GWJ Conference Call Episode 273

Conference Call

The Old Republic, Skylanders, The Razor Naga, A Look Back at Our Bold Predictions of 2011 and New Ones For 2012, Your Emails and more!

This week Allen, Shawn, Elysium and Julian look back on their bold predictions from 2011 and make fresh ones for 2012.

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.

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Good Old Games

The Old Republic
Skylanders
Razor Naga
Bold Predictions 2012
Bold Predictions 2011

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Coactive (Over My Shoulder Mix) - Chroma - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 27:40

But Underneath All That - Chroma - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 1:02:24

Comments

SWTOR:
Winning based on time when taking turns Assaulting and Defending a set of objectives over a course and you go with Brink?
I don't know when it really started, but apparently Assault Mode made a comeback in UT2004.

Also, why did Epic act like Horde is a new thing? Epic themselves, in UT2004, had Invasion mode.

Skylanders:
I used to have Z-Bots. http://www.m2museum.com/Zbots/ZbotsS...
Armetor, Blastor, Mentor, Malfactor, Homer

Posting in the first podcast of the new year =)

Just wanted to thank you guys for being so reliable and constant, and for keeping the site up and all that, it's a good thing you do

2012 prediction: All of you Sony doubters will be shown to be premature in your declaration that they won't be so much as a player in the next generation of gaming consoles. (And yet Apple will be?!?!?!)

Was the PS2 so long ago that you can't remember that Sony does know how to do it right? There can be only one "winner" per generation.... this time it was Nintendo (forget the 360, it wasn't close), and last time it was Sony. Next generation..... who knows - but betting against Sony being in the race seems foolish in the extreme.

AndrewA wrote:

There can be only one "winner" per generation.... this time it was Nintendo (forget the 360, it wasn't close), and last time it was Sony. Next generation..... who knows - but betting against Sony being in the race seems foolish in the extreme.

This is exactly the horse race thinking that I don't think flies anymore. Do you think Microsoft is disappointed in the 360's performance? No, because it captured the market they were after. Nintendo succeeded with way more profits, in an entirely different market. I would argue every Wii sold doesn't subtract from Microsoft's profits in the way it did back in the SNES/Genesis days. Or even the way the 360 and the PS3 are competing.

When I say the "big 3" next-gen will be Microsoft, Nintendo and Apple, I mean that they will be the biggest places to sell games. That will be what the publishers and developers will target. I think this is already true in alot of ways. This is because these are the 3 big markets for games. I don't really think they're even in direct competition with each other (Nintendo and Apple are for the mobile market, but I'm pretty sure Apple's winning).

Sony just won't be able to get the hardware out due to financial issues and the lack of revenue from the PS3. Everyone who spearheaded the Playstation has left Sony. "Sony" is just a name we assign to a collection of people, and the people there now have proven they have no f*cking clue what they are doing.

Prediction about the Steam OS was mine, but it's ok

Real talk: 3DS had a pretty good year, smartphone gaming is the new 'everything's gonna be on Facebook so indie devs can make big money' meme. It ain't going away, but the shake-out of who can make money making good content on it is going to be disappointing to the evangelists.

Great show!

This has been "Real Talk" with HockeyJohnston. Join us next time for Skyrim: It's great and all, but it's not the best game ever.

*Real Talk Theme Song*

-- sorry, something about the delivery just put this little vignette in my head --

Shoulda been #realtalk

PyromanFO wrote:

(Nintendo and Apple are for the mobile market, but I'm pretty sure Apple's winning).

Not really. In much the same way you rightly observe that Nintendo and Microsoft are going after different gaming markets, iOS and the 3DS aren't really the same market. They meet different needs for different sets of consumers.

I like how you guys doom-and-gloom on Nintendo EVERY YEAR and EVERY YEAR they prove you wrong.

Like last year, when Shawn and I both said the 3DS launch would be huge? Is that the part you liked in particular?

Oh snap.

Certis wrote:

Oh snap.

Is the sound that Halcyon's keyboard makes as he breaks it over his knee in rage. You guys just hate on Nintendo so much EVERY YEAR.

Terraria sold over 1 million copies by November 26th. That's a pretty big indie 'hit'. But it's a bit to similar to minecraft. Yet, I only own Terraria and stayed away from Minecraft somehow. I blame Steam.

The Rundown, not starring Dwayne the Rock Johnson:

00.02.40 SWTOR chat
00.07.19 learn the answer to what is Hutball? And Sean's discussion on PvP
00.15.41 Skylanders - "a game that should suck"
00.24.10 Steam sale talk
00.25.38 Razer Naga
00.28.06 2011 predictions review and Bold predictions for 2012 (spoiler alert if you don't want to know everything that is 100% absolutely certain to happen in 2012, by all means SKIP).
01.02.42 Your emails

I dont think the Beta started on it yet. But I think "Dust 514" might become a big deal. Though it being a PS3 elusive may hurt it a bit. I know i cant wait for it. I am hoping to get in the beta. But it looks like being a "PSN Plus" member will effect your chances. Which i find annoying.

Chin_Sack wrote:

I dont think the Beta started on it yet. But I think "Dust 514" might become a big deal. Though it being a PS3 elusive may hurt it a bit. I know i cant wait for it. I am hoping to get in the beta.

Me too. I ordered a PS3 headset, although I plan to use it in other games too, like Twisted Metal (Feb 14) and Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, and wipeout(does wipeout have voice?).

Eve players can sign up, also Planetside 2 allowed sign ups before the end of the new year as well so technically it came true, maybe, depending on the success of either one.

Great show.

Finishing games is the path to true happiness.

Good thought about it being ok to do other things with your time other than playing games. Recently, with BFS and AC: Rev, I've found myself having bouts of guilt when I wasn't playing. I felt I shouldn't be watching TV, or even playing arcade games, I should be in BF3 leveling and having 'fun' while the game is hot. For a time it was killing my enjoyment of the games. I had to remind myself that I came to Bad Company 2 over a year late (or that's how it felt) and there was still time for me to have months of fun with it.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
PyromanFO wrote:

(Nintendo and Apple are for the mobile market, but I'm pretty sure Apple's winning).

Not really. In much the same way you rightly observe that Nintendo and Microsoft are going after different gaming markets, iOS and the 3DS aren't really the same market. They meet different needs for different sets of consumers.

I actually think the market for "people who want to play long-form games on the go enough for spend $150 and $40 per game" is rapidly shrinking, usually by converting to "spend 99 cents on my phone for smaller experience" consumers.

I'm not saying the DS is going away but I'm pretty solid on my prediction that it won't be a growth market for Nintendo anymore.

Awesome episode this week. It was great to hear about Skylanders since I only read bits and pieces about it. It seems like Activision has another big hit on their hands.

I was really surprised to hear Elysium mention that the Empire has a larger population than the Republic in SWTOR. I just assumed that it would be like the WoW launch and the "good" guys would dominate population wise.

Now I'm really curious as to why the population is skewed, what the class breakdowns are like and how Bioware plans to even out the population imbalance. Blizzard busted out the Blood Elves and that seemed to help balance out the populations back when BC launched.

PyromanFO wrote:

I actually think the market for "people who want to play long-form games on the go enough for spend $150 and $40 per game" is rapidly shrinking, usually by converting to "spend 99 cents on my phone for smaller experience" consumers.

I'm not saying the DS is going away but I'm pretty solid on my prediction that it won't be a growth market for Nintendo anymore.

The market for handheld consoles will more or less be the same people it has always been: kids who want something to do over at Grandma's house. The number of people who are abandoning DSs for iPhones seems to be, outside of gaming forums, rather small.

It's all anecdotal, but speaking to people from various walks of life, it looks like most of the people who are gaming on their smartphones are a.) primarily playing very bite-size, casual games like Angry Birds (or, often, Angry Birds, specifically, and only Angry Birds), and b.) not people who would have been buying a DS, 3DS, PSP, or Vita anyway. It's a bit like the Wii's blue ocean and the 360/PS3: people who are buying iOS games are people who never would have bought handheld games to begin with, so there's not really a loss.

The dip in sales for the DS and the sluggish sales for the 3DS were related to age and price, respectively, and don't have much to do with smartphones.

Curious how the dismal sales of the Vita week #2 and #3 factor in to your thoughts, Clocky, or if they do at all (you are discussing primarily Nintendo, after all).

With the talk of Nintendo having trouble nailing a solid follow-up to their mainstream successes, I have to wonder how bad the transition to the next systems is going to be for Sony. They lost a ton of money to win the format war with blu-ray, and I don't think taking a hit like that again is something they can weather.

I honestly expect Sony to launch a new console a couple years into the Xbox follow-up, but with the software updates that Microsoft has been able to put out, competition against that might very well be where Sony considers a heavy partnership with Valve and the incorporation of Steamworks. Sony's software / XMB design continues to feel more and more outdated.

For Microsoft, my only real concern is the drive to be used in the next Xbox. Choosing blu-ray means money to Sony via royalties, if I'm not mistaken. And it's not like they can stay with DVDs or resurrect HD-DVDs, and a proprietary format may not be the best decision, but since they are pushing the entertainment mission, reading blu-rays is quite likely to be included. Using that as their game discs though? Color me confused.

trueheart78 wrote:

Curious how the dismal sales of the Vita week #2 and #3 factor in to your thoughts, Clocky, or if they do at all (you are discussing primarily Nintendo, after all).

Sony priced their product higher than what most consumers are willing to spend just like Nintendo initially did with the 3DS. However, unlike with the 3DS, the Vita has a lot less inherent pull in terms of dedicated, exclusive franchises. With Monster Hunter having jumped ship to the 3DS, the Vita is mostly left high and dry.

I have to agree with Pyroman's assessment that the dedicated hand held market no longer looks like a growth market. We obviously can't know for sure right now but I do find it hard to believe that the 3DS and Vita will eclipse the DS (145+ million worldwide) and PSP (70+ million) sales.

But it is honestly too soon to know for sure. When Pokemon 3DS, Animal Crossing 3DS and the 3DS revision are released combined with the Vita being on the market for a full year world wide, it will be more telling.

Did not WoW have the same issue for a while? Where each server population was horribly skewed one way or the other? It showed a lot in the PVP fights.

Chin_Sack wrote:

Did not WoW have the same issue for a while? Where each server population was horribly skewed one way or the other? It showed a lot in the PVP fights.

Yup. I think Blizzard fixed it with the release of The Burning Crusade expansion by adding an attractive race (Blood Elves) to the horde.

Skimmed past. Will drop in after I finish listening.
Just wanted to drop in and say thank you for 15:40 to 24:05, and especially for 23:57-24:03

I know GWJ isn't a big demographic for the 3DS, but I think I read that despite a lackluster seeming launch, they sold more 3DS's in 8 months than the entire first year of the DS. Still it sounds like the 3DS is yet another reminder that you can't always dictate your vision of what a customer should want over what they actually want. Once more 1st party heavy hitter software was available for the holidays, it seemed like they were flying off shelves. Maybe thats just my impression. We havent bought in yet. It'll take a solid pokemon title to get my sons even interested I guess. (and that's fine by me. My younger son has a lot of fun with the Nintendo character titles in particular still, while my 11 year old may have made the jump to iOS.

I wonder how nervous the PSP Vita launch has Sony Japan. It sounds like they need a good Monster Hunter exclusive or something along those lines to reel the consumers within their home market.. or a price drop. Or both. Its still early, but momentum surely doesnt seem on their side just yet.

Is anyone lending any credence to the homebrew market adding to Vita's popularity? I know that this is dancing around piracy issues, but there are legit homebrew applications. The apple jailbreak scene has to speak to that.

I would guess that the proprietary memory format and a number of the other acrobatics that they've pulled are specifically because of how rampant the homebrew piracy scene was on the PSP. I would also halucinate that it was partially behind so many revisions of the PSP itself. It was a constant process of eliminating inroads. Are there enough of those buyers to suggest that somehow it will be important to sales? If Sony have shown anything, it's that they're good a getting hacked; amirite? Waka waka?

trueheart78 wrote:

For Microsoft, my only real concern is the drive to be used in the next Xbox. Choosing blu-ray means money to Sony via royalties, if I'm not mistaken. And it's not like they can stay with DVDs or resurrect HD-DVDs, and a proprietary format may not be the best decision, but since they are pushing the entertainment mission, reading blu-rays is quite likely to be included. Using that as their game discs though? Color me confused.

A couple of things. The Blu-Ray format is licensed by the Blu-Ray Disc Association, a consortium of 19 companies that make up the board of directors and 59 other contributors. While Sony was and is one of the largest and earliest supporters of the Blu-Ray format and does sit on the board of directors, it's not as though Microsoft's licensing of that format would put money directly in Sony's coffers or anything.

Also, one of the big advantages to HD-DVD back when that was a viable movie format was that machinery used to make regular DVDs could easily and cheaply be converted over. While they probably wouldn't call them HD-DVDs (to avoid bad associations), I think it's entirely possible that Microsoft could come up with a proprietary game disc format based heavily on HD-DVD technology to enjoy that same advantage.