Well, with his latest post, Malstrom has pretty much lost me

(I really like the guy but, really, he's gone so over-the-top, this time, that even I can't hang on.)

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exindguy said:

Well, with his latest post, Malstrom has pretty much lost me

(I really like the guy but, really, he's gone so over-the-top, this time, that even I can't hang on.)

I disagree - immensely - with Malstrom on many things related to gaming criticism, and I don't think he's really qualified to talk about games in any authoritative way.

That said, I do not begrudge him the act of doing so, and can see where he's coming from in certain cases (too many cutscenes, etc).

Though he is kind of confusing "gameplay trailer" with "gameplay footage"

Khuutra said:
exindguy said:

Well, with his latest post, Malstrom has pretty much lost me

(I really like the guy but, really, he's gone so over-the-top, this time, that even I can't hang on.)

I disagree - immensely - with Malstrom on many things related to gaming criticism, and I don't think he's really qualified to talk about games in any authoritative way.

That said, I do not begrudge him the act of doing so, and can see where he's coming from in certain cases (too many cutscenes, etc).

Though he is kind of confusing "gameplay trailer" with "gameplay footage"

I guess the main point of his latest post is how defensive Metroid fans are concerning pretty much anything that has to do with their beloved series. I assume he got a lot of hate mail.

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Squilliam said:
UncleScrooge said:

Oh and Natal is not disruptive! Nintendo is disruptive but Microsoft is only trying to counter-act this so this is not a disruption. Natal would be disruptive if it offered something completely new, with a different business model, etc. But Microsoft is only adapting to Nintendo's rules.

I say it is. The more I think about Natals gaming applications the more im drawn to the true value of Natal is not that its a controller or that its different to the Wii or PS3s versions of the controller but the potential to disrupt the normal business practices of the market. Nintendo created the modern closed box console ideal, Sony introduces a razor/blades mentality to take over a market which had similar offerings by taking a hit on initial sales but reaping the reward long term and finally I believe Natal changes things up again by introducing an OEM mentality where the added value of Natal is in bundling the entire console and interface into completely new products. (1)

The value of Natal is as a hands free generic interface which is useful for televisions and other media watching as well as accessing additional content outside of the typical broadcast model like for instance internet TV and media stored at home. The disruption is against the typical TV remote control which has become overcomplicated with time and most people cannot figure out how to use it or the features of their TV. They know what they want, they can say what they want to watch but many cannot easily perform the actions to do it efficiently. This is where Natal comes in, its a way to both make controlling the TV easier and freeing people from the bonds of being forced to hold a remote control. People only have two hands and technology which frees them of their burdens and provides addition options whilst doing so can be very compelling. (2)

The model as I see it is this; the person buys the interface by buying the TV which has Natal built in and they get the Xbox 360 automatically as the one package. This isn't disruption of the market in the Wii sense, (3) its more along the lines of how Sony won with the PS1 its a change in business practices. The idea is to get as many Xbox 360s with Natal emplaced around the world and then afterwards figure out how best to sell software. The Natal idea is to disrupt the typical TV/human interface and in doing so leverage that as an advantage in the console space. The reason why Xbox Live still costs is that Microsoft needs a carrot for TV manufacturers whom are struggling with low margins on long term sale products to give them a great financial incentive to get on board.

(1) Interesting idea but this wouldn't be disruptive. Oh and you are talking about bundling the console + Natal with other devices, right? In that case Natal wouldn't be in the console market anymore. This would be some sort of "all kinds of entertainment" market and Natal wouldn't compete with anything Nintendo or Sony do anymore. Yeah, the thing could still be used to play games but the iPhone isn't competing with the DS, either and it can also play games. Also it would be way too easy for competitors to develop a Natal clone (one that doesn't need a 360 hooked onto it...) so I doubt Microsoft would do this.

(2) TV remotes have been getting too complex? I've never seen anyone complaining about complicated TV remotes, really These things are very easy to use. I agree with you hand gestures could make things easier but why would Microsoft do this? Why would they try to compete in a market they are not even part of? And why shouldn't TV makers just copy this? Natal as a TV remote wouldn't be a disrupting product, anyways.

(3) It's not disruptive, at all! :-p

Honestly at some point someone will have to explain that kicking your neighbours' butt isn't disruptive. You can't just use disruption to explain everything :-p Disruption doesn't mean "innovating" or "broadening the market". Everyone is so focused on disruption it's getting crazy. I once got an A+ in maths by cheating, am I disruptive now? If a married man happens to have an affair is he disruptive because he "broadened the market"?

To be honest I'm not even sure what would happen if Microsoft tried to actually disrupt the market again. Not only would it be almost impossible at this point (you can only disrupt a market if there are overshot market segments. These segments do currently not exist  because the market is being disrupted right now by a low-end disruption) but people would most likely run away because companies constantly talking about "disrupting your market" (in a sense of disrupting the current market leader) are a bit scary. It's a bit like elections in politics: People like change but imagine the government changing after each election for like 5 times in a row, in this order: Democrats, Republicans, Social Democrats, Liberals, Socialists, Greens. Wouldn't you emigrate at some point?

Dear Mr Malstrom,

First of all, I am sorry for the quality of my English, as I am French and do not really master the language.

A few days ago, I heard about your blog when reading Internet gaming forums about the PS Move and the 3DS. I have one thing to tell you : how blind I was ! I really felt you were talking about me when you mentioned the former players who did not to play anymore until the Wii. The fact is that after my SNES, games did not feel the same to me, and then I bought a DS and a Wii, and games are now starting to have the flavor they should always have had.

But the real point of my email is the following : is disruption only a business concept ? Reading your articles, I came to think that ecology first appealed to people who did not feel concerned about the current system’s values. Ecology then got refined in sustainable development and started to apply in new fields of concern, resulting in more and more people adopting this view.

Do you think ecology and sustainable development (not sustainable in terms of just improving, but in creating things that last long) could be disruptive ?

Thank you very much for your answer and for having given me the will to learn more about those concepts of disruption and blue ocean.

Clayton Christenson’s concepts of disruption apply only in business, and there is a reason for this.

One of the problems with disruption is that people enjoy the concept so much they begin to apply it to everything. Perhaps that is how it goes with new meaningful ideas. When Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity, people tried to apply it to everything and say, “That is relative,” and “That over there is relative.”

With disruption, people have a habit of applying disruption to everything. “My car is disruptive.” “My cat is disruptive.” “I am a disruptive man!” Christenson has complained about this.

So the antidote to this is to keep any discussion of disruption anchored to the texts (much of which is available online). Sure, we can unroot disruption and mean it to be whatever we want. But aren’t we just wasting our time if we do that? The reason why I don’t think it is a good idea to try to apply disruption outside of business is because you’ll likely uproot disruption to mean something it isn’t and end up wasting your time.

Some people think that a product ‘must’ be disruptive in order to be a success. That isn’t true. Disruption depends entirely on the market’s needs. A window for disruption occurs only when the market is overshot. So during the 16-bit generation, most customers were underserved. They were not overshot by the graphics. So there was no window for disruption at that time. Sustaining innovations were correct.

Disruption requires an incumbent. What is the product disrupting? The iPhone wasn’t disruptive. It wasn’t disrupting anything else. It was, essentially, a better smartphone. That doesn’t mean the iPhone wasn’t exciting, wasn’t cool, wasn’t a good product.

Christenson came up with disruption because he noticed a pattern how business leaders, using what they learned in business schools, make the correct moves by ‘making a better product’ with sustaining models. Then, their businesses would collapse to upstart disruptors. Christenson figured out a long puzzle as to why a business can be doomed if it just keeps making a ‘better product’.

And just because a product is disruptive doesn’t mean it will ‘win’. Netscape tried to disrupt Windows and look what happened there. Netbooks tried to disrupt computers and Microsoft rapidly responded by throwing XP at a very cheap price on the machines. Christenson developed this further by talking about the Sword and Shield of the disruptor concerning asymmetric values.

I’m saddened that so many people want to take disruption out of its business context because the business context is so much fun. I love business! Business is all about winners and losers, like any sport. However, unlike a sport, business does change the world and our civilization. The good businessman is an odd fellow. He is very rare. He talks like a truck driver. He isn’t well ’schooled’. He is very brave. And he knows Human Nature like the back of his hand. I learned more about Human Nature from studying business than I ever did from psychology, from literature, or from philosophy.

Here is a funny example of what I mean. This fictional example of a business owner going to college really brings out the contrast between the reality of the real world versus the artificial academic setting. And businessmen I know do have the mannerisms of a truck driver. What a hoot.

This is such an entertaining movie. Let us watch another scene.

In the above sequence, it is another clash between reality (represented by Dangerfield) and the fake universe the ‘party’ is in. I have seen this ‘clash’ in reality and I am like, “My God! I love these businessmen!”The reality they live in is so much fun.

Now, the above were comedy routines, but humor is funny only when it is true.

The reason why I like the business of gaming is even though games are silly amusement products, the business is very cutthroat and very, very few people survive. Just look at this generation, alone, and see how in a few years how one company, Nintendo, was said to be unable to compete and about to leave the console business completely changed the game. In a few years, now Nintendo is on top and Microsoft and Sony are in trouble. Of course, the tables could be flipped around again. I get more entertainment looking at the business side of gaming than I do from the games themselves. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing!



I’m very interested to know who is being spoken about by ‘followers’.

An apparent GoNintendo mod made this insulting comment:

Don’t worry Darth Vader, Malstrom and his followers are still gonna hate it.

Followers? People who read this website do so because they are in the same boat I am as they are former console gamers who are coming back because of the DS and Wii.

Are the millions of people who bought the Wii for Mario 5 and completely skipped Mario Galaxy my followers as well?

Are the declining sales and interest in the Zelda franchise also belong to my ‘followers’?

Did my ‘followers’ buy NES Classic Metroid for GBA and Virtual Console while skipping Zero Mission? Did a million of my ‘followers’ buy Metroid Prime and not buy
Metroid Fusion?

What if people like myself are closer to the masses and their disinterest than the kids who populate the gaming message forums?

Mods like Garfitor probably don’t think I see their insulting comments, but I have been seeing this on GoNintendo for quite some time. I remember defending GoNintendo from people like Steve Kent who was trashing the site with no reason.

Word to Rawmeat Cowboy: characters like Garfitor are giving credence to the GoNintendo bashers.

Apparently, I am not allowed to have a different opinion on a video game than Garfitor is. And apparently that differing opinion is only “hate”. Incredible. And if anyone agrees with that opinion, they are not people who agree or share the same views. They are ‘followers’ as if mind-numb robots.

One thing I am realizing is that children these days have never been challenged in many of their conventional wisdom held views. You can even see this on something as inconsequential as video games. No one has ever challenged their conventional wisdom held view, for example, that the game comes from the ‘artist’ designer. So if I criticize someone like Miyamoto, they go complete bonkers. And I would be in every right to criticize Miyamoto as he hasn’t been making games that interested me in almost fifteen years. And how he stopped making 2d Mario games was absolutely outrageous. Why should I have to wait eighteen years for a Mario game? And with someone like Sakamoto, from my perspective, he is consistent only in driving the Metroid franchise into the ditch. Metroid Fusion’s story was so bad that no one wants to make a Metroid game post-Fusion. Metroid Zero Mission sold so bad that Nintendo refuses to make a new 2d Metroid. I’m pointing out that the reason why Metroid hasn’t became a major success was because Sakamoto and his stupid ideas were holding the series into the sales gutter. The peak of the Metroid franchise, both in sales and in public interest, has been the Prime series of which Sakamoto had little part.

Responding to what I’ve said such as the above as ‘hate’ is childish and shows kids like Garfitor have never truly been challenged. I’ve been playing Metroid before most of these kids on the gaming message forums were even born. It is time they start growing a pair and meet up to the challenge rather than just labeling every different opinion as ‘hate’.


You have to laugh at how many people don’t even know the difference between a teaser trailer and a gameplay trailer. A gameplay trailer is footage of someone playing the game. A teaser trailer is little more than cherry picked parts placed in a montage that doesn’t really show the game being played.

For example, this is from Twilight Princess. While it has gameplay shown, it is not gameplay footage. It is just a teaser trailer.

Now, here is actual footage of the game being played.

Now, let us look back at Metroid Prime 3 which was the last Metroid game released for the home console (and released for the Wii as well). Granted, I agree the game was quite a mess. But at least it had the balls to show us actual gameplay footage as opposed to a blackout on footage and seeing only ‘teasers’. Remember the Metroid Channel that was downloaded to your Wii? All it had was clips of gameplay footage.

At the very end, there is a clip of gameplay footage. As the release date approached for Metroid Prime 3, more gameplay footage clips were added to the Metroid Channel.

Where is the gameplay footage? There are only flashes of a montage strung together. Only at the end there is footage that is longer than two seconds and even that is nothing more than to show Samus bouncing around with auto-aiming doing the weapon work.

Nintendo has had people play the game. Why not actually show them playing the game? What is the harm in just watching someone play it? Why is there so much darkness over the game?

The marketing strategy for Other M appears to be selling the game on its style as opposed to its substance. With Mario games, they show gameplay footage. With Zelda games, they show gameplay footage. With the Metroid Prime games, they even showed gameplay footage.

Other M’s teasers have been so cinematic heavy that people are confusing no cinematics to mean ‘gameplay footage’. Gameplay footage means showing the substance of the game. It means showing someone playing it as is. It does not mean cutting and pasting a montage of three to six second clips intermixed with yet more flashes from the cinematics (cinematics are still highlighted in this trailer). Gameplay footage means footage. Three to five second clips are not footage in any shape or way.

One thing Nintendo has asked, and I am referring to an interview Miyamoto said back when the Wii launched, is for people of disinterest to speak up. If you wonder why people of disinterest do not speak up, it is because they are constantly being shouted down. When you look at the reactions to any of the Other M trailers, for example, anyone who isn’t drinking the hype who is uncomfortable with the game get screamed at. Now, who wants to be screamed at over the Internet? Since people of disinterest don’t have any interest, they’ll just leave and all you will hear are people crying and sobbing over how great a trailer is. Then the game comes out and, despite glowing reviews and Internet praise, the game performs badly. This is the pattern.

In my own experience, when I said I do not like 3d Mario but only see the 2d Marios as true Mario games, people just scream at me. Why? Can they not live with someone disagreeing with them? Apparently not. From NSMB DS, Nintendo knew 2d Mario was very much in demand and knew it was big enough to place as their flagship game for the 2009 holidays. However, what they did not anticipate was just how deep the demand was for Super Mario Brothers 5. A massive tidal wave slammed into the sales charts that completely obliterated the huge stockpile of Wii Nintendo had. Ironically, Nintendo cut their price on the Wii as sales declined. Price  cut didn’t do anything. Then after Mario 5, boom. Wii sales shot up dramatically all over the world.

Or take Zelda. If I say that Zelda is becoming irrelevant because the gameplay of Zelda games have more in common with the Adventures of Lolo than with the action/RPG hybrid that used to be Zelda, I’d get shouted down. People would be screaming at me for posting my own honest thoughts on my very own website. Why are people so upset? The only people who should be upset are those of disinterest since products are not coming out that they want to play! But after Spirit Tracks, it was undeniable that something with the direction of the Zelda series isn’t right.

Metroid is the most interesting of cases. Unlike the more popular Zelda and Mario series, Metroid people squeal like stuck pigs if you voice any dis-satisfaction with Other M or even Sakamoto. I, myself, have even had Metroid fans say they want to punch me, inflict violence on me, just for posting my own honest thoughts on my very own website.

What right does anyone have to tell someone else to shut up about their honest reaction to a game?

And you can see people trying to shut up those who did not like the new Other M trailer. They are very blatant about it. You do not see those who did not like the Other M trailer trying to shut up those who did like it. I’m looking in forums now and when someone says something like, “This doesn’t look like Metroid to me,” an avalanche of hate filled posts target the poster.

So what is going on here? Why all this Metroid batshit insanity? Why the hostility to people who hold disinterest?

Human nature is funny in that when someone invests emotions into something, they defend it tooth and nail to the end. For example, if a guy finds out his girl has like ten kids all fathered by different men, the guy would respond by saying, “She isn’t easy,” or some derivative of that. People invest emotions first and are unwilling to dislodge them once facts come to light.

Anything someone says along the line of “Other M is not a Metroid game”, these people corkscrew themselves into incredible spins and loops in order to say Other M is a Metroid game. If we find out in Other M that Samus got married and had kids, they would say, “Well, that is no different than in any other Metroid game!” What the hell!? So when someone points out the cutscenes, the big boobs, the constant chatter and talking, all the NPCs (“Remember me?”), the auto-aiming, limit on weapons being determined by Adam’s “authority”, and so on and so forth,  they amazingly polevault in trying to point to a previous Metroid game. It has gotten so absurd as some are saying that Other M’s voice acting is great because of the voice acting in Super Metroid. While these people might hang around in their herd of thinkgroup, they do not realize how absurd they sound and how ridiculous their ‘arguments’ are.

They accuse those of disinterest for the faults they are committing: “No matter what the game is, you guys will just hate it!” Isn’t that what they are doing? When Sakamoto talked about Samus’s ‘maternal feelings’ and how Other M will talk about that, they began, absurdly, to say that ‘maternal feelings’ is what Metroid has been all about. What. The. Hell.

It is gotten so bad they do not know what gameplay footage is. They think a teaser trailer not entirely being cinematics is ‘gameplay footage’. It isn’t. But they are twisting everything to mean what they want it to mean.

If you notice, through this I have not yet expressed any opinion on the new Other M trailer except to point out that it isn’t really showing gameplay footage that isn’t chopped up into a few seconds. I am more curious how gamers are trying to shut up other gamers. These other gamers are not trolling. They are giving their genuine thoughts. Why try to shut them up? Perhaps it is because the interest in Other M is still, at this point, only hype based, not substance based and is as fragile as glass?




Listen to Greenberg hype up Natal.

the peripheral will offer both “game experiences” and “lifestyle experiences” when it launches.

I am sure Microsoft probably looks at something like Wii Fit or Wii Sports and think ‘lifestyle experiences’. Already, they are segregating the consumers.

When the Wii and DS went back to the roots of gaming, the roots were arcade type gaming. It is fun to watch Microsoft and Sony, who have no arcade roots whatsoever, be unable to connect arcade type gaming with new hardware. To them, PC gaming and console gaming are one of the same. So when arcade type gaming enters the stage, they act confused and try to think it is something else.

Lifestyle experiences? Good heavens no.

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I would say the reasons we care for The Conduit 2 are that a) it will be an FPS Wii game with both local multiplayer and good controls, something sorely lacking on the system, b) it shows developers don't act as though selling a few hundred thousand, but MAKING money is a failure, c) it shows that like Nintendo, other developers can learn from their mistakes, d) it shows that smaller developers are moving up, which is something he mentioned in his articles.

A flashy-first game is awesome when it comes out. A great-first game is awesome forever.

Plus, just for the hell of it: Kelly Brook at the 2008 BAFTAs

He's on the right track as to what's wrong with GoNintendo. Though i believe we've touched on this subject before, that community just has too many persistently negative people there, and a handful of out-and-out trolls who have no business being on the site at all (being that its about Nintendo and all)

Monster Hunter: pissing me off since 2010.

LordTheNightKnight said:
I would say the reasons we care for The Conduit 2 are that a) it will be an FPS Wii game with both local multiplayer and good controls, something sorely lacking on the system, b) it shows developers don't act as though selling a few hundred thousand, but MAKING money is a failure, c) it shows that like Nintendo, other developers can learn from their mistakes, d) it shows that smaller developers are moving up, which is something he mentioned in his articles.

smaller ones moving up are great for the ones looking at wii to put games on. I mean holy crap at some of the Wiiware games. For some of these small places it makes them know to us and maybe a big break for a full game

You know, I really wouldn’t mind if Pachter would at least be consistent.  He called the PSP Go a rip off, then quickly retracted that statement.  Now he’s flat calling the Vitality Sensor stupid (even though we don’t have any software demos to speak of), and I know damn well he’ll never retract that statement.  What a jackass.

Also, just an aside, the commentators on GoNintendo are really annoying.

Pachter’s reputation is clearly imploding. When an analyst has to declare, “I am not biased,” well, what does that say? He even admits in his Pachter show on Gametrailers that he was disappointed that Nintendo did not take his ‘advice’ and make a Wii HD. The sector of the Industry that Pachter represents would love to port their stuff to a Wii HD. But an analyst is supposed to analyze the market, not try to manipulate it.

People keep sending me Pachter stuff, but I try to avoid him now. He’s quoted in enough places. I’m not going to put his stuff on my website. I mean, he has almost every game website including TV shows to do it for him.

About GoNintendo, it isn’t the ‘commentators’, it is the actual staff there. I’ve been trying to ignore the bile coming from their ‘moderators’ for a while. So now I am going to shine a giant spotlight on it so everyone knows what exactly is going on behind the scenes there.

As I said, these guys don’t think I can see what they are saying about me.

Gais gais, malstrom wrote a blog post about me!
http://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2010/ … followers/
Lol, I feel so famous. What a tool. I love how he reports me to RMC like that. Oh noes, he’s telling the boss on me! Ah man, I just couldn’t stop grinning reading that. Awesome stuff.

If I wanted to ‘report’ anyone, I would have just emailed RMC. The reason why I am putting it on my blog is so the reader knows why this site won’t be as friendly to Go Nintendo as it was in the past. I’ve always been nice to you guys. But no more. Since the traffic of this website is heavily Nintendo, it is important that they actually see what is being said or they wouldn’t believe it. In the same way, they wouldn’t believe IGN Nintendo saying outright garbage until we kept showing it on a consistent basis.


I enjoy reading your thoughts, and I truly feel I’ve learned a lot from you.  I’ve had several “aha” moments reading your articles, and that doesn’t happen every day at my age.

When I consider myself experienced enough to have an opinion about your opinion, I tend to agree.  Although I would still be afraid to use “blue ocean” or “disruption” in a sentence with you in the room, I think I have a pretty good grasp of the concepts.

But the thing that always seems unbalanced is your vitriol toward Mario Galaxy.

Let’s get this out of the way.  I really enjoyed the game.  I fully agree with reviewers who scored it in the 95% range.  It has its minuses, and I could talk to you at length about them (perhaps crystallizing some of Nintendo’s less obvious faults), but that is not the point of this email.

Some of your quotes:

“There is no reason to make Super Mario Galaxy 2 as Galaxy 1 didn’t make much of an impact.”

“I know it is NOA’s job to sell whatever comes out of NCL, but I hope no one at NOA truly believes that people who bought Mario 5 are going to transition to Galaxy 2. Tell me they are not that naive!”

“Mario is an action game, not a scavenger hunt game.”

I wanted to scour for more, but these illustrate the point.  Galaxy seems to fluster you to the point where your ideals get muddled.  Or maybe I’m not getting it.

There is no reason to make Galaxy 2?  I can think of plenty of good reasons to make it, and I’m sure you can too (if you’re not angrily on a roll).  It may only be a tank in Nintendo’s arsenal and not an aircraft carrier, but that doesn’t mean it won’t usefully contribute to the fight.  Maybe it gives a team of people something to keep them busy (people Nintendo wants to hold on to) until the time is right for their next project using their skills.  And it will make a profit (easily, since development could be fast-tracked).  We can debate whether or not Galaxy 2 could possibly detract from the “vibe” of the Mario IP, but “no reason to make Galaxy 2” seems to be a statement born of anger rather than logic.

Mario 5’ers won’t transition to Galaxy 2?  Perhaps not to the level you would consider “worth it”, but there is bound to be some movement.  Maybe not those who have made up their mind about 3d Mario, but fence-sitters to be sure.  And there are always the young players who weren’t around to be personally angered to the core by Sunshine as you were.  Is that not good enough for you?  It’s not an atom bomb on Sony headquarters, but every move can’t be checkmate.  Is NOA is naïve, or are you being angrily difficult?

Mario is only an action game?  This one rankles me the most.  Out of all the lessons Nintendo has taught you.  Out of all the mistakes made by competitors.  Out of all the stupid words written by stupid people, you’re going to make the mistake of putting Nintendo in a box?  I could go on and on about this point, but I’ll leave it here.  This statement seems so unlike your normal wisdom, I can only assume it was the anger unbalancing your chi.

I read you’re going to bow out of this whole Nintendo business in the near future.  I was sad to hear it.  Still, if your feelings about the subject confuse your message, it’s only a matter of time before your message is noise.

Or is up down, east west and I’m wrong about everything?

Don’t take my issues with 3d Mario, modern Zelda, or even Metroid personally. I am not the usual gamer. And I am not the ‘brand new’ gamer that Brain Age or Wii Sports would get. I am an older gamer who didn’t exactly leave gaming, rather the games left me.

The reason why I keep speaking up on modern gaming is not to infuriate gamers. It is to point out there is another group of people with an entirely different perspective. When you look at Mario 5’s massive sales, well, where did those customers come from? They certainly didn’t come from the same group that Wii Sports and Wii Fit sold to. They didn’t come from the Core. Since nowhere in ‘game journalism’ is anyone voicing the viewpoint of this Shadow Market that has developed in the background, I’m trying to give it some voice. I’ve gotten emails from people who say when they tried to get a girl or someone older to play 3d Mario, they wouldn’t do it but they would play 2d Mario. Then they would express hostility for 3d Mario. They email this because they recognized my dislike emanating from those people. They can see a connection.

Remember when the Wii was sold out for 2007 and all we heard, from the game press and analysts, was talk about Sony and Microsoft? Was it not strange that they were ignoring the elephant in the room? And were you not angry for it?

Now in 2010, Mario 5 is rocking the sales charts and boosting sales of the Wii worldwide as an entertainment phenomenon. What do we hear? We hear little to nothing about this phenomenon. Anita Fraizer keeps talking about Modern Warfare 2 even though Mario 5 outsold it in February (and she talked about the supposed ‘PS3 shortage’ but didn’t even bother to mention the severe Wii shortage).

I get angry when people refuse to look at the facts of the marketplace. I was angry at analysts in 2007, 2008, etc. when they were not even talking about how the Wii did what it did (which is why I wrote papers on Blue Ocean and disruption as since analysts aren’t going to do it, I might as well). People either could not imagine a game market where PlayStation isn’t on top or were trying to intentionally pollute the true nature of what was going on.

In a similar way, people are not facing the facts of the current market. Mario Galaxy is not the true Mario game. Mario 5 is. The phenomenon of Mario 5 is similar to what I witnessed with Mario 1, 2, 3, and 4 when they came out on console (although Mario 1 was way bigger, even bigger than Wii Sports).

Here are the ‘measuring sticks’ I am using to gauge what is the ‘true’ game of the series or not.

1) Is it making gaming, in general, more mass market and popular (i.e. the Revolution which began back in PONG)?

2) Is it furthering the drive for momentum for the console itself, such as the Wii?

3) Is it further fleshing out and developing the Mario Universe or is it messing it up and making Mario less popular than before?

Now lets take all the Mario games, both 2d and 3d, and run them through the three grinders above.

What games furthered the Revolution?

Mario 1, clearly. NSMB DS and Mario 5 definitely are. Mario 2, 3, and 4 are sorta iffy on this.

Mario 64 repressed the Revolution as making Mario games more niche. Mario Sunshine added to the disaster. Mario Galaxy was designed to make 3d Mario more accessible so it would sell like 2d Mario (according to Miyamoto’s exact words). Mario Galaxy failed. Selling pretty much only in America, Galaxy flopped in places like Japan which is major since it was the flagship Nintendo Mario game where the Wii was dominating the market at the time.

How did the Mario games increase the momentum for the console?

Well, with Mario 1, it is clear what that did for the NES. Mario 2 and Mario 3 kept the Mario 1 fire burning. Mario 4 launched the SNES to sold out numbers.

Gameboy did not sell due to Tetris alone. It also sold because people wanted the Super Mario Land games. And GBA had 2d Mario ports on them.

The DS was in close competition with the PSP until software like Nintendogs and Animal Crossing DS and Mario Kart DS began to erupt sales there. But NSMB DS, which is the best selling DS game in Japan, helped catapult the DS and drive momentum for it longterm. NSMB DS is still selling strongly and is well over 20 million units sold.

In America, the DS was neck to neck with the PSP until summer of 2006. People say the DS Lite was what brought the DS up. Since software sells the hardware, we have to point to NSMB DS which was released a week before the DS Lite did. After NSMB DS came out, the DS had no problems selling. And NSMB DS still keeps selling.

A clear pattern emerges that in order for a Nintendo console to be successful, handheld or console, it must have a 2d Mario. N64 and Gamecube didn’t have a 2d Mario, and they had only declining sales.

And what about the Mario games further carving out Mushroom Land and the Mario universe?

Mario 1, 2, 3, and 4 all were spectacular in creating a universe which constant Mario spin-offs have been exploiting to this day. There could be no Mario Kart franchise if Mario 1, 2, 3, and 4 did not push to enrich the Mushroom Kingdom the way they did.

Mario 64, to the contrary of the rest of the 3d Mario games, did further add to the Mario universe. This is perhaps why Mario 64 is said to be more replayable than Sunshine or Galaxy. Sunshine didn’t even take place in the Mushroom Kingdom so it couldn’t add anything. Galaxy featured the Mushroom Kingdom only in shattered pieces floating around in an ether. When looking back at how much the Mushroom Kingdom was enriched by a game like Mario 3 or 4 or even Doki Doki Panic, it is clear Galaxy didn’t add anything except Rosalina (who I don’t think anyone cares about anyway).

Interestingly, NSMB DS and Mario 5 didn’t really enrich the Mushroom Kingdom at all. But after fifteen to twenty years of no 2d Marios, they got a pass. However, they will not get a pass next time. Nintendo really needs to become a content orientated company rather than just focusing on the ‘gameplay mechanics’. Mario 3, when it was being marketed, was said by Miyamoto to be a ‘further exploration of the worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom’.

Unfortunately, Mario games are not exploring the Mushroom Kingdom anymore. They are just laboratories of gameplay mechanics.

Now, let us look at Galaxy 2.

Will Galaxy 2 help make games more mainstream? The answer is no.

Will Galaxy 2 help further the Wii momentum? Since Galaxy 1 didn’t do anything for Wii momentum, the answer is no.

Will Galaxy 2 further flesh out and explore the Mushroom Kingdom? We can’t answer this as the game hasn’t come out. But since Galaxy 2 will be like Galaxy 1 in shredding the Mushroom Kingdom up into chunks and hanging them out in the ether of space, the answer is likely be no.

This is why I am saying there is no reason for Galaxy 2 to be made.

Now, if you want to know why you sense anger about this from me, I want you to imagine eighteen years of not having a Mario game. And I want you to imagine a decade of people praising 3d Mario and Miyamoto when the market was actually rejecting 3d Mario. Imagine a fake Mario game replacing the true Mario game.

There is almost twenty years of bitterness. The hostility is due to several reasons:

1) Not making 2d Mario for decades. You’d be pissed off too. This is why I laugh at the ‘hardcore gamers’ feeling ‘abandoned’ by the Wii. You guys don’t know what it is like to feel ‘abandoned’.

2) A decade of people saying 3d Mario is the true Mario game when you know it is not and the market says it is not.

3) 2d Mario said to only be allowed on ‘handhelds’. “Only 3d games are allowed to be on the home console.” Yeah, well screw them!

4) Miyamoto knew we all wanted 2d Mario. His exact words, “I’ve made those games before. I don’t want to make them again.”

5) At E3 2009, Cammie Dunaway said, “But Miyamoto doesn’t want to just make a new Mario game with only more levels,” when announcing Mario 5’s four player mode. Then, later in the same conference, Cammie Dunaway said, “And here is Super Mario Galaxy 2″ which is nothing more but Galaxy with extra levels. Talk about the hypocrisy.

6) 2d Mario people are still treated like second class gamers. Mario 5 is very modest in terms of graphics and sound. Meanwhile, Galaxy and Galaxy 2, which are a very niche game compared to 2d Mario, get amazing production quality and full orchestras.

Miyamoto’s premise was that Mario was about… Mario. But Mario games are about platforming. When Miyamoto didn’t make Mario 5, an opening was made for competitors. People flocked to Sonic the Hedgehog for example. In trouble, Nintendo put out another 2d platformer that saved the SNES (Donkey Kong Country). Miyamoto, instead, put out Yoshi’s Island which certainly was not Mario 5 which sold way less than Donkey Kong Country and did nothing for SNES momentum. Not a bad game, of course, but it didn’t do the job it was supposed to do.

Ever since Super Mario World, people like myself have been eagerly awaiting Mario 5. We thought we would get Mario 5 on the SNES because there was three Mario games on the NES. Instead, I got a not-that-great 2d platfomer about monkeys. Definitely not the same. And Mario 64 was such a radical departure of what Super Mario Brothers is. (which Miyamoto is beginning to say in public. “Something was lost in the transition to 3d Mario.”)

So after a decade of calling for Mario 5, we finally get NSMB for the DS which everyone wrongly called the successor to Super Mario World. Since it was made for the handheld, it would be the successor to the Super Mario Land series. Anyway, I buy a DS after E3 2005 when NSMB is announced.

I had not bought a video game console, of any kind, in fifteen years since the SNES launched.

When NSMB DS comes out, it is a massive success. DS sales explode in America. People like me were saying, “Now, Nintendo, make a 2d Mario for the home console. Make the Wii launch with Super Mario Brothers 5.”

At this time, Iwata was pushing Miyamoto to make a ‘Mario game’ for launch of the Wii (since Luigi’s Mansion did miserably for pushing Gamecube momentum). Mario Galaxy was unveiled at E3 2006 and released for the holidays in 2007.

Now, I rented Mario Galaxy and was taken in by the music. Having a gift card, I foolishly bought the game and stopped playing it instantly after I ‘beat it’. The game wasn’t fun to me at all. I should have just bought the soundtrack.

3d Marios were not selling anywhere close to 2d Marios. Miyamoto said this was due to accessibility. So Mario Galaxy was designed to be as accessible as possible. It would have a special lens that would help see around corners, the gravity pull made it harder to fall off to doom, and most interestingly Galaxy kept resorting to flashes of 2d gameplay (which was vicious teasing to folks like me. Just give us a damn 2d Mario already).

Despite NSMB DS massive success, everyone shouted down the idea of a 2d Mario for home console. “Home consoles are for 3d games, not 2d games.” However, they relented. “2d Mario should only be a download such as with WiiWare.” In other words, the games I want to play should be automatically relegated to the ghetto.

When Mario 5 was unveiled at E3 2010, it was panned by all the ‘game journalists’. Viral marketers, or complete idiots, kept calling Mario 5 a “DS port”. They called Nintendo ‘lazy’ for making the game. They even went so far as to say that Mario 5 is not a proper video game, that it was a ‘casual game’.

Nintendo fans were saying, “Why is Mario 5 coming out? What a waste of time. I suppose this will hold me over for when Galaxy 2 comes out.”

How do you think people like me felt? From statements and behavior, it felt like if you were a fan of 2d Mario and not 3d Mario, everyone was giving you the middle finger including Nintendo developers and Miyamoto himself. “I just don’t feel like making that game anymore.”

Longtime readers will recall how I was a broken record on calling for 2d Mario to come out on the Wii. “Stop this User Generated Content nonsense and make Mario 5!” And, lo and behold, Nintendo did.

Going into holidays 2009, Reggie was asked who Mario 5 was for since it wasn’t a Core game and wasn’t an Expanded Audience title. “For other gamers,” Reggie responded. Somehow, I got a sense that was a nod to people like me. When asked about Wii momentum, Reggie said on TV that it was normal for console sales to decline after the third year. In other words, Nintendo was thinking declining Wii sales were going to be the norm.

Then Mario 5 was released. I bought it as soon as the store opened on Sunday morning. If you think I was the only one, as some crazed 2d Mario fanatic, think again. There were other people who were rushing to the store, as soon as it opened, just to get their hands on 2d Mario. Some of them were women. I asked them when was the last time they went to the store to get a game when it launched? Their answer: Wii Fit and some Wii Sports Resort. I asked them when was the last time they bought a home console other than the Wii. Their answer: the SNES over fifteen years ago. Some said they got other consoles like a PlayStation or such that their roommates played, but they didn’t like at all. The Old School were coming back home.

Mario 5, despite its massive supply, was selling out in stores and even Amazon. I can’t think of a non-hardware bundled game to ever sell out since games went to disc (that had such massive supply in the first place).

Despite constant decline, the Wii broke all hardware sales record in December 2009 with almost four million systems sold that month. Nintendo had to have been shocked at the hardware being sold. In Japan, Miyamoto admitted Nintendo was surprised that Wii-motes were selling out because everyone was playing Mario 5 together. In America, the huge Wii stockpile was obliterated. Reggie said in December or November 2009 on TV, in response whether Wii would see shortages as it did in previous Christemas, “While I would love for us to sell out, we don’t think that is going to be the case.” Nintendo knew Mario 5 would sell, but I think they underestimated how much hardware it would move.

I see this as vindication after fifteen years of demanding a new 2d Mario. It is vindication of the Old Schoolers. It is vindication that Mario 64, far from being a success, was actually a disaster for the Mario franchise.

The Wii is not only radically changing the video game market. It is going to radically change video game history. The biggest business blunder in Nintendo’s history is not the Virtual Boy or the bad blood with Sony and the PlayStation, it was the refusal to make 2d Mario. When Nintendo stopped doing this, their hardware faced continued decline. Mario 64 ensured the N64 lost to the PlayStation. Mario 64 almost ensured the DS losing to the PSP. In both the DS and Wii, the software that turned around declining sales was 2d Mario.

What makes me angry is that even though all the market data is there that shows my vindication is being ignored. Mario 5 is selling at a faster clip than even the monster hit of Modern Warfare 2. But do you ever hear analysts mention this? No. Do you hear game journalists mention this? No.

When you ask me why I say Galaxy 2 shouldn’t be made, I have to ask if you are not looking at the market data? What possible reason could there be to make Galaxy 2?

On why Galaxy 2 and Mario 5 were made, here are Miyamoto’s answers.

With Mario 5: “Our salesmen really want it.”
With Galaxy 2: “Our developers have ideas.”

In other words, Galaxy 2 is being made only because the developers want to “play” and entertain themselves. Mario 5 was not made for those purposes. The business side kept seeing the massive success of NSMB DS and wanted such a game for the Wii.

This is why I trust the business side for choosing game development as opposed to the creative side. This same situation occurred with Modern Warfare 2. Infinity Ward did not want to make Modern Warfare 2 but Activision insisted. Activision was correct in forcing Infinity Ward to make the game.

You expressed wonder how I could say that Cammie Dunaway is naive if she believes Mario 5’s customers are going to buy Galaxy 2. The reason why is because we have been rejecting 3d Mario ever since the N64. We just do not like the game.



The question that keeps being asked at Nintendo is how to get 3d Mario to sell like 2d Mario. This is because the Nintendo developers only want to make 3d Mario and despise making 2d Mario.

The real question is why should Nintendo continue 3d Mario at all? It doesn’t sell consoles. It only harmed the Mario franchise (remember Mario being the laughingstock starting in the N64 generation and continuing into the Gamecube Era?). It is absolutely insane to let Nintendo developers do what they want to do. I long for the NES days when Nintendo developers tried to please Yamauchi rather than trying to please themselves. There was a hell of a ton better games made back then from Nintendo.

I sincerely believe Iwata misdiagnosed the cancer that is causing the decline of gaming. Iwata said gaming is in decline due to ‘Gamer Drift’. Games are getting longer and less accessible.

What is actually occurring is that gaming is in decline due to ‘Developer Drift‘. Gamers didn’t leave games, the game makers did.

With Mario, the peak of the series was during the NES days. Since then, it was in decline and was in major decline after the SNES. What changed? The game developers decided they didn’t want to make 2d Mario anywhere.

With Zelda, the peak of the series came with Ocarina of Time during the N64. Since then, the series has seen decline. What changed? The game developers changed. They decided to do funky things like turn Zelda into a cartoon (Wind Waker) to have Zelda be about trains and blowing into the DS (Spirit Tracks).

With Metroid, the decline began with Super Metroid after the peak of Metroid and Metroid II. However, the peak of the series was with Metroid Prime. Ever since then, the Metroid series has been in decline. Why? It is because of Developer Drift. Developers are trying to turn Metroid into something that entertains them and not something that entertains the masses. So Metroid becomes more manga like (which will be soundly rejected by the Old Schoolers just as they rejected Fusion and Zero Mission).

But please, do not misinterpret me to say that you should not enjoy playing your 3d Mario games. I am trying to look at the Big Picture of not just this generation but all generations. When you look at it from that perspective, there is no other conclusion I can see but to declare 3d Mario a failure at carrying the torch left that was handed to them from Super Mario World.

“But 3d Mario sells!” Yes, but at horrible levels compared to the real Mario games, the 2d Marios. The road of 3d Mario is the road of N64 and road of Gamecube. If Nintendo is truly interested in becoming a mass gaming medium, they are going to do what they can to avoid the road of the N64 and Gamecube.

I am beginning to think that Nintendo is going to eventually abandon the mission of expanding gaming to the mainstream. Why? It is because in order to do this, Nintendo must eliminate ‘developer drift’. And since ‘developer drift’ is developers doing whatever they want, to drown themselves in ‘creativity’, Nintendo developers will bitterly protest this. Remember, game developers didn’t join the industry to develop games, they came so they could inflict their “incredible” visions of art on us.

Why is it that the less creative a game developer is, the better the game ends up? There is nothing creative in the Blizzard games, for example. There isn’t much creative in Mario 5, as another example. There is nothing creative in Wii Sports or Wii Fit.

If we are willing to accept many premises about video games were proven wrong by the Wii’s success, perhaps we should allow the possibility of more premises to be proven wrong. And the latest premise to be shown wrong was that 3d Mario is the successor to the Mario franchise. No, it is a spin-off and not a true Mario main entry.

If Nintendo was really smart, it would launch all new hardware with 2d Mario. I thought this would have been the pattern. I never would have dreamed that Nintendo would stop making Mario games after Super Mario World. It is as absurd as Nintendo no longer making games like Wii Sports.

If Nintendo refuses to make any more 2d Mario after seeing the phenomenal sales of NSMB DS and Mario 5, then they deserve the low sales their future hardware will get.


This is from an exchange of emails I had concerning someone asking whether game sales mean quality.

Hi again!

Well my opponents say that games are an art and should be measured by people who “know” art. Here are some of their arguments i short form:

- Is a Volvo better then a Rolls Royce because it sells better?
- If better sales mean a better product then Twilight New Moon would be the best movie in 2009, that isn’t the case.
- Better sales only indicate that the product is more popular not better.

And other arguments like that follow page after page. They have taken a quote from a swdish author that says this: “A product has the right quality at the satisfaction of the user / customer requirements, needs and expectations.” Then they go on that there isn’t any connection in the book between quality/good product/etc. and sales.

This is a question I’ve been searching for a deffinitve answer for. One of my teachers said that it is true that a product that has good sales is better then a product with lesser sales. Another one said the opposite.

I’m really confused about this. I want to say that a good product gets better sales but I just can’t find a good definition or quote in a book that strengthens my thesis. That’s why I’m turning to you. Hope you can solve this little problem.

My immediate answer to this is, “What other indicator is there of quality than sales? When someone is able to hand over hard earned money to purchase something, that means the customer wants it badly enough.”

No one has yet offered any other reliable indicator of quality other than sales. Game reviews are a joke as many of them are fake. So what other indicator could there be than longterm sales? Keep in mind, I am referring about legitimate sales. I am not referring to a practice such as occurs in the book industry when a politician’s book is bought by boxes in mass (and burned in mass too) just to pop the book up on the New York Times Best Seller List. I don’t think there is any instance that occurs with video games that comes close to that.

Let me spin the question around. Does greater salary mean greater quality? Quality… defined as what? Well, defined by the desire and scarcity of your skill by the employer.

I can sing. I can dance. But are people willing to pay to hear Sean Malstrom sing and dance? The answer is, alas, no. No one is willing to pay to hear me sing and dance (even though I can!).

But people were willing to pay Michael Jackson to hear him sing and dance when he was alive.

I can play basketball. I can shoot hoops. But is anyone willing to pay money to watch Sean Malstrom play basketball? Once again, alas, the answer is no. No one wants to pay money to watch me play basketball. But people will pay money to watch Michael Jordan.

I can play golf too! But no one is willing to pay money to watch me play golf. But people are willing to pay to watch Tiger Woods play golf. You get the pattern.

Is Michael Jackson a better singer and dancer than Sean Malstrom? All you can do is point to sales. People were willing to pay to listen and watch him. People, alas, are not willing to watch me sing and dance.

What sales indicate are customers. The question is not whether sales determines quality. The question is, “Do customers determine quality?” And the answer to that is an astounding YES!

Jets are constantly outsold by bicycles. Does this mean bicycles are a better form of transportation? Seeing how very few people can purchase a jet, and even fewer than that can pay the jet fuel needed for the jet (you won’t believe the price of jet fuel these days!), the bicycle is better. An economy car is better than a sports car in that it is allowing people to drive around (where they couldn’t before).

And this brings us to an important topic on disruption. Disruption occurs on the low ends. How did electricity get spread commercially? How did we go from a civilization of candles and fireplaces to a civilization of electric bulbs? Shumpeter said that electricity failed to spread earlier was because kings and other heads of state saw no purpose for it. And why should they? They had servants put out their candles and servants make their food. Something like electricity has allowed us to live as rich as a king.

Things sell because they make people happy or are useful. Greater sales, of course, occur on the lower end of the market than the higher end. It is easier to sell a jet ski than a yacht. Is the jet ski better than a yacht? Seeing how it allows more people access to the water, I’d say so.

So when it comes to games like Let’s Dance to Carnival Games, are those games of quality? Well, someone is buying them for a reason. And when you talk to someone who bought Let’s Dance, they will admit that they play the game constantly especially when friends are over. People laugh and have a good time. Isn’t that what games are supposed to do?

If sales do not indicate quality, what is stop someone saying the N-gage is the best portable gaming device ever? Or that this generation’s masterpiece is Lair?

So why do people not want to accept that sales (i.e. customers) indicate quality? This is a far more fun question to me.

Check out this link to Ars Technica saying that sales shouldn’t be used to indicate quality. What is said about musicians liking low sales is laughable. Believe me, they want high sales. Everyone does. But if they have low sales, they try to shrug off defeat by saying they were ‘too sophisticated’ for the market. Har har!

The nice thing about being a fan of games is that we don’t work for a publisher, and we don’t have to worry about whether or not a game turns a profit… unless we’re hoping for a sequel. Once the game is made, and the disc and case—or download—is in our possession, the only thing we need to care about is whether or not the game is good. We need to re-contextualize the argument: a game isn’t a success when it sells more than 500,000 copies or whatever we’ve decided the number is this month; a game is a success when it’s fun to play, gives you satisfaction, and allows you to enjoy an evening or afternoon with yourself or some friends. It’s easy to list great games that sold poorly, or poor games that sold great.

The next time someone argues numbers when you’re discussing the worth of a game, gently remind them that you’re a gamer, not an executive. All things being equal, we have much less worries, and many more opportunities to find the gold… no matter how many other people pass it by.

The reason why people keep trying to insist that sales are not quality is because they cannot tolerate that the business side is defining, in their view, the artistic side.

Oh, that awful business side! Full of corporate drones! Full of numbers! What a dull, dry, dreary world! But the art side… My goodness! Bring out the red wine. Turn up the music. The ‘business side’ is ’sub-human’ while the art side allows us to fully be human.

That is the mentality going on with those protesting that sales do not indicate quality (what are sales? Customers. And customers are people).

One of the things I wish to change with this website is the myth that business is dull, dry, and dreary. That it is nothing but numbers. To the contrary, the artist is a dull shallow figure compared to the businessman. Business is really all about emotion. You could even say that business is not even really about money but about time. A businessman has inverse values where they value their time more than their money (as a businessman understands that you can always borrow more money, but you are extremely limited with your time on Earth. No one has ever figured out how to extend it). When businessmen really talk, they say some of the most incredible things. Things an artist could never possibly say despite all their ‘creativity’.

Sales are not just numbers in a financial statement. Sales are indicators of flesh and blood human beings. Sales indicate the level of audience.

Does the size of the audience determine the quality of the show? Even artists are going to have to admit that yes, it does.

People have problems with having sales determining quality because they are unable, or unwilling, to allow the business context to intertwine with their life. So sales become ‘business’ which is ‘dull, dry, and dreary’. It is the stuff of accountants and even more boring salesmen.

When the Industrial Revolution was coming around, there were people who did not want to learn how to read. They wanted to remain farmers. It was comfortable to them. But they were being left behind. It wasn’t just reading but the emotional processes that an academic education brought. Those who refused to learn how to read (or worse were denied the opportunity) were not stupid people. It just made no sense in their period of time.

Now, we have what I call the Silicon Revolution coming around and it is changing everything. Instead of the call to read as happened to your forefathers, you need to learn to embrace the business side. Is it boring? Dully, dreary, and dry? This is because no one has shown you the good stuff. It is like people hating Shakespeare because of how it was taught to them in classrooms. The process of sales, marketing, and finances is very exciting and far more interesting than anything we’ve seen.

You’ve gotten a taste of the exciting world of business with how this console market swings wildly one way or another. You’ve gotten a taste of the exciting world of business when you had the ‘aha!’ moment in seeing what disruption or Blue Ocean was. And what is fun is that all this stuff will lead to you becoming wealthier (and likely more manly as a certain appreciation of risk is involved).

Sales are not about profit and numbers. Sales are about customers. Sales are about the quality customers see in the product that they are willing to pay money for it.

Customers define quality in products. And what other indication of customers is there but sales?


The Industry hangs on his every word… even the prepositions…

There is no ‘ctrl’ button on his computer. He is always in control.

He is so interesting he had a colonoscopy and through the scope you could see the seven cities of gold and white turtle doves.

He actually can bench press Asian chicks. He doesn’t have to act it.

Before he came along, people said, “The reason why I am not rich is because of these games.” After he came along, people said, “The reason why I am rich is because of these games.”

When a game console goes kaput, he issues a stern warning and the game console comes back on.

In Industry discussions, he is never named, but everyone knows who he is.

His reputation precedes him… the way lightning precedes thunder…

He is…




Camera zooms in on Malstrom sitting at a fine table in a swanky bar. In one hand is a glass of bourbon, the other is a cigar.

”All the things you have heard about me are true. It is true that during the 8-bit generation, I took a boat and went to the dark continent.

”After a storm sank my boat, I found myself washed up on shore including the cargo. The natives wanted to eat me, but I unveiled my cargo to them which happened to be NES systems and Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. Oh, they were well amazed!

”Concerning the ‘Dark Continent’, the Romans may have introduced them to wine, Napoleon may have introduced them to literacy, but I introduced them to video games. So yes, it is true, I brought gaming to a new continent.

”They were so amazed that a local tribesleader gifted me with a princess where we lived in a cave for a year. Yes, that story is true.

”It is true that I stopped playing video games because, if you’ve been there since the beginning, you’d have realized they were just remaking the same old games.

”It is true that I taught my cat to play Smash Brothers.

”I once almost broke the World Record for Paradroid. Popular opinion at the time said the reason why I didn’t was because of my insistence of using my older Boss Joystick. I would have replaced it.


”No… I wouldn’t.

”It was too much a part of me. And the women, they seem to like it. Anyway, I was the featured guest at a fundraising event for a very important senator. I brought in over a million dollars, which, at that time, was a very tidy sum I might add (wink). Unknown to all until this posting, the senator was going to make a vote on this secret bill in the 1980s which would have outlawed video games forever. However, due to my generous fund raising, I ‘persuaded’ the senator to vote against the measure and thus, saved video games from extinction…

”I stopped gaming for decades. But when I was contacted by the Gaming Spirit to share my knowledge on the Revolution, I was very excited. You see, I was first acquainted with Nintendo back in the 1970s when I did some business in Japan. At the time, I was Hiroshi Yamauchi’s wingman as we patrolled the night districts.

”I told him, “Hiroshi! Your company makes cards, not food. You should stop this rice nonsense. What you need, instead, is to start using your card distributor network to sell toys. By the way, there is this thing on the rise in America called ‘computers’ and a new type of toy on it called ‘video games’….

“After learning how to play Go from Yamauchi, when I got back to America I challenged Nolan Bushnell to a game where the loser had to adopt the winner’s hairstyle for the rest of his days. Bushnell lost. But at least he got a fabulous beard!

”I also first met Reggie Fils-Aime one time in a Pizza Hut. He wanted to sell me a Big Foot Pizza which I did not want. So I kicked his ass and took his name. Henceforth, he learned his lesson and now proceeds to kick asses and take other people’s names.

”But I am no shill. I tend to avoid the public limelight especially after my fling with the Princess of OohLani.

”But after the Spirit of Gaming protested and made clear that all gaming would be smothered out and become the sausage factory creating gamers who know nothing of the magic of gaming, I relented.

(Malstrom leans forward.)

”So… allow me to introduce myself. I am, in fact, the World’s Most Interesting Gamer.”

(Fade out.)


Splitting this email up because it asks The Big Question at the end.

Dear Sean

You’re making the argument that people care more about the artistic side than the business side because the business side is dry and boring. That argument is true for some, but doesn’t tell the whole story.

By dismissing critics of the purely economic argument, you completely neglect the ethical side of this discussion: Does this product make the world a better place to live in? Does it do any harm?

Following your argument laid out in your recent quality/sales post, cigarettes have a higher quality than fruit (the former selling roughly four times as well as the latter). It follows that as an artist, I shouldn’t have any scruples selling my work for propaganda posters or cult recruitment if it sells better than other customers. Would you agree with that?

The premise you are putting out is that customers are stupid and will unknowingly buy things that will lead to their destruction. This idea was best illustrated with Prohibition that was actually put into the United States Constitution almost a hundred years ago. After all, drinking leads to many social problems. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to just get rid of it? That led to so much crime. There is a part of Human nature that some people do wish to drink away their life or whatever.

People know what cigarettes do to the body. Even kids know. But people smoke because they enjoy it. Professional golfers are, to this day, allowed to smoke cigarettes when playing (where everyone else cannot of course) because it soothes their nerves. (Cigarettes are a bad example since the state propaganda about them was more about interested in taxing them. If they as bad as politicians have declared them to be, they would have been banned.)

As I said earlier, customers are the determination of quality. Customers are the determination of ethics as well. When baseball had all the problems with steroids, did baseball attendance fall? No. So while some people had problems with it, the customers did not.

Is buying gold and items with real money a problem in games like World of Warcraft? Is it unethical? The customers think so which makes Blizzard think so.

Is cheating in my single player game unethical? No customer thinks so. So Blizzard allows that.

Are video games unethical? After all, they can cause great harm to a person’s life. But it is for customers to determine whether or not video games are ethical or not, not someone named Jack Thompson or some other non-gamer who is obsessed at controlling what other people do.

Who is any non-customer to define what is ethical or not for a customer? Where someone might find cigarettes unethical, many do not. There are people who think strip shows and drinking are unethical. But who are they to enforce that ethical standard on other people?

Your ‘ethics’ is nothing more than non-customers demanding what is ethical for customers. It is like a vegetarian shutting down the steak house or the non-smoker shutting down sales of cigars or the minister shutting down bars.

Customers define the value of products. They also define the ‘ethics’ of that product too.

I think this is a point of confusion because people confuse marketing with brainwashing (which it isn’t). All marketing does is bring attention to the product. If the product sucks, like Wii Music did, no amount of marketing can sell it.

The question is: What is the purpose of business? Is it to create value for individuals clever enough to understand it? Does it serve a societal purpose, such as increasing quality of life, furthering freedom, health, and human expression? Or doesn’t it have a purpose other than sustaining itself, a “memeplex” behaving like an organism trying to survive?

To answer this, I have decided to summon the spirit of Peter Drucker to this blog post. Peter Drucker, how are you?

“I am fine, Malstrom. How about you?”

There is someone here who wishes to ask you a question.

“OK. What is it?”

The question is, ‘What is the purpose of business?’

With a smile, Peter Drucker answers:

To know what a business is we have to start with its purpose. Its purpose must lie outside of the business itself. In fact, it must lie in society since business enterprise is an organ of society. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.

Markets are not created by God, nature, or economic forces but by businessmen. The want a business satisfies may have been felt by the customer before he was offered the means of satisfying it. Like food in a famine, it may have dominated the customer’s life and filled all his waking moments, but it remained a potential want until the action of businessmen converted it into effective demand. Only then is there a customer and a market. The want may have been unfelt by the potential customer; no one knew that he wanted a Xerox machine or a computer until these became available. There may have been no want at all until business action created it—by innovation, by credit, by advertising, or by salesmanship. In every case, it is business action that creates the customer.

It is the customer who determines what a business is. It is the customer alone whose willingness to pay for a good or for a service converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance—especially not to the future of the business and to its success. The typical engineering definition of quality is something that is hard to do, is complicated, and costs a lot of money! But that isn’t quality; it’s incompetence. What the customer thinks he’s buying, what he considers value is decisive—it determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper. And what the customer buys and considers value is never a product. It is always utility, that is, what a product or service does for him.

The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence. He alone gives employment. To supply the wants and needs of a consumer, society entrusts wealth-producing resources to the business enterprise.

Peter Drucker: "The typical engineering definition of quality is something that is hard to do, is complicated, and costs a lot of money! But that isn’t quality; it’s incompetence."

So does that mean Grand Theft Auto IV is incompetent? It does fit those three things, and is supposed to be quality.

That's not a joke or a snark. It's an honest thing I am throwing out there. That statement implies that acting as though the highest quality in gaming is an expensive HD game, for being expensive and HD over any other factors, is wrong since it puts those values as a way to measure quality.

A flashy-first game is awesome when it comes out. A great-first game is awesome forever.

Plus, just for the hell of it: Kelly Brook at the 2008 BAFTAs