User Profile



Game developer at Crystalline Green

Male, 28, United Kingdom

Game developer for Crystalline Green Ltd. Currently working on Colour Park, a Wii-U rhythm/racing game. OUYA enthusiast NNID: JamesACoote

Wed 7th May, 2014

Recent Comments



JamesCoote commented on RCMADIAX Scales Back Wii U Plans for 2015:

With regard to which platforms are viable for indies, most probably, the opposite is true. I have a friend who is just about to release on Xbox One, so should soon know for sure from him. In any case MS/ID@Xbox are very selective with who they allow on their dev program. There is a lot less competition on that store than Wii U, and every ID@Xbox dev/game gets a good slice of marketing help to boot.

PS4, likewise. Whilst Sony have done a very good job of cultivating an indie friendly image, if you count the number of games on PS4 from indies, it's relatively low volume compared to Wii U. Plus the ratio of indie to big-publisher is higher. They are actually quite selective in who they give dev tools to and who they support marketing wise. It's going to vary from game to game, but it's reasonable to assume the same indie game will do better on PS4 or Xbox One than Wii U.

In contrast, the majority of revenue on iOS/Android goes to the top 200 or so games in the charts. There is very little movement within those charts, and those already there spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per day on user acquisition to stay in those positions.

You're right in that to have any hope with a new game, you need a pre-made audience, either from an existing IP or previously successful game. (Plus bundles of cash) I.e you're Rovio or you're making the next Game of Thrones game.

Of course there are some outliers like Crossy Road, but for every one of those, there are thousands of perfectly good games (and I mean excluding the match three and flappy bird clones) that fail to break even, or often to even make their $99 app store developer program fee back.

Steam lies somewhere between Xbox One and android/iOS. You can still make enough to pay rent if you have a good game with reasonable marketing effort behind it. Plus your game has a better chance of blowing up. But at the same time Steam is going the way of mobile markets as Valve continue to open it up. Recently, competition has ramped up sharply, where average quality continues to fall, making it harder for everyone.



JamesCoote commented on RCMADIAX Scales Back Wii U Plans for 2015:

I suspect there's a general problem where most indie games on the eShop aren't economically viable. Bigger games don't get the volume they need to support wages of a small team. Individual devs can't reasonably produce anything more than "mobile" games, which aren't substantial enough to attract an audience used to sitting down and spending multiple hours on a single game.



JamesCoote commented on Feature: The Wii U is Two Years Old, But How's...:

@D2Dahaka RE: "Biggest problem Wii-U has is that it is priced above the casual market (ie. not an impulse buy price) ..[and other stuff]"

The price isn't the issue: Some are willing to drop $60+ on Candy crush saga or $600 on a new iPad. But they never go into GameStop or the gaming aisle at Target or whatever because gaming isn't their thing. So they'll never see that reduced price. Even if they did, those people are now used to convenience gaming. Any time/place they can pull out their phone or tablet and play. On the bus or curled up in bed. A bulky box with all these peripherals and wires that needs to be plugged into the TV and demands your full attention is not very appealing.

Price drop will only appeal to core gamers who might be thinking of picking up a second console. But Wii U's been limping along doing that anyway; they're unlikely to squeeze too many more purchases out of that niche.



JamesCoote commented on Feature: The Wii U is Two Years Old, But How's...:

Lack of support for gamepad and 3rd party AAA can both be traced back to the rise of cross platform tools and working in a cross-platform way. Make the game once, then deploy it to various platforms. Gamepad screws that up from a design perspective, whilst Wii U's different architecture makes it trickier to code those cross-platform tools and then optimize for performance.

PS3 had big problems at the start of its life because of it's weird architecture, so not like Nintendo didn't have forewarning. PS4 and X1 are relatively identical hardware wise because that's what big AAA studios asked for.

Games are becoming more homogeneous, and counter-intuitively, Wii U is suffering for going against the flow. Plus the stuff I said earlier about the casuals all going to mobile



JamesCoote commented on Feature: The Wii U is Two Years Old, But How's...:

Still doesn't have that killer app for the gamepad (but then PS4/X1 don't have their respective killer apps yet). There's nothing wrong with Wii U per-se, but it's stuck in no-man's land between casual and core audiences. As much as I hate to use those terms, both worlds have turned and left Nintendo in the dust.



JamesCoote commented on Nintendo Rolling Out New In-Store Digital Dist...:

@readyletsgo Actually I edited my above reply, because having re-read it, seems customers will instead browse the tablet and make selections on that. Or maybe it was as I first thought that there'll be more physical cards that customers take to the counter, with sales assistants using the tablet to put the purchase through? I'm really confused now :p

But yes, definitely as an 'ordinary' consumer, you walk into a game store at the moment and the selection of Wii U games looks anaemic, simply because not that many of the Wii U's games actually make it to boxed disks on shop shelves



JamesCoote commented on Nintendo Rolling Out New In-Store Digital Dist...:

I suspect most Wii U customers don't hang around on Nintendo forums and websites (no offense!) or browse the eShop for the latest games, but instead find out about what games are for the system by seeing what disk boxes are in the shop. So hopefully this will help increase visibility for the mostly-indie devs on the eShop who otherwise are invisible in store.

Edited after having re-read, it seems this isn't what I first thought...



JamesCoote commented on Shigeru Miyamoto Confidently Outlines Nintendo...:

Casual gaming is about convenience (the clue is in the name!) Not having to pay before you can start playing, and being able to download to the mobile device you already own are the factors pushing casual gamers away from traditional console games.

  • ----

@CaptainToad It's all perception, and the perception right now is that Wii U is not a console for core gamers. There is too much stacked against Wii U for that to change, though Nintendo can probably still save face and put themselves in a good position for a post-Wii U future.

  • ----

The other way to interpret Miyamoto's comments is that it is possible to convert casual gamers to be interested in deeper, more challenging games (or at least ones that are a bit more sophisticated than a match 3 in a shiny wrapper). As others have cited, Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, The Sims type games that have a female demographic in mind, not usually associated with "core" gaming but probably no less loved and played than say, Gears of War (to name a random, popular AAA FPS franchise)

Many casual gamers go on to spend significant sums of money on IAP, so it's not as if they aren't willing to spend at all.



JamesCoote commented on Shigeru Miyamoto Confidently Outlines Nintendo...:

@CaptainToad In raw units sold. There are other important measures (which we will never know) that indicate how much people are actually playing and spending on the console. E.g. Daily and Monthly active users

The important thing though is perception. X1 is perceived as a core console, as growing, as having superior specs to the Wii U, and as a place Activision or EA are still going to put the latest CoD or FIFA on in 2 or 3 years time. X1 has the same problem as Wii U though in that PS4 is killing it in perception / appeal to core gamers. Hence X1's panicked jettisoning of Kinect and appointing "gamer" Phil Spencer as division head. If we get out the other end of Christmas/Holiday season and X1 is still behind Wii U in raw numbers, then perception will start to change. But in a negative way for X1, not in any way that'll help Wii U or Nintendo



JamesCoote commented on Shigeru Miyamoto Confidently Outlines Nintendo...:

Firstly, I don't think many casual gamers read Edge magazine, so it's not like these comments alone will put them off, whilst they will appeal to the core gamers Nintendo is losing to PS4/X1, and confront the negative press created by Ubisoft et al. saying they will no longer make mature games for Wii U.

Longer term, I don't think there's room for 3 consoles to all be targeting the hardcore gamer market. There just aren't enough of them. There was a report in a while back saying the number was something like 35mil and slowly declining, not going up. Since that audience (rightly or wrongly) places a high cache on "awesome graphics", the Wii U's inferior specs compared to PS4/X1 will only make it harder to wow those gamers and make them feel like Wii U is the place with not only the "best" (read shinyest) games, but that will have the best games in the future. For all the talk about Nintendo being innovative with game mechanics, core gamers don't actually want something different. They want games that follow all the familiar genre conventions, so that they can learn them quickly and know they are going to enjoy them, with one or two incremental changes or additions (such as wall running addition in titanfall to the usual FPS formula).

Plus Nintendo is furthest behind in terms of building the infrastructure that core gamers now expect. Friends, achievements, integrated twitch and video sharing, PS+/Xbox Live stuff.

Also, whilst Nintendo can still appeal to the generation that grew up playing their games/system, they are going to lose the next generation, who in 10 or 15 years time will get all nostalgic and blurry-eye'd for Angry Birds and Clash of Clans, not Mario, Zelda and Pokemon (because that's what they're playing right now as kids).

I hope this is what they are just saying to win back fans, and not what they are actually thinking. (Or maybe Wii U is a right-off, and they figure they can get something close to break-even over the lifetime of the product by appealing to the core as the #2 console in their collection, where they already have a PS4 or X1 as their "primary" machine for all the cross-platform AAA latest releases)



JamesCoote commented on Activision Confirms That Call of Duty: Advance...:

@arnoldlayne83 it's damaging for the industry long term. PS4 driving the console industry sharply towards the hardcore end of the pool has split the market in half. No casual gamer is going to spend $400 on a console that advertises itself as all sports and shooting aliens, especially when they already have a gaming device (phone) in their pocket that caters far more to their needs and tastes.

The "gamer" market is by far the smaller half by customer numbers and revenue. Maybe Sony had to do this to survive. A poor PS4 launch and Sony exiting the console space would have been a disaster.

But it's made console gaming niche, which in turn makes Nintendo's position of proprietary console targeting more casual audiences, untenable.



JamesCoote commented on Activision Confirms That Call of Duty: Advance...:

There's a theory that consoles do better when they have a wide range of games that appeal to many different people, even if there is clearly a "core" demographic.

So yes, this is undoubtedly bad news for Wii U. All those marketing dollars spent promoting the game bleed into helping promote the systems it is on. So Nintendo is doubly missing out.

I'm also slightly concerned about X1/PS4, and that they are focusing too much on the "gamer" market. Last gen, xbox 360 had a bunch of family friendly kinect titles, which actually made the whole offering more well rounded. Now that MS have so publicly denounced Kinect, it's not going to be like last gen where MS was quietly supporting those devs making more "family friendly" fare. The danger is that once PS4 runs out of early adopters, their sales bottom out. That's why we're seeing LBP 3 being pushed strongly at the moment



JamesCoote commented on Check Out Project Colour Park - Heading to Wii...:

Even though we've only just "announced" the game, we've been trying throughout development to take peoples' feedback and incorporate it into the design. Although some things are a bit more inflexible at this stage, this change wouldn't have a big an impact on the "vision" of the game, even though in practical terms it changes the design.

The thinking anyway would be to keep this as an option. So you could play with or without arrows. With arrows makes the game easier, but there are a number of other settings that affect difficulty, and when you max those out, the difference from using arrows or colour or both becomes marginal, as the game gets virtually impossible at that point anyway.

The other point about the business angle is that something like 5% of males have at least some form of colour-blindness. That's 2.5%+ sales instantly down the drain if you ignore it. Plus it's a crappy attitude that'll win you no friends.

Interestingly, some (non-colour blind) people seem to really struggle with the game at the moment, so making it easier, and so even more accessible, like you say, can't be a bad thing in the other direction either



JamesCoote commented on Check Out Project Colour Park - Heading to Wii...:

@Sean_Aaron It might be possible. The problem is, the closer you are to a colour match, the more points you get (or faster your speed boost in race mode). This is why we don't split the ring into discreet colour bands. Likewise, you can't be 80% between square and triangle. It's either one or the other.

Having patterns on the ring, they'd have to logically merge from one set to another. Would need to sit down and experiment to see if that was really workable. Another one someone suggested to me was having differing animations on the ring or in a glowing halo around the ring. So for example, one that has a striped pattern, with the stripes flat horizontal when you're way off, turning to dead vertical when you're spot on.

In fact, just thinking about it now, it may be possible to have arrows rotated at different angles coming towards you on the track. You then have to turn the ring to match the arrow position, or probably better, the ring remains fixed and you turn the square indicator at the top to match the angle / rotation of the arrow. The ring would probably have to be a smaller arc, so you could see it all at once. It's currently about 340 degrees. There is a gap at the bottom to stop people rotating the wii remote all the way around and crossing their arms over. Could be say 180 degrees or 225 degrees and probably still be visible / not cut off by the track below. The extra challenge would be that it's difficult to judge the arrow rotation/direction when you're on a rollercoaster track, travelling at all sorts of banking and loop-the-loop angles until right before you hit the object on the track.

What do you reckon? That'd only take a day to implement, so might try it anyway



JamesCoote commented on Check Out Project Colour Park - Heading to Wii...:

@Josaku A lot of people have commented that it's not obvious how you actually play. Making a video to illustrate at the moment, which should hopefully get posted up on youtube later this week

@Kaze_Memaryu The music doesn't really fit with the rest of the visuals at the moment. We're getting more music composed for the game, and also in the process of creating some completely different looking levels that'll have a different vibe again to the ones made so far



JamesCoote commented on The Pokémon Trading Card Game Is Coming To iP...:

Nintendo should make mobile games where it makes sense to do so. This is a good example of where it makes sense, versus say a Mario platformer, where the game design and controls don't mesh / gel well with touch interface.

It's a shame cross platform tools like Unity3d don't generally have 3DS support, or it'd be much easier for developers to make a game from the outset that works on iPad, PC, Wii U and 3DS. Then there'd be none of this "Why is my favourite game coming to iPad but not 3DS when it'd be perfect for it?" I guess at this point in the 3DS lifecycle, it's not worth doing it.



JamesCoote commented on Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack Poses...:

Makes sense, since a lot more people (esp. kids) have access to a tablet than a console. Looking at the picture, they clearly didn't go in for making it small and portable, so I'd imagine they think this is going to be played in the house rather than on the move. (Also means battery life won't be an issue).

Slightly off topic, but I think the future is in games that span multiple devices. So you sit down to play on console, then continue your game on your mobile whilst out and about. (Or rather, the other way around. You customise your spaceship on the phone, then when you get home from school/work, you can hop onto your PC/console and launch straight into battle). NFC Figurines could be a part of that, especially if, like the amiibo figures, they are used in a more sophisticated way than they are at the moment.



JamesCoote commented on The Letter Plummets to a New Low With eShop Di...:

A lot of devs probably want to do free to play, but the eShop is just not set up for it. Yes, it's possible, but the implementation is really not set up for micro transactions, vs buying $5 or $10 DLC in a single go for an AAA title.



JamesCoote commented on Reaction: Nintendo's Drop in Momentum Is A Big...:

I'd echo what @rockodoodle and other's have said. It's disturbing that Nintendo is making those kinds of losses on the back of a successful MK8 launch.

3DS has performed admirably, considering the rise of mobile. Equally, mobile means any successor is likely to flop hard. Nintendo need to work out not only how to make fun mobile games, but also how to market them, and how to do games-as-a-service. Once they do that, they can begin to leverage their large number of strong IP's on mobile. As well, they can take that into a new console in a couple of year's time.



JamesCoote commented on Developers Weigh In On The Way Forward For Wii U:

They are definitely far too timid when it comes to attracting developers to the system (especially indies). They don't have to necessarily make a big song and dance about it either (like Sony do) if that's not their style.



JamesCoote commented on E3 2014: Hands On With Nintendo's New Online S...:

When does it come out? I wanna play it now!

I'd also love for this game to have 4 player splitscreen. Would be amazing having my flatmates/friends and I play as a team versus another 4 people online.

@benptooey I guess you could have one player do all the teleporting on the gamepad (assuming you're on the same team)



JamesCoote commented on Satoru Iwata Announces 'Nintendo Figurine Plat...:

This doesn't have to be just for kids. Think of all those Gundam or what-have-you mecha figurines and models sold in Japan. Imagine if each had an NFC tag and unlocked something in their companion games; gave you extra content, weapons, levels etc.

Probably most people wouldn't bother with them, but for the super-fans who are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on their hobby, it makes the models feel more real and part of the wider experience. Plus when you buy a model/figurine, it has dual use. Both physical and digital value.

Or all those Pokemon cards. Imagine if they all had NFC chips in them, so when you bought the card, you got that pokemon in game!



JamesCoote commented on Nintendo Reveals 'Mario Kart TV' Web App in Fi...:

This is a good start as it shows Nintendo do get that people want companion apps and to do peripheral stuff around their gaming on their phones (like the rankings and stats stuff).

It's good as well that you can share to Youtube, as that suggests they are aware people want to tap into existing social networks rather than being forced into just using Nintendo -only stuff like Miiverse. (Not that Miiverse is bad, but it's good to have the option of sharing wherever you like).

The next big thing will be twitch integration and rolling this kind of functionality out to other games and third party developers