Archive for September, 2013

If these new Steam machines do what Valve is saying they’re going to do, they’ll not only be a direct threat to Xbox One, they’re going to be a direct threat to Windows.  The new Steam machines will be running Steam’s new OS, which is supposed to be specially made for gaming.

I’d like to talk about SteamOS and the Steam Box, which undoubtedly impacts your business as it specifically targets the living room – the same space Xbox One targets. What’s your take on what Valve is doing there? Is Steam Box a threat to Xbox?

Phil Harrison: The announcement was only made last night so I’m still studying all the facts Valve has released. But Valve is a very impressive company, and obviously we’re going to be watching what they do with great interest.

But it actually goes back to an earlier question. I think the death of the video game console was prematurely announced. Clearly there is a lot of excitement around gaming in the living room on the biggest screen in the house, often times connected to a great sound system and creating that real intensely high quality game experience with a very powerful CPU and a very powerful GPU.

Our point of view, clearly, is that Xbox One is the best incarnation of that, but competition is good!

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REmake was my first Resident Evil game.  And unless you count the old Doom PC games (which I thought were pretty scary at the time), it was my first survival horror game.  I bought my GameCube in 2002, but REmake wasn’t one of the first games I bought for the system.  So, I probably played it around 2003.  Not having played a survival horror game before, my attitude was ‘How scary can it be?’, even though there was a quote from a review on the back cover of the game stating it was the scariest game ever made to date.  So, I found out for myself.

REmake scared the piss out of me.  I don’t normally have nightmares.  In fact, I barely remember my dreams when I sleep, but I had dreams about REmake.  Not bad dreams necessarily, but being chased around by zombies and other monsters with nothing but a meat cleaver to defend myself with.  But the game was so good, I couldn’t stop playing until I finished it.  I wasn’t going to let fear stop me.  And I did beat it.  Twice, in fact.  I went back and played through it again months later.  REmake is a fantastic game and is waaaaay scarier than Resident Evil 4.  I had no idea the game sold so poorly.

The Resident Evil remake, a Nintendo GameCube exclusive, was one of the last games made by Mikami that had limitations on movement, inventory, and camera. Can survival horror go back to that? “It’s possible that I could make that kind of game. The Resident Evil remake is actually one of my favorites of the series too. But it didn’t sell very well,” Mikami said. “Maybe there weren’t many people ready to accept that. Because of the reaction to the Resident Evil remake, I decided to work more action into Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 4 would have been a more scary, horror-focused game if the remake had sold well.”

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That’s because the name of your new console is awful, Nintendo.  Awful.  The name ‘Wii’ was bad enough, but at least it made sense in the context of what the console was designed to do, which was attract the masses to gaming.  You were very upfront about that even before the system launched.  So the name ‘Wii’ could be interpreted as the word ‘we’, meaning it’s supposed to be an all-inclusive system that anyone can play, no matter your age or your past experience with gaming.  And ‘Wii’ could also be interpreted as ‘Oui’, the French word for ‘yes’.  It also has the bathroom connotation as well, which made people snicker and make jokes when you first announced the name, but at least the name was multifaceted and some thought had been put into it.  It was clever and unique and it caught on and people loved it.

But Wii U?  So you just put a ‘U’ on the back end of Wii?  What does that even mean?  It’s confusing and cryptic and people don’t get it.  I’m a gamer and I don’t even know what it means, so I know the casual consumer doesn’t know what it means.  What was wrong with Wii 2?  Oh, that’s right, that’s what Sony does with the Playstation and you can’t be caught not doing your own thing, since you’re Nintendo and you have a reputation to uphold.  Or Super Wii HD?  You know, like Super Nintendo was to the Nintendo (Entertainment System), your very first console from the 80’s!

I never thought the name of a console could cause so much confusion with the buying public, but Wii U does exactly that.  It’s a nonsensical, stupid name that few like and almost no one knows the meaning of.  You should seriously think about changing the name, Nintendo.  Since the vast majority of casual gamers don’t even know that you’ve released a new console anyway, it couldn’t possibly cause any more confusion than you’re dealing with now.

Nintendo says its combined Wii U and 3DS marketing budget is ‘significantly higher’ than that of last year.

“We haven’t had the sales we wanted on Wii U hardware. We haven’t had the software for most of this year. But we have some quite ambitious numbers, particularly with some of our biggest franchises coming,” said UK marketing director Shelly Pearce.

“Our monthly tracking shows that Wii remains the No.1 console for brand awareness. This offers us a massive opportunity to convert Wii owners to Wii U.

“Interest is starting to grow but we know we have a lot of work to do.”

She added: “There was a big misconception at launch about what Wii U is. And one of the big messages is that this is a new console and a new controller. There are many people out there that don’t know what this is.”

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This is maybe the coolest looking mod for a console that I’ve seen.  Very impressive.

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I haven’t had a reaction to an unveiled controller like this since Nintendo first unveiled the Wii-mote.  With Nintendo, having pretty much single-handedly innovated every feature we enjoy on today’s modern-day game controllers, I was optimistic the Wii-mote would actually work and do what Nintendo claimed it would do.  While I love Valve, this is their first controller.  And it’s weird.  I honestly do not know what to think about this right now.

Rounding out its set of living room-centric announcements this week, Steam Controller has been revealed by Valve, a 16-button, haptic-driven gamepad that Valve says is hackable, includes a touch screen, will feature sharable configurations, and has the ambitious goal of “supporting all games in the Steam catalog.” No price was announced for the controller, and it doesn’t appear to feature motion control.

In place of analog sticks, Steam Controller features two circular, clickable trackpads. Valve claims that PC gamers “will appreciate that the Steam Controller’s resolution approaches that of a desktop mouse,” and goes as far to promise that the controller makes games that aren’t traditionally suited to playing from the couch–RTSes, 4X games, simulations, and others–controller-friendly.

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