Gaming Steve

June 06, 2005

Gaming Steve Episode 14

Spore Oceanworld

Here it is, part two of my interview with gaming legend Will Wright where we talk more about Spore. In addition to the interview I also cover:

  • Sony ships 90 milllllllllion PS2s.
  • Microsoft just loves losing money on the Xobx.
  • Anti-game bill nearly law.
  • Nintendogs causes DS sales to soar.
  • Blizzard keeps on banning.
  • GameTalk: How to get a job in the game industry.
  • SporeTalk: Part two of my interview with Will Wright (Warning: This is pretty hard to understand, but the transcript will be up shortly).
  • In-depth review of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones for the GameBoy Advance.
  • RetroReview: Conker's Bad Fur Day for the Nintendo 64.
  • “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week and a new clip.
  • Plus some more random thoughts on the future of PC gaming.
Get the podcast from this page (87 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 14.

You can also subscribe to the weekly podcast.

The transcript of the interview will be up shortly.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:45 PM | Comments (26) | Posted to Interview | Podcast | Review | Spore
Comments

Haha, Steve, you are so awesome!!!

Posted by Silver_Kiwi at June 7, 2005 12:33 AM

Wicked nice work as usual, Steve.

Posted by Haddeen Sol at June 7, 2005 12:34 AM

Awesome! Time to set autodownload to 'begin'!

Posted by syphonbyte at June 7, 2005 12:42 AM

its much easier to listen to the interview if you plug headphones in and set the volume control to the lowest

Posted by jeff at June 7, 2005 01:48 AM

Great job, looking forward to the transcript.
Isn't it pronounced Nin-Ten-Dogs?

Posted by Deep Lee at June 7, 2005 03:33 AM

--typed as I listened--

Your reaction to your "maybe they should call it XBox 375" gag was hilarious.

I did hear about the XBox losing money but I thought the guy who told me was BSing, as he doesn't like Microsoft.
Strange.
I'll tell you now, I'm not into the XBox 360, because I got an XBox for Fable and it blew. The only other game I have for the XBox is Samurai Warriors, and I could have gotten that for the PS2 (I think). The XBox was a total waste of money to me.
I'm still not seeing any news about stuff I want for this new XBox, though I do see Metal Gear Solid heading to PS3. Gotta follow that. Addicted.

You said "Nintendo's PSP" (at about 08:52) by the way. But I know what you meant.
That Nintendogs game looks pretty interesting, but if it's not much more than playing with different virtual dogs, I'm probably not going to get it. I just like to spend my money on stuff I'm very sure I'll enjoy for more than a few minutes.
Looks cool though.

Wow, the game industry sounds kind of depressing.
But then you hear about people who have friends on the Spore team (some people on the forums mentioned things like that).
Eh...
I still want to make my own game, but I'll wait until I hit the lottery or something. I'll hire who I need to make it, and distribute my story.
Gotta hell of a story to tell too. No philosophical BS and playing down the romance factor a few thousand notches (god, I'm so sick of that watered down melodramatic garbage.)
I oughta write up some more storyline sometime... I miss it.

Had to cut my talking short. I'm so damn tired...
And hey, I got the "Name that game" right. Yippee.

Posted by Gauphastus at June 7, 2005 04:45 AM

I was downloading an n64emulator to play Conker's Bad Fur Day and ran across this MP3 of Conker's Great Mighty Poo song that you mentioned, visit this link to listen: (PRETTY FUNNY, hope I can play that part)

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/writePage.cfm?myType=_music&bandid=322073&bandnamesave=deeplee

Posted by Deep Lee at June 7, 2005 05:00 AM

Sweeeeeeeeet! Been waiting for this.

By the way, Conker's was one of the best games EVER!

Too bad Rare was eaten by M$...

Posted by PatMan33 at June 7, 2005 06:18 AM

You said only Microsoft loses money making consoles - that's not even close to true - every console maker loses money on the consoles they sell, and they make it back from license fees.

From 2001 about the PS2:
"Although the company estimates that Sony loses between $125 and $175 on each PlayStation 2"
http://www.forbes.com/2001/01/09/0109xbox.html

You said Microsoft has "money to burn" because of their huge cash reserve, admit you haven't been watching their stock. Microsoft started paying dividends this past year, and has payed out $60 *billion* to their stock holders.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A232-2004Jul20.html

In addition, it's common for companies to make money from their cash holdings. Before the iPod took off, Apple's profits exclusively came from their cash holdings. That's the whole point of having cash.

And finally you said "Everybody you know is getting a PS3 for sure, but *might* get an XBOX 360" - you're reporting this as if it's fact, when it's not. We still don't know what the PS3 will look like, what features it will have, how much it will cost, or if it will be better or have better games than the XBOX 360. Sony admitted that what they showed at E3 was just a concept prototype to build interest and isn't the final design. Sure, many people are brand-loyal, but we were all Atari and/or Nintendo brand loyal at one time, and now we all have Playstations and XBOXes.

I still enjoy your blogcast and blog, and will continue to link to your site and tell my friends about it because everything else was great.

Posted by Dylan Greene at June 7, 2005 09:33 AM

Your PS2 article is from 2001 when the PS2 first came out. That is old news, Sony is no longer losing money from the PS2, check their latest public financial statements. They were losing money when it was first released, that is true, but not anymore. Granted they don't make that much, if anything, from the consoles, but they aren't losing money. Also Nintendo doesn't lose money from their consoles or their GameBoy, they make a nice profit in fact.

According to their latest financial statements Microsoft currently has $60,592,000 in cash and short term investments (which can be converted to cash in less than 90 days). Including their long-term investments and other assets Microsoft actually has $92,389,000 put away. And no long term debt of any sort.
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bs?s=MSFT&annual

Oh yes, Microsoft makes a ton off their cash holdings. But if look around very few companies have nearly as much in cash as MS. Most companies use their cash to pay out dividends (which MS finally started to do), invest in their employees, buy other companies, and so on. MS has always hoarded cash and just let it sit and earn interest, much more than other public companies.

As for the "everyone I know is planning on getting a PS3 and might get an Xbox 360", that is a fact . Perhaps all of your friends are going to get an Xbox 360? Perhaps they will get the Revolution? I'm not sure, but of the people that I know they want to get a PS3 and aren't sure about the Xbox 360 just yet. The main reason is that a lot of people I know already have an Xbox and they don't have that many games for it. Plus, many of them just bought the Xbox with the past year or so and don't feel the need to purchase a new system right away.

I get everything, so it doesn't matter to me. As will other hardcore gamers, we will buy everything when it comes out the day it comes out. Personally I think the Xbox 360 will do very well and there is room for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, but Microsoft is trying to make the Xbox 360 an "event" like Halo 2, where you need to purchase the Xbox 360 the day it comes out no matter what. My friends just aren't buying into that and will wait and see what games are coming out before buying it.

The key will be for the Xbox 360 to have some killer games when it launches, like they did with the original Halo and the original Xbox. Otherwise people will wait for the killer game/price to come down, like many people I know are doing with the PSP.

And do not underestimate brand loyalty, especially overseas, and especially for electronic components. Back in the 80s an excellent study (that I studied in college) was done based on the “Pepsi Challenge” where Pepsi went around giving blind taste tests to see if people really preferred Coke or Pepsi. Before the test people were asked if they preferred Coke or Pepsi and the wide majority said that they liked Coke more. However, once the test was given almost 2/3 of the people who said they preferred Coke actually selected Pepsi as the better tasting soda in the blind taste test. After they were told that they actually selected Pepsi rather than Coke the same people said of themselves “that they were wrong and actually preferred Coke”. So even though people were shown that they really liked Pepsi they would ignore their own results and still stay loyal to Coke. That is the power of brand loyalty, people will go against their own tastes to stay loyal to a brand.

Posted by Gaming Steve at June 7, 2005 10:03 AM

Hurray! Nice one Gaming Steve. I'm loving this place allready! :D

Posted by SC at June 7, 2005 11:18 AM

Isn't firaxis in new york?

Posted by Cool AN at June 7, 2005 11:47 AM

Firaxis is in Maryland.

Posted by Gaming Steve at June 7, 2005 11:51 AM

Oh ok I just thought I saw that some place.

Posted by Cool AN at June 7, 2005 02:50 PM

Nice podcast. Very interesting things said in the interveiw (of what I could make out with this crappy sound system). Can't wait till the transcript...Like...Now...Maybe even...I don't know...posting access! >:)

Posted by Wulf at June 7, 2005 03:16 PM

I thought it was funny how there was thunder when you said death of the pc industry.

Posted by Sub at June 7, 2005 05:11 PM

I think you said hours were very long and sometimes you would work from 7 to 3 pm. i am guessing you ment 3 am. Also Rockstar is in NYC right? Great podcast Steve.

Posted by jsully at June 7, 2005 05:52 PM

Just heard the show and enjoyed it. But for another perspective on the game industry situtation. I have been in the biz for many years and worked on all sorts of titles on almost every platform.

While it is true that jobs can tough to get. Particularly of the "game designer" "producer" or "I have these great game ideas" type. Those are the most difficult to get into jobs because they rely on experience and track record.

But for programmers and technical artists with the skills we need, there are way more jobs than we can fill. Most companies have to hire from around the world (often >25% visa employees) to fill them because there is not enough talent at home in the US. If you learn the skills in demand, making a lifetime career in games is definitely doable.

I have begun reaching out to high school students to show them why these skills can lead to great, well paying jobs in the industry. A recent talk is on my website at
http://www.darwin3d.com/confpage.htm

Posted by Jeff Lander at June 7, 2005 06:07 PM

An other thing I would point out for the game industry is this:

Networking.

No... not servers, databases and how they interact with a client software but this social skill called networking.

Get to know people through your local IGDA. You don't know what the IGDA is? Well do some research. Find those local devs in the area that work there and meet them talk to them and get to know them.

Make fansites for game, get to know the people who do the games. This is how you can get in community relations positions if you play your cards right.

Networking is an asset not to be underestimated. I think it's the most important skill to tell your the truth.

Posted by Frank Messier at June 7, 2005 06:29 PM

I won Name That Game! Life is good. Thanks Steve!
(By the way, you pronounced it right the second time.)

Posted by Max Lawlor at June 7, 2005 08:34 PM

it's nintendogs NOT nintendo dogs

Posted by Jon F at June 7, 2005 09:49 PM

Hi,
have you ever been on the EA Spore site?
Theres a hidden screenshot from Will Wright.
To see that, press after the Flash several times the
Tab-Button (is it Tab in USA too? i mean the button left
to the Q)
When a yellow box with nothing inside appears click on it.

Posted by Uli at June 8, 2005 02:36 AM

Ahahahaha!

Great find Uli!


It's the lightbulb pic!

:P

Posted by PatMan33 at June 8, 2005 06:39 AM

ops,

shit happens ;)

Posted by Uli at June 8, 2005 08:58 AM

Yes, I meant to say that I was working from 9am to 3am seven days a week. A mistake which has been pointed out to be by countless people. Sorry about that one.

Posted by Gaming Steve at June 8, 2005 04:26 PM

About the "PC games are dying" thing....

I don't think they're going to die unless consoles get user-created mods, and, to a lesser extent, independent games. AFAIK, they don't (and can't, in some ways) have this at all. And for that matter, until they get something to rival a mouse (you sorta mentioned this a bit in the podcast), my main gaming machine will be a PC. If the EA's of the world switch to consoles only, that would be fine with me. PC gaming would - in a way - go back to the way it used to be - a fun niche hobby. It would get rid of the mass-market garbage games.

I think as long as PCs have compilers, there will be PC games. Just maybe fewer games based on movies. :)

PS - Is it just me or does the preview not show line breaks? I guess I'll see if they show up when posting...

Posted by chrisl456 at June 8, 2005 05:08 PM
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