Miyamoto Admits Lack of Wii Games
Whilst the Wii still provides us with the odd hectic multiplayer session (and the DS continues to offer a fantastic mix of hardcore and casual titles), we couldn't help but notice the distinct absensce of triple-A Wii titles last year. Speaking via an interpreter with the Economist, Miyamoto admitted that Nintendo simply couldn't get enough games out there.
"The fact that in 2009 we were not able to sell more than we did in 2008 was simply that in comparison, we were not able to produce fun-enough products."
True that, Shigeru. Whilst 2009 was a good year for gaming in general, the lack of first party Wii games was a real disappointment; as was the abysmal quality of the shovelware cluttering up the store shelves. However, the Nintendo boss went on to explain that he was undaunted by the lowered sales, and clarified his vision of Nintendo's tried-and-tested sales strategy.
"There was a separation between people who play video games and people who don’t. And looking at that kind of situation, I personally wanted to break down the wall between the two, and bring back gaming to anybody, the general public, just as it used to be many years ago."
Well that's certainly working. The Wii and DS have reached a target audience that Microsoft and Sony can only dream of- but it's unclear whether the casual market will provide the continued sales that dedicated, hardcore gamers can. What do you think of the Wii's first party performance in 2009? See a bright future for Miyamoto's casual baby? Let us know in the comments! [The Economist]
Front Mission Devs Reassure Feaful Fans
Remember Front Mission? Square Enix's masterful blend of customisable mech warfare with turn based strategy (think Japanese Battletech) stands today as a true cult classic. Oh, and masterful use of the English language allowed them to get away with calling mechs "wanzers" (walking panzers) instead of...walking tanks. Work it out.
However, the latest iteration of the series, Front Mission: Evolved, is going to be a third person shooter- which has riled up its hardcore fanbase something awful. Western subcontractor Double Helix Games has been quick to guarantee that Front Mission: Evolved won't turn out to be another lazy shooter.
“The world of Front Mission is enough to support multiple genres. We worked very closely with Square Enix to ensure a lot of strategic elements made the transition into the third-person-shooter style.”- Jeremy Lee, Double Helix Development Director
I hope he's on the level. Front Mission deserves nothing less than a fantastic next-gen iteration. [Wired.com]
Tax Breaks for UK games Industry
Gordon Brown famously (and correctly) praised the UK games industry as being the best in Europe- and his Labour government is making sure that our AAA companies are receiving kickbacks for their trouble. Chancellor Alistair Darling has announced that the UK Gaming industry can expect government support.
"Our creative industries are a huge source of jobs, wealth and pride. I will offer help to the computer games sector similar to the steps which are helping to restore the fortunes of the British film industry."
However, no solid guarantees have been made as yet- suggesting that this might be a shrewd way of garnering gamer popularity before the impending general election. The response from UK devs has been extremely positive, but even they are cautious about whether this is a cynical popularity play rather than a genuine recognition of our developers' contribution to the economy.
"It is really heartening to finally see government recognising our industry, albeit on the eve of an election. Let's raise a glass and hope that it is a genuine plan to do something, rather than just another plan to 'consult'."- Frontier's David Braben
Whilst this is great news for the UK gaming industry, his tax break does raise some interesting questions about the definition of what makes a Video Game in the first place. What makes video game code different from the applets and programs spooled by underpaid coders working for other industries? [Gamesindustry.biz]