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Najeeb's Gaming Report - Issue #6

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

Najib El Kihel

May 1 · Issue #6 · 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.
Najeeb

Issue #6 - 01 May 2017
Industry News
Nintendo’s results for FY ending March 2017 confirmed what had been reported unofficially: the Switch had a tremendous success in its first month. With its strong first-party line up, I believe Nintendo should hit its target of 10m Switch unit sold for FY ending March 2018. That would put the Switch at 12.7m unit sold vs Wii U’s 13.5m units over a 4+ year period. Other incredible data: Zelda Breath of the Wild has sold 2.76m units on the Switch. Yes, more people bought Zelda’s Switch SKU than the actual console. Given the quality of the game and the insane attach rate, Zelda Breath of the Wild will probably go down as the greatest launch title ever.
At that pace, the PS4 could “outship” the PS3 within two years. The PS2 is most likely out of reach - with 160m+ units sold lifetime - but there’s a possibility for the PS4 to reach 100m units sold. That would be Sony’s third home console (out of 4) to reach that plateau, demonstrating Sony’s incredible domination in the hardware market over the last 22 years.
Interesting discussion, even as a subtle promotion of the Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service of back catalogue games that will go live within the next few months. As for the content creation aspect, the question is how much can Microsoft produce to make it the backbone of its service - much like Netflix original content has become the backbone of the Netflix catalogue? Tough task, especially when considering how software sales are primarily driven by third party developers who won’t necessarily want to have their prime games included in such a service.
How can a company preserve its culture, creativity and risk taking when there is a change in ownership? It is always difficult to assess those situations, especially when the company subject to the take-over is already a public company and has to report to shareholders and investors. 
Ubisoft has to be commended for some of the changes it made regarding its release strategy over the last few years - going for less AAA titles but with greater content support - and I do understand the fear of current ownership in changing a successful formula. I just feel that Vivendi’s take over wouldn’t necessarily threaten Ubisoft’s way of doing things, considering how successful the new strategy has been for Ubi (and its shareholders).
I wonder if this version of the 2DS isn’t going to be the de facto choice for many gamers who would like to play “3DS” titles. It’s $50 cheaper than a New 3DS XL and I don’t believe 3D is still a killer feature for that console (I personally play on my 3DS with 3D turned off). We probably won’t have any sales breakdown 3DS vs 2DS but I wouldn’t be surprised if this 2DS version was to outsell the 3DS going forward.
Nothing to do with poor results for Fire Emblem: the game has actually generated more profits than Super Mario Run. It just raises questions regarding the monetisation model that Nintendo will adopt for its future mobile games. Despite 10 times less downloads than Super Mario Run (150 million downloads since its December 2016 release), FEH has generated more profits based on its free-to-play model. A month ago, Nintendo’s President Tatsumi Kimishima has indicated that the company still believed in the premium pricing model, despite low conversion rate on Super Mario Run. Nintendo plans on releasing Animal Crossing on mobile later this year, on a free-to-play model similar to FEH. Animal Crossing’s performance could be a deciding factor for Nintendo in maintaining (or not) its premium model for its future mobile games.
I have to admit I am a bit disappointed with that news. I really like the Nintendo Direct format, it’s a fantastic way of keeping the community updated but I do feel that a press conference would have been great to maintain the momentum for the Switch in terms of media coverage. The other way of looking at it is that Nintendo may not have much to present apart from the games it has already presented. I hope that’s not the case, I think the upcoming weeks and months are crucial for Nintendo to announce more titles, especially coming from third party devs.
There’s no indication of active users or system split but a year after its official release, it is still very impressive. I like to think of Blizzard as the gaming equivalent of the Federal Reserve, with its ability to print money almost on demand.
Notable Game Reviews
Blog Posts
What’s interesting about Lumberyard is the Twitch integration. This was the next challenge for Twitch - to break the screen barrier and have in-game interaction - it will be good to see how this affects game presentation and mechanics. One of the most anticipated games on the engine will be open-world Everywhere from the new studio of Leslie Benzies, former producer of Grand Theft Auto.
Something that I alluded to in my previous issue: the correlation between finely tuned game design/mechanics and esport success. This post is a good read to understand why a game like Heroes of the Storm may never get the esport dimension of competitors League of Legends or DOTA2. Any developer with esport interest ultimately faces a very difficult challenge: How to make a game open to mainstream gamers - thus enabling the possibility for commercial success - and at the same time create a gameplay deep enough for esport ventures?
Bonus
Genyo Takeda was responsible for the N64’s analog stick and Wii’s motion controller :micdrop: While the future of motion control is most likely in VR, the N64 analog stick immediately impacted the entire industry. Often, being innovative is about bringing “old innovations” back and applying them to a new context. The N64 analog stick + Camera Control + Software such as Super Mario 64 completely changed how the industry approached 3D gaming. Almost all of today’s hardware and software forked from Genyo Takeda’s work on the N64.
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