Monday, June 18, 2007

Let The Video Game Console Makers School You.

If you look at the video games industry, particularly console makers, you'll notice that there are plenty of lessons to be learnt on how to survive in any competitive industry. Here's several:

#1. Leverage, Leverage, Leverage

Companies like Nintendo and Microsoft use their technical know-how and market knowledge to gain leverage. In the case of Nintendo, they realised that people that don't play games represent a huge untapped market and by introducing hardware such as the Nintendo DS and the Wii, Nintendo effectively lowered the bar for first timers to enjoy video games.

Known as both a software and hardware behemoth in the PC industry (where multiplayer gaming/internet connectivity are mainstays), Microsoft created a compelling Internet multiplayer experience (Xbox Live!) for Xbox and subsequently Xbox 360 console gamers which is far superior than that of offered by it's nearest competitors.

#2. Timing, is everything.

Take for instance the release of the 32X add-on which promised 32-bit for the aging Sega Mega Drive, at the same time with the launch of the true 32-bit successor, the Sega Saturn! Nothing spells shovelware better than that, and if consumers and game developers did appreciate that sort of gesture, I'll gladly eat my hat...if I had one. I

t did give them a bloody good reason to ditch Sega.

The video game console business is a finicky one, if your product is late/has a higher potential of sucking big time, you would be better off working on the next product cycle rather than to flog a dead horse.

#3. Common Sense Would Be Nice

One particular example I have in mind would be Nintendo's Virtua Boy; it's like having Darth Vader playing games through those red-tinted lenses stuck on his helmet. O.M.G.