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Black Ace
08-22-2002, 09:55 AM
The old man of Nintendo plans energetic retirement

Former Nintendo global president Hiroshi Yamauchi has revealed some intriguing plans for his retirement over the next few years. A man famed for his hardline approach and unshiftable opinions will take a very different tack in the future.

When asked at a press conference in Tokyo today about what his plans for retirement, Yamauchi said, "I hope to establish a special school that teaches how to use computer graphics. I want to make efforts to develop software with a higher level of originality by using the ideas of young people, without focusing on making profits. I am also interested in finding excellent games that remain relatively unknown. For example, we can offer a prize for game creators. Then we can invite bids for games that win awards, enabling software makers to commercialise and sell their games."

We will bring you news on this exciting new venture as it makes itself known. It is expected that Nintendo and the Q0-Fund set up by Yamauchi, will fund this new project.

DBJAY
08-23-2002, 11:35 AM
If a company doesn't focus on profits to a degree, then they are out of business. Just ask SNK. Or Sega, who came very close.

Also, Nintendo is hands down the king of making risk free games, expecially under his reign. How many new franchises games were created out of Mario (and his entire extended universe of characters like Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong), Starfox, Zelda, now Metroid. I don't think Nintendo themselves have developed a new character design for a starring role in a game since the SuperNes, except for Pikimin.

For him to lecture on the importance of originality in games is a tad bit hypocritical considering Nintendo's greatest profits came from it's tride and true franchises.

Take one look at Sega and how they suffered by pursuing pure originality over the Saturn/DC years. They launched the Saturn, and indeed most of Saturn's short life, without relying on thier Sega Genesis hits or arcade hits. Sonic came too late, Virtua Fighter was too primitive looking and VF2 sparked some interest, Golden Axe nowhere to be found, Shinobi farmed out to a lesser developer, Ecco vanished, etc.

Instead, they went with Panzer Dragoon as a launch title, a poor conversion of Daytona, and Clockwork Knight. Well, we can all see what happened there.

Then, with the DC, they invested huge amounts of resources into titles that didn't have the mass market appeal...Space Channel 5, Jet Set Radio Future, Shen Mue, etc. Although they produced two good Sonic games, which are still earning money now on the GC.

FumieHosokawa
08-23-2002, 01:14 PM
Originally posted by DBJAY
I don't think Nintendo themselves have developed a new character design for a starring role in a game since the SuperNes, except for Pikimin.

For him to lecture on the importance of originality in games is a tad bit hypocritical considering Nintendo's greatest profits came from it's tride and true franchises.

Er, ever hear of a little thing called Pok?mon? Nintendo consistently proves themselves the most creative minds and best marketing machine in the industry. What are you gonna counter with from the Sony and Microsoft camps? Jak and Daxter? That paper-clip with the eyeballs?

"Tride [sic] and true franchises" had to come from somewhere.

Penance
08-23-2002, 01:19 PM
Er, ever hear of a little thing called Pok?mon?

Nintendo didn't even start Pokemon. They simply bought it, and now distribute it.

"Tride [sic] and true franchises" had to come from somewhere.

sic?

And if we're talking just platformers, theres more then just Jak and Daxter.

DBJAY
08-23-2002, 01:30 PM
Pokemon and all related rights to characters etc. is shared between Nintendo and Leisure Products, initial game designed by Satoshi Tajiri.

It just simply is hypocritical to make a plea for game originality, while being the former head of a company that has been using the same characters for years, some as old as the 8 bit generation of gaming.

Look at how Nintendo currently is handling the GBA, ports of old SuperNes games are their best sellers. It would have been more original to create a new Mario game than port all the Mario Snes games. They went that route strictly for low development cost and the lure of high profits, which has worked.

Penance
08-23-2002, 01:50 PM
Was the first part of your post directed towards me, DBJAY?

As for the ports, they're just trying to make some quick cash.

FumieHosokawa
08-23-2002, 02:08 PM
Originally posted by DBJAY
It just simply is hypocritical to make a plea for game originality, while being the former head of a company that has been using the same characters for years, some as old as the 8 bit generation of gaming.

And my point is, Nintendo is not the best company to be criticizing over game originality. So they re-use their familiar franchises. They have introduced new concepts with them each generation, like Super Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Party, that are all but ripped off shamelessly by their competitors--usually with their own mascots. Ports allow people to play their favorites on different platforms... and I mean different, not another PS2 or Xbox version of the same PC stuff, or vice versa. Look at the "newest" cellphone games.

Most originality from your other console manufacturers come from second and third parties, if even. Sorry, but after Sega left the business, Nintendo's the only one left who can get both jobs done: come up with an idea that hasn't been done to death (e.g., Pikmin, Animal Crossing), and make you have to buy their machine to experience it.

DBJAY
08-23-2002, 04:44 PM
Penance, no it wasn't.

Well, with Mr. Yamauchi no longer involved in Nintendo, they now have a better chance at returning to true originality.

IMO, it was Yamauchi that controlled Nintendo to produce so many sequels because he knew that is where Nintendo's financial strength lies. Now for him to start to a new company whose focus is different than how he ran Nintendo, and indeed made very successful, is odd to say the least.

One of the best examples of the hypocrisy is the Gamecube unveiling. During the media blitz, Nintendo stressed how game designers must come up with original game concepts and then without hesitation, unveiled Mario, Luigi, Zelda, Metroid, StarFox, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Wave Race, Star Wars, 1080 WS, and then later FZero,Mario Golf, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Mario Paint, Smash Brothers, etc.

Why would Nintendo on one hand call for originality in gaming, and then announce (and continue to announce) one of the longest list of sequels ever?

If Nintendo was truly pursuing pure originality instead of profits, they would develop whole new characters in new games. Imagine a Nin. platformer that didn't feature Mario (or Mario side character.) Or an action rpg as good as Zelda, but not featuring any known Zelda characters.

FumieHosokawa
08-23-2002, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by DBJAY
Well, with Mr. Yamauchi no longer involved in Nintendo, they now have a better chance at returning to true originality.

One of the best examples of the hypocrisy is the Gamecube unveiling. During the media blitz, Nintendo stressed how game designers must come up with original game concepts and then without hesitation, unveiled Mario, Luigi, Zelda, Metroid, StarFox, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Wave Race, Star Wars, 1080 WS, and then later FZero,Mario Golf, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Mario Paint, Smash Brothers, etc.

Blaming Yamauchi for any lack of originality, that's like saying, if Bill Gates left Microsoft, they'd start making money. Yamauchi was there for all of Nintendo's videogame history-making--even the parts you might have to agree were innovative. Cashing in on franchises means you at least deserve credit for making them franchises.

Jeez, as if your Gamecube "let-down" was some kinda unforgiveable crime. Like I said, I haven't seen a more industry-shattering launch--speaking of originality--from anyone else, either. What about the way the Xbox was supposed to change videogaming forever? A year later, and I still haven't seen that happen.

DBJAY
08-23-2002, 07:06 PM
I only judge companies by their actions, and personally find marketing double speak condescending. Nintendo, quite frankly, has proven they say one thing, and do another. Clearly, and rightly so, they put profits above originality and I respect Yamauchi for guiding the company towards that goal for many years.

As far as Xbox changing gaming, it did provide the innovation of the built-in hard disk, which has enabled Artoon to create a 4-D game that has never been done before. That is software innovation. The ability to rip tracks off cd's and create your own soundtracks for games is a feature not found on any other console. Included ethernet port is a first (Sega first with DC and 56k). It is the resonsibility of the developers to exploit the hardware in new ways, and that has begun to happen with Xbox.

Xbox Live is one of the more ambitious attempts at creating an online community, and the ability to download content will change the nature of console gaming. It has happened previously with the DOA3 Booster discs, that actually expand the original game.

Looking at the current state of Nintendo:

1.) Hardware: no DVD support, no hard disk, no CD support (which was made common place by the PS1, Saturn, etc.), still uses memory cards as primary way to save game data. Even the vaunted GBA/GC communication is rarely put to use yet, and pioneered by Sega and the VMU or even Sony and Pocketstation.

2.) Software. No online plans, just letting Sega wing it with PSO (which is an example of innovation is software....taking a huge risk in transorming their Phantasy Star series into an online title for the Dreamcast and now for Xbox with voice, and GC with text).

Nintendo is playing it safe by relying on franchises dating back to the mid 80's. They will never have new franchises or franchise characters to carry them forward if they don't invest in them now. Nintendo most likely could go another 20 years with the same stable of characters and remain extremely profitable, but to call such a strategy innovative or to think that the majority of the games can even be called original when they are sequels, is ludicrous.

One of the only titles they have created or announced in the GC generation that actually is a complete original is Animal Forest/Crossing. That is an example of the risk taking Nintendo originality that they have been missing for several years which can't be found on other consoles or pc and what they need to get back to if they want to really stay true to their message of creating original, and not sequel, content.

Black Ace
08-23-2002, 08:14 PM
Nintendo will last as long as their franchises remained interesting to the general public. That is why we're seeing spin off of the Mario franchise, take a well built character and throw him a party (Mario Party), give him a tennis racket and golf club (Mario Tennis/Golf), throw in a bunch of multiplayer and that's Nintendo recipe for success. Super Smash Bros is a new franchise from Nintendo, also takes well developed game characters and throw them into a all out brawler, what a hit that has become.

Nintendo games sell well because of the Nintendo brande, of the top 100 most well known company, Nintendo ranked at #28, I believe, Sony was #26 and Microsoft is #1. Nintendo isn't known for anything but games, and their tradition reflect just that with the GameCube, it is designed from the ground up to be the ultimate game console, and only that.

FumieHosokawa
08-23-2002, 08:19 PM
[Continuing on this exchange with the obvious Nintendo detractor....]

Dead or Alive 3, there's innovation and originality for ya. Same old complaints about Gamecube (no DVD support, no online commitment) that have no proof of contributing to its failure... which hasn't even happened. Last I checked, it was doing better than Xbox everywhere except maybe in we're-so-afraid-to-do-anything-but-buy-American America. Without DVD support, or games that are more about collecting outfits for fantasy women.

Xbox Live has yet to happen, if you hadn't noticed. You give onesy-twosy examples of the hardware put to use--there's plenty more of it being totally wasted; see load times--and somehow that supports Microsoft's claims but not Nintendo's? Every company has its plans, and who are you to say one's is more legitimate than the other? Should I go into the Xbox forum and constantly call into question their product and their PR?

FumieHosokawa
08-23-2002, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by Bill
That is why we're seeing spin off of the Mario franchise, take a well built character and throw him a party (Mario Party), give him a tennis racket and golf club (Mario Tennis/Golf), throw in a bunch of multiplayer and that's Nintendo recipe for success.

And the thing is, these games are consistently GOOD, if not great. Why bother with all-new characters for a fun tennis or golf game when you already have a roster of famous faces? That's what I don't understand about DBJAY's remarks... apart from him just singling out Nintendo for hypocrisy and marketing "double speak." (Should I remind you of some of the things J. Allard said about the Xbox? Do you need to read Slashdot to know how many of us hate "M$" for brand-exploiting atrocities like Windows ME?) If you've got a great idea for a movie, for example, and the budget to make it happen, why cast a bunch of unknowns, when popular stars can make it all the more appealing to audiences?

Black Ace
08-23-2002, 10:08 PM
Well, with Mr. Yamauchi no longer involved in Nintendo, they now have a better chance at returning to true originality.

Actually, Yamauchi is still involved with Nintendo. He may no longer be the president after 53 years, but he is still the head of the broad of director at Nintendo. He is also incharge of Fund Q.

Black Ace
08-23-2002, 11:00 PM
Here is the full interview.

About three months have passed since Nintendo's new management structure was established.

Yamauchi: Nintendo doesn't have many options in terms of management. The company will continue to focus on software, and the new management team has no doubts about its policy. I haven't attended any management meetings, which are held twice a month, since I resigned as president.

What type of company will Nintendo become under the new structure?

Yamauchi: Nintendo will continue to seek to create only fun and entertaining games. We hope the company can develop excellent games as a result. The company may see a decline in sales, which can't be helped. Current President Satoru Iwata used to be in charge of developing game software. As a result, he will create entertaining games by adopting the ideas of talented engineers not only within the company but also from other firms.

Iwata has pointed out the limits of software development that depends heavily on the latest technologies.

Yamauchi: The entire game software industry is facing a shortage of materials to develop new games. And now smaller manufacturers that lack funds are having a tough time surviving.

Game makers have lost a lawsuit involving sales of used game software. What's your stance on the issue?

Yamauchi: Game makers make profits by selling software, and I think people who buy the software are free to sell it or throw it out. Software developers need to develop products that can entertain users for a long time.

How will you, personally, be involved in the game industry from now on?

Yamauchi: I hope to establish a special school that teaches how to use computer graphics. I want to make efforts to develop software with a higher level of originality by using the ideas of young people, without focusing on making profits.

I am also interested in finding excellent games that remain relatively unknown. For example, we can offer a prize for game creators. Then we can invite bids for games that win awards, enabling software makers to commercialize and sell their games.

aneep
08-24-2002, 03:56 PM
nice discussion, though i fail to see what's the relevent of bringing Xbox into the mix (Fumie)

Nintendo strategy is a sound one, they will bring more and more character based games as long as the public buys them

look at Sega, they introduce more new franchises at every gen. and the new franchises would probably be marketed better if they have Sega proven characters backing it up, rather than completely making a new franchise

Nintendo is in the business of making games, and making a profit (not really making games for the sake of making games)
so far they have done quite well in that regard, i bet none of their stockholders are complaining :)

-aneep-

FumieHosokawa
08-24-2002, 05:08 PM
Sorry, aneep, it's just that I wanted DBJAY, who's a proven cheerleader of anything Xbox and trolls the GC forum only with disparaging commentary, to produce something showing Nintendo deserves special abuse for practices that are industry-wide. Like I said, I'd just like an example of a company, from him, who's in it for "pure originality and not profits"--it sure ain't Microsoft.

FumieHosokawa
08-24-2002, 05:17 PM
...In fact, this magic fairy company cannot be named, because it's long since gone out of business. :D

Black Sugar
08-24-2002, 06:58 PM
quote by DBJAY "One of the best examples of the hypocrisy is the Gamecube unveiling. During the media blitz, Nintendo stressed how game designers must come up with original game concepts and then without hesitation, unveiled Mario, Luigi, Zelda, Metroid, StarFox, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Wave Race, Star Wars, 1080 WS, and then later FZero,Mario Golf, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Mario Paint, Smash Brothers, etc."

Having new characters, doesnt scream innovation bro! Game design & R&D does! Why would Nintendo goes all over the trouble of creating a new set of characters ? Last I check, Mario innovate the way we know 3D adventure. Zelda in the targeting System, Mario Kart , in the gameplay dept. ect ect....

Characters, are only icons nothing else.