Success  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Success  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network The Switch Might Have Impressive Sales in Japan, But Is it Actually a Western Success? Sun, 09 Apr 2017 11:22:26 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

It’s officially been one month since Nintendo’s new console hybrid launched, and the sales numbers are in: the Nintendo Switch has moved over 500,000 units in Japan. To put this figure in context, let's take a look at the sales for the original Wii -- which was Nintendo's fastest-selling console in history, with a record of 600,000 sold in its first eight days. The Switch managed to beat this record in just three days, and now holds that title for itself.

While sales figures play a big role in measuring commercial success, they’re also a clumsily deceptive method of foretelling the longevity of appeal and overall sustainability of a new product. This is especially true when trying to measure its success in western countries like the United States, where the Big N has repeatedly failed to make the Wii a smash hit (not to mention its somewhat disappointing successor, the Wii U).

The Switch is great, but are its features tailored enough to a western audience?

The new hybrid console may have been able to right some of the more egregious flaws that Nintendo has made in the past decade, but it’s also guilty of some other mistakes that western consumers are far less likely to forgive. And that might just cost it more headway than the company had initially prepared for.

In the West, looks matter. Consumers pay a lot of attention to the aesthetics of a shiny new gadget -- how it looks, how it feels, and (more importantly) how it makes the person who's using it look. Nintendo is no stranger to this concept, as they were the ones who first acclimated their hardware to western sensibilities by pioneering a physical revision of the Famicom hardware prior to launch in America. 

They definitely didn't do this with the Wii and Wii U, though, and that was partially reflected in their low sales counts for both those consoles. The flimsy and somewhat childish designs of these machines was antithetical to the commanding look of beloved consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. (Let's be honest, that gamepad looks like a giant Fisher Price toy when you hold it.)

In this regard, the Switch has learned from the mistakes of its predecessors. Its surface finish has a silken look, it's got a minimal aesthetic with concise ergonomics, and feels discreet to use without sacrificing strong lines and overall polish. 

But the peripherals are a different story...

In a Western market that's already overburdened with add-on things like paid DLCs, Season Passes, and microtransactions, there's a stigma against locking part of the play experience behind a paywall. And when it comes to consoles, players tend to expect that everything they need to get the most out of their game experience will come in the box they paid good money for. 

That means Nintendo needs to address one of the biggest issues on the Switch if they really want to see it succeed on this side of the world -- the cost of its peripherals. While the Joy Cons are surprisingly robust in their range of utility, they're not always the ideal controller for every game on the console. Nintendo recognizes this, and already offers the option to pick up a Pro Controller. This upgraded accessory is a great option for games that have a more sophisticated control scheme, and gives the player a lot more functionality than the base Joy Cons. 

But that said, the price gouging with these controllers is a serious problem that's actively preventing western players from buying in. It's hard to justify paying $60 for a controller after forking so much money over for the console in the first place. And it seems especially ridiculous when you take into consideration that you can usually pick up a DualShock 4 controller for PlayStation at about $10 less. 


But the money-grubbing doesn't stop there. If you need another pair of Joy Cons, you'll end up paying $80 at retail. But at least if you just need one, you'll only pay $40....right? Wrong. A single Joy Con will cost $60 out the door. Just take a look back at this pricing model if you have to, because something really isn't adding up. These are the real prices Nintendo is asking for its peripherals. (And heaven forbid you want an extra dock to keep around the house, because that's going to take another $90 out of your wallet.)

There's no reason for this sort of pricing, especially when the cost of peripherals makes up a sizeable fraction of the whole console's price. This sort of thing might fly in Japan, but western gamers are much more discerning about this sort of thing -- and I'm willing to bet it's only a matter of time before the price gouging starts to hurt the adoption rate of the console by the end of 2017. Given the current economic state of this side of the world and the ever-increasing number of consoles/tech competing for gamers' hard-earned cash...Nintendo may find themselves in an unfortunate position sooner rather than later. 

But if the third-party software is good enough, western gamers will flock to it. 

Significant third-party software is probably going to be the determining factor in how successful the Switch actually becomes. During the Wii/Wii U's life cycle, Nintendo managed to deliver third-party exclusives that critically and commercially rivaled those available for the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. And that was a huge boon for moving units. 

Nintendo has already shown that they're looking to do the same with the Switch -- having announced a huge list of publishers and developers that are signed on to release games for the console. And smash-hit titles like Breath of the Wild are only serving to help the console sell in the West. 

Only time will tell if Nintendo can improve its third-party formula and turn the Switch into a truly lucrative hybrid console that fills the long-standing gap between home systems and handhelds. 

The Switch has still got a long way to go, and Nintendo is promising a lot that they haven’t shown us yet. Maybe the hype will be able to last long into E3, and we'll see some big reveals that gets western gamers hype for the console. That's the only way this machine will stay hot enough to sell out by the time that the holidays roll around.

Can The Division bring "MMO-lite" games to consoles? Thu, 21 Jan 2016 17:12:30 -0500 Anson Chan

From a conceptual standpoint, The Division is fairly unique: it is intended to be a loot and level based, third-person, "MMO-lite" shooter set in a modern time frame. In other words, it's basically a modern, third-person Borderlands. But at the end of the day, all that matters is whether or not a game plays well, not whether it has an interesting premise. 

Unfortunately for The Division, there is a bit of a stigma attached to "MMO-lite" games on consoles, most of which can be attributed to Destiny. After all, they are similar games in theory, even if not in practice. And who can blame people for being skeptical over promises that carry little weight until the actual game comes out? 

Fortunately, it seems like Ubisoft is aware of the problems that caused portions of Destiny's audience to drift away to other games, or at least aware of the need to show people that The Division is going to respect the time that they put into it. 

What The Division (might be) doing right

Given the fact that The Division pits players against human enemies, it really makes no sense for certain RPG mechanics to be carried over for the sake of preserving some degree of immersion. As a result, it seems as though Ubisoft made the (wise) decision to omit enemies with egregious health pools.

Similarly, Ryan Barnard, one of The Division's Game Directors, has stated: 

"...we don’t want this to become one of those loot-based RPGs where it’s all about gear and there is a ridiculous gap between old and new players."

While this may drive away portions of the hardcore, "must min-max everything" crowd, such a goal may appeal to those who just want to sit down, play the game for an hour or two, and then do other things -- people who are generally accepted to be the target audience when talking about console users. 

Throw in the fact that there is PvE matchmaking, and you've got a game that can potentially attract (and more importantly, keep) both a casual and dedicated audience from beginning to end.

Are you ready to be underwhelmed?!!!

On the other hand, Ubisoft has been rather quiet in regards to how much content and post-launch support players can expect in The Division. True, there has to be a degree of secrecy when it comes to talking about games that haven't been released yet, but it is naive to think that Destiny's "content drought" hasn't made some potential members of The Division's audience very skeptical.

Players may also be wary of The Division's setting, and how it may actually hurt the diversity of content within the game. Make a game based on shooting aliens in space, and there's a lot more freedom in regards to designing content compared to a game that is based on reality. For example, you know for a fact that there isn't some kind of super-powerful laser rifle with a rocket launcher attachment that can only be obtained by beating some elite commander in The Division simply because it would be too immersion breaking.

If anything, it is entirely possible that The Division may suffer from being too familiar to people. There are already so many games that have a modern setting. Just like the over-saturation of the WWII shooter market, the modern shooter market has become rather crowded, and The Division isn't helping in that regard.

On the other hand...

All that Ubisoft has to do is support the game after launch with regular (meaningful) content to keep people happy. Sure, that's like saying that the President simply has to run an entire nation and keep its entire population reasonably content to be re-elected, but at this point the game mechanics are already set in stone, and if you don't like how The Division looks or feels, it's too late to change that now. 

After all, multiplayer games like Call of Duty and Halo thrived on consoles because they're essentially offering unlimited fresh content (let's face it, no two multiplayer matches are ever exactly the same) that can be played on a whim. The Division may be capable of recreating that experience, but only time can tell.

The Three Keys to Humble Bundle's Success Wed, 14 May 2014 22:10:01 -0400 WesleyG

The first Humble Indie Bundle was put on sale May 4th, 2010. It included notable indie titles like World of GooGish, and Penumbra: Overture. For the entire bundle, users were asked to give whatever they wanted with part of the money going to the charities.

It was a massive success, taking in over one million dollars with around 31% going to charity and each developer involved getting an average of $166,000 worth of sales. Today the Humble Bundle has grown into a phenomenon, selling everything from AAA games like Saints Row, to books to music.

It's amazing when you think about how stingy gamers can be. I mean, I know people who wait for Steam sales to buy $10 games and for MMOs to go free-to-play before trying them. What is it about the Humble Bundle that drives people to collectively pay thousands of dollars for games that were released years ago? When you boil it down, Humble Bundle has three keys to success.

Developers big and small win

I've been talking about the cut of the profits that go to charities and Humble Bundle itself, but developers get their own share too. It isn't just money, however, as the Humble Bundles help give indie developers the kind of exposure they just can't get on Steam.

By keeping the bundles down to around five to six games, it guarantees that those games will get the spotlight, sometimes alongside far more established titles. Even bigger developers can benefit from the process, allowing their older titles to be used to help raise money for worthwhile charities.

Gamers love giving to charity

Despite everything you'll hear from the 24-hour news, gamers are not introverted loners (well, most of them aren't). In fact, gamers have shown repeatedly how willing they are to give back. Just look at the donations for Child's Play or Extra Life to see just how much.

Charity is at the very core of the Humble Bundle. For a lot of the biggest spenders, the games are secondary. The bundles are merely an outlet to give as much as they can for causes they believe in. While a large chunk of sales goes to those charities, the Humble Bundle takes a share as the intermediary.

While their share goes right back into supporting the website (and you can now choose which percentage of your donation goes where), it's still in their best interest to get as many sales as they can. So how do they get people to actually pay a decent amount for their bundles?

You pay more, you get more, they pay more

Have you ever watched a charity drive on TV and the host says something like "if you give twenty dollars you'll get a tote bag absolutely free!" It's a common tactic meant to get you to donate just a bit more than you would otherwise because, hey, five more bucks and you get a tote bag! Humble Bundle does the same thing, but their method is one of the shrewdest I've ever seen.

The way it works is that for any amount over a penny, you get access to a batch of games. If you pay over a dollar, though, you get the Steam key for those games. The best part are the extra games you could get if you just paid higher than the average. A few more bucks and you can get a couple extra games absolutely free with soundtracks! Who could pass up that kind of deal?

The best part, though, are the extra games you could get if you just paid higher than the average. 

The system is so shrewd because it adds peer pressure to your donations. It's Humble Bundle leaning in and saying "you can give whatever you want, but the Internet is giving this much. You don't want to look cheap now, do you?" What happens when you do pay higher than the average and get those extra games? You help raise the average so that the next guy in line has to pay a bit more to get those locked games.

It's a system for success that benefits everyone. You get a few extra games, charities get a few more donation dollars, and Humble Bundle takes in more money to continue fueling itself.

What does the future hold?

Ever since its first sale in 2010, the Humble Bundle has grown from a once-in-a-while treat to a thriving website that does weekly game bundles, book bundles, and even their own storefront where 75% of the sale goes to the developer. They don't seem to be happy with just that, having experimented with bundles for everything from music to stand up comedy audio tracks. For now, though, they're experimenting with smaller, daily bundles as well as polishing their new storefront.

Did I leave out a reason for Humble Bundle's success? Will Humble Bundle's new store grow to rival Steam? Please let us know what you think down in the comments or give me a piece of your mind on Twitter at @lanceicarus.

A Look Back At The JTP Internship Program Tue, 03 Dec 2013 13:18:38 -0500 GabrielKross

Since August, the gaming industry has seen many things, meaning I have seen many things. If not for the internship, I likely would have missed  a lot. There were several conventions that I followed to see the next big thing in gaming as it happened.

What really matters though, is the fact that I learned where my strength in writing about games lies. Guides have brought me success as an intern. It was a free day and I was stumped for article ideas, so I decided to write a guide. My Titan Normal Mode guide was an instant success.

This was a pretty difficult fight, when FFXIV: ARR first released. This is also where my success as a guide writer began.

I turned it into a regular thing, writing guides as I cleared content, and my view count increased dramatically. Unfortunately, as people started clearing content themselves, my guides had less relevance. I was running out of relevant material that I could clear consistently. I still haven't reached a point where I can cover the Binding Coil of Bahamut.

During that decline, the Lightning Strikes Event came out for FFXIV. I got up early for each chapter's release to post a guide for it. These guides surpassed all of my previous view records. My For The Winsome guide has hedged out my previous top two articles from back in August.

A screenshot I took from the Lightning event.

It was a real eye-opener to see how timing effects an article's success or failure. Timing was one of the biggest lessons I've learned this time around, and it will be something I continue to capitalize on in the future.

If you're interested in taking up an internship at GameSkinny, now would be a good time to sign up. I definitely look forward to seeing many new faces in the next phase.

The 3DS Surpasses Lifetime Sales of the Wii in Japan Wed, 25 Sep 2013 22:23:33 -0400 The Ian M

Today, some key sales figures came out of Japan for Nintendo. The 3DS has sold 12,752,73 units in Japan alone. 12.75 Million! For comparison, the Wii has sold 12,698,878 units. Over its lifetime. The Wii launched in 2006, the 3DS has only been available since 2011. In less than half of the Wii's lifetime, the 3DS managed to outsell it. In Japan alone!

With the wide variety of 3DS models available, including the recently announced 2DS, it is safe to say that Nintendo's handheld is here to stay.

These sales figures also show that much of the Wii's success was due to popularity outside of Japan, selling more than one hundred million units around the world.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Nintendo's Wii U, which is showing disappointing sales. The Japanese game monolith is hoping that a revitalized Wind Waker HD and matching console will help boost sales. 

Hopefully the 3DS can help make up for the disastrous Wii U, so Nintendo will be ready to face the upcoming Xbox One and PS4.

Payday 2 Sells 1.58 Million Copies! Fri, 13 Sep 2013 08:30:06 -0400 The Ian M

Swedish developer Starbreeze Studios, parent company of Overkill studios, the developers of Payday 2 recently announced sales statistics for the to the massively fun co-op bank heist.

Payday 2 has sold 1.58 MILLION copies and counting with 80% (approximately 1.26 million) being sold digitally through Steam, the Playstation Store, and the Xbox Live Marketplace. 

payday 2

Payday 2's logo is even more appropriate now.

Payday 2 made news a while back when it became profitable on pre orders alone which proves the following:

  • Everyone loves a good bank heist
  • Whoever was on the game's marketing team deserves a HUGE bonus 

"As the list-one on Steam (PC) and Playstation Network in August, we note that
PAYDAY 2 is an established brand. " - Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze AB.

Payday 2 is the sequel to Payday: The Heist a co-operative action shooter similar to Valve's Left 4 Dead. But instead of a ragtag band of people surviving the zombie apocalypse you're master criminals pulling off bank heists!

Most of the gameplay mechanics from the original have been left intact, but improved upon as noted by many reviewers. Having not played the original I can't say if it's true but I can say that Payday 2 is one hell of a fun game! 

RuneScape 3 "Hugely Successful" - Should Pay To Play MMO's Be Scared? Sat, 07 Sep 2013 09:39:11 -0400 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

It's been a month since RuneScape released its third version of the free to play MMO. Yesterday, development studio Jagex announced that the launch was "hugely successful", claiming that 300,000 new players have joined the game, and a further 100,000 players reactivating dormant accounts.

Since its creation in 2001, the game has seen 220 million accounts being created - a Guinness World Record - and a nomination for a British Academy (BAFTA) Video Game Award.

Should Pay To Play Be Worried?

Free to play MMOs are often viewed as a business model that sacrifices content quality for price and accessibility. Companies using this set-up hope to reel in the Benjamins from tempting players to pay for extras once they've become established within their virtual worlds. As most are aware, there are a tonne of mediocre to dreadful free to play MMOs out there, and are often a cheap and lazy way to make some easy money.

Sometimes a resort to changing from a subscription model to free to play happens when some titles don't do critically and/or financially well, hoping that the increase in accessibility will perk things up. Others, like EverQuest, switch due to general entropy of playersdespite prolonged acclaim.

However, RuneScape, with its accolades and fevered gamer dedication, having been designed from its very conception as free to play, is a beacon for highlighting just how potentially brilliant free to plays can be. Not to mention games like Lord of the Rings Online finding that the switch to free to play bolstered their coffers and number of players for what was already a highly acclaimed game.

With this announcement, companies like Square Enix, Blizzard Entertainment, and Bethesda, the studios behind Final Fantasy XI: A Realm Reborn, World of Warcraft, and the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online respectively, will no doubt find the mantra that subscriptions mean better quality and success sorely challenged.

Holding the Fort

Yet, even despite its rocky launch and beta problems, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has well exceed sales expectations. Furthermore World of Warcraft, especially after the Mists of Pandaria expansion, sees little signs of tiring or in need of resuscitating its fortunes.

So as long as these behemoths still stand and flourish under their current guises, and if Elder Scrolls Online is just as successful, it'll be a while until a solid verdict can dictate the future of how MMOs will be funded and presented. But RuneScape is certainly a thorn in the side of the traditional model and perceptions.

To play RuneScape visit