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Does the Virtual Console diminish the accompanying downloadable platforms? [roundtable]
 
By which I mean, does the Handheld Virtual Console/Virtual Console diminish (DSiWare/3DSWare)/WiiWare? If we HAD any 3DSWare, I mean?

I'm not sure how much actual data we can use here, so I am going to rely on the next best thing: personal anecdotal experience. I don't feel nearly as much excitement in the 'gaming community' for DSiWare/WiiWare as I do for the Virtual Console. People vocally lament when the VC runs fallow, but have almost no noticeable reaction to the movements of DSiWare/WiiWare. That goes for most of the media, as well.

But I'm guilty, too. Seeing all of these classic Game Boy games that I've never played come out excites me. Rather than take a chance on an unproven quantity, I could just fill in a missing spot in my classic gaming history.

I will say, though, that the videos on the 3DS Shop are great. Those videos, combined with the 'suggested' software lists, are a powerful marketing tool, assuming anyone actually checks them out. There are several DSiWare titles (like Go Go Kokopolo!) that are now on my radar, solely due to the handy promotional footage. Still, would I get Go Go Kokopolo before Super Mario Land 2, or even Mole Mania or Wave Race? Proooobably not.

It might also be interesting to bring the other consoles into the discussion. The Xbox Originals section is probably too small to affect XBLA. And nobody gives a shit about the Indies. However, when XBLA launched, it was full of truly independent games. Now that the bigger pubs have started to use the service, I'm not sure a title like Cloning Clyde would even get its money back.

As far as the PS3, I honestly have no idea of how that community feels. PS1 games don't seem very similar to PSN games, in general. And only a handful of PS2 games have been announced.

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Posted: 10/06/11, 19:11:01  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/11, 19:17:25
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I would say quite the opposite. Back when the VC releases were more numerous, people paid attention to downloadables on the Wii. Then the Wiiware rolled in, and we paid attention to it, too. But as the VC releases waned, people stopped paying attention.

If anything, I'd say the VC helped those earlier Wiiware games get exposure. The VC made Nintendo's store relevant to people.
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:25:24
I only really use the VC. I've downloaded a couple WiiWare games and was less than impressed.
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:27:42
Most people are waiting for X title on the VC, and don't care about DSiWare or WiiWare, so I say yes.
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:29:43
@Guillaume
That's an interesting perspective. For me, who spends a finite amount of money on downloadable services, the decision is more like: Hmm, do I want to try this neat independent game, or should I catch up on what is supposed to be one of the best games of all time for the same price?

I would imagine that someone who repurchases their favorite games would also have a different perspective.
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:31:10  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/11, 19:38:43
@Anand

I know exactly what you mean, I take a broad view of video gaming. This may be flawed logic, but I figure if any of these WiiWare games are truly great and memorable, I'll be able to check them out in 5 - 10 years when people are still talking about them, like the VC games I check out now.

That said, how many of those classics really exist on Gameboy? Else than a few zealots most people seem to think of many of these games as important for the time but not particularly worthwhile to revisit (such as Gargoyle's Quest).
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:37:01
@Jargon
Well, in 10 years, you could probably pick up all of the non-Nintendo ones on Steam for 30 cents, or something.

I'm not sure how many GREAT games the Game Boy had. Not enough to convince me to beg for one when I was a kid, I guess. But playing all-new, all-quirky takes on beloved franchises is enough to sell me (for $4), honestly. Novelty goes a long way (when combined with familiarity).
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:42:25
@Anand

That's understandable, but it's mostly due to the fact that you know nothing about those Wiiware games. If you had heard of them for months before their release, wouldn't you have been more predisposed to get them?

The VC is just a convenient scapegoat. The real problem is the complete lack of promotion.

For you and I, VC and Wiiware don't exist in a vacuum. We still buy PSN and XBLA games despite finding many VC games appealing, right?
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:50:21  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/11, 19:52:13
A scapegoat? I don't know about that. It's competing for the same dollars from the same virtual wallet on the same console. I think that I know a decent amount about WiiWare games. But when it comes down to that purchasing decision on which virtual backlog to hack away at, my thought process still boils down to, like, "And Yet It Moves" vs. "Final Fantasy III".

I couldn't think of a better example.

But, you have a pretty voracious appetite for original downloadable software, Guillaume. No hard proof, of course, but I would assume that my position is closer to the norm.

EDIT: XBLA games are most of what I play on the 360, probably. That stuff IS my 360 software, effectively. Even then, I only get the best of the best of the best. And there are also a handful of WiiWare/DSiWare games that are (or seem) so good that I will buy them without question, but the slightest hint of weakness or compromise sends me running to the VC.
Posted: 10/06/11, 19:59:07  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/11, 20:02:31
I am a freak, that is true.

You do buy a lot of these Wiiware games we know about in advance, though, right? What's your Wiiware/VC ratio?

My point is that of course, if a game you have heard of for a long time shows up on the VC, you'll snatch it up right away, because you've heard so much about it for so long. And of course, if a game you have never heard of shows up and gets a handful of great reviews, you probably won't get it on the spot because it's not something you have been planning to purchase. It's coming out of nowhere.

I think these two phenomenons are independent, and I think the hyped Wiiware games get the same advantage as classics on VC.

Unknown VC titles, similarly, suffer the same fate as unknown Wiiware games, I'm sure.
Posted: 10/06/11, 20:07:13  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/11, 20:08:10
To me, it doesn't. If there's a WiiWare/3DSWare game that I really want, I'm going to buy it regardless. I'd buy the new, original game over the VC game if it interested me enough.

It's also easier to pass on a game "for now" since digital downloads are (mostly) available for the lifespan of the system. Not like disc-based games where you have a limited amount of time to get it for a decent price, you know?
Posted: 10/06/11, 20:21:03
@Guillaume
My WiiWare/VC ratio? Probably heavily in favor of VC, since most of my stuff was bought early on. I mean, there are many games that I AM GOING TO BUY on both, but I forced myself to stop buying new stuff until I clear out the old stuff. Having a growing backlog on a downloadable platform makes even less sense, like Ludist said. Unless you see a phenomenal sale, which, on Nintendo platforms, you won't.

Like Jargsy said, though, a WiiWare game that is hyped by current media (even one of the select few) will never excite me as much as a time-certified Classic that I've never played, the even-rarer exceptions being certain Nintendo-published stuff or games with great demos.
Posted: 10/06/11, 21:41:59
I think this phenomenom is unique to Nintendo for me. There are loads of great classic Nintendo games that I've never played, so the virtual console outshines the new DD games.

However over on PSN and XBLA, I am always stoked for the next awesome new game and skip the old PSOne classics and the like, which only a couple of exceptions.

However, give me a remake or HD remaster of a classic on XBLA or PSN and you've got my interest. I think a lot of that has to do with trophies and achievements to be honest. It's like, why would I want to play my PS3 and not be playing a game I can get trophies for? Stupid, really, but it's how I am.
Posted: 10/06/11, 21:51:34
@Anand

There's a finite number of time-certified classics, though. So it's not as if every week Wiiware had to face off against those.

Do I agree that people are more likely to go the VC route when Chrono Trigger is released? Of course. Do I think the average weekly VC overshadows any Wiiware game released that week? Absolutely not. What are people more likely to buy, The Ignition Factor or Fluidity? Probably neither.

nacthenud said:
It's like, why would I want to play my PS3 and not be playing a game I can get trophies for?
Even if the non-trophy game is better/more fun than the one with trophies? Then yeah... I would say you have lost your way.
Posted: 10/06/11, 21:51:57  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/11, 21:56:14
For me, it might as well be infinite. And, once they pile up, they are part of the purchasing decision, regardless of the week in question. If we made a list of VC games that are considered classics by some not-totally-disreputable faction, it would probably encompass hundreds of games.

(Fluidity is one of those rare exceptions, by the way (even though I haven't bought it yet).)

@nacthenud
I think it's mostly Nintendo's problem, as well, due to the higher profile of the past library and the lower profile of the original titles.
Posted: 10/06/11, 21:57:34  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/11, 21:58:21
For the most part if I want a downloadable game, I'm going to buy it, regardless of whether another downloadable game I want releases at the same time. They're cheap enough.

But as for the general consumer, no clue.
Posted: 10/06/11, 23:40:38
The Virtual Console is the least of WiiWare's problems.

- Lack of high-profile titles
- Lack of SPACE on the Wii (particularly in the early years when they were establishing the service)
- Lack of advertising
- Just general lack of interest.
- Lack
- Lack Lack
- Lack Titicaca
- Land O' Lack
- Lack O'Lantern
- The service is lacking, is what I'm saying.

Yeah, Vektor Poindexter or whatever that game is that Simba is mad at us for not buying came out last week, but when was the last time you heard anyone outside of our circle of Nintendorks talking about WiiWare?
Posted: 10/07/11, 00:57:42
@kriswright

What the heck is Vektor Poindexter?

Pretty sure theres a 0% chance of me buying that on WiiWare OR on the VC if it was an existing game. Terrible name.
Just liked I'd never go see "Lemony Snicket: Unfortunate nameblahblahblahblahblah."
Posted: 10/07/11, 01:10:51
I was joking. You guys know I meant escapeVektor.
Posted: 10/07/11, 05:26:59
If Nintendo can provide a compelling shopping experience with compelling WiiWare/eShop games, then the VC games shouldn't really have an effect. Like someone else said, the VC games are enough of a novelty for people to get into the shop, and then they can find out about what everyone else is playing, what's popular, etc.

I also kind of think that keeping the VC prices too HIGH could backfire a little. On the Wii, I was always faced with the dilemma of "Do I want to get a VC game, OR do I want to get a WiiWare game?" The prices are so close that it always came down to me getting a VC title. I think VC games should be more impulse buys than anything. is there any evidence to support the idea that selling a lot of cheap games negatively affects the sales of bigger games? I mean, I've bought cheap games on Steam, but if there's a game coming out that I really want, I'll still pay for it. Steam is the number one reason that I have a backlog for the first time in my life.
Posted: 10/07/11, 07:16:20
I can only answer with my own anecdotal evidence. In my experience, no. I've only downloaded two 3DS Virtual Console games - one of them is an old favorite, and the other is a game I've never played. However, since the debut of the 3DS, I've downloaded three or four DSiWare titles - and I'd likely download a 3DSWare title if Zen Pinball were available.

As far as the same circumstance happening on the Wii, I would say that I pay enough attention (and money) to both new titles and Virtual Console titles. I've got a pretty even split of both varieties.

Virtual Console has an edge though for a lot of people - those games are sure-fire hits. People KNOW they love those games. And people like to buy what they like. New titles are far more of an unknown, thus people are (understandably) more risk-averse. *shrugs*
Posted: 10/07/11, 07:26:09
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