Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pitying the fool.

you never hate the fool.. you pity them
                                            

Yes, I am using another 80's catchphrase in my crusade against game journalist stupidity. If people would stop giving me windows of opportunity, I would stop, but apparently that is not the case here as another website causes me to aim my laser sight their way to unload rounds of pure hollow tipped sarcasm.

Malstrom's Comments posted a thread featuring this article from The Motley Fool about the five reasons as to why Nintendo is Doomed, and they all have to do with broken memes and the 3DS. Let's take a look.

The 3DS -- Nintendo's (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) best hope at regaining its now fading relevance -- is finally coming. The Japanese gaming pioneer's updated handheld will hit the stateside market March 27.
Last week's announcement has fellow Fool Anders Bylund excited, but I'm not all that optimistic. Despite the killer specs, it's the wrong product at the wrong time with the wrong price.
Let me go over the five reasons why I believe the 3DS is going to fizzle rather than sizzle in two months.
1. It's too late
Gadgetry is evolving with every holiday season. Netbooks were all the rage in 2009, but they were bumped out by tablets in 2010. Gaming is also evolving quickly, and this means that Nintendo blew it back in September, when it added insult to injury by delaying the 3DS in the United States after hosing down its near-term financials.
I still don't think the 3DS would've been a hit had it come to retailers before the 2010 holiday season, but how many gamers have $250 burning holes in their pockets in March?
2. No one cares about 3-D outside of the multiplex
Television manufacturers put plenty of weight behind 3-D televisions this year, only to find that consumers really don't care.
The only real winners of 3-D have been leading 3-D outfitter RealD (NYSE: RLD) and super-sized cinematic experience creator IMAX (Nasdaq: IMAX), along with the movie studios and exhibitors that have turned to RealD and IMAX to boost average ticket prices. Outside of the multiplex, 3-D isn't much of a novelty.
Some may argue that home theaters have been slow to embrace 3-D because of the cumbersome specs, and that technology will make that point moot. If so, 3DS is sitting pretty as a glasses-free system.
But I don't buy it. Nintendo may have revolutionized the motion-based controller before Sony(NYSE: SNE) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) hopped on board last year, but depth in a small screen is like a Lamborghini in a school's speed zone. Folks won't care.
3. Toddlers are out
Nintendo has always appealed to the smallest of gamers, and the durable nature of 3DS' predecessors make it appealing for parents to hand over to entertainment-seeking toddlers.
Unfortunately, the 3DS may be a health risk. The product's label warns that children under six shouldn't use the 3-D functionality. It may hamper their vision development. Adults are also advised to stop playing if they begin feeling dizzy.
Lovely.
4. The price is too high
Consoles have shaved their prices sharply over the past couple of years, so the $250 price point is a bit of a shock. How can it cost more than the revolutionary Wii and the evolutionary Xbox 360?
It's also more expensive than the entry-level iPod touch -- and that's where I'm going next.
5. Apple owns Nintendo
"Nintendo 3DS is a category of one," Nintendo stateside chief Reggie Fils-Aime said in a statement last week. "The experience simply doesn't exist anywhere else."
Fils-Aime has had to eat his words before. He put down Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) last year, feeling that the success of Apple's App Store wasn't making a dent in Nintendo's handheld business.
"It doesn't look like their platform is a viable profit platform for game development because so many of the games are free versus paid downloads," he told video game website Kotaku last April.
If that's the logic going into putting out a $250 machine that requires $40 games, he's going to miss the mark again.
Apple sold nearly 43 million devices running Apple's iOS this past quarter. He may be right in arguing that App Store diversions aren't the full meals offered by Sony and Nintendo for their handheld systems, but the consumers appear perfectly fine to peck their way through Apple's free ad-supported or nearly free games.
The sum is greater than the hole
We can't write off Nintendo entirely. It still has a major advantage over Microsoft and Sony in that its biggest games are proprietary franchises. Sure, that didn't help Sega in its waning hardware days, but Nintendo isn't going away if the 3DS fails to quickly move its initial shipment of 4 million units.
The rub for Nintendo is that the industry is changing. Sales have been sluggish for most of the past two years. All three of the largest publicly traded game developers are trading in the teens and preteens. GameStop (NYSE: GME) shares were rocked this month, after the video game retailer posted disappointing sales.
Nintendo may believe that it's reinventing the portable gaming market, but it's not raising the bar. It's too late to hit the market with a handheld that parents won't buy for their young children and that older kids won't have time for given cheaper and readily available diversions.
What's next, Nintendo?

My turn. I place Spiracy in attack mode.


1. It's too late
Gadgetry is evolving with every holiday season. Netbooks were all the rage in 2009, but they were bumped out by tablets in 2010. Gaming is also evolving quickly, and this means that Nintendo blew it back in September, when it added insult to injury by delaying the 3DS in the United States after hosing down its near-term financials.
I still don't think the 3DS would've been a hit had it come to retailers before the 2010 holiday season, but how many gamers have $250 burning holes in their pockets in March?
 Gadgetry is evolving with every holiday season, however game consoles aren't necessarily considered in the same way as say the latest cellphone or an MP3 player. Consoles are a longer term investment for the companies that create them, and due to the fact that we have already reached a cap in graphics there really isn't much of a rush this time around to upgrade on a 4-5 year span. This is why the PS3 and 360 are looking to use add-ons to revitalize their declining sales. The Move and the Kinect are the product of this logic, as is Sony's newfound push for 3D enabled gaming.

To say that Nintendo 'blew it' by delaying the handheld by a few months just shows that the writer is definitely not the person I would want helming Nintendo. The Kinect and Move were shortly approaching, and if the 3DS released at that point it would of most likely downplayed all the big Wii games Nintendo wanted to push for the holiday season like Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Just Dance 2 which both did fairly well last month.  Delaying the 3DS to March is pretty fair considering January is economic recovery month for most people due to holiday shopping, and two months is adequate to set aside the amount of money required to get one. Nintendo understands it's mistakes from 2008, and have decided to space things out adequately to ensure that there is a constant flow of interest in it's games and products. using all your ammo at the beginning of a firefight is a hasty and bad decision, indeed.


2. No one cares about 3-D outside of the multiplex
Television manufacturers put plenty of weight behind 3-D televisions this year, only to find that consumers really don't care.
The only real winners of 3-D have been leading 3-D outfitter RealD (NYSE: RLD) and super-sized cinematic experience creator IMAX (Nasdaq: IMAX), along with the movie studios and exhibitors that have turned to RealD and IMAX to boost average ticket prices. Outside of the multiplex, 3-D isn't much of a novelty.
Some may argue that home theaters have been slow to embrace 3-D because of the cumbersome specs, and that technology will make that point moot. If so, 3DS is sitting pretty as a glasses-free system.
But I don't buy it. Nintendo may have revolutionized the motion-based controller before Sony(NYSE: SNE) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) hopped on board last year, but depth in a small screen is like a Lamborghini in a school's speed zone. Folks won't care.


 While I do agree that 3D televisions were met with much scrutiny, and the returns were far less than what manufacturers thought, 3D TV as it is currently is inherently flawed. I don't even have to begin in explaining that most new technologies are incredibly expensive on first release, which is one of the big reasons why 3D televisions are slow to catch on. Let's not even go into the fact that people have just gotten used to having to shell out cash for flatscreen televisions to replace their CRTs back in 2009  and are being told that they absolutely have to have this new television that shows things in one dimension more than the one they already have. Factor in the expensive glasses that are needed for each person viewing the 3D TV and you have something that would appeal to the technophile, but would not do the same for the common consumer.

With this logic it makes the most sense for 3D to work in the theater, but even then we have the same problems with lack of compelling content. There is a incredibly clear difference between films that were made for 3D versus movies that have the effect pinned on towards the end of production. This would be the same case in terms of game development. Some games are going to be designed with the feature in mind to make a more compelling experience, and some games are just going to have it tacked on to make it a must sell. Again, this echoes the same sentiment that motion based gaming had when it hit the scene, and as we all know Nintendo seems to be still ruling the roost on that end.

Another thing that bothers me about this statement is the writer assumes that the 3D technology is the only draw of the system, as if it's being treated like MS and Sony's add-ons. This is obviously not the case, considering there are tons of other features to draw people in like the Virtual console, Augmented Reality gaming, and the ability to use the device in other ways. The small screen (which just so happens to be larger than the previous DS screens)  also provides a cheaper alternative to buying a 3D Television while penetrating the demographics that can't otherwise afford one at this time. One also suspects that logically, this is a clear move to beat Sony at their push for 3D gaming before they can establish a foothold (going off the article link that would likely be a year or two from now when the parts are cheaper to manufacture - additionally, by that time the 3DS will likely be on it's first redesign or at least have one in the works).


3. Toddlers are out
Nintendo has always appealed to the smallest of gamers, and the durable nature of 3DS' predecessors make it appealing for parents to hand over to entertainment-seeking toddlers.
Unfortunately, the 3DS may be a health risk. The product's label warns that children under six shouldn't use the 3-D functionality. It may hamper their vision development. Adults are also advised to stop playing if they begin feeling dizzy. 
Lovely.

For it's price and the advanced features of the device, if you're buying it for toddlers you have far too much disposable income. I assume you also buy your toddlers Ipads and Beats headphones so they can listen to Elmo's sing-a-long songs in style.

all joking aside - I'm amazed as to how incredibly dumb that statement is. It's almost like the writer reached into his ass a hat and pulled out this argument. This is why I'm not even going to counter this part with anything, because seriously... no.

As for the health risks of 3D. I think it would be advantageous for anyone to discuss the dangers of any technology. If not to cover their asses in the event of someone actually harming themselves from extended use of the device, it also proves that they are showing some concern towards the consumers.


Then again this has for the most part been the case for Nintendo since the epilepsy notations in manuals in the lae 80s early 90s. With great power comes great responsibility, and all that.


4. The price is too high
Consoles have shaved their prices sharply over the past couple of years, so the $250 price point is a bit of a shock. How can it cost more than the revolutionary Wii and the evolutionary Xbox 360?
It's also more expensive than the entry-level iPod touch -- and that's where I'm going next.


 Let's forget the fact that the Wii and 360 aren't anywhere near launch price anymore. Let's forget that even the PS3 with all the bells and whistles was about a little over half a grand at launch. Also, let's completely ignore the fact that the Ipad is somewhere between 500 and 700 dollars not including data plan costs.

these are all details that are largely ignored in order to present some sort of faux shock at a somewhat reasonable $250 dollar price tag. Again, the price makes it more effective in terms of what the handheld provides in terms of value. people can't watch 3D movies or television shows on an Ipad or Ipod Touch/ Iphone (yet). To do so would mean having to force the userbase to upgrade to a newer model which would be costly and as slow to adaptation as the current Ipad has been. Personally, 250 is a 'sweetspot' that will do well to net the early adapters, and technophiles who preordered. Once the Lite version hits everyone else who wants one will follow.


5. Apple owns Nintendo
"Nintendo 3DS is a category of one," Nintendo stateside chief Reggie Fils-Aime said in a statement last week. "The experience simply doesn't exist anywhere else."
Fils-Aime has had to eat his words before. He put down Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) last year, feeling that the success of Apple's App Store wasn't making a dent in Nintendo's handheld business.
"It doesn't look like their platform is a viable profit platform for game development because so many of the games are free versus paid downloads," he told video game website Kotaku last April.
If that's the logic going into putting out a $250 machine that requires $40 games, he's going to miss the mark again.
Apple sold nearly 43 million devices running Apple's iOS this past quarter. He may be right in arguing that App Store diversions aren't the full meals offered by Sony and Nintendo for their handheld systems, but the consumers appear perfectly fine to peck their way through Apple's free ad-supported or nearly free games.
The sum is greater than the hole. 

 I.... I just don't even know what to say at this point......

What do you think of that comment, George Takei?



Indeed.

By the reasoning stated.. Apple owns Nintendo, and yet Nintendo controls and creates their own content for their consoles. In doing so they provide a level of polished content that leads the way for other developers instead of leaving developers to just play around in the sandbox only to have a few come up with good games here and there.

This appears to be the crown jewel of this argument and yet, you can clearly see the Apple fanboyism in this reasoning. I like Apple, and I enjoy Nintendo's products, but I'm not naive enough to believe that the two can compete on even footing, because their differences are too pronounced.  Nintendo has advantages that Apple cannot provide at this point. I can't even play Street Fighter 4 on an Ipod Touch without the controls obscuring vital portions of the viewing area. Personally, that's a deal breaker. And now that I have SF4, and BlazBlue and possibly more Fighters on the go with wifi enabled bonuses and buttons. I think I'm pretty sure where my interests lie.

So that's pretty much all I have to say, and I can't think of any better way to end this ranticle than with Mr T, himself summing up my feelings of the writer's half-assed attempt of trying to score hits.




Game On!

3 comments:

  1. Great post! XD

    To be honest... when I these people make these mediocre asertions, it kinda makes me feel that the 3DS has a bright future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the 3DS will be just fine. It has enough going for it to where it's an intriguing item, and the games that will make it a must purchase item will be coming soon enough.

    These guys are just looking for something to complain about because this is the only interesting console news floating around, lately.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think what you just about mentioned but didn't quite elaborate on is how these analysts and writers forget Nintendo and Apple are making products in different fields, and for different audiences. There is no 'war' between them, and one won't replace the other. Most people buying Apple products aren't buying them for video games (although they'll try them for the cheap prices found in the app store), and the high sales of the downloadable games don't really matter as much when each games is being sold at maybe a tenth of the price of a Wii or DS or in future, 3DS game.

    As for the rest of the article, I agree on your comments. The point about toddlers and too much disposable income is definitely something I've seen before, it seems there's quite a few people spending a ridiculous amount of money buying high priced tech for young kids. Still, here's something the author probably didn't consider...

    How many parents (presuming they'd be the ones who'd have bought a DS for a three year old) would actually READ the safety information, or even consider it before buying the console? I'm pretty sure the number is less than one percent. If people don't read the manual, or care for the 'don't stay in front of the TV for hours on end, take breaks' advice, are they going to read said label or care?

    The too late argument makes no sense anyway, so I'm ignoring it.

    The second argument is funny, because apparently, not as many people care about 3D IN the multiplex/cinema, let alone outside of it. At least the 3DS can justify the price with more than just 3D, unlike the raised prices for 3D movies.

    The price being too high is a fairly mediocre argument. Especially as I repeat, people don't buy the Ipad and the 3DS for the same reasons.

    But nice article anyway!

    ReplyDelete