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PlayStation (Games) Sony Games

PS4: What Sony Should and Shouldn't Do 406

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-sell-them-at-a-massive-loss dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "As a follow-up to his piece on Xbox 720, veteran games journalist Chris Morris has put together some thoughtful advice on what Sony needs to do (and needs to avoid) to ensure that the next generation PlayStation is a success. In particular, Morris notes that Sony must 'look beyond games' to create a fully fledged entertainment hub: 'Nintendo has been pretty adamant that it has little interest in content beyond games. Microsoft seems to be rushing to embrace the set top box world. Sony, though, seems a bit confused about what it wants.'"
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PS4: What Sony Should and Shouldn't Do

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  • Future of Nintendo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bonch (38532) * on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:49PM (#38732740)

    Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle? The Wii U didn't grab the same attention that the original Wii did, and Nintendo is being attacked on two fronts--the hardcore market with the PS3 and Xbox 360, and casual gaming with the iPhone. Nintendo always had handheld sales to fall back on, but sales of the 3DS have been underwhelming, forcing an early price drop. It seems like Nintendo backed itself into a corner with the Wii, tying the company too intimately with the casual gaming market, whose gamers are fickle and prone to jump onto the next big thing, which turned out to be the iPhone.

    Yes, yes, I realize people have been declaring Nintendo to be doomed since the Nintendo 64, but just because they survived previous eras doesn't mean they will survive the next one. Nintendo's stock price jumped [bloomberg.com] after a rumor that Pokemon was coming to the iPhone, which turned out to be untrue. It just seems more than ever that it makes little sense for Nintendo not to become a software developer, since that is what they are most famous for in spite of their trend-setting controllers. Yet despite the novelty of the Wii remote, I still prefer the Dual Shock.

    I love Nintendo's classics, but their refusal to embrace online play on the same level of their competitors as well as their reliance on nostalgia titles is frustrating. Sadly, I haven't turned on my Wii in so long that I can't even remember the last time. I think the last game I played on it was was Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, an old PC-Engine game, and only because it's Wii-exclusive.

  • by Liam Pomfret (1737150) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:08PM (#38732974)
    Sales of the 3DS underwhelming? At the initial price point, before its flagship titles had been launched, sure. At the current price point, with those flagship Mario titles now released, the 3DS is absolutely *flogging* the opposition. By the beginning of December, the 3DS had already passed the 1st year sales of the original DS. What's more, the 3DS has sold more in its first 9 months than the *Wii* did in its first 9 months. The idea that the 3DS is doomed is preposterous. The way you're painting things with the "war on two fronts", and Nintendo being able to "fall back on" handheld sales, you make it seem as if Nintendo lost the home console war to the PS3 and XBox360. Just in case you missed it with the howling of "hardcore gamers" and fanboys, the Wii thoroughly flogged them. Seriously, Nintendo is in no danger at this point. I'm not saying Nintendo's done everything perfect, there's plenty of things they could have done a lot better. But their financials aren't really an issue. Nintendo made a loss, and people are making a big issue out of it, but it's really a red herring. Hell, a huge reason (if not the main reason) for that loss was the strong yen, not the sales performance of the 3DS.
  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:23PM (#38733162)

    "Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle?"

    Problem with nintendo is game quality. They used to be 'must have' but beginning with the cube they put out real stinkers like Starfox adventures and assault. Totally ruined one of their KEY franchises by listening to stupid miyamoto over the starfox developer (you can google it). Metroid prime 3 was nothing to write home about and Twilight princess and Skyward sword can't keep up with other action games like God of war, devil may cry.

    Nintendo's game development culture is stagnating under the reigns of developers who don't really get gaming and are doing 'the same old thing'. I knew nintendo lost it once I saw what they did to starfox and definitely when twilight princess was released with huge quality problems all over the map.

    Nintendo isn't learning from other games that have 'done it better' and they desperately need to do it. They used to be a 'gamers' game company now they are just stuck in doing the same things they've always done.

    Nintendo sadly is not intelligent enough as a company, they keep making dumb ass mistakes. The 64 with the cartridges, the lack of games and stupid 1.5GB mini-discs instead of DVD's (making porting more costly/hard for 3rd party game companies), then the lack of hardware power with the Wii which ensured no easy way to run multi-platform games. (pure idiocy).

    As far as I'm concerned Nintendo is run by idiots at this point, and the Wii was a one hit home-run which will not be repeated again if they don't fucking hardware power + software support up. The Wii suffered again from lack of software that core gamers want, that's not a good thing to have as a game company.

    At this point Nintendo should seriously think about multi-platforming it's games instead of trying to lock them down and make money on hardware. Gaming audiences now game on multi-platforms and the end is nigh for locked in hardware if you want to squeeze as much money as possible out of your software. Just look at all the big software companies - always releasing games on as many platforms as possible. Nintendo can't just keep it's software on it's own machines and hope to compete it needs software developer on the inside that makes games for other platforms because it's leaving money on the table for competitors.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:31PM (#38733236)

    Price is true, and the scaled down OS is true for the first couple years after the consoles release (after which the increasing power of modern PCs overwhelms the benefits of a leaner OS).

    But development costs? The advantage is clearly with the PC. Sure, it might be cheaper to target one platform, but you have to pay Microsoft or Sony for the privilege of being on their console. There's a reason why many AAA PC games are still $50, while AAA console games are uniformly $60. And for indie games. the market on Steam is absolutely booming, so I don't know where you got this notion that AAA titles are the only ones that can make it on PC.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:43PM (#38733826) Homepage

    Somehow I don't see either Apple, Sony nor Microsoft really threatening the core audience of Nintendo, it's still the console I'd buy for a kid where Super Mario Galaxy is an age-appropriate game. Backed themselves into a corner? I'd say the Wii was a huge unnatural success in markets Nintendo would never usually reach, hell it still has a lead of 30 million units sold on both the PS3 and XBox360 (95 vs 60 vs 65). If I'm trying to think age brackets I'd guess 30 vs 60 vs 60 would be more what I'm thinking. I don't think they'll make another monster hit like that, the controller was something extremely unique and innovative in 2006 to get people off their chairs and into action but with Kinect and motion analyzing cameras that market is pretty saturated and you can't expect them to pull off something like that in each generation.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:43PM (#38733830)
    Here are a few things that I'd like fixed:

    Get rid of load times. If I'm playing a game where I'm supposed to be immersed in it, a loading screen just kills the idea that you are part of the game. This isn't 1994 anymore.

    Get rid of region locking on everything. Including digital downloads. There's no reason why I shouldn't be able to enjoy a game even if it isn't translated into my language or "localized". Similarly, there should be some way to gift digital downloads seamlessly between regions.

    Stop removing features. Updates are supposed to /add/ features, not remove them.

    Seamless emulation between consoles. Not having proper PS2 emulation I'm sure is a contributing factor to why the PS3 finished in third. When the PS2 basically defined the previous generation, it isn't a great idea to decide to make your next generation console compatible with it.

    Better build quality. No red ring of death, yellow light of death, or an overheating GPU like the Wii.
  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:43PM (#38733832)

    Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle?

    Nope.

    Out of all three console manufacturers, Nintendo is in the least peril. First from the Billions the Wii made, next from the strategy Nintendo is following.

    Nintendo understands that consoles are casual. They always were and will continue to be for casual gamers. The most casual console of the last three generations ended up being the victors.

    I love Nintendo's classics, but their refusal to embrace online play on the same level of their competitors as well as their reliance on nostalgia titles is frustrating.

    This is the opposite of most peoples experience with Nintendo. Most console owners dont want to play online competitively, they play for 4 maybe 5 hours per week so they simply want a machine that starts quickly and is easy to use as well as having games which are simple and fun to play.

    Of all the console manufacturers, the one I'd be worried about is Sony. Sony cant afford another loss leader like the PS3, in five years the PS3 hasn't become profitable, let alone made it into the black. It took 3 years for them to stop selling the each unit at a loss. However this is not the problem. Nintendo has shown that consoles are casual, yet I doubt Sony has learned this, they still seem intent on chasing a more dedicated gamer which simply doesn't exist in sufficient numbers on the console. A PS4 with the financials of the PS3 will probably sink the entire PlayStation division given the utter failures of the Playstation Phone, Playstation Portable and PS Vita.

    Microsoft will probably release an overpowered casual console, remaining decidedly indecisive but openly willing to chase the casual dollars. If MS is good at anything it's following the leader.

    As for the Wii U, yep, it may be evolutionary rather then revolutionary but at least Nintendo is trying new things. It probably wont be the smashing success that the Wii was but unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo can afford for the Wii U to be lacklustre although I highly doubt it will be. It probably wont sell like the Wii did, but it will still do well.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:56PM (#38733924)
    Because as great as an android phones and tablets are, they are crappy for 99% of the games out there. Phones and tablets are pretty much only replacements for hand held consoles for the people that wouldn't have bought a hand held console anyway. Maybe when Android has gamepad support built in (I believe that is ics) AND tablet, phone and software developers start supporting it heavily, then maybe it would be a replacement. Today it is not.

    There are plenty of good games on the Wii. At least as many as on other platforms. For Christmas, we got an Xbox 360 + Kinect. We hooked it up, appreciated how much fun it was for about a 1/2 hour, and then spent the next 3 hours playing Fortune Street on the Wii.

    It is hard to say what will happen with the next generation of systems. A faster Wii with HDMI and 1080p would make up for any deficiencies that the Wii is currently showing, and depending on how fast, it could easily surpass the 360 and PS3. When Sony and MS come out with their next consoles, the public may be in the same position that they were in with the current systems. An inexpensive system with lots of fun games, or an expensive system that may look a little prettier, but doesn't have anything special to offer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:09PM (#38734004)

    3DS isn't being sold for a loss, despite Nintendo's claims. BoM is $10 higher than original DSPhat. Not coincidentally 3DS is being sold for exactly $10 more than the original DSPhat. Nintendo was hoping to achieve Apple margins on their hardware, but they're just not good enough to do that. The 3DS is rather ugly, requires a "circlepad" peripheral that makes it look even worse, has terrible battery life, a difficult to use parallax screen, and lacks much of the functionality or power of modern devices.

    Nintendo however is still #1 at creating wondrously enjoyable games. Credit Miyamoto for creating a lasting culture and environment that doesn't require his presence on every team exactly the same way Steve Jobs did. I was getting sick of hearing about how stupid Flash games on buttonless mobile phones was going to "destroy handheld gaming consoles", despite ballooning sales year after year. I'm glad Nintendo has shut people up.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:58PM (#38734290)

    Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle?

    No, because Nintendo has received cynicism every new console generation since the N64, and last I checked the Wii mopped the floor with the Xbox and PS3 for about 4 straight years, and followed it up by annihilating the PSP in sales with their DS.

    And if I recall correctly, this was the Wii which was panned prior to its release for its bad graphics, stupid name, and awkward controllers, which turned out to be some of the reasons that everyone loved the thing.

    So no, any speculation about how Nintendo is dying will be unconvincing until the numbers are actually out.

  • by sunspot42 (455706) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @01:04AM (#38734610)

    I've had similar thoughts about the Wii U. Brings them to relative hardware parity with the current Sony and MS boxen. Will beat their rivals next-gen systems to market by at least a couple of years. May not move a zillion units, but should be profitable and keep Nintendo in the game.

    Sony and Microsoft have bigger problems to contend with, too. For starters, developing a next-gen console that can blow the Wii U away will likely cost $5-$10 billion a piece. That's a ton of cash to sink into a very crowded space where success is certainly not assured.

    Beyond the hardware there's an even bigger chicken and egg problem Sony and MS would face with a new platform. Developing games that fully exploit such a monster will tax the resources of all but the very largest developers. Will developers be willing to invest ungodly sums developing new games for bleeding edge platforms that - at least initially - will sport miniscule userbases? We're talking sinking maybe $100 million into building a single title that you can only sell to - at most - a couple million users (at least for a year or two). I just don't see how you can get the economics to work for a new console anytime in the near future. And without a library of games, why spend $300 or whatever on a new console? Hardcore gamers alone just can't support a platform by themselves - not with development costs reaching into the stratosphere - so you have to bring a bunch of casual gamers onboard fairly quickly. I just don't see that happening.

    Especially not with Apple muscling its way into the gaming business with the iPhone, iPad and - soon, it would appear - their own TV. Yeah, I'm sure their devices won't have anywhere near the hardware specs of the PS4 or whatever, but it's hard to compete with a platform that's dead simple to use and where the games sell for $5 or less and you can play them anywhere you want. And if Apple has any luck as a "console" in the living room, you can bet Google will be right behind them with Android. How do you compete with free?

    I wouldn't be surprised to see hardcore gaming migrate back to the PC. And if you do start to see that happening, it's game over for the consoles.

  • by tudsworth (1919278) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:20AM (#38738220)
    The Circle Pad Pro, as Nintendo have taken to calling it, is by no means required. Certain games (Ace Combat, Resident Evil Revelations, Metal Gear, Monster Hunter and many others I'm too lazy to name) use it as a second analogue stick (optional camera controls, basically), but none of them -require- it. In fact, I play Monster Hunter on my Japanese 3DS without the Circle Pad Pro; and it works just fine.
    On top of this, none of the games announced to have support for the peripheral actually -require- it, yet. That might change over the next year or so, but until then, the Circle Pad Pro is far from a required add-on.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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