Hein (fub) wrote,
Hein
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E3 and the Wii

The E3 is going on in full swing this week, and of course this is the time to make those big announcements. Most people are looking at Sony for more news about the PS3, but not me -- I already know that the PS3 will simply be a continuation of the PS2, only with more processing power and (thus) better visuals.

The real innovation in the land of game consoles comes from Nintendo. That shouldn't be a surprise for anyone (because Nintendo's strategy is to develop new genres). Of couse, the hard-core games are disenchanted with the whole thing -- they think the name is ridiculous, and don't want to bother with a controller that isn't like the one they are using on their Xbox360.

But the stuff you can do with that controller is brilliant. Go here, click on 'Fresh experiences', pass the ESRB rating and watch the video. See people having fun with the controller. Ordinary, non-gamer people, like your dad who conducts an orchestra with the controller. Or your little sister playing all sorts of mini-games with her friends.
The thing is, instead of a pudgy gamer kid slouching on the couch, the new controller engages the player into the game. You play a console game, but at the same time you can make yourself look cool while doing it.

Hard-core gamers are not the target audience. Nintendo targets the 80% of the population who are not gamers. People like your mom and dad, or those friends you always beat at FPS'es because they simple don't have the time or inclination to play as much FPS'es as you do. People who just want to have fun while playing a game -- together.

Look at the Nintendo DS versus the PSP -- while on paper, the PSP has much better specs than the Nintendo DS, the DS is leaving the PSP far behind in terms of sales. Why is that?
This has two reasons: every time someone finds a way to do something fun with the PSP, Sony releases a firmware that closes the hole that allows people control over their own handheld. But also, the PSP is targeted to hard-core gamers -- types that favour certain genres and certain styles.
In contrast, the Nintendo DS targets non-gamers with games like Animal Crossing and Nintendogs. If you ask a hard-core gamer if they want to spend their gaming time digging for fossils and fishing in order to pay off their virtual mortgage, chances are that they are not interested at all. Yet that is exactly what all those people who bought Animal Crossing are doing -- because it's fun to them.

And if you look at the E3 video (with the four tennis players), you see three Nintendo executives invite one guy from the audience on-stage to play with them. This is probably an industry-type, or a game journalist. He is probably a hard-core gamer.
Then he starts to swing the controller to hit the ball. And he is having fun -- you see that on his face. Despite himself, he is having fun acting silly/cool by waving a plastic stick around, together with three people he doesn't know personally. Apparently it's easy to get into the game, because after a mere minute, he is participating.
If it's that much fun with total strangers, imagine how much fun it is to play it with your friends.

I know I'll be getting a PS3 some time in the future (MGS4, after all), but I'll be checking out the games for the Wii as well -- swinging a controller to direct an on-screen katana is loads of fun!
Tags: games, hardware
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