Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 17, 2014

Email: Microsoft just diskinected (and some ramblings about Nintendo)

Greetings master Malstrom!It seems you were right in comparing the Kinect to the 32X. They just released a kinect-free xbone SKU. It seems not even microsoft subsidizing it and bundling it with every console could save that fiasco. After all these years, it still barely has any games worth a damn for it, and now they’re finally giving up on shoving it down people’s throats.

I wonder how long it will take until the kinect is phazed out completely. Do you think new predictions about Microsoft can be made because of this?

I also wonder if Nintendo was ever afraid of it. I always got the feeling that Nintendo sometimes missed opportunities because of their sometimes irrational goal of being unique.    It almost seems they abandoned their own motion controls just because the others were doing it either in fear of competition or out of vanity. I wonder if their plan never was to stick to motion controls, but instead make every new console different. Anyways, can you imagine if Nintendo would have gone the ‘Super Wii’ approach instead and actually iterated on their disruptive innovation (IE the motion controls and the expanded market games)?    From what I’ve read in ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ that’s what they should have done. They should have improved on the disruptive innovation so that it could steal a higher tier of customers from the incumbent. If they had done that, I’m sure that one of the HD twin companies could have been firmly stomped out of the industry in a generation or two. Oh what could have been…    You have no idea of how baffled I was when the Wii U was unveiled. It didn’t iterate on anything the Wii had done, and instead did something completely unrelated and pointless. I went from being seriously interested in gaming and the gaming market to just going “fuck it, console gaming is over for me” in the course of an hour. And maybe that’s for the best considering that I have university studies to focus on.

Also in a previous mail, I forgot to thank you for getting me interested in business books like ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’. I’ve read a few of them already, and I’m planning to read more. Since I’m getting a master’s degree in electrical engineering, I’m sure I’ll put that knowledge to good use someday, should the opportunity arise.

I hope you’ll keep writing about gaming on your blog, since it is the only gaming related website that I can stand nowadays. I don’t agree with everything you write (I live in scandinavia, so we have a very different outlook on politics, for one), but you succeed in your goal of writing interesting stuff.

Best wishes

Longtime reader

When the Wii U was unveiled, my email box was full of crying Nintendo fans. Everyone knew it was a disaster except Iwata who informed us “the only reactions that matter are those at the show, not people at the Internet.” But E3 isn’t open to the public as E3 2006 was (when the Wii was unveiled). It was so bad that media outlets thought the Wii U was a new controller and not a new console. NOA had to tweet a picture of Iwata holding the Wii U console to say ‘Yes, it is a new console!’

One thing I think the Wii really did right was having smaller games on it stored on the system. I mean the Virtual Console and the WiiWare games. The next step would be to make it all account based and have people own that software and carry it to the next hardware if possible. This is how it is done with smartphones and tablets today. Bizarrely, Nintendo keeps treating small digital games like they are a threat to the retail games. I really, really liked OWNING a ton of NES, SNES, N64 games on my game console. I wouldn’t play them all the time. Sometimes I would in an inspired moment (“Oh, let me see how far I can get in Super Star Soldier now…” “You know, I really have a hankering to play Super Mario Brothers 2”). These game sessions would last me about 10 minutes to 30 minutes. I loved it because that is all the time I wanted to spend. I prefer high intensity low time gaming instead of low intensity high time gaming.

The Wii-mote was great not because it had motion controls but that it truly reconfigured into whatever control scheme you wanted. Sometimes motion controls were great for a game. Other times, I liked just using the nunchucka or the classic controller. I’ve always hated the ‘you must play with this one over-engineered controller’ that the N64 and Gamecube had.

It’s interesting to think the ‘what would have happened’ had Nintendo followed up on their Wii direction. My belief is that during the Gamecube Dark Days was when all the DS and Wii genius was made. Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Nintendogs, NSMB, etc. were all formulated during that time. But disruption teaches that success is a big problem because it makes people arrogant. The software being made after Nintendo was in Wii Salad Days, as opposed to Gamecube Dark Days, were really really bad. Wii Music, Metroid Other M, Skyward Sword, etc. The ideas of 3DS and Wii U came during the happy Wii Salad Days too. All these software decisions point to: “We are doing well now so we are going to do whatever the fuck we want. We are going to make the games we REALLY want to make now! We are going to popularize 3d! We are going to redefine the TV experience with Wii U and get that Gamecube connectivity working! We are going to continue the Pikmin series.” I think it is clear that the Nintendo Board members were not mature enough to handle the DS and Wii success. It went straight to their heads. It’s like they suddenly thought THEY were geniuses and then pushed their pet projects forward.

I think Microsoft’s Kinect-less version is a type of price cut for the Xbox One to make it more competitive with the PS4. It’s been a while since launch. Is anyone really happy with their Kinect experience? Do they feel it is worth the extra $100? I just hear crickets.


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