Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 3, 2014

Email: Looking toward Gen 9

I read your breakdown of Iwata’s recent address and to see you happy about Nintendo’s future plans gives me a lot of hope.  Now we can only hope they limp the WiiU along like the Gamecube, rely on good handheld sales long enough.  If the WiiU is going to be like the Gamecube maybe at least we’ll get another Metroid Prime, Starfox and Fzero (since GC had all those).  If those were announced, they’d have an E3 stage show.

So many hardcore gamers raging at Nintendo not going mobile. One person saying “well if the casual audience downloads Mario on the Iphone, they’ll like it and want to buy a console.”  Mobile gaming is where franchises go to die.  Hence why Final Fantasy and Sonic are heavily represented there.  In fact download the free demo of Sonic CD.  Playing a Genesis game with touch pad controls flat out sucks.  Your fingers block half the screen. What’s more amusing is that hardcore gamers usually demonize mobile gaming talking about how it’s a landfill of cheap, crummy games full of microtransactions. So why should Nintendo games have to compete with such garbage and devalue themselves?  I’m sure Iwata is so tired of people telling him to go third party or port games to smartphones.

I really hope Gen 9 Nintendo’s system is akin to the NES namely the mass appeal of the Wii but somehow capable of getting third parties on board but I almost feel like 3rd parties snub Nintendo purposely.  With the Gamecube and WiiU, they say there isn’t a big enough install base but with the Wii, they claimed the install base didn’t want “their games” or said it was too hard to port.  Well we know EA hates Nintendo with a passion as they were dragged kicking and screaming into making NES games.  I dread a future where I’m playing “Mario Unleashed” on the Xbox Negative 1.  But if you’re saying Gen 9 Nintendo looks to return to the Blue Ocean, then I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Also I’m interested to see what Gen 8 does to Sony and MS.  Oh sure Sony was singing about the PS4 being the fastest selling system yet it didn’t help their “junk” credit rating or the fact the Vita is dying a slow death.  Micheal Patcher was right about something for once.http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2014/01/ps_vita_will_die_a_slow_and_painful_death_says_michael_pachter  Sony’s attempt to link the Vita with the PS4 seems like a last ditch effort to sell it but it’s going to be for Sony, what the Nomad was for Sega.  After that Sony will probably focus on their own brand of smartphones.  MS has really been desperate.  Though not official figures I think I heard that the Xbox One sold 3 million units in the US vs. Sony’s 4 million meaning if MS couldn’t outsell Sony in the US, then they’re screwed.  I wonder if they’re even going to bother releasing Xbox One’s in Japan.  Oh and I found this funny: http://www.gengame.net/2014/01/new-microsoft-promotion-takes-100-off-xbox-one-in-exchange-for-a-used-ps3/  Since the Xbox One is $100 more than the PS4, MS is offering PS3 owners $100 trade in for an Xbox One.
Sony and MS’s console war is like a back and forth.  MS creates Xbox Live. Sony improves their online network.  MS creates achievements. Sony creates trophies.  Sony offers a paid service with “free” games. MS updates Xbox Live to have “free” games.  MS gets Minecraft. Sony gets Minecraft.  I honestly wonder how long it will be before MS caves and releases a Kinect free Xbox One in desperation.  Unlike Nintendo who is dedicated to their gamepad, MS caves to peer pressure easily as we saw with their 180.   But I look at the constant back and forth of MS and Sony and their lack of reaching out to new audiences and it’s only a matter of time before it all implodes on them.  Their games will only be more expensive to make meaning less creativity.  If there is the “next big thing” it won’t come from them, more than likely, it will be like Minecraft and come from the indie PC scene then they’ll scramble to get it on the system.
My real hope for Generation 9 is that Sony and MS cannibalize each other leaving Nintendo free to usher in a new age of gaming akin to the NES.  All Nintendo needs is something as accessible and affordable as the Wii with an account system (which we’re getting), a good online network that’s free (like it is on PC) and they’ll be fine.
And then Sega releases the Dreamcast 2 and the cycle starts all over again. LOL

I’m really looking forward to Generation 9 too. We know the successor to the 3DS won’t be about ‘omg 3d’. With a good account system, the Gen 9 handheld could be really, really cool.

Not sure what they’ll do for Gen 9 home console. However, they don’t have to show us anything until 2016 or 2017. Nintendo’s main concern will be on the 3DS’s successor at this point.

When asked about what was wrong with the Nintendo console, I kept replying…

1) No account system

2) No account system

3) No account system

4) Something that wasn’t the account system.

If Nintendo wanted to stay in the console business, it would have to deliver an account system. The large reason why is because of so many things going to digital and the expectation for everyone is to have an account. There are accounts everywhere else, why not on the Nintendo console?

The account system also solves the Virtual Console dilemma. The dilemma was that indie games would lose to gaming’s great classics. Everyone would keep buying Nintendo’s greatest hits and not buy any of the indie games. This is why Nintendo is barely putting out any VC games at all. With an account system (assuming we keep our games), the VC games of the past won’t be competing with current indie games. If after a few generations of a few VC trickles, I should be able to get most of the NES and SNES library. By not having us buy the same old games each generation, that frees up money for us to buy more indie games. The precedent is already paved with the transfer of VC games from Wii to Wii U. Nintendo knows games you’ve already bought aren’t going to be bought again. This means more money to third party developers. Without an account system, we keep on buying Super Mario Brothers over and over again which takes money away from third party developers.

Although, it should be stated that if a game developer cannot compete with a video game twenty years old, they should look at finding a new career.

Someone like me doesn’t care about ‘big box games’ aside from a few here and there. I love the indie games. In fact, I love most games that don’t come from the ‘Game Industry’.

I’m hoping Nintendo’s Gen 9 consoles are designed to allow easy ports from indie developers. Sony is doing a good job at this currently. Nintendo doesn’t really need Game Industry third party support, but they do need non-Game Industry third party support. The Nintendo console buyers are rarely fans of the Game Industry. Some Nintendo fans may or may not be a Game Industry fan, but ALL the Expanded Audience are not fans of the Game Industry with their ‘manchild’ syndromes.

For the Gen 9 home console, I hope it is more like the NES and Wii in that it is box with many different ways to play games. What if I want to play with an arcade stick? Or a steering wheel? Or a motion wand? Or a pad you stand on? The home console should take advantage that it is a home console which means it should allow different controller setups. Back in the NES Era, gaming veterans did not like Nintendo’s ‘wacky’ controller that you held with two hands with its ‘D-Pad’. We opted for the NES Advantage or some other ‘stick’.

The account system could be to Nintendo what iTunes ecosystem is to Apple. It could become a very big deal. It could make the consumer more ‘sticky’ to Nintendo which Nintendo desperately needs. If Wii had an account system, I would feel much better about buying a Wii U since I knew all my ‘investment’ digitally wouldn’t go to waste (device transfer wasn’t an account).


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