I went through this recently with the movie Tron. I wanted to watch it, preferably in HD, before the new movie came out. You'd think Disney would have capitalized on all the hype surrounding the new one and released a new Blu-ray edition of the original. But supposedly what happened was they did some test screenings of the original, and younger audiences were turned off by how cheesy it was. Fearful that this could actually hurt the new movie, Disney scrapped plans for a DVD/Blu-ray release. So, when I went to try and legally purchase this film, it wasn't available ANYWHERE. The closest I could find was a used DVD on Amazon, for something like $40 because it's out of print. So, I pirated it - I found a nice 720p copy that someone had ripped from an HDTV broadcast. I watched it, got the hit of nostalgia I was looking for, and now that I've seen it I would probably be unlikely to buy the film if and when it gets an official release. Good job throwing money away, Disney!
Except on the DS download store, where games range from around $2-10. But hardly anyone uses it, because it's DSi-only, a pain to use, under-promoted, and not open to all developers. Apple became a gaming powerhouse - and is driving this market push towards cheaper games - because they have a great, tightly-integrated app store that's open to basically anyone who wants to make a game. That kind of access to developers has led to a booming market of innovation, variety, and quality that makes Nintendo's download store look like a joke. Some people rag on Apple's app store for not being truly "open," but really, it's pretty damn open, especially compared to how closed off game consoles have always been.
Nintendo has always been at least a generation behind when it comes to the internet, so it's going to be a long time before they figure this out and adapt. Even Xbox has indie games, which are free to try and give Xbox Live's marketplace a hint of that mass novelty that smartphone app stores have.
Reggie's being really silly and short-sighted here. I think most consumers understand the difference between a big-budget, big-screen game that will deliver a long, engrossing experience, and a $1 phone game that will entertain them in brief spurts on the subway. Nintendo's challenge here is to make SURE customers understand that distinction, if they want to keep producing big-budget games and selling them at (understandably) higher prices.
The real test will be if Nintendo can recognize that consumers clearly enjoy these small, cheap games, and diversify its own product line to accommodate that - not only creating their own "mini games," but opening up their gates a little so 3rd parties can, as well. I don't think handhelds like the 3DS can compete in the long run against smartphones if they don't create a gaming marketplace open to all developers, like Apple's app store. Through branding they could clearly distinguish the difference between this marketplace and their own big-budget games. And I guarantee they'd make a lot more money than they currently are on their incredibly lackluster digital download store.
Hardcore gamers will always be there for the big console companies. I think what Nintendo's really miffed about is that they made huge gains in opening up gaming to a casual audience with the Wii and DS, but now that the same casual audience can play Angry Birds on their phone for a buck, their Wiis and DSs are collecting dust. You'd better adapt, Nintendo, or that "blue ocean" of yours will dry up.
The biggest flaw here is the idea that you SHOULD be able to make a living as a musician. There's simply no such thing. If the market has changed, the market has changed, and you don't "deserve" anything more than that. I don't know of any other industry (except movies) where "this should be making money" is used as a justification to prop up old business models. No one buys typewriters because they feel bad that someone "should" be making money off of typewriters. It might seem a bit harsh, but the market has changed, and the new reality might just be that it's now much, much harder to make a living as a musician. Ask painters or other artists how easy it's been for them all this time. It hasn't. But they kept doing it because they love it, they found ways to support themselves, and some of them became very successful. That 30,000 people are making a living as musicians is actually quite remarkable, all things considered.
Technology is changing every creative industry right now. Ask photographers how well they're faring in the age of digital cameras. The people who will truly fail are the ones who put all their effort into trying to protect the way things "should" be (ie the way they used to be), rather than looking realistically at the changes in the market and adapting to them.
I saw something similar to this earlier today, when I followed a link to watch Cee-lo's new video for his "Fuck You" song. It wasn't on his YouTube channel (where he scored a massive viral hit with the previous minimal video), but instead on his Facebook, where you had to "Like" him before you could watch the video. I'm not much of a Facebook user, and hell, I hadn't even seen the video yet, so I didn't want to do it. Naturally, someone had already uploaded the video elsewhere (TwitVid), so I watched it there instead. I'd much rather feel compelled to like or tweet someone because I'm impressed with their content, rather than being forced to promote them just so I can see their content. In the case of the Cee-lo Facebook thing, it was probably very effective in gaining him a lot of Likes, as most people don't think much about liking something. But as someone who curates my social feeds somewhat carefully, I found it to be at turnoff.
Even $200 million movies don't need to cost anywhere near $200 million. They cost that much because the whole system of traditional Hollywood moviemaking is bloated and archaic, weighed down by ridiculous union rules, stars who demand huge paychecks, and an industry that's been doing things the exact same way for decades, despite incredible advancements in technology. It's sad to see them constantly blaming the specter of piracy for whatever losses they may or may not have, when they should be looking at the way they make movies and realizing it's an absurd waste of money.
Someone on Twitter pointed out that the Thor trailer is going to be on the Iron Man 2 DVD/Blu-ray, out in September. Could they be trying to treat advertising as content by foolishly attempting to keep the trailer offline until then?
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