Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 11, 2012

Email: Warped View of the Wii Revolution

Hey there Malstrom,

 
Just yesterday I visited a gathering of the local game industry, and at some point I had a conversation with a marketeer for a growing independent game development studio. At some point the conversation shifted over to what the next big gaming thing would be. The industry guy was just going crazy about a VR device named Oculus (http://www.oculusvr.com/), which I’d never heard of before, which he claimed would somehow revive the high-end part of the game industry. I told him that wasn’t going to happen, as VR devices do nothing about the structural lack of profitability (in other words, the lack of good games). I told him that the only way for a crash of the big game companies to not happen was to actually seek the mass market and give it the attention it deserves, like what happened in the early days of the Wii. 
 
When I mentioned the Wii however, they just laughed me off. Let me put emphasis on the fact that I was talking to a marketeer here, someone who you’d expect to know his business and the history of video games. He told me basically that the Wii had been doomed in the first place. Going after the Wii audience was stupid because those gamers could never be reached, they’d never pay attention and see a great game even it were in front of their noses. I pointed out that the ”casuals” (they actually still call them[us?] that) were not as impressionable as the ”hardcore” so game developers have to make games they actually like to get them to buy them. In reaction to this they just told me that there were no examples of ‘the casuals’ buying games out of their own incentives, to which I pointed out Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The industry guy just went ”yeah, but those were all Nintendo games, they’d be popular anywhere”. But what about the NES? Surely Nintendo wasn’t famous back in 1985? ”Only kids played the NES, it wasn’t that big of a success, people just bought Super Mario Bros. because it was bundled”. I could not believe my ears. Not only did I just hear the Wii being written off as a casual fad, I also heard them do the same thing to the NES? 
 
Now curious, I asked the guy if he even knew what disruptive innovation was. ”The Wii wasn’t disruptive, Oculus, now THAT’s disruptive!”. I didn’t bother to talk about crappy games for crappy customers much after this (though it did give me the pearl of ”why would ANYONE make games for ANYONE BUT the most profitable customers??”). All the industry cliché’s, from technology obsession to elitist decadence, were confirmed. And these developers weren’t even big fish! What also scared me is that these people seemed to have a deep-grounded hatred for Nintendo. Now I know Nintendo has been sucky lately, but this was deeper than that. It was emotional. One developer went like ”Make games for the Wii? Why would I have ever done that? Come on, it’s Nintendo!”, like I was suggesting he’d make games for fucking Fisher-Price or something.
 
Anyway, I’m off to get some popcorn to watch the impeding implosion of the industry. I hope they bury the next Metroid: Other M in a ditch right beside the ET spot. Let’s just hope someone with Yamauchi’s cunning, knowledge and balls stands up to create a new NES. It’s sure gonna be hard in this economy, so I’m glad I’m young enough to go through the classic console’s backlogs until it happens.
 
Kind regards,
 
Your ReaderIsn’t it amazing? None of it surprises me. After the NES, the Game Industry said “someone would have made the NES sooner or later…” I uploaded a letter my senator, in the early nineties, sent me praising how he and the US Government defended Americans from the evils of Nintendo. It was so absurd I saved it and uploaded it for all to see. My point is that only a very wealthy company could withstand such legal persecution (Nintendo could because of Japan’s market). Super Mario Brothers was, most definitely, revolutionary. And then Nintendo made the Gameboy. I’m no Nintendo fanboy (as was accused of me for many years), but give credit where it is due. Note how the Game Industry gives Miyamoto all the credit, but none of it goes to the company of Nintendo itself?

They will make-believe the Wii never existed. They’re currently pretending Wii Sports never existed when they look at ‘games of the generation’. The best selling game ever made doesn’t exist? Hahahaha.

When I encounter someone who is really good at something, I ask, “What can I learn from this person?” This is how I learn and better myself. I’ve learned in life it is best to surround yourself with people smarter than you are (as you become who your friends are). I’m currently trying to become friends with billionaires so I can become just like them! “Please be my friend Mr. Billionaire so what you know might rub off on me, and I become a millionaire.”

To my constant astonishment, most people do not behave like this. When they encounter someone who is really good at something, they say, “That person sucks!” or “That person is EVIL!” The reason why they do this is uplift themselves. If you asked me what a stupid person is, it is someone who tries to feel smart by putting down others. It’s easy to feel ‘smart’ when everyone is made to be stupid. It’s also easy to feel ‘moral’ when everyone is perceived to be evil around you. Hitler probably thought he was a very moral person because everyone else was ‘evil’ and had to be ‘cleansed’.

I’ve also noticed these people do not allow tolerance. They do not want ‘the other side’ to be represented. They do not engage in debate, they just remove the opponent. You won’t believe how many Game Industry websites have banned this blog site.

With these game consoles, I think it is wonderful that one, out of three game consoles, was trying to be different and going for a different audience. Why do we need three game consoles that are exactly the same? Isn’t it good to have variety and diversity of thought and market? The Game Industry in the Seventh Generation said ‘No, it isn’t.’ Therefore, the Game Industry will become smaller in the Eighth Generation.

I’m not going to shed any tears. Refusing to make games for people with real jobs, these people are going to get laid off and be forced to get a real job themselves. Poetic justice.


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