Feeds

back to article Pong creator turns nose up at Nintendo Wii U

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has doubts over the long-term success of the Nintendo Wii U, after admitting he doesn't get the tablet-controlled console. "I actually am baffled by it," said the Pong creator in an interview with the New York Times. "I don't think it's going to be a big success." Bushnell - often hailed at the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Mobile gaming is definitely moving forward, but to say they will replace Consoles, is like saying that consoles were going to replace PC gaming.

Mobile gaming is in a different area to Console.

People like the large screen and handheld controls Consoles offer.

Maybe in the future the mobile will be the hardware that links up to the TV by cable or wireless and a contoller.

8
1
FAIL

It's been at least 5 years (since the launch of the 1st iphone) that we've been told that mobile gaming will become the next big thing and it's not. The iphone couldn't manage it and Android can't.

The Nintendo DS was supposed to die out from mobile gaming and it went on to be Nintendo's biggest portable system ever. I believe it either the top selling games system ever or the second.

The 3DS still managed to have a respectable launch despite not really having any software for a good 6 months into its life.

That's because people who want to play games want to have something that plays games well and that means having something more than a touch screen.

That's largely due to the fact the controls are very poor. You simply can not play games to the same level on a touch screen. That's why mobile games are cheap. No one values them and why should they? The only good games are very simple games that work fine with a touch screen or something like GTA 3 which does indeed look nice but you just can't control it well. It's not the same experience.

Your average consumer won't want a phone that looks like a games console so I can't see anyone putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone purely in the hopes that gaming will take off so we're not going to get good controls out of mobile gaming and it will continue to be a non-event. It's something for people who can't afford to enter a real gaming market or indies too concerned about PC piracy.

12
0
Silver badge

The iPhone hasn't really tried, it sells enough already.

Android probably can, now that Jelly Bean has drastically reduced the its latency.

Agreed, it depends on the control scheme. And console gaming is a different activity to personal 5-minutes-to-kill gaming. The past sales of Gameboy and PSPs would suggest their is a big enough market to make a good games controller for phones, though it might benefit from being backed by a big name or consortium in order to gain game developer's confidence.

0
0

Putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone ...

... has already failed spectacularly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-Gage_(device)

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone ...

The N-gage's controls were the least of its problems. This was a device which required you to remove the battery to replace a game cartridge. That and other questionable design decisions doomed it.

Anyway at least one Sony Ericsson phone shipped with a slide out game pad.

The issue is that most mobile games completely ignore such a controller even it's there on the device because so few devices have a controller. If Google / Sony / Whoever want to see more controller enabled games they need to be handing out SDKs like toffee to make it happen and open developer's eyes to the possibilities.

The controller doesn't even have to be built into the phone - most phones and tablets have bluetooth. Theoretically I should be able to pair a PS3 controller to some random phone / tablet and play a shooter but can I? Only if I root the device and go through a stupid rigmarole which means 99.99% won't even bother. Why Sony doesn't make it easy to pair their controllers with a PC or tablets is beyond me.

1
0
Silver badge
Linux

Theoretically I should be able to pair a PS3 controller...

Could do that with my N900 and the emulators I ran on it. That and tv-out made for much Sonic related joy in various hotels I found myself stuck in.

I assume that I probably could do the same with my newer android phone, but it doesn't seem that easy.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone ...

Forget the N-Gage. Let's look at a modern example: the Xperia. I don't know how well it's doing, but surely there must be somethnig to the idea of an Android phone with PS controls built in.

1
0

That is the other thing, can a large publisher or developer rely on generating income from something people will probably only play for a few minutes and something they view as a throw-away item? I imagine not. It may be a nice way to earn a bit of easy money porting an existing game that has paid for itself to a mobile device but I wonder how well that even works out. Rockstar hasn't given us anything more than max Payne 1 and GTA 3. Maybe they won't do the others because it isn't worth it.

Sony did do that android based play station phone. I can't imagine that was a great seller. They don't appear to be continuing on with that and see value in trying to keep going with the PSP. Too many people probably view a gaming phone as being too geeky so I'm not sure it'll work for the foreseeable future so we're stuck with touch screens which aren't good enough.

0
0

Re: Theoretically I should be able to pair a PS3 controller...

You can do that but it's less hassle to carry a phone and a 3ds than a phone, ps3 controller and possibly some sort of cradle so the phone and controller are easier to manage together.

0
0

"The past sales of Gameboy and PSPs would suggest their is a big enough market to make a good games controller for phones"

The PS3 controller I have hooked up to my Android* tablet is a pretty decent games controller :-)

*not looking to start a holy war here - not sure about ipads/iphones - anyone?

0
0

"Sony did do that android based play station phone. I can't imagine that was a great seller."

Mainly because of the anemic hardware. The control was great, even if it made the phone a little bulky, but the storage, ram and cpu were definitely last-gen when it was being sold.

Might not sell many PSP/Vitas if they made the phone too good...

0
0

Atari?

Remind me, where's Atari now?

8
0
Thumb Down

Re: Atari?

Infogrames bought them a number of years ago and took on the name. Nolan Bushnell, on the other hand, has slightly more money than god after starting and selling off both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese. He may not be involved in video games anymore, but he's got a bit more clout than whoever this Pete Foster guy is does.

0
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Atari?

Yeah, he sold the Atari business for $26m to Warner in 1976 (and that's when $26m was worth something). He got booted out a few years later after falling out with the new owners.

0
0
Thumb Down

I disagree

it is true that mobile gaming is on the up - however, for those who consider themselves serious gamers, will they want to play on 4-5" screen when they're at home? i don't think so.

there is A LOT of scope to expand gaming at home, including the Microsoft patent recently which uses AR to turn your living room into a complete gaming environment (bit lilke the Star Trek TNG holodeck).

the queues for the new consoles will put the Apple fanbois to shame :)

4
0
Unhappy

Re: I disagree

Those who consider themselves serious gamers are now in the minority. The mobile and Wii and Facebook and BigFish and Flash gaming crowd - we'll call them "casual" for simplicity - are a much, much larger market than the codbloppers. Even larger than the Haloites.

It'll take the games makers a little while longer to work this out, but it's coming. MS have already seen it - their own stats show that people use their Xbox360's more for playing Netflix than games.

Sad, really.

1
0
Rob
Bronze badge

Re: I disagree

Definitely true, I think MS cottoned on to this awhile ago and started evolving their 360 into a Home Entertainment hub and as a bonus it plays games as well. It's all tied up nicely with the their mobile phone and desktop strategy by the looks of it.

0
0
Bronze badge

The flaw in your argument....

Wireless HDMI.

A powerful smartphone can already generate HD on the fly. If we accept graphics 1.5 gen out of date, a smartphone can double as a console...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: I disagree

Those who consider themselves serious gamers are now in the minority. The mobile and Wii and Facebook and BigFish and Flash gaming crowd - we'll call them "casual" for simplicity - are a much, much larger market than the codbloppers. Even larger than the Haloites.

Perhaps in terms of numbers, but in terms of money? I can't see Angry Birds doing a $1bn midnight release any time soon.

2
0

Re: I disagree

This would be the Angry Birds made by Rovio, who currently are reckoned to have a market cap somewhere around $6-$9 billion? They just released a new Angry Birds, and:

"Just two and a half hours after its November 8 release, "Angry Birds Star Wars" rose to the No. 1 paid iPhone app and the top grossing iPhone app in the U.S. Apple App Store, according to Ville Heijari, Rovio's SVP-brand marketing."

They don't release actual figures unfortunately, but that doesn't include Android sales which were higher (but worth less).

Big money in them thar handhelds.

0
0

Re: The flaw in your argument....

> Wireless HDMI

See also Apple's Airplay. Throw your iThing screen to the TV via an AppleTV blob.

0
0

Re: I disagree

Couldn't agree more with the point about MS working this out and evolving the 360 into an entertainment hub.

They're well and truly ahead of the console crowd with regards to this. I think home entertainment devices are the future of gaming, where everything is under 1 roof; TV, films, music, gaming, web browsing and social networking.

The question that remains about this is what will this hub be? A Smart TV? Set top box (eg. Apple TV or Google TV)? Or games consoles becoming more entertainment focused?

However, once this is answered, it will raise more questions. If it's not going to be a console, casual games might work locally on the devices, but hardcore games will have to be streamed via services like the more or less defunct OnLive. If it is to be a Smart TV, what platform will become most dominant? With Smart TVs, how will they sort out the appalling input methods? With a set top box, will there be a default control system for gaming?

It already appears like MS is making inroads into the wider varieties of input methods required for the 360 with regards to the SmartGlass app for smartphones, which you can use as a simple controller to navigate menus or keyboard/mouse where appropriate (eg. Internet Explorer on 360).

0
0
Silver badge

Re: I disagree

Big money in them thar handhelds.

And as I said, nowhere near as much money as BLOPS2 made in one hour. Besides, did you see the number of projects Rovio released before they made it big? And how many others have made it as far?

1
0

Re: I disagree

Granted (probably - we don't have actual figures, remember!). But the whole market and development methods are different between a handheld and a big 3D AAA title.

And it's the cost of the latter which is putting large numbers of development studios down the shitter. Who's winning? No one.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I disagree

"And it's the cost of the latter which is putting large numbers of development studios down the shitter. Who's winning? No one."

Triple A games failing to sell and causing their studios to go out of business make the headlines because of the numbers involved. The failure of a mobile game might not lose as much money but it's just as catastrophic for the developer because they generally have much less capital than the larger studios.

The mobile market is not the land of nectar and ambrosia that it's often made out to be. If you make it, you can make it really big like Rovio have because mobile games have a viral quality to them. This isn't the experience of the majority though. Some are lucky enough to turn a profit but most aren't around 12 months after their games release.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: The flaw in your argument....

+1 for tv-independent ARM-to-TV hookups from phones and tablets.

Add some bluetooth controllers and off you go.

However, let's see what Valve pull out of the bag. Always on ubuntu thingy with a spinny disk > tablet

I reckon Nintendo is telling porkies. AUD 350 and you can't break even? "Oh we aren't making money on it but we aren't doing badly," sounds like marketing.

0
0

Re: I disagree

"And it's the cost of the latter which is putting large numbers of development studios down the shitter"

OR AAA games (and their studios) are failing because 90% of games these days are completely uninspiring and rehashed sequels. Not to mention putting levels together that are cinematically pretty, but so easy you barely have to fire a shot to complete the mission (I'm looking at *you* black ops...).

So serious gamers are being asked to play extremely similar games year after year, and in some cases the sequels are easier than the originals to broaden their appeal - any wonder the studios are dying?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Has-been doesn't 'get' current technology

Hardly a shock story...

3
1
Meh

Mobile Gaming?!

Really? When I want to play pong on my phone, I'll whip it out. For any other actual games I'll stick to my PC (and I am sure that console players will stick to their consoles!).

2
0
Silver badge

This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

Quite possibly one of the best handheld gaming machines of all time.

Ok, ok. It wasn't as popular as the Gameboy, or the GameGear, but it was an excellent machine.

2
0

Re: This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

The hardware was nice but it's not much use if there are no games for it.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

I seem to remember TV adverts for the Lynx, aimed at my age group at the time, set in a boys toilet in a school- with Lynx Link cables slung from cubicle to cubicle for multiplayer gaming. Can anyone confirm?

0
0
Unhappy

Re: This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

Yes, I remember that advert. I believe that it showed them playing the surfing section of California games.

I loved my Lynx, but it was a bugger for burning the batteries. As a student, I couldn't afford to keep buying Lithium batteries, and my rechargeables only gave me 40 minutes of play time for an 8 hour charge, so you were stuck to playing while plugged into the mains adaptor. This vs a GameBoy that ran for 8 hours on rechargeables, sold for half the price and had a ton more games.

It was only recently that I met another former owner, prior to that no-one else I knew had also owned one. Hence despite the name of the console my link cable was never used.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: This from the founder of the company that created the Atari Lynx?

The Atari Lynx was an outstanding machine by the standards of the time.

That said, the incarnation of "Atari" that sold the Lynx wasn't Bushnell era Atari Inc., but Atari Corp., the company formed after Atari Inc. was split and Jack Tramiel bought the console/computer division. Though it had some continuity with its predecessor (*), it was quite different in many ways.

Though the Lynx probably suffered due to its (initial) high price, large-ish size (**) and battery hungriness, its other major problem was that it was sold by Atari Corp., who couldn't market their way out of a paper bag. Not helped by the fact that Tramiel-era Atari Corp. was obviously a low budget operation (***) that couldn't- or wouldn't- spend the money on marketing required to compete with Nintendo and Sega. Hence the lack of big-name licenses and knock-off game titles like "Dirty Larry: Renegade Cop" (regardless of whether the game itself was actually good, that makes it sound cheap).

(*) Unlike the present-day "Atari" which really just the company formerly known as Infogrames after they bought the rights to the name and IP, and has no other connection to the original company.

(**) Addressed slightly with the redesigned "Lynx II". Apparently the original was so big because alleged research had "told" them that customers liked that because it made them feel like they were getting better value, or something.

(***) Some described it as "penny wise, pound foolish", though I suppose you could argue that the market had changed since Atari Inc.'s 1983 fall from grace that prompted the sell-off, and that Atari Corp's "second tier" status was an intentional business decision.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"Bushnell - often hailed at the godfather of videogames"

Are you sure you don't mean the great-grandfather?

1
0
Silver badge

Uhm.

"Mobile" gaming is console gaming with a 3G chipset. Same or similar business model, same locked-down hardware, same Tomy interface.

If anything, Microsoft seem desperate to turn the PC into a games console.

0
1
FAIL

Load of rubbish

If I want to squint at a screen while on the train and play tetris then fine - mobile gaming has come a long way the last few years. If I want to blast away play COD for a couple of hours then I think I'll stick with my XBox thanks.

As I think has been mentioned before - I don't remember portable DVD players wiping out the DVD/TV market, so why should mobiles wipeout big screen gaming?

7
0
Bod
Bronze badge

Re: Load of rubbish

You're in the minority though. Most "gamers" are casual and don't care much about quality. They're the same people who are fine with crap quality music on crap quality earbuds at crap quality bitrates served on their iPhones.

Next step is to link the mobile gaming to the big TV (almost there, can do similar with videos already). Have the power of "serious" games in the cloud and the TV/mobile just as the display. Console, end of. Even if the result isn't as high quality as it used to be (again, I refer to the situtation with music).

And as for size, there's the iPad and like.

And portable DVD players - they were inconvenient. Mobile devices have replaced them by playing downloaded/streaming movies & TV shows and as said can hook up to the big TV.

Convienience is king, like it or not. That's why so many people are fat ;)

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

If anything

I'd say it's the PC which would kill the console. Recently more and more games are beings old on console and PC, rather than just console as before. The only thing the PC is missing is a gamepad and it could play the vast majority of console games with ease.

Lets face it, right now a console is released, and within a year it's slower than the latest PC hardware. Hell some consoles are coming out as outdated.

It used to be when a console was launched it was ahead of the PC for a few years, but that just isn't the case any more. Give me the games I want on the PC, give me a games controller I can plug into the PC, and I'd honestly be happy to give up on consoles.

I mean lets face it, to keep people using consoles now they're adding "amazing new features" which have existed since... forever on the PC.

1
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: If anything

Two points:

- you can plug an Xbox controller into a PC

- even when the Xbox 360 was launched, it was a year behind PC graphics card technology

4
0

Re: If anything

I doubt it - for most people, the cost and complexity of setting up a gaming PC don't outweigh the benfits of better graphics. Add to the the ability of a console to sit in your living room and make use of your high-quality surrpoing sound systems and large display screen.

Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room.

5
0
FAIL

Re: If anything

Buy a £250 console and you get 4-5 years of life out of it and are still able to play the latest games with the same user experience as everyone else.

Try that with a PC and most (note, not ALL) modern games and you'll be lucky if it's even going to work in noddy graphics mode 3 years down the line.

The reasons that many people buy consoles are there's no technical barrier to overcome, smaller initial outlay and no perpetual hardware refresh to play the latest games other than when you decide to go 'next gen'.

9
2
Thumb Down

Re: If anything

I disagree. I used to play PC games but it was such a pain making sure I'd got the right drivers, the right soundcard/graphics card I gave up. In the end I bought a PS1 and haven't looked back.

If you have regular access to a TV then consoles are far more convienient and cheaper.

4
1
Windows

Re: If anything

Well, I'm sort of partially leaving the console systems (PS3) and feel like a move to PC gaming is on the cards. Thanks to an article on the register a while back (Trevor on Alienware) I now have a laptop PC capable of playing most modern games at high quality, with a hdmi connector.

Connect that easily portable device to my TV - use a wireless mouse/keyboard and I'm away - with much more customisability and freedom.

Playing Skyrim from the Steam sale (in 'Ultra' mode) and looking at the available modifications? Astounding! I think the PS3 is going to one of the kids eventually, as the laptop also has a Blu-ray drive so I don't even need the ps3 for that!

Will it be out of date soon? Yes, but I can just ramp down the graphics, still playable. AND I can do actual WORK on it to subsidise it if I so wish - Win/Win.

Am I a convert/turncoat/member of the PC master race? I don't care really, just seems like the most flexible option.

2
0

Re: If anything

"Buy a £250 console and you get 4-5 years of life out of it and are still able to play the latest games with the same user experience as everyone else." - which is why I made the switch.

I used to be a PC gamer but every year there would be something I'd have to upgrade - graphics card, CPU, motherboard, memory. All of this of course required getting Windows to once again play ball and when I was on it every evening it was worth it.

Now I generally only play games every other weekend and around my friends house so we can yell in person at eachother's stupidity. I bought a second-hand Xbox 4 years ago for less than the cost of a graphics card and I'm still able to play the latest games on it. Sure they don't look as good as with a high-spec'd PC but as a casual gamer, I really don't care.

I use a 24" monitor I also use with my laptop and everything else fits in a rucksack with a few snacks thrown in. For serious gamers the precision and high-res of PC gaming will always win but for casual gamers who want to be able to pick-up and play...consoles are the way to go.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: If anything

"Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room."

Forget childish games, but I've used a PC the the living room for over a decade! How else can I use the PC's functionality whilst connected to both the big screen and the monitor?

1
1

Re: If anything

Install a new GPU ... job done.

Now try that with a console.

1
4
Silver badge

Re: If anything

Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room.

With things like the Windows 8 interface and the new Steam interface tailored for large screens, won't this be exactly the same as keeping a console in your living room, except it can do a shitload more with less hassle? I've been a PC and console gamer for 20 years, and it's only recently that I've finally considered hooking the PC to the TV.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: If anything

Try that with a PC and most (note, not ALL) modern games and you'll be lucky if it's even going to work in noddy graphics mode 3 years down the line.

Sorry, got to disagree with you there. There's this odd myth that old PC games don't work on modern systems. That's true with some games (Deus Ex 2 being a prime example), but they're definitely the exceptions to the rule. You can connect to Steam today, download Half Life 1, and it'll work, despite being 14 years old. I've been playing Wing Commander 1 from 1990 on my quad-core Win7 box, no worries.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: If anything

Sure, you can connect a PC up to these bits of kit, but them you have to factor in keeping a PC in the living room.

And how, pray tell, is that any different from keeping any other piece of equipment in the living room? Seriously, one of my PCs is smaller than my PS3 was and still packs more power.

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.