Perhaps it’s just the way that games are covered lately but it feels like you can’t go ten minutes without Angry Birds developer Rovio getting all hot and bothered. Someone needs to take a minute in the time out chair and get a hold of themselves.
Now look Rovio, I understand where you’re coming from. Angry Birds has been downloaded 100 million times and you guys are sitting on a boatload of cash from the sales and here’s Satoru Iwata saying that cheap games devalue the industry. The problem is that I kind of see his point…
You could argue that a generation of gamers raised on 99 cent games can’t see why a game should ever be more than a dollar, or five bucks. Now, for many of those people that dollar game fits their needs, but when it doesn’t, will they be able to understand that offering a deeper experience than Angry Birds costs money? Cause, I like Angry Birds and I’ve played the hell out of it, but I wouldn’t consider it deep. Getting a new set of levels out, even if they’re themed, and some static, 2D artwork to convey the “story” is nothing compared to what it takes to pull off something like a Legend of Zelda game. The two should be priced differently because they offer much different experiences and cost a different amount to make. It doesn’t make one better than the other, just different.
Now, as for your comments about Nintendo being worried, well, you can be damned sure that they are. Nintendo isn’t stupid and to imply that they can’t change is an extremely ignorant comment because Nintendo’s willingness to go in the opposite direction than everyone else is why both the Wii and the DS sold as well as they did. The problem is that while Nintendo is great charting a new course for Nintendo, they are extremely stubborn in following someone else’s course, even if that path goes where most people want them to.
For example Friends Codes. No one likes them. They suck. They sucked on the DS, they sucked on the Wii, they suck on the 3DS, yet Nintendo continues to hang on to them because it’s what they want and, more importantly, it’s what they think their consumers want. The same can be said about demos. There are a lot of people who don’t play demos and that’s fine, but there are a lot of people, like myself, that use demos to evaluate possible gaming purchases. Nintendo knows this, but they don’t offer them. Why? Who the hell knows. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because they don’t want people deciding not to buy something based on a demo. A shrewed business decision, sure, but ultimately limiting. And don’t get me started on the whole Nintendo online purchasing thing because it’s a mess. An absolute mess.
So here we have a company that is seemingly dead set against offering some of what you would consider basic online functionality for current generation consoles and then here comes you, Rovio with your cheap, accessible, wildly successful game that not only can be updated on the fly but is so cheap that it doesn’t need a demo. Hell, on some phones, it’s free (thanks for that by the way). So yeah, Nintendo is worried because they see their death grip on the handheld market loosening with every flung bird and smashed pig.
The problem, as I see it, is not that you don’t have good points, but that you come off like such a colossal douchebag when making them. Now, I know that it has to be hard to be as successful as you are and be a mobile phone game developer because for as much cash as you have, I would imagine this industry doesn’t give you the respect you deserve. So yeah, I get that. The problem is that your comments don’t come across as someone who has had enough and wants some respect, but it comes off as “Hey, look at us, we’re filthy rich and if you don’t change to be like us then you’re all doomed. DOOMED!” Maybe that’s not what you’re trying to say, maybe it is, I don’t know, but that’s what it sounds like and that’s downright silly.
When consoles first grew to popularity and obtained the ability to show PC-like graphics, the PC industry was declared doomed. Doomed, dead, whatever. Did that happen? Of course not, because there were, and still are, people who prefer to play on PC’s. The same is true for consoles. I love Angry Birds, but when I have the time to sit down and play a game for more than ten minutes, it is not the game I go for. That’s just me though. Others have and will. My point is that there are consumers of all stripes, all looking to have different gaming experiences and gaming as a whole is better when everyone succeeds. As for your “$49 pieces of plastic” comment, last I checked, Apple wasn’t selling iPhones and iPads at cost, so let’s just get down off of that high horse, shall we?
So yeah Rovio, let’s calm down a bit and make sure that the way we’re delivering our message isn’t drowning out the message itself. Game publishers do need to figure out the best way to update their games to make them competitive with smaller games that offer more than less, and I want to see that happen. What I don’t want is for the notion to be ignored because the person delivering the message is the crazy guy yelling out on the street corner. Besides, dude, you’re like, rolling it. Next time someone takes a shot you should respond with a picture of you neck deep in Euros. That’d shut them up.