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SNK Execs On Game Piracy, Sony Approval Issues 48

Posted by simoniker
from the aruze-aruuuuze dept.
Thanks to SPOnG.com for its interview with SNK's Yoshihito Koyama and Shinya Morishita about the veteran developer/publisher, with topics including the death of the classic Neo Geo MVS cartridge system ("There is no reason why the system could not be used now and in the future... we have not been held back by the hardware platform we use. The main problem is the pirates"), and the scale of the piracy that prompted it ("We released King of Fighters 2003 in Japan. Within two days we were seeing copied versions of our [cartridge] from China hitting the open market across Asia... Our game [ROMs] have also been spread across the Internet, another reason why enhanced hardware technology will help us.") Eurogamer also has another SNK interview, similarly conducted on the occasion of SNK's European publishing deal with Ignition, which talks PlayStation 2 game approval issues, mentioning: "With Sony you have to think about SCEA [Sony America] approval because they don't like 2D games, but SCEE [Sony Europe], they accept 2D games for release, but SCEA say 'no, they must be 2 in 1', or something like this."
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SNK Execs On Game Piracy, Sony Approval Issues

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  • But with Sony you have to think about SCEA approval because they don't like 2D games, but SCEE, they accept 2D games for release, but SCEA say 'no, they must be 2 in 1', or something like this, so we must follow for the European release as well, you know, two in a package

    Doesn't this just confirm what many of us already knew. The industry has a congenital hatred towards 2D games, despite the fact that a good 2D romp like metal slug has no counterpart in the 3D world. So this means that SCEA think of only
    • by bear pimp (695195) on Friday July 09, 2004 @04:31AM (#9650349)
      Of course 3D games are better! they have an extra D! I'm not going to pay the same price for a game that has one less D in it!!!

      This mentality amongst (particularly young) gamers drives me nuts. I have nephews who won't even play a game if it was released last year. If a game is good, it doesn't stop being good over time.
      • my only limit is that i refuse to play any games that aren't released yet... but theres a good reason for that, its more like the Vendor refuses to give the game to me before its released
      • If they are your nephews then it is your moral duty to pimp-slap them and their parents (your siblings).

        Me, I've got my trusty old Dreamcast patched into my 20" SVGA, with Ikaruga superglued to the drive spindle. Whenever the little inlaws waltz over to point and laugh, I just smack them in the teeth with the controller, all without breaking my 40-chain combo.

        Only shitty games come branded with an expiration date.
    • However I suspect SCEE are just as guilty of promoting only soccer and racing games. With the sparcity of game releases in Europe (well, Japanese imports at the very least) I only wish SCEE were guilty of promoting
      games full stop.
    • I think it shows that Sony is already comfortable in its position as a quasi-monopolist. People complained about Nintendo's tight regulations, now Nintendo has fallen and Sony has taken its place, inluding the iron fist rule. It might cost them a lot of third party support when the next generation rolls around and devs like SNK decide they don't want Sony on top again. Capcom had similar problems getting some games (Viewtiful Joe, Killer 7, both GC exclusive in North America but not other territories) appro
      • I have a library full of quirky PS2 games, stuff like Ico and Rez for instance.

        Unless you are asking for quirky games that aren't very good?
        • by hibiki_r (649814)

          I am impressed by your high game quality standards. Viewtiful Joe has to be a pretty bad game to get a weak 92% in Gamerankings [gamerankings.com].This clearly indicates that the game is no good.Sony's US refusal to distribute VJ had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the game is a 2D side scroller, as TFA says.

          I guess somebody will have to tell the guys at Capcom that if they want to be able to sell their PS2 games in NA they better start learning from the companies that made Big Motha Truckers [gamerankings.com] and Army Men:Green R [gamerankings.com]

      • What cost them some developers is the difficulty of their system. Their licencing and aproval isn't any different from MS or Nintendo.
    • SCEA (Score:3, Informative)

      by metamatic (202216)
      It confirms what many gamers already know, which is that SCEA are a bunch of mindless jerks who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

      I mean, SCEA declined to distribute Vib Ribbon, Wipeout Fusion, Dropship... It's not just 2D games they reject, it's just about anything that isn't a FPS or movie tie-in.

      Maybe they're right from a commercial standpoint; maybe Joe Sixpack is only interested in playing Unreal Syphon Quakesplitters 3. But it's pretty sad for gamers.
      • To tie in with SNK's thoughtless piracy claims (like so many other "misunderstood" game houses), notice than whenever SCEA refuses to publish something, that title immediately gains cult status and gets FTP'd to every dump site this side of the Great Firewall. Yes, I have Vib Ribbon, and Wipeout Fusion, and Thrill Kill, and all those other good/bad rejects, ON CDR. I could have gladly paid for many of them, but I couldn't, so I obtained them by whatever means I had available and threw down for a modchip.
    • Well, someone modded your post as underrated, I think I'll quote it:

      Doesn't this just confirm what many of us already knew. The industry has a congenital hatred towards 2D games, despite the fact that a good 2D romp like metal slug has no counterpart in the 3D world. So this means that SCEA think of only one thing first, graphics. Forget about gameplay, innovation, longevity. If it's not pretty we don't want it. Consquently we're all stuck with lovely looking, 'high concept' games which are all bubble an

    • Technically, its only SCEA in the whole world that is against 2D games. There is no industry wide feeling, its just that when the console with the largest installed base says 3D only, you tend to get 3D only.

      Of course, every previous time Mike Hawk has said its a problem with SCEA some jerk comes along and tries to dispute it. Once again, Mike Hawk is right and you all are idiots.
    • The industry has a congenital hatred towards 2D games, despite the fact that a good 2D romp like metal slug has no counterpart in the 3D world.

      Besides Serious Sam, the new Ninja Gaiden, most of the Dynasty Warriors series, etc., etc.

      Rob
  • by chrispyman (710460) on Friday July 09, 2004 @05:00AM (#9650433)
    Personally I agree entirely that as of late piracy has been the number one problem plaguing the Neo Geo. To be honest, there's so many pirated MVS games and especially when you get one off eBay, you just don't know what you're gonna get.
    • by Lonesmurf (88531) on Friday July 09, 2004 @06:23AM (#9650612) Homepage
      When a game (JUST THE GAME) costs $200, you can bet that people will pirate them. Nevermind the hardware. If there is demand for something, there will always be a % that will pay for it, a % that will not and a % that will steal it. Price point is all about making sure those %'s are reasonable.

      $50 a game is expensive, but reasonable. No?

      -rami
      • I agree wholeheartedly! I have purchased plenty of SNK games for non-SNK systems where the cost was reasonable, but at ~$500 for the Neo Geo system and $150-$250 for each game, I have never been in a position to afford SNK's native stuff. Anyone at SNK who thinks that piracy, and not price, is the problem is an idiot-which explains why they went under and had to be bought out by Sammy.
      • Yeah, price is most definately the main reason pirating Neo Geo games is so common. It's probably costing them no more than $50 for a new MVS kit but with such extreme markups, it gets the pirates interested. If you could pirate a game that costs less than $50 to make and sell it to the vast majority of Neo Geo owners who don't know or care about pirated games for $200 then you got yourself a profitable situation for the pirate.
      • $50 a game is expensive, but reasonable. No?

        New arcade games (whether they go into an existing hardware system like Neogeo or Naomi, or not) simply have never cost $50, and they never will. To expect otherwise is ridiculous.
  • "but SCEA say 'no, they must be 2 in 1', or something like this."

    Amusingly enough, it sounds awfully similar to the /. reaction in the recent games.slashdot article about Famicom Mini GBA releases with not so cheap price tags... but what is funny here is, even the marketing people, not customers, at SCEA understand the American way perfectly and try to exploit on it just like pirates in China demand 10-in-1 cart :)
    • The difference, though, is that SNK is dealing with fairly new games, whereas Nintendo is porting 20-year-old games to a handheld.

      So, when you want the latest King of Fighters, you either import it and mod your console, or you have to wait for SCEA to approve it, and you end up with a 2-in-1 pack that's been censored.
  • SNK's decision makes sense as their ROMS are being dumped way to quickly and it doesn't give them any time to make money from their real customer base (high end gamers and arcade machine operators). It's a good decision, but unless the new format is compatible with the old hardware, they may simply not make it.

    I do wonder though, how many people download their roms and play via emulator who would simply never buy their games because of the cost.
    • Well they're kind of an odd case given the high cost of the games. When they had the distinction of being the only home system in it's class, a $200 price tag for a game could be workable. Nowadays it makes no sense.

      Of course, none of that excuses all the piracy.

    • Emulator users aren't the real problem for SNK - as they themselves state, it is the actual real 'pirates' that are causing the problem. Bootleg arcade machine showing up a few days after the game's release is insane.
  • by Visigothe (3176) on Friday July 09, 2004 @10:23AM (#9651777) Homepage
    Remember back in the NES days when (I think it was) Tengen came out with several games that Nintendo didn't like, and so did not receive the Nintendo Seal of Approval? Games like Gauntlet, Tetris (a Tetris that more closely resembled the arcade version than Nintendo's own) and others were available on the shelves. Nintendo tried to get them removed through the court system, and lost.

    The SCEA is clearly doing the same thing, "if we don't like your game, you can't distribute it". How about letting *THE PUBLIC* decide if they like a game by purchasing it (or not). I prefer 2D games over 3D games, as the game-play tends to be better. Consequently I sold my PS2 a long time ago, and purchased a GBA SP.

    Quit telling me what I want, let me decide for myself.

    The funny thing about all of this is that the game makers are putting up all the risk, and they *still* have to pay Sony for each game sold. Why does Sony *not* want additional income?

    Perhaps the SNK people should release an "un-approved" disc. If the SCEA takes them to the courts, SNK may have legal precedent on their side.
    • They could, but I don't think they could use any of the tools/dev kit that they got in the licensing deal with sony. The DMCA would come into play possibly.
    • With the PS1 Sony tried to keep the number of 2d games on the system low to emphasize its advantage over the Saturn: 3D. The Saturn was better when it came to 2d graphics, but pretty bad at 3d. That way there weren't many games to compare between the two systems and Sony could always say "See, our 3d is prettier, buy us!".
    • Remember back in the NES days when (I think it was) Tengen came out with several games that Nintendo didn't like, and so did not receive the Nintendo Seal of Approval? Games like Gauntlet, Tetris (a Tetris that more closely resembled the arcade version than Nintendo's own) and others were available on the shelves. Nintendo tried to get them removed through the court system, and lost.

      I think you need to look that case history up. Tengen lost, for not having a valid license to release Tetris in the US (the
      • I think he might have meant that Tengen games in general were found to be fine (the Tetris issue is a whole 'nother ballgame). But in general, I believe Game Over shows that Tengen games were legit and Nintendo wasn't able to stop them.
        • I think he might have meant that Tengen games in general were found to be fine (the Tetris issue is a whole 'nother ballgame). But in general, I believe Game Over shows that Tengen games were legit and Nintendo wasn't able to stop them.

          After looking around a bit longer, and some refreshment of my memory, this link:
          http://www.nesplayer.com/features/lawsuits / tengen. htm

          pointed out that Tengen was a spin-off of Atari, and directly related to the Atari lawsuit I mentioned previously. Additionally, many arti
    • See the game industry in the late 80's. You'll see why. Poor quality games dilute the perception of your system. While a merely unispired game like chaos legion or the lattest harry potter crap is one thing, having ET on your system is something else. It killed the game industry, and it killed many of the potential systems liek the jaguar and the 3do.
  • I really hate when companies ignore the realities of what they're saying when they blame piracy for their ills. Did people pirate Neo Geo games because they're scum sucking asses, or because the games cost >$200 a piece? If piracy suddenly became impossible, they would have been lucky to see a few more bucks land their way.
    • I really hate when companies ignore the realities of what they're saying when they blame piracy for their ills. Did people pirate Neo Geo games because they're scum sucking asses, or because the games cost >$200 a piece? If piracy suddenly became impossible, they would have been lucky to see a few more bucks land their way.

      The piracy their speaking of is not like here in North America. Down in asia the pirate "Sell" the pirated goods. Copies of the roms and the hardware sell for some none zero sum in a
    • SNK don't give a flying fuck about the Neo Geo home system. The piracy they're talking about is in the arcade. Arcade owners are their customers. Arcade (MVS) Neo Geo games sell for a lot more than $200 new. That is where SNK make their money. When unscrupulous or unwitting arcade owners buy pirated games instead of the originals, it does hurt SNK. These aren't children downloading ROMs. These are people in business buying from pirates to save a hundred dollars or so. They would have bought the game
  • Let me see, $50 for the legit copy of Metal Slug 3 with a broken continue system, OR $0 for a rom that I can play on pretty much any platform, with as many continues as I like.

    $30 and more than one credit, would have sold me.
    • Is that the Xbox version? My Japanese PS2 Metal Slug 3 lets you continue as many times as you want. Then it tells you how many times once you complete the game. Does the Xbox version really only give you one continue?

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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