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United States

Sun 4th Aug 2013

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kondabasu commented on Junichi Masuda Confirms That the Pokémon X & ...:

3D's neat, but I find it hard to believe some of you who're threatening to skip X&Y over this, especially since the reason is to make the game look better!

Then again, I missed Gen IV and skipped gen V in anticipation of a 3DS Pokemon title, so it'll take a lot for me to cancel my preorder.



kondabasu commented on First Impressions: Pokémon X & Y:

@Superconsole Any sign of play coin features? I've been hoping for something that uses the 3DS pedometer similar to the HG/SS Pokewalker.

Really happy to hear that the workflow for battling friends has been so vastly improved. That's fantastic news. Thanks for the preview!



kondabasu commented on Developer Interview: Brian Provinciano on Retr...:

@Kirk I agree, and yet I can appreciate how it helps to fight shovelware. I'd almost prefer that Nintendo limit third party developers to a number of launches per year or quarter. That'd discourage shovelware without stacking the cards against indie devs & niche titles.



kondabasu commented on Game Designers Reveal How Super Mario Bros. 3 ...:

@Kirk @feline2 That's unfair. F2P is a popular pricing model for smartphone games because:

1. Users expect smartphone games to be dirt cheap. (Of the top 50 paid games in Apple's App Store, only 3 are $4.99 or higher. The most expensive is only $6.99. The majority are $1.99 or less.)

2. There's a ridiculous amount of competition (~60/70 new titles a day). People forget this when they assume cheap = more downloads = more money.

3. With such an insane amount of competition, constant updates are the best way to keep squirrel-minded smartphone users focused on your game and get more downloads. (Of the top 10 paid iPhone games, 9 have had at least one "update" in the last 2 months. The odd one out hasn't been updated since May...)

F2P is a recourse developers are taking to make sure they can compete with free and low-price titles but still make money and fund post-launch development.

It's not that smartphone developers are necessarily more greedy — I'm paying more up front for 3DS games than I'd ever invest in a F2P title — but Nintendo controls release schedules and minimum pricing of its systems' retail games which means developers can't compete on price like they can on smartphones and don't have to be so aggressive to obtain mindshare.



kondabasu commented on Game Designers Reveal How Super Mario Bros. 3 ...:

@SwerdMurd @SkywardLink98 I agree, but the F2P model is still just a response to unsustainable pricing expectations users have of smartphone games.

We should all bookmark this article to use as a response next time someone brings out the old "Nintendo should stop making hardware and just sell games" argument. If you want to stay competitive in the App or Play stores, these are the sort of tactics you have to use.

Please stay on the high road, Nintendo.



kondabasu commented on Soapbox: 'Vintage' Used Game Prices Do Nothing...:

I've come to draw the opposite conclusion about Vintage: GameStop is playing its strengths against megamart and online shopping giants.

The "Vintage" schtick is simply that they collect copies of an out-of-print desirable game and put it on shelves nationwide all at once so they can advertise its availability while the limited stock lasts.

I agree that the pricing is a little iffy, but I think it's unfair to call people idiots for balancing the price difference with the hours (or days, or weeks) they might spend hunting online and in-person to find a cheaper copy.

Yes, it's a shame that NoA and GameStop woefully underestimated the level of interest in Xeno when it was first released, but I'm willing to give them both the benefit of the doubt that it was a genuine mistake: JRPG's aren't the best selling games in the US, and it was released very close to the end of the Wii's lifetime and only because a core fanbase demanded it. I think it was pretty reasonable for both parties to expect it to be a niche title and give it only a limited run.



kondabasu commented on GameStop Defends Xenoblade Chronicles Pricing,...:

@SCAR392 I just read up on the "Vintage" thing. Paul Raines said a while ago (1) that one of the inspirations behind the idea is the amount of merchandise they're unable to clear simply by lowering prices. That's a point in your favor, and would explain the consistent (but not universal) reports of like-new packaging.

When Xeno was first launching, Nintendo actually had to print a second run to meet backorder requests (2). It doesn't seem unlikely that the second run was overkill with the dross being warehoused ever since. Again, a point in your favor.

That's an interesting nuance about ordering online too, and counts as another point in your favor since it means less logistical overhead to maintain their "online" stock.

Alright, then. You've won me over. I now think you and @theblackdragon are right.





kondabasu commented on GameStop Defends Xenoblade Chronicles Pricing,...:

@SCAR392 That's what @theblackdragon thinks, too. I think it's extremely unlikely:

When I looked yesterday, every GameStop in 100 miles of my home, and probably every store in the country (from spot checking a few other zip codes and from similar reports on NeoGAF) — about four and a half thousand stores in all — had at least one of these "preowned" copies in stock. In addition to those, there are the copies they're selling online: Xeno is currently one of the best sellers on

I don't think GameStop could acquire that many copies all at once, not even through an extremely aggressive "buyback" in-store credit deal. I'm not so ready to dismiss the multiple reports of "like new" packaging that are popping up, either.

IIRC GameStop had exclusive retail rights for this game when it initially launched in the US, so I'm not sure why a second exclusive deal seems so far-fetched.



kondabasu commented on GameStop Defends Xenoblade Chronicles Pricing,...:

@theblackdragon Nowhere have I accused GameStop of committing piracy. As I said in my first reply to you:

"If it weren't GameStop, it'd be reasonable to assume these are unlicensed bootlegs. It's unreasonable to assume they're anything other than reprints."

I made that distinction precisely to emphasize that a reprint is not the same thing as a pirated version or unlicensed bootleg. As I said in my previous reply to you, this situation is most likely the outcome of an exclusive deal with Nintendo.



kondabasu commented on GameStop Defends Xenoblade Chronicles Pricing,...:

@theblackdragon So GameStop runs something like four and a half thousand brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, and this game is also one of their best sellers online.

Intentionally withholding stock while speculating on game prices? Mass-purchasing copies from the competition? Do those scenarios really sound more reasonable to you than a reprinting deal with the publisher? Bosh and phooey!

GameStop, a prominent retailer of video games, approached Nintendo, with whom it has a healthy working relationship, about a popular but unavailable game for a popular and widely available system. Talk was talked. A deal was struck. There's no dark conspiracy here. No one's suggesting GameStop's some kind of Illuminati of the gaming industry.



kondabasu commented on GameStop Defends Xenoblade Chronicles Pricing,...:

@LzQuacker Nay, sir, nay, I explicitly said the opposite of that!

"If it weren't GameStop, it'd be reasonable to assume these are unlicensed bootlegs. It's unreasonable to assume they're anything other than reprints."

I doubt a national chain retailer with the visibility of GameStop would stoop to unlicensed bootlegs (pirate copies) to make a fast buck. I don't see how this many copies of the game could be anything other than a reprint, but since it's GameStop I think it's safe to assume it's a licensed reprint.



kondabasu commented on GameStop Defends Xenoblade Chronicles Pricing,...:

@Wheels2050 You're right, and even if their fine print doesn't disclaims the idea that "preowned" games are necessarily that, "I bought a game preowned, but it was new" is an unlikely lawsuit. I think what they're doing is misleading, but it's not categorically dishonest.

Usually Nintendo does a better job as a publisher making it clear that games are reprints too. The red box "Nintendo Classic" SNES games, for example, or "Player's Choice" on the Game Cube, or the Wii's "Nintendo Selects" line. Sounds like that's not being used here.



kondabasu commented on GameStop Defends Xenoblade Chronicles Pricing,...:

@theblackdragon To be clear, we're not talking about one or even several copies of a rare old game. We're talking about thousands of GameStop stores nationwide suddenly coming into possession of ostensibly new but unwrapped copies of an extremely rare game, with reports of the Club Nintendo code still being intact and slight variations from the original box art. If it weren't GameStop, it'd be reasonable to assume these are unlicensed bootlegs. It's unreasonable to assume they're anything other than reprints.

Every one of the sixteen GameStop stores in a hundred mile radius of my home shows "low stock" for this game, and the NeoGAF forums and Kotaku's columnist report the same in New York and other areas. (Meanwhile, only one GameStop store in the same radius has a preowned "Metroid Prime Trilogy" in stock.)

I don't begrudge GameStop for making a quick buck out of a rare and desirable game, and agree in principle that we can take our business elsewhere if we dislike it, but I don't think people are in the wrong to call GameStop sleazy for selling reprints as though they're preowned copies from the game's original run. That's misleading and very different from the kinds of markups you see on genuine first or early prints of games or books.



kondabasu commented on Talking Point: The "Indie Spotlight" Was A Bri...:

@bahooney To be fair, Tomodachi Collection is a Japan-only game, so it seems unfair to blame that on NoA specifically.

Would be nice to have an explanation for the month or so it took the StreetPass Mii Plaza DLC to make it to the States, but I did hear there were some stability issues with the European release, and from what I've seen the American localization is slightly more tailored. (The European titles are kinda bland, for example.)



kondabasu commented on Talking Point: The "Indie Spotlight" Was A Bri...:

@element187 @Yorumi Perhaps I'm one of the misinformed, but it's StreetPass and Mii data and (for eShop titles) save games I see as the inconvenience here rather than software itself.

For example, I'm about to buy a 3DS XL. I already have a 3DS. When I'm at home, I prefer the larger screen and don't mind its larger size. On the go, that extra inch is the difference between being able to slip it into my pocket or not. Plus I don't want to damage my brand new XL!

Nintendo's stance on the software itself is understandable, but having no iCloud-like data sync between devices means my dream of using multiple 3DS's won't happen even if I were to suck it up and buy two copies of everything. I'd have to do a full system transfer every night I got home and every morning I left!



kondabasu commented on Pokémon X & Y 3DS Bundle Pre-Orders Sell Out ...:

These aren't for me. The Yveltal on the back of the gold case looks like the artist was trying to cover up an ink blot, and the blue case looks like some 90's website's Flash intro.

I'm cross that the Eevee XL/LL design will never make it to the States. It's so much nicer than either of these.



kondabasu commented on Iwata: No Chance Of Nintendo's "Precious Resou...:

@Conkers64 The piracy-to-paying-customer path only works for niche audiences, and only in a certain set of circumstances. Crunchyroll has been moderately successful, most importantly because their target audience is almost desperate to support original content creators and publishers. That's hard to establish for VC games: even fans often assume VC games are pure profit for Nintendo.

Another problem: Google Play and iOS App Store prices have established an expectation that games are dirt cheap, and it's always assumed that Walmart economics /always/ make up the price difference. "Pay between 1/5 and 1/10 per old game" as @unrandomsam said, and attract more buyers. Another 20-30% of that price goes to Apple or Google. The proposition, then, is that Nintendo not only abandons exclusivity of VC but decimates title prices on third party platforms, while investing in rewrites of all their games (at least for iOS), but it'll work out in their favor because enough people will choose the original Legend of Zelda over Zenonia and its ostensibly shinier ilk. I would not be willing to invest in the success of that decision.

Another problem: if you look at the way Rovio, Gameloft, EA, and others treat their titles, you'll notice there's a formula to success, and it involves constant, rapid iteration and updates to stay in the top and featured slots. "Last updated" is one of the most prominent fields when buying games on an iPhone, and an old date signifies abandonware. Needless to say, Nintendo will not be issuing updates for VC titles. "Update: 2013-08-08 finally fixed World -1 bug!"

Upshot: I hope Nintendo doesn't try this. It won't be their end, but it will be a dead-end and a waste of resources I'd rather see put into localizing Mother and giving it a Western release.



kondabasu commented on SEGA Reportedly Interested in Acquiring Atlus'...:

Lots of discussion about SEGA vs. Nintendo here. Don't forget that Altus isn't Index's only holding; among its other properties is Madhouse — a leading Anime studio. I'm not sure SEGA would know what to do with stock in those other properties.

I agree with @ejamer's comment yesterday. Atlus is better left to its own devices. Its output has been fantastic lately, and it's one of the few JRPG makers consistently bothering to localize for niche Western audiences. I don't care much who buys Index, but the prospect of SEGA and Nintendo make me nervous as a British/American JRPG player and Anime fan!