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Industry Babbling

I've been toying with the idea of creating a blog somewhere where no one knows me, and writing about the game industry, specifically, game journalism. I'm noticing several trends, and most usually, it trends that journalists writing about games are catering to other journalists, or are only being read regularly by other journalists. Which then just makes the whole thing pointless. But then keeping a blog like that sort of feeds into the whole point, which is why I haven't done it. Not only that, but I've noticed that it's not specifically a problem with videogame journalism. Music, movies and technology journalists are sort of in the same position. Sure, a good number of regular folks read what's been written, but in the grand scheme it all just feeds back into the industry.

For instance. Matt and I have been talking about the Wii lately, and how a lot of gaming websites are always down on Microsoft and Sony because their console sales are so lame compared to the Wii. I mean, the Wii Fit on it's own, sold more than the PS3 in the past months. That's a pretty hefty accomplishment for Nintendo. However, I don't really think the Wii can stand to be considered like a regular console anymore. I mean, this is not the same old Nintendo we're used to. This is a new Nintendo that has taken everything they've learned over the years of the GameBoy and used that portable and kitschy market data to sell to regular everyday households - which if we were talking about a regular console would be great. But we're not, we're talking about a console that caters to brain, fitness and family games. Their game quality has decreased substantially with the influx of the amount of 'family' games that are being released. If it's so cheap to develop for the Wii, we should be seeing more games with higher quality and instead we're getting half-assed games catering to a 2.5 kid household where the Wii has become just another appliance - something else they turn on for an house in a lousy economy instead of actually taking the kids bowling. I get it, it's cheap, it's revolutionary, but it's not GAMING in the way that the NES was THE gaming console back in the day. It's just not. Right now I can't think of one original game for the Wii that's getting a lot of recognition. But it'll continue to sell, because in a lousy economy it's a good family investment. It's Nintendo, so for the moment, the industry will continue to play 360 & PS3 games and remark on the sales from Nintendo while giving little attention to what's being developed for it.

PS. Last night was the zombie episode of the Lit. Angels podcast for GA. I think it was probably our best podcast thus far.


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Apr. 3rd, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
Huh. You make a really good point there. It's not self-evident, but when you think about it the Wii really is an apple to Sony and Microsoft's oranges. Direct sales comparisons might not be fair at all considering that the Wii's primary appeal is actually to a different demographic than that of the more traditional console.
Apr. 3rd, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you about the Wii. It's sales are so big, I think, simply for that fact that it's a gaming system that isn't for the serious gamer. If you're really into games, the 360 or PS3 are more what you're looking for.

I say try it! You clearly know what you're talking about and it would make for an interesting read and insight into the industry.
Apr. 3rd, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
Seems to me you're saying the same things most gaming journalism sites are saying. Sites like IGN and GameSpy and GameSpot are always talking about how the Wii has lost all cred as a "hardcore gaming" machine. I personally don't agree, but I do agree that NINTENDO has changed, and moved away from "hardcore" focus. It's the best of the third parties who bring the best stuff to the Wii these days - Capcom, Sega and those kinds of heavy-hitters. I also disagree that Nintendo's game quality has decreased - although the quality of games on the sytem has decreased, Nintendo isn't making the ones that really suck. Nintendo is making quality games that cater to the mainstream, but other companies that try to do the same thing wind up churning out utter trash, and it's hardly unnoticed.

If you can't think of one original game for the Wii that's getting a lot of recognition... well, I can think of three in the last 2 months alone. MadWorld. Deadly Creatures. The House of the Dead: Overkill.
Apr. 3rd, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
I should note that not EVERY Nintendo "mainstream" game is clearly quality - Wii Music is blatantly ass - but I think the rest have all worked for what they were supposed to do. Of course, not every Nintendo game is actually for the mainstream either, to be fair - games like Metroid Prime 3 and Wario Land: Shake It are more hardcore titles. But anyway.
Apr. 4th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC)
Yeah, people talk about it not being for hardcore gamers, but they're still really addressing it like a regular console. And I think it's sort of surpassed that level. Mostly, I'm just tired of people comparing the sales numbers between consoles, and acting like the fact that Nintendo is head and shoulders above the rest makes some grandiose statement about today's gaming market. When really, I don't think it says anything about the quality of their games, but the strength of the 'idea' of the games being made for it - games that appeal to the family on an entertainment level, not a gaming level. People are using it as a substitute for other entertainment outlets in a down market - which I'm not discounting, I think the very fact they've been able to do that is fantastic. But the comparison of it as a gaming console, really isn't a valid point anymore.

Sure, there are some decent games out there for it. I like Metroid and Zelda, but it's clearly not about the games anymore - when just about any company developing games is developing for all the consoles. I mean, people are still developing for the PS2, so it's clearly not about next-gen games in some cases. Also, the games that are out there get a small amount of notice for maybe the day or two after release. Like recently, they ported Dead Rising for the Wii calling it Dead Rising: Chop 'til you Drop. I saw it at CES, and the general consensus from everyone was that adding the wiimote functions didn't make it worth playing. Not only that, but even though a lot of games look fantastic on the Wii - there's no comparison in graphics quality between the Wii and the PS3 or 360.

The problem about some of the newer releases for the Wii is that they all seem like novel concepts, but so many gamers feel they're getting burned by Wii games because they have novel concepts that don't really have any replayability. I think more people would be interested in renting Wii games than purchasing them, when they can spend that same money on a game they know they'll be playing for the next year (or more).

Quality over quantity is also not a Wii specific argument. I mean, people are still developing for the PS2, and obviously the quality of some of those games are going to be substandard. And games are being ported across platforms like crazy to better saturate the market, and I don't want to say if that's the right or wrong way to handle things, but I do think it starts to give people a reputation to associate to the console.

And I'm just going to stop rambling, because it's late and my brain will just keep going if I let it.
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