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Ganoncrotch said:

I'm working so could only take a very quick read of this but I will tag and read it fully later however....

I could never agree that Microsofts focus hasn't been on hardware this generation, they've got the most variants of console X1, X1S, X1X and X1SAD the focus of all their commercials in the last 2 years has been that their hardware is the most powerful over the other 2 and while E3 did have a good portion of time spent on Gamepass and Xbox Live I still couldn't say that a company with the products that microsoft has in the market and the marketing of MS are putting Hardware as their least focused area.

Also Nintendo as software? They do great software but I think their focus has always been on hardware from making it unique, they've always put an emphasis on keeping some aspect of their hardware so different to the competition that it could never end up in a situation like the X1 where the PS4 does the same but better in terms of what the hardware in the system offers, even the WiiU tablet had some aspects to it which were unique enough that meant games designed around it couldn't be played elsewhere... just those games were either very rare or very bad.

Also each of these should be thought of like a Triangle... but not one where each point doesn't impact the other 2, if a company makes great games but has shit services and hardware, the games will go unplayed (WiiU) if a company makes great hardware but has no games then it wont sell either (ps3 early life) or if a company has good services but doesn't have hardware in homes then the services go to waste (X1).... therefore the only solution is for the 3 companies to combine their powers and bring the consoles and game divisions together to form a megazord of systems for next generation... only then will they be able to defeat Rita and Stadia who will have combined forces and taken over the moon base!

(I'm sorry if I misunderstood the OP, I didn't get to read all of it and the posts in this thread, I will do so later and alter or post to change what aspects of this post are based on misreading)

Yes, Microsoft has a lot of hardware varients, but the focus of their brand isn't the hardware, it's the services. That's my point. Of the big three, Nintendo is the most neglectful of their "not focus" category as I defined them above, barely even trying with services, while the other two are a bit better balanced, I think, but I maintain that I'm spot on with the "X First" part. Microsoft definitely focuses their brand on their services more than the other two.

Nintendo with hardware though, think about it, yes their hardware is unique, but it's always unique in a way to enhance the software. The software comes first, the hardware comes second. It adapts to what software Nintendo wants to make. The Wii had motion controls because Nintendo wanted to make motion control games. Ever wonder what the fuck Nintendo was thinking not going HD sooner? They were WAY behind on the open world trend, because the Wii just couldn't do it, and when the Wii U came around, the first thing everyone thought about was HD open world Zelda. I still remember that Wii U tech demo with the giant spider in 2011 or so, we all thought it was part of the next Zelda. Sure a few people thought Zelda looked pretty in HD, but all anyone wanted to talk about was OMG OPEN WORLD ZELDA WHEN????? and I was right there with them. I remember reading an interview with either Aonuma or Miyamoto working on BotW before we knew anything about the game, talking about how the additional power the new console had allowed for more than just prettier graphics, it allowed them to design Zelda in new ways, so that you could approach puzzles and enemies from new angles. A lot of comparisons to Skyrim were made, and I got super excited for Zelda U (lol). But I also thought, "damn, what a Nintendo thing to say" because they didn't give a flying fuck about better graphics, and only made the Wii U HD because they'd finally begun to realize that with all that extra power came the possibility of new gameplay. Breath of the Wild was the culmination of Nintendo finally understanding what the additional power could do for their games, the first time they really figured out what it meant to make an open world game.

The last time they truly cared about power was back in the 4th and 5th generation, when the new power allowed them to do all sorts of new things. Yoshi was meant to be in the original Super Mario Bros., but had to wait until World because the NES couldn't handle it, the SNES could. Then in the 5th gen, the new power allowed them to create whole new genres, 3D just expanded the possibilities that much. With the 6th gen, though, the Gamecube didn't let them do a lot of new things. It let them have more characters on screen, so they made Pikmin, with 100 little characters following Olimar. It let them make Smash Bros. a lot more fast paced. Not much else though, feeling the burn of the diminishing returns, and seeing Sony do better with worse but better respected hardware, they lost faith in better tech allowing for better gameplay, and invested in inventing all new tech. That is how much software matters to them over hardware, they will literally invent new technology if they think that is the only way to take a new step in gaming. Notice how they've been with VR? They jumped on early, excited by the possibilities for gaming, got burned, and never touched it again until very recently, because it enhanced their Labo game. I guarantee you that as the tech around VR becomes better, eventually Nintendo will see the software possibilities for new gameplay with VR, and they'll be all over it. It takes them a while to see these things because they rarely look outside their window, but eventually we will get Metroid Prime VR because Nintendo will see how cool it is to feel like you're in Samus' suit. Nintendo does very cool things with hardware, but they make those decisions based on what it will let them do with their software.

You might argue that with Wii U, the tail wagged the dog, and Nintendo made new hardware without knowing what to do with it, just thinking they'd make something new, but this doesn't mean they let hardware make software decisions, rather it just means they got ahead of themselves, imagining software possibilities that just didn't really exist. We got Splatoon and Mario Maker, and Nintendo Land I guess, nothing else, because Nintendo jumped on a new idea thinking it would take them a lot further than it did. That's the big weakness of their strategy, it relies so heavily on creativity, which is a renewable, but not altogether reliable resource.

I agree about the triangle. That's kind of what I was getting at, that in that triangle, each company focuses the most on one corner, and the least on another corner, but all three are needed. Nintendo was just the most unbalanced of the big three with the Wii U, while Sony was the most balanced with the PS4, to the point that it was kind of a tough call saying it was software that was their least focus. With Xbox One, Microsoft's problem was that they had a vision for the future, but rather than sell people on it, they designed the hardware so as to shove that future down people's throats. They have no vision with all their hardware variants except to make as many avenues and options as possible for people to get to their services, which are the really money maker and the real drive behind the Microsoft brand. How else do you explain Microsoft even considering selling Xbox Live on Switch? How else do you explain them being the first of the big three to try to do a Stadia like experience with XCloud? They're just like, "what do you want? Hardware wise, what do you want? Powerful? Crazy Powerful? No hardware at all? Oh come on you want the Switch?! Look man, just buy Xbox Live!" That's why I say Microsoft is hardware last despite the options and the high end hardware.