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GameCube (Games) Entertainment Games

Nintendo's GCNext Direction Outlined By Iwata 90

Posted by simoniker
from the more-popularity? dept.
Thanks to GameSpy for its in-depth interview with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata regarding "what's gone wrong, what's gone right, and why Nintendo will end up on top." Iwata admits that "the competition is tougher than ever before; and in the short run, we have seen declining profitability", but makes it clear that the next-gen GameCube (which he calls "GCNext or GCN") isn't about raw processing power - rather, Nintendo are "discussing... what should be done to entertain people in a new way; and in order to achieve this, what functionality must be added to our current technology."
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Nintendo's GCNext Direction Outlined By Iwata

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  • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Monday April 12, 2004 @07:45PM (#8842886)
    -A small, cheap flash HD.
    -Backwards compatibility.
    -Kick-ass Mario game.

    That should about do it. I'm a huge Nintendo fan, but even I know that this is all they need to add if they want to still KATN. A next-gen F-Zero game and 3D goggles would help too.

    • Something like this was one of their projects a time-ago, virtua-boy if I'm not mistaken. A product where you looked into a pair of googles and saw green lines.
      • Actually, everything was red instead of green. It was a neat concept in my opinion, but kind of ahead of itself in terms of the technology (I think it would give people headaches or something, but I can't confirm that since I never used one for a prolonged period...) Plus, wireframes just get old after a while... Here is some information: Google [google.com]
      • The lines were RED not green. But, given enough time using the VR-Gameboy, you would end up seeing green lines too (it really did mess with your vision).

        • Only if you didn't adjust the focus correctly. I never had any problems, and it was damned cool at the time.

          Just overly expensive, nonportable, and saying it had a game library is a vast overstatement.

          I suggest Nintendo bundles a free classics disc with their next console. That should move one heck of a lot of units.
    • Good points. I especially agree with the backwards compatibility point. That would sell me in a heartbeat. I spent a lot of $$$ on GCN games, and to be able to reuse them and not waste space in my console area is very valuable to me.

      The extra storage would help games for sure. Memory cards get on my nerve. As an added expense they seem useless. A built-in memory card would be nice. 256 megabytes at least though.

      I don't think a next-gen F-Zero game would be a big selling point. Nor the 3D googles.
      • Yeah, and if they could use almost the same controllers (like the PS1/PS2), it would really sell me.. I've spent $150 CDN on 3 Wavebirds, and I really don't want to waste money on more wireless controllers that perform the exact same function.
        • This would be something that Nintendo would be smart to focus on. While the controller design is one of those things that you either love or you hate, it's shown its versatility by being used in many games that the PS2 and XBox played on also.

          All three controllers have a very similar button configuration (two sticks, a dpad, 4 face buttons and 2, or 4 on the PS1/2, shoulder buttons). This would enable Nintendo to simply rearrange the buttons on the controller (the resizing of the face buttons, while a goo

        • That would be a good idea, if the Gamecube controllers weren't the devil. The c-stick sucks, the d-pad is too small, the buttons are laid out and shaped poorly, and there should really be another shoulder button to keep the poor little z-button company. And the really mind-boggling thing, to me, is that no 3rd party has just released a Dual Shock clone for the system to fix Nintendo's horrible, horrible mistakes.
          • Funny, that...

            I think the GC controller is one of the best and most comfortable controllers I have used. I can literally play for hours without noticing any strain or discomfort. I have not met a single person who could honestly say the same about the Dual Shock.

            Personally, I find the C-stick very usable for what it's mostly designed for: camera control. The D-pad is a bit small, but it's roughly the same size as the GBA D-pad, and nobody has had any problems with that particular D-pad. The buttons are la
            • Odd. The really mind-boggling thing to me is that designers still think it's acceptable to ask you to press B and X, or circle and square, or any other combination of buttons that both sit underneath your right thumb, at the same time.

              Two shoulder buttons I can live with, likewise shoulder button + face button. (I don't like either, but I can live with them). Two face buttons at once is fucked-up ergonomics.

              Regards,
              Tim.
    • "A next-gen F-Zero game...would help too."

      F-Zero GX just came out for the Gamecube last fall. Is that not "next gen" enough?

    • Kick Ass and Take Names, or Kick ass And Take Names?
  • by thelenm (213782) <mthelen@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2004 @07:48PM (#8842918) Homepage Journal
    the next-gen GameCube (which he calls "GCNext or GCN")

    Huh? The GameCube is already abbreviated as "GCN". What's with console manufacturers reusing acronyms for their next-gen consoles? Sony also did it with "PSX", which was the abbreviation for the original PlayStation. Weird.
    • "Huh? The GameCube is already abbreviated as "GCN". What's with console manufacturers reusing acronyms for their next-gen consoles? Sony also did it with "PSX", which was the abbreviation for the original PlayStation. Weird."

      It's just an internal project name.
      • Indeed. Even without knowing that, you'd have to be dyslexic to abbreviate the Gamecube as "GCN". The full offical name of the system is the 'Nintendo Gamecube' (NGC) or just 'Gamecube' (GC) for short. Console manufacturers like to fake names and abbreviations to confuse the market before releasing it. Don't forget, the GC was known as 'Project Dolphin' before than and momentarily after that as 'StarCube' (at least in one magazine).
        • "Don't forget, the GC was known as 'Project Dolphin' before than and momentarily after that as 'StarCube' (at least in one magazine)."

          I think I can answer the 'StarCube' comment here. Around the time that the GC was shown to the public (August 01 I think?) Nintendo registerred a bunch of domain names, starcube.com being one of them. At least one news site speculated that was the name of the system. It was probably a diversion tactic so nobody'd know for sure what the final name is.
    • Don't forget "NUS" which stuck even after they dropped "Ultra" from the name of the Nintendo 64.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @07:48PM (#8842921)
    They seem to be getting more and more out of touch with the general gaming populace. The first console I purchased this generation was a Gamecube. It had some great games, like the Resident Evil remake, RE Zero, Eternal Darkness, etc. And the Wavebird is an absolutely fantastic controller. However.. I ditched the GC in favor of the XBox after the very poor online game support and selection the GC provided. Wish they would get with the times, because Nintendo publishes some excellent games. I'd like to see them ditch the console hardware business and start publishing for other platforms.
    • It seems that Nintendo doesn't take example after any other system. If they were to take a minute and look at the competition, they might see what they are missing. I believe they're greatest fault is as you said, the poor online gaming.
      • by NanoGator (522640) on Monday April 12, 2004 @08:08PM (#8843051) Homepage Journal
        "I believe they're greatest fault is as you said, the poor online gaming."

        I'm not sure I readily agree with this. The reason Nintendo isn't into on-line gaming right now is that they're shy about asking their customers to pay a monthly fee to play a game. Some are obviously willing to do this, but are enough doing it that it is profitable? I mean seriously, why isn't the XBOX a much greater competitor to the PS2 if all that really matters is the on-line play?

        Yes, I'd like on-line play, too. But I understand why Nintendo's not keen on it just yet. It's not like people can just throw up a server and provide on-line pay for free like you can with PC games.
        • Xbox has too many modchips and they limited their online play. As more and more tunneling programs become available and the xbox gets cheaper we might see some growth.
        • It's not like people can just throw up a server and provide on-line pay for free like you can with PC games.

          Why not? People have been doing it from the beginning with games on the Xbox. All the games are hosted on the boxes of individuals with Xbox Live providing the service for matchmaking (and, obviously, the consistent development framework). This is true for virtually all Xbox Live games. Xbox Live is, essentially, a service like WON/Steam for Half-Life where one logs on to search out an appropria

        • It's not like people can just throw up a server and provide on-line pay for free like you can with PC games.

          Why not? Isn't this what most companies are doing on the PS2 (at least the ones not charging for online play)?

          The truth is that Nintendo doesn't even have to do much. Just provide the hardware and some support for the developers. The individual game publishers/developers can decide whether to offer/support online play if they want to. Nintendo is just being stubborn about it.

          The reason Ninten

          • Whats stubborn about releasing the modem and broadband adaptors for the cube?

            Could have sworm PSO was an online game. Just because developers aren't utilising what Ninty are providing doesn't make it Ninty's fault. Sure they could push for more online functionality for cube games, but why would they do that if they're not sure if its a good idea or not?
            • Could have sworm PSO was an online game.

              Right. One game. That really counts. :P

              Whats stubborn about releasing the modem and broadband adaptors for the cube?

              They could at the very least advertise the fact that the GC has the capability of online play. They could, if not actively encourage it, at least refrain from saying it isn't time for it yet.

              Sure they could push for more online functionality for cube games, but why would they do that if they're not sure if its a good idea or not?

              How the hell

      • XBox and PS2 may have decent, if different, online gaming architecture but neither has enough games for online play to make me remotely interested in paying the extra.

        There is a LONG way to go in the online console world ... Nintendo still has plenty of time to work out their strategy.
    • It seems pretty clear to me why you ditched the system. All the games you listed as being great were from the shock-horror genre. The Cube has a much lower selection of these games as say the PS2 or XBox.

      I think most gamers would think of the Zeldas, Metroids, Marios as the GCN's great games and this is where the strength of the GCN lies.

      That's what's nice about having multiple consoles, each can tailor to different users.
  • New technology? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I believe they may be thinking along the lines of something very different, like the GBA DS is. Part of me is hoping they don't come out with some hardware gimmick, because those are certain to fail in the long run.
    However there is so much criticism for the lack of originality in games today, that part of me wants them to offer up this extremely unique device that will change the perspective of gamin in a drastic way. It just may be the breath of fresh air that the industry needs. Most gamers are comfort
    • Re:New technology? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jasonditz (597385)
      A gimmick is not neccesarily a bad thing. The CD-ROM drive on the Philips CDi was considered a gimmick... a few years later virtually every console had one. The 3D extensions in the original playstation's hardware was considered a gimmick... now a console without 3D extensions would be unthinkable.

      Its only a gimmick until it succeeds, then its "being ahead of the curve".
  • by Toxygen (738180) on Monday April 12, 2004 @08:04PM (#8843031) Journal
    It's all about the games. Always has been. The reason people buy Nintendo is because of the marios, the metroids, and the zeldas, those kickass exclusive games you just can't get anywhere else. The reason people buy xboxes and playstations is so they can play those highly-advertised gtas and final fantasies after watching a dvd. Think about it. Nintendo's busy delivering the quality while sony and ms are giving us the quantity.

    And screw backwards compatibility. I don't care at all about it. It works with the GBA because it already owns something like 80% of the handheld market, but who actually still plays psx games on their ps2? Whoever played sega games on their genesis? Or sega cd or 32x for that matter? I don't want my cool new console to be crippled just because it has to dumb itself down for 5 year old games.
    • I agree. I'd rather have my next-gen GC be dvd compatable than CG compatable. The GC is a small box anyways :P
    • by Firehawke (50498)
      I still run quite a large selection of PSX discs in my PS2 and I'm sure I'm not alone. Games like Symphony of the Night don't exactly degrade even when compared to more modern titles.

      Why do you think that a system has to be "crippled" to have backwards compatibility? Removing the PSX backwards compatibility would have NO effect on the PS2, and the Panasonic Q demonstrates that DVD playback could be added to a next-gen Cube without sacrificing backwards compatibility.
  • by b0r0din (304712) on Monday April 12, 2004 @08:16PM (#8843102)
    Nintendo has made a lot of bad decisions by failing to address a HUGE hole in their business: networked games. Ok, so there are four ports now, so it's more party-friendly, good for groups of kids who play together. So you've added features including interfacing with the GBA. Great tie-in. But what about adults, the original NES owners, who have their own lives in different areas apart from their good friends but still play regularly with each other? If you ask me, the GameCube has the best chance of creating solid networked games because you've got the potential for four people per Cube without a multitap - ie. the whole idea is multiplayer.

    Also, I question the portability issue of the cube. It's not like they got rid of all the attachments necessary to make a gamecube truly portable. You still have to hook up the audio. You still have to plug it into a DC outlet. You still have to bring the controllers along. Sure it's lighter than a PS2, but that still doesn't mean it's a whole lot easier to lug around.

    Get something going along networked gaming. M$ and Sony are killing along those lines.

    Also, get some adult-themed games going. Maybe even allow independant parties to make games for your system without imposing minimums like a 10,000 minidisc purchase.

    • by NanoGator (522640) on Monday April 12, 2004 @08:31PM (#8843189) Homepage Journal
      "Nintendo has made a lot of bad decisions by failing to address a HUGE hole in their business: networked games."

      Hardly a bad business decision. It's not doing Sony or Microsoft a whole lotta good. Part of the reason for the GC's success is its low price. So either they'd have to include a network adapter and raise the price of the system (Microsoft's having difficulty keeping up with the GC despite having one) or they'd have to provide a peripheral system, which hasn't historically shown much success.

      "Also, I question the portability issue of the cube. It's not like they got rid of all the attachments necessary to make a gamecube truly portable. You still have to hook up the audio. You still have to plug it into a DC outlet. You still have to bring the controllers along. Sure it's lighter than a PS2, but that still doesn't mean it's a whole lot easier to lug around."

      Speaking as somebody who has lugged the system around a few times, I can assure you that the GC survives movings much more readily than any other system to date. The small form and the handle are very helpful, most TVs have a video in on the front, and Wavebird controllers make the whole cable mess disappear. The PS2 and XBOX are monsters in comparison, and far more fragile. The lack of a handle on either machine is noticably painful as well.

      "Get something going along networked gaming. M$ and Sony are killing along those lines."

      They're only killing Nintendo in the sense that they haven't provided a service yet. Yes, you are right there. The real question is whether or not Sony or Microsoft are making any real money with their on-line stuff. I'd be willing to bet the answer is 'unsubstantial', but would welcome clarification.

      "Maybe even allow independant parties to make games for your system without imposing minimums like a 10,000 minidisc purchase."

      What good would that do besides tying up their publishing business?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        NanoGator, you make some very good points. GameCube outselling Xbox despite Microsoft's expensive network is probably the best reason I've seen for Nintendo's careful online approach. However, some clarification is in order.

        Microsoft does not make money from their network. They are collecting monthly fees from less than one million users (only 500,000 users worldwide as of last June, Microsoft's optimistic goal is one million by this June). That doesn't even begin to subsidize their high network maint
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There are 77-million gamers around the world.

      Total online console gamers are around 3 million.

      Understand their decision now? Multiplayer is a huge benefit for games, and will ultimately be a large part of the future of games, but not right now.

    • Also, I question the portability issue of the cube. It's not like they got rid of all the attachments necessary to make a gamecube truly portable. You still have to hook up the audio. You still have to plug it into a DC outlet. You still have to bring the controllers along. Sure it's lighter than a PS2, but that still doesn't mean it's a whole lot easier to lug around.

      C'mon, it has a frickin' handle! Isn't that enough for you ingrates?

    • Does everyone forget that of the current console companies out there, the one with the most experience in networking game consoles is Nintendo [n-sider.com]?

      They've been doing online services for their consoles since the Famicom (NES) system.
    • If you compare the number of online ps2 or xbox owners to the total number of ps2 or xbox owners, you will see that only a fraction of them are online.

      As amazing as a service like XBox live is, it's still not the killer feature for a console.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Monday April 12, 2004 @08:18PM (#8843109) Homepage Journal
    I think Mr. Iwata is looking in the right direction. He makes the claim that the next generation will be difficult to distinguish from this current generation. I'm not sure that's 100% true. I recently saw a demo of 'modern realtime hardware' that involved a lot of shadow casting etc that would definitely make next-generation games more interesting. I think it'll be the generation following the next one that'll be difficult to be distinguishing.

    Anyway, I have drifted a bit. Modern game consoles have reached a point where it's more about what the artist can do with the system than what the system can do for them. At that point, Mr. Iwata is right, competition becomes very difficult. His suggestion that there needs to be other distinguishing factors is spot on. It is, for this reason, that I think Nintendo has ample opportunity to retake the market. They, as a game developer as well as a hardware developer, know what it takes to entertain, and they certainly have the right talent to cook up those juicy new ideas. I don't have as much faith in Sony or Microsoft. Sony's too arogant (ask the developers about what making a PS2 game is like)and Microsoft is too inexperienced. Niether have any real experience making AAA games.

    Maybe saying Nintendo will win back the market is a bit of an overstatement. All this talk of Nintendo losing market share conveniently leaves out figures of how much the market has grown in the last 5 years. Maybe Nintendo won't be #1 again. Maybe it'll be #2 and the market is big enough for them to be quite comfortable profit-wise. Personally, I think that's a bigger win. It means there's another company who's producing an alternative that another segment of the market likes. Who knows?

    Well at this point I'm just babbling. Sorry. I just think that Nintendo has at least the right mind-set to continue to succeed. I also think that if Sony and Microsoft are smart, they'll listen to what Iwata has to say very carefully.
    • I also think that if Sony and Microsoft are smart, they'll listen to what Iwata has to say very carefully.

      True. Nintendo came before either of these companies as a game maker, and therefore has the experience to know where the market is going. It's basically a sixth sense through massive amounts of experience.

      All this talk of Nintendo losing market share conveniently leaves out figures of how much the market has grown in the last 5 years.

      This is usually mentioned by people who are trying to declare
    • I agree.
      Remember, the gaming market is shrinking in Japan, Nintendo's constant stomping ground for the past 20 yrs or so. I think Mr. Iwata is just realizing that the same thing could happen in the US, and that wouldnt be good.

      Don't believe me? Imagine the gaming industry without Nintendo. Innovation seems few and far between elsewhere. If I play another WW2 FPS, I will seriously barf. GTA was kinda innovative, but even that seems based on Zelda (with hookers!)
      (Point: most -not all- game companies try and
      • I agree.
        Remember, the gaming market is shrinking in Japan, Nintendo's constant stomping ground for the past 20 yrs or so. I think Mr. Iwata is just realizing that the same thing could happen in the US, and that wouldnt be good.


        N64 did shit business in Japan. And I doubt he thinks the same thing would happen in the USA, because there is no sign of that happening (outside of PC gaming, of course). See Gamespy's article with the CESA guy today for reasons why.

        Don't believe me? Imagine the gaming industry

        • N64 did shit business in Japan.

          Youre thinking to specific, mr genius - and why so defensive?

          Nintendo has how many millions(billions?) in the bank? Maybe the N64 didnt tickle your fancy, and wasnt much compared to the PS/PS2 successes, but, yes I would consider Nintendo a successful company in Japan over the last 20 yrs.


          because there is no sign of that happening (outside of PC gaming, of course)

          Umm.. The Japanese game market and world PC game market are starting to slide - 2 markets usually on the

          • Youre thinking to specific, mr genius - and why so defensive?

            Eh, my Nintendo fanboy alarm was going off, so I panicked a bit. ;)

            Nintendo has how many millions(billions?) in the bank? Maybe the N64 didnt tickle your fancy, and wasnt much compared to the PS/PS2 successes, but, yes I would consider Nintendo a successful company in Japan over the last 20 yrs.

            Billions is correct. And to the contrary, I loved my N64, purchased at launch - never even bothered with the PSX (though I did play around with a few
            • I wasn't trying to sound like a fan or like I'm giving undo credit. We do seem to agree on most of this.

              Basically, I was just trying to underline Iwata's point that the industry can stagnate and die without innovation. Not that it will. You said yourself that one of the reasons that the PC gaming is sliding a bit is because of the lack of innovation. Of course many other reasons are just as important, as you pointed out, but the lack of innovation is one factor you can control.

              I still believe Nintendo is
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @08:32PM (#8843193)
    Advancing graphics is one thing, but advancing control peripherals is just as important. Let's look at the history of games for a good example:

    If you stretch as far back as the 70's, arcade games had very primitive visuals, but some of the better games offered sophisticated input control.

    Examples:
    PONG uses a rotary "spinner" control. So even though the game consists of controlling a rectangle to hit a square "ball", the input is still pretty advance, with the position of your "rectangle" moving up and down proportional to the rate at which you turn the spinner controller. Imagine if the game designers used a joystick instead. (For you younger folk, imagine the game "Arkanoid" with a joystick for input instead.)

    Centipede, Missile Command:
    Used a trackball for player control. So although quick reflexes are important to master a game like Centipede, there's also the skill of mastering use of a trackball controller to move the player object.

    Tron: Both a joystick for player control, and a spinner for aiming your shots.

    Track n Field: press two buttons as fast as possible to get your player to go fast. Imagine how boring this game would be with just a joystick you pushed left to run left.

    Light gun games: Goes without saying... Light guns are one of those peripherals that HAVE made their way onto home consoles for pretty much every generation.

    Racing games with steering wheels and pedals: Again, thankfully we have these available for most generations of game consoles (but not all of us bother to fork over the cash to buy such devices).

    In the mid to late 80's, games tended to all use joysticks and buttons. It was no coincidence they offer little in the way of innovative control input. One exception was Street Fighter II. They introduced the concept of performing "moves", such as semi-circle motions with the joystick. I need not mention what that game "started"...

    And speaking of Street Fighter... the original Street Fighter had two big huge rubber buttons instead of the 6 buttons of different strength. You'd have to literally punch the big button as hard as you could and the strength of your real-world punch translated into the strength of your on-screen character's strength. No, this didn't work that well, since you got tired or could hurt your hand (it didn't take long before these arcade games got retrofitted with ordinary buttons) but you all get the point right? There's a reason why arcade game designers even came up with new input ideas like this.

    Back to consoles... When the Nintendo 64 appeared and had an analog joystick, and we saw what 3D could really offer, thanks to Mario 64, it opened up a new realm of gameplay. But I feel we could still explore new play mechanics through innovative input devices. Imagine playing a game like Super Monkey Ball with a trackball. (Or that new game from Namco where you roll around picking up everything you touch...) We need new kinds of controllers, and innovative use of the traditional analog controllers. The more games remain "push left and the thing moves left".

    ~RB
  • GameBoy Extended pic (Score:3, Informative)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Monday April 12, 2004 @08:35PM (#8843215) Homepage Journal
    The article refers to a fan-made image of the "GameBoy Extended" machine that plays GC games.

    I found a pic of it:

    http://www.jeux-france.com/images0_4_2049.html

    Yep, it's a hoax, but the artist did a darned good job.
  • 1) More memory
    2) More memory
    3) For the love of man, no more ARAM
  • Iwata knows... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shakey_Jake33 (670826) on Monday April 12, 2004 @09:23PM (#8843522)
    In many ways, Iwata has made some good points (while loosing the plot on others of course)... First off, his comment about people finding it hard to notice the graphical improvements with the new formats, while not quite as insignificant as he makes them sound, are probably quite right. I don't know about you, but most non-gamers don't have a clue what the technical differences are between the current 3 formats. Sure some may know the XBox is more powerful than the PS2, but clearly few see it as a big thing. And one could argue that in terms of raw power, the XBox outshines the Gamecube, but lets be fair, you'd be kinda hard pressed to see it when looking at both formats top games. And I think this is the point Iwata was making here. The Gamecube wasn't as powerful as the XBox on paper (save the PPC vs Intel x86 debate guys), but it proved to be little hinderance in the real world, and saved Nintendo lots of money in the long run. Frankly if Nintendo used slightly less powerful parts for a fraction of the cost like they did with the GameCube, I'm all for it. What I'm not too sure Iwata has the right track on is this 'new technologies' thing he refers to. Why are they so hell-bent on changing the way games are played anyway? Sure, innovation is a good thing, but is the dual-screen feature of the DS really an innovation, or a gimmick? Will it be a key part of handheld gaming in the future? I doubt it. And for some reason, this also reminds me of the strange design of the N64 controller which, while very cool after a while, soon saw Nintendo returning to a more conventional design with the GameCube. I think Nintendo try too hard in this catagory and must realise that some things people just like better when they are familiar with them.
    • Disclaimer: Just my opinion and speculation of course.

      Because they sense that their most important market, Japan, is ready for a gaming crash.

      It's primed for it.

      That's why Konami, Capcom and many of the older japanese dev houses are suddenly collaborating with Nintendo.

      Think about it. How many differences in gameplay are there really between say Halo and Goldeneye, or Halo and Tribes. FFX and FFVII?

      How many of these games are you going to want to go back and play through again in a decade, like a lot
      • This is exactly Iwata's motivation. (and what I was trying to say in an earlier post).

        Believe it or not, games have always been evolving and becoming more accessible. Cutting back on the innovation kills the evolution and is not a good idea for the industry as a whole - and Iwata knows it. Go Nintendo!
    • And for some reason, this also reminds me of the strange design of the N64 controller which, while very cool after a while, soon saw Nintendo returning to a more conventional design with the GameCube. I think Nintendo try too hard in this catagory and must realise that some things people just like better when they are familiar with them.

      Um... I disagree with that. Nintendo was the first in many areas of game controllers.

      The first gamepad as we know them today.
      The first d-pad
      shoulder buttons
      anal

      • Oh I'm not doubting thta Nintendo have made some great evolutionary steps in gaming (well, I personally think rumble is an awful feature, otheres clearly disagree), just like the ones you mentioned.... but the difference is all of those examples added largely to the gameplay, something which, IMO, the N64 controller did not. That was a clear case of change where is was not needed, and I can't help but think that recently many of Nintendo's decisions have been a case of this.
        • The N64 controller remains to this day as the only console controller reasonably suitable for playing an FPS. Gamecube's sucks for it (Metroid Prime confirms it). Xbox's sucks for it (Time Splitters 2 confirms it, and that's based on the Goldeneye engine!). And PS2's is the same as PS1's, so it's no better now than it was when it was packed with a system competing with the N64 itself.

          No, no other console controller has the unique arrangement of digital "movement" buttons and an analog stick for "looking" t
  • by Nalgas D. Lemur (105785) on Monday April 12, 2004 @09:50PM (#8843689)
    Someone has to say this, and it might as well be me. In the comments on every story like this, there's always at least one person, usually several, who claim that the GameCube's major failing is the lack of support for networking. I must disagree entirely.

    Unless something's changed a whole lot in the past couple months, the online aspect of the other two current consoles is very visible, but the number of people who actually are participating is incredibly small in comparison to how much we hear about them. Xbox Live and some of the online stuff for the PS2 is well done, and a lot of people who have used them are impressed by them. However, the people who have even used a console-based online gaming service are a tiny fraction of the number of console gamers who never have.

    In the PC gaming world, especially with things like MMORPGs, RTS games, FPS games, etc., multiplayer network support is almost vitally important. I don't think everyone realizes that the console world isn't like that...yet. I think it will probably become more important in the future, and any console in the next generation without good support for it will probably suffer somewhat, but at this point in time, the vast majority of console gamers are completely unaffected by whether a game or console has network support or not.

    Getting back to why the GameCube was less successful than it could've been, I suspect a least a couple things had something to do with it. Launching an entire year after the PS2 definitely did not help. While the PS2 had few, if any, compelling games in its first year, the same could be said of the GameCube, and by the time the GC started getting more games worth playing, the PS2 had already been out for a couple years, had much more support, and was in many more homes.

    On a related note, the GC was pretty lacking in third-party support until more recently, too. Even now, I look at which games I've been playing lately on my GC and which games I'm looking forward to, and the vast majority are straight from Nintendo. Now, if I had to pick one and only one company whose games I could play, it would be Nintendo, so I'm not too bothered by that, but it would be nice to have more stuff out there to choose from.

    Regardless, as long as Nintendo gets to the party on time with the next console, instead of being unfashionably late, I think they're on the right track. I buy consoles to play games, not to watch movies on or to use a PVR or a CD player or anything else like that. I play games because I want to have fun. As far as I'm concerned, they make some of the best games that are the most fun, and anything they do to make it easier to make good games and to create more ways for games to be fun is ok with me.

    • Imagine how cool it would be if the Cube had more LAN-enabled games (think system link) which could be tunnelled -- or better yet if this "internet system link" was actually supported out-of-the-box. I don't care about the whys and wherefores, I just want to be able to play Mario Kart a little bit faster with friends across town over the internet.

      It was strange to read a "network support is not important for GC" rant from a person who links to their MUD in their .sig!
      • On the other hand, giving the internet players that "little bit faster" might have required crippling gameplay in some way. That's something they wouldn't have been willing to do, obviously.
    • by Trillian_1138 (221423) <slashdot @ f r i d a y t h ang.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:25AM (#8844921)
      I think it's not that simple. I do totaly agree (it's hard not to, although some people try and argue) that online gaming for the current generation of game systems isn't that big. Likewise, playing DVDs isn't that important.

      But people THINK that it is.

      Best Buy/EB Games/Gamespot/etc have done a great job convincing people that being able to watch DVDs and play games online (even though 95% of the system owners don't use those features too often, if ever) is really important and "where it's at." I don't think Nintendo made a poor TECHNOLOGICAL decision leaving online games pretty much off the GC, because almost no one would take advantage of it. But consumers have a mental impression that they 'need' online gaming, a DVD player, a harddrive, a coffee maker, and the kitchen sink in their videogame system.

      So while I will still probably buy Nintendo's next system, just like I've bought all their past systems - whether or not it has online gaming or not - I think having online gaming is a 'state of mind' that a lot of consumers find really important.

      Just my 2 cents

      -Trillian
      • HD games are what is needed.
        When I went to buy my GC at Best Buy, I asked if they carried the Component Video Cable, so I could get 480P. The guy insisted that GC had no such thing, and it "didn't do High Def, only PlayStation and XBox do." But, many GC games can run at 480P, which isn't quite HD but it's in the right direction. Oddly no one in town carries the Component Video cables, I had to order them directly from Ninetendo, and the still haven't arrived. This makes no sense to me. Almost every GC
    • Unless something's changed a whole lot in the past couple months, the online aspect of the other two current consoles is very visible, but the number of people who actually are participating is incredibly small in comparison to how much we hear about them.

      There's enough for me to always get a well matched game on PGR2 or a sound drubbing on TH:UG (TH:UG seems to have no skill level policing, and I suck very badly at it), and I'm based in Europe, which is seen as lagging in the online stakes. There's also t

  • Nintendo needs a presence on the Internet if they are going to survive. A good starting point for Nintendo would be to leverage their existing catalog to create a more enjoyable online experience. How?? Update some of their classics to include online play and include them on a chip on their next gen machine. Perhaps I'm an old-timer, but I'd love to fight someone in Punchout or go head to head with someone in the original F-Zero. The graphics are worn out and the music stinks, but the games are flat out
  • That's all they need atm... There are a few good games (mainly nintendo's own titles) but they need more support. Drop the ridiculus Licence agreements for developers, and they will come. The biggest problem is that I bought 10 games for the Gamecube, and there's nothing out there that deserves my money... I'm willing to buy a good RPG, but the sad truth is, there's nothing out there... same goes for most genres.... Now don't thake this wrong, i'm a nintendo nut from the first hour, but the support is ut
  • by GaimeGuy (679917) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @08:06PM (#8855115) Journal
    Iwata DOES want Nintendo to go back on top, but the thing is, what he's REALLY trying to say is that the industry needs to be shaken up with new innovative ways to PLAY games. The advancements in technology have reached a point where a graphics card that can display more polys at once, or a processor with greater clock-speed, has a relatively minute impact than what it did before.

    Compare the games of the SNES to the NES: The SNES has higher quality sound, more colorful graphics, the ability to display more textures, the ability to add more input into a game, with more buttons on the SNES controller, longer, bigger games, bigger levels (compare Super Mario World to SMB 3).... overall, barriers were removed, the possibilities for games were broadened.

    : Ok, now, compare the N64 and the PS to the SNES/Genesis:
    The full shift to 3D graphics, and optical based media becomes the new standard, allowing developers to make games bigger than ever before. Among the features that become common in this era are: full motion video, 4-person multiplayer gaming on the N64, orchestrated soundtracks (there are several examples on both platforms), even more buttons on a controller than before, and the use of both joysticks and d-pads is introduced. These technological leaps remove all technical barriers that prevent the games to potentially portray the real-life world (by that, I mean the fact that now all 3 dimensions which we live in could be rendered in our games, surround sound that makes games' sounds be expressed from all directions is brought in, etc. Basically, now, the only things left to do are increase the power of the currently-existing technology)

    Now, compare games from the N64 and the PS to the games on the DC, GC, Ps2, and X-box.
    The difference in graphics is less noticeable than ever before, with the only changes being smoother textures, better SFX, more polys: basic upgrades of current technology that have always happened over time. It's even harder to notice differences in the sound and music areas of games. The controllers for today's consoles have just about the same amount of buttons as last generation, and support the same number of players. The biggest change made is that development has become more complex than ever, with game budgets ranging in the multi-million dollar ranges, easily, and even longer development times are present. Basically, the basic hardware upgrades (more ram, more storage), with increased difficulty and prices to develop.

    What Nintendo wants to do is make hardware changes that can help games become better on different scales, like adding 3D, or four-person multiplayer, or making a portable system with two screens. To keep things fresh, and keep people's interests Yeah, there will be the hardware upgrades, there will be more memory, more storage, more polys. But in addition, these new dimensions will be added to the hardware, adding new functions to our games.
    THAT'S what Nintendo is trying to do.

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