Features// SPOnG's Review of the Year 2011: July

Posted 2 Jan 2012 11:33 by
Ahh, the long hot summer. It went somewhere. But no matter, for PlayStation gamers the news that ‘Welcome Back’ (aka ‘Please, Please Come Back’) Pack from Sony was had been announced for PSN brought a smile.

“A bumper selection of content has been revealed for June, too. On top of the April content, free-for-as-long-as-you're-a-member copies of Burnout Paradise, Magic: The Gathering, Streets of Rage 2 and BABEL: King of the Blocks will be available, along with PS One title James Pond 2 and PS Minis game The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character. What?

Chime, Beyond Good and Evil, Under Siege, Burn Zombie Burn, Worms, Thexder NEO and Play TV Live Chat will have discounts running throughout the month for Plus users too - and if you're using your complimentary 30 day subscription as part of Sony's Welcome Back package, you can purchase these and keep them forever when your free Plus runs out. Winner.”

Still it was a smidgeon of good news. Adding to that was the fact that Konami went ahead and announced both the Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders HD remakes.

Yes, HD remakes were to become a very familiar sight indeed in a time of mounting recession and very, very risk adverse publishers.

However, it was still the Wii U and Nintendo’s possible return to form that was causing most interest, certainly among analysts and researchers such as those over at iDate.

Svend and his Wii U.
Svend and his Wii U.
It predicted that in the period, “2012 to 2015: the advent of a new generation of home consoles. With the imminent release of Wii U next year, Nintendo's competitors will clearly have to rethink their schedules for rolling out their next gen consoles.”

It also had predictions for the PlayStation Vita stating that, “By end-2011, smartphones and handheld consoles will eventually converge, with the commercial launch of the Playstation Vita (PS Vita), available in two versions: with a wireless or 3G connection."

You can see more of its predictions here.

It wasn’t only analysts and researchers who were keen to big-up the importance of the Wii U. Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata was depending on the device to keep the stockholders and board members happy.

The Wii and the Hardcore - remember?
The Wii and the Hardcore - remember?
So, he went into full effect, stating that hardcore gamers - so hugely let down by the offerings on the Wii:

“...are the ones that are looking forward to something brand new, some brand new entertainment. With Wii U , we will be able to provide them with that.

"This new controller is going to be very intuitive, but at the same time it can be very sophisticated. And together, I think we will be able to offer a new form of entertainment that can satisfy the needs of the core gamers.”

As you can see, however, either the translator or Mr Iwata was mixing messages with the use of the word ‘Controller’ over ‘Console’.

More on Mr Iwata’s statement here.

However, there is one thing to bear in mind when it comes to reading the sales stats in January 2012. The Nintendo president pointed out that in terms of the Wii itself:

“If we cannot sell as well as we expect to during the holiday sales season," he said, "it's going to be a grave concern for us."

It wasn’t only Nintendo that was trying to recapture the hardcore gamer, Sony Computer Entertainment service director, Jack Buser, was also trying to get them onside.

Now, before I tell you what he said, one interesting point about this demographic - a demographic that had largely been overlooked in the rush for the ‘Casual’ gamer - was that no one appeared to have a solid definition for it.

Home is for the hardcore
Home is for the hardcore
That’s also true of the Casual Gamer.

Mr Buser took an interesting and way OTT tack. Referring to PlayStation Home, he explained its users were, "literally spending their lives inside of PlayStation Home."

In a strange take on what value they held, he called them "rabid consumers.”
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