I'm a big Nintendo fan, I have been for many years. Even when I was a little ZX Spectrum fanboy I coveted my next-door neighbour's NES (even though he only had one game – the woeful Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles). My house is full of Nintendo memorabilia, Nintendo consoles, failed Nintendo gimmicks (Four Swords adventure anyone? No?), and most importantly the games. Lots of their lovely games. But how I consume my games now has been changed entirely to a way I find exciting, rewarding and fits better to my lifestyle. It feels like even if Nintendo succeed by selling millions of units, they'll still fail in the eyes of some gamers like myself. Here, let me use a terrible and long-winded metaphor to explain.
There is a big party which everyone is invited to, and has been generating a lot of hype and the word-of-mouth buzz is HUGE. It starts at 12pm, and Microsoft turn up with this beautiful chocolate cake they made a little earlier. It's rich, it's moist, it's beautifully decorated with all these lovely touches that gets everyone's attention immediately. The early tasters say it's wonderful - unlike any chocolate cake they've seen at a party before. Microsoft has been an unpopular joke previously, but they're winning a few people over with this cake.
1pm and Sony turn up with a chocolate cake of their own. Unfortunately it's slightly disappointing as it's a Tesco “Everyday Value” chocolate cake. They quickly whip it out of the box and put in on the table, standing proud next to it. It doesn't look as good as Microsoft's offering, but at least Sony are here. People like Sony.
Over the course of the next few hours some people try Microsoft's cake, some try Sony's cake and some greedy gits try both. People being people form their opinions – some like Sony's cake better than Microsoft's because Microsoft are actually asking for money per slice, and then insist on telling your about their friend's business ventures every time you take a bite. So even though Sony's cake is basic, a bit dry and lacking in toppings it's still a hit because it's free, it's still chocolate cake and some people prefer things to be no-frills. Some people prefer to pay for Microsoft's cake because it's the best chocolate cake they've had at a party and all the little decorations like little chocolate stars and flakes just add to the experience. Plus the cake is served on a posh plate.
Everyone is having fun, but it starts to get late and arguments start to form in the party about which cake is better. Some regrettable things are said, and even a little shoving match breaks out and then at the stroke of 7pm there's a little knock on the door...
There stands Nintendo with a plastic bag and a confused look on their face. “This is the Online Party right?” they say. “Well, yes.” say everyone else. “But you're really late”. “Well no matter. Look what we've bought”. Nintendo empty the plastic bag on to the table and on tumbles a bag of flour, a bag of sugar, a box of eggs and a bar of cooking chocolate. “What the hell is this?” people ask. “Don't worry, we're not going to make chocolate cake” exclaim Nintendo “but we're going to take these ingredients and make something innovative. Just give us an hour or two.”
An hour later, everyone else leaves. After all there's another party coming up soon which promises to be even better than this one. Nintendo is left at the party with just their friends. After all, Nintendo did tell them what they will finally give them is going to be great...