30 October 2008

Nintendo and that 'focus' on the core audience...

Once again, Nintendo have come out saying that they haven't been neglecting their core audience (well, core gamers). I'm against this opinion with all my being. If anything, Nintendo have shown time and time again that their focus this generation has been on the casual market.

We have never neglected core gamers. We still have developers working on popular core gaming franchises but we need longer to complete these games, approximately two to three years.

The thing that gets me about Nintendo's comments (continually - because they said something similar last year before Christmas and i said the same thing then*) is that they knew they were developing the Wii and they knew that they'd all but abandoned development on the Gamecube in it's last year. The Wii has been available since 2006.... if we add on an extra year or for development of games that's since 2005 that developers have had the ability to make games for the Wii.

Let me add that up for you, Nintendo: 4 years. Now, i believe that most (hard)core games' development time comes in at around 3-4 years and not 2-3 years so using that logic we should have had a glut of hardcore games last year and this year. We haven't. If we're taking your figures then it's possible that we should have seen two waves of core-focused games available at market.

Now, i know for certain that some developers will have been developing for the Wii before 2005 and others, porting PS2 or GC games should have been able to do it in much shorter time.

There is only one conclusion. The Wii, because of all the marketing from Nintendo, is focused on the non-core gamers and along side the fact that most third party developers didn't count on the Wii being a success decided that the captive market was also overwhelmingly casual rather than core due mostly to Nintendo's game and marketing focus. Thinking about the recent ports of GC games, they could have done that nearer the Wii's original release.... even in 2007. Why now? Possibly it's due to the looming recession though some analysts think that gaming is more recession-proof that other industries.

If the recession does hurt gaming in the casual markets more than the (hard)core then we're going to see Nintendo suddenly back-pedalling on their focus because it's the core audience that supports them during this period. While i don't think that's a concern in the near future, Nintendo are readying for just that instance when next Christmas comes around. It may just be too little too late though.

* Turns out that i wrote on a related problem last march on my old blog.

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