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Baffling Business Decisions


Hideous Kojima
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1 hour ago, Alex W. said:


That’s a bizarre way to frame it, Nintendo were entirely aware of what the deal involved the whole time. It’s not like it was in the fine print. The only chicanery is that Sony didn’t find out they’d lost the contract until Nintendo walked out and announced their deal with Philips, in something that was widely and probably correctly interpreted as a gesture to publicly put Sony in its place.

 

The only real “puzzle” is why Nintendo originally endorsed the deal with Sony only to get cold feet later. Based on the timing, until 1990 they probably thought they were going to sell a bunch of extra SNESes and Sony-branded SNES cart players off the back of the other company’s brand image and the interactive movie fad. (Indeed, they sculpted their Philips deal explicitly along those lines.) They presumably got cold feet when it became clear that CD-ROM could be the primary storage medium for the new machine.

They may have done, but reviewing the deal they realised it was a huge mistake. Quite apart from Sony profiting from the sales and handing over control to Sony, it also allowed Sony to crow about how much better CDs were above Nintendo's primitive cartridges. It would allow Sony to become a huge competitor to Nintendo, using Nintendo's own platform to advertise.

 

Going ahead with that deal would be absolute madness.

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13 hours ago, Alex W. said:

Oh yeah it’s bad ideas inside bad ideas. It was probably an interesting prospect in 2001 when they started but by the time the PS3 came around it should’ve been obvious you weren’t going to get a consumer games system out of it.

 

I thought the PS3 hardware was relatively powerful if you could tap into it properly - the single threaded performance still being relatively competitive even against more modern processors.

 

Just it's was too complicated in comparison to the 360, which meant in the crucial early part of the consoles life it was second best, even of it caught up or overtook later.

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4 hours ago, kensei said:

 

I thought the PS3 hardware was relatively powerful if you could tap into it properly - the single threaded performance still being relatively competitive even against more modern processors.

 

Just it's was too complicated in comparison to the 360, which meant in the crucial early part of the consoles life it was second best, even of it caught up or overtook later.

 

What games took advantage of that power? From what I recall most games had better performance on the 360 although this might have been due to developing on two platforms.

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It was basically the kind of architecture that would come to dominate GPUs and GPGPU design in the coming years (not just graphics but also things like physics processing units), but they did it before anyone knew got to work with them, with no meaningful support to help people learn, and in the finished design applied exclusively to the CPU. (I believe at one point they wanted it to just have a Cell and no GPU at all.)

 

Actually the PS2 was kind of similar in that regard. Right basic concept in the wrong time and place.

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3 hours ago, gossi the dog said:

 

What games took advantage of that power? From what I recall most games had better performance on the 360 although this might have been due to developing on two platforms.

 

I think later first party titles like Uncharted were considered to be pretty impressive. I think the GPU on the PS3 was the weaker part.

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The GPU was a tweaked standard Nvidia unit. The issue was more software there: MS had DirectX, which was mature, efficient and well known, while Sony offered a fairly poor, slow OpenGL-based API initially. They then went entirely in the opposite direction and provided a very low level custom API that allowed maximum performance but further increased the development cost and level of customisation required, on top of that already imposed by the whacky CPU.

 

The main limitation on the CPU side was the tiny amount of memory available on the individual Cell units. Everyone was already starting to heavily multithread by then but you couldn't take the same general purpose algorithms from PC and Xbox and apply them on PS3: you had to chunk things up in quite a different way and things like AI (where fairly random access to quite a lot of world state might be required) were particularly challenging to handle and didn't necessarily make it onto the SPEs at all. I think most cross-platform devs would have ended up with a similar breakdown of one PC/Xbox implementation and one PS3 implementation.

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On 13/01/2022 at 10:36, Broker said:

In general, I'm always baffled by the amount of IP big companies just sit on when there's clearly an appetite and fanbase. I get that Nintendo don't think it's worth putting a triple A team on F Zero, but surely they could hire a smaller developer to put out a game?

 

If you look at the history of Nintendo created 'famous' game series which they no longer choose to make, they already did that part before throwing in the towel.

 

F-Zero, started as an internal real Nintendo game, had a real Nintendo follow-up by EAD, then it started the path to oblivion with ever lower budget efforts made by mercenaries once Nintendo had better more lucrative things to do with their limited Elite-level internal talent pool.

 

F-Zero
F-Zero X
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity - NDcube
F-Zero AX/GX - Amusement Vision
F-Zero: GP Legend - Suzak Inc.
F-Zero Climax - Suzak Inc.

 

Star Fox has the same basic trajectory also, Metroid has borderline viability as they do at least keep on trying on a regular basis with that series, even if they don't want to commit their best to doing so anymore.

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One thing as a gamer that I don’t like is that Nintendo seem to be ‘Disneyfying’ their output, generally they seem to be concentrating heavily on Mario and his cast with Zelda being their only big budget nod to something outside that. Which is definitely down to Miyamoto’s increased influence. Which has naturally leading to them taking these characters outside of gaming to theme parks and movies. Not a bad decision at all as they are being hugely successful with it. Just frustrating as a gamer as the samey vibes across their games means I quickly get Nintendo’d out very quickly, couldn’t own a Nintendo console just for their own releases which wouldn’t have been the case with the GC era. 
 

Nintendo’s baffling decision was the WiiU from start to finish, from the concept, design, branding to their big launch title being nothing more than an HD version of a game the released a few months earlier. Never seen a console by such a big player look dead on release, neither did Nintendo aggressively try to bring the console alive, a re design, re-release with new branding, a much cheaper rrp etc. It’s like they knew it was dead on release and left it to rot for a few years until they could get the Switch out. 

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3 hours ago, mushashi said:

 

If you look at the history of Nintendo created 'famous' game series which they no longer choose to make, they already did that part before throwing in the towel.

 

F-Zero, started as an internal real Nintendo game, had a real Nintendo follow-up by EAD, then it started the path to oblivion with ever lower budget efforts made by mercenaries once Nintendo had better more lucrative things to do with their limited Elite-level internal talent pool.

 

F-Zero
F-Zero X
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity - NDcube
F-Zero AX/GX - Amusement Vision
F-Zero: GP Legend - Suzak Inc.
F-Zero Climax - Suzak Inc.

 

Star Fox has the same basic trajectory also, Metroid has borderline viability as they do at least keep on trying on a regular basis with that series, even if they don't want to commit their best to doing so anymore.

 

Star Fox is entirely on Nintendo. They keep fucking with it, but it's the one series that you could just keep remaking with ever better graphics, updated sci fi film references and a few tweaks. 

The core mechanics are basically an 80s arcade game and there few enough games like that these days.

 

Instead they keep messing with it, with trying to force the Wii U tablet into the design in Zero being the perfect example. Just make a goddamn good on rails shooter with lots of explosions and maybe - maybe - an occasional dogfight map.

 

I think FZero has been mothballed long enough there's probably some pent up demand and done right you could pull in more interest. Again, a graphical refresh and online modes would probably be enough give the time since the last one. Apparently, Nagoshi would be up for another crack at it, if you don't want to do it internally give it to him. 

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I think Nintendo often say they don’t make sequels for the sake of it and don’t want to make a new game if they can’t do something new, so they might be of the opinion that they can’t take F Zero any further (and maybe experimented with some new mechanics that weren’t fun enough.).

 

It didn’t really stop them with splatoon 2, though (not that I am complaining).

 

They probably whip out the calculator and realise that they can make just as much money by re releasing the same game each generation. I mean, you and I and any other sane person would be happy with the same gameplay, updates graphics and new tracks - same deal as @kensei said with starfox. But Nintendo gonna Nintendo.

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6 hours ago, Oh Danny Boy said:

their big launch title being nothing more than an HD version of a game the released a few months earlier. 


The first party Wii U launch titles were Nintendoland and NSMBU, both new games. 

 

2 hours ago, Strafe said:

I think Nintendo often say they don’t make sequels for the sake of it and don’t want to make a new game if they can’t do something new, so they might be of the opinion that they can’t take F Zero any further (and maybe experimented with some new mechanics that weren’t fun enough.) 


This is such obvious bullshit. They don’t make sequels if they don’t think they’ll be profitable, and this is just how they justify it. They haven’t meaningfully changed Mario kart in 20 years. They let Zelda stagnate for years before BOTW. The sports and party games get a new entry every few years with zero effort made to differentiate them. This rule only applies when a game fails and they need an excuse for dumping the franchise. 

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9 minutes ago, Broker said:

This is such obvious bullshit. They don’t make sequels if they don’t think they’ll be profitable, and this is just how they justify it. They haven’t meaningfully changed Mario kart in 20 years. They let Zelda stagnate for years before BOTW.

Zelda has had toon style and sailing, then Ocarina of Time throwback because people whined. Then full motion control where the overworld was another part of the dungeon, then a 2d sequel to aLttP with a very different power up structure. Not seeing stagnation there.

 

Mario Kart has added online with Wii and DS, then gliding / underwater, then it went F-Zero. It's difficult to see how much more different the mechanics could be and it still be Mario Kart. I'd like them to add a Diddy Kong style adventure mode, that would be a good addition. 

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3 hours ago, Strafe said:

I think Nintendo often say they don’t make sequels for the sake of it and don’t want to make a new game if they can’t do something new, so they might be of the opinion that they can’t take F Zero any further (and maybe experimented with some new mechanics that weren’t fun enough.).

 

This is of course complete PR bullshit, the only reason they say that about these failed series is because they can't justify investing in another attempt without finding some new twist to try to make it a hit again. They are perfectly fine churning out Mario Party, Pokémon, etc.

 

If it ain't broke, companies rarely try to reinvent the wheel if they have a successful formula to milk.

 

The really cheap way to do this would be to allow fan games to be developed by unpaid outsiders, wait until they are near completion, evaluate them and then either do a deal to make it official and polish it up for commercial release or set the inhouse lawyers on them if the game doesn't meet the quality criteria, the ROI on that would be pretty good.

 

Square-Enix tried to go down that route officially by allowing some of their dead brands to be used, but after 6 years, the idea doesn't seem to have made much progress commercially.

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23 minutes ago, Phantoon said:

Zelda has had toon style and sailing, then Ocarina of Time throwback because people whined. Then full motion control where the overworld was another part of the dungeon, then a 2d sequel to aLttP with a very different power up structure. Not seeing stagnation there.

 

Mario Kart has added online with Wii and DS, then gliding / underwater, then it went F-Zero. It's difficult to see how much more different the mechanics could be and it still be Mario Kart. I'd like them to add a Diddy Kong style adventure mode, that would be a good addition. 


If cel shading and a substituting the open world for a big flat ocean which is incredibly boring to traverse counts as an interesting enough sequel for them, that’s an incredibly low bar. The fact they were willing to put out an OOT throwback also makes it clear that they don’t actually need a new idea to create a sequel. Skyward Sword is a fair call though, that did have a lot of new stuff in it.

 

Outside of online, Mario Kart’s additions are pitiful. The gliding is a tiny addition, the underwater adds literally nothing. Going F-Zero is an insanely generous description of tracks that twist slightly. Sonic and SEGA All Stars Transformed includes boats and planes that actually handle in meaningfully different ways, and shits all over the terrible additions in MK7.

 

There’s also New Super Mario Bros, a low effort sequel to 2D Mario games which spawned a series of low effort sequels.

 

I’m actually perfectly happy to play series’ that just make the same game over and over, assuming I’m still enjoying it. Twilight Princess and MK8 are both favourites of mine. The point is that their “we don’t make sequels unless we have new ideas” is bollocks, it’s just a PR line for when they’re asked why there’s no new F-Zero game which sounds better than “it doesn’t sell so we don’t want to”.

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On 13/01/2022 at 10:36, Broker said:

In general, I'm always baffled by the amount of IP big companies just sit on when there's clearly an appetite and fanbase.

 

 

2 hours ago, Broker said:

 when they’re asked whythere’s no new F-Zero game which sounds better than “it doesn’t sell so we don’t want to”.


Doesn’t sound so baffling then

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It's baffling that Namco could make at least £100 profit by releasing a Ridge Racer compilation for the current gen consoles but they just sit on it like a selfish kid not sharing their toys even though they're not playing with them. 

 

Same deal with OutRun 2, I know the Ferraris are iconic but honestly even if I'm flying along those courses in a Dacia Sandero, as long as the blue skies and Splash Wave are there then I couldn't care less. 

 

I think there's a lot of old games that would be great money spinners if the IP holders just treated them with respect. 

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10 hours ago, Strafe said:


Doesn’t sound so baffling then


Not really, the first post was more about finding things to do with an IP that aren’t just big games from established teams. The second is about their messaging surrounding their choice to only focus on more expensive games.

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Personally "these companies aren't pandering to me with nostalgia bullshit as much as I would like" isn't a baffling corporate decision, and rllmuk turning every potentially interesting new topic into asking for more multi-million dollar pandering for olds just makes the whole forum come across as incredibly boring.

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40 minutes ago, RubberJohnny said:

Personally "these companies aren't pandering to me with nostalgia bullshit as much as I would like" isn't a baffling corporate decision, and rllmuk turning every possible topic into asking for more multi-million dollar pandering for olds just makes the whole forum come across as incredibly boring.

 

Nostalgia is big business though, there's a market for making easy money allowing people to legally buy and play old games as well as making new games and IP. 

 

Apologies for boring you though man. 

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15 hours ago, Broker said:

There’s also New Super Mario Bros, a low effort sequel to 2D Mario games which spawned a series of low effort sequels.

 

This is such a harsh statement to me ha. i love those games & clearly lots of effort gone into them, even if they don't touch the heights of SMW all the time.

 

Definitely need a new F-Zero though i agree with that sentiment. Even a remaster of the GC one would do for me at this point 

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24 minutes ago, Fletch said:

 

Nostalgia is big business though, there's a market for making easy money allowing people to legally buy and play old games as well as making new games and IP. 

 

Apologies for boring you though man. 


It’s not that baffling.
 

The switch has sold through 90+ million consoles.

the last mainline fzero game sold - at best 1.5 million copies, and more likely under 700k copies. 
the last wipeout game under a million on a console which also might have expected a higher attach ratio if there really was that latent demand.

 

why not just go with new IP, rather than lazer targetting forty-somethings who’d also buy the new IP?

 

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I imagine that, using F Zero as an example, Nintendo haven’t given up on the idea of revisiting itself at some point. If they give it out to a proven developer they’ll still (I think) have to foot the development cost. If they hand it over to an indie team then they’d have to pay for that and also end up with a game that might ruin the franchise’s appeal and make making a proper follow up an even harder proposition because everyone remembers the last f zero as being shit.

 

I can’t see the the market for a low budget f zero being that high.

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1 hour ago, footle said:


It’s not that baffling.
 

The switch has sold through 90+ million consoles.

the last mainline fzero game sold - at best 1.5 million copies, and more likely under 700k copies. 
the last wipeout game under a million on a console which also might have expected a higher attach ratio if there really was that latent demand.

 

why not just go with new IP, rather than lazer targetting forty-somethings who’d also buy the new IP?

 

 

The last mainline F Zero wasn't on a console with a 90 million install base and you still have some brand awareness because of Smash.

 

It probably wouldn't do Mario Kart numbers but not every game Nintendo makes does Mario Kart numbers and F Zero so definitely something you could make good on a mid budget.

 

Or they could use it for what they FZero originally was - a tech demo to showcase new hardware, with ideas learned feeding into new titles.

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5 hours ago, Strafe said:

I can’t see the the market for a low budget f zero being that high.

 

Somebody should e-mail Shin'en and ask how well their inspired by/homage to it has done over its various iterations over multiple Nintendo consoles. Both they and Nintendo know the truth, which probably explains why Nintendo haven't given them a blank cheque and the contract to do the next installment of F-Zero.

 

Apart from the rare times when it actually is a creative decision, the usual, unwanted answer is potential reward isn't worth the risk compared to an alternative option.

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Fast Racing Neo? It did well enough to get a semi sequel on the Switch and any Nintendo game is going to get a marketing budget and profile that game could only dream of.

 

I'd agree it's unlikely to set the world alight but I'd be shocked if it didn't turn a profit.

 

The true low budget would be to remaster GX / AX with true wide screen, 120 FPS and maybe stretch to an online mode. They've already got a hybrid emulator for Mario and a few others. 

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