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Najeeb's Gaming Report - Issue #12

This is my weekly newsletter focusing on major developments within the Gaming industry. You can follo

Najib El Kihel

July 3 · Issue #12 · View online
Startup and Tech curious, with a focus on #Gaming. Runs a weekly Newsletter on this particular industry.

This is my weekly newsletter focusing on major developments within the Gaming industry.
You can follow me on Twitter here.

Issue #12 - 3 July 2017
Issue #12 - 3 July 2017
Industry News
I am surprised we still haven’t heard anything concrete about the Virtual Console on Switch, which was one of the rare satisfactions on previous Nintendo consoles in terms of network/online services. While it’s easy to understand why Nintendo would rather focus on nailing online services for Switch titles, I believe that unifying all Nintendo accounts and making all VC previous purchases available on Switch would go a long way in solidifying Nintendo’s online ecosystem (similar to what Microsoft is doing with Xbox360 backward compatibility).
Nintendo has been challenging the idea that you need a live event at E3 to be successful. When Nintendo Directs started in late 2011, many were skeptical that this was the right format for major announcements. In retrospect, it’s easy to understand why these events didn’t have much impact: Nintendo simply didn’t have enough compelling software to present. In 6 months of Switch, Nintendo has presented more impressive software than during the 4+ years of the WiiU. In that situation, it becomes a lot easier to rely on Nintendo Directs as opposed to live conferences.
Most of Twitch new initiatives and features are about strengthening its main proposition, which is building communities. YouTube could step up its live streaming capabilities and hit Twitch like quality. But communities take time to build. Twitch understands that facilitating community building (between streamers & their audience and between streamers themselves) is what sets it apart from competition. Introducing live streaming on mobile to reinforce its IRL aspirations is yet another step in creating more content (non-gaming related this time) that will get streamers and audience closer.
*In Real Life
I’m actually quite interested in this venture. This product would target a niche of mobile gaming users looking for an improved gaming experience. But even for that niche, would the gaming side of the device be considered more important than the phone side of it? In other words: would a mobile gamer pick that type of device over the latest Samsung Galaxy or iPhone, considering the tremendous non-gaming value that the latter devices bring to the table? I think it’s a tough sale but I’m interested in seeing how they will tackle that challenge.
Not being able to convert users into customers might sound negative, but Steam refund programme seems to at least get players to try some new games. This in itself is very positive. Without the refund option, many players may have not even considered playing a particular game. Refunds are also an great way of collecting valuable feedback that could help improve the sales conversion rate.
Blog Posts
To date, the iPhone (and smartphones in general) is probably the biggest tech disruptor in modern history. People often wonder why Microsoft or Sony aren’t making any efforts to attract more casual gamers to their consoles. What value would a PS4 or X1 - or even a Switch - add to a casual gamer that has access to a massive library of games on the App Store? Very little in reality.
The idea that you can just mirror a traditional sport league like the NBA and hope it will succeed is in my opinion a very dangerous idea in esport. Major sport leagues are the result of the organic growth of a particular sport, creating many leagues that will then feed a major league. The NBA today is probably the best sport league in the world, but it is fed by players from universities and many other domestic and international leagues.
Overwatch may very well be the biggest gaming successes of the past twelve months. But if its user base doesn’t engage in competitive tournaments on its own, there is very little chance that a major league created out of thin air will be sustainable in the long run.
One of the main highlights of the report is that PlayStation VR seems to be getting dev momentum, with 17% of developers indicating that their next game will be released on the only console VR platform vs only 3.7% in 2016. While PSVR is probably not the type of platform for experimenting with VR, it is probably the most viable platform commercially as it has the biggest install base among all high-end VR HMDs*.
*Head-Mounted Displays
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