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Interesting IGN thing about Gamecube

Old 04-25-03, 07:35 AM
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Interesting IGN thing about Gamecube

Well, it was interesting to me... Honestly, this isn't meant as a console bash. This was on the insider section - an email and reply thing.

edit: Actually, this is about Nintendo, not Gamecube - that's what I meant to say.

Fran, I used to respect you - you used to be my favorite editor. But lately, you have been rash, bitter and illogical towards everything Nintendo. Is this a revenge towards Matt for replacing you?
-- KJ

Peer responds: The Fran is out for a few days, so let me field these questions. I think it's easy for people to mistake being critical for being bitter, and criticizing a company's direction (or lack thereof) with not enjoying its games. Since we write about games every day (and have been doing so for a long time), the question how the former leader in the gaming business could fall to third place is an important one. The answer is complex, but it's nevertheless clear: Nintendo's inability to adapt to a changing market and predict future trends. Pardon my bitter examples: CDs on the rise? Let's stick with cartridges. DVDs on the rise? Let's create our own format. Teen and mature content on the rise? Let's target the younger market. Online gaming on the rise? Let's do LAN connectivity like on PS One and pretend it's something new. At the same time, Nintendo continues to develop high quality games and comes up with some pretty neat innovations, but to the mainstream consumer or people who are just getting into gaming, that means absolutely nothing. Someone may ask what the GameCube hardware can do that that the PS2 and Xbox can't? Your local retail specialist will no doubt answer: nothing, get a PS2 or an Xbox. Add to that the fact that the two competitors have bigger software libraries and more support on the way, and you can see that there are huge problems here that NEED to be discussed.

For example, I think it is important that we are all able to take a step back and speak our minds on issues we don't agree with. For example, yes, I'm very excited about the next Mario game, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't speak my mind on the awful presentation in Super Mario Sunshine (I have to read text in a modern platform game?). If Nintendo doesn't think that lackluster opening cutscenes and overall presentation in its games turn off potential customers who see them on a store display, then it's up to us to remind them of why Final Fantasy VII sold in the US. A slick ad campaign and tons of fancy FMV. It can only help Nintendo's excellent games to invest in voice actors and pay MixCore some extra bucks to create some nice opening, middle, and end cutscenes.

Please remember that we also act as filters for our readers, in that we receive letters from hardcore and casual gamers that tell us what they do and don't like about the three consoles. Right now, Nintendo has a lot to prove to the world -- not just to gamers, but to investors and game publishers as well. Why should gamers buy the GameCube? Yep, Nintendo's franchises are still fantastic, but does the company try to reach out to audiences OUTSIDE its established (but sadly shrinking) fanbase as well? Well, all signs point to yes -- wait till E3 for more proof (and some puzzling moves, no doubt) -- but it takes a lot of effort to broaden the appeal of a tarnished brand name.

Sorry about the rambling response, but the point is that just because we're critical, doesn't mean we're bitter. We're just as outspoken about what we think Sony or Microsoft do wrong as we are with Nintendo (a good example is the criticism of the original Xbox controller, which Microsoft quickly followed with the release of a smaller version). Nintendo's userbase is definitely the most passionate, which is why negative comments will always be more "vividly" discussed. And Nintendo simply has the most issues right now (lagging sales, title cancellations, etc), which is why a lot of attention is focused in that direction.

Speaking of which, be sure to read the latest edition of Cubism. I assure you that we haven't lost the passion for Nintendo, but that won't stop us from trying to figure out how to improve things.
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Old 04-25-03, 08:11 AM
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I suppose it's normal for someone who lives games to lose touch with reality. His first paragraph goes to show that gaming, to him, is not about having fun, but instead about advertisers telling him what he needs to have fun.
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Old 04-25-03, 08:23 AM
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I think some of the points Peer brought up are realities that a full-time game journalist should understand. For example, Nintendo doesn't make "mature" games with boobs and blood. That's just the way it is. They did what they could help the situation by making sure Eternal Darkness was a great game and securing the RE franchise as an exclusive. Also, not switching to CDs for the N64 and not making the Gamecube more online capable were money issues. Nintendo doesn't have all that much money to throw around. They don't have a consumer electronics or computer software division to keep them afloat while they try something new and expensive. Back when the N64 came out CD players were expensive. A top of the line Sony Walkman was a couple hundred bucks back then. Was it really all that feasible for Nintendo to put one in the N64? CD games sucked back then anyways. Load times were ridiculous on a lot of games. As far online play, that's expensive right now. Is MS or Sony making any money on it? Nintendo can't afford to take the losses.

Some of these things are unfortunate but they are the reality. Nintendo does a lot of things well but some things they just can't or won't do. Peer says these things need to be discussed but that's not really gonna solve anything.
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Old 04-25-03, 08:31 AM
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I for one hope that Nintendo fixes it's problems and gets back in shape. Now, let's see what should I play today, Zelda or Metroid?

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Old 04-25-03, 09:32 AM
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I love the 'cube.
I think its a great system that is really underrated.
that being said, I would love to see NINTENDO change some of its ways. They need to change their brand image. And keep the more mature games coming. Hopefully they will heed the market demands and make the necessary changes.

Long live the 'cube'
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Old 04-25-03, 09:36 AM
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Great so since the GameCube can't play DVDs and the games don't have tons of dialog and CGI cut scenes they are bad games. This clown is obviously a real hard core gamer.
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Old 04-25-03, 09:48 AM
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Nintendo's games are pure great fun, and that's what's important to me. I think most mature content games suck the goat's nuts anyways. They use the "mature content" just like Square uses the fancy CG movies in Final Fantasy.. to distract you from realizing the game you're play is trash (IMO).

The sad reality is that the kind of quality games Nintendo makes are for a dying breed of gamer.
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Old 04-25-03, 09:49 AM
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Originally posted by darkside
Great so since the GameCube can't play DVDs and the games don't have tons of dialog and CGI cut scenes they are bad games. This clown is obviously a real hard core gamer.
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Old 04-25-03, 10:47 AM
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Originally posted by darkside
Great so since the GameCube can't play DVDs and the games don't have tons of dialog and CGI cut scenes they are bad games. This clown is obviously a real hard core gamer.
That was my exact reaction too. But I think the writer was saying was that Nintendo is not ever going to do really really well (Playstation numbers) until they have those things to market in their games.

My thing is: Why should I care which console company is doing the best business? Lets take Dreamcast for example. By far, the worst console in terms of business EVER. Guess what, it STILL had good games that were fun to play. The fact that it nearly drove Sega out of business means next to nothing to me as a gamer.

I'm so sick of seeing sales reports and investor's updates on game news websites. I don't 'invest' in video games, I PLAY them.
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Old 04-25-03, 12:18 PM
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I like Kellehair's point that Nintendo won't make the kind of "mature" titles (i.e. GTA) that make the PS2 on top. Hopefully, it stays that way. Death and sex do not a good game make. The more mature titles that Nintendo does have (ED, etc.) are more intense than gratuitous. Intensity is good.

Don't get me wrong, there are great games for all the systems (I have borrowed them all because there are games I just had to play) but the GC keeps me coming back month after month. Will that make it successful? Maybe not, but like CharlesC is saying, I'd rather have Nintendo die in a blaze of awesome games than have it turn into just another PlayStation.
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Old 04-25-03, 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by CharlesC
My thing is: Why should I care which console company is doing the best business? Lets take Dreamcast for example. By far, the worst console in terms of business EVER. Guess what, it STILL had good games that were fun to play. The fact that it nearly drove Sega out of business means next to nothing to me as a gamer.
And when you go out to EB to pick up a new Dreamcast game you should probably think about exactly what you just said and realize why you should care.

Game companies are companies first and foremost. Whether making games or widgits, if no one ponies up the dough you aren't going to make games or widgits for long. Know any not-for-profit game companies? Neither do I.

I'm sure that most everyone in this forum would have a Dreamcast for the exact same reasons you stated. But hardcore fans are not enough to support any system. You need to - especially in this age of bloated dev teams and dev times - appeal to the ham 'n' eggers if you want to get by. And the way to do that is to use the eye candy as a smokescreen to get people hooked with the great gameplay that we all know Nintendo is capable of creating.

I'm still wondering what is really "wrong" with Nintendo. They may be behind Sony and MS, but I'm sure they are making some money on this generation and will, as they have shown in the past, further expand upon their niche as second game system. It's probably still to early to really see dividends in that respect, but I suspect come this time next year they may have pulled ahead of MS in installed numbers.

Last edited by Fanboy; 04-25-03 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 04-25-03, 12:28 PM
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I think the point that the author is making is that Nintendo refuses to broaden it's audience at all. There are a certain set of people who refuse to play games with cartoony characters. That's just the way it is. PS2 and XBOX cater to those people and Nintendo does not. The author is more concerned because Nintendo has a bad case of eroding market share. HE says the things he does because they refuse to do things that will help them survive as a viable console company. Without the GBA they would be a non-factor. The fact that XBOX is in it's 1st generation and is competing with GC for 2nd place is a little disconcerting.

Back in the day when gaming wasn't as mainstream, Ninty could count on it's franchise games to bring in the cash. I'm not saying their franchise games aren't good, but they can't solely reply on them as they seem to do. Beyond the big Nintendo franchises, there hasn't been that much blockbuster content from 1st or 3rd party software houses.

One thing PS2 does well and XBOX is starting to do, is to cater to a broad range of gamers. If you want to play virtually any type of game on those consoles, you can. They appeal to the hardcore, and casual gamer alike. They have a good mix or "mature" and "kiddy" games. Also they keep the flow of games coming. GC is better than the N64 when it comes to new game releases, but it's still far below the throuput of games on PS2 or XBOX. The mass-market would much rather have good games every month rather than have to wait 6 months for a great game.

I want Nintendo to succeed but they have to change their ways to survive in the console space. They should thank their lucky stars that there is no competition for the GBA.... yet.
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Old 04-25-03, 12:34 PM
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Great so since the GameCube can't play DVDs and the games don't have tons of dialog and CGI cut scenes they are bad games. This clown is obviously a real hard core gamer.
Not being able to play DVDs, not having dialog, not having CGI cut scenes - the lack of these features do not make a "bad" game in the minds of the people in this forum. Most people in this forum spend lots of time reading reviews, discussing games, etc. I am one of them. We are, in general, hardcore gamers - whether we spend lots of time playing and/or discussing.

BUT - the reason the PS2 is so successful is not because it attracts millions of hardcore gamers. It reaches a broad audience. And the "masses", ie non-hardcore gamers, don't have time to read reviews or don't care to spend time to read reviews. They WILL buy a game or system based on features, fancy cutscenes, and advertising hype ALONE.

Nintendo can continue to cater to a shrinking niche of gamers. They will make money, they will be around for a long time, and certain types of gamers will enjoy their games. But unless they start to appeal to the broad public, they will never be #1 again.

I agree with what the IGN article said.
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Old 04-25-03, 12:38 PM
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The minute Nintendo "broadens" it's audience is the minute they fall 10 levels in quality.
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Old 04-25-03, 12:52 PM
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I agree with most of the statements here.

Nintendo is a great software developer. And unlike someone else here said, they have incredibly deep pockets and an incredible R&D division (they do keep making their own software formats after all...and anyone notice that the N64 and GCN had/have the least amount of hardware related problems?)However, they cannot afford to keep acting like Yertle the Turtle. One day, it's all going to fall apart, and that day has come. Their name alone can no longer sell games and they cannot expect people to buy their games/systems based solely on the image of Nintendo. They need to start mass marketing. The Zelda commercials were a good step. So were the ones for Metroid Prime. If Nintendo wants to survive, they're going to have to up the ante because they're fighting 2 companies that are even more ruthless than they are. Forgive the passe cliche but they really need to kick it up a notch.

BTW in terms of hardware sales, Nintendo is still king. A little thing called the Game Boy Advance was the best selling system of 2002.
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Old 04-25-03, 01:27 PM
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Nintendo makes money on console and game sales- plain and simple.

Are they going to be number one ever again- not in my opinion.

If Nintendo was losing money I would be telling all who think they do not invest in games to look towards Sega who kept bleeding money until they abandoned those who had bought a Dreamcast. sure you have some good games, but you are not going to get any new ones.

I think the intent of the article is a good one. To try and get Nintendo to look a little more towards opportunities that might increase their fan base. Some of these they did- RE and Eternal Darkness. Just because a game has Murder Death Kills in it does not mean it is a bad game. So finding a way to have some games like GTA would not be a bad thing at all. There is an audience for games like this.

I think Nintendo still has a loyal base that will help it this generation and the next. i believe that Nintendo is starting to react to changes in the market and it will continue to do so.

The shines are not falling yet Chicken Peer
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Old 04-25-03, 02:26 PM
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What does Nintendo have to prove to investors? That they have been the hottest stock in Japan for the past 5 years? Duh. Peer isn't an investor, he's an idiot.

What does Nintendo have to prove to retailers? That Nintendo products not only are consistent sellers, but their systems spawn the most abundant and profitable accessories. Duh. Peer isn't a retailer, he's an idot.

What does Nintendo have to prove to Gamers? Games. Honestly, who goes comparison shopping between systems and starts weighing in the features and colors? Now, who has bought a system because they had to have that killer game? Duh. Peer isn't a gamer. He's press.

What does Nintendo have to prove to the Press? Nothing. The press has to stop taking money from Microsoft and hype from advertising and look at the facts. Nintendo is a hot property, a solid investment, and a stable business. Duh.
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Old 04-25-03, 03:41 PM
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Nintendo's userbase is definitely the most passionate, which is why negative comments will always be more "vividly" discussed.
Well, I expected a mixed reaction to the 'editorial', but I didn't expect a one-sided 'Nintendo can do no wong' campaign. I kinda agreed with some of the points brought up by Peer, but I see alot of your points too. Nintendo fans aren't going anywhere... It's a shrinking marketshare, but it'll still be there. GBA is certainly evidence that Nintendo is still capable of kicking ass and taking names. I still just thought the editorial brought up a few good points that would help Nintendo in terms of home console sales.

Along with Capcom's recent announcement, THQ recently reported financial trouble and the cancellation of a few titles in progress... first to go were Gamecube titles... other companies could follow suit. That's why sales numbers are important. Dreamcast was a great console, but it didn't have enough sales to make up for poor decisions made by Sega and that's why it was the last of its kind. That's why it was only supported for 3 years rather than 5. We would still be getting new games coming out for the Dreamcast today if it hadn't died like it did. I'm not saying that will happen to the Gamecube... I'm just saying I didn't post that to stir up trouble, just to start a discussion.
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Old 04-25-03, 04:28 PM
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One thing that I would like to add is that Nintendo is not taking into account that there are 3 consoles available right now. Not everyone is going to be able to afford the purchase of all 3 systems. I for one cannot. I think most people will buy based on the amount of titles available. That is why PS2 is the most popular. They have the most variety of titles available. Of course, we all know that some of the games are a downright shame, but in the end it seems that most seem to care about the number of titles right now otherwise the PS2 and the XBOX would be behind them. And them not having money is an understatement. They have a huge cash cow right now and that cow is GBA. Even GBA has many more titles released for it then the Cube because there is a such a huge user base. Developers are more likely to produce games for consoles that have a higher concentration of use. Nintendo does not seem to be putting enough resources for the GC like they should. They just recently said that they would do this, which seems to be a step in the right direction. Didn't they learn their lesson with the N64 concerning the amount of titles that it had?
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Old 04-25-03, 06:12 PM
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Originally posted by jiggawhat
One thing that I would like to add is that Nintendo is not taking into account that there are 3 consoles available right now. Not everyone is going to be able to afford the purchase of all 3 systems.
I think this is almost exactly what Nintendo is banking on.

To wit I would point to their pricing structure and package dealing placing emphasis on the games rather than on reinventing their image.

I think the entire Nintendo niche can be summed up as: "You wanna play these games? Then pick up a purple friend. We're affordable!"

And I think that has been their strategy ever since the SNES. The second (or third) person in the pool always has to play catch-up and I will bet this generation is no different.
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Old 04-25-03, 07:25 PM
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Wow, interesting responses.

I don't think Peer's little editorial deserves such a work-up. He was just addressing the issue of why Nintendo has fallen from being #1 in the industry, and he pretty much hit the nail on the head. Nintendo is just hanging on to a very loyal fanbase instead of changing with the times and adapting to the mainstream. It guarantees them a spot near the top, but they'll never be at the top unless they broaden their horizons and try to change their image.

You could say it's very noble of them to do what they're doing, but then again, that strategy didn't exactly make the best system in the 32/64-bit era. I played my PSX way more than I did my N64, and my Gamecube only gets playtime with a select few games.

They had just better hope they never lose their fanbase, or they're out of the hardware business.
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Old 04-25-03, 07:48 PM
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That editorial seems to be pretty accurate.

Nintendo refuses to listen to what consumers want and they are paying the price, plain and simple. The sales figures don't lie; Nintendo is not winning new fans in any meaningful numbers and their old audience is deserting them.

This bugs me because Nintendo has been my favorite developer forever and many of my favorite games are Nintendo games. Lately, they just aren't delivering for me. Not that anyone else cares...

They've got a batch of announced games with great potential so I'm hoping that the rest of 2003 lives up to the hype.
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Old 04-25-03, 11:40 PM
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Originally posted by Fanboy
I think the entire Nintendo niche can be summed up as: "You wanna play these games? Then pick up a purple friend. We're affordable!"

And I think that has been their strategy ever since the SNES.
You may be right! The SNES was purple too!
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Old 04-25-03, 11:51 PM
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Originally posted by sraan
You may be right! The SNES was purple too!
It had purple power buttons...
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Old 04-26-03, 03:12 AM
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Interesting article, but I think this guy is forgetting something. Just when you think Nintendo is done, they come back swinging. I think some people at IGN should spend less time trying to fix a company thats been in business longer than they've existed.

"That wont stop us from figuring out how to improve things"

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Id love to read more but why the hell should I have to pay for their opinions?
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