October 26, 2006 7:20 AM |
[GameSetWatch is extremely proud to debut this latest exclusive article from veteran game journalist Joseph 'BUZZ' Berkley. 'BUZZ' really has the measure of today's gaming market, and this time, he takes on the obvious - Nintendo's big problem.]
Atari, Or Won't They?
Once upon a time, back when I was molding the fledgling game fandom to my will like a baby made of clay, the business side was simple. Atari was number one, and everyone else only sold consoles in Europe. Back then, the only arguments were about whether or not my reviews were fair, and the debate was settled by me not printing the rebuttals. Then the Japanese had to come in and disrupt everything. Now you've got a company that also makes audio speakers selling me video games, and I have to grope around like a blind man in a simile factory.
Now don't get me wrong, I love the Japanese. Nintendo saved gaming, and kept me in a job. Without them, I'd have gone back to the sign factory. And here I am, all these years later, living the dream. Thank you, all Japanese people.
Wii Won't Rock You
So now we have the Wii, Nintendo's latest foray into GLORIOUS home console gaming, and I couldn't be more excited. It's a shame the system is already doomed to wind up in the closet inside two years. You see, YOU are very stupid. You, and all the rest of us playing video games. Unless you can give yourself the completely superficial thrill of saying "Hey, you see this, doesn't it look awesome?", you'll become bored, and the Wii, which is only interesting in terms of gameplay, and I mean COME ON, will be picked up by the help and moved to the closet, along with your old mobile phones, and pot bellied pig.
As far as we're concerned, innovation that isn't graphical is essentially not innovation at all. And once those systems move into the closet, Nintendo will make consoles no more forever! Because Nintendo is going to learn what any high school kid knows - if you aren't popular, you might as well kill yourself.
The Short Tail!
Now, I know what some of you are saying. You're saying, in that high pitched, nasal voice of yours, "But BUZZ! Doesn't Nintendo actually make plenty of money, despite having the smallest market share?" A few of you are saying "Buzz, isn't it true that Nintendo is making a concerted effort to broaden the business beyond the usual graphics only steps forward, and focus on a large, untapped market that has been shown to care very little about the graphics race, such as the older women of the booming casual games market?"
Some of the others are saying that "even Microsoft's Peter Moore (who, regardless of what you'll hear on SOME gaming blogs is NOT the devil, despite working in marketing) has admitted that the Wii's innovations will likely bring new, more casual users to gaming." and some of you, the especially obnoxious are saying "In fact, according to financial reports in the last two years, hasn't Nintendo, despite paralleling Sony in launches of handheld and home consoles, and a dramatically smaller market share, actually made more money than Sony?"
[These reports for Nintendo and Sony [make sure to check on the Games section specifically] are fairly straightforward, while Microsoft's still buries the Xbox's actual numbers, but the fact that at no point do they claim a profit on the project is PRETTY TELLING.]
In fact, in 2006, didn't Nintendo bring in $840,842,000, compared to Sony's Games Division's loss of $233,000,000, for a difference of over $1 billion in Nintendo's favor?" To these people I say "You obviously don't know much about business."
Mario Love You Long Time
Nintendo's problem isn't money, it's popularity. If Nintendo isn't cool, people will get all embarrassed. Take Spain for example. Nintendo has never been successful in any Spanish speaking country. Do you know why? Because there is no Spanish word for "silly". The closest word is more along the lines of "asinine". So describing Super Mario Brothers as a goofy little game where a man in a silly hat runs around hopping on turtles suddenly becomes an asinine game where a buffoon named Mario acts like a damn fool. This lack of respect is why there in no Nintendo of Mexico, and instead the products are distributed by a far classier company, Motta Internacional. Motta is a name you can trust!
Epic Conclusion, Here
The Wii will probably sell out this Christmas. It's already showing up on many of the Must Have holiday lists, because the games are "innovative" and "fun". But in the long run, people will realize that Xbox and PS3 are able to deliver an image quality that Nintendo can't hope to match, largely because they didn't try.
Nintendo may be comfortable at first, performing only as a financial success, but they may eventually see they can't hang with the big boys any more in the arena that really matters: abstract conceptions of cultural worth and the ability to visually impress aesthetically shallow men aged 16-28. Game over, man, game over!
[Note: It has been asserted that the preceding essay bears a more than passing resemblance in tone and phrase to another article, reported on by GoNintendo, by Robert Summa. Any similarites are either coincidental, the result of Summa's attempts to hack into the GameSetWatch servers and read unpublished draft's of Buzz's work, or some kind of elaborate cosmic joke.]
['Berkley's BUZZ' is a regular column from veteran game journo Joseph Berkley, whose illustrious career extends from the formation of Video Game BUZZ Monthly back in 1982 all the way to the founding of seminal teen game mag 'GameBUZZ - For Kids!' in 1992. More recently, he was a regular columnist for much-loved late '90s game mag Big Important Thing, and the author of self-help manual: 'BUZZ Says - Less Drugs, More Games!' His column appears regularly on GameSetWatch, and is rarely actually true. His birthday is February 29th, 1955. He is 51.]
Categories: Column: Berkley's BUZZ