Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
07 August 2006
The larger effect of the XBLA-Castlevania deal
I'm still reeling a bit from the announcement that one of Konami's crown jewels and heretofore Sony-exclusive, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, would make the leap to Xbox Live Arcade. The effect it has, however, goes far beyond this lowly blogger and his bruised expectations.
  1. Microsoft have succeeded in violently disrupting the status quo - We've been seeing indications of this for a while, but getting Konami on board with a title of this pedigree should be a huge red flag for Sony (and to a lesser degree Nintendo). Sony slowed Microsoft's momentum a bit at E3, but not as much as they should have. Now, in the long dry spell before the Fall launch season, Microsoft is the only company doing anything tangible: adding features, releasing games, offering demos.

    Sony can't compete with that, and while they do have a respectable line-up of PlayStation 2 games, they won't hold a candle to the likes of Dead Rising. Until the PlayStation 3 actually gets into the hands of consumers, Microsoft will dominate the discussions simply because they're what people can play now.

    (Yes, this should have worked for the Dreamcast. No, I don't know why it didn't. What's interesting is that Sony's "Dreamcast strategy" cuts both ways. The conventional wisdom about the 1999-2000 period is that people held off from buying a Dreamcast so they could get a PlayStation 2. Now, facing a similar situation, Sony's stuck with a pile of promises for a whole year -- a position of weakness -- while Microsoft gets real traction in the market. If that Xbox 360 gets attractive enough in the meantime, Sony has virtually no power to stop folks from jumping.)

  2. Nintendo's stable of exclusives is more important now than ever - The third parties are now, officially, up for grab. I won't be surprised if Final Fantasy VII appears on XBLA sometime next year. Sony can rely on some games they own outright, like Twisted Metal or Jet Moto. Microsoft might have a couple of rabbits to pull, like maybe finagling an XBLA release of GoldenEye 007. But both of these will be at the mercy of the third parties who collectively own most of the games from the past three generations. On the other hand, Nintendo is in a position of power.

    Whatever pile of games Sony and Microsoft can put together for download won't hold a candle to the likes of Nintendo's Super Mario 64 or any of the Zelda games. All those older platforms -- from the NES on up to the GameCube -- are a big, fat insurance policy to guarantee that a rather large audience will find the Wii and its virtual console a worthy purchase.
I can't wait to see what things are like in a year. I get the feeling each of these three companies is going to fight for attention like never before. That should be good for consumers, but especially good for us yammering bloggers.

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--Matt Matthews at 21:29
Comment [ 3 ]

Comments on this post:

Sony slowed Microsoft's momentum a bit at E3, but not as much as they should have. Now, in the long dry spell before the Fall launch season, Microsoft is the only company doing anything tangible: adding features, releasing games, offering demos.

Sony can't compete with that, and while they do have a respectable line-up of PlayStation 2 games, they won't hold a candle to the likes of Dead Rising.


Okay, which is it? Xbox 360 su- or ro-x0rz?

You can pull the title from most of these URLs pretty easily. To say anything buy sucks is quite a turn for cg [aka Matt] on the basis of grabbing Castlevania.

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2006/07/why-backlog-of-unsold-xbox-360s.html

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2006/07/4-million-xbox-360s-sold-still-not.html

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2005/11/xbox-360-launch-flop.html

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2006/02/psp-xbox-360-same-thing.html

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2006/01/cathode-tan-xbox-360-launch-dud.html

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2006/02/xbox-360-still-dud-wont-make-stated.html

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2006/02/black-making-playstation-2-compete.html
(Quick quote from that one: "If it's true -- that they were competing with the Xbox 360 -- then perhaps thePlayStation 2 really is difficult to program, but flexible and powerful enough to do amazing things.")

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2006/02/igns-xbox-360-game-of-month-nothing.html

http://curmudgeongamer.com/2006/03/10-xbox-games-mostly-not-for-xbox-360.html

Looks like an overextrapolation, perhaps.

By Blogger rufbo, at 07 August, 2006 23:18  

Short version: There is at some point a last straw for me, and the Castlevania deal is either it or close too it.

Longer version: Well, it's true that I'm generally pro-PlayStation (the systems) and anti-Microsoft (the whole company + products). But at some point I do have to admit that Microsoft's turned the situation on its head.

Their XBL and XBLA strategies have been executed nearly perfectly. They've got smaller indy games and classics, all enhanced to take advantage of being broadband connected. With C:SotN they've scored a huge coup that strikes directly at what everyone would have assumed was a "safe" Sony exclusive. They're getting games out that have even me getting uncomfortable -- like Dead Rising -- not on hype but on the reports by multiple-system-owning folks on message boards and IRC.

I think I lose my credibility (however much that might be) if I ignore these smaller pieces and the cumulative effect they are likely to have.

Sony's been one disaster after another for a while now and while some disagree (like Josh at Cathode Tan) and try to brush it all away with the "but this is Sony and they're huge and they're international and therefore pretty much destined to do well", I think we're nearing the proverbial perfect storm.

Anyway, not sure if that all answers your objections, but it's what I managed. Ask me again in the morning?

By Blogger jvm, at 07 August, 2006 23:57  

"Yes, this should have worked for the Dreamcast. No, I don't know why it didn't."

One reason. PS2 was a DVD player. It could be sold in Japan at DVD shops. Alot of people in Japan didn't have a DVD player at the time and the PS3 was a cheap DVD/Videogame player. If Dreamcast was DVD it would have sold far better.

Don't expect Blu-Ray to do the same though. I think the main reason people got DVD is VHS deterioated quickly. Blu-Ray and HD DVD are the next Lazerdisk and it doesn't help there's two of them at the same time.

By Blogger hippie pieces, at 21 August, 2006 04:43  

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