Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 6.23.06

A CNN reporter grades the current generation of consoles
Apparently the tone he takes (he treats the systems like school kids) is supposed to be funny and/or clever. He gives the PS2 an A, the Xbox a B-, the Gamecube a D and the Gameboy Advance an A. The Xbox actually sold worse than the Cube worldwide, but since when do American journalists bother themselves with other countries?

This article reminds me of a feature in the newest EGM where they give grades to the future of each system. Somehow the Gamecube ends up with a lower grade than the Xbox despite the Xbox getting no new first party games and one or two 3rd party exclusives. The Cube gets the new Zelda, Super Paper Mario, a new Donkey Konga game, and from Namco the sequel to Baten Kaitos.

My life has been so empty without you.

New Futurama episodes!
This is the first not game news I’ve posted here. I think this may be more important than games, though, so it’s ok.

New from a Nintendo corporate meeting
The Wii will be sold at a loss it seems, but a small one. There go my hopes of a $10.99 console. Nintendo thinks that the Wii will be a failure if it doesn’t sell far more than the Gamecube. They always seemed content with being number 2 worldwide as long as they made profits; let’s hope this is still the case and the criteria for failure is being set based on their new goal of expanding the market. Also, Nintendo president Iwata mentioned that he helped name the Wii. Direct blame as appropriate.

Finally, the last interesting bit comes from the manager of Nintendo’s research department. Genyo Takeda said this about developing the Wii:

“Talking about the process on how we come up with new console ideas, Wii development was the hardest in my own experience. Nintendo has developed NES, Super NES, N64, and GameCube, and when we looked back, I felt that we were just rushing forward following Moore’s Law, or just making new products in the linear extension line following the evolution of semiconductors. Now that we have broken away from the boundary, we are committing ourselves to see and exploit the technologies in order to extend the entertainment into any direction. I think we have reached the level that will allow us to do so.”

Interview with Sony’s Jack Tretton
This guy seems disconnected from reality. Highlights include:

“TheStreet.com: The general reaction to Sony’s presentation at E3 this year seemed to be disappointment. How did the company view it internally?

Jack Tretton: We were really pleased.

TheStreet.com: Microsoft is going to have somewhere between 6 million and 10 million Xbox 360s sold by the time Sony gets to market. How do you catch up?

Jack Tretton: …if a competitor gets to 6 to 10 million worldwide, I would not consider that to be a significant advantage or a significant disadvantage as far as we’re concerned.

TheStreet.com: Arguably what determines which box wins is which one has the best games.

Jack Tretton: No question.

TheStreet.com: So are you saying that not having an exclusive on Grand Theft Auto doesn’t hurt you at all?

Jack Tretton: No, I don’t think it hurts us. No, I really don’t.”

Tretton seems to be taking a different stance than Kutaragi and some of the other Sony guys when he agrees that games determine the winner. If this were actually Sony’s stance, they wouldn’t constantly say stupid shit about how we are “getting a lot of value” for the price, how the PS3 is a computer, and how the PS3 offers what the other systems don’t. Kutaragi has even said the PS3 is not a games system, so why then should the quality of games be the ultimate measure of it?

Sony is right, exclusives never really helped sell their consoles.

The quote about GTA is the one that made all the headlines this week. Sony seem to be de-emphasizing 3rd party exclusives, which is odd since the PS2 and PS1 “won” their generations with 3rd party exclusives. For every God of War Sony puts out, they release a Final Fantasy X, a GTA3, a Jack and Daxter and a Ratchet, Clank, Sly and Klonoa. In fact, Sony’s strategy for keeping the PS2 a viable platform is to release God of War 2, a Sony 1st party exclusive, along with Final Fantasy XII and Okami, both third party exclusives.

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17 years ago

I’ve always liked Chris Morris on CNN, and while I don’t like the D grade, I do understand his choice of writing style and most of his comments. His column, being on CNN Money, is not quite geared towards gamers as much as business types/yuppies/non gamers. In that sense I think he distilled the basics of each console down fairly well. The Xbox really did well for itself for a brand new entry, and had a lot of good ideas. With Nintendo, a D is a bit harsh, actually really harsh, but I can understand where he gets some of his points. I agreed with Nintendo’s wait and see approach on online gaming this gen, but it was the biggest fad in the industry, so you have to expect the pundits to chastise them for it. Furthermore, I do agree that their projects lacked some heart. Wind Waker was good, and Mario was good, but OOT and Mario 64 are legendary. When you bring such gaming classics to the world, it isn’t easy for anyone to satisfy the now astronomical expectations of the press and mainstream, so you have to expect some (arguably unecessary) criticism. That being said, I still think some of their 1st party efforts could have been a little stronger (outside of Prime, which is my favorite console game this generation).

The only thing I thought was flat out ridiculous was his claims of Nintendo being on the verge of pulling out of the console biz. They’ve made solid profits with the Cube, and the whole “expulsion” theory is nothing more than a doom and gloom scenario brought about by mindless fanboys. It took Sega millions in the hole to give up the ghost. Since when has Nintendo ever been close to that financial situation?

The EGM article, on the other hand, baffles me. Literally, the Xbox has no new games to look forward to. Its dead to pretty much everyone. The only thing I can possibly think of that justified that rating is a stream of multi platform releases, but that is a major stretch. Twilight Princess alone beats out anything on the original Xbox this year.

Then again, look how much more critical 1up.com is of Sony and positive towards Nintendo, compared to EGM’s complete opposite stance. I think it is easy to tell which one has the honest opinions of editors, and which one is made to appeal to a certain audience in hopes of attracting subscriptions.