U and there's a good chance that Destiny will eventually be there too. How about Beyond Good and Evil 2? What super game will there be on PS4? Especially the Next Xbox- Cliffy-B is gone and so is Bungie too.
Personally I can understand constraints of the PS2-era but there's a reason why people still look at games made for the current tech, now almost 8 years old and still get mind-blown. How about The Last of Us? And if the Wii was any indication of Nintendo's ability to max out graphics, I'm sure we'll be just fine with Wii U looking ahead. It's the Playstation and Xbox brand that bring nothing new to the table that people should be wary of... especially when that Steam Box comes out.
It wasn’t too long ago (IMO) that I remember waves of PS2 fanboys, Tinitron TV sets, mini-disc players and the looming threat that one day a PSP could dominate in the handheld space. Sony had the brand recognition, the momentum and the market. Sony’s name had a degree of quality unparalleled in the electronic space and brands so strong they seemed unstoppable. So what stopped them?
In 2004 (from what I can remember), the talk was about the PS2 and its untouchable monopoly, announced PSP on the way about to crush Game Boy Advance, Xbox just got Halo 2, and Gamecube just got nothing. Momentum was clearly on Sony’s side.
Offering an all-in-one premium package, a product philosophy that has proven success with the PS2, seemed like the perfect course moving forward with the PSP and the PS3. But it would seem that things were bound to change.
Eventually, innovative hardware from Nintendo including the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii has proven the point that innovation is what pushes the industry forward and not the “all in one” philosophy.
But does that mean there is no market for Sony then? No way. A good comparison, I think, is when we take a good look at the PSP sales relative to the Nintendo DS. Sure the Nintendo DS sold tons, but just a small fraction in that space still meant big sales in ‘console terms’, right? What the PSP has proven that there is definitively room for the all in one package in the gaming space.
Then there was iPhone and IPod Touch that revolutionized the market by just combining the two philosophies together and just seeped up the whole gaming market… and frankly, I think that was just a happy accident for them. I think just looking at Apple’s portable devices, it should be clear that these things are not only mass market, but innovative and technically ground breaking.
So the way I look at this handheld industry from the video-game-company focused perspective is the following.
Firstly, I already thought that Nintendo would be running into a dead market face first. Nintendo needs to come to terms that only old school Game Boy sales can be expected from the Nintendo 3DS because it doesn’t transcend that market like the Nintendo DS did in 2005. But that’s a whole other story.
Sony also, saw the decline of the PSP versus the Nintendo DS and decided to just slap on the Nintendo DS features on the Vita it seems, impressing no one. I am sure this all in one approach from a Sony perspective should have at least achieved the PSP mark in their mind or a profitable return at the very least.
I would submit though, that maybe Sony’s philosophy wasn’t really realized with the PS Vita. The thing does everything gaming-wise but I personally believe though that PS Vita doesn’t really do anything that much better than any other tablet or smart-phone, so, is the PS Vita ‘really’ all in one?
What if the Vita had phone radio?
Suddenly this product makes more sense, the appeal is there. PS Vita as it stands really isn’t as valuable as the PSP Go, if you think about it. The Vita doesn’t do gaming better than the 3DS, or playback as good as the Iphone or Ipad. So I recommend on Sony’s behalf to come out with a system that uses the exact spec as the Vita, same price point, the form factor of the PSP Go and the utility/compatibility of Android.
The “Vita SP” would keep all the power house features of its predecessor and combine it with the necessity of a cell phone. This market can actually parallel Nintendo 3DS’ and serve the 14+ consumer that Sony generally has in the past.
What both handheld companies did wrong this year was mistakenly forecast the trend of gaming. This Vita SP idea can really refocus Sony, and deliver a product of premium gaming content and modern utility. A product philosophy that made the PSP so significant last generation, modernized for those same consumer needs.
If you have been following the headlines this year you should know that every major player in the industry has been reporting record losses, to economic turmoil and to stiff competition from the mobile market Apple has dominated in.
While Nintendo has been trying to prove that everyone is a gamer, Apple has proven that there is no such thing as a gamer to begin with.
The world of gaming is coming to a serious peak. While two years ago I spoke/wrote of a reality that marginalized the gamer, told of economic downturn and the future of Apple’s dominance. Out of context, I was all ignored.
At one time I felt the need to tell everyone about these oncoming events but I was severely jeered when doing so. I have learnt the wisdom in just having people learn themselves in some cases; if my forecasts are correct, then they should be realized in the future anyway.
I have played thousands of games, read thousands of articles and books over the span of a decade. Problem is though, there’s no relevant real world implementation for all this knowledge it seems, and (worse,) no identity. So I pushed the gaming culture aside, moved back to Quebec, and prioritized my economics, relationship, and more civilized behavior with gaming never ever being discussed again. So for the past 2 years, I’ve been mute but with a secretive close eye on things.
But it feels wrong. My whole life has cultured me for this… it’s the path of least resistance, so I decided to return to gaming in general after a two year forfeit. I have something to give the world no one else can and while I will be distasteful for a lot people, everything I say is genuine conviction something that many reviews or critics have difficulty with, and seem to speak with a disconnected sophistication.
Love it or hate it, it’s all real talk, so enjoy it.