GWJ Conference Call Episode 221

Conference Call

rabbit Discovers Mass Effect 2, Elysium Plays With Kinect, We Revisit Our Predictions From 2010, Predict 2011, Read Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian, Elysium and Jonathan make their bold predictions for 2011 and revisit their 100%, completely accurate predictions from 2010. Completely.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

Sponsor

CastMedium
Good Old Games

Mass Effect 2
Kinect

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

wordsmythe wrote:
Sorax wrote:

Anecdotally, a quick survey around my office revealed not a single person that agreed with the statement "Do you consider iPad and DS competing devices?"

Probably because it's not a statement. Bazinga!

Uhg. There's always one of you guys around.

Sorax wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Sorax wrote:

Anecdotally, a quick survey around my office revealed not a single person that agreed with the statement "Do you consider iPad and DS competing devices?"

Probably because it's not a statement. Bazinga!

Uhg. There's always one of you guys around.

You must be new here. Welcome!

wordsmythe wrote:
Sorax wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Sorax wrote:

Anecdotally, a quick survey around my office revealed not a single person that agreed with the statement "Do you consider iPad and DS competing devices?"

Probably because it's not a statement. Bazinga!

Uhg. There's always one of you guys around.

You must be new here. Welcome!

Aww, Wordy initiation. So cute.

Sorax wrote:

Anecdotally, a quick survey around my office revealed not a single person that agreed with the statement "Do you consider iPad and DS competing devices?"

I don't think the 3DS and iPad are competing either. I am much more in Certis' camp that iOS is more of a diversion than destination for gaming. I never get the urge to play games on my wife's iPhone. EVER.

I play a few things on our iPad, but I bet I spent more time on a free Solitaire app than anything else. Plants vs. Zombies is probably iPad perfection, though. After one of the mindless Sally Spa type games, my wife spends most of her time in ArtPuzzle HD doing jigsaw puzzles.

What struck my wife most about the iPad, on top of how all three of us use it nearly daily, is just how differently we use it. I mostly surf the web, read comics, and occasionally watch Netflix stuff. My daughter watches videos on youtube, streams music and downloads countless silly apps. My wife uses it as a guide for when she plays video games, patterns for knitting, and for recipes while cooking. She also reads, plays puzzles.

But really, none of that is what a DS is used for. Right now, my daughter claims she has no interest in the 3DS. But if Pokemon Black is a 3DS only game, it's going to be on her must have list. Her DS is primarily a Pokemon player for her.

The 3DS will succeed based on gaming franchises Nintendo knows will move units. It may be Pokemon for my daughter, but there are a bunch of others for other Gameboy fans. For whatever reason, Sony can pull off the same feat. No one has to have a PSP for PSP specific titles like you see in the DS platform.

Jayhawker wrote:

The 3DS will succeed based on gaming franchises Nintendo knows will move units. It may be Pokemon for my daughter, but there are a bunch of others for other Gameboy fans. For whatever reason, Sony can pull off the same feat. No one has to have a PSP for PSP specific titles like you see in the DS platform.

That's because Sony doesn't have any major PSP franchises. Outside of JRPGs and Monster Hunter (which, as garion points out, is huge in Japan) almost all of the big titles for the PSP are scaled-down ports of PS3 games: Chains of Olympus, Peacewalker, etc. What Nintendo has done a great job with is developing franchises that appear primarily or exclusively on the DS: Pokémon, Dragon Quest, etc. Until Other M came along, I was sure that Nintendo was transforming Metroid into a portable franchise, as well.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Until Other M came along, I was sure that Nintendo was transforming Metroid into a portable franchise, as well.

Slightly off topic, but Metroid on portable systems has been great before. They've since stopped making proper Metroid games for handhelds when they went to 3d, yes? Perhaps now Nintendo may do a Metroid on the 3DS as the hardware is a bit better at 3d stuff than the DS is.

I'd still rather they do a 2d series, but ...

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

The 3DS will succeed based on gaming franchises Nintendo knows will move units. It may be Pokemon for my daughter, but there are a bunch of others for other Gameboy fans. For whatever reason, Sony can pull off the same feat. No one has to have a PSP for PSP specific titles like you see in the DS platform.

That's because Sony doesn't have any major PSP franchises. Outside of JRPGs and Monster Hunter (which, as garion points out, is huge in Japan) almost all of the big titles for the PSP are scaled-down ports of PS3 games: Chains of Olympus, Peacewalker, etc. What Nintendo has done a great job with is developing franchises that appear primarily or exclusively on the DS: Pokémon, Dragon Quest, etc. Until Other M came along, I was sure that Nintendo was transforming Metroid into a portable franchise, as well.

That's an interesting perspective. I've always wondered why Nintendo has never attempted to make a proper Pokemon game for a home console. I suppose putting it on multiple platforms could lessen the demand for the 3DS, as those Pokemon fans could get their fix elsewhere. That isn't an option at present.

Irongut wrote:

Oh, on a totally different topic, I thought it was cool you called out some of the entitlement during the Steam Sale. It was hard not to pause in disbelief at a couple points it showed up in the Steam Sale thread. 50% off let alone the 75 - 80% off not being enough in some cases is just crazy. I mean we all appreciate cheap, but it was an End of year Sale, not an End of Year Free event. Maybe it was just folks being intoxicated with sales fever.

I dunno, I interpreted most of those comments as "Meh, even with a 50% discount that particular game is still more expensive than my current interest level justifies me paying, but I would have picked it up to have a look if it was $10" rather than "OMG I want game X so much but it's unfair that they're charging $20 for a AAA title". I can see why it'd look like entitlement at first glance, but on this site at least I suspect it's more a reflection of everyone's piles being too big to justify buying games unless you're either really excited about them or they're down into McDonald's prices.

Sonicator wrote:
Irongut wrote:

Oh, on a totally different topic, I thought it was cool you called out some of the entitlement during the Steam Sale. It was hard not to pause in disbelief at a couple points it showed up in the Steam Sale thread. 50% off let alone the 75 - 80% off not being enough in some cases is just crazy. I mean we all appreciate cheap, but it was an End of year Sale, not an End of Year Free event. Maybe it was just folks being intoxicated with sales fever.

I dunno, I interpreted most of those comments as "Meh, even with a 50% discount that particular game is still more expensive than my current interest level justifies me paying, but I would have picked it up to have a look if it was $10" rather than "OMG I want game X so much but it's unfair that they're charging $20 for a AAA title". I can see why it'd look like entitlement at first glance, but on this site at least I suspect it's more a reflection of everyone's piles being too big to justify buying games unless you're either really excited about them or they're down into McDonald's prices.

I agree with the bolded bit especially. This forum does have a dominant collector aspect to it, and if a game is good (by some universal definition of good) it should be acquired, even if it's not to someone's particular tastes that they would have already bought it. I found myself able to pass on loads of 'so cheap it's nearly stealing' offers as I just didn't think I'd have fun playing them.

So, there's no doubt in my mind that iOS has not only eaten into my personal use of PSP/DS, it's changed the landscape for kids. Two years ago, every 6-12 year old I knew (and I know a lot), had, talked about, and obsessed over their DS. Now, almost without exception, they have iPod Touches or hand me down deactivated iPhones. Where my daughter's friends once rambled on about pokemon, now they talk about PopCap games, Cut The Rope and Angry Birds.

Having just returned from a long week at disney, during which I saw many many many kids in lines and on busses, I saw almost no DS's come out. I saw boatloads of iPhones/Touches.

Are the games the same/better? Nope. They're different experiences for different input schemes. Just like Dual Strike would be pretty much impossible on a phone, so too would I like to see a PSP version of bejeweled you could actually play.

I guess I sound like a fanboy, but honestly, since I own and buy games for all three handheld platforms, I have a hard time stomaching that. I'm just watching the buying patterns of tweens from a first hand perspective, and from what I see, nobody but the most dedicated poke-obsessed are even talking about their DSs.

One last thing: the killer app of iOS isn't a specific game, it's licensing and distribution. The handmedown iphone thing is not insignificant, and that I have 5 licensed iOS devices legally off the same single $10 purchase of Plants vs. Zombies makes a difference. The fact I can buy new games for my kids while on airplane WiFi makes a difference. And the fact that I can load Harry Potter books, audiobooks and movies onto it makes a difference.

With Verizon hitting the iPhone watters, 10 million or so iPhones will be hitting the handmedown basket soon. I think that some fraction of that is DS's not sold to a 9 year old.

Y'all called me crazy when I said iPhones were a gaming device, and then again when I said the iPad was a gaming device. I stand behind both. Portable devices without robust online capabilities will simply fail in the next few years.

I'm totally with you on that one rabbit. Much as I despise Apple and Jobs, the iPod Touch and the iPhone are fantastic devices, and more to the point, Apple gets the point and the power of online distribution in a way that not even Valve yet understands.

Industrialization and mass production gave us mass market economics.

The Internet gives us mega market economics - when distribution is so cheap and the market is so unimaginably huge that even giving away things for free can paradoxically earn hard cash.

Piracy on the internet is nigh unstoppable because of the sheer distibution power of the Internet. Companies have been fighting it and fighting it and fighting it, and to their own detriment. Apple wised up. Turbine wised up. Instead of damming an unstoppable river and charging for passage, harness the flow and generate electricity instead.

Apple's free and nearly-free games (a dollar each!!!) is the proper competitive price point for games with small studios and pure online distribution models. As I've said before, the future of gaming is FREE (or nearly so).

That said, I don't see Nintendo floundering just yet. The initial price point of the DS is low enough that dedicated, sought-after franchises can still sell the system. In a very real way, Nintendo was able to sell Wiisports as a $200 game and sold it by the millions. Their hardware doesn't sell itself the way Apple does it. They sell the software - the hardware comes with the software, not the other way around.

LarryC wrote:

That said, I don't see Nintendo floundering just yet.

That's pretty much true. Any given year isn't when millions of handhelds suddenly get thrown in the bin, but over a longer time period offline devices will probably be obsolete.

LarryC wrote:

That said, I don't see Nintendo floundering just yet. The initial price point of the DS is low enough that dedicated, sought-after franchises can still sell the system. In a very real way, Nintendo was able to sell Wiisports as a $200 game and sold it by the millions. Their hardware doesn't sell itself the way Apple does it. They sell the software - the hardware comes with the software, not the other way around.

I agree with this. I just don't think it's true of a $300 version of a DS.

I think we will see posts in the future asking who is buying all of these 3DS's. Becasue, quite frankly, with as many DS owner as there are here, we are not even close to Nintendo's core market for the device.

Nintendo has the perfect balance of being must have tech for elementary school kids, and a name every parent can count on to produce game perfectly suited for their children. It's going to sell a bagillion units (which is more than a bazillion, by the way).

And in the meantime Goodjer Nation will largely hem and haw about whether it is worth it. Many will pick it up, and many will dismiss it. But it will hardly be a blip in in the effect it has on the overall sales. And we will ask, Who the heck is buying all of these things?

There is a new market of elementary school kids that eat that thing up every year. That's why Gameboys just never seem to stop selling. It is the perfect market. And the PSP fails because Sony can't touch it.

Jayhawker wrote:

I think we will see posts in the future asking who is buying all of these 3DS's. Becasue, quite frankly, with as many DS owner as there are here, we are not even close to Nintendo's core market for the device.

I think the 3DS is going to be numbered among items like Kinect and the Wii as things that the core doesn't get that is successful despite, or because, of that fact.

I've brought up Tycho's point in the Kinect discussion before that if the 'core' doesn't understand the appeal of a new technology it's success is almost guaranteed.

rabbit wrote:

Having just returned from a long week at disney, during which I saw many many many kids in lines and on busses, I saw almost no DS's come out. I saw boatloads of iPhones/Touches.

Yeah, my niece and nephew who came to visit this Christmas and were previously glued to their DS-es, were on an iphone and ipod touch constantly this time around — when they weren't using my ipad. Anecdotal, but it still surprised me.

(And, side note — I highly recommend the party game Telestrations. Especially if you can muster up the maximum eight players.)

lostlobster wrote:
rabbit wrote:

Having just returned from a long week at disney, during which I saw many many many kids in lines and on busses, I saw almost no DS's come out. I saw boatloads of iPhones/Touches.

Yeah, my niece and nephew who came to visit this Christmas and were previously glued to their DS-es, were on an iphone and ipod touch constantly this time around — when they weren't using my ipad. Anecdotal, but it still surprised me.

(And, side note — I highly recommend the party game Telestrations. Especially if you can muster up the maximum eight players.)

Oh yes. Brilliant game.

rabbit wrote:
lostlobster wrote:
rabbit wrote:

Having just returned from a long week at disney, during which I saw many many many kids in lines and on busses, I saw almost no DS's come out. I saw boatloads of iPhones/Touches.

Yeah, my niece and nephew who came to visit this Christmas and were previously glued to their DS-es, were on an iphone and ipod touch constantly this time around — when they weren't using my ipad. Anecdotal, but it still surprised me.

(And, side note — I highly recommend the party game Telestrations. Especially if you can muster up the maximum eight players.)

Oh yes. Brilliant game.

We had an absolute blast with it at the NY/CT S&T just before the big Goodjer day.

rabbit wrote:
LarryC wrote:

That said, I don't see Nintendo floundering just yet. The initial price point of the DS is low enough that dedicated, sought-after franchises can still sell the system. In a very real way, Nintendo was able to sell Wiisports as a $200 game and sold it by the millions. Their hardware doesn't sell itself the way Apple does it. They sell the software - the hardware comes with the software, not the other way around.

I agree with this. I just don't think it's true of a $300 version of a DS.

I contend that Nintendo chose $300 as their price point specifically so they'd have room to drop it. The audience that will pay that much for a Nintendo handheld with a neat 3D gimmick may not be large-- certainly not compared to the mass-market appeal of the $130-$180 DS/Lite/i/XL, but it does exist. So from their perspective, why SHOULDN'T Ninty squeeze an extra hundo out of the early adopters at launch, then drop the price in a year or so and grab the mass market too?

hbi2k wrote:
rabbit wrote:
LarryC wrote:

That said, I don't see Nintendo floundering just yet. The initial price point of the DS is low enough that dedicated, sought-after franchises can still sell the system. In a very real way, Nintendo was able to sell Wiisports as a $200 game and sold it by the millions. Their hardware doesn't sell itself the way Apple does it. They sell the software - the hardware comes with the software, not the other way around.

I agree with this. I just don't think it's true of a $300 version of a DS.

I contend that Nintendo chose $300 as their price point specifically so they'd have room to drop it. The audience that will pay that much for a Nintendo handheld with a neat 3D gimmick may not be large-- certainly not compared to the mass-market appeal of the $130-$180 DS/Lite/i/XL, but it does exist. So from their perspective, why SHOULDN'T Ninty squeeze an extra hundo out of the early adopters at launch, then drop the price in a year or so and grab the mass market too?

Additionally, has there been any word on the ease of producing the 3D screens? It may be possible that production capacity is less than 3-5 million screens by launch. They might as well sell high if they aren't able to keep up with initial demand. Nintendo screwed up on the initial Wii pricing, and they seem pretty set on learning from that lesson. Perhaps they're overshooting it a bit. I think not, but I guess we'll see in a few months.

The thing is, if it turns out they ARE overshooting, they can always fix that with a price drop. Once they set the price lower, there's no going back.

If you think about it, the Wii's blockbuster launch is the exception, not the rule, for Nintendo. They usually prefer to go with a relatively low-key launch and build up steam over time. Remember the original DS launch? It was this relatively pricy, weird little device, still relatively underpowered, with a software lineup whose centerpiece was a warmed-over N64 port. Everyone was predicting it was going to get KILLED when the PSP hit the market in six months.

"I was home from a New Years Eve party… by eight." I can relate to that, and I am ok with that.

Using a controller to play the PC version of Mass Effect 2? Blasphemy.

I am so sad you guys were wrong about the next Half-Life.

I think the Star Wars MMO will at least have that initial success from people who were disappointed by Star Wars Galaxies and are looking for a Star Wars MMO that feels like Star Wars. Or I could predict that SW:TOR will be a huge flop and Bioware will go back and re-tool the single-player elements into KOTOR3, which a lot of people were hoping for in the first place.

I already played the HD version of Halo. Otherwise known as "the PC version". It was neat.

My only complaint about Steam is that they do not carry every single PC game ever made. I would love to see the GOG.com library on Steam.

My big crazy prediction for this year: I will sell my house, enabling the option to finally leave Las Vegas.

"Get your sh*t sorted out America." Right after we change the names of West Virginia, North Dakota and South Dakota.

To Justin who was looking for the games that required really digging into them… they're at GOG.com and they're called Baldur's Gate I and II.

hbi2k wrote:

Remember the original DS launch? It was this relatively pricy, weird little device, still relatively underpowered, with a software lineup whose centerpiece was a warmed-over N64 port. Everyone was predicting it was going to get KILLED when the PSP hit the market in six months.

And now that the details have come out... Did you hear about the 3DS launch? It's this relatively pricy, weird little device, still relatively underpowered, with a software lineup whose centerpiece is a warmed-over N64 port. Everyone's predicting it'll get killed when the PSP2 and iPad 2 are announced in a few months.