As today's main Gamasutra feature, we present professional game developers' answers to our latest Question Of The Week. Amid the buzz generated by Nintendo's unveiling of the Revolution controller, we asked: “Now that Nintendo has revealed details of the controller for its Revolution next-gen console, do you think this bold move is beneficial for Nintendo itself, third-party developers, and the industry in general?”
One of the most interesting responses came from an anonymous developer, who commented:
"Beneficial for all -- with the exception of developers/publishers that build run-of-the-mill games and port to every platform. Obviously the stock Nintendo controller could present them with some porting challenges. However, I think development trends on the current generation of game consoles have shown that Nintendo can't count on cross-platform porting to ensure a steady stream of games. In the coming generation, a SKU which targets Xbox 360 and PS3 may require too much processing power for the Revolution and have resources downgraded to match the platform's capabilities. This could easily make the Revolution look like an also-ran.
A similar bad result would be for developers to shoehorn gameplay from a standard game controller format into the Revolution controller format under the guise of "full support" for the Revolution controller. More than ever, Nintendo needs original games, developed primarily for its platform. It has adopted a strategy of pushing its platform away from resource intensive, large scale, long play session games (expensive to develop and expensive for the consumer) and towards casual games, mini games and "market expansion games" (which encompasses titles like Nintendogs). A niche market in the short term -- but potentially a far larger market than the hardcore gaming market over the long haul.
From a business standpoint, this is a risky but vastly superior strategy to that of going head to head with Microsoft and Sony. It also opens the door to smaller developers and publishers who may not have the cash reserves to develop asset rich next-gen titles, but who would rather rely on innovative (and perhaps unproven) game mechanics to differentiate their games. The greatest risk here is that Nintendo performs poor quality control on third party games, and the Revolution becomes a platform flooded with quirky/gimmicky games rather than those that are truly innovative and fun."
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