Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 20, 2017

Email: A Surprising Conversation while Pre-Ordering the Switch

Greetings Master Malstrom,

Just thought I’d share an interesting conversation I had with the Walmart employee I pre-ordered my Switch from this morning.

First, there were actually two employees I interacted with in the electronics department today, one man and one woman, both, and I’m terrible at estimating ages, probably somewhere between mid-thirties and mid-forties. I was surprised at how they both knew exactly what the Switch was, and in fact were even each excited for the system, themselves.

The interesting bit came from the gentleman employee, particularly as he talked himself through budgeting to get a Switch pre-order of his own. It was apparent that he’d be stretching to afford it in the time allotted by Walmart layaway to finish payments, April 1st, but his thirst was real, nonetheless. At the same time the logical half of his brain was making the argument that he didn’t really need the Switch right away, as he was still very satisfied with his current console. What “current console” was he referring to, you ask? Why, none other than the NES Classic!

This of course began a quick conversation about the NES Classic and it’s continued lack of availability. I learned that this particular Walmart had only seen about twenty-eight NES Classics come through it so far, which really shows how limited the supply has been. (This is a Walmart Supercenter in Plano, Texas.) When I mentioned I’ve yet to see any of the systems in the wild, he chimed in that they’ve never actually been able to put any of the systems out for display. Rather, the customers “Meet me at door [to the back of the store]” to buy them.

Again, just thought I’d share; hope you enjoyed it.

– A fellow Lifelong Gamer

The Switch will not be a Wii U!

The AAA Gravy Train is really angry at the Switch. “OMG, fanboy posts everywhere!” A new console is coming out within WEEKS dumb fucks. Of course people are going to be excited for it (and this goes for any hardware).

The anger is a really good sign. Note that the AAA Gravy Train wasn’t angry at, say, the Wii U. They were laughing and joyous. They want it to fail.

I was there when the Wii rose to heaven (as you may have been too, the glorious reader). Wii sales did not take away from PS3 or Xbox 360 sales. Yet, the more Wii sold, the angrier and more spazzed out the AAA Gravy Train became. The question is… why?

We should distinguish between East and West on this. The East AAA Gravy Train doesn’t care what platform succeed so long as there is a platform to sell its games on. The West AAA Gravy Train irrationally does care. Why?

To those that say, “Master Malstrom! You should be nice to the AAA Gravy Train. They may put their games on Switch.” They may, but it will not be their choice. The Spirit of Trip Hawkins lives in them.

When the NES was selling left and right, Trip Hawkins, the founder and president of Electronic Arts, refused to port any EA games to the NES. “The console will crash just like the Atari 2600 did!” No one was saying that Electronic Arts should abandon the PC market and make their games for consoles. They simply said to port some existing EA games to the NES. After all, EA games were ported to other various PC platforms.

But Trip Hawkins was completely irrational. “No! Never!” The Board of EA then told Hawkins that if he didn’t put games on the NES, he would no longer be president of EA. So Hawkins took off his shoe, pounded the desk with it, and did submit to sell some ports. But Hawkins put his own plan in motion.

Looking to the next generation, Hawkins had EA backwards engineer the Sega Genesis and told Sega that that unless EA was given a sweetheart contracting deal to put out more games, EA would put out games for the Genesis regardless of the license because EA could get around the Genesis’s engineering. Sega agreed. And this is where Madden and the other EA franchises were born.

The point is that Western AAA Gravy Train will always be hostile to Nintendo platforms. AAA Gravy Train doesn’t want to compete against Nintendo software. They know that if Nintendo hardware becomes widespread, as the NES and Wii did, the Western AAA Gravy Train will be forced to put software on it due to their shareholders demanding them to make money.

Time wise, it feels like the early 1980s. The AAA Gravy Train thinks that everyone loves them because of their PC game sales and are laughing off this terrible hardware on a market that just crashed: the NES. People forget that the reason the NES did so well is that it went after an overlooked market: children. Children did not use PCs.

The Switch seems to be targeting the overlooked market of lifelong gamers. Is this the wrong path? No. The wrong path is for Nintendo to try to get AAA games like Sony and Microsoft. If AAA games were so great, the PSP should have outsold the DS and Wii shouldn’t have done as well as it did.

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