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

hbi2k wrote:

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.

But trueheart's point still stands: with Microsoft angling the Xbox as a sort of entertainment hub, it would make sense for them to include a Blu-ray drive. Personally, I think Microsoft will bet (correctly) that Blu-ray is a non-thing and will just push digital delivery of movies via Zune, Vudu, and whatever other content deliverers they can get onboard.

If Sony were smart, they'd have engineered the Vita to channel and monetize all that pent up demand.

Skylanders was something I was expecting to purchase for Christmas. It was a monster hit. Who'd a thunk?

I totally agree that streaming will continue to be their major push when it comes to movies. The only question will be whether they go with Blu-Ray for for their games for the extra GB and an extra bullet point to put on the back of the box, or an HD-DVD derivative for ease/cheapness of manufacturing.

I don't think they're ready to jump into the DD-only pool, and standard DVDs are way too small for a next-gen system.

hbi2k wrote:

I totally agree that streaming will continue to be their major push when it comes to movies. The only question will be whether they go with Blu-Ray for for their games for the extra GB and an extra bullet point to put on the back of the box, or an HD-DVD derivative for ease/cheapness of manufacturing.

I don't think they're ready to jump into the DD-only pool, and standard DVDs are way too small for a next-gen system.

No, I'm with you there. I think, like Nintendo, they'll use proprietary 25 GB discs for their games. The stripped-down media SKU won't have a disc drive at all, though.

Irongut wrote:

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.

And some more comparison statistics are that after 9 months, the 3DS has sold more than the Gamecube ever did in Japan at 4 million units and more than the Wii in it's first 9 months, at 4 million units as well in NA, but then again, the Wii was supply restricted. So that's over 8 million in NA and Japan. Also, in Japan sales have been boosted by Monster Hunter 3G.

I came late to Diablo II, but I thought the expansion pack is what really hooked people on the game, much like Brood War with Starcraft. That said, I think we're going to see a lot of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" between Diablo III, Starcraft II, WoW and Titan over the next few years.

EDIT: I agree Torchlight II will do very well but I don't think it'll really light on fire until there's a Steam sale. Torchlight got a lot of its press from the ridiculous $5 sales they did throughout their first year. Maybe there's enough goodwill due to the lack of 'always-on' DRM and the lower price point ($20-25 vs. $60) but I really see this as being a Steam sale cleanup game and a companion piece to Diablo III. But there is certainly room in the market for both and I expect there to be a healthy rivalry here we haven't seen since the Quake III and Unreal Tournament days.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

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.

Also, the Vita shares a lot more in common with a smartphone. Depending on the needs of the consumer I can see people skipping the Vita, save up a little more, and grabbing a smart phone instead.

The 3DS has a lot fewer features and doesn't have the same overlap as the Vita with the smartphones, so it's priced a lot better. I think a lot of people overestimated that people were more than willing to spend $250 on the 3DS based on the DS brand*, despite the original PSP having a lukewarm, although "successful" launch at that price point. And that was before smart phones really hit the market hard in the US.

Also, that Japan had access to better smartphones a lot longer than the West. A number of people in the west were scratching their heads back in the 2000's when companies like Square-Enix were starting to pursue cell phone games with things like Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis, 3rd Birthday, and Final Fantasy Agito.

* I also think Nintendo runs a real risk of repeating this mistake with the WiiU if they're not careful or don't learn from the 3DS.

Just to beat the dead horse a bit more. For the month of December in Japan, 3DS just had the best console hardware sales month ever of any platform since enterbrain started tracking sales.

Vita had a good month, too, but that's because the launch week was great. The week after was poor, as was the retail software attach rate.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Just to beat the dead horse a bit more. For the month of December in Japan, 3DS just had the best console hardware sales month ever of any platform since enterbrain started tracking sales.

Stop it with your numbers and proof and things. The 3DS was a flop and dedicated handheld gaming consoles are things of the past - that's the official gaming media / smartphone addict story, and that's how it's going to go down in history, damnit.

Skylanders - Rabbit was right...awesome game to share with your kid. There are even some female characters for daughters to play. Each character plays the game completely differently. I think my son and I are up to 11 figures now and two expansion levels. Buying new figures brings the thrill of "what does this one do".

Also...hattes!

My 4 year old daughter loves the game as well, mostly since she watched her older brothers play. She tends to start with one character because "he needs money," but she'll switch on a whim.

Now that I think about it, this is a good game to introduce kids to grinding in games. My dream of having in-house gold farmers can finally come true!