“We were a little bit opportunistic, signing a lot of titles and doing things that were not necessarily very good,” acknowledges Sega’s European boss Jurgen Post.
“There was a time when you could sell a lot of products, for example on Wii, but that market has gone. Today if you want to survive, you need to focus on quality. We want to create games that are very good and have a long tail.
“We scaled down to the very bare minimum. For us to restart, we needed to set-up a new strategy, and that is now paying off. So we can start to add more pillars to the structure.”
Do you think that having a massive install base can be a double-edged sword? When I think back on how much shovelware the Wii had I remember that the NES had its fair share of shoddy games as well.
The ‘shoddy games’ is a misinterpretation of the Wii. It is putting the cart before the horse. The error is to say that a large installed based appeared first and that the shoddy games appeared second (to take advantage of the install base). It is the other way around. It is the shoddy games that appeared first that created the large install base.
“How can shoddy games create a large install base, Malstrom?”
Nintendo was asking this question with the success of the PlayStation 1 and 2. But what Nintendo didn’t realize was that the ‘great games’ of the NES and SNES and Gameboy are considered ‘shoddy’ as well. The NES did not succeed because of hardcore gamers. The hardcore gamer liked his joystick, was distressed over the D pad, thought Super Mario Brothers was ‘stupid’, and did the Commodore salute for his Commodore 64.
Above: Behold the Commodore 64 salute! And I always take my Commodore 64 to water slides!
When it came time to make the strategy for Wii, Nintendo learned much from Sony about how to make a game console. In the past, such as the 1980s, it was easier to make games so Nintendo tried to restrict flooding of games to avoid an Atari Crash situation. Sega copied Nintendo’s path. Sony did not. Sony flooded the PlayStation with every sort of software it could put out.
The PlayStations are filled with ‘shoddy games’. There is so much crap in the library that it is astonishing. It is not that older consoles didn’t have crap. It is a matter of interpretation. How well were sports games supposed to age anyway?
Nintendo intentionally wanted the Wii flooded with software. Who is to say what is a shoddy product? Let the market decide.
George Harrison even said, “You never know where the next great game can come from.” PlayStation 1 was porting shoddy games from the PC such as Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2. Who would have thought that Grand Theft Auto 3 would become a hit and rocket the PlayStation 2 to success? Call of Duty was also a ‘shoddy PC port’ when it came to consoles.
If Nintendo plays NX correctly, the NX will be flooded with software from all sorts of sources. Much of it will be bad. But some will be good. Some will be good to others, but bad to some. Indie games, for example, are ‘crappy games’ to many people. I remember when people told me that I should stop playing the ‘crappy game’ called Minecraft. “Look at its graphics!” Yet, the game is the most influential game of last generation and has its own toy aisle at Toys R Us.
One analogy Iwata used was the book store. Readers do not go, “Oh, I hate romance books. We should burn those to the ground to make more room for what I want which are sci-fi and fantasy books.” A book store should have all different types of books.
Watch the NX software pipeline. If Nintendo is serious about Generation 9, the NX software pipeline will be massively huge. I do not mean from Nintendo. I don’t mean ‘third parties’ in general. I just mean the pipeline. The Wii was easier to develop for which allowed more software to be cranked out on it than for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Less power comes with advantages. It was much cheaper to make a Gameboy game than the ‘color’ games of the competitors. Right now, it is cheaper to make a mobile game than any other which is why there are tons of mobile games.
I stopped listening to Sega after the 32X. Why anyone keeps listening to Sega is beyond me.
Nintendo combining its handheld and home console software pipelines is significant. But I want to know about the other software pipelines. If Nintendo is serious, they will be throwing every indie game it can onto the NX (especially Minecraft and Terraria) and the Virtual Console. The reason why Virtual Console was so much better for the Wii than Wii U is that Nintendo was on the ball with the software pipeline and thought it was best to throw out the Virtual Console software. Remember when we got three games a week and thought it LOW? I think Nintendo ought to push out the entire game libraries of classic consoles onto the NX again after a fashion. More software is always good.
The most consistent sign of a failed console is that everyone’s game library looks the same. Successful consoles have consumers with different game libraries, different games which they think are ‘quality’.