Nintendo's Fils-Aime Speaks Out

Nintendo's Fils-Aime Speaks Out

Reggie Fils-Aime, the Nintendo of America president, called out the competition as "arrogant", some reviewers as "hypercritical" and discussed game release plans for Super Mario Galaxy and more.

Presumably taking a shot at Sony, Fils-Aime came out swinging in an interview with MTV. "I do think that highlights a difference between us and our competitors: We're not arrogant. We don't view success as a right. We feel we need to earn success every day. And we're going to do that by being true to the gamer."

Being true to gamers is a fine ideal, but looking at the release list for the coming months, some gamers worry that Nintendo is falling into the same trap the Gamecube landed itself in, not releasing enough games to appease fans. "I disagree with the comparison," he said. "I wasn't here for the GameCube launch, but there was a time period when there were no titles. There wasn't even titles you could or could not sink your teeth into. 'Wii Play' and 'WarioWare' are going to be hugely fun titles."

Looking past March, Fils-Aime says to expect the new Metroid and Super Mario Galaxy sometime between March and Christmas, 2007.

Moving on to reviews, Fils-Aime criticized sites like IGN for bing overly harsh on games like Red Steel and Wii Sports. "Does it take you a few minutes to get used to the control scheme? Yes. Once you get used to it does it play extremely well? Absolutely. I think a lot of those reviews are overly harsh," said Fils-Aime, jumping to Red Steel's defense. "Just like the, what was it, the IGN review of Wii Sports. They're negative on the graphics of the game, but we always said what the graphics would be. I think that's people just being hypercritical."

After promising online gameplay in early 2007, Fils-Aime alluded to a Virtual Console release of GoldenEye if the stars were to align and various publishers signed on. "Would I love to see it on virtual console? Absolutely. But there are a lot of issues there," he claimed. "Suffice it to say we would love to see it, so we're exploring all the rights issues."

Fils-Aime finished up by promising some special content in the Wii channels before Christmas, but he didn't want to spoil the surprise.

Source: MTV

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It's about time someone in the top position dropped the macho BS and cut to the point - innovation and quality will win out in the end. Consumers ARE smart enough to support an innovative game system. I'm no Nintendo fanboy, but when almost every visitor to my place has to play a couple rounds of Wii Sports every time they drop by, I think Nintendo did something right for once in a long while.

Please. I am getting sick and tired of people, particularly those associated with the gaming industry, touting the revolution in gaming that the Wii will usher in. While some of these games look like they are fun and the Wii's control system does set it apart from the competition, I see no compelling reason to buy the Wii. I think its a gimic. As an avid gamer I want stellar gameplay, pyhsics, and graphics. Period. I don't want to settle for "fun" gameplay with poor graphics and static environments. As these systems mature, the Wii will look more and more antiquated in its graphics and physics processing. The Gamecube failed because gamers are getting older and they demand technological innovation. The Wii still may be successful, but serious gamers will not be able to live without one of the big dogs from Sony or MS. While I am emptying a minigun into a concrete wall that crumbles, falls on, and kills the two enemies ducking for cover behind it, you Wiiers can have your fun shooting rabbits with plungers or bouncing monkey balls.

heavyfeul:
Please. I am getting sick and tired of people, particularly those associated with the gaming industry, touting the revolution in gaming that the Wii will usher in. While some of these games look like they are fun and the Wii's control system does set it apart from the competition, I see no compelling reason to buy the Wii. I think its a gimic. As an avid gamer I want stellar gameplay, pyhsics, and graphics. Period. I don't want to settle for "fun" gameplay with poor graphics and static environments. As these systems mature, the Wii will look more and more antiquated in its graphics and physics processing. The Gamecube failed because gamers are getting older and they demand technological innovation. The Wii still may be successful, but serious gamers will not be able to live without one of the big dogs from Sony or MS. While I am emptying a minigun into a concrete wall that crumbles, falls on, and kills the two enemies ducking for cover behind it, you Wiiers can have your fun shooting rabbits with plungers or bouncing monkey balls.

The PS2 - the clear winner in the last generation - possessed by far the least muscle of the three. So I'm not quite sure where you're drawing these conclusions. It's all well and good to think that way yourself, but studies conducted by the University of My Ass aren't good enough when you want to try to predict what other people will want, not when there are obvious counterexamples.

Bongo Bill:
The PS2 - the clear winner in the last generation - possessed by far the least muscle of the three. So I'm not quite sure where you're drawing these conclusions. It's all well and good to think that way yourself, but studies conducted by the University of My Ass aren't good enough when you want to try to predict what other people will want, not when there are obvious counterexamples.

My statements are my opinion. I may not be a market research guru, but anyone can see, that while people have been carving skillfully through the MS and Sony hype machines with vicious abandon for the last year, no one has come out vocally to cut through the Nintendo hype machine. In my opinion they are selling a gimmicky control scheme as a "revolution" and getting pissed when reviewers point out how poor their graphics are. 'But we already told people the graphics were going to suck. Not fair! Whine Whine Whine! Everyone seems to get goo goo eyed every time Nintendo farts and I am tired of it. Its high some us put the Nintendo fan-boys to task and start bringing people down to earth. The Wii is a last-gen console with a new controller for $250. That is it. The PS3 and the XB360 actually offer gamers the kind of things we drool over. Near photo realistic graphics, real world like physics, and opportunity to paly in different ways besides waving our arms back and forth. If your a DDR fan and can't live without playing every Mario and Zelda game in existence, pick up a Wii. If you want cutting edge technology at less than wholesale prices, pick up a PS3 or a 360.

Can't believe I'm having this conversation here, of all places. All I'm saying is, last generation, the Gamecube and the Xbox were the ones offering the kind of things that gamers drool over, and look how much good it did them.

Not that Nintendo's marketing sewer isn't clogged with similar levels of bullshit to Microsoft's and Sony's. Oh, heavens no. That's what video game marketing is. But it's hard to deny that Sony's been the most arrogant about it this time around.

Bongo Bill:
Can't believe I'm having this conversation here, of all places.

Why not? I have been to cocktail parties with professors and doctors and seen less than highbrow arguments over things from lawnmowers to baseball teams. While the Escapist encourages thoughtful intelligent discussion, it doesn't mean a good console bashing can't occur once in a while. The Wii is just so cute and sweet and lovable that I want to punch it in the face! What can i say I'm in a mood.

Bongo Bill:
All I'm saying is, last generation, the Gamecube and the Xbox were the ones offering the kind of things that gamers drool over, and look how much good it did them.

Your right, but they were late to the game. Sony was smart. They got into the market and developed a following with the PS1, then improved the hardware, then released the next gen earlier than the competition. Hmmm...what other company is using that strategy?

The Wii is a neat little toy, that looks fun for a few hours, but serious gamers need serious hardware to run games with mind blowing graphics and physics. Gameplay is always an important component in every game on every platform. You can't have a great game without it. I just don't see how a gimmicky controller fundamentally changes gameplay. I have used tons of different control devices in my time and none of them made a game any better or worse. The Wiimote, or whatever, is a trick, a gimmick, a marketing sleight of hand. But, for some reason, just about every comment I here coming from people involved in the game biz look on the Wii controller as a possible "revolution" in gaming when all it is really is a different control scheme and nothing more. Personally, I do not see the innovation. If innovation comes, it will come from game design, not a controller.

Can't believe I'm having this conversation here, of all places.

Honestly folks, this was my initial reaction as well. But you can't draw lines everywhere all the time. Nobody's insulted anyone else or used any naughty language yet. So if y'all wanna go after the console war debate here, have at it. I am watching, however, and I will call foul if need be.

Consider it debate practice, if that helps. We all need one slow and up the middle every once in a while. So ... play ball.

heavyfeul:
If innovation comes, it will come from game design, not a controller.

The whole idea is that, as with the DS, the new control scheme will enable innovative game design to occur more easily by giving it new ways to work, and keeping the barrier to entry low. Great graphics and all the rest are wonderful, but they prevent a lot of talent from entering into console development, and if you read this magazine you know why.

If your console is the same as the last one, only prettier, then developers feel perfectly justified in making their game the same as the last one, only prettier. The more risk they'd be taking in trying something new, the more likely they are to think this way. Developers can't just rip each other off when they're confronted with a target platform that functions differently than anything they're used to. They have to go back to their original instincts, the ones that brought them into the industry in the first place: their creativity.

Additionally, it's never good for a market to have all the major competitors offering products that are essentially identical, while other types of product are completely ignored. Two ultra-high-end machines are enough. Really. We don't need a third. We need some middle-of-the-road hardware out there. The industry needs a space for experimental design, and it has to be pretty enough to sell but cheap enough to be used as intended.

heavyfeul:
...some of these games look like they are fun and the Wii's control system does set it apart from the competition, I see no compelling reason to buy the Wii. I think its a gimic.

I'm personally glad that so many "hardcore" gamers have this opinion of the Wii. heavyfeul has a soulmate in Greg Vederman, EIC of PC Gamer. On their podcast from last week, Greg and Gary Whitta (Gaz) had it out over the Wii's appeal as a gaming platform. Greg's entire argument could be summed up in three points:

1. Your arms will get tired.
2. Nintendo only makes kiddie games.
3. Teh graphics suck.

Most of the negative points I can pick from above seem to mirror these main points in some form or another. I think Gaz carried the show and in my mind is the more open-minded gamer out there.

If the Wii doesn't appeal to you, please don't buy one. Don't play one. Don't even look at them when you are walking down your local big-box store's gaming section. Just avert your eyes and look to the "next-generation" consoles or the PC section ONLY. Those of us who are open to new gaming experiences will enjoy having the extra consoles on store shelves so our friends, family and acquaintances (many of whom are non-gamers in my case) can easily walk into the local Wal-Mart and pick one up. I've converted two couples and several skeptical friends already and am looking forward to all of the exciting multiplayer, on-your-feet-gaming that will be coming my way over the next several years.

I see the console market as moving closer and closer to what a PC can do in terms of processing power, online multiplayer, and quality first person shooters; all things that are still the staples of PC gaming. This is what attracts me to the market. If I can get a high end PC type of experience on a console for $400 dollars or less I will become a die hard console only convert. I love PC gaming, but lugging around my computer to LAN parties is a chore, constantly dealing with firmware, hardware, and OS incompatibilities, having to install 3-6 discs, etc., etc. is a pain. The only thing that the PS3 and 360 are missing is a Nostromo speed pad and a mouse.

So maybe we see the appeal of the console differently. I, and I think most gamers, want a high end experience on the cheap, when it comes to consoles. The PS3 and the 360 give me that.

I see the appeal of the Wii and the DS. I am owner of a DS myself. But, Nintendo has failed, IMO, to adapt to the cutting edge of video game innovation. Thats why I have not bought a Nintendo console since the NES. I went from the NES->Genesis->PS1->PS2->Xbox. I just outgrew them. While I enjoy playing the New SMBs while waiting in the doctors office or something, it is not much more than an expensive time killer.

I think the recent lack of success Nintendo has had since the PS2 came out sums it up. Their strategy of "Fun" with a capital "F" doesn't appeal to most gamers. You can't tell me that Nintendo would not love to be the top North American dog again? Then why have they failed to innovate and compete. They seem perfectly happy to languish in mediocrity. Why can't we have a motion sensitive controller AND a quad core processor?

heavyfeul:
They seem perfectly happy to languish in mediocrity. Why can't we have a motion sensitive controller AND a quad core processor?

Combining motion sensing controllers with anything has been troublesome lately, or at least Sony definitely thinks so (rumble anyone?). But in theory, I agree with you. It would be fantastic to have a truly powerful CPU/GPU/Control Scheme on the market at this point. Maybe Nintendo is trying to take the risk out of the equation for this round. While they produce and sell Wii systems for a nice profit, they may be solidifying their motion-sensing control scheme as the must-have in gaming technology, so that when the next generation rolls around they can put out a machine that is both innovative in user interaction and high-spec, as you would like.

Ever since Nintendo lost to the Playstation in the realms of 3rd party support and technology, they have gone the path of least resistance. They may never purposefully go head to head with Sony or M$oft with the most expensive or cutting edge hardware, but they will continue to survive and make oodles of money by profitizing the hardware and churning out AAA 1st party titles.

I grew up playing games on the PC. Most of my favorite game experiences have been played on a keyboard and mouse, but it's hard to deny the shift in development focus that has happened in the past 5 years. My PC will ALWAYS be superior both in accuracy of control and overall performance to consoles, but that's not to say that I don't have a blast playing Wii Sports, Zelda: TP, Gears of War or any other console-only title.

As an avid gamer I want stellar gameplay, pyhsics, and graphics.

so by "innovate" you apparently mean "quad core processor". We've reached the point in games a while ago where we're mostly unconstrained by the hardware to design the games we want... more like we're now constrained by production value instead. The differences in processing power between the wii and the ps2/360 won't make fundimentally different games, but wii's controller will (or at least it's more likely to). It seems to me that the Wii is filling a decent niche by using ass-cheap hardware to make an ass-cheap console... I'm guessing owners of the 360 (or even a PC gamer like myself) are more likely to buy the wii as a funky secondary console as opposed to yet another overly expensive high-tech thing that's basically the same as what they already have. Also, graphics smraphics. I stopped being wowed by evolutionary high tech graphics years ago... I'm more impressed by inspired art/design & animation and you can achieve that on any current-generation console.

Although you're right that "cheap + fun" is the same rhetoric & philosophy behind the unstellar GameCube. But as opposed to just being the "lesser ___ with Zelda and Mario" the differences between the wii and ps3/360 are more fundimental (yeah, controller, etc.) so I don't think it's time to write it off as Teh Failure yet.

edit: and yeah, as the above dude said you'll see your high tech controllers w/ high tech consoles in the next generation for sure, if the wii catches on

I personally am of the opinion that the games industry ought to be doing as much as it can to keep low-cost games viable. Game developers need to be allowed to take risks, or innovation won't happen. Not reliably, anyway. Nothing a commercialized art form can do will strangle itself quite as quickly as raising the barrier of entry. The harder it is to turn a profit on a game, the harder it will be for upcoming visionaries to get their ideas made. It will certainly turn more of them away, as they languish in junior-programming positions with fewer opportunities for advancement than normal software development, with less pay, harsher hours, and ever-decreasing creative input.

As a gamer, I want to see these would-be visionaries make the games they want to make. As a gamer, I demand that consistent originality not be excluded from any game platform. As a gamer, I believe that the art form of electronic interactivity promises so much more than what we've even imagined, and nothing about this business concerns me more than the possibility that this might be impeded by the very people who want it most. And as a gamer, I believe that discouraging the next Will Wright, Dan Bunten, or Shigeru Miyamoto is simply too great a price to pay for another incremental step up in graphics. A committee cannot create something truly inspired, but the more the game costs to make, the harder it will be for an inspired individual to bypass the needs of Marketing.

I'm glad that the PS3 and 360 exist. It's wonderful to have options, and they do indeed look great. Certain types of game might never be executed better than they will be this generation. But it is my opinion that I am far more likely to see what I am looking for - new ideas executed with passion - coming the lower-cost, innovation-encouraging development environment that the Wii produces. (Obviously the PC is going to be better still for that sort of thing, but I'm just talking consoles here).

Everyone has been stressing the importance of game design over specs. I agree, design is fundamental, but so is processing power. In my opinion, all of the different components that go into making a game need to be executed to near perfection to make a truly great game. Because the Wii lacks the processing power, developers will inevitably hit a brick wall much sooner when trying to implement detailed graphics and complex physics, then they will developing for the 360 or PS3. Thus, the Wii will always have a handicap. One that will become more and more apparent as this generation ages.

One might argue that for those who don't have HDTVs (and there are more of us than I think you realize), improvements in graphical output will simply be too marginal to notice. And until you start including dedicated physics processors, an increase in CPU power from 700-odd MHz to 2 GHz does not produce enough a real difference in the complexity of the physics that your machine can handle. Physics is just math. RAM is the only bottleneck there, due to how many objects you'd be making physics calculations on, and by the time you get to so many objects that the physics engine is taking up all your RAM, you'll have long since hit your GPU's limit, unless you keep the polycount so low that you might as well just not use a dedicated gaming machine. (Disclaimer: I used some very rough math for this, so feel free to prove me wrong) The only possible exception I can think of to this is if you want the individual limbs on a few hundred actors to have varying plasticity in your ragdoll and/or breast physics, or you want every bullet to have its own gravitational field, or something. There's a thing called overkill. The boundaries of what is considered "too much" are constantly being pushed back as the software and the hardware overtake each other, but at this time I believe the only way the software can affordably (key word) keep up with the hardware is with some innovations in the design process that simply haven't hit yet.

heavyfeul:
Because the Wii lacks the processing power, developers will inevitably hit a brick wall much sooner when trying to implement detailed graphics and complex physics...

That's true. I think the Wii is, in a large part, Nintendo's solution to the problem posed by spiralling game development costs. Look at the Newsroom -- Namco has to sell 500,000 copies each of Gundam and the new Ridge Racer to break even on the development, manufacturing, and marketing costs; there aren't even 500,000 PS3s in people's homes yet, and by the time there are, gamers may not be interested in launch titles anymore. I know that when I bought my 360 in April, I didn't buy any of the launch window titles. If the Wii is commercially successful, it will be extremely attractive to developers.

My concern is actually not that the Wii will fail, but that it will be too successful. If Nintendo hits this one out of the park and the installed base gets up into the high tens of millions, the "high-end" consoles may be reduced to a niche market in much the same way that PC gaming has been. That doesn't seem to have happened in the DS/PSP battle, which is somewhat heartening; hopefully there's room for at least two successful competitors in the market.

Ajar:

My concern is actually not that the Wii will fail, but that it will be too successful. If Nintendo hits this one out of the park and the installed base gets up into the high tens of millions, the "high-end" consoles may be reduced to a niche market in much the same way that PC gaming has been.

I am willing to venture that, at least within this generation, we don't have to worry about consoles becoming too high end for their own good. Even if that were the case, a $400 Xbox 360 is a pretty cheap mid-range gaming PC. It is 100% up to publishers and developers to reign in their development costs by either developing better use of their artists and programmers, pulling back on the "graphics" and bumping up the aesthetic (Katamari Damacy, Guitar Hero) or outsourcing portions of development costs.

My dream for the industry is that it will wake up from this adolescent fantasy that games need to eclipse the Hollywood Blockbuster. Personally, I don't care if I can tell wither or not Sam Fisher has shaved or how many real-time post processing effects have been added to a scene. Graphics can pull you into a game, but innovative gameplay will keep you playing and in the best cases, excite your imagination.

All I can say in the massive argument is this...

When you can replicate the feeling I got performing surgery on my TV in Trauma Center: Second Opinion on any other system, that will be when I admit the Wii is just a toy...

WHY COULDN'T I SAVE HIM!? WHY!? WHY!!!!????

Bongo Bill:
One might argue that for those who don't have HDTVs (and there are more of us than I think you realize), improvements in graphical output will simply be too marginal to notice.

Yes, HDTVs are not widely adopted, but many people have computer monitors. You can run the 360, for instance, on a computer monitor using their VGA cable. So, hi-def gaming can be had on the cheap and you don't have to kick the wife and kids out of the living room to play.

I think that the people saying that the Wii's lack of power is a major minus are not gamers but technologists. My rationale for this is that processing power improvements have traditionally gone hand-in-hand with new hit games, ever since the beginning of videogaming. And many self-professed video gamers, from the beginning, were attracted to the idea of technology and its potential to show a beautiful virtual reality, or at least to show off their new system.

So a confusion of purpose developed; while Nintendo has always been about total game craftsmanship - in all aspects, from franchising and licensing to art style to core tech decisions(and they've always done things that would save them money; no FMV games or Oblivion-styled ultracomplex epics) - we've also seen the rise of companies like iD and Epic that made themselves technology-driven enterprises, and companies that are entirely marketing-based(most major publishers). Until the mid-90s, the distinction wasn't that clear, since everyone desired better technology. But around the time that 3d came into vogue, we saw a split. The tech-and-marketing companies have helped give the market "what they want," which is a game that doesn't suck and looks awesome in screenshots and video. Nintendo never really followed this; it was the games that they were selling, not the system, after all. After three consecutive generations of lower market share and console sales(SNES through GCN) they finally figured out this distinction, its causes, and what could be done to move the market forward in other directions. Gunpei Yokoi probably recognized this with the Virtual Boy project, but that system was a misfire in many ways; an unappealing cyberpunkish concept, rushed out and marketed as a stopgap for the N64, without the kind of solid vision and planning that the DS and Wii have recieved.

It should come as no surprise that we see people complaining about bad graphics. Those people don't matter to Nintendo. They constitute a "false majority." The real problem is, how are they going to follow up on the DS and Wii? (other than the obvious ways)

Hmm. Sometimes I feel like I am preaching to the choir on this site and other times I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall.

Nintendo is selling you a short bag of goods. It's not really an opinion, it's a fact. They are selling their Gamecube 1.2 at a profit and have contrived a gimmicky control scheme to somehow convince everyone that Nintendo is the company of innovation. Say goodbye to quality third party titles by the way, courtesy of the Wiimote and low end specs. When Nintendo is willing to put their money where their mouth is like Sony and Microsoft, I will ease up. Until then, they are nothing but snake oil salesman in my opinion. If you would like to spend $200 on a repackaged Gamecube with a new controller, by all means enjoy.

We can scratch are chins, wax philosophic, and try to have a "dialogue," but sometimes this site gets a little to intellectual for its own good and needs a good dose of common sense. Nothing in Nintendo's history or in its current offering shows me they have fundamentally taken a substantive interest in console gaming at all. They are perfectly willing to sell cheap rigs to fanboys, kids, and casual gamers in just enough numbers to stay in third place, but still make a whopping profit from day one. They care nothing about gamers or creating innovative games. At least Sony and Microsoft are willing to put up tens of millions of dollars in losses over years to provide the consumer what it wants. Or at least what they think we want. People having been bashing Sony for its pre-launch arrogant statements, yet everyone seem OK with Nintendo selling them another Gamecube in a new Applesque skin. The good old NES was a great system and is probably the most important console ever made. But those days are over.

Screw it. Pointless. Flame over. I'm going back to finish New Super Mario Brothers on the DS....while I take a dump. Thus, this officially ends my Nintendo bashing. All future rants will be directed at the PC, 360, and PS3. Peace.

heavyfeul:
Hmm. Sometimes I feel like I am preaching to the choir on this site and other times I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall.

Nintendo is selling you a short bag of goods. It's not really an opinion, it's a fact. They are selling their Gamecube 1.2 at a profit and have contrived a gimmicky control scheme to somehow convince everyone that Nintendo is the company of innovation. Say goodbye to quality third party titles by the way, courtesy of the Wiimote and low end specs. When Nintendo is willing to put their money where their mouth is like Sony and Microsoft, I will ease up. Until then, they are nothing but snake oil salesman in my opinion. If you would like to spend $200 on a repackaged Gamecube with a new controller, by all means enjoy.

We can scratch are chins, wax philosophic, and try to have a "dialogue," but sometimes this site gets a little to intellectual for its own good and needs a good dose of common sense. Nothing in Nintendo's history or in its current offering shows me they have fundamentally taken a substantive interest in console gaming at all. They are perfectly willing to sell cheap rigs to fanboys, kids, and casual gamers in just enough numbers to stay in third place, but still make a whopping profit from day one. They care nothing about gamers or creating innovative games. At least Sony and Microsoft are willing to put up tens of millions of dollars in losses over years to provide the consumer what it wants. Or at least what they think we want. People having been bashing Sony for its pre-launch arrogant statements, yet everyone seem OK with Nintendo selling them another Gamecube in a new Applesque skin. The good old NES was a great system and is probably the most important console ever made. But those days are over.

Screw it. Pointless. Flame over. I'm going back to finish New Super Mario Brothers on the DS....while I take a dump. Thus, this officially ends my Nintendo bashing. All future rants will be directed at the PC, 360, and PS3. Peace.

My rebuttal is directed towards your toilet ;)

While your viewpoint on the Wii and Nintendo at current is fair - I think you a) sell them short on what they've accomplished, irregardless of their motivation. and b) are giving WAY too much credit to sony and microsoft with the statement "At least Sony and Microsoft are willing to put up tens of millions of dollars in losses over years to provide the consumer what it wants.".

To A) I say Nintendo has chosen to make profitable hardware, the hardware is most certainly more powerful than the gamecube, It's jump in power is fairly close in line with previous jumps from generation to generation. Nintendo's consoles traditionally are about the same relative power wise to personal computers available at the same time. What they have succeeded in doing right now is making the market FEEL less closed than it did. The number of people who have been visiting my house regularly just to play Wii Sports is pretty incredible to me. My DS has attracted more attention than any other platform I've ever seen. People want a turn at what I'm doing. The platforms have allowed for easier development of the quirky games that everybody can play. Nintendo is most certainly in it for the money. They've attempted to disrupt the games market.

B) Sony and Microsoft do NOT care about what the gamer wants. They care about what the gamer will buy, and they desperately want control of the living room computer. They want to be your multimedia solution. Sony is approaching from the hardware side of things, and Microsoft from the software side.

Remember the lessons of market share vs profit. One doesn't mean the other, and if you're going to ignore Nintendo because they're content to make a profit as opposed to burn up the funds from their companies other divisions, feel free. I wont force you to play. I don't even need you to see the brilliance of gaming that is the new Zelda. I just want you to remember that all three companies are in this business to make money, and of the three, the only one who has catered to what I want in a gaming system is Nintendo.

I understand hardware specs better than most people. Not all MHz are equal (See AMD vs Intel or even IBM for that matter). Not all Power is usable power (See development issues in Multicore processing). A more powerful engine doesnt always translate into a better looking game (Doom 3 anybody? that's the ugliest game I've ever played). I don't care if I can see the hairs on a person's chin while I box them, I care that it doesn't lose / gain framerate dramatically during a special effect. I want smooth, and I want easy.

As to the gimmicky control scheme, it may not be for you. But it's the best setup I've found for consoles. I hated console games because none felt right for me. Times are changing :) If this becomes industry standard, I will not complain.

Interesting post, Tom. I'd like to single out a few snippets, if you don't mind. First, a quick nitpick:

TomBeraha:
irregardless

I think you meant "regardless" or "irrespective." "Irregardless" is a double negative. (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself.)

TomBeraha:
I say Nintendo has chosen to make profitable hardware, the hardware is most certainly more powerful than the gamecube, It's jump in power is fairly close in line with previous jumps from generation to generation.

I don't think this is accurate. While I agree that not all MHz are equal, the CPU and GPU speeds of the GameCube were 5 times and 2.5 times faster than the N64, respectively. In contrast, the Wii CPU and GPU speeds are both reportedly 1.5 times faster than their GameCube predecessors. More importantly, though, the Wii CPU is from the same processor family as its predecessor. Provided the reported specs are accurate (and based on the tear-downs, they appear to be), it is not a generational leap. Not even close. The GameCube had a 485MHz PowerPC 750-family processor; the Wii reportedly has a 729MHz PowerPC 750-family processor.

TomBeraha:
Nintendo's consoles traditionally are about the same relative power wise to personal computers available at the same time.

The PPC7xx series (better known to Mac users like myself as the "G3" processor) was commonly in use in Macs back when the GameCube was released. In fact, the GameCube's "Gekko" was faster than the 400MHz G3 in the iMac I owned at the time. The Wii's "Broadway," however, is decidedly not faster than the dual-processor 1.8GHz PowerPC 970 ("G5") system that I replaced the iMac with almost three years ago; nor is it faster than the consumer machines available from Apple at that time. It pales in comparison to the consumer PCs and Macs of today. So I don't think that part of your statement has held for the Wii.

The "Broadway" will stack up somewhat better against the 360's Xenon and the PS3's Cell than it ought to, because the latter two are both in-order processors, while the PPC7xx series all support out-of-order execution. However, even on branchy code, that difference is nowhere near sufficient to make up the difference between a 729MHz core clock and a 3.2GHz core clock -- and that's without even considering the Xenon's three parallel CPU cores or the Cell's seven "synergistic processing elements."

TomBeraha:
What they have succeeded in doing right now is making the market FEEL less closed than it did. The number of people who have been visiting my house regularly just to play Wii Sports is pretty incredible to me.

This I completely agree with. My girlfriend's brother bought a Wii just before the American Thanksgiving holiday and took it with him to their older sister's place. In attendance were the three children, their parents, and the older sister's husband. They had it connected to their projector (8-foot screen) via composite cables (ugh). All of them loved the Wii, to the point that the older sister and her husband, who have been non-gamers since the arcade days, are considering buying one, and my girlfriend and I spent a lot of last weekend unsuccessfully checking Targets and Best Buys for stray Wiis becuase she really wants one.

I played it at her brother's place last weekend and we had a really good time. Wii Sports in particular was a lot of fun. I won't be buying one soon, though, for a few reasons: (1) my home theatre setup is too snug for multiplayer Wii Sports, (2) component video cables aren't readily available, (3) I'd like it in black, and, most importantly, (4) Metroid Prime 3 isn't out yet.

(I should note, though, that if Metroid Prime 3 doesn't have the same lock-on targeting scheme as its predecessors and the last several Zeldas, it may cost Nintendo a Wii sale. I would have bought a DS for Metroid Prime: Hunters if the lock-on feature hadn't been dropped; as it is, I don't own one.)

TomBeraha:
I don't even need you to see the brilliance of gaming that is the new Zelda.

Having seen it in action, I think Wiimote/nunchuck is at least as good a control scheme for the game as the traditional controller, but I also think it isn't a huge leap forward. I think the gameplay will be just as good on the Cube, with the main difference being the increase in comfort on the Wii because you can play with both hands in a "rest" position at your sides instead of having to centre them on your lap.

Just as one example, camera control in Twilight Princess is noticeably more complex than it was in Wind Waker. The lock-on targeting system largely obviates the need for direct combat control, but the loss of the second analog joystick shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

Having said that, though, I do want to reiterate that I think the Wiimote/nunchuck scheme will be an improvement in comfort and approachability for a lot of people.

TomBeraha:
B) Sony and Microsoft do NOT care about what the gamer wants. They care about what the gamer will buy, and they desperately want control of the living room computer. They want to be your multimedia solution. Sony is approaching from the hardware side of things, and Microsoft from the software side.

I wasn't trying to imply that Sony and MS are somehow altruistic in their strategy and are in it to please gamers. In fact I am pissed at Sony and Microsoft for putting so many superfluous features into their consoles like card readers, cameras, etc. I strongly believe that a really good gaming console should do just one thing...play games. They have wasted money and development time on trying to make the gaming console a multimedia computer for the living room. Those of us who want a console just for playing games? Well, we lose out. Many consumers probably like all those features, but personally I think they are a waste. All I need my gaming console to do is...

1) Have a simple OS/GUI for managing game files, system settings, IP addresses, etc.
2) Internet connectivity for multiplayer game servers
3) Xbox Live type service for manging friends list, online gaming, and game fixes/updates
4) Have a hard drive for storing save and game data (No load screens please!)
5) Voice over IP capabilities
6) Optical out for 5.1 surround sound
7) Cheap simple memory card for transferring account info and save data
8) Play games
9) Support connectivity to computer monitor for cheap HD graphics

Being able to play DVD movies and CDs is a nice feature to have and since the DVD drive is already there I see no problem with this feature.

Ajar:

TomBeraha:
I say Nintendo has chosen to make profitable hardware, the hardware is most certainly more powerful than the gamecube, It's jump in power is fairly close in line with previous jumps from generation to generation.

I don't think this is accurate. While I agree that not all MHz are equal, the CPU and GPU speeds of the GameCube were 5 times and 2.5 times faster than the N64, respectively. In contrast, the Wii CPU and GPU speeds are both reportedly 1.5 times faster than their GameCube predecessors. More importantly, though, the Wii CPU is from the same processor family as its predecessor. Provided the reported specs are accurate (and based on the tear-downs, they appear to be), it is not a generational leap. Not even close. The GameCube had a 485MHz PowerPC 750-family processor; the Wii reportedly has a 729MHz PowerPC 750-family processor.

NES: 1.79 MHz CPU / 2KiB RAM / 5.37 MHz GPU
SNES: 3.58MHz CPU / 128KB RAM / Dual Core GPU (i don't know the speed)
N64: 93.75 MHz CPU / 4MB RAM / SGI 62.5 MHz GPU
GC: 485 MHz / approx 24MB RAM / 162 MHz GPU
Wii: 729 MHz / Approx 91 MB RAM / 243 MHz GPU

i'll grant you that the number change is smaller than in previous generations. however - my home pc at those times

NES - 286 PC (approx 8 Mhz) (4.4X as powerful)
SNES - 386 PC (i dont know which model we had, between 16 - 40 mhz) (8X as powerful)
N64 - Pentium Pro 133 Mhz (1.4X as powerful)
GC - P4 1.5 GHz ( 3X as powerful )
Wii - Athlon X2 3800+ 1.8Ghz x2 (hard to compare - but roughly 5X as powerful)

So - in my mind the Wii is not as underpowered as the SNES was and not quite as powerful as the N64 was relative to it's arrival. take from that what you will :)

Ajar:

TomBeraha:
Nintendo's consoles traditionally are about the same relative power wise to personal computers available at the same time.

The PPC7xx series (better known to Mac users like myself as the "G3" processor) was commonly in use in Macs back when the GameCube was released. In fact, the GameCube's "Gekko" was faster than the 400MHz G3 in the iMac I owned at the time. The Wii's "Broadway," however, is decidedly not faster than the dual-processor 1.8GHz PowerPC 970 ("G5") system that I replaced the iMac with almost three years ago; nor is it faster than the consumer machines available from Apple at that time. It pales in comparison to the consumer PCs and Macs of today. So I don't think that part of your statement has held for the Wii.

The "Broadway" will stack up somewhat better against the 360's Xenon and the PS3's Cell than it ought to, because the latter two are both in-order processors, while the PPC7xx series all support out-of-order execution. However, even on branchy code, that difference is nowhere near sufficient to make up the difference between a 729MHz core clock and a 3.2GHz core clock -- and that's without even considering the Xenon's three parallel CPU cores or the Cell's seven "synergistic processing elements."

I don't for a moment think that there weren't people with better hardware than what I had at home, and at all times consoles were inferior in terms of power. It's not a computer, it's point to me is to be a locked down reliable box that plays games well. The 360 and the PS3 aren't consoles, they're attempts at living room computers. I don't fault Nintendo for making a console instead.

heavyfeul:

TomBeraha:
B) Sony and Microsoft do NOT care about what the gamer wants. They care about what the gamer will buy, and they desperately want control of the living room computer. They want to be your multimedia solution. Sony is approaching from the hardware side of things, and Microsoft from the software side.

I wasn't trying to imply that Sony and MS are somehow altruistic in their strategy and are in it to please gamers. In fact I am pissed at Sony and Microsoft for putting so many superfluous features into their consoles like card readers, cameras, etc. I strongly believe that a really good gaming console should do just one thing...play games. They have wasted money and development time on trying to make the gaming console a multimedia computer for the living room. Those of us who want a console just for playing games? Well, we lose out. Many consumers probably like all those features, but personally I think they are a waste. All I need my gaming console to do is...

1) Have a simple OS/GUI for managing game files, system settings, IP addresses, etc.
2) Internet connectivity for multiplayer game servers
3) Xbox Live type service for manging friends list, online gaming, and game fixes/updates
4) Have a hard drive for storing save and game data (No load screens please!)
5) Voice over IP capabilities
6) Optical out for 5.1 surround sound
7) Cheap simple memory card for transferring account info and save data
8) Play games
9) Support connectivity to computer monitor for cheap HD graphics

Being able to play DVD movies and CDs is a nice feature to have and since the DVD drive is already there I see no problem with this feature.

I don't really care about HD, we've got a 1080p LCD thanks to my roomate and I really don't know why he wasted his money on it. I'm stuck in my ways, I think that people look realistic enough on my old SDTV and that if the games are coded right they're going to look fine anyway. I played HalfLife 2 the first time round in 640 by 480 while waiting to have money to upgrade my machine, it looks absolutely gorgeous at low res too. *shrug* I guess it matters to someone, just not me. Everything else I agree with on the whole. though admittedly I will rarely use the online features. Gaming for me is about being with the people I'm playing. Its LAN or nothing ;)

maybe im hypercritical too, i think wii sports boosted the entry price for a rebranded and repackaged gamecube.

the price for a wii is only $171 or was before the wii released, i imagine the price has come down some more too and i still think the wii sports game was an unnecessary cost to the wii, kinda like blu-ray for sony.

frankly if i wanted to go bowling they have bowling alleys all over the place i could go play a real game.

pack in a zelda and an sd card for $250 and im there, im not spending more then $300 for a wii period don't force extras on me when all i want is zelda, and better yet don't cripple the gamecube version so it looks like shit on my widescreen tv. i cant believe at this point it wont support 16x9.

im an unhappy gamer....lol

LordCancer:
im an unhappy gamer....lol

One certainly gets that impression, LC.

Anyway, I'm still pleased as punch about the Wii. To my mind, it does exactly what it ought and for a decent price. I just can't get motivated to be bummed out about the absence of features that I wouldn't use.

well it seems like a decent machine if most games support wide screen that will be good and its small, low power and affordable games...sorta.

i do wish it was cheaper though, if i go by my spending and playing patterns for the gamecube then logic tells me im not going to be spending much time with it. i only bought games during the first year i owned it and the total number was about ten games, after i finished skies of arcadia the gamecube simply did not provide sustenance for my gaming consumption and even zelda failed to inspire me to finish it, all the sailing killed me, i hated that so much.

i do not perceive it as a good value because i somehow doubt there will be any rpgs on the level with skies of arcadia ever, it seems awkward to pay $250 to play two games for something that is likely to collect dust afterwards.

i wouldn't even care so much if the gc zelda had widescreen support, all i want at this point is an affordable means to play zelda and not have it look all stretched out, im always left feeling as a second rate customer in the eyes of nintendo.

ive been meaning to test my gc to see how it handles on my widescreen but ive just not had the will power to hook it up.

perhapses Fletcher you can review the gc version and tell us how the game looks on a wide screen...i would be grateful if at all possible.

 

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