Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 9.21.07

PSP outsells DS in Japan
Square’s Final Fantasy VII spin off for the PSP, Crisis Core, sold half a million copies last week. It also sold PSPs. Possibly not all of the 95 thousand Sony sold in the week, but likely around 80 thousand, which is how many more units were sold than the previous week. Sony’s business strategy should be clear – simply release a spinoff of one of the most beloved games of all time once a week and the PSP will handily outsell the DS in Japan 1.2 to 1.

Or, to quote someone from a forum I read:
“If DS stopped selling and PSP continued at this rate, it would catch up in 139.7 weeks (May 21, 2010).”

Does anyone else feel nauseous?

Home delayed till Spring
Good for Sony. I’d rather they take the extra time to polish Home than release it early. Nintendo’s Reggie recently mocked Home by saying something glib like, “I think that exists already, it’s called Second Life.” If they can pull it off, I think Home will be one of the coolest things about the PS3 and one of the best social networking ideas in recent gaming – though I still haven’t seen the “Check Mii Out” channel. That’s a joke, it’ll be lame.

The problem for Sony will be making Home a system seller. In some ways, it appeals to the same hardcore demographic as the cell processor and Blu Ray drive. My mom doesn’t know how to use email, she sure as hell isn’t interested in buying a system so she can cultivate her virtual persona. And most of the nerds who spend all of their waking time chatting on the internet may already have a PS3. Anyone with real life friends isn’t going to spend $500 on a fancy version of AIM, whereas Halo 3 or Final Fantasy XIII may be worth spending that much.

If it’s not a system seller (based off previous assumptions) then why is Sony spending so much time on it?

Sonic and Mario at the Olympics to sell 4 million units
Some Sega guy declared that the crossover game that pairs Sonic and Mario characters at their most obvious meeting place, the Olympics, will sell 4 million copies. The game will come out on the Wii and DS, which are both popular among people too ignorant to know how shitty it’s going to be, so it is possible, but unlikely, that this prediction comes true.

Wii Sports 2 would be too easy for Nintendo
Nintendo president Iwata recently said in a conversation with the guy behind the Mother series that making Wii Sports 2 would be the easy way to go and is not what Nintendo will do. This must be a new company policy. Not to say Nintendo doesn’t take risks and make innovative stuff, but for every new idea they put out 43 sequels.

Creating a sequel but changing the game mechanics has always been something Nintendo was fond of – Miyamoto has said that there is no reason to create new characters and new worlds unless the new game design ideas he comes up with cannot fit into a pre-existing franchise. So then how would making Wii Sports 2 with entirely different sports not fit into this idea of using old franchises for new designs?

“You’re right, the broken English translation of this conversation is funny!”

In his defense, the entire conversation with Iwata is very interesting. He argues that by going after wider audiences Nintendo is doing the riskier more daring thing. This seems to be in contradiction with common “Nintendo is destroying the industry” logic that states making tons of mini-games and casual games to appeal to everyone is a cheap way to guarantee success. Iwata is probably right that reaching out to new audiences was actually a risk, but doing nothing differently after the Gamecube would’ve damned Nintendo, so he had little choice.

Radio Shack to carry games
Radio Shack is a worthless store. Once upon a time they sold actual electronic bits and pieces, but those didn’t move quickly enough so they got rid of everything more technical than a soldering iron and replaced it all with cell phones. The store has finally decided they are tired of being obsolete and so are now diving into the video game market. Only gamers already have an evil chain that sells them games and the market for non-game only evil retailers is flooded. It’s hard to say a company Like Radio Shack is even competent enough to be evil, but we can make exceptions (see US President).

Lair dev criticizes motion control in Warhawk
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This guy’s game was crappy but he is telling us other people suck, get it?

Besides the obvious humor, I think Eggebrecht has a point. I’ve learned that advice from fat doctors and dentists with bad teeth is not always wrong – ignore how poorly Lair controlled, in principle it still makes more sense to use general motions to control a dragon than a vehicle. Fine, that argument may be reaching, but I do like Eggebrecht’s point that motion control shouldn’t be stuck everywhere.

When Nintendo released the DS everyone complained when a game came out that didn’t use the stylus. Now that we have dozens of great DS games we realize not every game needs to use all the system’s features to succeed. The Wii is facing a similar challenge now. If a game doesn’t use the motion sensing enough people complain that they could’ve played it on a different console, and so developers get fixated on shoehorning motion into every game.

Twilight Princess should be the example of how to do a Wii game. The motion controls greatly complemented a deep, long title. I’m worried that the Star Wars Light Saber game, the KOEI sword fighting game and Dragon Quest Swords will all have the same problems – they will be short and shallow. If a developer is not creative enough to come up with really compelling ideas for the wand, they should not base entire games off of its abilities, but rather integrate them gracefully into a game in a cohesive manner.

It’s good because it looks good.

I’d say no games should be designed entirely based on the new interfaces, but the Phantom Hourglass proves a talented team can make something amazing while limiting themselves to one new input. Did you like how I managed to make a news story about Lair end up being about Nintendo?

Jack Thompson sues to have himself removed from GTAIV
In the first mission in Grand Theft Auto IV you are tasked with killing an attorney. Before you kill him he says that guns don’t kill people, video games do. This is very funny, but is only getting Thompson press. He has no legal, intellectual, ethical, scientific or other high ground in his crusade against things he deems impure. This means that in many ways he is nothing more than a pop star or reality TV show contestant enjoying 15 minutes of fame. After so many failed lawsuits, absurd threats and scaremongering, Thompson is almost famous for being famous and the best way to make people like him go away is to stop paying attention. Ignore Jack Thompson the bisexual pedophile as best you can and he will disappear, or at least become irrelevant.

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16 years ago

Considering there is a Radio Shack in walking distance of my house in the city, that news is kind of nice.

Wait, if I take the longer way home through Glen Burnie I pass by Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, two Gamestops and locally owned import joint Power Gamer.

I guess Radio Shack isn’t so important after all.

16 years ago

Think of the possibilities though, christian. You could get a new car charger for your phone AND a copy of Cabella’s Big Game Hunting! I know my mind is blown!

Regarding S&MatO, I seem to recall that Olympics games always sell freakishly well without good gameplay or mascot crossover. Adding Mario (and to a much lesser degree Sonic) looks like it can only print more money. 4 million doesn’t appear at all unlikely.

Golden Jew
16 years ago

When FF7-9 come out on the PSP, I will buy one. And then I will cry quietly in the night because I’m a Square fanboy.