Normally, I don’t like to aim at video game companies. They bring us near endless entertainment. However, I think each of the big three: Nintendo, Sony, & Microsoft, may be shooting themselves in their respective feet. I am going to avoid going on a rant and complaining. There is enough of that negativity on the net already. Instead, I’d like to share my thoughts on what each company is doing wrong and how I think they can fix it. Think of it as pleading. They probably won’t listen. The elephant rarely listens to the ant. Though, who knows? Stranger things have happened.
Microsoft, let’s start with you. You were able to break into the gaming world, build a huge and loyal fanbase and stand with the big boys. It was an impressive feat. Even with the red ring of death, you still managed to stay on top. You gave us quality games, awesome original IPs such as Halo and Gears of War, and break through in online gaming with Xbox Live. Even Kinect, which is little more than an expansion of the Wii’s gimmicky motion controls, is ripe with potential.
Then your focus shifted to making the Xbox more of an all-around entertainment center than just a gaming console. I’m okay with that. I enjoy HBOGo, Netflix, etc. I just wish you would maintain focus on the games as well. Bing and Internet Explorer don’t add anything to the gaming experience. You’ve become like the cool biker uncle who shows up to Thanksgiving dinner one year driving a minivan and wearing a suit. Bringing tons of entertainment options to gamers is great. But, the entertainment options are merely a complement to the games.
Then there’s you, Sony; the divorcee parent who spends a fortune on your kid to win them over and fails to follow through when it actually counts. Promises are made and broken so often, we’ve become numb. The Playstation brand has been around the gaming world long enough. It changed gaming for the better. Playstation brought us the Resident Evils first. It gave us Metal Gear Solid, God of War, Uncharted; the list goes on and on. In recent years, you’ve moved toward trying to keep us occupied with gadgets. If you want to maintain continued success, don’t just give us toys. We want the quality that Sony is synonymous with.
The PS Vita has the potential to a great handheld. You keep holding it back and locking it up and short-changing gamers. We understand your concern for security. Don’t you realize the harder you try to deny people something, the farther they’ll go to obtain it? The Vita is the perfect example of your continued empty promises: PS3 remote play functionality, the ability to play all available PSone games (we were just allowed to finally get a few games); you even locked up the memory cards on the system. And like that kid who has been let down time and again by his parent, we gamers may learn not to trust you.
And, Nintendo. Since I was three, you’ve been one of the only reliable constants in my life. It’s akin to having an old friend who is always there for you. However, you are trying so hard to differentiate yourself, it may come back to hurt you. The success of the Wii, no matter how gimmicky the controls ended up being, can’t be denied. I’m worried you may not hit the same success with the Wii U. In your constant attempt to be different, you’re missing key elements. The hardware specs of your systems are always behind the current tech and don’t provide nearly the leaps that your cousins do. You were late to the online community as well. It’s good that the 3DS finally started to hit its stride. The Nintendo name was once the top of the gaming world. In order to get back to that spot, Nintendo needs to go back to being ahead of the pack and not on a completely different course.
Video games are, first and foremost, a business. This much is clear. What isn’t clear is who the business is geared toward. The non-gaming community won’t spend the money we gamers will. Just because someone bought a Wii doesn’t mean they’ll upgrade to a Wii U. Hopefully, the big three will hear my plea and those like it sooner rather than later, or the success of the next generation of consoles may not be as grand.
(Top image courtesy of videogamememebase.com)
-The 4th Wall is an imaginary barrier that separates a particular medium from its audience. It is also a weekly column on Vagary.tv born from the Just In Bailey column, written by Joey Alesia. Each week, Joey looks at video games and the industry as a whole and works to break the 4th Wall armed with over 25 years of gaming knowledge and a twisted sense of humor. Be sure to follow Joey on Twitter (@wrkngclsswrtr) or email him at Joey.Alesia@Vagary.tv.