The Games Industry in 2012: quick thoughts

Chris Kohler’s thoughts on What 2012 Holds for Nintendo, Sony and More has me daydreaming about the industry. My response:

I think the reason dedicated gaming machines have done so well until now is : they were toys for kids.

Kids didn’t care if their barbies or he-man toys could also work as telephones. That extra functionality was a distraction. Kids preferred a “dedicated toy”. I think Nintendo is lost in this old mindset.

When you get into modern mobile computers, kids DO want an iphone that can txt as well as play games. What kids want, and what parents want for their kids, has changed. 3DS and Vita are kept afloat on their exclusive&beloved game franchises – not because modern consumers are excited to have a device that is simplified (ie., limited) to just play games.

Nintendo would do better to take a cue from Skylanders, and reinforce their brands by selling tie in physical toys for all their franchises. Instead they seem to be playing with “baby versions” of big boy toys. The DS was a baby laptop, Wii’s channels were baby TV, and WiiU is a baby tablet. (I think Nintendo sees this as part of why those devices succeeded. but really, it was because of the software franchises). They should hammer their franchises more, and worry less about making bullshit baby versions of better tech.

p.s. Int he same train of though, I (still) predict Xbox’s educational Kinect programming will be a big deal. If they can get the word out (no one seems to know they announced it? what happened there? dedicated Sesame Street, National Geographic, and storybook channels should have set the world on fire…)

p.p.s. Although I think I want a Vita, and it does seem to have interesting launch games – they cost a lot ($40+ for downloaded games??!? hidden costs for specialized memory cards?). I’m interested in the second back-facing touch screen, but nobody else seems to be (including game developers) (That feature seems to quietly ignored by gaming press, more and more…). The big feature of the system is the beautiful little screen. So maybe I’ll watch tv shows and movies on it? well, wait, I already own an iPad. so, no. that primary feature of the system is completely moot. HUH.

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