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6 games industry mistakes absolutely no-one learned from

Those who cannot remember the past, the saying goes, are condemned to repeat it. Or become the games industry. Important clause there that no-one ever quotes, but it's there, we swear.

It must be. Because for all the evolution and progress, there are certain monumental gaming screw-ups that keep happening. No matter how face-crunching a beating the previous perpetrator took as a result, there's always another company waiting to prove that a balls-up can strike in the same place twice.

Six absolute howlers are detailed overleaf, so come along and ready your best pointing finger and accusationally-toned laughter. Time flows like a river... and history repeats...*

Thinking that casual waggle is the future

Made by: Microsoft

Should have learned from: Nintendo, Sony

The original mistake: It’s small, it’s white, and it remains a pun factory for the terminally humourless. Remember Nintendo’s bright gleaming, motion-controlled future of 2006? Remember the reasons we got excited about it? (don’t pretend you didn’t) FPS. RTS. Deep, hitherto-unseen interaction with 3D environments. 1:1 sword fighting. But instead, the potential was wasted on turgid epileptic fit simulators and a thousand and one things involving bats.

Between an overly focused grab at the casual market and the failings of imprecise control inputs, all hardcore goodwill was swiftly lost and Nintendo’s long-held fanbase of serious gamers turned away from the Wii remote in droves. Despite Sony’s later comments about the wonder of the Sixaxis, it turned out we all preferred rumble after all.

The new mistake: The 360 is getting Kinect, a motion capture motion controller that once again promises a whole new era of interaction. And how did MS show it off at E3 2010, as the eyes of the world’s hardcore fell upon its wares? An overly focused grab at the casual market with bugger all to appeal to its own long-held fanbase, who are now turning away from Kinect in droves. And given the confirmed £129:99 price tag, it's ironically going to need that big-spending hardcore audience more than ever.

And Kudo Tsunoda’s recent Sony-aping comment that rumble about rumble being an outdated immersion tool did not help one little bit.

Ignoring that big black bulky consoles are ugly as hell

Made by: Microsoft

Should have learned from: Microsoft, 3DO

The original mistake(s): Powerful the original Xbox was, but an attractive piece of kit it was not. Looking for all the world like an obese VCR, it in no way helped MS’ then woefully uncool computer-spod image as it tried to break into the hip new world of modern gaming. The 3DO’s best-known model was a similar aesthetic affront, with all the svelte consumer-baiting charm of a ‘roid-raging N64. The looks themselves didn’t hurt either of these machines, but they did ensure that our TV set ups became a great deal less sexy.

The new mistake: Who at MS thought that the ‘slimline’ 360 should look like it had just been pulled out of a car wreck? Yes, it’s slightly smaller, but all those angular chunks make it look like a cubist sculpture chiselled out of a solid block of ugly.

Thinking that handheld gaming is about raw horsepower

Made by: Sony

Should have learned from: Sega

The original mistake: Going up against Nintendo’s monochrome Game Boy in 1990, Sega decided that the best retaliatory move was to launch a more powerful, full-colour handheld. But alas, handheld gaming culture works very differently from home gaming. Convenience and battery life are king, and the GG’s horsepower meant that the average gaming session lasted around 14 seconds unless you were plugged into a wall.

The new mistake: Going up against Nintendo’s quirkier, less powerful DS in 2004, Sony decided that the best retaliatory move was to get as near as damnit to bringing full-scale PS2 games to your pocket. And you know where this going. Less-than-ideal battery life thanks to the unsuitable installation of a disc drive and higher-than-needed technical specs, and colossal games like GTA that just weren’t suited to the pick-up-and-play philosophy of handheld gaming. And once again, a massive handheld win for Ninty.

The PSP is a good little machine in its own right, and has some corking games, but despite decent hardware sales it couldn’t make anything like the cultural impact of the DS. And that wasn’t helped by Sony’s other mistake of…

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50 comments

  • blaze-sportelli - January 9, 2013 1:52 p.m.

    this is retarded. there is no such thing as an xbox 2 mention in the black clunky models. there is only xbox and xbox 360
  • NeoTechni - November 24, 2010 7:44 a.m.

    And PSP would have failed outright if it werent for UMD. Flash is still more expensive than what UMD was SIX years ago.
  • NeoTechni - November 24, 2010 7:43 a.m.

    Wait, Sony was right about processing power. PSP is the single most successful non-nintendo handheld BECAUSE of it. Nor did gamegear have a lot of processing power. It had color, thats it
  • Sickooo - July 23, 2010 12:54 a.m.

    yeah i gotta say i agree on everything except the new 360 does not look ugly
  • philipshaw - July 22, 2010 10:18 a.m.

    Great article and for a while I thought I was the only one that thought the new 360 looked ugly
  • jmcgrotty - July 22, 2010 7:25 a.m.

    Way wrong on the black console part. No system should be released in any color but black. It's in the bible.
  • NullG7 - July 22, 2010 1:59 a.m.

    Personally I think that the new Xbox looks pretty snazzy. Just on time too my old first release finally bit down hard on the rapid release cyanide tablet. Great article, too bad no one from any of our favorite 3 console designers will ever see it though
  • Conman93 - July 21, 2010 11:41 p.m.

    I wonder will nintendo be able to fix the last mistake with Metroid:Other M
  • SwampRock - July 21, 2010 11:07 p.m.

    The original 360 model is the worst in my opinion I like the black ones much more especially the original xbox that thing was unbreakable and red ring never haunted your nightmares.
  • wormytables - July 21, 2010 11:05 p.m.

    which are the hardiest though? i've had to fix my ps1 a few times, and my ps2 one time... my amiga shattered and i got paint under the buttons of my gameboy... screens scratch, pixels stick... isn't there a console which just keeps going - like those old people who have a car from the 1950s which still 'just works'... :(
  • Thuperman - July 21, 2010 10:23 p.m.

    Great article but i do like the look of the new xbox and i still want to pick one up when i get some more money but other than that i would have to agree with this article completely
  • Psylockerules - July 21, 2010 10:20 p.m.

    good article
  • bkoz117 - July 21, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    I liked the gamecube's discs, I could fit more of them in my cd cases
  • prfctmilkshak - July 21, 2010 9:38 p.m.

    sorry dave, I said that quote.
  • Redeater - July 21, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    Wow you guys at gamesradar must be in constant odds. I swear to god I read a bunch of articles on this exact website praising the new xbox look. Regardless, I am loving my new xbox.
  • mtsflyingmonkey77 - July 21, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    Quote of the day: "... enough low-grade pap to choke Godzilla." I chuckle every time I read it.
  • reveffect - July 21, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    Actually jakeybaby the reason why microsoft wont adopt bluray for the 360 is quite simple and the only reason why i figured this out was because someone at G4 (probably adam sessler) or on this site pointed it out. Microsoft won't adopt bluray because sony owns bluray which would mean that they would have to spend even more money just so they could make their games look a little "prettier" for the graphics worshipers who obsess over 1080p everything. That would also mean that they would be giving money to their competitor which doesn't help out microsoft at all. Plus since sony owns bluray and bluray is one of the advantages they have over the 360, the chances of sony letting microsoft use it (even if microsoft were willing to pay)are slim to none.
  • ThePrivateer - July 21, 2010 8:33 p.m.

    What ever happened to the article about how "sexy" the 360 Slim was?
  • Octoboy - July 21, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    The sad thing is: Nintendo is very successful with its "casual only" console.
  • TheWebSwinger - July 21, 2010 8 p.m.

    Now do the reverse: 6 game industry mistakes that no-one learned from...and paid off. i.e. Virtual Boy 3D vs 3DS 3D reCAPTCHA: rodeos exists I know they do...

Showing 1-20 of 50 comments

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