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The Nintendo Keynote In Depth 105

An event anticipated all week by many of the conference attendees, the Keynote delivered by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata was informative and inspiring. He spoke early on Thursday morning to a packed room that broke out into pleased applause several times during the speech's delivery. His talk spoke of the future, Nintendo's vision, and a commitment to reaching out beyond the current crop of game players to folks beyond the hardcore. Read on for a bevy of coverage and my own commentary on the "The Heart of the Gamer". (And some Zelda footage, if you care about that.)
Before I discuss my impressions of the talk, there is quite a bit of coverage to spread around. Chris Morris at CNN Money has details from the talk, as does Che Chou on 1up.com, Matt Casamassina on Cube.IGN, Alice on the Wonderland Blog, Ben Zackheim on Joystiq, and Tor Thorsen at Gamespot. Gamespot in particular has something you might be interested in checking out, the second Official Trailer for The Legend of Zelda.

* President Iwata began the talk by announcing that he has some conflict within himself in his role as president. He's only a President on his Business Card, he said. In his mind, he's a Game Designer. And in his heart, he's just a gamer. He began programming games on his pocket calculator, with no games, and became attached to Nintendo by being a part of the small Hal design company. Hal, he stated, came from the computer in 2001 a space Odyssey because the name sounded cool. The company created the Kirby and Earthdawn titles, and as time went on he found himself working full time for Nintendo.

* He's been making games, then, for almost two decades, and he discussed some of the things that have changed and some of the things that have stayed the same in the business since then. Overall, he saw most of the changes be to size. Bigger budgets, bigger complexity, bigger attention from worldwide media. On the other hand, there are fewer risks, fewer visions, and fewer ways of thinking about players and games.

To respond to this, Nintendo has committed itself to not abandoning the core gamers. Metroid Prime will be out later this year, and the demo shipped with the DS system. Geist is going to be a new and interesting version of a shooter, Zelda appeals to hard-core gamers and regular gamers alike, and Resident Evil 4 is a GC exclusive.

On the other hand, Nintendo is really trying to push out of the current player base and into the market beyond. The DS is their flagship for this effort, and they've currently sold 4 Million units (with the European launch of the system today). Mario Kart DS is an upcoming title for the system, will bridge the gap for both new and old gamers, and is going to utilize wireless play to let up to 8 people play together. Beyond that, though, they really want to give players more than just what they already know they want.

* To that end, DS Wifi will be rolling out by the end of the year. The goal of the system is to allow gamers to play together over large distances, simply and seamlessly. Most importantly, the service is going to be completely free of charge. This service will hook people who have never used wifi services before into a new arena of technology, and their new style of games will reach out to people who don't really want to play "games". Nintendogs has already received a lot of press, and is one of these tools to reach out to the non-gamer. If you'd like a look at a portion of the Nintendogs presentation, you can view that here. They didn't reveal anything terribly new, but did show off the microphone capability of the game. The person demoing Nintendogs would whistle, and the dog would come running. By issuing voice commands that he'd pre-selected the virtual critter would perform for him. Even more interesting was the non-game they showed off entitled ElectroPlankton. The music/sound experiment utilizes the microphone as well, and you can see three portions of the game here, here, and here.

* The Revolution was only mentioned, but they did give out some new and interesting information. It will be completely backwards compatible with the Gamecube, ensuring that the most popular of the current stable of games will be available into the future. As with the DS, it will also be wifi enabled for mysterious purposes that they didn't really go into. Their chips and technology are completely on track, and more will be revealed at E3.


* Overall President Iwata was a very arresting speaker. He had excellent delivery, his message was one of change and a new look at gameplay, and he was promising more of what we already know to be good gaming experiences. As they were two of the largest events at the conference, comparing the Nintendo and Microsoft speeches is a must. In general, the "yay Nintendo" aspect was just as much of a commercial endeavor as existed in the Microsoft keynote. Iwata was taking the opportunity to promote his company's vision of the future, and that naturally trends towards the products and services fo the company he represents.

At the same time, though, I felt a lot more hopeful listening to President Iwata than I did listening to Allard. The "HD Future" isn't much to get excited about. A Gamer's card and higher resolution isn't something that really leaps beyond the norm of what we have today. Incremental changes are needed, of course, but keynotes are meant to fire the blood. Iwata did that more effectively through the invoking of something that everyone in the room had in common: "The Heart of a Gamer". Nintendogs and Electroplankton may not be the way to make this industry sell its first 20 million unit title, but like the analogy that Iwata used in speech, they're definitely not of this gaming world. And exploration is something that I think is on far too few peoples minds in the gaming industry today.

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The Nintendo Keynote In Depth

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  • It sounds like something I might want to listen to.
  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <agnosticpope&gmail,com> on Saturday March 12, 2005 @12:51AM (#11917610) Journal
    Ever since Sega bowed out of the handheld market, Nintendo hasn't had any real competition. For many many many years, the Gameboy was the only game in town (from Nintendo to N64). Sony's competition will make things interesting.

    If Nintendo's wifi access works, I think it will, in short, make maintain Nintendo's dominance. One of the reasons for X-box popularity is the live system, and no one's really tried anything similar for handheld. Additionally, Nintendo has some really fun multiplayer games (Mario Party, Mariokart, Metroid Prime 2, and Smash Bros) that go beyond the stereotypical FPS. If these are ported to the new handheld system AND the wifi works, I think it's going to be hard to find a company to beat Nintendo's appetizing combination of great games and easy multiplayer.
    • by Dehumanizer ( 31435 ) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @07:24AM (#11918771) Homepage

      One of the reasons for X-box popularity is the live system, and no one's really tried anything similar for handheld.

      *cough* N-Gage Arena *cough*

    • If Nintendo's wifi access works, I think it will, in short, make maintain Nintendo's dominance.

      But PSPs also have WiFi... it's not unreasonable that Sony might put WiFi into the PS3 to interoperate with PSP.

      As for the rest of your comment... games that go beyond the stereotypical FPS? When console games were invented the FPS didn't exist because the CPU power wasn't there. What the heck are you trying to say? There's non-formula games on all platforms, whereas the Nintendo games you mention are all

      • I was unaware PSP had WiFi: it's all in implementation anyway (as the iPod has shown with its dominance) and the free, easy-to-use implementation that they promise seems good.

        FPS didn't exist on anything for a while. Doom actually came out on SNES and Atari Jaguar (I've played both versions, and they don't really differ much from the PC). What I mean is that on consoles for a very long time, the game of choice was an FPS of some sort: GoldenEye, Socom, Halo, etc. If it wasn't that, it was some sports ga
        • Smash Bros is only the 2nd in the series, and no other game has attempted to copy its style of accessible fast-paced multiplayer action in a fighting game.

          Yeah, except Powerstone and Powerstone 2 on the DC.

          If I visit anyone today and they're playing a multiplayer game, it will almost always be one of these. With Nintendo, I simply see other games.

          You must not be visiting PC gamers - I play FPSes on my PC. Granted, I do mostly play Gamecube now, but only because I don't have a PS2 right now. Ni

          • I actually only play FPS on PC since I can't stand controls on console; I was merely stating "what is done". Dreamcast is kinda dead last I checked. I liked the MP2 multiplayer precisely because it felt like what a console FPS (if it can be called that) should be: you don't have to aim and dodge at the same time (thus making up for the horrible aiming ability of the analogue stick).

            I think intelligent camera handling is and will always be the biggest problem with any 3D platformer. The only games I thou
          • On the other hand, they seem to have an unhealthy addiction to 3d platformers.


            That's fine because I have an unhealthy addiction to 3d platformers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Take it down =P

    High
    http://media.nintendo.com/mediaFiles/52937 b07-384a -4364-b8fc-e6f11617d1ab.mov
    Low
    http://media.nin tendo.com/mediaFiles/3f58898d-5b5d -4b6b-bde2-821d399d90f4.mov
    • I've got to admit, that Zelda trailer makes me drool. It's been a few years since I've had to get a napkin after watching a preview of a game, and I almost regret selling my Gamecube last year. Almost, though, I'm not discounting Nintendo's penchant for dropping the ball. Nintendo could really do some very amazing things if they keep stuff like that up and cut back on the remaking and rehashing.
      • by Hellad ( 691810 ) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @01:25AM (#11917765)
        I have to take issue with your claim of Nindendo "remaking and rehashing". While it is true that certain franchises appear throughout every system, Nintendo makes it a point ti offer a unique new spin on gameplay. Back to the original NES days, Mario went through numerous sequels but each stood out on its own as something truly unique. Mario Sunshine included the water cannon for example. The same holds true for Zelda. WInd Waker was a drastic shift in many ways from the previous N64 games, while keeping the integrity of the franchise. Beyond the "old" franchises, Nintendo is creating new franchises all the times such as Mario Party, Super Smash Brothers, Animal Crossing, etc. There is, I admit, a certain amount of rehashing in the porting of old games to the handheld systems, but I think this is legitimate. These systems require a different sort of game because of the play and go aspect of a handheld. A complex and in depth Zelda works less on a handheld than it does on a console... I would love to see more original games as well in this regard, I am chomping at the bit for a new 2d Mario Brothers game.
        • You can take issue all you want. You've gotten a number or new 2D mario games, if that's how you think of Nintendo. Sure, they're just the same ones that were on the NES and SNES, but you've now gotten twelve new ones out of the original four. TWELVE remakes of four games. Even allowing the fact that one of the original four wasn't really a Mario game, that's pretty excessive. In the same time, how many new Mario games have we gotten? Mario Sunshine, Mario Golf, and Mario Party. We just got the second remak
          • As I acknowledged, there are re-hashes on the handhelds. If you want to consider that demonstrative of all that Nintendo does, then so be it. I am more interested in what Nintendo does with its consoles.

            I guess I am not sure which Metroid remakes you are referring to. Metroid Prime was not a remake nor was Metroid Prime 2. MP2 is a sequel. It didn't innovate its gameplay as much as it could have, but it was still its own new and unique game.

            It seems to me that you consider anygame that features Ma
          • by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Sunday March 13, 2005 @01:01AM (#11924474) Homepage
            In the same time, how many new Mario games have we gotten? Mario Sunshine, Mario Golf, and Mario Party.

            Since you refuse to count the platformers as unique games by virtue of the fact that they're all oriented around the rescuing of princesses...
            • Mario Is Missing
            • Super Mario Kart (et al)
            • Mario Tennis
            • Mario & Wario (Japan and EU only)
            • Mario's Picross
            • Super Smash Bros.
            • Super Mario RPG/Paper Mario/Superstar Saga
            • Yoshi's Safari
            • Mario Paint
            Didn't take me long to make that list.

            We just got the second remake of Zelda 1 - third if you count the Satellaview remake that was only partially finished.

            Excuse? There's never been a remake of Zelda - a ported re-release to the GBA, yes, but not a remake. And there aren't a whole lot of people with portable (or even functional) NES decks out there, so the $20 price tag was well worth it to me.

            Two remakes of Link to the Past, one of which had a rehash of Four Swords included, and supposedly the second to Link's Awakening is on the way.

            Now I know you're just blowing smoke. LTTP has only had one "remake" in the form of the GBA release. It was much more of a port than a release, since the differences between the SNES and GBA version are the voices, the extra final dungeon, the riddle game, and a couple of other very minor gameplay changes. The graphics and audio are otherwise identical.

            Further, since the GBA game was the first game to feature the Four Swords game, it cannot possibly be a "rehash" of Four Swords, since there was no Four Swords to precede it. Four Swords Adventures came out over a year after the GBA "remake" of LTTP, and it was so expanded beyond the original game that was really more of a sequel than a simple port.

            Metroid is only on its first round of remakes right now, but they're busy bees with that.

            Metroid: Zero Mission is the only "remake" the series has ever had, and it's got so much new stuff in it that it's almost a completely new game. Completing the "Metroid" portion of the game takes less than 25% of the game's overall playability.

            I'll give you the complaints about Pokemon, but I have played some of the series, and truthfully, Fire Red/Leaf Green are the only "remakes" in the entire series. It sounds more like you're grousing about the way games are played in general. Hell, using your logic, there hasn't been a new RPG since Wizardy came out back in 1981. And you probably can't stand pinball games either.

            Either that or you're just a bitter Sega fanatic. :-P
            • Four Swords Adventures came out over a year after the GBA "remake" of LTTP, and it was so expanded beyond the original game that was really more of a sequel than a simple port.

              FSA was a sequel. It had entirely different levels, story, etc. than FS, not to mention that it was played in an entirely different way (GC-GBA connectivity vs. linked GBAs). Good game, BTW, if you have the cost of entry already taken care of.

        • Mario Sunshine included the water cannon for example.

          And Madden 2005 included the "Hit Stick". Just sayin'.
          • The difference is that the Water Cannon was a gigantic shift in actual gameplay. The entire game design changed significantly from a typical Mario game to the point where many felt alienated from the game. Was this also the case with the Hot Stick? For some, maybe. But for most, Madden is Madden is Madden. There are changes of course, but most people upgrade simply to keep up with all of the changes in the NFL itself, not because of any real innovation that EA has done.
    • Amazing, a video link in Slashdot that managed to max my ADSL download (at 100kb/s).

      PS: Thanks for the link!
  • At the same time, though, I felt a lot more hopeful listening to President Iwata than I did listening to Allard.

    This is the way it always is at industry trade shows. Nintendo always has the fun press conference, MS always has that "nerdy kid trying desperately hard to be cool" feel, and Sony is always just a complete snooze-fest of dry facts and figures.

    I've been to about ten of these industry events over the years and the pattern is always the same, but in the end it means nothing in the marketplace. The press always seems excited about Nintendo after a big speech or press event, because they have some extremely engaging speakers - Iwata's one, Miyamoto's another. Neither MS nor Sony have anybody like this. Nintendo also generally ignores the business side of things in press events and either just talks about video games or has someone up there demonstrating them (usually Miyamoto, who will be cracking self-deprecating jokes about how bad he is at playing games all the while).

    I've gotten caught up in it myself; I came out of my last E3 (a couple years ago, I guess) thinking Nintendo would just be unstoppable. The energy in the room at the Nintendo press conference was just so palpable; there were several standing ovations, there was constant applause and laughter, there was a feeling like big things were happening, like Nintendo really "got it". By contrast, MS was just a bunch of flashing lights and sirens wailing away at you to PLEASE BE EXCITED about their games, and Sony was basically just a big 2 hour PowerPoint presentation. Nintendo always comes off as the only company that actually cares about creating good games.

    If only Nintendo could really turn that energy into something the marketplace wants to buy. They know PR, but they've lost touch with what consumers actually want. I'm hearing a lot of the same predictable stuff about this keynote speech - namely, that those who were there are really excited about Nintendo again - but objectively speaking, and as someone who was not there this time, I don't see anything that Iwata said that's all that revolutionary or even unexpected. It seems like people are getting caught up in the Nintendo mystique again (it's easy to do when you're there), but the reality of what was actually said doesn't really jibe with the hype that it's getting.

    Maybe the solution is for Nintendo to just do constant roving press conferences around the world, and invite the public in to see them :)

    You really do get a different feeling listening to these guys in person than you do reading about them afterwards. There is a major disconnect between public perception of this company and how they see themselves (and how they talk and act in person). I think more people would buy into their philosophy if they could see and hear it explained first-hand. But then again, I'm never really sure if there actually is anything to that philosophy, or if it's just the cult of personality that makes you think there is when you see it live.
    • by SetupWeasel ( 54062 ) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @01:27AM (#11917774) Homepage
      I've been to about ten of these industry events over the years and the pattern is always the same, but in the end it means nothing in the marketplace.

      I disagree slightly. Last year's E3 did a lot to fuel the DS's current success. I had been waiting for Nintendo to bring their cards to the table for a few years. They kept promising something truely new, and it never really panned out until E3 2004.

      Since then, it seems like Nintendo's attitude has changed. I don't remember speeches like this keynote or Reggie's E3 presentation happening before.

      Maybe it will all end up the same in the end, but I hope it won't.
    • If only Nintendo could really turn that energy into something the marketplace wants to buy. They know PR, but they've lost touch with what consumers actually want.

      I'd say the opposite -- their PR sucks, but they know what people would want to buy, were those people to only know they wanted it.

      People don't know what they want. They don't know what they would like. That's the entire reason word of mouth is so big in publicizing something -- they trust (rightfully) their friends to tell them what they wou
    • The reason that everyone is always excited when Nintendo gives speeches is that Nintendo makes games and they gear their consoles towards the games they make. The other big two (Sony and MS) rely (or buy out) other companies to make games for their hardware. Basically, a graph of a quadrillion polygon count isn't very fun to look at but "Oh look, it's ZELDA and it looks AWESOME" grabs your attention better.

      I also contend that Nintendo still makes games that are a lot of fun (sometimes they innovate, some
      • How exactly is the gamecube geared towards their games? It's a general purpose computing platform, unlike say the PS2 which has a bunch of custom hardware. I don't see any reason they couldn't do the same games on the Xbox, although there would of course be different compromises to make. I don't believe for a second that the GC allows them to make no compromises...
        • How exactly is the gamecube geared towards their games? It's a general purpose computing platform, unlike say the PS2 which has a bunch of custom hardware.

          I challenge you to buy a video card based on the "Flipper" chipset. Just because Nintendo decided not to reinvent the wheel with the gamecube's componants doesn't mean they are off-the-shelf and not optimized.
          • I'm quite sure that the core in the video chip for the gamecube is not substantially different from some core commonly found on a consumer card. The primary difference will likely be a different interface. Companies whose primary product is silicon generally reuse existing cores over and over for custom jobs.

            Regardless, general purpose computing platform does not mean built from COTS components.

            • The GC vid chip is not an ATI RADEON. IT is a different design made by a company that was bought by ATI, thats why ATI's name made it on the box.

              This was well gone over back before the GC release.
        • It's not a troll just because you don't agree with it. Further, if you don't know what the words mean, you shouldn't be moderating...
    • If you want to see Iwata "for yourself" then you can watch the entire speech here [ign.com]. Some very cool stuff.

      On another note, here's a direct link [nintendo.com] to the hi-rez Zelda trailer in Quicktime format. (30 megs)

    • You know, Nintendo is basically Apple: Can whip up a storm of interest in their keynotes or coolness factors, but where the rubber hits the road the public gives them the cold shoulder. Nintendo has learned to harness the reality-distortion field.
  • by ImTheDarkcyde ( 759406 ) <ImTheDarkcyde@hotmail.com> on Saturday March 12, 2005 @02:50AM (#11918077) Journal
    backwords compatability, break it with the ds, and then fix it with the revolution.

    i honestly cannot wait to see what sort of innovation the revolution brings to the table, coming from a nethack/doom/quake player, i can honestly say graphics mean nothing to me, unfortunately i have gracefully admitted some sort of semi-defeat, and pre-ordered a PSP,

    i love the DS to pieces, but untill it gets a few more games state-side (and as of yesterday, europe) i cant see any one running to buy them anymore
    • How did Nintendo break backwards compatability with the DS?
      • Re:brilliant (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It plays GBA games, but not GB or GBC games.

        Incidentally, that's still bloody impressive.
        • Has anyone done two generations of backwards compatibility yet? Also, it's been ages since GB/GBC games have been on any shelf. There's very little to gain, unfortunately.

          • You answered your own question - the GBA is backwards compatible with GB and GBC games, both separate platforms.
            • at least i can still play final fantasy legend I/II/III on my gamecube.
    • Re:brilliant (Score:4, Informative)

      by MilenCent ( 219397 ) <johnwh@gGIRAFFEmail.com minus herbivore> on Saturday March 12, 2005 @05:25PM (#11922323) Homepage
      I see what you mean. I bought a DS lately, and while I've played the hell out of Mr. Driller Drill Spirits, I think that's out of personal fondness for Mr. Driller games. Mario 64 DS would have been great if they had gotten the touchscreen movement to work just a little better. (Tip to Nintendo: don't move the little control circle around if the user reaches the edge.)

      Wario Ware was cool but seems a little lacking compared to the first (I think it's the music actually that's the problem, the original actually rocked but here, with a couple of exceptions, it's not as good in the DS one). Feel the Magic is cool, but seems short-lived and gimmicky.

      Nintendogs and Electroplankton (gotta love those names!) seem like they might be a considerable improvement. Namco's Pac Pix looks like it just *may* be cool, but we don't know much about it yet. Nintendo has no less than two "drawing platformers" in the works, the arcade-like Yoshi Touch & Go and Kirby's Magic Paintbrush, that have interesting concepts behind them. And let's not forget Meteos, which in Japan got an absurdly high Famitsu score, something close to straight 9's.

      But these are all future releases, it's true that right now it's kind of light for the DS. (Of course, it's still more than what I want to play for the PSP, which can be summed up in one word: Lumines.)
      • i whole heartedly agree, i love my music games, and the DS gives such a great way to play them

        but im going to get a psp anyway, because of the lack of DS games at the moment, and in the off chance something good actually does come out for it
  • Correction (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The company created the Kirby and Earthdawn titles...

    HAL Labs/Ape made Earthbound, an excellent RPG for the SNES with enemies such as "Annoying Old Party Man" and "Struttin' Evil Mushroom".
    • Blast! You beat me to it!

      And, as others pointed out, you forgot the "New Age Retro Hippy" and the entire Happy Happy cult!
  • by MilenCent ( 219397 ) <johnwh@gGIRAFFEmail.com minus herbivore> on Saturday March 12, 2005 @06:27AM (#11918624) Homepage
    You won't find them on these sites, but BoingBoing had some choice words from Greg Costikiyan [typepad.com] (game design pundit and one of the primary guys behind the old Paranoia pen-and-paper RPG) on Iwata's speech. The upshot of his remarks were, basically, sure you're original, but only because the practices of big companies, like Nintendo, made it difficult for other people to take those kinds of risks, by making all their games blockbusters and thus making it difficult for small studios to compete.

    At first I thought he had lost it. Thinking about it some more, however, and I can say that actually he's pretty close to the money.

    Nintendo has a support website [warioworld.com] for their developers. While the juicy info is locked off behind site registration (NOT FREE) and such, there is information on what your company can do to gain Nintendo developer status, and what you can do, as an individual developer, to become a licensee. Guess what? They're only looking for established developers.

    Let's dissect this for a moment though. In order to program for their system on your own, you must already be an established developer. You can't just tinker, and if you come up with something great, go from there.

    I've done some looking into the GBA specs lately, on homebrew sites and such. Here's the secret: the Gameboy Advance is super easy to develop for! You don't even need an official dev kit. Give me a few weeks over the summer and I could easily come up with a working demo of one of my "closet" designs, even though I am not what you would call an "established" developer. (In point of fact, I'm an English grad student.)

    But here's my point. It's precisely outsider developers, such as what I'd like to be, who would be most likely to come up with the most inventive and unusual games. And it's established developers who are most likely to give you Guy Game XVIII. Nintendo is not alone in this either -- licensing fees are big bucks, and so are dev kits.

    Nintendo is the company, currently existing, that comes up, on the average, with the most innovative games in the industry. I don't think this is arguable. But it all comes from in-house with them. Sony is the only company that has an official path by which a hobbyist can get his own code running on their console -- and it ain't cheap either. Of course Microsoft has tools by which you can develop for Windows, but it's not as easy to pick up on DirectX programming, it seems to me, as it would be to cook something up for the GBA.

    Anyway, just a bit of frustrated ranting. You may now resume with your ordinary, everyday existence.
    • No shit the dev kits cost alot. They do from Sony and especially MS too. They don't want "english grad student"s to start making games for their system, because then people can complain that platform xyz has alot of shitty games. It's always been this way, quit crying. The only reason that the GBA is "simple" to develop for, is because its a simple system. Anyway, if you check around the net for homebrew GBA games, you'll notice they are all demo's, or extremly simple, or just plain suck.

      Now what I wish Ni
      • They don't want "english grad student"s to start making games for their system, because then people can complain that platform xyz has alot of shitty games.

        Ah, such a dear and warm-hearted response. Now now little one! I'm certain that whatever development attributes I may be lacking, it couldn't possibly equal the similar lack of those readily observable throughout most of the rest of the industry.

        As for being an English grad student... well, despite the unfortunate brand name, don't let it fool you -
      • It's very easy to develop games for the PC. There are lots of shitty games for the PC. Does that stop people buying and gaming on PCs?
      • Your point being? They could sell/give non-commercial licenses for their dev kits.
    • They only say you must demonstrate the ability to make games on any video game or computer system. That means if you make a demo/prototype on the PC that's proof enough. They're also typically looking for established developers. If you can convince them that you're good they'll give you the kit.

      And besides, requirements always sound harsher on paper than in actual enforcement.
    • "Then there was the Nintendo keynote. This was the company who established the business model that has crucified the industry today.. Iwata-san has the heart of a gamer, and my question is what poor bastard's chest did he carve it from?"
      • Heh. Actually that was the statement that set me against Costikiyan's remarks when I first read it, it was too trite and cheap, stretching facts too far to try to get the audience guffawing. A lot of people seem to like that line, including Cory Doctorow, it was in his quote from the transcript that appeared on BoingBoing. I didn't like it so much, though. For me, whenever someone starts off a talk with a statement like that, then no matter how much I respect him -- and I respect Costikiyan a lot, the m
    • Consider this alternative view: Nintendo does do a lot of innovative in-house work. Who do you think makes these games? I'm sure they hire game developers who would otherwise be independent. And then, they take the ideas of the people they hired and put money and support behind them. This is generally referred to as "publishing."

      The only way that Nintendo could stifle innovation, would be to kill off the good ideas in the pipeline. It's obvious they aren't doing that, since, as you pointed out, the g
      • Oh man, good answer.

        I'd respond to you, however, by going to what I believe was Costikiyan's real point in his talk, that it's not Nintendo themselves that stifle innovation, but rather all the companies do, and have been since the licensing system was invented by -- yes, it was Nintendo, back in the NES days with their lockout chip. (Note: this may actually not be true -- did the Intellivision have a lockout chip? Needs to be investigated. Anyway, they didn't have a Nintendo-style licensing program.)

        A
    • Licensee and developer are tw different things, a licensee will take a nintendo license and make a game with it, for example Rare with Starfox Adventures or Amusement Vision with F-Zero GX.
      A developer will develop their own games, like any of the Gamecube games that aren't based on existing Nintendo franchises.
      I think it's pretty reasonable to be picky about who you leave in charge of updating what is most likely an established series.
      • Licensee and developer are tw different things, a licensee will take a nintendo license and make a game with it...

        Not in the sense I'm using it. I don't mean a company that is licensed to use Nintendo characters, but someone who is licensed to produce games for Nintendo's systems, as depicted by the "Licensed by Nintendo" text appearing in so many games for their systems. In that sense, then the two terms are almost the same, especially when you restrict them to indicating Nintendo's own corner of the
    • Sony is the only company that has an official path by which a hobbyist can get his own code running on their console -- and it ain't cheap either.

      The problem about Sony, is that you actually have to get their approval to release a game on the PS2, which even established developers frequently enough fail to do. Furthermore, they often make content requests (for instance, they refused to allow our game unless it had double the characters...which will likely end up in clones). Hell, european developers sued

      • I should perhaps elaborate a little. Sony's paths to getting hobbyist code running on their systems are the Yaroze programmable version of the PSX, and the Linux kit for PS2. Which are far from a lot, but are still better than what Nintendo's offered.

        I can paint Nintendo as developer unfriendly -- homebrew developer unfriendly! So is Sony (if you don't have one of their pricy devices) and so is Microsoft (if you're talking about Xbox and not Windows). But those exceptions are, of course, just quibbles,
  • Commentary? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fondue ( 244902 ) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @07:10PM (#11922912)
    Zonk, slightly rewording the transcript does not amount to 'commentary'.

    (Oh, and there has already been at least one 20M+ selling title. A Nintendo title.)

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