Four Directions


posted 8/17/2006 by The GN Staff
other articles by The GN Staff
One Page Platforms:
Xbox 360

Left: Should Microsoft forgo the Japanese market and concentrate on the areas they are strong in?

Charles Husemann: No but I would stop obsessing over it.  They've already got some good games coming for the Japanese market and hopefully one of those will hit it big.

Lachel: Absolutely not.  Now don't get me wrong, I understand that Microsoft is in a bad situation in Japan.  But give it some time, the system hasn't even been out for a year yet and already people are digging it a grave.  Outside of a couple of exceptions, most of the Xbox 360's line-up has been unfriendly to the Japanese market.  This is a country that could care less about first-person shooters like Prey, Call of Duty 2 and even Ghost Recon (despite the fact that GRAW is not really a first-person shooter).  It doesn't help that even the role-playing games seem more geared towards a Western audience (Oblivion springs to mind).  If Microsoft can get some traditional RPGs out on the market we may see a slight turn around.  But Microsoft needs to do everything it can to stay in Japan and attract the big (and small) Japanese companies, if they simply pull out I worry that so will a lot of really good companies (such as Capcom and Konami).

Ben Berry: Microsoft forego a market? The sound you hear in the background is the sound of Bill Gates cheeks clenching. Microsoft doesnt forego any markets, no matter how late they are into it (Zune), how overpriced they'll be (Zune, again), or the fact that they can't possibly expect to make much money in that market for the foreseeable future (Hey, it's the Zune).  So why not continue to push the platformer in Japan or any other market they arent succeeding in. After all when you're the 800 lb gorilla, you go where you want.

Randy Kalista: And concede defeat?  That ain’t the American Way.  But Microsoft does need a stronger grasp of Asian marketing.  Products have to change when they fly across the Pacific: art and aesthetics have to take a higher priority; perfectionism is not a principle to compromise on; and things are just ineffably cuter (or “Kawaii,” as they say).  I’m generalizing, sure, but you can’t go in with the imperialistic “there it is, now deal with it” attitude that American producers can take up.

But with the Xbox360 -- and PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii -- game quality and variety will pay itself off.  Were Microsoft to quit marketing to Japan then they’s garner fewer sales, they’d acquire fewer licenses, they’d cultivate less variety, which garners fewer sales … into a vicious downward spiral.

Tyler Sager:
I’m not sure Microsoft will ever be taken seriously in the Japanese market, but with their bucketsful of money they can certainly continue to make inroads.  Every little bit helps in the console wars, and with each generation they scratch out a little more market-share.

John Yan:
If Microsoft actually had a lineup that catered to the Japanese, I think they would've done well. This global launch deal is a bit overrated in my opinion and Microsoft might've done better if they held off launching the console until they had some good six or eight titles that the Japanese crowd would've bought. Right now, they should put some money into some good RPGs. They shouldn't abandon the market but they should've learned from the Xbox. I hope they finally learned their lesson on this launch and not rush to the market again in an area where they need a strong lineup to succeed.


Right: Is there too much hype placed on Nintendo's Wii and is it justified?

Charles Husemann: Maybe a little over typed but not by much.  Nintendo is doing a fantastic job of maintaining interest in the system and teasing their audience with launch details.  This week we got a few third party announcements for the system from Ubisoft and Midway.  While a lot of the games were ports it does look like the launch line-up is filling out pretty well.

Lachel: These days you criticize Nintendo at your own peril.  Ever since E3 it seems like the media has been able to see the good in the Nintendo Wii.  Not that the mainstream game press should be overly pessimistic about Nintendo's next generation console, but so far many of my concerns have yet to be addressed … or even brought up.  I am one of those people that will stand in line on the first day to buy the Nintendo Wii, but I still have more than a few concerns about the console.  Yet if I say them out loud I'm called a "fanboy" or deemed as being too negative.

At E3 Nintendo's showing was fantastic, full of those popular Nintendo franchises you've come to know and love (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc.).  But what about the third parties?  Nothing that the third parties had blew me away; some of the games (like Red Steel and Dragon Ball Z) were downright lame.  I also worry about fighting games and role-playing games, will these genres be as much fun with the Wii's remote control?  I look forward to seeing what Nintendo can do, but it would be nice to see questions like this addressed to the people that actually have the answers.  I can understand why game fans are excited about the Wii, but I would hope for a little more objectivity from the game journalists.

Ben Berry
: I'm the literal opposite of a Nintendo Fanboy. I have yet to own a Nintendo product, even with 20+ years of home gaming under my belt. And yet, I've decided I'm buying a Wii. Think about it. A "Revolution"ary new controller, graphics that if not comparable to the other next gen consoles at least will be slightly improved over the GC, and a price that means I might not have to sink 1k into a console in order to get the system I want and the good games for it too. We'll see if Nintendo can overcome their own inability to market products properly in the US, but right now, I'd take a Wii and my 360 over the PS3 any day.

Randy Kalista
: I visited an arcade in Yokosuka, Japan, way back in 2000, and two glaring details were prevalent: it was hyper-cheerfully colored compared to an American arcade, and I don’t remember too many games with simple joystick-and-button controls (well, their button-mashing is some seriously next-level stuff.)  But physical interactivity has been the name of the game for years over there.  Has America sold enough DDR pads, Eye Toys, Taiko Drums, and Guitar Hero instruments to fully adopt such an interactive play style?  Not if these accessories are constantly packaged and priced separately.  But the Wii controller builds interactivity into every game with an adapt-or-die philosophy handed to its audience.  It’s a far gutsier move than rushing your console to market first (*cough* Xbox360) or smugly standing behind your eyebrow-raising price point (*cough* PlayStation 3).  So, yes, hype about earnestly revolutionizing the way we play games is justifiable.  Whether it will become the top-selling console in America is an entirely different question.

Tyler Sager:
Nintendo is setting themselves up for great success or great failure, there’s no middle-of-the-road here.  I think they’re making a gamble, but if they truly do deliver as solid a console as they say, this hype machine will propel them to some very impressive numbers.  Anything less than spectacular, though, and this will probably deal a serious blow to the company.

John Yan:
It's hard to not want to play the Wii with the videos showing off how much fun the audience was having. I think the hype maybe just a little too much and everyone's already declaring the console the winner even before it comes out. For all we know, the controller might just be a fad and in time people would get tired of it. There's a high probablility that won't happen but there's always a chance.The hype machine is working overtime on the Wii and while I think some is justified, there's also a part of me that thinks it's a little too much. 

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