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Robo_1
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Thing is, and I am sick of saying this, any idiot who says that games have "plateaued" technologically doesn't understand the massive difference in what is possible under the hood with better hardware. Graphics are merely a barometer of how much more advanced the new tech is. I listed about six unique game concepts I had on here that are still probably ten years away from becoming technologically feasible, and none of that delay was due to the visuals simply being too shiny.

What we're seeing already is that handheld technology is finally starting to catch up with big-box home hardware, and we're going to see more and more people expecting portable gaming to match up to the home experience. Just like with TV, music and film, we shouldn't expect our gaming to stop just because we aren't at home.

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You can laugh if you want, but seriously do you really think the visuals on the 3ds are bad enough that you would be willing to pay $100-$150 more to improve them? There is a point where it becomes really nothing more than cock-waving. Such is the case with the PS3 and X360 console systems - at this current time, would shoving an octacore Core i7 or equivalent CPU and quad GPU in a new console really offer you something you are missing visually on either of these systems? When is enough enough and its time to start looking in a different direction for the next big thing?

We should've stopped at the Sega Saturn and not made anymore systems, imagine the games we could be playing right now if they'd been in development for the last 10 years and learned how to program it properly!

Exhumed 2!

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Thing is, and I am sick of saying this, any idiot who says that games have "plateaued" technologically doesn't understand the massive difference in what is possible under the hood with better hardware. Graphics are merely a barometer of how much more advanced the new tech is. I listed about six unique game concepts I had on here that are still probably ten years away from becoming technologically feasible, and none of that delay was due to the visuals simply being too shiny.

What we're seeing already is that handheld technology is finally starting to catch up with big-box home hardware, and we're going to see more and more people expecting portable gaming to match up to the home experience. Just like with TV, music and film, we shouldn't expect our gaming to stop just because we aren't at home.

I could say the same thing about any idiot who says that more realistic graphics than what we have today will do anything to make them more immersive or more fun to play. I didnt say anything about games having plateaued technologically, I said they have, visually or graphics wise, reached a point of diminishing returns. Technologically, they are still making strides - the 3DS is a prime example of neat concept that simply wasnt possible 5 years ago. I also think motion controllers such as Kinect are great examples of technological advances in gaming and still have a lot of untapped potential.

Its interesting you talk about six examples of potential future gaming advances that have nothing to do with improving graphics, thats exactly the point Im trying to make. If they can harness the speed of the NGP to do something other than putting more hair on a characters head or more leaves blowing around on the ground, then I'm all for it. I didnt catch the six examples you are speaking of - what are they?

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We should've stopped at the Sega Saturn and not made anymore systems, imagine the games we could be playing right now if they'd been in development for the last 10 years and learned how to program it properly!

Exhumed 2!

Nice try, but your sarcasm is misplaced. It was still clear (as I pointed out) in the Saturn generation that graphic limitations were holding back advances in gameplay, but that was no longer really the case in the PS2 generation. The subsequent generation further improved the graphics but those improvements have done much less to advance video gaming than netplay, downloadable content, and motion controls have. Graphic improvements will become even less significant in the next generation.

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I could say the same thing about any idiot who says that more realistic graphics than what we have today will do anything to make them more immersive or more fun to play. I didnt say anything about games having plateaued technologically, I said they have, visually or graphics wise, reached a point of diminishing returns. Technologically, they are still making strides - the 3DS is a prime example of neat concept that simply wasnt possible 5 years ago. I also think motion controllers such as Kinect are great examples of technological advances in gaming and still have a lot of untapped potential.

Its interesting you talk about six examples of potential future gaming advances that have nothing to do with improving graphics, thats exactly the point Im trying to make. If they can harness the speed of the NGP to do something other than putting more hair on a characters head or more leaves blowing around on the ground, then I'm all for it. I didnt catch the six examples you are speaking of - what are they?

The NGP obviously does a lot more than merely better graphics though, just as the PS3 allowed developers to do things like, for example, GTA4, whose physics engine alone would barely run on a PS2. There are untold numbers of computationally intensive games that the NGP could do that 3DS owners will eye enviously.

A few of my examples were thing with, for example, extensive persistent real-time changes to gameworlds or natural language recognition and generation. Horribly intensive to do well on the scale I'd like.

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The more I think about it, the more I want this and the less I want the 3DS. I feel like this will offer handheld experiences that I can't get anywhere else, what with the two thumbsticks and mega screen (with proper aspect ratio) and lots of grunt. Not just in terms of graphics but 3D environments, AI, physics etc. Plus it has a touchscreen and tilt so it can do all the iPhone stuff if it wants.

What we're likely to see, I expect, is lots of companion titles built at the same time at their larger 360/PS3 brethren. So game X will release on 360/PS3 and we'll see a prequel or side-story using the same engine and assets release on NGP. Either this or we'll simply see a ported chopped-down version of a multiformat game arrive on NGP as well as 360 and PS3. This is worrying, as I'm not going to pay for the same game twice in order to play it on the move.

And yeah, the argument for plateauing graphics and diminishing returns swiftly goes out the window when you look at what is actually capable on real top-end graphics cards at the moment (or two of them). Not that that somehow magically makes for a better game, but developers are developing with the 360 and PS3 in mind, which both have practically ancient graphics chips now. The stalling/slowing down/dimishing returns of graphical improvement are caused by economical considerations.

It's a good thing in many ways as it has prompted more and more efficient use of the hardware and a need for constant optimisation of existing engines. But of course if a console came out tomorrow with the equivalent of two GTX580 chips, the jump in graphical quality would be no less than you would expect going from one console to the next. We're still nowhere near photorealism and there's a huge amount you can do with lighting/geometry/physics/shaders which isn't possible on the consoles. Seen Metro 2033 with every setting banged up to maximum running at 60fps? That looks pretty exceptional, and that's just the tip of what would be possible if developers started developing for better hardware and optimising their engines for it. We will hit diminishing returns at some point but I don't think we're really there yet. There's just little reason to develop for ultra high end hardware when 90% of your multiplatform audience are playing on a Radeon X1900 or an Nvidia 7800, and most of the remaining 10% are stealing it down the interpipes.

Games like Crysis 2, Skyrim, Battlefield 3 etc are all using newer respective engines and I expect all of these to be drastically better on a high-end PC, whilst still being great on the console. But my point is that these engines when viewed on PC will begin to demonstrate what is not possible on the current generation of consoles, but more importantly what we can begin to expect from the next. This is what always happens, it's just happening in ultra slow-mo as the consoles are now dictating development, and there are no new consoles on the horizon yet.

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The NGP obviously does a lot more than merely better graphics though, just as the PS3 allowed developers to do things like, for example, GTA4, whose physics engine alone would barely run on a PS2. There are untold numbers of computationally intensive games that the NGP could do that 3DS owners will eye enviously.

PSP had perfectly serviceable ports of GTA3 that looked much like the PS2 version. Wouldn't have had a hope in hell of running on DS. Sold terribly.

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PSP had perfectly serviceable ports of GTA3 that looked much like the PS2 version. Wouldn't have had a hope in hell of running on DS. Sold terribly.

Terribly? I think you'll find both Liberty and Vice City Stories have sold multiple millions each.

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Terribly? I think you'll find both Liberty and Vice City Stories have sold multiple millions each.

They did poorly relative to both home console sales of GTA and the size of the PSP install base, also Vice City sold half of what Liberty city did - suggesting a substantive lack of interest from those who bought the first. Certainly Rockstar never bothered porting San Andreas.

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They did poorly relative to both home console sales of GTA and the size of the PSP install base, also Vice City sold half of what Liberty city did - suggesting a substantive lack of interest from those who bought the first. Certainly Rockstar never bothered porting San Andreas.

PSP software attach rate was alway incredibly low, so you could say that about practically every title on PSP, even the most successful ones.

Either way your argument is pure strawman - There will be many things you can do on the NGP that you simply can't do on the 3DS because of technical constraints, that's a fact.

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You're right, of course - GTA PSP was an unqualified success - the franchise has gone from strength to strength on that platform.

The point is you're arguing that two games which sold around 10 million copies combined on a single platform is some sort of failure. Do you have any idea how many current multiplatform titles would kill for those sort of numbers?

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Mmm, I was thinking that.

You'd have to assume anyway, that Sony have learnt a hard lesson with the PSP and the PS3. They've done a great job turning the PS3 around, they must have learnt something in the process? The fact they've made it so easy to port/develop for NGP, and also to develop smaller cross platform titles with the Xperia/Android thing, shows promise. They're utilising the fact that developers have mostly overcome the headaches of developing for PS3 and their engines now have parity across the different platforms. They can use that same code and that same engine to port to NGP for relatively little cost. They just need to employ a few people to optimise for NGP by removing effects, lowering detail, perhaps providing remapped controls for tilt/gyro etc. You'd need to rebuild the whole thing on the 3DS for it to run properly most likely, and let's not forget that the 3D mode halves the framerate too.

This says to me that PS3/360 titles will trickle down the NGP in some form or other (but more or less intact), whereas the 3DS is more likely to trickle up from existing DS titles/franchises. Zelda but 3D! Mario 64 but 3D! Professor Layton but 3D! etc.

That said, Joe Public loves a gimmick. Neither is worth a damn without a good software library to back it up, I'm already more impressed by the NGP in that regard though. Early days.

I'll probably get both eventually, they're both looking good.

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PSP software attach rate was alway incredibly low, so you could say that about practically every title on PSP, even the most successful ones.

Either way your argument is pure strawman - There will be many things you can do on the NGP that you simply can't do on the 3DS because of technical constraints, that's a fact.

That's exactly my point though, GTA was one of the successful PSP games but sold poorly relative to the home-console sales. Despite being a technical powerhouse the PSP didn't sell games and, even in terms of hardware, was massively outsold by the DS. The PSP2 looks to be a similar proposition - I'm not sure why anyone thinks having lots of power on tap is a successful strategy for a portable device when the last generation proved otherwise.

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This says to me that PS3/360 titles will trickle down the NGP in some form or other (but more or less intact), whereas the 3DS is more likely to trickle up from existing DS titles/franchises. Zelda but 3D! Mario 64 but 3D! Professor Layton but 3D! etc.

That said, Joe Public loves a gimmick.

I'll probably get both eventually, they're both looking good.

I hope we see SMG in 3D... SMG3D. I think it's perfect for such a device.

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That's exactly my point though, GTA was one of the successful PSP games but sold poorly relative to the home-console sales. Despite being a technical powerhouse the PSP didn't sell games and, even in terms of hardware, was massively outsold by the DS. The PSP2 looks to be a similar proposition - I'm not sure why anyone thinks having lots of power on tap is a successful strategy for a portable device when the last generation proved otherwise.

Because it also has gyro/tilt/touchscreen/an online store, meaning it can do the lesser stuff too. All the app store and android marketplace titles. The grunt and ease of porting allows for developers to include NGP in their list of supported formats without much effort. Get used to seeing '360/PS3/PC/NGP' as the standard for multiformat releases.

It'll be a device that does both - touchscreen app store style games, and full versions of current console games. Or at least, side stories that release alongside the 360/PS3 version.

The PSP didn't really receive either of these, instead it initially received expensive to develop exclusives which were not financially viable, and then it received nothing. The problem was you couldn't easily develop a title for PSP, for one thing the switch to PS3 didn't help. With no PS4 on the horizon, a companion handheld for the PS3/360, capable of many of the same games but also capable of cheaper mobile games, is a great proposition for a gamer. Though it looks like Sony are repeating the same mistakes again by jamming a load of stuff into a handheld without much thought, they're really not. They've shrewdly built a device which does, to quote them, everything. Full price AAA titles released alongside their console counterparts, and full support for iphone style games too.

The tech was never the problem with the PSP. That side of it was always great. The problem was the narrow focus on exclusive games. They've positioned this as much more of an 'iPhone meets PS3' device, which on the surface seems to offer the best of both worlds and cure a lot of the problems the PSP had (namely, no-one could be bothered with the cost of developing exclusive titles for it).

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Because it also has gyro/tilt/touchscreen/an online store, meaning it can do the lesser stuff too. All the app store and android marketplace titles. The grunt and ease of porting allows for developers to include NGP in their list of supported formats without much effort. Get used to seeing '360/PS3/PC/NGP' as the standard for multiformat releases.

The PSP didn't really receive either of these, instead it initially received expensive to develop exclusives which were not financially viable, and then it received nothing.

The PSP has had an online store for sometime now and received plenty of ports of PS2 games by my recollection. The 'lesser' stuff, as you point out, is already available on iOS/Android - mostly for 59p and on a device you carry with you by default. In my opinion of the PSP2 is holding out for the market of folk who want portable versions of home console games than, this thread aside, I think it's really going to struggle.

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The PSP has had an online store for sometime now and received plenty of ports of PS2 games by my recollection. The 'lesser' stuff, as you point out, is already available on iOS/Android - mostly for 59p and on a device you carry with you by default. In my opinion of the PSP2 is holding out for the market of folk who want portable versions of home console games than, this thread aside, I think it's really going to struggle.

The PSP online store was focused on shoddy PS1 ports for most of its existence. Sony are going to make it as easy to possible for IOS and Android developers to port to NGP. Where they'll likely release it for the same price. They're competing with the iPad as much as the 3DS, if you ask me.

They're not holding out for any such niche group, they're releasing a device (with a back-end and distribution network) that's trying to offer all things to all people. The dangerous thing is that as you say, people aren't going to spend £whatever on a dedicated device to do something their phone already does. It doesn't have to be a gigantic DS style success to warrant developing for it though, it just needs to represent a return on investment for developers. Seeing as the development for NGP will likely be much cheaper than it ever was for PSP (especially if you just port from IOS or PS3) it stands a better chance of success.

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I hope we see SMG in 3D... SMG3D. I think it's perfect for such a device.

Mario Galaxy is already in 3D Scott. That's why you can run forwards and backward into and out of the screen and well as left and right. I don't understand why people think viewing something in stereoscopic 3D grants something a dimension that wasn't there before. It's not like Mario World magically becomes Mario 64 when you put the glasses on. Gimmick gimmick gimmick.

I played a bit of Super Stardust HD in stereoscopic 3D in a Sony store recently, it was shit. I'd love a handheld version of SMG (I think we'll see one too, as you say it's just too perfect an opportunity) but I imagine it'll be nothing but headsplitting until you turn the 3D off.

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Nintendo will remember how successful the last few years of the N64 were when nearly all third-party support dried up - it's patently obvious Nintendo act to keep third-parties as happy as they can.

Whichever way you cut it 30% is a bigger proportion of revenue than 10-20%.

I don't think console manufacturers have moved to the revenue sharing model for digital yet, the old physical model put the risks onto the licensee, while the platform holder got their cut right at the start, here is what Nintendo were charging during the N64 era, looking around, the pricing structures still seemed in place for later generations, unfortunately the actual prices have been redacted:

NINTENDO OF AMERICA INC. PRICE SHEET

N64 LICENSE GAME PAKS

<TABLE>

<CAPTION>

MEMORY CAPACITY NOA PRICE

<S> <C>

32 Megabit $24.00

32 Megabit + E(2) ROM $26.00

64 Megabit $30.00

64 Megabit + E(2) ROM $32.00

96 Megabit $36.00

96 Megabit + E(2) ROM $38.00

</TABLE>

PRICE INCLUDES AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL UP TO 40 PAGES. THERE WILL BE AN EXTRA

CHARGE FOR MANUALS LARGER THAN 40 PAGES (INCLUDING THE FRONT AND BACK COVER).

EXTRA PACKAGING

(MUST BE ORDERED WITH PRODUCT ON SEPARATE PO)

<TABLE>

<CAPTION>

<S> <C>

Game Pak Box $.20

Instruction Manual

(under 40 pages) $.35

Instruction Manual

(over 40 pages) $.75

Game Pak Label $.10

Game Pak Poster $.15

Warranty Card $.07

</TABLE>

ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE

1/30/97

Explains how Nintendo could make decent profits despite losing market share and why fewer companies were willing to develop for N64 in the first place, the costs of manufacturing a 32 megabit cart was nowhere near $24 :)

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This says to me that PS3/360 titles will trickle down the NGP in some form or other (but more or less intact), whereas the 3DS is more likely to trickle up from existing DS titles/franchises. Zelda but 3D! Mario 64 but 3D! Professor Layton but 3D! etc.

the noteworthy exceptions thus far being, ironically, 2D fighters (though one of them - blazblue CSII - is a PSP port).

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The more I think about it, the more I want this and the less I want the 3DS. I feel like this will offer handheld experiences that I can't get anywhere else, what with the two thumbsticks and mega screen (with proper aspect ratio) and lots of grunt. Not just in terms of graphics but 3D environments, AI, physics etc. Plus it has a touchscreen and tilt so it can do all the iPhone stuff if it wants.

What we're likely to see, I expect, is lots of companion titles built at the same time at their larger 360/PS3 brethren. So game X will release on 360/PS3 and we'll see a prequel or side-story using the same engine and assets release on NGP. Either this or we'll simply see a ported chopped-down version of a multiformat game arrive on NGP as well as 360 and PS3. This is worrying, as I'm not going to pay for the same game twice in order to play it on the move.

And yeah, the argument for plateauing graphics and diminishing returns swiftly goes out the window when you look at what is actually capable on real top-end graphics cards at the moment (or two of them). Not that that somehow magically makes for a better game, but developers are developing with the 360 and PS3 in mind, which both have practically ancient graphics chips now. The stalling/slowing down/dimishing returns of graphical improvement are caused by economical considerations.

It's a good thing in many ways as it has prompted more and more efficient use of the hardware and a need for constant optimisation of existing engines. But of course if a console came out tomorrow with the equivalent of two GTX580 chips, the jump in graphical quality would be no less than you would expect going from one console to the next. We're still nowhere near photorealism and there's a huge amount you can do with lighting/geometry/physics/shaders which isn't possible on the consoles. Seen Metro 2033 with every setting banged up to maximum running at 60fps? That looks pretty exceptional, and that's just the tip of what would be possible if developers started developing for better hardware and optimising their engines for it. We will hit diminishing returns at some point but I don't think we're really there yet. There's just little reason to develop for ultra high end hardware when 90% of your multiplatform audience are playing on a Radeon X1900 or an Nvidia 7800, and most of the remaining 10% are stealing it down the interpipes.

Games like Crysis 2, Skyrim, Battlefield 3 etc are all using newer respective engines and I expect all of these to be drastically better on a high-end PC, whilst still being great on the console. But my point is that these engines when viewed on PC will begin to demonstrate what is not possible on the current generation of consoles, but more importantly what we can begin to expect from the next. This is what always happens, it's just happening in ultra slow-mo as the consoles are now dictating development, and there are no new consoles on the horizon yet.

Honestly, I too was hoping for a bit more grunt from the 3DS. While it remains to be seen how much extra grunt the system will get from running in 2D mode, the screenshots Ive seen of most games barring Kid Icarus,Resi, MGS, and SSIV seem to be struggling to push GC graphics. There are still many unanswered questions. Do any of the games run at 60fps in 3D mode? Do games get a framerate boost from turning off 3D mode (which would have to be an in game software option to stop double rendering, I would suppose). There is no doubt the system will have some graphical limitations, but as I posted earlier, I still think they are adequate, but seemingly just barely. When competing with >1GHz ARM processors in cell phones, save the NGP, the dual 266 ARM / 133 PICA setup will definitely have its work cut out for it, even if the PICA manages to be quite a bit more advanced/efficient than the GC/Wii GPU. I too am also disappointed by the low res cameras, would a 3.2MP 3D camera (at least printable in 2D mode) and a bit more RAM have broken the bank?? Like I said earlier, $250US is VERY expensive for a handheld, for that price I dont think the things I mentioned would be too much to ask.

As for the NGP, well it does have plenty of grunt to be sure - but it also has plenty of size and lacks the clamshell of the DS, which has proved more desirable for screen protection/etc. As I stated earlier, I believe both of these machines may prove to be the last standalone portable gaming machines produced. I think Sony missed a huge opportunity by not making this a smart phone. I suppose there would be some ergonomical/design challenges, but had they made the NGP a super-powerful do-all smart phone WITH actual analog sticks and buttons, and a dedicated chip slot for gaming there wouldnt even be a question as to the winner of the upcoming battle. As expensive as this machine is destined to be it could have competed much better against $400-$600 smartphones and not been looked at as overpriced. Their marketing strategy would have also changed, but if the unit had both functionalities, with one independent of the other, it would have been irresistable.

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It's been reported in a few places that switched to 2D doubles the framerate in Street Fighter and Dead or Alive, not sure about other titles.

Also, I really don't think a massive smartphone with analogue sticks and shoulder buttons etc would have sold well. It's got two cameras, wifi, 3G and an app store though, maybe we'll see Skype or something on it.

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I don't think console manufacturers have moved to the revenue sharing model for digital yet, the old physical model put the risks onto the licensee, while the platform holder got their cut right at the start, here is what Nintendo were charging during the N64 era, looking around, the pricing structures still seemed in place for later generations, unfortunately the actual prices have been redacted:

Presumably they already have revenue sharing for XBLA/PSN/Wiiware etc. There's no way anyone charges what Nintendo did for all that stuff in the N64 era, that was why third party's left in their droves and, if I recall, companies like Codemasters started manufacturing their own games. Anyway, I'm not sure what your point is - originally you stated that platform holders were in no rush to move to digital as they'd see a dip in revenue, that simply isn't the case.

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Honestly, I too was hoping for a bit more grunt from the 3DS. While it remains to be seen how much extra grunt the system will get from running in 2D mode, the screenshots Ive seen of most games barring Kid Icarus,Resi, MGS, and SSIV seem to be struggling to push GC graphics. There are still many unanswered questions. Do any of the games run at 60fps in 3D mode? Do games get a framerate boost from turning off 3D mode (which would have to be an in game software option to stop double rendering, I would suppose).

When Nintendo originally gave some specs for the 3DS (but being Nintendo, they don't give you the juicy tech bits, somebody has to steal that info and leak it later), they stated it rendered at 800x320 (400x320 for each eye), which led to a lot of discussion about how you could get anti-aliasing for free when you switched to 2D mode as everyone assumed it actually rendered at 800x320 all the time.

The performance differences in launch titles would kind of say that assumption was wrong, halving the framerate or worse visuals at the same framerate in S3D mode would indicate it actually natively renders at 400x320 and does double the work in S3D mode, hence the performance hit.

Some of the Nintendo titles might be 60fps in both modes, but they don't seem to be pushing the graphics ceiling much in the first place.

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Anyway, I'm not sure what your point is - originally you stated that platform holders were in no rush to move to digital as they'd see a dip in revenue, that simply isn't the case.

My point was I don't see Nintendo choosing to go digital of their own accord, unlike Sony/Microsoft who have already demonstrated that they are willing to allow full retail titles to be distributed in that manner. The benefit to them is less than the competition, especially if it results in price erosion as consumers expect pricing closer to Appstore/Steam, the current model is more beneficial to them financially imo, all that thirdparty shovelware on the Wii made them money, even if it didn't sell as they got paid upfront, not the same case digitally.

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Also, I really don't think a massive smartphone with analogue sticks and shoulder buttons etc would have sold well. It's got two cameras, wifi, 3G and an app store though, maybe we'll see Skype or something on it.

Well, thats the the "ergonomics" part I was getting at. Obviously current size would be an issue, but what I was getting at is if they could have somehow come up with a smaller form factor and still support the gaming sticks and buttons, it would have been incredible. If they support 3G then it already has a cellular radio and antenna in it, thats half the battle right there. As it stands, it seems it fits somewhere in between an ipad, a smart phone, and a game system, of course with the greater emphasis on being a game system.

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