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Baffling Business Decisions


Hideous Kojima
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At this point, releasing a futuristic racing game would probably be a baffling business decision for a big publisher. Sales-wise, the genre reached its high point with either F-Zero on the SNES or Wipeout 2097 on the PlayStation. I’d argue that they’re important games to show off new hardware, but that doesn’t translate to Super Mario Kart/Gran Turismo-like sales figures.

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12 hours ago, kensei said:

 

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.


Nintendo at this point are selling three million copies of Mario tennis. Which has the appeal of being Mario, and tennis.

Is f-zero as a comparable mid budget title going to get anywhere near that - probably not, no.

 

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On 13/01/2022 at 14:12, Sixkiller said:

Google launching Stadia, but essentially a shop selling games at full price, rather than it being a subscription service with a full library.

 

The streaming quality I get on Stadia is streets ahead of what I get from xcloud, so their boffins clearly did a top notch job.  But the commercial people fucked them by not offering anything close to the Gamepass model, instead modelling themselves more on the PS plus / Gold models which were/are in the process of being phased out by Sony   & MS.

 

A technical marvel, destinted for the (large) rubbish dump of abandoned google services and ideas.

I don’t think it was just that but it didn’t help. I think they fundamentally didn’t understand the market and the difficulty of building a platform and an audience, arrogantly assuming the tech and ports of some of the same games as other platforms would be sufficient. To my mind, it would be akin to Microsoft releasing the Xbox with no exclusives 20 years ago then being baffled when nobody bought it.

 

Anyway, publishers handing over PC gaming to Valve, especially Activision with Modern Warfare 2. Likely seemed like a good idea at the time, especially given the status of PC gaming, comparing the cut to traditional retail, the focus on short-term revenue and the relative ease of doing so, but giving them a perpetual cut of revenue for absolute minimal effort compared with the other platforms was obviously a huge mistake in retrospect. Microsoft and EA later realised what they had done but it was too late to make an impact.

 

Apple’s pricing policy on iOS driving anything but F2P off the platform. Probably crying themselves to death with dollar bills given the profitability of the App Store and devices but still - it’s a complete wasteland for paid software at this point and it didn’t have to be.

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The PS Vita allowed you to stream PS3 and PS4 to your amazing OLED screen handheld. The Vita is a lovely, incredible piece of kit...

 

So they made a version with built in 3G so shop customers could be confused between the two models.  They used proprietary memory cards that were ludicrously overpriced and unreliable.  They only gave it 2 shoulder buttons so PS3 and PS4 gaming was a bit shit.  But the cherry on the cake was how they put a massive touchpad.... On the back.  It already had a touch screen so a touch pad was of little benefit anyway. You could already touch the screen if you needed to. But the touchpad was on the back of the handheld.. where your fingers will naturally rest when you try to use the thing! Madness.

 

 

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I think the touchpad could have had interesting (if very specific) applications in certain genres, but nothing was ever done with it. Like, you could prevent accidental inputs by having the user hold another button when performing rear-touchpad actions, and you could show something onscreen to reflect what the fingers were doing at the back. And you wouldn't have the front-touchscreen issue of hands obscuring the action. Maybe the back is too big for small fingers to move across, but there could be games where small gestures make big movements. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

It would have been cool to see it used for cursor control in something like an RTS or Diablo knockoff... if only as a proof-of-concept. Although in the end the only gimmicks that I remember being any good were in Tearaway, and even then it was usually just used as a big button.

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18 hours ago, footle said:


Nintendo at this point are selling three million copies of Mario tennis. Which has the appeal of being Mario, and tennis.

Is f-zero as a comparable mid budget title going to get anywhere near that - probably not, no.

 

 

I think it'd do Metroid Dread numbers.

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On 17/01/2022 at 00:04, kensei said:

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. 

 

I'd agree with that assessment, but what is an acceptable or great result for an indie developer with fewer overheads and alternatives doesn't usually translate to Mega-Corps who think 1 Million fullprice $60 sales of a game is disappointing, it's like an old joke by Chris Rock about Oprah and Bill Gates, just replace the names with Nintendo and Shin'en and you get the idea:

 

Quote

Oprah is rich, Bill Gates is wealthy. If Bill Gates woke up tomorrow with Oprah's money, he'd jump out a fuckin' window and slit his throat on the way down saying, "I can't even put gas in my plane!"

 

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