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How Apple Is Beating Nintendo At Its Own Game 425

Zothecula writes "In an industry obsessed with polygon counts and frame rates, Nintendo's Wii console and DS handheld were the proverbial knives at a gunfight. They were grossly underpowered compared to the competition, meaning Nintendo could sell them at a profit from day one. Their innovative control methods ensured they still sold like hotcakes. An animated GIF of Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata holding a DS that printed money became the go to picture to run alongside quarterly announcements of Nintendo's gargantuan profits. If a disheveled man emerged from a time-traveling DeLorean with tales of a near-future Nintendo struggling to sell its latest handheld, I'd have been more surprised about the Nintendo thing. So what on earth happened?"
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How Apple Is Beating Nintendo At Its Own Game

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  • Region Locking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Psx29 ( 538840 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:02PM (#37058752)
    This is the reason I will never buy a 3DS (until it is cracked, then..maybe) Every previous nintendo handheld was not region locked, I could safely travel anywhere in the world, purchase a game locally and not have to worry about it not working on my DS/GBA/GB. Now suddenly, Nintendo has decided to region lock 3DS games so if I go overseas I can't buy games for my console.
  • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:03PM (#37058772)
    Always thought Nintendo kick Apple's ass if they just added GSM to the DS and given it a bluetooth headset with a dialer. DS has games, a web browser, a camera(newer ones), etc. Just doesn't have a phone. They could have done exactly what Sony is doing with the Xperia Play and sold it subsidized. Too late now, though.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:25PM (#37059148) Journal

    It's not even new. My last phone, from around 2004, had a 3D version of snakes on it. For the last 5 or so years, any time I've been waiting for a bus, I've seen people pull out their phones and play games on them. People have been buying games to play on their phones for almost years, and many of these people would never consider buying a games console of any kind. Nokia tried to tap into this - established - market with the N-Gage in 2003.

    The difference with the iPhone is purely one of timing. Phones with a Cortex A8 CPU generally also have a relatively competent GPU on die. This means that they suddenly can run graphically intensive games, which makes them competition for dedicated devices. A modern handheld games device will have the same Cortex A8 or A9 CPU and the same PowerVR, ARM, or nVidia GPU as a modern mobile phone. The only thing that differentiates them is the input devices. There used to be clip-on control panels for adding things like d-pads to Nokia phones, and I'd be surprised if the same didn't exist for the iPhone and friends.

  • by boethius ( 14423 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:37PM (#37059320)

    .... the Nintendo DS became a non-starter for me. My middle "hyper-active" child destroyed 2 Nintendo DSes then after a Craigslist buy of a used DS went badly - the screen was broken - I had had enough of the overhead of the DS. I would find the cartridges all over the house and each new game was typically $35-$45 a pop (yes I know there are used games that can be had much more cheaply and there's also the flash drive attachment) but the fact was my kids were always losing the carts and/or simply breaking the DS much too easily.

    I was almost ready to get a new DS for my eldest child at Costco when I scanned over to the iPod Touch for another $30 or so and it occurred to me it was ultimately way, way cheaper to own the iPod and just use the free app store games - and the occasional $0.99 game as a "treat." I practically started a trend with my friends and relatives as suddenly all their kids had iPod touches after that.

    Now roughly 3 years later the Touch is still around - unbroken! - and we never lose games, pay only a buck here or there when we want a bit nicer game, and those paid games are stored in iTunes so we never lose them regardless. The iPod Touch just seems a whole lot sturdier too, if only because it doesn't have a swiveling base. Overall, for a family when you want your kids to have a road trip gadget, the iPod Touch is a way saner and ultimately less expensive choice - not to mention your kids can also have videos and music on the same device, which is also a huge win for those long road trips.

  • Re:Infinite control (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CaptainOblivion ( 1254006 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @03:20PM (#37060666)

    Except the controls are always in the way of what you're trying to see, as are your fingers, so you're pretty much limited to the bottom two corners. And there's no way to feel the buttons, so you can't see what you're hitting while your fingers are covering them up. Onscreen controls are not remotely viable for anything other than very casual games.

  • What a load of shit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @03:34PM (#37060862) Homepage
    'Pundits' have been paid to hype this whole Apple vs Nintendo thing since the DS came out and no one noticed, the DS went on to sell a metric fuck-ton of units. The 3DS sells well but it hasn't blown away the DS so some people think it's not doing well. THe world is in a recession, the 3DS is more expensive and the DS has a ton of games. Of course it will be slow going and it has nothing to do with Apple.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Thursday August 11, 2011 @04:16PM (#37061488) Homepage Journal

    DS has games, a web browser, a camera(newer ones), etc. Just doesn't have a phone.

    Or indie games. It costs $350 per year to develop for the iPhone: $1000 for a MacBook, $250 or thereabouts for an iPod touch, and $500 for a 5-year iOS developer certificate. It costs a lot more than that to develop for any Nintendo platform.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis