The era of HD Gaming is a myth. Or, why there is definitely no Wii HD coming soon

wiihdHD gaming, at least as it has been applied to this current generation of consoles by feverish marketing departments who overshot their markets by a mile, is a myth. Always has been. As such, there is almost certainly no Wii HD console coming out anytime soon. Can I be an analyst now?

Now I’ve said this ad nauseum before, of course, but today more than ever I’m supremely confident that if not for the Wii and Nintendo’s undeniable restructuring of the video games landscape, the HD Twins and their arrogant marketing departments could have very well dealt an industry near and dear to my heart an almost certainly deadly blow.

Actually, to elaborate further, this post was inspired by none other than Michael Pachter, that blowhard lazy journalist’s go-to guy for all things video games “analysis,” who just recently regurgitated, again, his prediction that Nintendo would soon traipse out some mutated “Wii HD” console, complete with 1080p graphicsz!1!! and a hard drive bolted onto the side. And that’s the thing about video games “experts” like Pachter these days. They sit on their cushy leather chairs and say the same thing over and over again for months or even years at a time, and then when something resembling their initial prediction two years ago actually happens (more because of inevitability than their skill as a seer), they crow and crow and immediately set about “predicting” the future again. And at no time does a journalist worth their salt bother to call them out, mostly because the stories that quote these analysts do so well for their traffic and their niche audiences.

In this current case, Pachter is again throwing red meat quotes to the only group of people who listen to him. Like an emperor, sans clothes, he revels in the Digg traffic he receives for every wild Wii HD prediction he produces. These page views are empty calories but damn it all do they feel good.

Naturally, anyone with Google and a brain can easily dismiss such drivel, and in doing so, understand that there is no Wii HD coming this Christmas, or next Christmas, or maybe even the next one. There is simply nothing out there today to support such a notion, and to continue to hold out hope that this prediction is even remotely true even in the face of so many contradictory facts is borderline unhealthy. We all remember facts, yes? I realize the vocal minority message boards and blogs often drown them out with rhetoric, but here are a few just for s’s and g’s:

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1. No Price Cut

Yes, this old chestnut. The Wii, now $50 more than the base Xbox 360, continues to kick its ass and the PS3 “desperation play” slim combined. From day one, as it’s been said to death, Nintendo made a profit on each Wii sold. Ironically, many people, often the same message board trolls mentioned above, curiously bought these $250 Wii consoles, and only after their purchase did they proceeded to complain the price was too high. Strange. If it was too high, what is it doing in your entertainment room? The price was not high enough to keep them from buying a Wii, of course, but it was high enough to apparently empower them to complain mightily in the forums when said console didn’t have enough green and brown killing games for their liking. Nevertheless, even as a hater or complainer, they paid the $250, as did millions upon millions of others. Put simply, when you are winning, and winning by such a margin that the next two competitors combined cannot top your sales, you do not cut the price&—especially so if consumers are voting with their wallets and saying en masse they have no problem whatsoever with your pricing.

Of course, I understand that the numbers are down. But they’re down for everyone. Yet even when Nintendo is down, it still outsells the competition, combined. There is no new console coming. Only new colors (well, maybe just one color: black). Nintendo, and the masses, are fine with that. Add to the profit fact that introducing a Wii HD console now would confuse new adopters and piss off existing ones and there’s already enough evidence that a Wii HD is never coming this generation.

So, to review, no Wii price cut means no chance in hell for a Wii HD. And yet…

2. Those Pesky HD Cables (or lack thereof, actually)

The second catalyst today is another brilliant newsletter out of GameIndustry.biz. In today’s letter, the ever observant online pub notes that in 2009, three frakking years since the dawn of the so-called “HD Era,” neither of the two machines capable of HD graphics come with HD cables. I repeat: Neither HD-enabled console includes an HDMI cable in the box. The newest launch, the PS3 Slightly More Slim, doesn’t either, not to mention all the other “hardcore” features that were cut from it on the liposuction table (Linux support, some ports, to name a few).

images-products-c-cbl-hdmi-mmBut why is this? How can this be?! We’re living in an era of life-like graphics where we vault over the Uncanny Valley with ease, right? Right?! No, actually, we’re not. As we saw in one of the more revealing quotes of the year, Epic Games Mark Rein said nay, and less than 50% of his hardcore customers play Gears of War 2 in HD. Less than 50%!!! On the flagship HD gaming title of our time! As GameIndustry notes, the mind boggles at how that less than 50% adoption rate plummets on less hardcore titles like FIFA and the Buzz! titles. Can we live in an “era” when the adoption rate is less than a majority?

These facts make me feel legitimately sorry for developers like Quantic Dream. In case you don’t recognize the name, they’re the studio behind the PS3-exclusive Heavy Rain, a more real than life title that hopes to defeat the Uncanny Valley for the first time ever and land comfortably in a pile of cash on the other side. Unfortunately, the pile is a mirage, constructed skillfully by marketing firms and Sony over the past three years to fool gamers and hapless developers into believing their multi-million dollar 1080p True HD titles have as big of an audience as the loud rambunctious forums would have them believe.

And this is where Nintendo comes in. Somehow, some way, they saw through the hype. They saw such efforts as foolish, at least for now, an decided to try and change the landscape for the better (and line their pockets, of course, as a business is designed to do). If the Wii had failed, god help all us gamers, because it’d be slim pickings in the years to come as more developers folded up and the big guns like EA were forced to create bloated games for the only gamers left: the “core.” Everyone else–all those grannies and girls and women and people with only a few hours to kill each week on video games–wouldn’t give two craps about video games, kind of like most people didn’t during the big PC “hardcore gamer” video games industry crash of the 1980s.

And there there’s this… fresh off the press today is more damning evidence that the era of HD gaming is a , manufactured myth, and that Nintendo is indeed laughing all the way to the bank:

Black Rock Studio’s (ATV, Split/Second) David Jefferies has, in his regular column on industry site Develop, revealed that Microsoft recently dropped the requirement, meaning games can – if they want/need to – be released in lower, standard definition resolutions.

Of course, some games on the 360 have already been released in sub-HD resolutions. Halo 3, for example, which Jeffereis says was thanks to Bungie, “who got it waived”. Editor’s Note: In other words, special treatment since MS owns them.

Oops! Is that 1080p high def egg on your face? Said Infendo reader Kale, who emailed this story to use today, “The irony of all this makes me laugh. Nintendo might know a thing or two about making game consoles, huh?” Indeed they do, but things get even worse for that never-going-to-happen Wii HD console.

3. The Early Adopters Are Done

Things will get worse before they get better. Sony and Microsoft are both comfortably through the early adopter phases now, and as a result, the percentage of HD-enabled customers is likely to fall sharply as they sell more and more consoles. The first 20 million consumers to buy each console were probably fairly tech-savvy and quite likely to be ready for HD. The next 20 million, however, will be far more likely to be plugging the Xbox 360 into an SD set, or using an inappropriate cable – or, perhaps most notably, plugging the console into a smaller TV in a bedroom. [Eurogamer]

True. And incredibly ironic, given all the Wii bubble talk bandied about over these past three years. What professional journalist would have thought that it was the HD bubble that was set to burst—not the Wii? Not many, which is a story in an of itself (the defections and even layoffs of several high profile games journalists from the profession, like N’Gai, only strengthen this belief).

For the Wii however, this dynamic does not exist. The owner’s TV may be SD, or it might by HDTV, but in the end it doesn’t matter. 480p is “good enough” in that developers can create great imagery (Demon Blade, again!) or captivating gameplay (Wii Sports) without worrying about HD graphics or inflated budgets. Freed from this item on their checklists, developers are not hamstrung into creating a movie first, video game second. They can focus on how the player interacts with the game, how they might enjoy themselves, how they might be challenged. And we wonder why Nintendo characters, by and large, don’t talk!

4. Wii will put it away in 2010

Lastly, there’s this incredible convergence happening right now around the Wii that I’d be remiss not to mention here. It’s one that will actually see Nintendo sales increase in 2010, as opposed to stagnate or remain flat like many consoles do year-over-year at the five year mark in their lifecycles. The convergence is happening around three pillars: game quality, indie development, exclusives, and a culling of stubborn old school game studios.

The first, quality, is probably the most obvious: Wii games are getting better. There were many excellent ones before, of course, but over time, and with some inspirational help from Nintendo first party titles, the big players are starting to “get it.” There was Tiger Woods 10, a staple of any Wii top 10 2009 list, but then are some—and I’m “predicting here, so watch out—solid titles on the horizon as well. Dead Space Extraction looks like it may fool a few people into thinking it’s a FPS, while Red Steel 2 gives the choppy original a cel-shaded reboot with MotionPlus-only controls. Demon Blade, another exclusive, demonstrates what a dedicated developer can do when given a standard definition toolkit. Indeed, instead of dismissing the Wii with a childish GameCube 2 barb, the Demon Blade guys and gals literally painted what could be both a visual masterpiece and a fall season sleeper hit. There are more, of course, including many of Nintendo’s evergreen first party efforts. To say otherwise today is to be either ignorant of the current and upcoming library or intentionally obtuse.

Indie games too will see a resurgence on the Wii, thanks in part to WiiWare—which has somewhat of a slow started, I freely admit. But no longer. As budgets tighten and the reality that HD gaming is a myth sink in even more, it will be the smaller shops that have the greatest opportunity. But don’t dare call these smaller shops “casual games” companies. That phrase too was the result of HD marketing efforts gone bad, as MS and Sony and their supporting third party developers sought to segregate those games that did not showcase the polish of their interactive movies.

Lost Winds and Lost Winds 2 comes to mind here; as does the recently revealed Lost in Shadow from Hudson. So too does Cursed Mountain, although I’m still waiting for a few more reviews from trusted sources (read: friends). Bit.Trip.Beat and World of Goo are both veterans by now, but they were responsible for building and showcasing what this short form, non-HD world could produce. And the great thing for Nintendo and it’s decidedly non-HD platform is that it is made for these games. Hard drive? Really? For these tater tot games that I can easily load in seconds from my 32GB SD card? Surely, Pach, you jest.

Lastly, the past two years have been tough for developers. Well, certain developers. Nintendo has shined, as have those in the employ of big publishing houses like EA, but there are those who drank a bit too heavily from the blockbuster mega hit model. Basically what that means is on launch day, the game must sell a million or else it’s a failure. When you’re marketing your game to a niche audience, this is how things work. Ironically, it’s the complete opposite of the Hollywood blockbuster model, which sees the $150 million movies being marketed to as large an audience as possible. With video games, the Grand Theft Autos ($100 million budget), are targeted at a relatively tiny population of about 20-30 million gamers. It’s no wonder that Grin, which IMO bastardized the Bionic Commando brand with their hard to control 3D dreadlocks fest, folded when that over hyped, over produced monstrosity failed to sell. There are dozens more just like them, unfortunately, and there will be dozens more in the immediate future as studios resist the urge to abandon big budgets, big movie storylines and big graphics for, well, games.

Dude, the Princess IS in this Castle

There’s more evidence, more facts and more hubris on my part, of course, but it’s lunch time. I’ll close by saying I don’t despise HD gaming, not at all. I very much enjoyed the original Dead Space, for example, and doubt that the atmosphere it created could have been done even half as well on the Wii. Gears of War 2, with the sound turned down and dialog muted, is fun, if not a bit of a rehash of the original. BioShock too was a visceral experience that I know could not have been duplicated on my that tiny white console without all that great dialogue and story. There are many great things to be accomplished with the format, now and in the future, when HD adoption levels more accurately reflect the bombastic, arrogant rhetoric of hardcore development houses and their enablers. But not yet. And as such, no Wii HD.

No, instead my ire falls on the misguided journalists, experts, analysts and console makers that nearly crippled video games in a way that hasn’t been seen since the early 1980s. And yes, it would have happened if Nintendo didn’t take the risk they did in 2006. As I’ve explained before, this more than anything is the reason I support and write about Nintendo today, not some silly fanatic’s love of plumbers or Metroids. When gaming historians look back on this period with their uber Googlers or virtual reality Minority Report encyclopedias or whatever, I’m certain it will be Nintendo they say defined and saved gaming from the jaws of mediocrity, recession and sameness.

My ire falls too on the enabling charlatans who selfishly perpetuated the Era of HD myth because it was the way they Thought Things Ought to Be. As they ridiculed and bullied Nintendo and its fans for the audacity of thinking different, their lack of innovation perturbed me; their embracing of a controller design that has not changed in 20 years offended my progressive nature; their willingness to shoot things in different ways and call that a “new game” made me go apoplectic. The dishonesty of the Blu-ray/HD gaming/horsepower debate is expected, of course–it’s marketing after all–but the fact that it remains today even in the face of such easy to execute Google searches and research (Innovator’s Dilemma, The Blue Ocean strategy, et al) is absolutely incredible.

The era of HD gaming was a myth before it became a meme, and it certainly won’t see a birth on any console out today. It will eventually match the hype however, don’t get me wrong, and then, on that day in three years or so, Nintendo will create a new console. It will have HD, sure, but by then people will not talk about HDTVs or high definition or “special formats” or whatever, in much the same way we stopped talking about “standard def” as a necessary TV feature years ago. HD will be ubiquitous by then, expected, and not a “selling point” for a console or a television. Games and gamers will be ready for it.

And then the pressure on console makers and developers at that time will be, as ever, to deliver on game play so they can truly provide the revolution they’ve been promising so emptily these past three years.

47 Responses to The era of HD Gaming is a myth. Or, why there is definitely no Wii HD coming soon

  1. Kale says:

    I was sooo not expecting you to write that kind of response…..;)

    Very cool, very relevant. Maybe by the time the actual “next-gen” of hardware rolls around, everyone will be on 1080p’s, but for now it’s safe to say that the majority of console gaming is still happening at an archaic 480 (not even 480p). It took three or four generations of consoles and TVs to get rid of RF Adapters (remember those?), and I think it’s going to take at least the rest of this hardware generation, if not the next one, too, to fully complete console gaming’s transition to “HD” (which by then will be the new “SD”, right?).

  2. electricfuture says:

    Why are you guys trying so hard to the Wii is as good or better than the other consoles? I love Nintendo, but I don’t play my Wii nearly as much as my PS3, because it has a way broader scope of hardcore games than the Wii does. I used to try to defend the Wii, but once I got a PS3, the Wii just wasn’t appealing to me anymore. I haven’t played my Wii in months, and that is because not many developers want to make a game that looks like a game they made 5 years ago, but with better controls. If the Wii was HD, then many more developers would be spending their time on a console that looks and plays great. HD gaming and revolutionary controls are the next steps, but Wii only has one of them.

    When PS3 motion, or Natal comes out, why should developers even bother with the Wii? I own a Wii, so I DO know what I am talking about. But when the Wii version of a game comes out, the controls don’t matter, because its not like you can’t play the same game with better graphics and no waggle.

    Wii motion control usually doesn’t even add to the experience anyways, because unless the game is using motion plus (how many games have used it?) the controls are just pointing and waggle.

    The Conduit. That was supposed to be a great FPS for Wii, but why would anyone play the Conduit if they could play COD4 on 360 or PS3? The Conduit is just a lame run-of-the-mill alien shooter with pointing and waggle.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Nintendo (or I used to) but they are blind to the fact that graphics actually matter, and there is nothing wrong with a regular controller

  3. Mr.cranky says:

    After playing zelda and metroid prime 3, it became harder to play with a classic controller. I was fumbling with the 2 joysticks and i kept looking at the buttons while playing gears of war. If u do controls right, the wiimote works wonders. For graphics, u dont need raw power to make a nice looking game, u just have to work with what u got. Too bad the insignificant hardcore crowd has to obsess with grafix so they can grunt and feel mighty about it. Microsofts and sonys motion controllers could be great, but it needs software to make all kinds of pepole wana play, not just one demographic. Thats what nintendo does best, make games that pepole wana play. The only crowd that doesnt wana play is the hardcore. They forgot that the word videogame has game in it, wich implies fun and enjoyment 😀

  4. skeptical says:

    @electricfuture:

    Pot, meet kettle. I think good sir that you’ve missed the very point you are trying to make. Why does Jack defend the Wii so vigorously? Because online fanboys work just as hard to tear it down with the faulty logic and hollow arguments.

  5. Attilio says:

    @Jack
    Excellent article!! You captured the truth of about the world of video games and hopefully more people will realize it. Unfortunately there are too many stubborn people out their who won’t change their minds for the simple fact that they don’t want to admit when they are wrong.

    @electricfuture
    Graphics don’t matter at all and you cannot argue that. Games from as far back as Atari are still considered fun and the graphics are nothing compared to today. I have no problem with realistic looking graphics, as a matter of fact I accept and welcome them, however not at the expense of fun game play.

    Perhaps the reason you don’t play your Wii as much is because you are not looking for the diamonds in the rough when it comes to the games. There are some amazing games out there for the Wii but they are hidden in all the shovel-ware that has come out over the past few years. Don’t be fooled though, Wii games are getting better and better with each release.

    Although I guess in the end all that matters is you bought a Wii which means you helped Nintendo make some money.

  6. Ninja says:

    “Graphics don’t matter at all and you cannot argue that.”- Attilio

    Actually, yeah I can. I’d much rather being playing an HD game than a game where my character is 7 pixels.

  7. rdaneel72 says:

    I support this message! It is so damn obvious, but the online gamersphere refuses to see it. They are a dying breed, so they just keep yelling louder so no one notices their numbers dwindling.

    And, Conduit is a great game. A great foundation for future games to build on. “Pointing and waggle” is the EXACT reason to play Conduit over anything with an archaic dual-analog controller. There is no smoother shooting experience, holding the gun IN YOUR HAND and lining up a headshot. A flick of your wrist to toss a grenade. Fun weapons and stupid grunts that are just plain fun to pump full of plasma.

    Conduit is hardly run-of-the-mill. It is a revelation in FPS gaming, and hints of the inevitable future. Dual-analog was ALWAYS a clumsy alternative, we are just now realizing what PC gamers have always said. Adapt and enjoy, or resist and stagnate.

    And ASE Football online is frakking brilliant!!!

  8. chris_wing says:

    I have an snes, not even capable of SD graphics yet has one of the best libraries of GAMES that can be found anywhere. I have a high end PC that delivers 1360p resolution at 60fps with shader model 4 or some shiz, also with one of the best libraries of games that can be found anywhere. I have a Wii with Motion Plus, the best current motion controls on the market. While I can’t say the Wii has the best games library, compared to the SNES or PC, it does have at least a dozen must play games that CAN NOT be duplicated on any other current platform.
    Sony and Microsoft are working to emulate the Wii with Natal and Sony Motion, but when you add the price of a x360 or ps3 to the price of Natal or Sony Motion you end up with a price tag closer to what you would spend on a PC (getting cheeper everyday), and your left with a lame duck that may or may not catch on.
    The Wii has already caught on, already has the install base, and one major plus plus, Nintendo is making games for it. Put that in your pipe and except it.

  9. Attilio says:

    @Ninja
    Really?? How about this. Lets say you have an HD game, and this game has horrible game play, the controls are awkward, and you can easily win. On the other hand you have an old NES game where the game play is good, the controls are simple yet effective, and it is challenging but you can still beat the game. Which would you choose?

  10. Darkstar1141 says:

    personally, i dont think graphics make games lose gameplay. wii and ps3 attract different gamers and if wii controls dont appeal to some, then they dont have to LOVE it. i own only a wii, but playing the ps3 is just as fun in a different way. i think both sides (more ps3/360) are criticizing each other too much, fueling each other for more complaints. the wii and ps3 rnt perfect, but they each deserve some respect. but still…natal and that sony motion thing look kinda…cough expensive knockoff cough…

  11. Blake says:

    You’re a great writer, Jack.

  12. Manu says:

    Yes is true look haze and assasins creed graphics is everything gameplay doenst matter.. right…right sarcasm

    by the way if the graphics were that important, why wii sports is the best sports sold game of this gen, mario kart is the best sold racing game, mario galaxy is the best sold paltforming game, it is true, you got us, we are fools that we dont known anything at all

    And one last thing to say to the wii nonsayers if you think games like mario galaxy (that looked as good as banjo nuts an bolts), zack & wikki, muramasa demon blade, HOTD Overkill, metroid prime corruption, looks bad and cannot stand a chance comparing with those games on HD youre being single minden.

  13. Jack says:

    @Blake: A few typos, here and there, but thanks nonetheless 😉

  14. Jamie says:

    @Attilio
    Why should people have to choose?

    The games on PS3 DO look so much better than on wii, and the PS3 DOES have games that play absolutely fantasticly, I don’t know if you’ve ever played LittleBigPlanet or Uncharted but both games play amazingly well, and both look incredible, Uncharted for its realism, and LBP for its stylistic looks. not to mention games like killzone 2 that just WORK on the PS3.
    the games i mentioned.. warhawk, MGS4, Infamous, they have simple little games too like flower and flOw.

    @Manu
    I can’t believe you actually brought Wii Sports into it, it’s a pack-in game, it’s not selling because it’s an amazing game (though don’t get me wrong, I think it is a great game), it’s selling because people have to get it with the console, they have no choice, that’s a 1-1 attach ratio right there and there’s nothing the consumer can do about it, whether they want the game or not, it adds to nintendo’s sales numbers.

    I love my Wii but electricfuture said it all, when PS3 Motion and MS Natal come out, the wii will be as good as useless as a console. it will only stick around because of it’s already enormous fan base, when the PS3 and 360 have caught up in terms of interactiveness (motion/natal), the wii will go down fast.

    One more thing, I think you are all missing the point of the HD generation, it’s not that everything has to be in HD, it’s the fact that both the 360 and the PS3 are capable of HD, if the devs decide to sacrifice resolution for further draw distance, better lighting or prettier textures, that should be their choice. The HD generation looks and sounds great, great gameplay SHOULD be a given with games, afterall it’s the entire point of games, to be played.

    People shouldn’t have to sacrifice a realistic, or beautiful experience, because a game company wants to use current gen technology to make more money. Nintendo are a business at the end of the day, they want to make money, but they’re doing it in the wrong way, I’ve been with Nintendo since the days of the SNES and this generation I feel let down, for the first time I feel like they no longer want my custom, just my money

  15. XCWarrior says:

    I sure hope your right about the WiiWare resurgence. Besides a few games here and there, just don’t see enough quality games on there. Way too much family oriented shovelware. I’m waiting for some RPGs with 16 bit graphics and a deep story line. They are more than possible, considering the SNES games take up not that much space. Make them just like a VC title, and space won’t be an issue.

    And totally agree about no Wii HD. Super analyst Michael Practor or whatever is a moron.

  16. Ninja says:

    @ Attilio

    The NES one most likely. Ok, now you have a great game like CoD4 and you have a little crappy 8 bit game. which one would you choose?

  17. Eolirin says:

    Attilo, graphic definition doesn’t matter so much. Graphical aesthetic definitely does. 7 pixel characters *are* an issue, unless that aesthetic happens to work for your gameplay.

    But that’s effectively a strawman argument, and you should ignore it as such. The Wii isn’t 8-bit.

    @Jamie,
    It wasn’t a pack in in Japan, and it sold several million copies there. His numbers aren’t entirely accurate, but it’s pretty damn high up there in terms of deliberate purchases. That being said the, top ten selling non-pack ins of this generation are Nintendogs, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, Brain Age, Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, Brain Age 2, Mario Kart DS, GTAIV (But only if we count the PS3 and 360 sales together), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Again, only if we count combined console sales) and Halo 3. In that order. His point is still quite accurate.

    All that said, I’d love to see a little more processing power on the Wii, not so much for visuals, but for AI, physics, and gameplay related things… like getting netcode working with New Super Mario Bros Wii. >>

  18. Eolirin says:

    @Ninja I’d rather play ANYTHING than CoD4, thanks. Well, almost anything. Some of those NES games were brutal and some were brutally awful. I’d totally take Scribblenauts over it though.

    What you’re missing here is that there has yet to be a game in which the gameplay mechanics were less important than the graphical quality in terms of enjoyment. If your question was: “Assuming nothing else changed, and there were no additional costs involved, would you rather play CoD4 in HD or SD?” You’d get the answer you want. All other things being equal, better graphics are better, as long as they don’t actually become worse graphics in the process (See uncanny valley.)

    The thing is, all other things are never equal. And you usually end up with a trade off that results in a worse product being produced, or is otherwise unsustainable for the developers. As consumers of their products, we want the devs to be able to produce lots of high quality games, and if they’re too focused on the shiny HD graphics eye candy, that can make it harder to happen.

    Anyone who hates on HD graphics because they’re HD graphics is a little nutty though. Just like anyone who hates on SD graphics just because they’re SD graphics is a little nutty (Though, it would be nice if they could make aliasing go away, it’s annoying regardless of the resolution).

  19. rdaneel72 says:

    Anyone who thinks motion controls for PS3 or X360 are going to have ANY IMPACT AT ALL is deluding himself. No one looking for a Wii is going to be swayed by motion controls on PS3 or X360, especially if it costs extra money. Natal and PS3 wand are not packed in, so install base will be low, and there is NO SOFTWARE. It will only serve to alienate the hardcore audience they have already captured.

    Price cuts are also going to have no effect. Won’t it be funny when PS3 and X360 are both below $200, and Wii is still outselling them at its original $250 price? That day will be here soon.

    New Super Mario Bros. Wii does not need online play. The fun is sitting around one TV, playing together, talking smack and punching your little brother when he pushes you off a platform. I am sure the Wii’s hardware is capable of NSMBWii online. Miyamoto was just screwing with the gamersphere. Online or not, NSMBWii is going to be HUGE this holiday.

    Malstrom is right. The hardcore gamersphere is becoming a small niche, displaced by a much larger population of people who simply like to play videogames (as opposed to gamers). The arguments that float through the gamersphere are irrelavent to the greater populaton. The industry fell for its own hype, and now many are paying the price. You can argue all you want about HD resolutions and advanced physics models or AI, but you are just preaching to the choir. The greater population doesn’t spend any time online disecting the minutia of technologically better motion controls. They spend thier time playing Wii.

  20. gamerbps says:

    The best console is the one YOU have the most fun on obviously. Other than that the only thing you have to go on is sales, and Nintendo is selling more than Sony and MS combined month after month. It doesn’t matter whether it’s because of a pack-in or anything else. Facts are Facts…If Sony or MS could wave a magic wand and turn their fortunes around with a pack-in, they would! That won’t happen however because the difference between those two companies and Nintendo is that the former made their consoles and subsequently made games to show off all of their consoles features…whereas the latter makes games and subsequently develops consoles that offer new ways to play them. In other words Nintendo’s game development drives new console development, not the other way around like so many other companies have done and are still doing. That’s why Nintendo has remained a relatively strong company for so long. They led and others follow…

  21. gamerbps says:

    Should be “they lead and other follow”…At least that’s how it’s been since the mid 80s

  22. Attilio says:

    @Ninja
    Sorry to burst your bubble but I’d take the 8-bit game because I’m not a fan of FPS. Now if you asked between an 8-bit game and Super Mario Galaxy than I’d have to say it could be a tie depending on the 8-bit game. However like Eolirin said, the Wii does not have graphics like the old systems.

    We could argue all day and night about this, but the facts speak for themselves. More Wii’s were purchased than the other two systems. Of course the only reason that happened is because of the motion control, but that goes to show that the majority of people understand that gaming is not about what you see, its about the game play.

    The Wii can handle some pretty amazing graphics. Just look at SSBB and Galaxy. I also got the chance to play TMNT and the graphics for that just blew me away. I was surprised at how good it was. Like I said, I’m not a fan of FPS, but I’m sure they are a hell of a lot more fun on the Wii simply for the fact that you can actually aim and fire, instead of moving a stick.

  23. raindog469 says:

    “When PS3 motion, or Natal comes out, why should developers even bother with the Wii?”

    Because there’ll still be three times as many Wiis out there as the PS3 and twice as many as the 360, and about fifty times as many Wiimotes as there are Natals or PS3 motion controllers. (I don’t expect Wii Motion Plus to have much more success with developers than those technologies, Tiger Woods and WSR notwithstanding.)

    Despite what you read on hardcore fanboy forums, it really doesn’t matter how many Wii owners play games, just how many of them buy games. The attach rate may not be as good as the other two consoles, but it’s not fifty times worse. NPD figures, imperfect as they are, still trump faulty logic such as “I don’t know anyone who plays it, therefore no one is buying games”.

  24. ResidentialEvil says:

    For crying out loud can we beat a dead horse anymore? I’m so freakin’ sick of this argument…both sides that are fanboys need to stuff it. I’m sick of the stupid hypothetical questions (“UHHH…say you have great graphics and horrible gameplay”…yeah because we’ve NEVER seen awesome visuals and awesome gameplay in one game).

    Geez…for someone who doesn’t care about HD grpahics, it sure gets a heck of a lot of attention around here.

  25. Grump says:

    First, my 360 Elite came with an HDMI cable. Second, the Wii is targeted at a completely different demographic than the 360 and the PS3. I got the 360 because I’m a gamer, the Elite model because it supported HDMI and actually CAME with the cable unlike the PS3. On the other side, I got the Wii so my wife who can barely finish a level on the original Super Mario Bros. would actually WANT to play a video game and not get pissed off because it’s “too complicated.” The Wii is targeted at Non-Gamers. That’s why they’re selling so much better. It makes Non-gamers WANT to pick up a controller and play.

  26. Matt says:

    Nintendo had a plan from 2006 and that was to capture new audiences as well as introducing hardcore titles slowly growing the gaming crowd for a healthier industry and they have done it now we are getting HARDCORE titles Dead Space Extraxtion,Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles,Silent Hill Shattered M,Tatsunoko vs Capcom,F1 2009,The Grudge,The Calling,Crystal Bearers,Monster Hunter 3,Devil Kings 3,Sammurai Warriors 3,Metroid Other M,No More Heros 2,The Grinder,Gladiator AD,Sin And Punishment 2,Mario Galaxy 2,Nfs Nitro,thats some of them oh 80% of these games are graphically amazing and run at 60 frames a second yes what PS3 was meant to do but failed due to over ambitious resolutions 25-30 fps is what most 360/ps3 games run at Wii games and i mean 90% of wii games solid 60 fps some with graphics as goos as PS3/360

  27. ResidentialEvil says:

    Ummm what?

  28. Eolirin says:

    @Attillo: I honestly don’t think that’s true though. The Wii did not succeed because of the motion controls, the Wii succeeded because of it’s software, and specifically Wii Sports. Motion control enabled that, but if it had been absent, it still would have failed. A control scheme is only as compelling as the software running it.

    @raindog469, depends on adoption rates. Wii Motion Plus is doing pretty well, all things considered. If there’s a sizable enough install base, developers will use it, at least where needed, since the benefits are easy to recognize and the implementations are easy enough to conceptualize. As opposed to Wii Fit, where the benefits and implementations are a little harder to realize.

    @ResidentEvil, yeah, it’s a silly way to go about the argument. The real question is: Should developers be spending that much money to keep up with the graphical level, and is it sustainable? These are the sorts of things that only really matter on a business level, except in the abstract, but business isn’t stupid, and it’ll adapt. If there had been no Wii, we might be seeing even faster adoption of digital distribution on the PC, because that’d be the only other way to do low budget. It should come as no surprise that there was a second sudden explosion of developement when the iPhone App Store went up, the bar got lowered and there was a huge unmet demand to be sopped up. An HD exclusive focus would have lead to a contraction and collapse of the gaming industry, however. That much would’ve been about inevitable. When you need to sell about a million copies just to break even, something’s wrong.

    @Grump, recently a decision was made to stop packing HDMI cables in there, but yes, several models of the 360 had HDMI cables boxed with them. They no longer do however.

  29. Attilio says:

    @Eolirin
    In a sense that is true. However Wii Sports and other such games wouldn’t have been as fun on traditional controllers.

    Take Tiger Woods 10 for example. It is a great game that is out for all systems. It sold more Wii copies than any other system. What is different between the Wii copy and the other systems? The motion controls. I’ve played it on the Wii and it is very realistic, and more fun than pushing buttons.

    So yes what you said is true, BUT without the motion controls it would have been like any other system and would not have done as well, and definitely not sold more systems than any other company.

    What it comes down to is the fact that the motion controls enabled a new way to play games, which in turn allowed developers to use their imagination and create better games, which than added to the success of the Wii. Without the motion controls the Wii would’ve been a Game Cube in a different skin and would have failed.

  30. 2112Video says:

    I’m just ecstatic that I “got” the ‘Uncanny Valley’ reference!

  31. Eolirin says:

    Not disagreeing with that point. Merely that Tiger Woods 10 would not have been made had Wii Sports not existed, because Wii adoption would have been horrible.

    You can’t just launch a piece of hardware without an equally awesome piece of software next to it. This is why Nintendo, as a hardware *and* software developer, has a huge leg up. They build hardware to meet their needs as one of the premier software developers.

    This, more than the motion control hardware, is the hurdle that Sony and Microsoft need to jump over. Natal and the Wand stuff won’t succeed unless it has a killer app day one. They need something as or more compelling than Wii Sports bundled with the hardware.

  32. […] The era of HD Gaming is a myth. Or, why there is definitely no Wii … 3Sep2009 Filed under: Natal Author: Author Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet BoxSony and Microsoft are working to emulate the Wii with Natal and Sony Motion, but when you add the price of a x360 or ps3 to the price of Natal or Sony Motion you end up with a price tag closer to what you would spend on a PC (getting … Read more from the original source: The era of HD Gaming is a myth. Or, why there is definitely no Wii … […]

  33. Attilio says:

    @Eolirin
    I get what you are saying. In other words, Nintendo used Wii Sports as a template for other developers, basically saying “this is what you can do with our system”. Essentially the idea of motion controls opened a door, and the software released by Nintendo was an invitation to other developers to come on in and join the party. I guess we are both right.

    As for Sony and Microsoft, I completely agree. Although to be honest Natal seems more like a show off type merchandise. Basically what Microsoft is saying is, “hey we’re Microsoft and we’re rich so we’re going to steal your idea and make it better” when in reality they just created something worse. Honestly now, why would I want to play a racing game where I have to use an imaginary steering wheel? or play baseball with an imaginary bat? Besides not many people who live in the city have huge areas to use this. Its going to a flop.

    Sony’s wand has a better chance than Natal. At least there is an actual controller (even if it looks strange), however I’m sure it is not going to be cheap, and I’m sure it wasn’t cheap to design/produce. It is going to go down too.

  34. Eolirin says:

    They also used it to drive adoption, which allowed other companies to actually have a shot at making games that could sell. Wii Sports was basically as significant as ROB, which was used to get retailers to stock the NES after the video game crash. They’re both hooks that let the systems get into places where they otherwise wouldn’t (Store shelves for ROB, people’s living rooms for Wii Sports). Without it, you wouldn’t have seen enough people buying it for it to have a chance to get off it’s feet. Lack of sales would result in lack of third party support, and the system would have become a second gamecube.

    Basically, you need an immediate in to build up a userbase so that it makes sense for a third party to invest money into developing for your platform. Whether those third party devs follow your “template” is less important. It’s better if they branch out into other things, honestly. But you need something that pushes hardware and you need it very very early on.

    As for Natal, I’m much more excited about the non-gaming applications. As a UI for certain types of non-game apps, it makes a lot of sense. It should also be noted that MS didn’t just build it for the Xbox, they were considering business apps too. It’d certainly be useful for certain types of telepresence apps too. Basically, I want one hooked up to my PC really bad, but I’m not that interested in the gaming applications unless they have some interesting software to go with it.

    The PS3’s wand thingy will succeed based entirely upon whether they can build anything for it that people will want, and whether they can make it cheap enough (not just the controllers, but the whole package). Functionality wise, it’s about as good as motion plus, with some potential edges, and some slight downsides. I suspect the controllers won’t be much more expensive than the wiimote, possibly cheaper even, but you need to buy a PSEye, and there’s the higher cost and lower install base of the console itself. But most of the hard work is done in software, so hardware costs shouldn’t be too crazy. If they pack them in with PS3 Slims, and a really kick ass piece of software, they might actually do decently. I just don’t trust them to actually have that kick ass piece of software.

  35. Attilio says:

    Yup, and that userbase that Nintendo has setup is so strong that the other companies won’t be able to match it. The majority of the people who only own a Wii won’t go out and buy an 360 or PS3 for the motion controls because they already have a system that can do it. On the other hand you have current 360 and PS3 owners who may purchase their respective system’s motion hardware.

    As you said, Natal for non-game use would be great, and I completely agree. There is no possible argument there.

    In my opinion, there are only 3 possible reasons why Microsoft and Sony came up with their version of motion controls. 1) They are so deluded that they think that the only reason Nintendo has done well is because of motion controls so they want to copy that idea. 2) They realize that motion may be the way of future gaming. 3) They don’t want to Nintendo and its fans to be able to brag that they have the only motion controlled system.

  36. AC says:

    the HD era is coming, just not at the time they thought. in about 3-4 years time, the HD adoption rate will be in the majority. also, it won’t only be HD, but 3D HDTV’s will start being adopted and coming onto the scene. video games will be revolutionized by the 3D HDTV’s. and nintendo will take advantage of that when the time is right. MS and sony jumped the gun a bit, and are suffering as a result in this generation. if i were them i wouldn’t stand pat on the current generation systems, and hope for the 10 year run. tech changes and improves too quickly to stand pat like that.

    as far as wii HD, that is not coming. there will not be a incremental update on that system. nintendo will still be making vast amounts of money on wii for at least a couple more years. nintendo’s next generation system will come out in about 3 years time, and take advantage of HD and 3D HDTV’s just at the right time, when the public is ready. and it will have a completely new interface, so watch out! if nintendo is good at one thing, its introducing new gaming concepts out of left field that end up being industry standards. and to no one’s surprise, it will not be called Wii 2, or Wii HD, but will have its own identity.

    there now, i’m an analyst. btw, this michael pachter guy sucks. he knows almost nothing about video games. who pays this guy?

  37. electricfuture says:

    But I don’t think that anyone on here can argue that graphics don’t matter. I’m not a fanboy for anyone, I just honestly like the PS3 better not because it has amazing graphics, but because it has tons of awesome hardcore and triple A titles coming out all the time.

    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    Uncharted 2
    Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
    Battlefield: Bad Company
    Assassin’s Creed
    MGS 4
    LBP
    Killzone 2
    Halo 3
    Halo 3 ODST
    Modern Warfare 2
    Fable 2
    Oblivion
    Fallout 3
    Forza 3
    Gears of War
    Gears of War 2

    Just to name a FEW amazing games not on the Wii. All of them are great games and wait for this!…………they all have amazing GAMEPLAY too! imagine that. I never knew a game could have both!

  38. Chris_wing says:

    @ electricfuture

    I had no idea Gears of War, Fable, and teh Haloz was on PS3.

  39. Eolirin says:

    @Chris he didn’t say they were, though the lead in was a bit confusing.

    @electricfuture, while I don’t actually enjoy all of the games on that list, I’m willing to say they’re quality titles for their genres. Thing is, that doesn’t really matter. Those games have great graphics, but those graphics aren’t the most important parts of them. If the developers could make more games, with the same level of quality content, but they have to reduce the visual quality to do it, I’d rather they do that. If the developers have to choose between huge blockbuster games with “safe” gameplay and amazing graphics because the costs are so great that they can’t take risks, I’d rather they drop the amazing graphics.

    It’s not that they’re unimportant, it’s that they’re less important, that aesthetic is vastly more important than fidelity, and that costs are
    getting insane and need to be brought back in line.

    @Attillo, leave MS and Sony some room to surprise you. They’re no more doomed to failure than the Wii itself was, even though they’ve got a much more uphill battle. When Nintendo first started talking about the DS and the Wii, lots of people thought they were crazy and had no chance of success. Those people look silly now. We shouldn’t open ourselves up to doing the same thing.

    I don’t think it behooves us to make judgments about Natal or the Wand stuff before they’re out and before we can see how they deal with the launches. Rebranding *is* possible here, and with good enough software, they could make inroads. Frankly, assuming or even wanting them to fail is something that should be avoided. Competition is what brought Nintendo to this point, it’s what continues to drive them to improve. Sony’s 2 generations of unmatched domination made them get sloppy, and they’re paying for it now. We *want* MS and Sony to keep up the heat. Complacency is the enemy of the good, and strong competition kills complacency.

    But it’s okay to get annoyed at the haters too, frustration at dismissal of something that’s actually succeeding quite well in a great many ways is natural. Just keep it directed at the haters, not the products and companies they happen to align themselves with. The 360 and the PS3 are perfectly fine machines for what they do. Natal and the wand may do perfectly fine for themselves. We’ll see.

  40. Attilio says:

    Well my annoyance for Microsoft is not solely based on gaming, I have other reasons which I am not going to get into right now. Lets just leave it at the fact that I would have no problem seeing them crash and burn in a humiliating way. Sorry if I offend anyone who likes Microsoft, its just my opinion and its not going to change.

    On the other hand I like Sony as a company, I always have. Their fans are annoying, but I guess fanboys of each console can get pretty annoying. I just don’t see their motion controls becoming as popular and successful as the Wii, especially since they have been in 3rd place when it comes to sales.

  41. Finland says:

    I’ve seen the light! Thank you Jeebus! Tomorrow I will trade in Motorstorm PR, Killzone 2 and Uncharted for a copy of Excitebots, The Conduit, and de Blob. Praise you Miyamoto!! No more sex, drugs or HD gaming for me!

  42. Jack says:

    @finland: Thanks for the page view, dude! And thanks for being you.

  43. Sebastian says:

    Why can’t we all just get along and stop taking shits on each other’s happiness.

  44. tactics says:

    excellent article. you just earned a spot on my RSS reader. GREAT job.

  45. republikraut says:

    Thats a shame. I was enjoying your site, and I thought it was intelligent…

    Then I read this post and realised that anyone can claim intelligence but its a different thing to actually having it.

  46. ender says:

    I have all the consoles.
    I’m a gamer.

    Sorry, you can’t compare the quality of games that the Wii has to *anything* of *this* gen. I say *this* gen, because the wii is *NOT* this gen. Yes, the wii has a handful of AWESOME titles.
    Anything on the Wii that’s awesome though, would’ve been FAR MORE awesome-r on the 360, or the ps3. Hell, have any of you PLAYED No More Heroes? That made *every* wii I played it on CHUG CHUG CHUG. Hell, even Okami, the PORT OF A PS2 GAME, did.

    Yes, you’re right- the wii is selling like HOT CAKES!

    but since that’s all you’re using to gage how awesome it truly is – keep this in mind…
    Mariah Carey is technically, by this standard, a better artist than Elvis Presley. Why? She’s sold more.
    Basically, the Wii is this gaming’s ‘generation’ Britney Spears.

    you’re not a real gamer if you only have the Wii. You’re casual, and with HEAVY need to justify your purchase. That’s it. 🙂

  47. Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any way you may take away me from that service? Thanks!

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