We’re just days away from the Wii U launch, and much about the platform remains unclear. The online features are being rushed to completion, resulting in the delay of TVii into, at least, December, and a promised patch to introduce Miiverse, the eShop, and other features, remains in limbo, as of this writing. Whether the Miiverse ends up moving the needle will mean little to Wii U’s success.
Thanks to a shipping snafu, I might not have a chance to bring my Wii U with me over Thanksgiving. Wii was a huge hit with my parents and friends, and I was hoping to use them as outside-the-bubble barometer of this machine’s appeal. I’ve given up on declaring whether or not a Nintendo-made machine is going to be a mainstream success or not, since the last decade has seen Nintendo manage to succeed against all odds (DS, Wii) and weirdly flop when seemingly destined for triumph (3DS).
In any case, Wii U won’t be a flop in the literal sense, it’s just a matter of whether it’s perceived as such after Wii’s pop culture phenomenon. If Wii U ends up GameCube-like, appealing to a devoted Nintendo audience and not much more, that will hardly be enough to keep shareholders happy, and increase the demand for Nintendo and Apple to find harmony on iOS or something equally crazy. Nintendo won't change its ways until it absolutely has to, though.
The armchair analysis, ultimately, means very little. Nintendo continues to produce quality games, and I will both buy and play them. If that’s all Wii U amounts to, I’ll be getting of hours out of it.
Hey, You Should Play This
Here’s an experiment: take a game usually self-sold on your website and make the whole thing available for free on Newgrounds. You earn money when people play on Newgrounds, making the site itself a form of DRM. That’s what Magical Time Bean did with Soulcaster, and if you like what you’ve played, you can pick up the sequel for only a few bucks on the company’s website. It’s free-to-play without sacrificing the developer’s need to make money, even if the amount of money the developer’s making is a fraction per unit. The parallels to music and Spotify are interesting.
And You Should Read This, Too
- "An audience with Syndicate" by Will Porter for Eurogamer
One of the more interesting challenges facing future games writers will be rise of YouTube broadcasters. Blogging leveled the playing field of games writing to an extent, even if it didn’t allow that many people to make a living doing it. It remains to be see if enough amateur broadcasters can make money that it becomes a career pipeline for folks. Hell, part of the reason I started doing Spookin’ With Scoops from my apartment is because I wanted to have a better sense of how streaming works, what it’s like to talk on your own, and to engage directly with an audience.
Inspired by montages of no-scope sniper kills, Tom first armed himself with a capture card four years ago - going through several false starts before hitting the big-time when he knuckled down with The Syndicate Project. "At the time there were maybe a few hundred other people doing it on YouTube - because it was pretty expensive," he explains. "You had to get a recording device that was in Standard Definition. There was a guy called Shaun Hutchinson, also known as Hutch, and he didn't just post these sniper kills just as kills - he did a commentary over it. He talked about his life and gameplay. You'd learn about who he was - you'd grow a personality around him. You'd become a fan of who he is, and what he stands for. I still look up to him to this day."
If You Click It, It Will Play
I Don’t Know About This Kickstarter Thing, But These Projects Seem Pretty Cool
- The Kickstarter isn't live, but Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is getting a sequel. Hell yes.
- Retro Game Crunch is a group of talented devs putting out six games in six months.
- If you missed my feature on it, Johann Sebastian Joust is finally coming out via Sportsfriends.
Valve Just Launched Greenlight, So Here’s Some Games That Don’t Look Terrible
- I should stop ignoring the awesome-looking games from Wadjet Eye Games, such as Primordia.
- If you didn't tell me otherwise, I'd be convinced Oniken actually is an old school action game.
- Apparently Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis went open source, resulting in really elaborate mods.
Wii U Launches on Sunday, And People Are Writing About It
- Nintendo's current situation would be wildly different without one man who pushed for motion technology.
- Wired looks back at Nintendo past and present, with the Wii U's release just days away.
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- A parent discusses the problems of getting kids hooked on handheld games.
- Critic Mattie Brice created a game based on her own experiences, and wrote about the process.
- An interview with a guy who played Dyad on drugs. How can you not read this?
- This PDF is a huge post mortem about the QA process for Wing Commander IV. You read that right.
- Breaking down what makes the intensely hard Super Hexagon work.
- A look at why Call of Duty has had trouble breaking into the growing eSports scene.
- Just, you know, some useful tips and tricks for using Windows 95.
- Sports games having zero changes made year-over-year on Wii is becoming a weird pattern.
- The internet-born Slenderman meme is having weird copyright issues as people build games.
- A set of interactive horror games from a recent competition. Let me know if they're any good!
- Cow Clicker creator Ian Bogost is back with something equally outrageous involving Apple.
- An exhaustive look at the development process for Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
- The distortion of history in Assassin's Creed III riles up some folks in different parts of the world.