ERROR: Will North America Have Another Video Game Crash?

The likelihood exists.

 

From 1983 to 1985, North America experienced a dreadful two yeras of the “video game crash” (a.k.a. the “Atari Shock”). The video game industry had a massive recession; revenues suddenly fell drastically and the second generation of console gaming abruptly ended. Although America was able to recover from that dreadful period mostly due to the flourishing success of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 and long afterwards, there are some troubling parallels to the crash with the way today’s video game industry is heading.

One of the main reasons why the crash happened is because computers were improving more rapidly than game consoles and, therefore, seemed more appealing to gamers. This is happening today with the not-so-enhanced PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii consoles compared to the advanced Apple, Microsoft, Lenovo, ASUS, Dell, HP, Acer, and other computers. While game consoles try to market themselves as an all-around entertainment system with their media streaming and library, computers are powerful enough for gamers to play games, view media, and do much more.

Another reason why the crash happened is because stores were filled with remarkably similar games. Today’s gaming market lacks originality with sequels that closely mirror their prequels (e.x. the Super Mario series), as well as new games that are near-copies of other games (e.x. Call of Duty and Battlefield). While there are game titles that do break away from that mold, they rarely become bestsellers. (When they do, their popularity grows at a much slower rate than game titles that have had a long history of success.) For that reason alone, game companies are afraid to gamble on uniqueness, and instead adhere to cater towards an audience of nostalgists and newcomers. The lack of diverse games will quickly make gamers bored, which will then cause a stagnation in the game market.

Lastly, like the video game industry between 1983 and 1985, today’s video game industry has an issue with budgeting. One of the biggest marketing failures of the 21st century is the WiiU, which did not sell as much as its predecessor, the Wii. This is largely due to the fact that when the Wii was first announced in 2005, it shocked the world with its family-friendly games and innovative motion controllers. Soon after its launch in 2006, Nintendo prospered from customers that included gamers and non-gamers; families and friends; young and old; and those that liked indoor and outdoor activities. Then, the Wii experienced a downfall in popularity due to various reasons, including how Wii game selections mostly included single player games, and how smartphones and tablets allowed their users to download gaming apps for free. The announcement and release of the WiiU surprised people, but failed to promise anything revolutionary.

If the video game industry were to experience another crash, I highly doubt that it will be as severe as the crash of 1983 since the gaming culture is immensely popular. Also, with nostalgists and newcomers supporting “recycled” games, the gaming culture will not only discontinue to evolve, but it will also leave gamers stuck in a closed community and prolonged loop of familiarity. To all the game companies (including my beloved Nintendo): Don’t just think about monetizing. If you all focus on ingenuity, then I, seasoned gamers, and curious outsiders will gladly hand over our money to you all.

First Impression of the “Nintendo NX”

The Nintendo NX has a stunning design, but there are some things about it that make me lean more towards not buying it.

 


 

Three days ago, I saw the reveal trailer of the Nintendo Switch (a.k.a. the “NX”).

I was stunned by the console’s innovative design. It definitely beats the Playstation console and the PSP hands-down because of how gamers can effortlessly switch between playing a game on the television to playing that same game on a handheld device.

Although the console is pretty cool, some of its questionable characteristics make me lean more towards not buying it.

 


 

1.) Incompatible with other Nintendo consoles

I’m disappointed to know that gamers have to insert a new cartridge into the Switch, since I don’t want my Wii and WiiU games to collect dust. Moreover, Super Smash Bros. 4 – the game my brother, friends, and I prefer to play with together – will never be compatible with the Switch. If Nintendo was able to make the 2004 DS and 2006 DS Lite capable of playing Game Boy Advance cartridges and DS game cards, then they should’ve been able to do the same thing for the Switch , Wii and WiiU.

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2.) Battery Life

This feature was never described in Switch’s debut trailer, but I have a feeling that the console’s battery life will be pretty short. The WiiU GamePad’s battery lasts betweent three to five hours, and it has a 6.2 inch (13.7 cm), 480p, single-touch display. The Switch’s display will be the same size, but instead be multi-touch and have a 720p resolution. So, the Switch’s batter may either last as long as or shorter than the WiiU GamePad’s battery.

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3.) Detachable controllers

Although the main selling points of the Switch are the detachable controllers and the console’s adabtability from a television screen to a touchscreen and vice-versa, those controllers look like they’re easy to lose. If a gamer didn’t attach one or both of the controllers to the touchscreen and ended up losing the controller(s), will the Switch still be playable? Nintendo accessories are pretty expensive with the original Wii controller selling for around $13 USD and the WiiU Pro Controller being approximately $50 USD. With those prices in mind, it’s easy to imagine how much money you’d have to cough up for each Switch controller you lose.

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4.) Small, narrow controllers

I prefer playing with large wide controllers because not only does it feel more comfortable in my hands, but it includes better vibration and sound features that enhance the gaming experience. I assume that the Switch controllers will have similar vibration and sound features as the original Wii remote, which I think are no match to the same features found in the PS4 and Xbox One controllers.

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5.) The rectangular shape

From my experience playing with the WiiU GamePad, the handheld Switch’s shape doesn’t look comfortable to hold. When I first played with the GamePad, it felt extremely bulky. Then, after a few weeks of trying to get used to holding it, I gave up. The GamePad currently sits in front of my brother’s television collecting dust, ergo I’m pretty sure the same thing will happen to the handheld Switch if I get one.

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6.) Switch Pro Controller

Because of #3, #4 and #5, if I were to purchase the Switch, I would really want to play with the Switch Pro Controller. Unfortunately, because of how expensive the controller will most likley be, I’d rather not spend the extra money. With that said, the cost of making the Switch Pro Controller should’ve gone to improving the handheld Switch so that it’s curvier; has slightly bigger controllers; and has a 1080p resolution display.

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7.) Large size

Instead of playing with the handheld Switch, why not just play with the small, foldable Nintendo SP and DS? The handheld Switch looks too big to fit in my small purses, and I definitely don’t want to carry a backpack around everytime I feel like bringing the device out of my house.

 

Nintendo Takes Down Fan-Made Games

On the first day of September, Nintendo sent GameJolt.com a notice about removing 562 fan-made games that were infringing the rights of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon:

These web pages display images of Nintendo’s video game characters in connection with unauthorized online games that copy the characters, music, and other features of Nintendo’s video games.

Shortly after the notice was sent, Nintendo-inspired fan-made games have been removed from the gaming site. However, the games’ creators can still access them “for historical purposes”.