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Topic: The PS Vita Discussion Thread

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Slapshot

301. Posted:

@WaltzElf If Microsoft would have won the HD DVD/Blu-Ray format war, then the PS3 would definitely not be what it is today. Just like Nintendo has eased non-gamers into gaming with motion control gimmicks and now 3D in the handheld market, Sony has eased gamers into gaming with Blu-Ray. It's a proven fact that many PS3 consoles have been sold primarily for Blu-Ray - I've got one in my home specifically for it - and Sony makes money on BD sales as well as game sales if I remember correctly too.

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komicturtle

302. Posted:

Nah, it isn't really an over statement, I don't think. Well, how about they weren't doing as good as they did with PSX and PS2, shall we? Well, it's an understatement to say that. But even then, if they're going to rely on this "lose money now, get more money later plan", well, I would not be surprised if it bit them on the behind.

Good things can't last forever. And just because you won a jackpot eventually after spending loads of money doesn't mean it's gauranteed to happen again. But, this is a business. And risks need to be made.

I also question why, oh why do people in the UK pay 249 pounds that's not even equivalent to $249 here. So, basically, the 3DS is cheaper in Europe than the Vita already. Did they even try to convert the pricing? Well, I don't know.

And if Nintendo decides to price cut (I hope they don't really, just to show they aren't afraid of Vita), well, I guess we'll have to see the results in what, 3 years?

Part of me is saying I honestly shouldn't care about "Who wins? 3DS vs Vita", because it's a really tiring thing to do. But there are people already saying "Vita is going to beat 3DS", when, 1: It's not even on the market now, 2: You said that about PSP vs DS and look what happened. Not only sales, but support from 3rd parties were immense for DS over PSP.

I'll be getting Vita to play games that are not on 3DS, and I'll be enjoying games not on Vita.

So, while people debate which is better, I'll be enjoying my 3DS and Vita. Though, I'm not going to run out and get Vita first day (I don't trust Sony in what they did with PSP and the lacking support- deny it, but facts are facts, the support for PSP was really underwhelming and could have been better). Just as people will wait for 3DSlite, I'll most likely wait for VitaSlim, IF Sony proves that they will treat their handheld the way is should be treated- because heck, they promised a lot for PSP but it just didn't live up to it. It's going to take more than Wipeout, LBP and Uncharted to get me sold.

It's going to take strong, continuing support throughout the Vita's life.

Edited on by komicturtle

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warioswoods

303. Posted:

@WaltzElf

We have philosophical differences (also, policy differences) regarding business and competition, but I do wish you'd not pretend that it's all so simple. Believe me, I know your position well: read the Art of War, fetishize the economic notion of battle amongst competitors, cut regulations wherever possible and pat ourselves on the back for progress. Sure, that's an exaggerated parody, but no less so than your mischaracterization of my position as merely a kind of moral concern.

To the point: everyone knows full well that the ethics of an individual should not be transposed onto a corporation or business. However, to criticize business practices as I have done is not to make that leap. Instead, it is a matter of pointing out how our current regulatory frameworks, economic structures, and consumer choices in aggregate are creating a situation that may have negative consequences. Given these structures, a corporation's activities will follow whatever paths are available to it; certainly no one should be surprised that Sony or other companies are doing what they are doing. However, we might be concerned about the consequences, and might wish to either change the regulations (or their level of enforcement) or change our habits as consumers.

First, regulations are already deeply embedded in way the market works. The idea of a purely self-generated economy in a vacuum is nonsense; in the area of gaming, you need only go so far as the protection of intellectual property and copyrights — complex legal creations backed by physical state enforcement, and crucial to the business models of Sony and Nintendo — to see how policies have structured the terms around which competition will proceed. Anti-trust and related laws have always been renegotiated and adapted to fit the changing times, and will need continual readjustment. If I criticize cases of a company running into the red in order to benefit a different division, that is well within the scope or reasonable discussion of whether or not the current regulations are sufficient to keep competition open.

Second, we all should take our actions as consumers seriously. Every time you purchase an item, you cast a vote for the business practices involved. Certainly no one can handle that level of detail on every minor purchase, which is why certain regulations exist that you might expect to be unnecessary if you believe no one would buy the products (ie, child labor etc). However, to simply go along naively and to believe that purchasing the latest and greatest is some sort of quasi-patriotic service to capitalism is to deny your own responsibility. If you wish to cast all your votes for in favor of existing corporate interests, you have the right, but it is a vote you are casting daily, not a neutral site of protected self-interest. If you find that a company is (legally) skirting regulations and destroying natural resources along the way, it is your moral decision to either endorse or deny that activity; there is no opt out.

Now, that entire wall of text above is just to make the point that you are misunderstanding the level of criticism I make when I say that certain practices are anti-competitive and that I find them problematic. I certainly don't expect you to agree regarding Sony in particular, and I know that they are by no means the most heinous company on earth, but you do the conversation a disservice to retreat to that absurd position that all things are good if they happen in the current market, completely ignoring the fact that every market, including the current global one, is already a creation of complex factors, regulations, and government actions.

I'd like to be more specific about a couple of things but alas, these walls already high enough.

/end rant #2 !

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CanisWolfred

304. Posted:

I still don't see how loss leading is even "wrong." It saves the consumers money, and makes the company money in the long run. What's wrong with that? It'd really only be a problem for small start-up companies trying to get into the Market, but those days are already long over.

Meanwhile, as far as the 3DS is concerned, I know they can go lower on that price, and I absolutely refuse to get the 3DS until they do lower it.

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komicturtle

305. Posted:

Well, I never really said it's "wrong". But if they were to rely on that strategy, then it wouldn't be a great idea. Then again, they have PS3 still kicking, so. Oh well. But is Sony Computer Entertainment think they can lean on Sony as whole in case something doesn't go the way they planned, that will be problem. The only real reason I see Sony made this $249 move is not to "please customers" only. But to compete directly with Nintendo who has always dominated the gaming handheld market.

Hey, they have to balls to pull that move, I suppose. But really- just because the PSVita is priced at $249, doesn't mean "Oh, then the 3DS should be cheaper!".

Since when does Sony decide the value of Nintendo's products? And vice versa? That's just petty.

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Bankai

306. Posted:

Since when does Sony decide the value of Nintendo's products? And vice versa? That's just petty.

That’s how capitalism works, though. Sony does want to put pressure on Nintendo’s pricing. Nintendo does want to find ways to differentiate itself while not turing the battle into one of commoditisation.

But if they were to rely on that strategy, then it wouldn't be a great idea. Then again, they have PS3 still kicking, so.

They’ve relied on that strategy in the past, and it’s worked for Sony each and every time. Microsoft managed to bust into the market entirely on a loss leading premise. The fact that Sega failed at it was more due to other problems than a loss leading exercise with hardware.

I’m not sure if Nintendo has ever engaged in that behaviour, but it would be the only one who hasn’t, and Nintendo probably can’t afford to – I don’t think it enjoys the same licensing income that Sony or Microsoft get from the 3rd parties.

We have philosophical differences (also, policy differences) regarding business and competition, but I do wish you'd not pretend that it's all so simple. Believe me, I know your position well: read the Art of War, fetishize the economic notion of battle amongst competitors, cut regulations wherever possible and pat ourselves on the back for progress. Sure, that's an exaggerated parody, but no less so than your mischaracterization of my position as merely a kind of moral concern.
To the point: everyone knows full well that the ethics of an individual should not be transposed onto a corporation or business. However, to criticize business practices as I have done is not to make that leap. Instead, it is a matter of pointing out how our current regulatory frameworks, economic structures, and consumer choices in aggregate are creating a situation that may have negative consequences. Given these structures, a corporation's activities will follow whatever paths are available to it; certainly no one should be surprised that Sony or other companies are doing what they are doing. However, we might be concerned about the consequences, and might wish to either change the regulations (or their level of enforcement) or change our habits as consumers.
First, regulations are already deeply embedded in way the market works. The idea of a purely self-generated economy in a vacuum is nonsense; in the area of gaming, you need only go so far as the protection of intellectual property and copyrights — complex legal creations backed by physical state enforcement, and crucial to the business models of Sony and Nintendo — to see how policies have structured the terms around which competition will proceed. Anti-trust and related laws have always been renegotiated and adapted to fit the changing times, and will need continual readjustment. If I criticize cases of a company running into the red in order to benefit a different division, that is well within the scope or reasonable discussion of whether or not the current regulations are sufficient to keep competition open.
Second, we all should take our actions as consumers seriously. Every time you purchase an item, you cast a vote for the business practices involved. Certainly no one can handle that level of detail on every minor purchase, which is why certain regulations exist that you might expect to be unnecessary if you believe no one would buy the products (ie, child labor etc). However, to simply go along naively and to believe that purchasing the latest and greatest is some sort of quasi-patriotic service to capitalism is to deny your own responsibility. If you wish to cast all your votes for in favor of existing corporate interests, you have the right, but it is a vote you are casting daily, not a neutral site of protected self-interest. If you find that a company is (legally) skirting regulations and destroying natural resources along the way, it is your moral decision to either endorse or deny that activity; there is no opt out.
Now, that entire wall of text above is just to make the point that you are misunderstanding the level of criticism I make when I say that certain practices are anti-competitive and that I find them problematic. I certainly don't expect you to agree regarding Sony in particular, and I know that they are by no means the most heinous company on earth, but you do the conversation a disservice to retreat to that absurd position that all things are good if they happen in the current market, completely ignoring the fact that every market, including the current global one, is already a creation of complex factors, regulations, and government actions.
I'd like to be more specific about a couple of things but alas, these walls already high enough.

I’m enjoying this. Having worked in business journalism for quite a few years now, I have to say that philosophically, business is a very simple idea: make the shareholders happy. That is the #1 ethic and responsibility that corporations (we’re talking listed companies here, so Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) have. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT to make the customer happy. Losing one or two customers is not a problem to a corporation. Losing shareholders can sink it.

Obviously losing a lot of customers can directly impact on a corporation’s shareholders, so most corporations see this as a hand-in-hand thing, but much of their competitive motivation is based on the shareholder, not the customer. Driving a competitor into the dirt is in the interest of a corporation because it means one of two things: 1) the competition ceases to exist, leading to improved shareholder value, or 2) it sets the competing company up for acquisition.

For a big company like Sony, a relatively easy way to unseat an incumbent in a market (Nintendo in the handheld space), is to compete aggressively on price. Yes, it means hardware loses in the short term (which would be mitigated by licensing fees). Longer term though it steals potential customers from Nintendo and opens the opportunity to increase market share. It’s expensive to do, but it’s not going to drown Sony.

That’s not anti-competitive. It’s by very definition competitive. There is no regulation on this planet that could possibly attack a loss leading practice – because frankly, if you do that to Sony then you’d also need to pull up 99% of retailers, 80% of other technology vendors, the entire fashion industry and even movie theatres – there’s a reason the confectionary and popcorn is so expensive – movie theatres are loss leading on ticket sales.

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warioswoods

307. Posted:

Again, I actually agree with all your arguments that say it's in the interest of Sony, etc. Of course it is; however, this is not true:

That’s not anti-competitive. It’s by very definition competitive.

First off, that initial sentence makes no sense because we're using the words in different scopes. It's obviously competitive to do anything to attack the opposing companies and so forth, but certain practices that are competitive from the standpoint of the company initiating them are also anti-competitive insofar as they end up stifling competition in that part of the market as a whole. It's like the problem of externalities, meaning a case where each individual or company is acting in its self-interest yet in aggregate these tactics are against the interest of everyone in the long run.

There is no regulation on this planet that could possibly attack a loss leading practice – because frankly, if you do that to Sony then you’d also need to pull up 99% of retailers, 80% of other technology vendors, the entire fashion industry and even movie theatres – there’s a reason the confectionary and popcorn is so expensive – movie theatres are loss leading on ticket sales.

Second, that's an unfair simplification you're making. I mentioned in my post on the prior page that "loss leading" in terms of retail has indeed been around for a long time but that the activities we're describing in the tech sector are of a very different nature. Physical retailers drop a price to get you into the store to buy more, and that's fine. We're not talking about something that is recouped in any kind of short-term scenario here, though. We're talking about undercutting another company in order to defeat it within the product range that you are selling at a loss.

And that's not the biggest problem: it's also happening by virtue of the ability to run deeper into the red than your competitor, because you are just one division of a larger corporation.

It’s expensive to do, but it’s not going to drown Sony.

Exactly, because Sony is much more than its gaming, but it could drown a smaller company that is devoted to gaming. Therein lies the anti-competitive nature of the practice, and why I personally am in deep disagreement that this type of practice should be the norm for progress in technology. This effect of integrating agendas into larger multimedia corporations and raising the barriers-to-entry to impossible levels can ruin the very possibility for competition on products.

The correct analogy isn't a movie theatre selling tickets at a loss in order to sell popcorn. It's more like this: imagine that I own a beloved movie theatre that makes a healthy profit off each visitor (it doesn't matter if by popcorn or ticket sales). Now, a much larger company comes in and decides it wants to also have a theater branch, and so it sets one up across the street. Next, given the fact that they can sit it out in the red for the long term with their other divisions, this company starts selling tickets for way under cost, and sells snacks under cost as well. In other words, they're not even finding a more clever business model, they're just competing over whose company is large enough to run negative the longest.

That, again, is why we have words like anti-trust and why we have regulations regarding monopolies and competition. I agree that you could never force every item to be sold at cost, but you could force companies who are engaging in this type of practice (and it would require an investigation, like any anti-trust) to split their gaming divisions as a separate company. That sort of thing has been leveled against Microsoft before, although not in this arena or on this level.

Also, apart from regulations, I stand by the fact that you vote for practices when you purchase, and my main point is that I will never buy under those circumstances, because I won't contribute to ruining an industry that I adore, like gaming.

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Bankai

308. Posted:

Second, that's an unfair simplification you're making. I mentioned in my post on the prior page that "loss leading" in terms of retail has indeed been around for a long time but that the activities we're describing in the tech sector are of a very different nature. Physical retailers drop a price to get you into the store to buy more, and that's fine. We're not talking about something that is recouped in any kind of short-term scenario here, though. We're talking about undercutting another company in order to defeat it within the product range that you are selling at a loss.

And that's not the biggest problem: it's also happening by virtue of the ability to run deeper into the red than your competitor, because you are just one division of a larger corporation.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with how large corporations and conglomerates work, but they don't share a single pool of resources across all divisions. Sony's video game arm can't make use of its Sony Pictures' resources, for instance, to help stem a financial bleeding. From my understanding of Sony, it uses a very distinct business unit structure that means if one arm stops performing, it is cut off.

Now, with that in mind, the resources that the PlayStation brand enjoys would not be that much larger than Nintendo in reality, although Sony itself is a much, much larger corporation. Your argument that Sony is essentially muscling Nintendo out of the market is fundamentally flawed from that perspective - not only is Nintendo big enough to push back, but it itself has a history of driving small competitors out of the market - remember Wonderswan?

The only way I would agree with you on this point was if Sony offered a product that was exactly the same as Nintendo's, but at a cheaper price point. The Vita is an entirely different console, and Nintendo has plenty of room to differentiate itself, beyond just price, if it is committed to maintaining a margin on hardware.

Exactly, because Sony is much more than its gaming, but it could drown a smaller company that is devoted to gaming. Therein lies the anti-competitive nature of the practice, and why I personally am in deep disagreement that this type of practice should be the norm for progress in technology. This effect of integrating agendas into larger multimedia corporations and raising the barriers-to-entry to impossible levels can ruin the very possibility for competition on products.

What I meant by that is that there is less risk involved for Sony to commoditise its technology. It can lose the gaming division. That's the only real advantage, from a corporate point of view, that it enjoys over Nintendo. It doesn't mean that Sony's games division can operate on a loss indefinately to out muscle a big corporation.

The correct analogy isn't a movie theatre selling tickets at a loss in order to sell popcorn. It's more like this: imagine that I own a beloved movie theatre that makes a healthy profit off each visitor (it doesn't matter if by popcorn or ticket sales). Now, a much larger company comes in and decides it wants to also have a theater branch, and so it sets one up across the street. Next, given the fact that they can sit it out in the red for the long term with their other divisions, this company starts selling tickets for way under cost, and sells snacks under cost as well. In other words, they're not even finding a more clever business model, they're just competing over whose company is large enough to run negative the longest.

That's not the correct analogy either, since Nintendo is the equivilent of a chain of movie theatres itself. Here's the best analogy, and the one that works: There are two movie theatres within walking distance to one another. One is a chain of mainstream theatres owned by a massive company that also has other products and divisions. It operates on a loss-leading business model because it can afford lower overall margins - if the division has to be shut down, the board members still have their jobs, and the stock owners are not suddenly in possesion of worthless bits of paper.

The other is an independant chain of cinemas. It runs more artistic films and charges a bit more to break even on ticket sales. Because it differentiates itself by having a different (but attractive) product range, it does well enough for itself.

That's exactly the dynamic you see between Nintendo and Sony in the handheld space right now. Nintendo's not going anywhere, and Sony doesn't expect it to.

That, again, is why we have words like anti-trust and why we have regulations regarding monopolies and competition. I agree that you could never force every item to be sold at cost, but you could force companies who are engaging in this type of practice (and it would require an investigation, like any anti-trust) to split their gaming divisions as a separate company. That sort of thing has been leveled against Microsoft before, although not in this arena or on this level.

My history of Microsoft is vague, but if I remember rightly, the antitrust complaint regulators had with Microsoft was one of monopoly. Sony doesn't have a monopoly, and so is free to set its price at whatever it likes because the regulators will rightfully assume that it's setting a competitive price, rather than an inflated price because people don't have any other option.

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Magi

309. Posted:

Mickeymac wrote:

I still don't see how loss leading is even "wrong." It saves the consumers money, and makes the company money in the long run. What's wrong with that?

Heck, every convenience store I've ever been in does this with bread and milk.

Anyone ever wonder why milk is cheaper at a 7-11 than at a grocery store? :) Loss leading isn't only for tech companies.

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warioswoods

310. Posted:

I believe your point is valid that the divisions of a company don't directly share a pool of capitol, yet the functioning is the same when one division can run into the red for years due to, as you say, the reduced pressure of not being singularly beholden to its stockholders. You say that such a division "operates on a loss-leading business model because it can afford lower overall margins," but that is still softening the reality of the situation. It's not just lower margins, it can be running boldly into debt for many, many years.

It is widely reported that it took Micrsoft's gaming division until 2007 to first turn a profit. That doesn't even mean that it paid back all those years of losses, either; that was just the first year it turned a net profit rather than going even deeper into the hole. That is absurd; they basically bought their way into the gaming realm by being able to run negative for as long as necessary (nearly a decade) and establish a brand foothold. A competitor that is simply a gaming company could never enter the market in such a fashion, and therefore you have again what I would deem a highly anti-competitive situation.

I believe it is clear that, in fact, an exclusively-gaming company like Nintendo could not in fact operate the way Sony and Microsoft have. It might be able to lose a bit here and there or to make its games recoup some loss on console price, but it can't just sit back and go negative year after year without losing its shareholders and being forced quickly out of the market. There simply is no comparison to the gaming divisions of these mega-companies.

Now, we've gotten far afield from the original point, which was not that Sony is the most evil corporation in the world, but rather that: (1) some practices can in fact hurt competition, (2) a consumer's choices are not just isolated purchases, but votes for or against various practices, and (3) the business approaches of Sony and Microsoft lead gaming and tech in a very different direction from that of Nintendo. I don't expect everyone to agree and avoid their products, but I do expect everyone to recognize the logic and right to a dispute of this nature, that goes beyond the products to a concern over the transformation of an industry as a whole.

My interests in tech, and how I'd like to see it progress, are simply opposed to much of the current gaming landscape. I would love for Nintendo to have opponents that are first and foremost gaming companies, like SEGA, but it is now the only holdout from that era. I would actually be much more supportive of Apple in the gaming realm than either Microsoft or Sony. Even though Apple has its own problematic practices here and there, it does have a strong focus on product design and makes a profit on items sold (except its iPhone line, which I've always kept far away from - yep, I'm the kind of guy who will never sign a contract to get a phone; i buy at cost and have only a pay-as-you-go account to avoid contracts). What I pick up from Sony and Microsoft is a kind of deep cynicism, but that would take a bit longer to explain well.

It might be better to compare it to my eating habits: I don't eat most meats, and the reasons are not strictly moral (ie not in the form of "it's always wrong to eat x") nor are they purely for health, although that is a factor. What bothers me is two things: (1) the actual practices of the meat industry and how it has transformed over the years into something I find borderline despicable, and (2) the politics of meat in terms of advertising, images, etc. On that second point, I reject for instance the associations made between consumption of meat and masculinity, which run through so much of the marketing and which strike me as a neanderthal step backwards into idiocy.

My opposition to Sony and Microsoft is similar insofar as it operates on two front. First, I'm bothered by the transformation of the gaming market over the past years, which extends down to little details like my love of devices that are made to work within strict constraints of space, design, and cost rather than just ignoring these factors and selling at a loss. Second, I'm even more bothered by the marketing and vision of gaming. So long as gaming panders to the preferences of young men and so long as it is thought of more in terms of violence or even over-the-top productions analogous to summer blockbuster movies, I feel the world would be a better place without it. Microsoft is worse than Sony on that last point, but both of them actively embrace certain parts of the market that I want gaming to leave behind. Nintendo's vision for the way gaming fits into the household is something I can support; the majority of gaming and gamers, however, make me cringe, to be honest.

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Odnetnin

311. Posted:

My eyes can't handle anything but you last paragraph for now, @warioswoods, but I totally agree. "Gaming" as most people look at it is not what I love.

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CanisWolfred

312. Posted:

I'm really enjoying this, but I feel like wariowoods has less and less of an argument as he goes. It just seems like he has more passion than he has business sense.

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Bankai

313. Posted:

warioswoods wrote:

I believe your point is valid that the divisions of a company don't directly share a pool of capitol, yet the functioning is the same when one division can run into the red for years due to, as you say, the reduced pressure of not being singularly beholden to its stockholders. You say that such a division "operates on a loss-leading business model because it can afford lower overall margins," but that is still softening the reality of the situation. It's not just lower margins, it can be running boldly into debt for many, many years.

It is widely reported that it took Micrsoft's gaming division until 2007 to first turn a profit. That doesn't even mean that it paid back all those years of losses, either; that was just the first year it turned a net profit rather than going even deeper into the hole. That is absurd; they basically bought their way into the gaming realm by being able to run negative for as long as necessary (nearly a decade) and establish a brand foothold. A competitor that is simply a gaming company could never enter the market in such a fashion, and therefore you have again what I would deem a highly anti-competitive situation.

I believe it is clear that, in fact, an exclusively-gaming company like Nintendo could not in fact operate the way Sony and Microsoft have. It might be able to lose a bit here and there or to make its games recoup some loss on console price, but it can't just sit back and go negative year after year without losing its shareholders and being forced quickly out of the market. There simply is no comparison to the gaming divisions of these mega-companies.

Now, we've gotten far afield from the original point, which was not that Sony is the most evil corporation in the world, but rather that: (1) some practices can in fact hurt competition, (2) a consumer's choices are not just isolated purchases, but votes for or against various practices, and (3) the business approaches of Sony and Microsoft lead gaming and tech in a very different direction from that of Nintendo. I don't expect everyone to agree and avoid their products, but I do expect everyone to recognize the logic and right to a dispute of this nature, that goes beyond the products to a concern over the transformation of an industry as a whole.

My interests in tech, and how I'd like to see it progress, are simply opposed to much of the current gaming landscape. I would love for Nintendo to have opponents that are first and foremost gaming companies, like SEGA, but it is now the only holdout from that era. I would actually be much more supportive of Apple in the gaming realm than either Microsoft or Sony. Even though Apple has its own problematic practices here and there, it does have a strong focus on product design and makes a profit on items sold (except its iPhone line, which I've always kept far away from - yep, I'm the kind of guy who will never sign a contract to get a phone; i buy at cost and have only a pay-as-you-go account to avoid contracts). What I pick up from Sony and Microsoft is a kind of deep cynicism, but that would take a bit longer to explain well.

It might be better to compare it to my eating habits: I don't eat most meats, and the reasons are not strictly moral (ie not in the form of "it's always wrong to eat x") nor are they purely for health, although that is a factor. What bothers me is two things: (1) the actual practices of the meat industry and how it has transformed over the years into something I find borderline despicable, and (2) the politics of meat in terms of advertising, images, etc. On that second point, I reject for instance the associations made between consumption of meat and masculinity, which run through so much of the marketing and which strike me as a neanderthal step backwards into idiocy.

My opposition to Sony and Microsoft is similar insofar as it operates on two front. First, I'm bothered by the transformation of the gaming market over the past years, which extends down to little details like my love of devices that are made to work within strict constraints of space, design, and cost rather than just ignoring these factors and selling at a loss. Second, I'm even more bothered by the marketing and vision of gaming. So long as gaming panders to the preferences of young men and so long as it is thought of more in terms of violence or even over-the-top productions analogous to summer blockbuster movies, I feel the world would be a better place without it. Microsoft is worse than Sony on that last point, but both of them actively embrace certain parts of the market that I want gaming to leave behind. Nintendo's vision for the way gaming fits into the household is something I can support; the majority of gaming and gamers, however, make me cringe, to be honest.

To summarise what would otherwise be a very long counter-argument: The games industry has grown up. It's big business now, and the sheer money involved means that people like Bobby Kotick and corporations like Sony and Microsoft are required to keep it going strong. Whether you like it or not, the games industry now needs to behave like any other technology industry. It would collapse otherwise, and take Nintendo with it, and then you wouldn't have anything to play.

A couple of other bullet points I think are worth throwing in:

1) When you want to break into a new market, start up a new business division (or even business - see OnLive), you're going to be running on a net loss for quite a few years. That's why startup businesses need to do massive capital raising exercises, or take out big loans from banks. That applies across the board - the number of businesses that are actually profitable in years 1, 2 or 3 are small - the number of big corporations that can break into a new market in years 1, 2 or 3 in a profitable fashion are almost none. This is just a fact of life. It's not absurd in the slightest, and if you think so I suggest you never sit on a board of directors.

2) For the record, Nintendo would be able to raise the capital to invest in new markets. It too would be running at a loss for a few years, but I don't like that you have this underdog attitude going on - Nintendo is a massive corporation in its own right. And it could engage in loss leading if it wanted to - it would be more difficult because Nintendo doesn't enjoy the same third party assurances that Microsoft or Sony do, but Nintendo's strategy seems to be differentiating in other ways than price. This is a fine strategy in itself when executed properly. I have my reservations about Nintendo's ability to execute, but that's for another discussion.

3) SEGA was everything that was wrong about the games industry. SEGA was a cowboy company filled with idiot businessmen and intelligent creative people. That's fine when you're involved in a tiny niche market, but in mainstream markets, that kind of crap doesn't fly because there's a broader audience you need to appeal to, and the shareholders expect more. It wasn't bad luck that drove SEGA into the hole it ended up in. It got caught up in an industry that had finished with puberty and was ready for the big, real world.

4) It's clear that you're mixing your personal opinions with your business analysis. As I said earlier - it's important to remember that business ethics is a different sort to personal morality, and while it's fine that you won't want to support x,y,z company, the reality is that Sony (and Microsoft) are actually pretty decent companies. We're not talking about Enron here.

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komicturtle

314. Posted:

Nah, I really don't think SEGA had idiot businessmen.

Bernard Stolar did a phenomenal job of bringing SEGA back on it's feet when Dreamcast launched here in the states. It was a stupid move for- whoever made the decision of booting Bernard Stolar out of SEGA. I think had he stayed, SEGA may have been in an entirely different position now. Of course, I do say, it was stupid to release Dreamcast, what, two years after Saturn came out? That was a kick to the balls of the consumers- and that unattractive price tag wasn't a great idea. At all.

Then, split between SEGA and EA did not help matters at all. I don't remember if it was just EA Sports or EA as a whole- but there was no Madden titles on Dreamcast which forced SEGA to develop their own. Of course, they did indeed do a good job with those games. But losing EA as a 3rd party was a really big problem.

You know, now that I type this- maybe there were some idiot businessmen. But some should not account for all- considering the others did a great job in bringing SEGA up. It just sucks that it was too little, too late.

I'm glad that SEGA is focusing on creating software, but at the same time, I wish they were still in the hardware business. I loved my SEGA and Nintendo <3

And I still do

komicturtle

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warioswoods

315. Posted:

@Waltz

Well, these are easy.

@1 I thought you might bring that up: yes I know full well about running in a whole early in the life of any business. As a kid, before I was old enough for proper economic theory, I could already cite instances of a couple of family members who started successful local companies but had to pour in several years of hard work before seeing the first profit. It's still on an entirely different order than Microsoft having unlimited pockets to buy itself into the gaming market (over more than 7 years of heavy losses, not 2 or 3). Degree does matter; you can't reduce every case to its mildest form ("a theater can lose on tickets and recoup elsewhere!") and thereby secure the validity of all further instances regardless of magnitude. My criterion? If it's transforming competition in an industry for the worse and benefiting entrenched companies to the exclusion of all smaller competitors, then it's a problem.

@2 Nintendo is no small company, without question. However, it also cannot lose in the way that Sony and MS can. It would never reach the 7-year mark of losing billions without ceasing to exist.

@3 I've never been a huge fan of SEGA and didn't claim to be; I only said that I'd much prefer to see gaming companies competing — whose very reasons for existence are in that realm — than media corporations or tech behemoths like Microsoft. It's not just a disassociated ethic; I'm referring to tangible effects of the origins of these companies. They approach gaming from a different dimension, and I strongly disagree with their vision. That's a personal preference, but a defensible one.

@4 This is the key dispute; I don't care about swaying you on Sony so much as disabusing you of this adoration of all things originating in the market. You keep sticking to a point that has already been dealt with, and you're even making it successively less nuanced. As I've said again and again, simply mapping personal ethics onto corporations is out of the question from the outset. I'm not chastising the corporations for doing X or Y, I'm lamenting the effects of these systematic practices, and saying that it's (1) very rational to avoid purchasing from them and thereby contributing to the problem, and (2) that I believe there's a level of anti-competitiveness here that should make us wary.

For instance, I also believe that 3D TV is an absurdity that has resulted from pushing a technology before it is ready. In that case, I'm observing that tech simply has nothing to do with the push. In fact, the hole created by lagging HDTV sales (due to the perfectly ordinary problem of saturation and the end of the initial replacement / upgrade bubble) led to a need for the next-great-thing, and they settled on 3D, even though the tech had barely budged an inch in ages and was still absurd for most home usage (and it ruins most films in the theater, but that's a whole 'nother aesthetic discussion). Now, I believe you might be one of those who embraces everything that comes down the tech pipe as progress and evidence of the greatness of capitalism. I wholeheartedly disagree: a whole lot of what comes from the top tech companies has little to do with progress and in fact is making fools of us all the more we buy in unflinchingly year after year. I feel that it's our responsibility as consumers to stand back and look seriously at how things are moving, and to realize that progress has nothing to do with it the vast majority of the time.

That's what I'm talking about: looking at the results of our purchases and at where tech is going when we buy in. I'm not talking about the ethics of the corporations as if they are individuals, and never have been.

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The_Fox

316. Posted:

komicturtle92 wrote:

Nah, I really don't think SEGA had idiot businessmen.

No, they really did. The NA lifespan of the Saturn alone is enough to prove that. If not, you've got the Sega CD, Sega 32X and the vaporware system that they had been planning on releasing between the 32X and the Saturn. The incompetence was mind boggling when you think about it.

"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

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komicturtle

317. Posted:

Yeah, I realized that after I partially ranted. But I do think some businessmen (Bernard Stolar in particular) did a great job. I never knew 32X even existed until recently when I saw a full walkthrough of Night Trap (about two days ago). That, is really stupid. To have Sega CD, 32X and then Saturn be released in such a short time between their launches.

I'm really hanging on to the Dreamcast as being a great system that got an early death because of the mistakes SEGA made shortly before it's release.

But like I said, I do think had Stolar stayed as President of SEGA, things would have turned differently for them. Firing that guy was the most stupidest thing to ever do after he brought SEGA back on it's feet. Prime example of karma, no doubt.

komicturtle

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WaveBoy

318. Posted:

The_Fox wrote:

komicturtle92 wrote:

Nah, I really don't think SEGA had idiot businessmen.

No, they really did. The NA lifespan of the Saturn alone is enough to prove that. If not, you've got the Sega CD, Sega 32X and the vaporware system that they had been planning on releasing between the 32X and the Saturn. The incompetence was mind boggling when you think about it.

And don't forget the Sega Nomad.lol Their buisness decisions were completely bogus and flippin ridiculous, it's like they had a looney bin buisness office with a combination of alien monkies and rabbid Chuck E Cheese children(Hey now, I love my Chuck E cheeses! :p) making the buisness decisions. The Sega CD was just awful, then comes the 32X, the nomad, plans for that so called Neptune then the Saturn, and then the Dreamcast 2 years later.....The Sega CD was a complete joke from the beginning, along with the 32X and the nomads life sucking battery drainer, they were all failures....And then they had the idea to fuse the Sega CD with the 32X and call it the Neptune!? Were they even WORTH fusing!? lol It's just more junk....I still laugh at how people had the Genesis hooked up to the Sega CD with the 32X attached on top haha. what a clunky pathetic mess.

They may of done a great job with the Genesis and Dreamcast up until Sony pulled a fatality on it, but for the most part Sega's got a lot of junk under their belt. It boggles the mind how much crap they churned up so quickly, they made Nintendo look a trillion times more professional.

Here's a little Nintendo, Sega console time line for ya. ;)

Nes > SMS
SNES > Genesis, Sega CD, 32X & Neptune!....Eek!
N64 > Saturn
GCN > Dreamcast... Not even half way through the generation, Sega is struck by a leathel blow.
Wii > May you rest in peace Sega.lol

Sega whipped up a lot of worthless crap and add ons during the 16-bit era. Stupid, STUPID decisions....The Genesis should of been left alone, and the Saturn should of been prepared better and shouldn't of been as expensive as it was. The Dreamcast, well they got it right with that one....BUt stupid buisness decisions once again screwed them over, along with the enormous hype machine that the PS2 had, PLUS it had a DVD player....Which was new at the time, and was included in the system which appealed to much more people than gamers.

Yet it saddens me to see Sega out of the Console biz....Now we have companies like Sony and MS who aren't really gaming companies to begin with....or at least foremost. The days of Nintendo Vs Sega were pretty epic and rad i must say. B-)

Edited on by theblackdragon

Currently Playing: Mega Man V!
We shall swim to Bubble Island, or you will suffer the wrath of my Trident Laser!
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komicturtle

319. Posted:

Well, Dreamcast came way before GCN.

And Saturn, I think came before N64- not sure, really.

Edited on by komicturtle

komicturtle

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Bankai

320. Posted:

warioswoods wrote:

@Waltz

Well, these are easy.

@1 I thought you might bring that up: yes I know full well about running in a whole early in the life of any business. As a kid, before I was old enough for proper economic theory, I could already cite instances of a couple of family members who started successful local companies but had to pour in several years of hard work before seeing the first profit. It's still on an entirely different order than Microsoft having unlimited pockets to buy itself into the gaming market (over more than 7 years of heavy losses, not 2 or 3). Degree does matter; you can't reduce every case to its mildest form ("a theater can lose on tickets and recoup elsewhere!") and thereby secure the validity of all further instances regardless of magnitude. My criterion? If it's transforming competition in an industry for the worse and benefiting entrenched companies to the exclusion of all smaller competitors, then it's a problem.

@2 Nintendo is no small company, without question. However, it also cannot lose in the way that Sony and MS can. It would never reach the 7-year mark of losing billions without ceasing to exist.

@3 I've never been a huge fan of SEGA and didn't claim to be; I only said that I'd much prefer to see gaming companies competing — whose very reasons for existence are in that realm — than media corporations or tech behemoths like Microsoft. It's not just a disassociated ethic; I'm referring to tangible effects of the origins of these companies. They approach gaming from a different dimension, and I strongly disagree with their vision. That's a personal preference, but a defensible one.

@4 This is the key dispute; I don't care about swaying you on Sony so much as disabusing you of this adoration of all things originating in the market. You keep sticking to a point that has already been dealt with, and you're even making it successively less nuanced. As I've said again and again, simply mapping personal ethics onto corporations is out of the question from the outset. I'm not chastising the corporations for doing X or Y, I'm lamenting the effects of these systematic practices, and saying that it's (1) very rational to avoid purchasing from them and thereby contributing to the problem, and (2) that I believe there's a level of anti-competitiveness here that should make us wary.

For instance, I also believe that 3D TV is an absurdity that has resulted from pushing a technology before it is ready. In that case, I'm observing that tech simply has nothing to do with the push. In fact, the hole created by lagging HDTV sales (due to the perfectly ordinary problem of saturation and the end of the initial replacement / upgrade bubble) led to a need for the next-great-thing, and they settled on 3D, even though the tech had barely budged an inch in ages and was still absurd for most home usage (and it ruins most films in the theater, but that's a whole 'nother aesthetic discussion). Now, I believe you might be one of those who embraces everything that comes down the tech pipe as progress and evidence of the greatness of capitalism. I wholeheartedly disagree: a whole lot of what comes from the top tech companies has little to do with progress and in fact is making fools of us all the more we buy in unflinchingly year after year. I feel that it's our responsibility as consumers to stand back and look seriously at how things are moving, and to realize that progress has nothing to do with it the vast majority of the time.

That's what I'm talking about: looking at the results of our purchases and at where tech is going when we buy in. I'm not talking about the ethics of the corporations as if they are individuals, and never have been.

1) What the heck are you talking about? Nintendo is the entrenched company in the games industry, as was SEGA, so by your own criterion what Sony and Microsoft are doing is A-OK with you because what they are doing doesn't benefit the entrenched company.

Once again you've taken this "Nintendo is a small company" approach. It's not. It's a corporation. As a corporation it needs to learn to play ball with other corporations. If it can't find a way to do that, then it goes away. That's business. Sony and Microsoft have no responsibility whatsoever to make sure Nintendo can survive in the industry just because "it's smaller." That would be grossly unethical.

Smaller is a company like OnLive. And smaller companies have a responsibility to differentiate themselves by offering something unique. OnLive does that, and OnLive is shaping up nicely. So obviously it is possible for an actual smaller company to exist in the current market.

3) Unless you're going to claim that Sony and Microsoft don't have gamers in their ranks, what you're claiming there confuses me. Do you think Sony or Microsoft don't care about games? Or their consumers? They're motivated by exactly the same things that motivate Nintendo.

Furthermore, Sony's been around as long as SEGA as a hardware manufacturer now. How is it not a "gaming company"?

Finally, and this is anecdotal, but the actual people that work for Sony and Microsoft in Australia are far more passionate about playing games, and care a great deal more about their products, than Nintendo. I know all three company's local outfits pretty well.

4) Let's get something clear: You're not disabusing me of anything. I'm not engaging in this conversation on a emotional, personal level in the first place - I'm looking at it from a business perspective. I don't have favourites, or a 'adoration' for anything, really.

Nothing you've complained about is anything other than simple business logic. When the lifecycle of a product has reached its natural end, then something new needs to happen. 3D TV. Corporations can't keep selling the same stagnating products, because as consumer interest drops away, so does their fortunes.

And in that is the very simple debunking to your complaints - it's completely irrational not to support these companies. If people stopped buying new things en masse Sony, Microsoft and yes, Nintendo (because contrary to popular belief, it needs Sony and Microsoft to survive, as it needed SEGA) would disappear. And I don't know about you, but I prefer having games than jumping up on a misguided soapbox and ending up with no games.

Obviously no one has the money to buy into everything, so consumers need to pick and choose. Where I find your comments strange (and suggest a lack of understanding about business), is that people shouldn't purchase products that you've thrown on an arbitary list, because you're imagined that they are anti-competitive. Or, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest your objection is more to do with competing with Nintendo.

We're never going to come to an accord, because you're speaking from a deeply personal view of the industry, while I'm looking at it from a dispassionate, 'business' perspective.

Edited on by Bankai

Digitally Downloaded - best darned game site on the web ;-)