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Monday, January 23, 2006

Comments

Scott Miller

Oxy, please quote where I criticised the Revolution controller?

Now then, who's the idiot?

Scraps

You can't really judge Nintendo until you look at the overseas sales. While the Gamecube had the lowest sales in America, Nintendo has huge brand loyalty and market dominance in Japan. While the American release is almost an afterthought compared to the Japanese market, Nintendo will make up any shortfall in the American market with their overseas sales.

Oddly enough, Western companies have had a hard time getting penetration into overseas markets with games besides MMOG's.

oxy

ok scott well you didnt actually state criticism about the revs controller so you have me there kind of, but you hinted at the idea of nintendos new ways (which is mainly the controller) and how you think itll fail, dont deny it either :-p.

and i cant believe you can release such words as your the guy that works for 2drealms that have a so called product in development that goes by the name of duke nukem: never, oops sorry i mean forever...

Scott Miller

Oxy, you got me on DNF, yet we're over five billion dollars more profitable than MSoft's Xbox division during the last five years. ;-)

Somehow, we're doing something right, though. People seem to discount our involvement with Max Payne (6 million total sales for both games), and the coming Prey. I'm not saying that DNF's development has gone without problems, but for those of us working here were are all very excited about the game, and think we have something very special that will be released in due time.

YicklePigeon

It's because the typical gamer, who thinks he/she knows all will - when asked - state that Remedy Entertainment made Max Payne. And not 3DR/Remedy like a true geek would.

Another thing that people discount, is the fact that Max Payne 1 was in development from around late '96/early 97 straight through to into 2001. Roughly four years. IIRC, what turned out to be Max Payne was one of the many proposals (along with Death Rally) that Remedy came to y'all with...and let's not forget "Final Reality"! The pre-cursor to 3D Mark.

Would any of those have come out if Remedy had *not* got involved with 3DR? I'd hate to think how Max Payne would have turned out without 3DR's help.

Oh and one more thing, just to make sure that gamers know who has/had a hand in the development of Prey: my suggestion would be to insert the traditional huge 3DR logo ala DN3D and Terminal Velocity (was it in RoTT too? I can't remember). That should make it obvious enough.

Regards,

Yickle.

P.S. I remember reading in PC Format how "Max Payne has been delayed...AGAIN." just before the release :)

Rick

YOu shouldn't predict the outcome of the upcoming console war if you haven't even tried all the consoles!!

Phrank

I've been a die-hard Nintendo fan since the beginning original NES days when I was in elementary school. But, this past round, I bought a Xbox and felt like I was cheating on a girlfriend. And the N64 was, without a doubt, the greatest console of all time. So, my loyalty lies to Nintendo first, then Xbox.

By getting that out there, let me just say that the PS3 should scare MSoft and Nintendo. Let's all face the facts here: the Xbox sold in the first half of it's life through 3 basic selling points. Back in the early 2000s, who wasn't shocked when they stepped into the beautiful landscape of Halo? And Xbox live was a generation ahead of it's time. Bottomline: physical capability, Xbox Live, and Halo kept the Xbox alive and in the chase with the current gen systems. Nintendo was of course maintained by it's 1st party titles and fan loyalty. But the PS2 had everything else: the games, the image, the fanbase, etc. This time around, if the PS3 keeps it's hot titles and "cool" image, it should wipe the floor with the other the Xbox, since Xbox doesn't have anything innovative anymore to keep it's head above water, and the PS3 promises better graphics, games, etc.

And Nintendo...well, I think they are the wild card. I won't be surprised if they are the next Dreamcast and die out, or if it truely is a Revolution and they end up with a majority of the market share. I would bet that this is an "either/or" case, with very little in between: the Revolution will be the death or the re-birth of Nintendo in the market.

Charles E. Hardwidge

Well, Scott may be terribly excited and think he has something special, but that's coming from a guy who has to be told about Nintendo's marketing position and the buzz on the street. Colour me stupid, but his bad positioning and glaring mistakes are all over the shop. I think, about $200 Million got wiped off 3D Realms paper value in a single topic. Losing your edge, Scott? :P

Jason Cashmore

As with most, I have to strongly disagree with your view of Nintendo in this brave, new console war. It is unfortunate that you would have such negative views towards a system that, even in concept form, offers more than either of the other 2 systems. Stating that this could possibly be Nintendo's last console is a bit harsh, considering especially that Nintendo, regardless of sales, has the greatest profit intake of any of the 3 Game console manufacturers. Microsoft and Sony may have their primary business lines as financial fuel, but gaming is Nintendo's life-blood, and they bring in a fantastic amount of income, because they have the years of experience, to know how to build a system that doesn't cost them more than they make from sales of the equipment. Another fine point to this end is that NO other company has as much Intellectual Property as Nintendo. They hand-over-fist beat the others in that field. Nintendo has mascot characters coming out of every part of the company, Microsoft really only has the Master Chief, and they had to BUY him. Sony....well...I'm at a loss on that one.

At the very least, your comments can be seen as fleeting and irrelevant. Thankfully your company only creates hypothetical software, so I won't be able to have the displeasure of finding any of your products while I shop for games for my system of choice......The Nintendo Revolution.

P.S.: You're bound to get a game done in time for the Holidays 2009.

Charles E. Hardwidge

Well, Scott might be out of touch and his software out of reach, but there's no need to get ragged on the guy. His breathless infomercials wind me up as much as anyone, but there's no need to be impolite. Hype and rudeness works against the game industry and its products improving, and I bet you could tag a multi-billion dollar value to that.

Gee. I'm worth more than Scott. :)

Scott Miller

I find it fascinating that I'm now painted as anti-Nintendo. I've always been, and in fact remain, a huge fan. I've always pointed out that they are the Disney of the industry, and have more great original IP than anyone. But, like Disney, they are viewed--in part, because of their tremendous past success--as more kid oriented than adult oriented. And I think the industry is maturing, which is one of the big reasons they feel significantly behind MSoft and Sony on the console generation that's now coming to an end.

Games like Mario, Zelda: Wind Walking, and Pikmin reinforce this, and these are Nintendo's home grown top dogs. And the toy-like design of the Gamecube also made the system appear targeted for for kids. Bottom-line, Nintendo made their own bed... Nintendo's best bet might be to stay with what they're known for and try to totally dominate the market for younger players, ceding the adult market to Sony and MSoft.

The Revolution controller might be better for FPS games, but frankly that's not saying much because the standard controller is absolutely horrible for shooters, even when those shooters go to all sorts of special lengths, like auto-aiming within a certain projection cone. It'd be brilliant if the new Nintendo controller comes close to matching the accurate, rapid precision of the mouse. I truly hope this is the case. We need a breakthrough like this.

>>> His breathless infomercials...

Huh?!

Robert Howarth

sorry for linking this, lol

anyhoo - went to compUSA and found a 360! =D

Polaris Silvertree

Scott,

For the record....

PS3 will still lead the market. But will flounder the generation afterwards due to cost and the PSP's losing battle against the DS.

XBox 360 will drift into a tight 3rd place behind Nintendo and will make Microsoft pursue the console market EVEN more.... Sad, I know... I am not sure if you've seen the latest numbers -- but next to the contrived "we sold all our units in the U.S." marketing ploy -- its just not doing that well.

Nintendo will hit a new generation of gamers whose average age is 30. ;)

Regards,
Polaris

fdotorres

Scott... I'm nopt going to insult you just because you made a prediction (every prediction is basically worth the same: nothing). It's natural that we make up this things, but I have to differ.

Since I played MGS on the ps1, I turned from being a N fan to being a PS fan (even though Iplay A LOT MORE GC than PS2, I've bought like 3x more ps2 games, and that's what they care about). I've had every single one of their consoles (even bought 2 ps2, one broke...), but I have to admit that the DS brought me back into portable gaming.

I don't understand why did you say that the Rev is going to be their last console. Are you refering to home consoles or to every kind of gaming hardware?

Even if you refered to home consoles, I would disagree. In fact, I would say that if Nintendo changes not only the way we play games (what they brag about), but the way we SEE games (not referring to 3d screens or any of that), they will be the home console victors of this generation. Hell, not only the DS proved that graphics aren't the primary factor; apple did the same in the mp3 market (never the most powerul device, but the more practical).

To finalize this, I'm going to ask you a question: What film do you think it's better: 2001: ASO or Star Wars: Episode 3 (I think you'll understand the purpose of my question).

P.S. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO RELEASE DUKE DUNKEM FOREVER!? (lol, good luck with the project)

Nabil

Mr. Hardwidge: you've mentioned several written works and theories that you've worked on in the past, and I would love to know more about them. I imagine they are published somewhere, but could you perhaps inform me where to start? I must admit, I have been forced to be somewhat selective in my studies, and I KNOW that I've missed several authors and books that I would probably benefit from reading. So as to not further hijack this post further than it already has, a private message would be appreciated (my name at my domain). That said, I heartily second your suggestion of Raph Koster's Theory of Fun. Regardless of whether you like his games, his theories are well worth the time.

Scott: I'm sorry you're getting so much unneeded and ill informed flack. It's poor form, and despite constant reminders to the contrary, I still find myself hoping for some level of civility on the internet. In response to your most recent comment regarding the Rev. controller for FPS games: the rumor and hype (based on accounts of those who had the chance to try it hands on at the Tokyo Game Show) is that it's not just better than standard controllers, but better than mouse and keyboard as well. Even as nothing more than a tech demo, people were impressed with the level of precision and control provided. Of course, time will tell, so it's not really worth worrying about, but if you do get a few cycles free, I'd suggest doing a bit more reading on the subject. You might be pleasantly surprised.

I don't think we'll see any of the three consoles departing the market soon (ie the next two console cyles, say the next decade). What we're going to be seeing more and more of is home entertainment convergence. This was one of the hot topics at CES this year, and for good reason: Intel, Apple, and Microsoft are all deeply involved in developing a home media center solution. Consoles are also part of this equation, in a very important way, and in particular for Microsoft. The Xbox 360 is already trending towards serving as a media center; the next generation beyond that will likely integrate the two technologies as both a digital hub and gaming station. The gaming portion is critical, however: consoles have successfully made it into the living room, a place computers traditionally have not been able to go. By capitalizing on the mindshare provided by (then) two generations of Xboxes in the home, they help solidify themselves for the (FAR more lucrative) media center solution. It's this logic that explains their willingness to lose billions of dollars on their machines; sometimes it's worth losing a few battles, if it puts you in a position to win the war.

Sony is also working with the PS3 as a convergence device, though I must say I feel that they've dropped the ball with the PS3 in terms of marketing, mindshare, and looking at a longer term picture. As a gaming rig, the technical specifications are admirable, but by playing the tech-spec game, it becomes a competition between the PS3 and the PC, rather than other consoles. This shifts the focus away from the living room, and targets a comparatively speaking narrow demographic.

The Revolution is... yep, a convergence device, albeit with a different set of parameters. It works as a very basic media hub, since it does support DVD playback, but it also serves as a tool of mindshare consolidation by providing their classic games via download on a micropayment system (a previous commenter brought up emulation... I'd like to point out that it's possible to download music for free -- illegally -- but if the price point is right, people are willing to pay. The iTunes Music Store is proof that it works, provided the prices are reasonable). If anything, Nintendo is simply being the most up front about the role they want their system to play in the home, which I think has garnered quite a bit of positive feedback among consumers. They do have some previous mindsets to contend with (the idea that they are "kiddie" compared to the other systems), but I think this will be less of an issue with this generation than previous ones.

There are a few reasons for this difference: the gaming demographic is, as you said, aging. The crest of the curve is no longer in 13-18, but it is also moving out of 18-25 into 26-35. Gamers are starting to have real, full time jobs, they are starting to have spouses, and children, and at least in some cases, tastes that have moved beyond infantile bloodbaths with bad story, which is frankly the vast (VAST) majority of games people cite as being more grown up or mature (the very notion of which is laughable). On the level of social psychology, maintaining the facade of "being cool" and avoiding things with a "kiddie" reputation becomes less and less of an issue in this age group, again as they become more involved with raising a family and dealing with life: they want games that will be fun, and games that they will be able to play with either their spouse or their children. (On a tangent, it is interesting to see the increasing trend of spousal duos in MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft. It becomes something they can do together, without having to find a sitter or spend a lot of money.)

This comment is getting long enough that I would probably be better off just making a post of my own, so I'll leave it here. Suffice it to say, I don't think it's worth counting any of the consoles out, nor do I think it's possible to prognosticate on the success or failure of an upcoming system based on the successes and failures of its predecessor. Nintendo dominated consoles through the second 8 bit era and the 16 bit era, but lost that domination markedly and abruptly with the advent of the Playstation (which is ironic, if you're familiar with the history of how Playstation came about). It's entirely possible that balances may shift again.

Charles E. Hardwidge

Huh?!

The exciting and special comment made you look like a PR droid, and your recent burst of swearing rings a bum note. It gets in the way of your, otherwise, natural charm and achievement. If this is the top of your game, I think, you can wipe another $100 Million of the paper value of 3D Realms. (We're down to about zero, if you're counting). C'mon, Scott. You can dig deeper than that.

you've mentioned several written works and theories that you've worked on in the past

Thanks for your interest. The "You did what? BULLSHIT???" comments would echo in my ears for years and could get me sued to kingdom come and back. Better to stay shut and talk indirectly, and save the boasting for other things. Um, one thing I can say is that MIT's patented lock mechanism, used in the escape system built for the International Space Station, is subject to two decade old prior art. Sorry guys. Someone *ahem* else got there first.

Questworld

I'd just like to ask that Scott Miller and 3DRealms don't make a foregone conclusion based on their current assumptions whether or not to support the Nintendo Revolution. Let's be honest, doing so would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just because past circumstances have not been favorable with the N64 and Game Cube, it doesn't necessarily mean the same thing will automatically happen with the Revolution. As some have pointed out, some things like management has changed within the company. Furthermore, it can't be expected that the Nintendo image will change to a less "kiddy" model if third-party companies don't do their part to put the necessary resources to balance it out.

To put into perspective, look at Konami. The Cube didn't get, in my opinon, one single noteworthy game from them with the exception of Twin Snakes. While the PS2 got Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3, Silent Hill, Contra, Castlevania, Ys, etc. the Cube basically got stuck with only Disney Sports titles, Yu-Gi-Oh, TMNT, etc. which were on the PS2 as well for the most part. Where's the balance in that? I mean am I wrong, is Nintendo partly responsible for this? I don't know but Capcom provided at least Resident Evil so it must be more about third-party companies and their perception. Resident Evil along wasnt' going to turn the tide by itself. If only games like Final Fantasy, Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Solid, Dragon Quest, etc. were all there in spades, I doubt anyone would mind that the Cube was a "lunch box." As it has been commonly said "it's about the games." That's why the PS2 is so successful. In many cases it's the default system which companies make their games exclusive to, while multiplatform games are using it as the base unit before porting to other system. I would only hope that the Revolution can get the same treatment since it's being assumed that it's the "weakest" console. Porting to other systems would be easier, I'd suppose.

Anyway, I'd just like to say that it'd be a shame if developers don't help push the Revolution to optimal effect because I personally think the system itself is a great idea (assuming it works as well as those with hands-on experience have said). As such I hope Scott Miller doesn't ignore the system and that 3DRealms attempt to put some of their best work and franchises into the system. Right now all I've seen are companies putting their best franchises and a slew of their resources into those games for the PS3 and Xbox 360. To say I'm jealous would be dead on. I mean what's going to be left for the Revolution once games like RE5, MGS4, DMC4, FFXIII, etc. are done for the PS3/360, Disney Sports? Megaman? Party games? I just wish there was the same level of commitment to developing Revolution games as there are on those consoles (NDA or not). I'd hate to think that Epic's Mark Rein's comments or Scott Miller's comments are final and that you can't even expect a Duke Nukem, or Unreal-based game out of it. Otherwise, yeah, you will see the Rev a distant third, because that's how it will be if developers don't even begin to make that effort.

So please, I invite all to develop for the system. The game makers can't just simply wait to see if the audience is there. There can't be an audience if the game makers aren't there to deliver one, especially a great one, let along several great ones. The key to a great console is the amount of great titles available to it.

Charles E. Hardwidge

I'd hate to think that Epic's Mark Rein's comments or Scott Miller's comments are final and that you can't even expect a Duke Nukem, or Unreal-based game out of it.

Both 3D Realms and Epic have made their contributions, along with many others, but their perspective is only one perspective. As you and others have pointed out, that perspective doesn't always hold water. In spite of both parties technical excellence, my thinking is there's a lack of strategic grip at the top, and that's got to be a big flag to a lot of eager competitors out there.

One of the best ways to predict the future is to design it, and that's why the platform, game, and marketing biases of the more noticeable players is so important and, in many respects, counter-productive to the development of a mature and respectable game industry. I've argued for many years that Quake et al have only marginally moved the industry forward, and have served as more of a brake than anything else.

With this emerging period of change and uncertainty, I'm pretty sure that something better will emerge from the mess. Customer demand seems to be firming in its need for better quality and cheaper products, and some of the smarter players are beginning to see the potential even if they don't, yet, fully grasp what's going on. If I were to put it bluntly, I think, the gaming establishment is going to get a hiding.

I could be wrong. We'll see.

homus

I see nintendo being seen as kiddie would work to their advantage this time. With old games available for download, parents (who grew up with the nes/snes) will want it and since most of the games (new/old) will be 'kiddie' (less violence/foul language) they will be able to play it with their kids. I think this concept of 'family console/entertainment' is wgat is needed in today's world where parents/kids connect is not that great.

Phrank

I think fdotorres hit the nail on the head when he said "I play A LOT MORE GC than PS2, I've bought like 3x more ps2 games, and that's what they [PS2] care about."

A blind squirrel finds an acorn once and a while, and I think that's what the PS1 and PS2 have done. They pump out so many games, that many are bound to be hits; it's the law of large numbers. I mean Sony couldn't have thought games like the quarky Katamari and hack n' slash God of War were going to be major hits. You can tell that by looking at their pro forma statements in the quarters before they were released. But, if you put out an average of 8 games a month (that's 2 a week), then you will get hits. BUT, you have to sift through a lot of the junk to find it.

In my humble opinion, if you compare the top 25 games on Gamecube and N64 versus the PS2 and PS1, then Nintendo blows them away, hands down. But, if you compare the top 100 games, I think Playstation has the upperhand. It's all a matter of your market: the hardcore gamers are going to go after the top 100 games (and thus, spend more money), but the casual and "normal" gamers are going to just shell out the cash for the top 25 or so great games or so.

Ninetendo, since they are purely a game company, not an electronics/software company, needs to keep up the quality of their 1st party titles, but ALSO be more in the game with the popular 3rd party titles. They can't take another generation of the public seeing commercials with games only for Xbox and/or PS2.

Demosthenes

Geez, my comments werent any more inflammatory than anyone elses here that I see, yet they were deleted.

Fascist vaporware developers!

YicklePigeon

Anyways, moving on, I've posted a topic over on the Blues Brothers Central forums located here: http://www.bluesbrotherscentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2374 - as regarding the Apogee Interview series and Prey weekly update. Perhaps we'll get some more 3DR forumer's through it :)

There was something else I was going to say, but I can't remember what, so I'll end this here :)

Regards,

Yickle.

Scott Miller

I'd just like to ask that Scott Miller and 3D Realms don't make a foregone conclusion based on their current assumptions whether or not to support the Nintendo Revolution.

We will happily support the Revolution, assuming it's capable of playing our games without too much compromise. (This is why Max Payne didn't appear on the Gamecube, not because we disliked that device or because it had the lowest sold units of the three, but because getting Max on that system was too difficult, and would have resulted in a game that was too far from the original for our liking.) It doesn't take much effort to port a game to a different console, so the real decision is more often based on how the finished game compares to the original version. Too big a delta means we won't pursue it, even if it means lost revenues. It's more important to maintain the brand's image.

I do not know how the Revolution will compare, horsepower- and graphics-wise to the X360 or PS3. Internally, we've talked about a Rev version of Prey, for example, but no one at our publisher has a dev kit as far as I know, and therefore no one has real world numbers. I really hope that the Rev stacks up, and becomes another viable platform for our future games.

Raphael

Try to controle a FPS with the revolution-controller.

That`s all I can say.

Freak

Hey that's an interesting comment about why you guys didn't put Max Payne on the Gamecube. What made it so difficult? Disc space? Specs? Controller? Something else about the architecture?

It's hard to fathom why it could be on the PS2, but wouldn't work on the Gamecube and that is has nothing to do with the market share of the consoles.

Scott Miller

I do not know the exact technical reasons why Max could not be ported. This determination was made by the third-party studio who did the Xbox and PS2 ports. The short of it was that it could be done, but it would take eight additional months, and too many compromises, so we decided not to pursue it.

Joe M

>This determination was made by the third-party studio who did the
>Xbox and PS2 ports. The short of it was that it could be done,
>but it would take eight additional months, and too many
>compromises...
That is a bit shocking. Outside of games requiring a full DVD of disc space, the GC is a more technically capable system than the PS2 in every way. It is well known by anyone who's worked on all three the the PS2 is the "lowest common denominator".

Questworld

If the Revolution is believed to be the "lowest common denominator" of the upcoming generation, do you suppose it'll be the basis for many upcoming multiplatform titles as the PS2 was?

On another note, I appreciate the response Scott. Now the question is do you suppose you can cook up a game with the Revolution in mind? Surely you must've done some games exclusively for one system or the other. If the "third-place" isn't such a big concern as long as the demographic is big, surely you can plan something for the Revolution. I don't want to nag or press the issue, it's just that since your company is one of the leaders in FPS games, I'd just like a great FPS title (i.e. as big a name as Halo, Half-Life 2, etc.) for the Revolution, if for nothing else it's because I've never liked dual-analogue control for such genres.

Garret

I work as a developer for a videogame company that does PS2/xbox/GC games.

My thoughts on the matter are pretty simple:

Nintendo focuses on people who like games. They turn a profit. Thats good business.

MS wants a box in your livingroom so that when they're in everyones' living room, they can turn around and be the financial gateway between content providers and you. They dont wanna make money from you, so they lose money on the console in the desperate hope that one day they'll be the only company to talk to when the content provider looks for the widest reach. (I also worked in the online advertising industry as a developer, so I know that space very well as well.)

Sony makes a console, and lets everybody including your grandmother make games for it, and with that approach, I think they will always sell the most units simply due to the library. Its a shame that money isn't put right back into making fantastic games.

My experience is that people who buy PS2 buy lots of other games. People who buy XBox usually have it bought for them by relatives because thats where MS rules; getting non computer/gamer people to choose their products when they don't know the space well because MS advertises like crazy. And Nintendo is for the connaisseur gamer that is looking for the gameplay, originality and asthetic appeal of games over production values and deep artistic assets and content.

We got an XBox360 dev kit back in december. It makes me shudder to think that the company developing Prey (it looks so hot, I am really digging what I've seen) didn't even get one till recently. It should be a matter of principle, developing for MS is always going to be getting into bed with somebody that wont remember your name in the morning, even if the sex was good. Screw em, they have enough money to keep anyone they want drunk until they've left in the morning and you're not even sober yet ...

Joe M

>Outside of games requiring a full DVD of disc space, the GC is a more technically capable system than the PS2 in every way. It is well known by anyone who's worked on all three the the PS2 is the "lowest common denominator".

Not so fast. The GC is a great platform, and definately capable of pushing more polys than the PS2, but there are a few issues with the GC:

You have to micromanage the assets due to the regular RAM, and the ARAM, so its more complicated, and harder to port depending on how your engine loads data into memory. It could be anything from a simple job to a real mess depending on how your assets are stored on disk and how your engine loads them into RAM. Its a nice technical feature, ARAM, but its makes things 'special' on the GameCube from an engine standpoint. If youre engine and pipeline was originally made to do PS2 only to begin with, this can put a real dampner on workflow AND technical resources.

The smaller space available on disc. Nuff said. Shouldn't be an issue in alot of games, but often if you develop for PS2/XBox first, you dont plan for the texture compression and sound compression required to fit on a GC disc.

The debugging environment is different, so its just another set of expertise and experience you need in order to do it. If the porting company doesn't have it, it can turn a 3 month job into an 8 month job because you're learning as you go.

Anyhow, its too bad from my standpoint. Nintendo's consoles have always kicked ass, but they've lost ground as the game industry has become a bit of a meat grinder; throw a bunch of artists and exclusive licenced content at a platform, and hope you hit the big one. Sony and MS are defiantely more 'business' oriented. Nintendo just does what they think is right for their industry; despite the slags they take, its hard to look at their balance sheet and fault them.

For a disclaimer, our company does mostly PS2/xbox and some GC, but I'm a Nintendo gamer from a consumer standpoint. But from a technology standpoint, theres the issue of technical momentum; now that the most games are made for PS2, thats where the efficiency lies and expertise with most dev houses. I really hope some places take risks with the Revolution, but the gaming industry is a bubble right now, and investors will always rush towards the easiest money until it corrects itself.

Charles E. Hardwidge

It's more important to maintain the brand's image.

Building on the market, hardware and software products, and the long view, your argument in favour of 'positioning' and 'branding' fit neatly into that. What continues to trouble me is its qualitative aspect. It overlooks that positioning and branding are a slice of a bigger picture, not the the whole picture. Positioning and branding exist to build value for the producer, but it misses out the other half of the equation, quality and the customer.

You put a lot of faith in this, and there are many good reasons for that, but the underlying mentality is a strong contributor to dumbing down of games and the increase of power of publishers. Yes, developers can fight fire with fire, but somewhere in this the needs of the customer get lost. It all becomes an argument of categories, niches, and quantities. Making a direct comparison with politics, which uses the same tools, you can see an equal failure.

Without dragging over the history, both American politics and game development follow a strong marketing led strategy. This is killing politics and gaming as surely as a knife to the heart. Also, what is good for America is not necessarily good for the rest of the world. It's for reasons like this that, I think, it's the marketeers who don't 'get it', and why American games and politics has less traction the further you go east. This isn't just a cultural difference, it's an issue of character.

I guess, our ways are just too different to agree. This is a regret. Maybe, in time.

Stewart Quade

Just a quick update that apparently Unreal Engine 3 runs on the Revolution and Midway is looking for programmers/artists to work on a game for all three systems using the engine.

Also I wanted to add that while Nintendo's sole franchises appeal to everyone, but yes children are targeted with Mario, and teens with Zelda/Metroid. They have stated that they will never stop 3rd parties from developing Mature branded games for their consoles. It's up to developers to make this happen if they WANT it to. Mario may never start shooting hookers, but nowhere did they say no one else couldn't.(If that's everybody's 'thing' anymore) Hell Nintendo has relaxed so much on their censorship since the 16 bit days. Look at all of the Mature rated shooters on the N64 or even allowing naked breasts in BMX:XXX(terrible game)while even Sony censored the nudity.

The only way Nintendo is going to be kept being labled as a "child's" machine is if developers and competitors keep labeling it as such. And if developers want this image to change. Then do something about it already.

George U.

I was born 1979 as i got older i was given the 1st video game system my mother and father had ever seen in there lives.Coming from a 3rd wrold country this was the best thing my father had ever bought me.In-E-WAY;It was an Oddyssey,then a Atari,NES,Sega,SegaCD,SuperNES,Panasonic 3DO,Playstaion,Ps2,Which i sold quick when i skipped school to go play Halo at a friends house from school.Althogh this dumbass had it hooked up to an old ass RCA tv.The ones with wood all around you know.Thats when i went out to get an XBOX.The life ive been living has alaways been around video games trust me i put my mama on it.To get to the point for all you Ps2 and Ps3 folks.Not to be stuck up but ive always been blessd with the best things in life like a plasma tv before ever mid class was able to get one.I have always been the 1st to get and have it.THE XBOX,AND 360,HAVE BEEN ONE THE BEST VIDEO GAME SYSTEM TO COME ACROSS.If you cant get things that cost $$$$$$$ then your just going to be missing out.To the HD erra in games and movies my the XBOX and MS company rise to the tope.

Raphael

source: http://revolution.ign.com/mail/

Hello Matt,

What are your thoughts in regards to 3D Realms CEO Scott Miller's comments on Revolution being Nintendo's last console?
Nintendo has stated that it is not out to compete with PS3 or X360 but rather developing a "quiet and affordable console". Do you think that it will inevitably end up as competition for Nintendo even when they've decided to take another road?

Best,

Ralph
New York

Matt responds: I can see where Scott Miller is coming from. I do, however, find it more than a little ironic that a person who has been working for a decade on a game for the dwindling PC market can so easily pass judgment on one of the most profitable videogame companies in the world. That said, I am looking forward to Duke Nukem Forever - not the PC version, mind you, but the inevitable console port, assuming the game does actually materialize.

If you downloaded yesterday's podcast, you undoubtedly heard us touch upon this subject, but I think it bears repeating for those who didn't. I strongly believe that any third party that already discounts Revolution has not bothered to do much research. It would be easy to predict that just because Nintendo's console does not jump headfirst into the so-called "HD era" that the company doesn't stand a competitive chance, but I think that shows ignorance to what the console does do, and its promise.

I don't mean to supply excuses for what could be a technically underpowered console, either. I'm an HD nut and I'm certainly going to miss higher-detail graphic on Revolution. At the same time, one thing I've learned with my Xbox 360 is that the graphics do eventually wear thin; that you come to expect them; and that when all is said and done, everything comes back to gameplay. Lately, when I pop on Xbox Live, I see that most of my friends are playing Zuma, a downloadable arcade game with primitive graphics.

I'm under the impression that Nintendo is on purpose or by accident onto something with Revolution - assuming, that is, that the controller works as well as we've all been told that it does. There is so much potential with the device to make games play a hell of a lot better and on top of that to invent brand new gameplay types. Games that would not be fun on a competing console could be downright addictive on Revolution simply because of the new controller. And with an attractive price point and a slew of pick-up-and-play titles, what's to stop the machine from becoming a huge success? Certainly a lot of us, myself included, predicted that the PSP would stomp the DS, and yet Nintendo's handheld remains in the lead despite inferior technology.

So no, I absolutely do not agree with developers who have already shrugged off Revolution. I will go one step farther. I do believe that Revolution could become market leader in the next round if everything were to fall exactly in place. In my mind, it has that much potential.

Greg Webster

I really would'nt compare Nintendo to Disney. Disney really hasn't had a breakout hit in quite a while come from their own studio, while Nintendo is about the opposite. Nintendo makes their own games and systems with high standards and hopes other developers will see the advantages and follow along, much like Apple did with the first generation of iPods. I hope that, like Apple, the DS and Revolution will be able to gain a stronghold on the next generation as the pinnacle that Sony and Microsoft will try to reach. As a gamer, I love the games coming out on other systems, but none of them seem to hold my attention as long as Nintendo games can. While Halo 2 lasted me about 50 hours of gameplay, Super Smash Bros. Melee is the game of choice on my college campus, getting about 10 hours of play a week. Hopefully, all three consoles will develop into the best they can be, but as it is, I can't personally see myself paying as much as the Xbox 360 and PS3 cost. I believe that the lower pricepoint will bring people in, and the new games will keep them Nintendo customers.

Joe M

>Without dragging over the history, both American politics and
>game development follow a strong marketing led strategy. This is
>killing politics and gaming as surely as a knife to the heart.
An interesting point Charles. Not unrelate in my mind to this comment from Greg W a couple posts down:

>I really would'nt compare Nintendo to Disney. Disney really
>hasn't had a breakout hit in quite a while come from their own
>studio, while Nintendo is about the opposite.
I agree Greg. I've been thinking about the Disney/Pixar acquisition, and what it tells us about North American corporate culture and how it works in regard to creative endeavors. Fundamentally it doesn't - it doesn't work I mean. Our corporate culture is strictly hierarchical, and over time inevitably focuses power on business people or money people. Disney is a perfect example. A company founded on a creative vision, but which by the early 90s had become a purely business-driven entity ... which to no one's surprise became creatively bankrupt, and now has had to resort to a $7.1B purchase to try and recover creative leadership. It will probably work for a while too - for just as long as Jobs, Lasseter et all retain decision making control on creative issues.

You can see these forces in game development all the time, which is Charles' point above. 98% of games have fixed release dates even though we know this will throttle quality. Those few companies able to buck the business/marketing-control standard - the Blizzards, Valves, Biowares, 3DRealms - are of course the only ones, like Pixar, that consistently make great games. And even though everyone knows this, even the business people, they seem institutionally incapable of surrendering the power to the creative which would let them make hit after hit!

Which brings us to Nintendo. Their philosophy, from everything I know, is not like North American business. They find creative people they can trust and give them control over the projects. They don't fix release dates. They have true prototyping processes to experiment with gameplay. They are, in other words, a polar opposite from Disney. And like Pixar they are consistently great at what they do, consistently profitable (and consistently accused of being about to expire! ;-).

Dan W

Hey Scott,

I agree that Nintendo has a kiddy image, hopefully they'll get rid of that image with the Revolution. They have a controller that's perfect for first person shooters, and I believe they'll take advantage of it.

I have to say I don't think the system is going to bomb. From the reactions I've seen, people are very excited. If Nintendo takes a step out and offers more "Mature" games I think the system will spread like wild fire due to it's low price point and the "new feel" it'll provide for games.

To wrap this up, I have to say I hope you're wrong about the Rev coming in last place, although it's certainly possible. Here's hoping that it's a success and 3DRealms can put out some kick ass games for it.

PS - Don't ever stop working on DNF, people joke about the development taking "forever". When you finish that game, the hype is going to be so high that every one is going to buy it. Even the old trailer looked awesome, I can't wait to see what changes you guys have made.

Charles E. Hardwidge

Scott's update that linked to the game market breakdown in the United Kingdom is only a snapshot. What it doesn't tell you is why PC's outnumber consoles, and what direction the future is going to take. The market for a unified media, gaming, and computing platform in the United Kingdom is massive, in my judgement. I mean, big. Really, really, BIG.

Fat, clunky, hot boxes like the PC are, long-term, dead in the water. The Japanese will make this market and, I believe, there's room for a British led European consortium to build this market, and America will, effectively, exit this market. The trend is there. Market opportunity, industrial capacity, and creative talent exists to deliver this. It's a question of when, not if.

The deeper reasons behind this are pretty clear to anyone who's been following domestic and foreign political, social, and economic trends. The potential for a levelling between North America, Europe, and the Far-East, to name the highest profile blocks, is going to have to kick in at some point. When it does, fortunes will be made and lost.

I have a long letter, from the relevant government minister, that outlines the deep relationship between Britain and Japan that's only, recently, been noticeable at a social and political level. I don't expect the forward momentum of this to slow. In fact, the minister seems confident in supporting and encouraging the relationship. Between the top and bottom, something's got to give.

I'm going to take a punt. Britain and Japan will own this market for a generation. Already, their respective strengths and weaknesses are an ideal industrial and cultural match. Much closer in many respects than between North America and their respective mainland neighbours. I could be talking complete nonsense but for one thing - British and Japanese governments merging policy agendas.

If there's something I've learned, when something looks odd it's best to have a look around you. Sometimes, the cause and effect is a little dilute and coming from multiple directions. Just because it isn't in your face doesn't mean it isn't there. If you go with the thing that's right in front of you, sometimes, you can be barking up the wrong tree. Things aren't always what they seem.

Wormstrangler

Last night, I sat down in front of a PS2 with my cousin and his girlfriend and chucked in the game Top Spin. My cousins girlfriend and me had the first game and seeing that neither of us had played the game before we started off pretty evenly.

That was until I learnt the controls by the 3rd set and the way the game flows and was able to put away anything she hit back. She was still stuck in the 3rd set 'button bashing'. Even when me and my cousin where telling her specifically how to play, she still resorted to button bashing.

And it hit me right there. Had we be using the revolution remote I'm sure she would have made a deadly player...

Considering that she's the most gamer girl that I know and was still having troubles with all those buttons and combos (even I was struggling with the power shots) it just goes to show that to expand the market to all the non-gamers the consoles really do need a better control system.

I hope the Revolution can do it.

halebard

Yeah Britain´s gonna rule the world!?! Sorry dude, but here in Germany the situation is totally twisted to how you describe your isle!

Charles E. Hardwidge

As with the European Union budget negotiations, halebard, someone has to take a lead to pull continental Europe together. Britain made a fair job of its recent EU presidency and the last round of EU budget negotiations. I think, a similar initiative could work with the fractured games industry. For it to properly work, people have to get over their nationalism and ego.

As with any human endeavour, only positive cooperation succeeds. Germany never did beat the British Empire. All fighting did was create the conditions for American dominance of the North Atlantic and, later, dominance of Asia-Pacific. Between Airstrip One and Naval Base One, America reinforces its dominance over Europe and Asia. Not a good thing in my book.

Without getting buried in some very complicated arguments about history, economics, and the exercise of power, I think, there's some scope to get through the difficulties ahead. In terms of influence and market penetration, America is set to lose ground. That is inevitable. What I'm hoping will emerge is a much more ordered and balanced global arrangement. I think, this is achievable and to everyone’s benefit.

Perhaps, in time, we can all be friends, and look back on this and smile.

Aaron

Wow, it's nearly surprising to see flaming happening here. I guess that's what happens when someone makes an informed guess on hardware projections over the next 3-5 years and that guess isn't exactly what a rabid fan wants to hear.
I'm personally really looking forward to the Revolution. I highly doubt it will be more successful than the GameCube, esssentially for the same reasons Scott already stated, but I'm excited nonetheless. I really hope developing on the system is easier now, though. In last gen, GameCube was the system that caused the most headaches for us.
I can't wait to see Prey on shelves! I was disappointed it didn't launch with the 360. I guess it'll make it in time for the "public" launch, hey? :) Sitting back with a real console, some Prey and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Aww yeah.

Ben

Hi Scott,

I'm really excited about Prey and I'm almost certain it's going to be the next major FPS akin to such titles as Half-Life, Doom, and Quake. I know that many casual gamers or even weary hardcore gamers would disagree with me that Prey is going to be the next prophet of FPS gaming, and they'd be quick to point out it's awkward story and strange gameplay as the reasons they believe it won't measure up. The reason I disagree with naysayers is the same reason your company chose to develop Prey: it offers something new and different.

All major successes in the gaming industry are successes because they've offered something new and different in terms of gameplay.
Innovation of gameplay is the gaming industry's single greatest road to success, not the refinement of what is already available. You can only refine the same gaming formula for a short time before it begins to turn from a refinement into a stagnant grind, and lately I haven't seen too many innovations in gameplay and the refinements have definitely to come to the end of their potential.

The only answer I can see to the lack of innovation and the cure for dwindling gameplay refinements is the Nintendo Revolution, and that's because of one reason: it offers something new and different.

Nintendo Revolution will turn heads and change minds and I hope your's is one of them Scott, because I think your company's innovative capabilities will greatly compliment the return of Nintendo.

Charles E. Hardwidge

I don't think 3D Realms are especially creative, and I'll tell you why. Very little of their technical innovation is beyond anyone well-versed in the fields. In some respects, even Carmack is a bit backward. The same is true of both their creative innovations. That's a pretty hard and narrow view, but I'm taking that route to highlight a point. Taking care to knock of the rough edges, and lay down challenging creative constraints isn't beyond anyone. Thinking Scott et al are something special just freezes you in the headlights.

Scott's cash pile helps, but it's not the money that's important. The biggest thing, I think, most developers, publishers, and gamers have to overcome is fear and doubt. No amount of money will make that one go away. It's an issue of character. Good leadership, whether it's by public examples like Scott and Carmack (to neutralise this), or private examples in the companies you work in, is the key factor in creative and commercial success over the long-haul.

There is nothing new or novel about this. Theory and practical examples litter history from one end to the other. Gaming doesn't exist in a world of its own. Thinking it does, and thinking you're different, just acts as a block to realising this. Heck, even Raph Kosters A Theory Of Fun, good though it is, is a restatement of principles that people knew about before history began. Sony and Nintendo both know this, primarily because of their different culture. So do many people in the West, but the penny hasn't dropped.

Oh, and another thing. Stop trying to compete. It's got to be the biggest killer of creativity and positive action on the face of the planet. All it does is suck you into a battle that distorts your view and drains resources. The problem is too many people, especially in America, have the view it's all about winning and gaining market share. You've already discovered that's not true, so why do people keep knocking heads? You need to back off and be more friendly. Just do and count the money afterwards.

The same applies in here as well.

Likoo

"and I love this one the most... Games with no game will finally have no crowd."

Scott, i guess you are speaking of Duke Nukem Forever babes @ past E3s, no ? :p
I bet with you that Revolution will be #1 in the next years for a simple reason : paddles and controllers are the main obstacle for games to reach the mainstream audience. With Revolution, if even our little sisters or grandmothers (aka the not usually playing crowd) can compete with us, Nintendo will be #1. My 2 cents.

Peace,

A fan.

Scott Miller

Likoo, a few worries I have about the Revolution controller (again, having no hands-on experience):

o Holding it may be tiresome to the arms. With a standard controller, I can lean my elbows on armrests or even put my hands in my lap as I'm leaning back, and only actually lift the controller during heated moments. But with the Rev controller it looks like you need to be waving it around in the air a lot more, and this may wear many gamers out. Really. Do not under-estimate this, unless it's also possible to rest the controller in the same way as current controllers.

o Holding two separate controllers--one per hand, connected by a cord--may be less intuitive, and therefore less mass market friendly--than the current controllers. Anyone remember how hard it was to go from keyboard control only on the FPS games, to mouse/keyboard control? Took quite a learning curve -- at least a few weeks to really nail it down. It's like rubbing your belly and patting your head, and many people have a hard time with working each hand in different ways.

Again, since I've not tested the controller, this is pure speculation. But, I can see these being real issues, slowing mass market adaptation.

I don't think 3D Realms are especially creative...
Charles, we choose to be creative within our area of focus, which is the shooter genre. Duke Nukem and Max Payne both brought many creative, never-seen-before elements to our genre. Prey will, too. We have a niche, and we stay within it, and therefore we might appear to be uncreative. But, I see it as a strength, as we are very well focused, and don't pretend to be able to make other types of games.

Mullinator

The controller does not need much arm waving, at least according to this hands on report:
http://money.cnn.com/2005/12/15/commentary/game_over/column_gaming/index.htm
It was designed so you could relax with it in your lap while just using your wrist movements for control.

All I can really say about the Revolution is that Nintendo really is on track to give us something that will be significantly more succesful than the Gamecube. I mean look at how much interest and hype is surrounding it despite the fact we have never even seen a single screenshot of a Revolution game, we don't even have a confirmed list of Revolution titles yet. That is an amazing feet.

The Revolution also seems to have more developer support now than the Gamecube did on release, add on to that the fact that Nintendo is likely to start gaining new customers that have never really played games before and you can start to see why I believe Nintendo will be far more succesful this time around than they were with the Gamecube.

Not only that but this system is really going to be the only thing that could make a true PC gamer decide to try out a console, I mean it really is the only system that can offer something that a PC can not. PC gaming and console gaming have always been in direct competition because they more or less offer the same thing in different packages. With the Revolution it is totally different.

Heck aside from Scott Miller here the only developer or industry rep I have really heard critisize Nintendo in any way was Mark Rein when he said this:
http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=61438

Even he however basically completely retracted his previous statements and said that he would really like to get his hands on a Revolution dev-kit after he had talked with Nintendo.
http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=61668

Charles E. Hardwidge

we choose to be creative within our area of focus

Heh. I'll let you have that one. We're not so different.

Thank you for the interesting discussion.

Ben

"Holding it [the Revolution controller] may be tiresome to the arms."

Millions of PC gamers move their arms, wrists, and all ten finger joints for hours upon hours of vigorous play when using the mouse & keyboard to control games and I don't see a large portion of PC gamers complaining about arm pains, in fact they seem to love the control scheme and they tout it as PC gaming's biggest advantage over console gaming. You even have to periodically pick up and reset the mouse's position, but all of that becomes second nature. The same rules will apply to the Revolution controller.

The demostation videos and images you've seen are exaggerations meant to spark interest in the product, afterall Nintendo isn't going to show some guy with a 5 o'clock shadow sitting on his couch playing Mario Bros. with a glum look on his face and not moving the controller much, they want to advertise the controller's main feature: movement, and that's why the people in the ads are moving around like nutcases and making all kinds of zany facial expressions.

In reality you can hold the controller as you would a standard controller (resting your arms by your sides) and it actually very precise and responsive.

I think you are passing on too much of the same old negative rhetoric that's already been show to be invalid by people who've had hands-on experience with the controller, something which you have yet to experience.

Stewart Quade

Scott you say you have yet to try the controller. So try the controller already to see how you feel about it.

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