How I Stopped Being A Nintendo Fanboy

Before you go any further, this is not a “the Wii U sucks” article. Nor is this a “Nintendo is dying” article. I’m just stopping and taking a look at my past, looking for when I stopped being a Nintendo fanboy. Turns out, it happened quite a while ago. Continue reading

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The Perils of Purchasing New Consoles

There are strange well known facts among the marketing circles that never seems to get out into the general public. I learned about these when I took a few marketing classes at College of Lake County that was taught by a former marketing professional. Did you know that in a blind taste test that RC has consistently been chosen as the best tasting pop (cola/soda) out there? That’s crazy. Billions of dollars were spent over the decades convincing us that the best tasting was either Coke or Pepsi. But the marketing people knew that was a lie.

Coke-vs-Pepsi

Also, did you know that it’s a bad idea to purchase brand new technology. New tech is filled with glitches and design flaws. The developers release it in order to make up the costs for research and development. If they can recoup the costs, then they can move forward with the product and fix the bugs for newer versions of the tech.

This is especially true with video games.

What? You don’t remember the PS1? That sucker had a huge overheating problem. The PS2’s and Xbox’s laser kept on being knocked out of alignment somehow and had to be manually adjusted. The Xbox’s original controller was too damn large to be usable as a video game controller! Or heck, the first generation of PS2 consoles cannot read a dual laser disc. Or…. the red ring of death with the Xbox 360’s original console release.

rrod

We can look farther back to the NES with the screen blinking when it couldn’t read a cartridge. Or the Sega Saturn’s hardware being too complex. That design flaw led to a lot of third-party developers to abandon the system.. now THAT’S a huge flaw. Speaking of flaws and controllers, you can’t get any worse that the controller for the Atari Jaguar. Look at it for yourself! For whatever reason, Atari thought people wanted to go back to the Intellivision style of controllers with having a calculator pad along with their controller.

jaguar_controller

The Jaguar Controller

That’s just a short list. I’m positive you read through that and said “you idiot, you missed xxxxxxxx!” I think every system had something wrong with it at launch.  And that’s the point.

Yes, it sucks when a console doesn’t work perfectly. Yes, it sucks when you purchase that console and find out that there’s something wrong with it. But, this is what happens with new technology. It’s a risk when you purchase it. Chances are, it’ll work very well, as advertised. But all the same, you have to accept the possibility that it won’t.

It’s weird for me to say that, since I’m all about consumer rights. Heck, I often argued that when a person purchases a product, they have a right to that product and expect that product to deliver what is promised. But in this case, it’s difficult for me to understand why anyone would purchase a brand new console on the day of its release and be surprised if it isn’t working. There’s a pretty well established pattern of bugs, glitches, and flat out bad designs.

3qz6x5

I want to conclude with a simple observation.

We should expect there to be bugs and glitches with releases. There’s no point to the focus of the ‘blue light of death.’ The damn light’s nothing more than a diagnostic tool. Sony sold over a million console systems within 24 hours.  I think that’s pretty impressive.

Will there be a repeat of the 1983 crash?

Superdata Research Inc released a report warning of a looming market crash from an over-saturation of video game consoles on the market. The report showed that 79% of gamers already own consoles and each gamer owns an average of 2.6 consoles. You can get your hands on the paper here: click here.

On a happy side-note, I own nine: Atart 2600, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2, Xbox 360, and the Wii.

The report argues that despite there being more gamers than ever before, the 1983 market had exactly the same conditions as there are today. A lot of new gamers are gravitating towards the PC and mobile games rather than consoles, so the growth in the overall market is orientated away from the consoles.  If you include digital distribution growing in popularity (Steam, Origins, etc), there will be less incentive for this growing population of gamers  to switch to consoles.

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So, is Superdata Research right? Did the 1983 crash occur because of too many consoles? All the experts that I’m aware of would say no. The crash occurred because the market was flooded with terrible games, which drove the consumer away from consoles. It was one of the reasons why Nintendo started their Seal of Approval… to let their customers know that they wouldn’t have to worry about those horrible games

Nintendo-Seal-of-Quality

It is a little doubtful that owning consoles would make it unlikely to purchase other consoles. That certainly wasn’t true for me. I would assume it’s not true for most others. If there will be another crash, it will come from bad games rather than too many hardware options.

Although….

If there will be a crash like 1983’s, it would come from the mobile games rather than the console games. The major game developers for console games are focusing on AAA titles and trying to only release games that will sell well. The developers for mobile games tend to focus on free-to-play models. They also focus on games that are fairly cheap to purchase. It’s easy to flood the market with hundreds, if not thousands, of bad games.

There have been others who predicted different ways there could be another crash. The one that stood out to me was from Clevernoobs released a brilliant video arguing why another crash is possible.

But what do you think? Are we on the verge of another market crash?