View Thread : Well they're consistent anyway.

A Black Falcon

DICE 2004: Nintendo Still Skeptical of Online
Latest comments from NOA on the subject.
March 04, 2022 - At a DICE held roundtable in Las Vegas, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of corporate affairs Perrin Kaplan commented on online gaming and what it means to Nintendo. The figurehead reiterated Nintendo's stance on the developing gameplay mechanic as something that lacks a profitable model and hasn't appealed to a wide enough audience.

"I think from where we stand it looks to us that it's going to be fairly niche for a long time," said Kaplan on online gaming. "I think some of our interests instead lie in building community on the wireless play front as opposed to the online one."

Kaplan, on a panel with executives from Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and THQ was the only person to question the future of online games. The three other publishers all have online games in development.

Dark Jaguar
*growls like a dog at a stranger, or a dog at someone who entered the room RIGHT after leaving the room*

Sacred Jellybean


If you're so desperate for online then play a PS2 or X-Box. Sheesh. I'm fine without it.

The fact remains that it's extremely difficult to gauge any kind of progress or money flow in internet gaming. Especially for a home console (as opposed to the much more lucrative PC). Even then, it remains a niche market.

I think the main drive behind Nintendo's stance on internet gaming is because of how the home needs to be set up. You bring your console or console modem home, you call up your cable provider or ISP to have another signal sent in which case your probably need additional hardware as well. Your bill is now doubled to your ISP. Now you have the monthly fee from the home console developers to use their bandwidth in order to play online. Now you need to buy the game that has the option of net play, and most often than not, purchase some kind of keyboard and mouse configuration to use the menus for setting up a game and chatting to talk smack to your rivals. Now we're ready to play! After spending about 100-150 bucks upfront plus a monthly fee of realistically around 60 bucks combined; you are talking about one expensive hobby. On top of that, you have to be able to find people interested in playing the game you bought of which there are probably around 1000 of them in the entire united states. Peak times, off times, times of day and time changes all factor in to finding a rival or cooperative buddy. Ultimately, the only game you will be playing online is whatever is the most popular. To a console developer that means one genre = one demographic = low and slow sales.

As it stands right now, there is no way to consistantly cut a long-term profit through internet gaming. That means Nintendo has to make the choice of jumping in with both feet in to the realm of free online gaming, which equals out to slow connections, thin bandwithds and headaches for main stream gamers who wouldn't know a super node from a host.

However, keeping all of that in mind, online gaming is an amazing experience that is just plain fun. If it can be made consistant, it will completely change the industry. For now, it's for nerds... with deep pockets.

Dark Jaguar
lazy, you don't need to get ripped off by your isp provider to do this you know :D.

It's called a router, and it's amazing powers allow you to get as many connections as you may want. Considering that when online you won't be using the maximum speed anyway, nowhere near it, you can be assured that you can have a rather large number of simultaneous connections without ever seeing any sort of slowdown due to it.

For that matter, why a mouse? We're talking consoles right? They all seem to control just fine with a controller alone. The setup is very intuitive, in fact plug and play, for getting your online connection up and running on both PS2 and XBox, if you're talking broadband anyway. Why a keyboard? Both PS2 and XBox have headsets so you can actually TALK trash. With the PS2, you can actually use your computer's keyboard if you want since it's got USB ports, as well as a USB headset you might already have since the official PS2 one is USB as it is.

There are far more than 1000 people online at any one time playing games. Even games that aren't very popular any more tend to have a LOT of people playing them online. Consider Warcraft 2 and Starcraft for instance, where you can still easily find a match even though Wacraft 3 is the most popular among those right now. Also consider just how many different servers you can find for various FPS on the computer.

You see, you really should have looked into this more I think. Generally you are dead right about things game related, which is why this utter lack of effort to truly find out what's going on, most of this I assume is just stuff you dreamed about last night after eating those space slugs, is rather dissappointing.

Getting it setup is plug and play. You don't have to even buy a router if you dont' want to, you can just plug the cable on your computer into your game system if you wanted to (even though routers are a slim $30 investment). With the XBox, you don't even have to buy a single bit of hardware, but you DO have to pay for the service itself. There's something right there that you could have mentioned but didn't.

Your assumption on all this stuff you need to do to operate the games is also rather silly all things considering. Why would the online game makers even bother making menus that can't be navigated easily without a keyboard mouse combo, when every OTHER menu a game has doesn't need such a thing? I would know, having several online games on my consoles myself, that this is NOT an issue at all.

Essentially, the only costly part is paying for the service itself, and possibly getting a router if you want to be able to use your computer and the rest of your stuff at once (no, it's not stealing, that's what they are FOR, in fact my cable company has helped set mine up before). There's getting that isp connection in the first place if you don't even have a computer as well, and I guess the cost of getting the actual console, but honestly you have to get the system anyway and the only reason anyone would be interested in online play is if they already know the fun of the internet.

It's not niche at all, people love to play games online. It's not expensive, unless you are so out of it you don't have the only two basic components. The only people who care about the cost are Nintendo, and it's THEIR money they care about, not our's. Their main argument, which is VERY hard for them to trick any of us into thinking is "for us", is that there won't be enough return on the investment of making servers and such. True enough, because as far as I know most game companies making online games barely make enough off of them to keep the services up and running. That's not the point though. The point is that this extra feature means more people will buy the games, and THAT is where the profit comes from, indirectly. That's why so many companies do this thing, because they know of the indirect profits they can get from it.

In short, you should try the whole system out. I can tell you that your assumptions are incorrect from personal experience.

Very well said, DJ. It doesn't cost nearly that much, lazy. To get my X-Box online I needed an extra 100 feet of ethernet cable ($20) and a $50 X-Box Live starter kit, which comes with a year of service, two free games, and a headset. No keyboards, no mice. MS has it all figured out. Then I just needed to buy games that had online modes. It's as simple as that. Very cheap, and it really adds a lot to games. Why do you think EA's sports games sell so much better on PS2's than the Xbox and GC versions? Because they're only online-enabled on the PS2. When EA goes online on the X-Box you can bet your ass that sales will increase dramatically for the xbox ports.

A Black Falcon
Well said DJ? Mostly, except for how you suggest that Starcraft isn't as popular anymore... I think the fact that you still see like 50,000 or 60,000 people on at all times in the game makes that a very questionable point... :)

big guy
the only games i've ever played online have been blizzards efforts on the very free, and the original PSO for dreamcast back when it was on a free server. the only reason i've considered looking into final fantasy 11 is because i hear you get a month or 2 free, and though i want world of warcraft with a passion...i'm not sure if i'll get it because of the monthly fee.

my point? i only like to pay for my games once and i'm sure i'm not alone. unless the on-line mode is free, it means nothing to me. i understand that it may be a selling point, but not to me. i understand where nintendo's coming from, they don't want to spend a bunch of money on setting up servers and then risking having people like me not bother to pay to use them.

i guess i don't mind that nintendo won't supply me with on-line gaming because i probably wouldn't use it, but it's sad to see their popularity dropping because they won't cater to those who demand it.

Great Rumbler makes no difference to those of us with 56k, just as long as the games are good.

A Black Falcon
Huh? Starcraft is certainly playable just fine on 56k. So, in fact, is Warcraft III... I've done it...

Dark Jaguar
Yes, with PC games they tend more often than not to cater to the narrowband crowd whenever they can, reducing lag as much as possible (and when lag is down to playable on narrowband, that also helps broadband users get even cleaner connections where there are lots of people). XBox is the exception regarding exlusion of narrowband, not the rule. In fact I remember people complaining about that sort of thing.

big guy, I see your point there, however the thing is I just want to play Nintendo's fun multiplayer games online, so I demand it (you don't need to put a dash in online ya know :D). They could provide a free service, ya know? Yes, I am in agreement with you regarding monthly fees. I myself have never once played a MMORPG because of the fees involved. FFXI MIGHT be the first I play, but even then it's iffy. However, I still love online gaming and there are PLENTY of completely free online games. Generally the only ones that have a fee associated with them ARE the MMORPGs. The rest have cheap enough server costs that the game sales more than make up for the cost of running those servers, especially when you get another company to run those servers. Now, the one exception I made to my rule was XBox Live. The reasons are simple. It's a really cheap YEARLY fee, so it's easy to pay, and it's cheap enough that I can easily get that much together in a year. Also, it isn't just for ONE game, but for access to online features in a LOT of games, more importantly, a lot of games I WANT to play online. So, it was a very good deal there.

To be honest, I think a sort of cable company system should be worked out with ISPs. All the online game companies could group together to get their services paid for via the fees people pay on their ISP providers. On our end, it would work like tihs. You get yourself an ISP provider. They ask you "would you like to get access to the online gaming consortium & sons for an additional fee of $5 a month?" or something like that. You say yes, you're pooling your money in with everyone across America for access to this service. Games all request access to this sort of thing, and the ISP, after determining that you paid for the access, passes you on to the service. There are problems of course. It's on the internet, so it's BEYOND easy to get around actually paying the fee. Just find someone who will pass you on to these servers by just sorta sending you through another router, in a way your ISP wouldn't detect is going on. The protection is that this service would have security to detect what's connecting to it of course. The other problem is how much would everyone need to pay to keep all the companies in this consortium or whatever up and running with their various game servers. $5 adds up, but likely not by enough... In the end, my little plan may just not be practicle, but some sort of solution should be thought of eventually so that both the servers are paid for and the people aren't paying ridiculous fees for all sorts of games. (Also, I'd eventually cancel the service when I stop playing the game for a long time, meaning my character will be deleated FOREVER, which is by far the most frustrating prospect.)

ABF, I didn't mean to suggest that Starcraft is an unpopular game, not at all. In fact my point there was how many people still play it, just like your's was. My point was that it isn't THE most popular online game right now, and is in fact far from it, yet it STILL has a LOT of people playing it online, basically meaning lazy's assumption that you can only find matches on whatever game is the flavor of the month is inaccurate, to say the least.

Great Rumbler
Huh? Starcraft is certainly playable just fine on 56k. So, in fact, is Warcraft III... I've done it...

Oh sure you CAN, but there's lots of lag.

A Black Falcon
DJ, I'm sure that Starcraft is still one of the most popular online games out there. Easily. Oh there are games more popular than it but you suggest that it's lost a lot of popularity when if you go online you'll see how it's still one of the top multiplayer gaming titles on the net, I think...

GR, I've played SC extensively for years and years on dialup. Lag? Infrequently. If you're in a 8-player game, okay, maybe. But you'd be surprised at how stable SC is... remember it came out in 1998. I think I was on 33.6 when I first played it online... :)

As for WC3, I played it some on dialup. I was quite surprised to see how it was almost completely lag-free it was in 1v1 onilne games. More players well might bring some lag, but it never gets anywhere close to unplayable...

Now if it's FPSes you're playing, it's obviously a whole different story. But these aren't FPSes. :)

Great Rumbler
GR, I've played SC extensively for years and years on dialup. Lag? Infrequently. If you're in a 8-player game, okay, maybe. But you'd be surprised at how stable SC is... remember it came out in 1998. I think I was on 33.6 when I first played it online...

There's lag with my connection. Bad lag. I used to play Starcraft online a lot, and yes it was playable, but there were times when the lag was just horrible.

A Black Falcon
Well then you don't just have dialup. You have bad dialup. Mine isn't that bad. Most of the time in SC I get no lag, or very minor lag, when I was using dialup... as I said some games it'll go bad and you'll lag, and with more players or people farther away lag is more common, but most of the time lag isn't an issue in SC on dialup for me.

Dark Jaguar
I really suspect you just have a terrible connection GR. From what I understand you live pretty far out in the country right? That might just explain it. I mean, keep in mind your connection won't ever be AT 56k anyway, but it seems like you're even lower than the average by a decent amount.

Yeah I suppose it's likely still on the top ten lists. I guess WC2 was the better game to make an example of, but I just wanted another relatively unpopular game (relative being the key word) that I knew still had a lot of people playing it, and that just popped into mind.

A Black Falcon
WC2 is a much better example. SC is not a good example of a game with relatively few people playing it... far from it... :)

Dark Jaguar
No no, I didn't say "only a few people playing it", i was making a point that a LOT of people are playing it even though it's not the most popular game out! It's a very simple concept!

big guy
i like putting a hyphen in on-line because it makes the reading of it more like how i say it's some super high tech thing, or something. yeah.

anyway, if net play is free, then i'd surely want it...but if i gotta pay, i can do without it. i wonder if microsoft actually makes any money off of Xbox live or if it's a huge drain, because it is a lot of service for a small amount.

Great Rumbler
Well then you don't just have dialup. You have bad dialup.

Yes, yes I do.

Dark Jaguar
Okay then. I'm not sure exactly how you say it that a hyphen would actually make it totally different. on-line and online to me look exactly the same in pronouncing...

You're right, DJ. My info is outdated. But it's also based on generic models not specific companies. These generic models are based on 'average' game developers who are, for the most part, not interested in ever opening the www door.

"Most game companies making online games barely make enough off of them to keep the services up and running."

This is essentially, exactly what I said.

Would it be a true statement to say that in the cases of console development houses that they would be the ones footing the bill for massive servers while 3rd parties would reap the benefits of the individual game sales?

More specifically, that the only way Nintendo itself would return a profit is to factor in online game play in to every in-house release? The R&D for every game would drastically add to their individual development time and the overall time line of released games per quarter. Nintendo's highest point in their history only gave us around 10 titles in a year. To turn a game out every year and have it available for net play (ie: combed and tested for bugs, more so than with normal development). Let's say they could provide 1 to 3 online titles within a year. That would be a sad state of affairs. A smaller 3rd party could afford such a huge gap between games released, but Nintendo (as the console developer and the server provider) could not.

As far as menus are concerned, I wasn't speaking of in game menus such as the start menus. I was talking about the menus that you need to navigate when connecting and finding viable hosts and players. But with good R&D I suppose those menus could be made as simple and effective as the in game menus. I've only seen it done through a mouse/keyboard.

Lastly, about the keyboard; Am I mistaken that a headset (microphone and speaker system) would transmit and receive the audio data over the same network that you are playing the game on? Wouldn't this add to lagging problems? If not, then that's great. But every PC telephone Iíve used has lagged my connection.

From what you're saying there's definitely an easier solution to getting plugged in to net play. But in the end it's still much more expensive and requires more technical know-how on the consumer's part than traditional game playing, for now atleast. And those two factors are good enough for the Suits to ignore it and focus on traditional, business-as-usual structures for their development. I also agree with you that Nintendo is looking at the bottom line more than anything else which should be obvious since they have more money in 'The Bank' than Sony and MS's game divisions combined... Nintendo likes da monies.

Dark Jaguar
Well the thing about matchmaking is all you have to do is point and select the right option. No typing is required at all. The only thing you really need to type in at any point is the nickname of someone you want to add to your buddy list, and that's about as tedius as naming a character in a console game. Navigating the matchmaking programs in these games is just like navigating the items menu as far as the interaction goes. You select if you want the server to randomly find a match for you (and you can filter this in a lot of games), or if you want to pick from a list. Then, you simply move up and down the list just like in any RPG with long lists. I even believe you can press L and R to skip by pages at a time in a few games... You see, that's not really a problem at all.

As far as setup goes, it's plug and play for broadband. You just plug in the cable and boom, the system does everything else behind the scenes via automatic setup. Unless you have a weird online service that requires a user name or password or something similar (cable, and I believe DSL as well, simply use the MAC address of the main modem to confirm you are who you are, and since everything has to hook up to that modem, you don't have to configure anything else). Now, as far as narrowband like dial-up, which it sounds like you have, yes you would have to do the standard setup of the phone number, user name, and password.

Now as far as lag concerning the voice chat, I'll tell you my experience with it. Using narrowband, I can safely assume lag WOULD be an issue. Broadband however doesn't have this issue. You can easily have a full team match on the console games and no lag while chatting up a storm. On the PC, with so many more people in the average multiplayer game, they handle it like you suggest, by using a different server for the voice chat, indeed different programs. This of course means you have to actually tell everyone in the game to load up the program and go to such and such room. Very annoying, but once games finally start integrating the more popular talk servers into the program itself, it'll be the best of both. One last thing, if the lag does get bad, and it can happen with broadband, especially with companies that don't give you nearly the upwidth as they do downwidth, the voice is at lowest priority. It's setup so that if the connection is slow, it'll FIRST lag the voice to get the actual gameplay data sent out, and THEN will send the voice. Conversations will be laggy, sorta like talking to someone several light seconds away like on the moon or something, and break up as packets of voice data are dropped in favor of gameplay related data, but the game itself can still be running smoothly.

I wasn't suggesting making EVERY game online. I was actually stating that online play would sell more of that game, so that's where they would get the extra profit from.