Read the whole thing, pretty much agree with all of it once you filter out Maelstrom's usual personal biases.
To those that haven't read the article, the title can be misleading.
He's basically talking about the fact that Nintendo tried to expand the gaming population with Wii, in order to help the industry become larger, more relevant to society, and more stable in the long run.
His logic is sound: most people care about literature and film, and because of that those mediums are able to survive through difficult times. They are perceived as an integral part of our culture. And by 'our culture' I mean the everyday man on the street culture, not a small and highly specialized sub-group that has too limited an income and too narrow a taste to sustain an industry.
In fact, despite the provocative title, developers are equally to blame as us 'hardcore gamers' for basically shunning the casual crowd when we should have been working overtime to gain their trust and appreciation.
3rd parties shat all over the Wii and produced subpar 'casual' products which to the majority of the audience was their first encounter with this medium. Can you blame them if after years of being exposed to so much crap and so little quality that they come to the conclusion that all gaming must be 'meh'?
A soccer mom or a senior couple that got into gaming in recent years did so because they had a few enjoyable experiences with high quality games, but they never took the time to investigate which publishers were more serious about quality and which didn't care. To them a PartyZ game from Ubisoft looks the same as a Brain Age game from Nintendo, when sitting on the shelf at Walmart.
In order for them to make the effort to begin distinguishing between the two they have to care enough in the first place. That's just natural human behavior in any circumstance when you are exposed to something new.
You develop a more refined taste in *a hobby* because you have something to gain from it, not because you just want to lose less. If losing less is the main concern, then you aren't gaining enough to sustain interest in this *hobby* in the first place.
In other words, if you spend $50 on games that are crap more than once or twice, and you have yet to become emotionally invested in gaming, then you stop buying $50 games. Either you quit altogether or you come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that games aren't worth $50, but maybe $1 or $5.
This is exactly what Iwata was talking about in his GDC speech that was so badly received by developers. A bad game doesn't tarnish the reputation of the developer or even the publisher if it is made with newcomers in mind. It tarnishes the reputation of the entire industry, or worse the entire medium. The fact that developers so easily dismissed Iwata's words is indication that they were (and probably still are) disconnected from reality.
Maelstrom is also right in saying that Nintendo should have done more to cater to newcomers than they did. There should have been more Wii Sports style games of the same level of quality as the first two, especially given the output of third parties which was mostly inexcusable. But as much as you can criticize Nintendo, there is a clear difference between them and the rest of the industry. Nintendo saw the problem, was aware of it, and made real efforts to address it. They made mistakes along the way, but they clearly got the message. The rest of the industry however, not only failed to address the problem, some of them were completely blind to it and some of them actually made it worse by dismissing it.
Personally I also believe Nintendo eventually was swayed by the rest of the industry to distance itself from its original, correct, path. I believe if other players in the industry weren't so stubborn as to pull with all their might in the wrong direction, Nintendo's output this past generation would have been even more in line with their original vision.
So yeah, "hardcore" gamers are to blame for dismissing the "casual gamer".
Developers are to blame for dismissing the "casual game".
Publishers are to blame for severely underestimating the intelligence of the average consumer, who has no preconditioned positive bias towards games.
And "Casual Gamers" (aka the real world) are "to blame" for packing up and taking there money elsewhere.
Until you've played it, every game is a system seller!
the original trolls
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