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Businesses Nintendo Portables (Games) The Almighty Buck Games

Cheap Games a Risk To the Industry, Says Nintendo President 310

Posted by Soulskill
from the expensive-games-a-risk-to-your-industry-buddy dept.
Recent comments from Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime indicate that the company is worried about the effect of inexpensive mobile games on the industry. "'Angry Birds is a great piece of experience,' he said, 'but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that for one or two dollars I think create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be $2.' Taking one last dig at the mobile competition, Fils-Aime added that he 'think[s] some of those games are actually overpriced at $1 or $2, but that's a different story.'" While low-priced mobile games might not be good for Nintendo, it can still work out well for indie developers. 2DBoy, makers of World of Goo, released some statistics about launching the iPad version of the game.
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Cheap Games a Risk To the Industry, Says Nintendo President

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  • Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bbqsrc (1441981) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @03:29AM (#35148118) Homepage
    It's hard to compete with value for money, isn't it Nintendo?
    • by grantek (979387)
      Not if you just dive into it - the Rage rail shooter has got a full high-tech 3D engine behind it, and must have cost substantially more to make, but only cost a few dollars as well. Maybe it's a loss leader, but I reckon they've made their money back.
      • by smash (1351)
        its a quick port, i'm betting that 99% of the code/content was already generated for the pc version of rage. The iphone port would have been a recompile/tweak and gameplay mod. Most of the code for games these days isn't written in assembly more, and the rage engine is allegedly very scalable...
        • by dintech (998802)

          I don't see why Nintendo can't get in on the action too. They have a whole catalogue of wii games that would port quite well to touch interfaces. They have arguably the best legacy content in the world. They could also be that low cost developer by buying up or hiring small dev teams.

          Nintendo's comments remind me of the way the incumbent airlines decried people booking low cost flights online with the budget airlines, or the record companies negativity towards iTunes, or book publishers with Amazon. Sometim

          • you've got to move with the times.

            Sure, but I hope they don't move entirely to making cheap little fluff games like you get on the iPhone. They already have plenty of handheld games which would port well to Android/iOS, and are well worth more than $2. You can already play these games with emulators of course..

            • by billcopc (196330)

              I hope they don't move entirely to making cheap little fluff games

              Dude... have you even seen the kind of shovelware they have on the Wii ? For every 'A' title like Metroid or Mario, there are 50 stinkfests by budget studios. Let's not forget that the Wii is a gimmicky overclocked Gamecube, a nearly 10 year old platform.

              Nintendo is simply playing a bit of turf warfare with this puff piece. They're pissed off that they didn't move in on the mobile market, because they never figured people would be naïve enough to buy their prepubescent kids $800 iPhones with $50 da

              • by Merk42 (1906718)
                When the GP said "They" I believe he was referring to Nintendo itself. So the shovelware doesn't apply since the "budget studios" aren't Nintendo. Shovelware may be available on Nintendo systems, but it's not made by Nintendo itself
            • by StikyPad (445176)

              I see a lot of comments like this. People have this mistaken idea that there's some correlation to the physical world when it comes to software; that price dictates quality. There isn't, and it doesn't. You can't make 1 supercar and then sell millions for a buck or two unless you like losing money, but you CAN do that with one AAA game because economies of scale will win every time. The "problem" is that if you're selling crap, you probably won't sell it in enough volume to turn a profit, especially whe

          • Yep.

            It's similar to how TV killed the novel, and youtube killed blockbuster movies. Soon the same will happen with blockbuster games.

            Oh wait. That didn't happen. Novels and movies are still made, and so too will games. People don't want just arcade games - they also want deeper games. That's why Space invaders/asteroids clones passed-away to be replaced by Zelda and RPGs and simulations in the late 80s.

          • I don't see why Nintendo can't get in on the action too.

            Can't or won't? I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Nintendo fan, but this sounds a lot like "we're used to getting $50-$60 a pop for games, and these new kinds might make us drop our prices."

            • I don't see why Nintendo can't get in on the action too.

              Can't or won't? I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Nintendo fan, but this sounds a lot like "we're used to getting $50-$60 a pop for games, and these new kinds might make us drop our prices."

              Won't. If there are people out there who can run emulators and play the actual game, why can't Nintendo simply create a playable version themselves? Plenty of computing power there, or the emulated versions wouldn't run. For that matter, Nintendo could simply create a custom emulator as an app, and sell their own version of roms for it.

            • by bberens (965711)
              A $1-2 game on my phone/tablet doesn't compete with the $50 games on wii/xbox/ps3. It competes with the $5-15 games on the wii virtual console.
        • by ifrag (984323)

          The iphone port would have been a recompile/tweak and gameplay mod.

          I think the article was posted here before, where John Carmack talked about RAGE development on iPhone [iphoneworld.ca]. Sounded like a bit of actual work involved due to platform limitations, particularly with the texture management. Perhaps quick for Carmack it doesn't look entirely trivial either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not really. Nintendo doesn't generally have a problem competing on value for money, that why the Wii can compete with the PS3 and XBox, and why the DS is the market leader. Better value for money on mobile gaming is frankly the exception, not the rule

      Angry Birds is the exception not the rule, and Nintendo knows a thing or three about the gaming industry, including that they remember the great video game crash of '84, and more importantly what caused it. That has little to do with value for money or even com

      • Re:Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @12:25PM (#35152094) Homepage

        Nintendo knows a thing or three about the gaming industry, including that they remember the great video game crash of '84, and more importantly what caused it.

        Then why do they keep slapping their seal of approval on blatant shovelware? Oh, that's right: it makes them money.

  • Can they just move upstream and make game good development environments that 'everyone' can use - with the licences for nintendo things like mario - and sell these to the developers for a few hundred bucks? maybe new customer can use the tools to create and on-sell the games for $2.

    either that or make games for the mobile platform that are better, and similarly priced, and go for volume?

    • it wouldnt work, especially not for nintendo.

      If you think apple is restrictive in what they allow into the app store, just think about what nintendo would require in terms of certification. Never mind licensing nintendo property like mario to third parties. Nintendo is very much about controlling the user experience on their consoles and keeping it family friendly, remember, the wii is succesfull because it has masses of family appeal with simple and colorfull games. And their own IP games generally also ha

      • it wouldnt work, especially not for nintendo.

        If you think apple is restrictive in what they allow into the app store, just think about what nintendo would require in terms of certification. Never mind licensing nintendo property like mario to third parties. Nintendo is very much about controlling the user experience on their consoles and keeping it family friendly, remember, the wii is succesfull because it has masses of family appeal with simple and colorfull games. And their own IP games generally also have a high level of quality. Allowing third party nobodies to make just about any game with mario in it would quickyl destroy nintendo's image

        I agree with what you say. But then I remember Conker's Bad Fur Day for N64, and now I really don't know what Nintendo's image is supposed to be.

        • Well, in the n64 days nintendo was just beginning to take its more family oriented role, as the playstation started to market to the young hip gaming crowd, they were still counting on lots of sales from the traditional gaming crowd they had on the nes/snes

          • by billcopc (196330)

            Is this the traditional gaming crowd that had to be protected from the violence in Mortal Kombat, so the blood was color-swapped to "sweat" ?

            Nintendo was well into their wussification by the time the SNES came into its own. Conker was a rare oddity, a very transparent attempt to cater to this supposedly more mature crowd, by taking a decent (though rushed) game and adding a bit of swearing and sexual references to it. The fact that the title was so heavily marketed "for adults" was even more proof that Ni

        • by Pezbian (1641885)

          I agree with what you say. But then I remember Conker's Bad Fur Day for N64, and now I really don't know what Nintendo's image is supposed to be.

          Bad Fur Day was done by Rare, not Nintendo itself. Rare also did Donkey Kong Country for the SNES, but Conker isn't a Nintendo character.

        • I believe Conker is owned by Rare, which is why the game was later ported to the Xbox.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The Wii is already the easiest console of the generation to develop games for because it has a single CPU and a single GPU and allegedly has a graphics API similar to OpenGL. It's the hardest to actually release games for because of Nintendo. Nintendo's chief problem is Nintendo and always has been.

  • More like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @03:33AM (#35148152)

    Cheap games a risk to nintendo profits.

    I'm so so so so so tired of being fed this crap by rich people that we need to prop them up in order to support industry and economies.

    • "Cheap Automobiles a Risk To the Industry," says Henry Ford. Oh, wait - I just made that shit up, didn't I? Don't mind me, I'm just getting senile. Or, am I? What WOULD old man Henry have said in this situation? That old bastard worked hard to produce the cheapest damned cars in the world, didn't he? Maybe I'm not so senile after all?
      • by mangu (126918)

        That old bastard worked hard to produce the cheapest damned cars in the world, didn't he?

        He also paid his workers enough that they could afford to buy his cars.

        • Salute! That's the other half of that equation! That's the half of the equation that universities and business colleges have forgotten in the past 40 to 50 years. I think they dropped that part right around the time we dropped the gold standard, and experienced our first oil "shortage". Mmmm-hmmmm - sounds about right.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Nope, they're working with new equations that permit more profit. Welcome to the global market!

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @03:34AM (#35148158)
    In related news, youtube is a threat to the television industry, and people who are so insolent as to make and release their own music for free are a threat to the music industry.
    • by popo (107611)

      They'll be asking for government assistance soon. You know, to protect "jobs".

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        what's apple gotta do with this?

    • by Atrox666 (957601)

      In other news:

      What the car industry is doing to the horse and buggy makers is horrible.

      What? That ship has already sailed and there is nothing anyone can or should do about it?

  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @03:38AM (#35148166) Homepage Journal
    Planning/marketing departments of corporations are filled with mba grads who have been taught to shove a product to public from the maximum price they think they can pay. and hence, depending on their self-judgment, they decide what the selling price of any product should be. since all corporations employ the same mindset, all look to each other, adopt similar price points, and then start thinking that that is a correct price point.

    products are produced/sold up to that point. more products are not produced and sold, because that would decrease the 'optimum' point. naturally, as a result, as you can understand too, the 'mass production/competition aspects of capitalism, goes out of the door.

    what we are seeing here, is the retort of a corporate man, who is used to corporations determining the price points (even unknowingly) instead of public. had there not been internet, this industry would - if we take gaming for example - just continue forcing a 'reality' which says that a 'decent' game should be worth $40-60. thanks to internet, even if the industry doesnt want to, competition enters the scene. corporate world, naturally, is unable to understand or stomach the situation and is threatened.

    however, while gamers can get competition thanks to internet, the situation is to the contrary in almost all other sectors, ranging from auto industry to healthcare. corporations are determining what gets sold from what price range, and because majority of the corps do it, after a time it becomes the 'industry norm'.
    • Op is exactly right. Just because everyone sells games at $40-$60 doesn't mean that games should be $40-$60.

      Companies make the excuse that they need to sell them at that point to continue making the huge blockbusters. While that may be true, every other company in the world has to balance quality and cost. Of course I'm going to get better quality if I buy a Lexus over a Toyota, but not everyone has the money to purchase a Lexus and Lexus shouldn't expect to sell one to everybody. It's no different with gam

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @09:08AM (#35149748) Homepage

      Another way of describing the same problem: Assuming no government interference, when there are only a few sellers in a market, prices become artificially high, and when there's only 1 seller in the market in question, prices become higher still. This is fairly well-established microeconomics, read all about oligopoly and monopoly to learn the details. An example of this is that an major factor in the cost of an airplane ticket to a particular location is how many other airlines fly to the same airport (or in some cases close enough to the same airport to be easily reachable by ground transportation).

      Similarly, if there's only a few or only 1 buyer in a market, the prices end up artificially low. This condition is oligopsony or monopsony. A common place where this happens is the US corn market, where most industrial farmers only have a couple of places they can sell their crop, so the price ends up artificially low, so many of them depend on agricultural subsidies to make ends meet.

      The basic issue in those kinds of markets is that the established players will do everything they can to prevent another entrant into the marketplace (because that will lower their profit margin), and are effectively in a tacit agreement that having a price higher or lower than it should really be is more profitable than actually competing for market share based on price.

    • by Eil (82413) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @09:51AM (#35150180) Homepage Journal

      Planning/marketing departments of corporations are filled with mba grads who have been taught to shove a product to public from the maximum price they think they can pay. and hence, depending on their self-judgment, they decide what the selling price of any product should be.

      So companies do their homework to evaluate market conditions and develop a product strategy before selling something. And that's bad, how?

      since all corporations employ the same mindset

      There's a factually incorrect statement if I ever saw one. Yes, *many* corporations tend to organize, manage, and run themselves using similar methodologies but ultimately no two companies are exactly alike. (And by the way, not all businesses are corporations.) Would you say Apple and Dell employ the same mindset? As corporations, they're structured similarly and they both make money the same way. They operate in the same markets, probably even have similar suppliers, partners, and business relationships. But you can't deny that their "mindsets" (strategies) are remarkably different.

      all look to each other, adopt similar price points, and then start thinking that that is a correct price point.

      There is no such thing as a "correct" price point. The price *paid* for a given item is whatever the buyer decides the item is worth to them. The power ultimately lies with the consumer to decide whether or not he or she will buy said item for the offered price. Sometimes negotiation is possible, sometimes not. Granted, there are things in civilized society that we must pay for and have little say in its price (gasoline to get to work, electricity and gas for heating our homes). But if you want to grumble about that $60 video game, it does no good to be doing it whilst handing your credit card to the cashier.

      products are produced/sold up to that point. more products are not produced and sold, because that would decrease the 'optimum' point. naturally, as a result, as you can understand too, the 'mass production/competition aspects of capitalism, goes out of the door.

      No, it is not anti-capitalist or anti-competitive for a company to control its own supply chain.

      what we are seeing here, is the retort of a corporate man, who is used to corporations determining the price points (even unknowingly) instead of public. had there not been internet, this industry would - if we take gaming for example - just continue forcing a 'reality' which says that a 'decent' game should be worth $40-60. thanks to internet, even if the industry doesnt want to, competition enters the scene. corporate world, naturally, is unable to understand or stomach the situation and is threatened.

      Yeah, Fils-Aime is being a douchebag here. But consumers still bought enough games to make the video game industry grow to overtake Hollywood in terms of revenue. What's interesting is that when I was a gamer (mid 90's, 16-bit era), new games were $40-$60 then too. So the current generation of gamers is paying something like 37% less than I was, and still whining about it.

  • The cheaper games are and the lower their budgets, the more risks can be taken. If the leading talents of the industry can make more interesting games because of this, I will welcome this development.
    • Re:This is good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @04:10AM (#35148268) Homepage

      I don't know if you've seen what's on the app store, but it's not games which take risks. There's a 1000 variations on Angry Birds, Doodle Jump and Bejeweled. I wouldn't call something like Fruit Ninja a risky proposition in terms of game design. Fact is, you need a fairly decent budget in order to make some really compelling content. iPhone games are fun for anywhere from a few minutes to a couple hours, but I've played a lot of iPhone games and none have come close to being a truly great gaming experience. Low budgets and really low priced games just mean that people will be making short arcade games that can be played for 30 seconds at a time and will have a limited number of characters, backgrounds and animations because that looks to be the golden ratio of where it's worth it for a developer to make a $.99 game and for it to sell enough copies to people who want a game to play on the toilet.

      • Re:This is good (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bemymonkey (1244086) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @04:24AM (#35148326)

        backgrounds and animations because that looks to be the golden ratio of where it's worth it for a developer to make a $.99 game and for it to sell enough copies to people who want a game to play on the toilet.

        Isn't that exactly where the money's at? People that work all day and have friends don't have time to play games except on the toilet... :(

      • "want a game to play on the toilet." Uhhhhh. Why don't they play with the same things we played with while we were on the toilet, back in the middle of the last century? Which, is most likely the same things our great grandparents played with in the middle of the previous century. What's that? Today's young men have nothing there to play with? Damn shame, isn't it?
      • You basically described the same situation for every newer nintendo console. Decent games are drowned in myriads of kiddie games clones, one worse than the other. Have you ever looked at the average nintendo shelf, 1000 barbie games and if you are lucky one of the better games somewhere hidden in the side of the stack (usually then it is from Nintendo
        If you want to buy good games for Nintendo consoles you usually have to do that online via mail order.
        I think the junk to decent games ratio is pretty much the

        • The most popular consoles always attract kiddie games and clones. This was also true for the PS2. The GameCube OTOH had an awesome ratio of decent games.

          I think the main effect of the App store is simply that the light puzzle games that were previously quite profitable for the GameBoy are heading down market and will be sold for much less. So while Nintendo could make quite a profit on Sudoku and Picross games, in future they'll be $2 downloads on DSware.

  • by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @03:49AM (#35148194)

    Salute Sir, I am releasing a new game next week. In your honor I will price it at .99 cents, enjoy.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @03:50AM (#35148196)

    We cannot compete with that! 2 bucks doesn't even cover the overhead for our beancounter and legal department that the games have to pull besides their own weight! Plus, state of the art graphics and animations are expensive, and since our games are hardly innovative in any way (seriously, usually we just improve graphics and increase the version counter), we cannot compete with games that rely on innovative gameplay and new, fresh ideas which are cheap but risky!

    Is there some way we can outlaw those cheapskates?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by popo (107611)

      Oh come on. I'll admit that complaining about cheap competition is lame, and their CEO deserves to be laughed out of the room.

      But if there's one thing Nintendo deserves compliments on its 'innovation'. They're one of the few innovative companies in the gaming space. The Wii was pronounced dead before it launched, and then it surprised everyone by kicking so much ass. The Nintendo 3DS is going to do the same. Yes, Nintendo suffers from the same over-bloated ills of every large company -- but lack of i

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Inda (580031)
        Innovative?

        Mario platformer
        Mario driver
        Mario fighter
        Mario RPG
        Mario sports

        What's next? Mario farm? Mario tycoon?

        They made a wand that didn't perform as expected. Their games are over priced for the younger market.

        They live on their name and nothing else.
        • by Bigbutt (65939)

          Well, Mario Farmville and Mario Wars maybe.

          [John]

    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Verunks (1000826) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @04:32AM (#35148368)
      you are kind of wrong, the problem here is that nintendo is in the same casual gamer market as cheap games, most wii and ds titles have graphics and animations from 10 years ago, so they're actually the same or worse than these 2$ games.
      So these cheap games won't hurt sales of the elder scroll skyrim or battlefield 3 but it will be a problem for nintendogs, petz and shit like that
    • Hey those Beancounters and Law divisions are needed to sue children aka pirates who copy our tetris version 15 and mario party version 45.

      • In reference to the discussion above about Nintendo just iterating the same handful of games over and over with only minor changes, I can see that having some validity with Mario Party. I prefer Dokapon Kingdom myself though -- it destroys friendships by being Mario Party with less minigames and more (and less friendly) backstabbing.

    • If only App store games were in the slightest bit fresh or risky.

      Meanwhile Nintendo has been directly publishing small games on their Wiiware and DSiware services that blow away anything we see pop up from the App store.

    • Re:Translation (Score:4, Informative)

      by ookaze (227977) <ookazeNO@SPAMmail.ookaze.fr> on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @09:33AM (#35149966) Homepage

      As always, I see most Slashdot representative comments being completely wrong when it comes to Nintendo.
      It seems like some people wait for every news on Nintendo to spew all the ire and BS that keep them enraged inside.

      I'm still wondering where people are seeing anything about "competing". Yet, a lot of posts act like he talked about competing with these mobile devices.

      Fils-Aime, who is NOT CEO of Nintendo (which should give a clue as to how misleading this news is) is talking about the content, the games, and people's perception of value on games. It has nothing to do with graphics or animations or whatever problem people have with Nintendo, it's about content and its value to the consumer. He's saying it's dangerous for the industry to make people believe that whatever the content in a game, it has a very low value (and so a very low price).
      He doesn't even say it's threatening anyone right now, he says its a possible risk.

      People on Slashdot, as with the DS or the Wii (or even the first iPod), are already talking like 3DS is dead on arrival and Nintendo is doomed (as always).
      Yet, it's for opposite reasons. $2 games would kill most HD console games types faster than any Wii or DS ones.

      I think what Reggie said is more a warning to 3rd parties. We see lots of 3rd parties porting their already (or not) profitable games to mobile platforms, for a very cheap price, and sometimes it's exactly the same content. The problem is that a consumer who paid $40-$70 for a game, that sees the same one for $5 on his mobile, will not really be happy about ever paying the high price again. And if lots of them come to the same realization, you will see mostly western 3rd parties die left and right (worse than what we see today). Because most western 3rd party games (and lots of eastern ones too) rely on selling a lot at launch, and then quickly die. If they don't sell a lot at launch, you see the games with quick slashed prices. 3rd parties can do that because the cost of the game is already taken care of by the other platforms, but there are very few people (the hardcore) that will want to pay so much more to have the privilege of playing the game day 1.

      Nintendo doesn't have this problem as their games sell with veeery long tail. Basically, 3rd parties (the big one) are shooting themselves in the foot if they go on, and less 3rd parties alive to make games for Nintendo platforms means less revenue for Nintendo.
      Apart from that, Reggie is not really complaining, not yet at least, as even the DS is right now more threatened by the 3DS than by any mobile device with games.
      They're not in direct competition like computer games (like flash games and all that existed for a long time) are not competing directly with console games (except for devs resources). Or that would mean consoles are winning...

  • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlieNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @03:51AM (#35148198) Homepage

    Big corp. executive not happy with decline of prices, blames competitors.

  • by uofitorn (804157) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @03:52AM (#35148202)
    When I read the headline I thought "Hmm good. Nintendo might be doing something about all the bad shovelware they grant a license to. Browse your local game store. For every Twilight Princess, Dead Space, and Super Mario Galaxy 2, there are dozens more cheap movie knock-offs littering the shelves like "Hannah Montana The Movie", "Pimp My Ride", and "Big Momma's House 2 -- Even Larger" Guess I was wrong.
    • by billcopc (196330)

      Bingo! Nintendo is just jealous that other developers are beating them in the race to the bottom, with much lower overhead and massive profits.

  • I mean, Angry birds isn't a deep game.

    I wouldn't price a game like say, Dragon Quest IX at AppStore or DSiWare pricing, but the big draw to me as a gamer to the DS or the PSP is the idea that I can have a game that isn't a simple flash concept executed over 40 or 50 levels.

    That being said though, if you look at all of your purchases and transactions in terms of maximizing value, either in terms of gameplay or money in either context as developer or gamer, you're really depriving yourself and the person you'

    • by Tridus (79566)

      Thats the danger in this kind of pricing. Will someone pay $40 for a big game like Dragon Quest IX when they see ten thousand $2 games (9,995 of which are shallow crap)?

      Making a big game with high production values is expensive. They're going to cost more then something really simplified.

      • by billcopc (196330)

        For me, the big distinction is time. I simply don't have the time nor inclination to play a long, complex game on a mobile, because I no longer have daily hour-long bus commutes - I mostly work from home, or lived within walking distance of the office. The few bus and cab rides I do take are typically 10 to 15 minutes, so for something like Dragon Quest, where a single battle might take that long, it just ain't gonna happen. Angry Birds takes all of 10 seconds to play one level, so it is a far more effec

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @04:00AM (#35148234) Homepage

    For being so staunchly capitalist, big corporations sure hate the free market. Huh.

  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @04:01AM (#35148240)
    When an exec starts to talk about games as being a 'piece of experience', they've lost the point of it all and gone over to the dark side.
    • I'm not sure if Nintendo ever "got" games in the same way you do. Most of their history as a video game company was under Hiroshi Yamauchi, who was pretty much proud to never have played a video game and occasionally did disparaging remarks about RPG players or such.

      Reginald Fils-Aime, who is President and COO of Nintendo of America, not only rose to that position during Yamauchi's time and in that corporate culture, but is a guy who comes from purely a marketing and sales background. The guy was marketing

  • by mentil (1748130) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @04:23AM (#35148316)

    Big-name games that cost $10 million to develop and have $25 million marketing budgets aren't going to be $1 any time soon, the market just isn't large enough to sell 50 million+ copies, at any price. Only 50 million Xbox 360s have been sold, for reference.

    The console makers set the licensing fee that publishers pay per disc, AFAIK it's a flat fee, so disc games will never be $1. Do you think Wal-Mart would bother stocking $1 games? They might set up a RedBox-style machine that spits out discs, but the shelf space used for the traditional route would no longer be feasible.

    Publishers are running scared because they know the future is in digital distribution, and precedent is being set, while they're still on the fence twiddling their thumbs, for $1 games being the norm. This is problematic as $1 is a suboptimal price for many games, especially high-quality games with a massive advertising budget. The main reason it 'works' in the mobile phone space is due to the mechanics of toplists and how they're self-influencing. Console makers could halt this simply by eliminating the ability for end users to browse and download games via toplists. They could be replaced by alternative, possibly more complex lists.

    For downloadable games with low (under $200k) budgets, it's alot iffier if a $1 standard is bad or not, as the market is definitely theoretically large enough to make it sustainable. When cellphones start coming out with analog sticks and buttons (like the PSP phone) and still have $1 games then I might start worrying.

    • Publishers are running scared because they know the future is in digital distribution, and precedent is being set, while they're still on the fence twiddling their thumbs, for $1 games being the norm. This is problematic as $1 is a suboptimal price for many games, especially high-quality games with a massive advertising budget.

      There are plenty of games available for digital download - look at the PS3 or XBox 360 online marketplaces. More will follow.
      Mind you, not everyone likes digital downloads. You can'

  • Oh, the irony! It burns! Nintendo thinks cheap games are a risk to the industry? I guess that means the Wii is one of the biggest threats to the industry ever created.
  • Nintendo and pricing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RogueyWon (735973) * on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @04:28AM (#35148354) Journal

    Nintendo seems to have developed a pricing problem all of its own of late, which has nothing to do with $2 phone games. I'm pretty sure this has contributed to Nintendo's current profits slump, at a time when the company should be using its large installed base for the Wii to really rake off the cash.

    The company just seems to have some really, really odd ideas of what a game should cost. It's most notable in the Wii's online store, where in the UK, direct, unmodified ports of 25 year old arcade games (many of which are hardly timeless classics) often tend to be priced in the £6-£8 range. Things are mildly better in the US, I believe, but the prices seem out of whack.

    I absolutely don't want to hold up the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network Store as paragons of value for money, but they certainly offer a better deal than Nintendo's online shop (and have much more consumer-friendly terms of service as well, which link games to an account rather than a console). Compared to the classic game packs you can pick up on Steam and other PC services such as GOG, Nintendo's pricing looks positively extortionate. If Reggie wants to talk about games that would be over-priced at $2, he should look at the stuff like Exed Exes and Commando in his own online store - which he's trying to sell for four times that price.

    Things aren't much better on the boxed-game front either. As we get further into this console generation, the general quality gap between Wii games and games for the other consoles and the PC is widening. There are a few honorable exceptions, but most of the Wii games released these days tend to feel short and shallow. And yet despite this, and despite their increasingly painful graphical shortcomings (with most Wii games still struggling to match the best the PS2 had to offer), the games tend to be priced at roughly the same level as games for other platforms (usually a few $ behind the PS3/360 games and a few $ above the PC games).

    If I were Nintendo, faced with the dramatic profits slump they've seen, I'd be looking to boost volumes of sales by pitching more boxed games at the more realistic $30 (or £20 in the UK) price-point and slashing the prices of titles in the online store. If you sell more games, you keep people using their Wiis. And if you keep people using their Wiis, they will buy more games for it. Sony managed to achieve that virtuous circle on the PS2, but despite their installed base lead, Nintendo haven't managed it this generation.

    • Actually a bigger reason for Nintendo's slump is that Nintendo REALLY sucks at playing the forex game, esp. when compared to their fellow country(corp?)men Sony. Nintendo has only had a few quarters where they have lost money and they have all been when the yen was insanely strong. Nintendo went through this about a decade ago and they had assured everyone that they learned their lesson and that would never happen again. Now the yen is insanely strong and Nintendo's costs are almost entirely in yen. Unl
    • If you sell more games, you keep people using their Wiis. And if you keep people using their Wiis, they will buy more games for it. Sony managed to achieve that virtuous circle on the PS2, but despite their installed base lead, Nintendo haven't managed it this generation.

      Bought a Wii about 6 months before I got my 360 Arcade. Loved the bowling game and some of the used Gamecube games like NCAA Football 2005 and such. The problem was I bought an HDTV and discovered that no matter what I wanted...the Wii would never be HD. On the other hand...my 360 was right out of the box with an HDMI cable I got online.

      Up to the current time...traded my Wii for some major car work to a buddy who love his broken Gamecube. Don't miss it...except for the updated Goldeneye. The 360...I stil

  • by smash (1351) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @04:29AM (#35148360) Homepage Journal

    ... then you're going to need to provide something actually special for the cost of a console game aren't you? I have no problems paying a decent sum of money for something that will keep me entertained for say $2-5/hr.

    However if your sole justification for charging 50-100 bucks per game is "oooh look at teh shiny!" and nothing else then kindly fucking die already.

    cheers
    gamers everywhere

  • All Games are only really worth $10 or so.. When I first started playing games on my Amiga they only cost £15-20 yet now PC games are hitting £40
  • The 2 Dollar games is killing our business model of cashing in 50 dollars per copy for the same junk!

  • He actually does have a point. If you take your average small indie developer, which could very likely be one guy sitting in his parent's basement cranking away on a small game... this guy will never have the development costs of a company making commercial releases. No lawyers, no marketing department, no no art people, no advertising, no support people... basically it's one or a few guys doing these small indie games. They are happy they can get their app/game into an app store where people will discover

    • by giorgist (1208992)
      Big deal so does a pencil ...
      They have to come up with good ideas that I am willing to spend money on.
       
    • No, he doesn't. Those indie developers are, like it or not, part of the industry. If they're willling to eat rice for a year just because they'd rather code in their parents' basement than at a Nintendo cubicle, that's just fine. Their being inconvenient to Nintendo's sense of status quo is not a valid point. It's rather a symptom that the status quo might be changing. He's trying to say "we are the industry, their not", which is obviously crap.

      Walmart sales bread. Does that mean that the little, bakery in

    • To make the situation fair, the small basement indie developer would not even be able to release his game on a Nintendo console, Nintendo gives only away devkits for their market if they are registered developers with an office and at least one game on their track record.

  • What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @07:07AM (#35148918)
    This is just so off the wall I don't even.

    Angry Birds is a simple concept with some great levels and compelling replay value. Would I pay $40 for it? No. However, conversely, I probably wouldn't pay even $2 for some of the "mini-game compilation" titles that have been released for the Wii (having been burned by one such abortion, priced at GB£15), nor would I pay $2 for any of the hastily hacked together "Dogz" clones for the DS. I love those platforms, but some of the crapware that's been released for them should give this man pause for thought before throwing around insults about "cheap" games.

    There's a market for AAA US$40-50 titles and a market for US$1-10 casual/indie titles. These are two separate things, and complement each other. What he's probably worried about is that these $1-10 casual/indie titles will compete with similarly priced re-releases of 1st/2nd generation console titles on WiiWare/DS like Super Marios Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin etc.. Now, do I really want to play Sonic on my Wii or do I want to try out VVVVVV [steampowered.com] or Chime [steampowered.com] or Clickr [steampowered.com] on PC?

    Now, if you price your SDK and impose restrictions in such a way as to exclude or discourage casual, indie or hobbyist developers then don't be surprised when they turn to other platforms with lower barriers to entry...
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      This is just so off the wall I don't even.

      Well, maybe you should.

      Nintendo is threatened by $2 games that should and do cost $2 because they want to sell you games which should be $2 for $10. Hope this helps.

  • He's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DavidDM (1981824) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @07:19AM (#35148960)
    Slashdot honestly doesn't seem to get content creation or business sometimes. By constantly lowering prices and conditioning customers to accept them, you actually stifle innovation and drive out businesses. In the bricks and mortar world this is what Wal-mart does, and they've managed to destroy and dominate markets while offering less overall quality and selection. For media, there is less barrier to entry, but the sheer number of crapware games competing at artificially low pricepoints are eventually going to start killing a lot of midrange developers as they simply can't make enough money in a reasonable timeframe. What the low price does is benefit AGGREGATORS not developers, who take a long tail approach and try and get tremendous amounts of content to make pennies on over time. And, of course there are no end of eager lemmings to help push themselves off the cliff. The low price points may make Apple and Steam rich, but not devs.
    • Re:He's right. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @10:17AM (#35150452) Homepage Journal

      And you honestly don't seem to get economics. What you've described is the natural order of any industry: young upstarts come in and disrupt the older establishments by outcompeting on price or quality. The biggest difference here is that the barrier to entry is so low. I bet a lot of smart auto mechanics have had great ideas for a faster or cheaper or safer or more economical car, but don't have access to the capital to built it. The investment required to build a new game is almost zero by comparison, usually at most the cost of buying an SDK for the desired target platform. If you can make it a web-based game, you can write it in Notepad / Text Editor / Emacs / Vim, upload it to a free PHP host, throw on some Google Ads, and start making a trickle of pennies for no monetary investment at all.

      If my kid writes an iPhone game after school, what economic or moral obligation to they have to release it for a price you'd consider fair and non-destructive? You claim that these games are sold at artificially low prices, then complain that they should be sold for artificially high prices. How about we let the market decide what the proper price for a video game is?

    • At the same time, if someone is out there lowering expectations by charging less it's up to you to raise expectations back up by providing things the cheap guy doesn't. That is how stores survive in the Walmart era; offer unique products that customers are looking for, better service, better atmosphere, better response times, etc. I worked at a grocery store through the time when a Super-Walmart moved into the area. Management's response was that we couldn't win on price but if we wanted to stay alive we

  • by Loosifur (954968) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @07:46AM (#35149110)

    Nintendo is the Apple of the gaming world, and they just ensured that a console version of Angry Birds will show up on the Xbox and PS3 downloadable market things. They like their own brand, they don't like opening it up to external developers, and they don't like following someone else's lead. Thank God, because if Nintendo made Angry Birds, it would be $40, have birds with Mii faces, and involve Mario or anime children or something. And be called "Flappy Bird Slingshot Adventures Party", or some s. And be a rail shooter.

    Sorry, I'm a little bitter after buying a Wii and finding that, in exchange for no hard drive and crappy graphics, I got a controller that doesn't quite track motion accurately, a library of games suitable for a ten year old girl ("Say fellas, let's buy a case of beer and play Cooking Mama tonight!"), and a DVD drive that doesn't play DVDs, but does sound like a tiny gnome is attempting to cut his way free with a miniature Sawzall. I exaggerate, but not too much.

    What's especially bizarre about Fils-Aime's statement is that the Wii Market channel carries an s-ton of casual games in the $5-$15 range. Thanks to their scam "Nintendo points" purchasing system (similar to Microsoft's Live point system), you can't get a game for anywhere between free and $5, but most people buying games via the Wii would have no problem dropping $5 on an Angry Birds-type title.

    Frankly, there are some pretty terrible games for download that cost more than $5 for the Wii; for that matter, there are some pretty horrible games on disc for the Wii that are well in excess of that price. I doubt highly that the availability of cheap games on mobile phones will make an appreciable dent in Nintendo's market share, although Fils-Aime is more than welcome to suggest that consumers ought to be paying $25 a pop for games on a mobile phone. Preferably during an outdoor press conference after handing overripe tomatoes to the spectators.

  • surely they don't mean Cheap Ass Games [cheapass.com]
  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdotNO@SPAMdavidgerard.co.uk> on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @08:41AM (#35149502) Homepage

    In further news, home fucking is killing prostitution.

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