Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 25, 2017

Game Software sells Game Hardware

I can’t find the quote at the moment, but I think it was part of Iwata Asks. I knew Wii U was doomed when Iwata and Miyamoto laugh at Yamauchi when he said: (paraphrasing) “NES is just a box people buy to get to Mario.” Iwata and Miyamoto thought the Wii U had so many cool features that people would want to buy the hardware itself. (or did this quote apply to the 3DS?).

It is clear that Yamauchi’s Rule of Software Sells Hardware (not the other way around) is still in effect. Take a look at this story: Gamestop says Switch sales extremely strong, selling almost 1:1 with Zelda BoW “Wow!”.

“But Malstrom,” says the Reader. “Everyone buys a new console and gets the best game they can. It is Switch selling Zelda, not the other way around.”

Oh, you are wrong, Reader! Take a look at this story: Zelda Breath of the Wild Wii U sales jump following Nintendo Switch stock trouble

You can’t make this up, Reader. This is what is going on…

Zelda BoW “Wow!” is awesome.

Gamers want to get to Zelda.

Gamers buy Switch so they can play Zelda.

But Switch is out of stock.

So gamers buy second-hand Wii Us in order to get to Zelda.

This is a clear illustration of Yamauchi’s Golden Console Rule: Software Sells Hardware.

Wii sold because of Wii Sports. If Wii sold because of Twilight Princess, than second-hand Gamecubes would sell because people wanted to get to Twilight Princess. Since Wii Sports wasn’t on Gamecube, people did not buy second-hand Gamecubes.

It is really that simple.

Minions from the bowels of the Game Industry sneer and say, “People do not want the Switch. They are just there to get Zelda.” Nooooo. Really? The truth is that no one wants the hardware. Everyone hates paying for the hardware. It is the games we want, not the hardware.

In the history of all game consoles, software is what moves the hardware and give it life. NES would have been a different story without Super Mario Brothers. Sega Genesis would have been a different story without Sonic the Hedgehog. Wii would have been different without Wii Sports. And so on, and so forth.

I remember decades ago that discussion on game consoles revolved around the Killer App.

“Which of these games is the potential Killer App?”

“Where is the next Killer App coming from?”

“This console needs to get a Killer App.”

What is strange is that the console companies and third parties all know and understand this. So why is there so much nonsense and propaganda trying to say the opposite? What is the purpose? Is it viral marketers, puffed with the smoke and mirrors of Oz, saying, “Nooo. Do not look at the Zelda. Look at the hardware. Look at how crappy it is compared to Glorious PlayStation 4 hardware. Do not look at the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Do not look at the software at all. Look only at the specs of the hardware…”

If that is their marketing response to the Switch, it is the losing one. Every losing console makes that argument. Every losing console, aside from Generation 8, is ‘better hardware’ losing to ‘inferior hardware with better game library’. Gameboy always laughed at its color rivals, and observers couldn’t believe such inferior hardware was winning.

It is not the quality of the hardware that is relevant. It is the quality of the software that matters. Consoles become great because they have great software.

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