RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Jan 22nd 2009 at 03:06:40 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Uh, Luc, Nintendo, Economics

God, it's been a while. Have you missed my Cynical Nature? My friends would tell you that I can be quite the Cynical Bastard, but in recent history I've moved to a new state and my Cynical Nature has been placed on the back burner as real issues consume my life. Life is good and all, and while I've been furloughed for four days I still have a job and that's fantastic.

Lucky for those of you that enjoy my Cynical Nature, I am writing this article. I mean there's plenty of things to be cynical about if you're American. For the sake of this article I'll keep it to limited to gaming. Let's jump into a few of those topics, after all it's been a while and some things have certainly happened.

Let's start with the subject of my last article, Mr. Luc Bernard. See, he had this game known as Eternity's Child, and on paper it looked really good. It excited me, it really did. Unfortunately, what's good on paper doesn't always turn out great, and apparently Eternity's Child just was not good. If you trust Destructoid's review it's God awful, and that's just sad really. Such high expectations dashed by the general panning of this game by reviewers. So how did Luc take it? Like a baby! He said he would never develop games again, and the world shed a single tear.

So, flash forward to today and what's happening? Why, Luc Bernard is developing games! Why, Luc, you pretentious ass! You make such a damn scene out of everything, make everyone hate you, and in the process of doing so we all know your name now that you are developing legitimate games. Your story inclines me to believe that you planned this crap out all along. You sir, are a marketing genius, or incredibly stupid. Here's to you, Mr. Bernard. You might have pissed off half the gaming world, but at least we all know who you are.

Moving on, I recently bought a PlayStation 3, and it's fantastic. While the Wii isn't the shovelware console that it's sometime depicted to be, the fact still remains that it's quite obvious that the casual gamer is Nintendo's Priority. I've come to terms with that, and that is why I own a George Foreman Grill. But, fortunately for you, Nintendo, while you don't seem to care much about the core gamers right now, some of your third party developers do. God, Mad World and The Conduit will be fantastic. I'm not a violent person, but Mad World and it's violence will be amazing.

While the third party developers have a few gems, I still have to wonder where the hell Nintendo is with their AAA titles. Animal Crossing was for the "core gamer"? I call bullshit. You're a smart company, Nintendo, and you know how to maximize profit. And profit maximization is simple with the Wii! All you need to do is cater to the "casual" gamer. There are a lot more of them than there are of us, and well, Nintendo's Advertising crew knows how to make the Wii and Nintendo's games seem absolutely necessary. Thing is though that they aren't! Super Smash Bros Brawl felt eerily like Melee, except with a nerfed Ness. Bastards. Animal Crossing was the same Animal Crossing released on the other consoles. Let's face it, you're not releasing games to satisfy the true gamers any more, rather, you're placating them. It's sort of sad, but you got to do what makes the investors happy. I understand.

Cynicism doesn't just mean having a general disdain for other people, but also being overly pessimistic about things. Well, for the gaming industry, the economy and its effects on the industry have caused me to be pessimistic about the future. I don't think Sony will ever return to being number one in the market. Sony took a gamble by releasing an expensive console years ahead of its time, and the economy decided to collapse around them, making their console out of the reach of consumers even at a price point lower than what it launched for. Developers are falling left and right. Factor 5 and Free Radical both are gone. EA is laying off 1000 or so people. Midway is bankrupt. Surely this is a bad time for a lot of companies, and the gaming industry is not immune from the economic fallout.

What does the future hold for the industry? I think you're going to see more game companies fall over the course of this year. Companies will probably try to maximize efficiency, which means layoffs are impending for those that stay open. Got to survive with lower profit margins, and a lot of companies will need to do that. This is 2009. We're in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Companies are finding that a few companies are selling most of the games, leaving a small piece of the pie for the rest of the developers. Can this small piece of the pie support the large number of developers during the recession? Probably not.

Well, I apologize for the long, long hiatus on Cynical Gamer articles. It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, it's a new year, so hopefully new articles from your neighborhood friendly Cynical Gamer. Of course, your neighborhood friendly Cynical Gamer also happens to code the PHP pages on this website, write for this website, and act the Site Director of this website; so who knows when the next time you'll see the Cynical Gamer actually will be. So, until next time!

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We've got plenty of cynical gamers on this website to fill in the spirit of cynicism in the absence of your articles, so don't worry about it. Take all the time you need in between installments Dave. Cool

In the spirit of the article, my thoughts are that I compare Casual gamers that are buying the Wii as their first console (or only planned console) to people getting their first car. Yes, it's great to get that car to get you from point A to point B, but often it's a beat-up used vehicle with few capabilities beyond the purpose of transportation itself. And after awhile, you start to get used to having it as your only transportation option. Then you start to look around and see all the other cars on the road and come to 1 of 2 conclusions: 1. "I have a car that does what it's supposed to do, I can't believe how wasteful 'EVERYONE ELSE' is to have bigger, faster vehicles than mine. What's the big deal?" or 2. "I have a car that does what it's supposed to do, but I see bigger, faster vehicles than mine...and now I want one of those!".

The former in the example are the Wii owners that will only buy the Wii, appreciate it for what it is, and not care about buying anything else in this generation. The latter are the Wii owners that will look at the other consoles when they're tired of the Wii, and possibly make a 2nd or 3rd console purchase this generation.

My thoughts are that if THIS generation of Wii owners in the first category eventually become jaded and indifferent to the console, they will judge the industry as a whole by it and are likely to not want to buy a 2nd console in this generation or ANY consoles in the NEXT generation. Unfortunately, I think that about 1/2 to 2/3rds of said Wii owners will fall into this category.

All this being said, and also taking economic factors into account, I think the current console generation will last much longer than the last one (GC, Xbox, and PS2). Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Time will tell.

Free Radical is gone?!?

I didn't know! Cry

I hope that the new company the ex-Free Radical people formed will be able to make TimeSplitters 4 although I hardly doubt it. Sad

I hope so too as I really liked Timesplitters. It's too bad Free Radical had to be involved with that god-awful piece of garbage known as Haze.
I can't blame Nintendo for appealing to the masses, especially in this economy. They've stumbled upon a way to print money for themselves, so why risk anything on "hardcore" games that might be successful or might not be. It's easier to throw together some crap new game based on a TV show or rehash an existing game that will instantly sell enough copies to be profitable.

Who knows, maybe all the money they're making this generation will be invested towards next gen technology that will blow away MS and Sony. It's not very likely, but possible.
@phoenix1967: I don't know what to expect of the "casual" gamer. Will the Wii ultimately be like the iPod? I don't know. Everything dies over time. Can Nintendo stay fresh for the casual gamer? I don't know if they can.
@TraderJake: Your 2nd question is the one that concerns me most regarding the current state of the industry looking forward. Will the casual gamers STAY?

Looking at our RFG poll about the Wii 6 months after purchase, from what I recall some still play it quite regularly, but half or more do not. When the next generation of consoles comes around, what percent of those casual gamers will upgrade and what percent will think "I really don't play the Wii anymore, why bother?".  Under the latter, we're likely to see a retraction in the industry, imo, back to the hardcore.

But as said by NES_Rules, Nintendo could be posturing themselves in this gen to make themselves more capable to compete as an HD console in the next gen.

I think that people had written off Nintendo before the launch so much that they didn't even have anything planned for Wii until it was too late. As NES_Rules said, it is far too easy to throw a bunch of crap together to get a product out. The dev kits were cheap this time as well, which allowed a bunch of developers in, but they all decided to try to cash in on Wii Sports and other party games with a bunch of identical stuff that worked in the same way.

I really feel that the Wii was more of an experiment by Nintendo. It obviously succeeded, so now the hardware will follow in the next-gen. More precise motion, better pointer recognition, and improved graphical implementation.
I agree with that bickman,Wii was just a stepping stone towards the next console that Nintendo will release

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