March 29, 2006

Blog Dump

The rumor mill is reporting that Lucas Arts may be stripping Sony Online Entertainment (makers of the much maligned Star Wars Galaxies) of the Star Wars license. Internet conjecture conects that to the known fact that Bioware (makers of the well received Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic offline RPGs) has opened up a new studio exclusively for producing online RPGs. Still very much a rumor, but the nerds are atwitter with the possibilities for an online Star Wars RPG that doesn't suck balls.

Nintendo is saying that not only will their console be cheaper than other consoles, but the games will be cheaper too. Now, hardware can be cheaper for a few reasons, primarily because 1) The hardware manufacturer takes a larger loss on the hardware in hopes of selling more machines and making up the difference in increased game sales to those extra users, 2) the hardware manufacturer cuts out frills that the other machines include, like a hard drive or network adapter, or 3) the hardware manufacturer uses less cutting edge technology in their machine. Nintendo has said that they're not trying to compete with the cutting edge graphics of the PS3 or Xbox 360, but also that the graphics will still look good. Producing games, however, as far as my knowledge goes at least, is a bit different. It's all man hours; the better you want the graphics to be, the bigger you want your game world to be, the better you want the online component to be, all these depend on putting more people on the job. You can also increase the game's quality without increasing the cost through better management, but I doubt that's something Nintendo can guarantee enough to remark about.

Now the difference between PS2 games and Xbox games, graphically speaking, was noticible this generation, yet the games cost the same. So if companies are going to charge less for Nintendo Revolution games than they are for the 360 or PS3 that tells me that the margin between the work it takes to make a Revolution game and a PS3 game is bigger than the margin between the PS2 and the Xbox. We'll see, but I can't help but think that either A) Revolution games will look significantly worse that PS3 and 360 games or 2) Revolution games will generally cost the same as those other systems. As always, we'll see for sure when they show games at this year's E3, coming up in May.

Supposedly Microsoft changed from shipping Xbox 360s by airplane to ship recently, which means that though they've been producing lots of systems lately there's a gap of time between when the last plane left and the first ship, uh, shipped ahoy or whatever they do. Supposedly in the next couple weeks there should be massive amounts of systems in stores. The link also talks about some mysterious event when this first ship shipment arrives. It's from the MS PR guy, so I guess take it for what you will.

The 360 has shown up Down Under and evidently has sold rather well.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an awesome single player game for the 360. A wide open world to explore and nearly limitless possibilities of things for your character to do, this game should be on most owner's lists of must haves. Don't just take my word for it though, the paper of record agrees!


Anonymous said...

this has nothing to do with how good the console is. but i am fucking SICK of the 360 and we've only had it for 2 weeks. my husband and all his buddies play on live like all the time. all us wives just wanna punch 'em in the face. grrr! damn you addictive 360. AND DAMN YOU XBOX LIVE! lol

MosBen said...

Hooray for video games!

Geronimo said...

It sucks, my wife plays my xbox more than I do. But at least I have my nintendo DS.

Unknown said...

Wow, since Jamie has gotten his 360, the gang has spent a lot of tie playing it... but not lately. It seems that not even the allure of awesome video games is enough to tear us away from seriously unhealthy binge-drinking.

Patrick said...

I was always a Nintendo boy growing up - Mario and Zelda all the way - but in reality, they've gotten pretty awful in the last few years.

I recently read an investing article that said that Nintendo expects to allow players to play all of the classics that they fell in love with when they were 6. Honestly? I've played a lot of classic games in the last few years, and they are never engrossing enough to keep me playing. When Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy were re-released for PS1, I bought them. And played them both once. They have been collecting dust ever since.

Now, Kingdom Hearts II? I'm totally going to buy that. It's built on what was originally an excellent and novel concept for a game, it will use amazing graphics, and it will keep me interested for at least a few months.

Re-release of Mario Bros.? Notsomuch.

Really, they should consider that gaming has really fragmented, and consumer loyalty is a serious problem. The casual gamer might buy a Nintendo so that they can play Mario or Donkey Kong - but they aren't going to spend near the amount of money that someone devoted to EverQuest or WoW or Halo will. I fear that Nintendo's new system (and freakish controller!) will flop, and this will signal the deathknell for what was once a great company.

MosBen said...

1. I can't wait for the eventual news story about a beating that involved the "nunchuck" controller for the Revolution. It's *going* to happen. It has been foretold.

2. The thing that annoyes me about the re-release of those old games is how often Nintendo does it. Just a few years ago they re-released Mario, Zelda, and a number of other old NES titles for $20 a pop for the game boy. Those games are almost 20 years old. I don't know what Nintendo's going to charge for these old games, but it better not be much.

And to Drew, I'd be happy to bring Oblivion over if the Crew wanted to play it a bit. Not sure how that would work exactly, but it's a sweet game.

Jason said...

Nintendo will never fold. While it has had waning populaity over here, it is still hugely popular in Japan. Mainly because they produce tons of really weird games for the really weird Japanese people. The same could be said of for Playstation to an extent but they have a lot more mainstream games. XBOX has the exact opposite problem. When the 360 launched everyone needed one in the US, while 3 people bought them in Japan (obviously the really weird people).

MosBen said...

Never is an awfully long time. Nintendo continues to post solid profits because they have a stranglehold on the portable market. If the PSP (or the rumored Microsoft handheld) can cut deep enough into that market and the Revolution doesn't do better than the Gamecube Nintendo is going to be hurting. Unlike Microsoft, and to a lesser extent Sony, who has extremely profitable nongaming divisions to ride them through any tough spots for the Home Entertainment Division, Nintendo only makes games.

There's a lot of ifs there, and I don't expect Nintendo to go under (or more likely turn into a 3rd party developer), but it's not impossible either.