Features// SPOnG's weekly round up!

What a difference a week makes

Posted 21 Sep 2005 17:17 by
Hello folks. This is the first of a weekly SPOnG column aimed at dissecting the past week of videogame happenings. Have a look on SPOnG in about the middle of every week and you?ll see a bannered link through to an update of what you?re reading right now.

And what a week to kick things off. We have a lot to get through following Tokyo Game Show 2005, but we?ll start with the Nintendo Revolution controller.

How long have we been waiting for this announcement? Ages is how long. We were tipped off that Iwata would show the device in his keynote, though we were offered no details as to what we should expect.

Then it happened. Nintendo showed what looked like the remote control for a Bush TV. It came with an attachment that made it look like something you might shove up your arse. What was going on?

SPOnG had staff on the ground in Tokyo, as well as having our two fully-staffed offices in the UK. Those in Tokyo who had seen Iwata?s keynote had hands-on with the controller and had seen Nintendo?s presentation of it had this to say. Those distanced from it had this to say. As you can see ? two different opinions ? opinions that reflected the split that shattered the games industry for a morning last week.

The news triggered fierce debate as Nintendo fans sought to defend the announcement from what can only be described as hoards of mocking naysayers. It was an amusing and informative morning. So what do we think of the Revolution controller? What?s the upshot a week or so after it being unveiled?

Only a fool would fail to see the potential of what Nintendo is offering. The controller looks so inconsequential and is so massively important, it?s easy to understand how such a divide has emerged. You have to remember that the interface will offer a complete change in the way games are played. You will, for the first time, be able to interact in a fully 3D way with your videogame software. The controller knows where it is: What angle it?s at. Up, down, left, right, forwards, backwards, tilted, skewed? it doesn?t matter. If the DS offers touch gaming, the Revolution will offer feel gaming. This is big news ? and it comes from Nintendo ? just remember that.

Those championing Nintendo pointed to the Famicom, the SNES, the GameBoy, the DS, the analogue stick as proof that everything the firm touches turns to gold. The haters called the PowerGlove, the SuperScope, the Virtual Boy, the N64DD, the Pokemon Mini, the GameCube as evidence that Nintendo has as strong a track record when it comes to failure as it does successful innovation.
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way 21 Sep 2005 18:01
Didn't they mention the Gamecube based Gameboy replacement. I would be more interested in buying the Revolution, if both it and the handheld got standard ports and linux homebrew (with apps and a 640*480 or 720*480 screen for the handheld).
Hank 22 Sep 2005 01:52
Nintendo has not has the success of keeping its ideas to themselves, but that is because of there universal basis. Analog? Use before the NES. Wireless Controller? Remote controls ring bells. The motion sensing technology is different. If uses unique sensors to detect where an object is in space. This will be a lot easier to protect in patent lawsuits or what not. But there is the other fact that "Can Sony or MS create the same experience." Nintendo has been working in the field is motion sensing for plenty of time now (rumble packs and tilt sensors), so Sony and Microsoft could rip the idea off, can they simulate the same eperience Nintendo has so much proficiency in. Can they do it? Who knows...
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Joji 22 Sep 2005 22:13
Possible rip offs from Sony or MS would prove very interesting. I doubt if this will happen anytime soon, if at all, but how would Nintendo react I wonder. Lawsuits or welcoming hugs for understanding a new industry needed direction?

A GC based hand held will probably come much later after the GC is no more, I wouold expect to see it for perhaps another two-three years (judging by the DS success and the new SP and Micro) but I could easily be wrong.

The future looks bright indeed whatever happens now.

Go Nintendo, go!

fluffstardx 25 Sep 2005 08:01
To be honest, Sony could merely change the Eyetoy 2 or whatever the heck they'll call it to do similar things. And there's a camera for the 360 too. That gets round the messy "that looks like our controller idea, you sods- here's a lawsuit" issue.

The GC handheld I'd expect 2007 earliest if ever. If the DS continues to be strong it may be that the new DS just gets a power update.
way 25 Sep 2005 15:16
I've read about earlier time frames, and of multiple handheld strategies. Time frame wise, I don't know, multiple strategies I can see that (including licensing the Palm OS, I seem to remember).

For instance, small and cheap (eventually) the GB Micro. Mid-range, the DS. Upmarket, the CG. In upmarket format it could be sold in Tablet format (A7 to A5 page size (half A4)). As far as the Phone goes, most likely GBA based or/and GC, because of the DS's design, and Palm on one of them (Palm is also working on Linux OS).

I think the main reason we don't see a GC handheld yet is because of power consumption and display capability. If they wait until Revolution (or end of that year) then power consumption might drop off enough to get the battery life they want. Also Sharp has 3D LCD, and SED and OEL should be sufficiently ready. Refined SED and OEL displays should offer great power consumption and viewing. Also it is great selling point to have Revolution compatible with handheld, and the revolution as the future handheld design.

I think some of this delay is due to the slow down in chip speed and power consumption performance gains. Until they improve pricing of the 400Mhz parts in the GC might not improve to the level that Nintendo prefers (though the GC is cheap already).

I expect that they might also want a answer to the PSP in case the PSP slim comes out.

Recently Intel has been announcing some chip processes that offer considerable power reduction over current processes, and I think that other vendors, like IBM, would also be looking to do their own alternatives.

I have been waiting for the DS's capability since the 90's, where the Atlantis project in England was leaked to the press (upto 133Mhz ARM, High res screen, 3D accelerator, sound familiar).
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