Question of the Week: Missed Opportunities?

by: Randy -
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What is the biggest opportunity each of the console makers has missed, and what big opportunity should they be looking at right now?
(In terms of opportunity, is it a niche to put itself in, did it miss out on a game or technology it should have had, etc.)

Dan Keener:

I think Nintendo missed a huge opportunity by making their hardware so limited and not getting more third party support.  The lack of HDTV quality and on-board memory is especially troubling, seeing as how downloadable content and every home-with-an-HDTV have come to define this generation of consoles.  As for third party gaming, I mean how much is too much of Mario, casual sports gaming and Zelda.  Will the console be best remembered for the Wii Fit system instead of being a game platform? Imagine their dominance if they were fully capable of reaching the level of MS and Sony in those categories?  Scary thought.
For Sony, it is very clear that they missed the boat on the price point.  By adding in the ultra expensive Blu-Ray at launch, they not only got beat to the punch by a year, but also have for the most part priced themselves right out of the console market.  And to get themselves closer to the competition, removing options from the console to make it cheaper to produce usually isn't a sound decision from a consumer standpoint.
Microsoft will get props for getting to the market first and being very reactive to the ever changing market that their competitors have presented to them with their later arrivals.  However, MS missed the port-o-call, let alone the boat with their hardware reliability.  It probably was a price worth paying in hindsight based on sales figures, but they are extremely lucky that the customer base didn't absolutely revolt and jump ship after the RRoD and then E71 issues that have popped up repeatedly.
For the bonus lightning round, both Sony and Microsoft really screwed the pooch with the sku-apalooza games.  Pick a model lineup and stick with it.  Gimmicky limited edition units, constant tweaking of the internal components and HDD size do not warrant the amount of confusion to the buyers. that changing lineup every six months have brought about.

(Currently Playing:  Rock Band 2, Tiger Woods PGA Tour (iPod Touch), various hardware items)

Nathan Murray

I was talking with the guys from Of Dice and Men Sunday night and they're all very big into MMORPGs (well except Joe who doesn't have time for them) so I brought up the recent Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures news and they seemed very skeptical about the new exspansion. However when I told them that the console version was confirmed and it was still being worked on I was surprised to hear their comments. It seems like playing on PC can be quite a hassle and they liked the idea of everyone on servers using the same console to play and the fact that the game would have to be optimized for the system. Maybe they were thinking of the graphics cards they had to buy when Age of Conan first came out just to run them on their PCs. I am very excited by the idea of a console MMO and I still am looking forward to something like Champions or Age of Conan being released for the Xbox 360 but at this point I think there are just to many technical hurdles to get past for them to be very playable. Maybe if development teams looking into making MMOs for consoles actually got some support from Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo things would be different. Then again OnLive could secure rights to allow their users to play World of Warcraft on their service; giving many gamers who don't have PCs that can effeciently run WoW the oppurtunity to play the game on their TVs. One thing is for sure, whoever gets it right first will be looking at a huge profit. 

(Currently Playing:  Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Transformers: Rise of the Fallen (Xbox 360), Final Fantasy Tactics (PSP))

Randy Kalista

I'm not the most literate guy when it comes to analyzing the industry.  Duuude, I just like to play games.  But on that note, I've got a few thoughts.  I wonder why the iPhone was able to elevate itself as such a resounding, cacaphonous din overtop the PSP and DS.  I wonder why no one is filling N'Gai Croal's enormous shoes since he's officially left videogame journalism.  I wonder why America can't create a gaming magazine to rival Europe's Edge.  I wonder why GameRankings hasn't reclaimed its rightful place over Metacritic.  I wonder why GameSpot is the most visited gaming site when the only writing with any life in it is their new releases list.  I wonder why reliving World War 2 ad naseum is okay, but being timely and relevant (Six Days in Fallujah) gets you the axe from a publisher.  I wonder why "cautious" precedes "optimism" so much now.  I wonder why E3 had to go away before we relealized how much we loved it.  I wonder why A Life Well Wasted is the only videogame podcast done with enough careful editing and thoughtful content that I can proudly share it with non-gamers.  I wonder why I can't get more MMOs on console.  I wonder why nobody cares anymore if the game you're talking about has been out for six months already.  I wonder why having one thumb bitten off of Left 4 Dead's cover was okay, but three fingers bitten off in L4D2 would've been too much.  I wonder why Electronic Gaming Monthly is coming back but there was no one to save Games for Windows.  I wonder why videogame novels are the embarrasing literary equivalent of movie-to-game tie-ins.

Okay, it looks like I've fallen off track for this week's question.  Good thing we had Dan and Nathan to keep us on the rails.

(Currently Playing:  Slouching Towards Bedlam, Fallout 3)
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