Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 10, 2016

Malstrom’s stool: the three legs a game console needs

“Will you get a NX, Malstrom? OMG!”

It depends. A game console’s sales health depends on the three legs of its stool.

One third of its library should be…

-Sequels

We all have favorite franchises and new iterations of them are desired. People bought Xbox 360 for Halo 3, for example. However, a console cannot rely too heavy on them. Super Nintendo launched with Super Mario World, Gradius 3, Castlevania 4, Super Ghosts and Goblins, etc. The reason why the SNES sales remained tepid after launch was because too much emphasis on sequels.

-Brand New Experiences

Consoles need brand new experiences. While Wii had sequels like Twilight Princess or Super Mario Galaxy, it had new experiences like Wii Sports and Wii Fit that blew everyone’s mind. Remember when Super Mario Kart came out? Or Super Mario Brothers? New experiences can blow up the market.

-Classics

Contrary to conventional wisdom, you will always find a ton of classic games on successful consoles. The NES, for example, had many of the great games that had already come out such as Pac-Man to Burgertime.

The console that is the perfect storm is the Wii. It had many brand new experiences, many sequels, and classics (especially with the Virtual Console!).

NES is very strong too in this stool.

Gameboy also did very good with this stool.

So did the Atari 2600 although its classic games leg was smaller due to lack of time.

Genesis had a strong stool. Genesis had ton of classic games on its console especially from computer ports.

PlayStation was also nearly a perfect storm of having the three legs in place.

What I want from the NX’s library to be one third games to be brand new experiences, another third to be sequels, and the final third to be classics. It’s that simple.

Remember Iwata expressing dismay how Gameboy Advance sales shot up when the NES Classics series was introduced? The reason why is that it is part of the three legs being shored up.

Wii U is boring because it has too many sequels. There are too few new experiences, and too few classics. The backwards compatibility helps with the classics leg, but not entirely.


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