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Portable consoles need reinvention says Alan Wake dev

Nintendo and Sony must change approach claims Remedy boss in new interview

Nintendo and Sony need to "reinvent" the concept of the portable console, according to new comments made by Remedy Entertainment executive vice president Aki "AJ" Järvilehto.

"Many smartphones and tablets offer mind blowing value to gamers. Right now you can buy tons and tons of fun on iOS with the price of a single handheld console game. Heck, you can get tons of fun for free with advertising based concepts," said Järvilehto in an interview with website IndustryGamers.

"So I do think the traditional handheld consoles will need to reinvent themselves if they want to compete." The Alan Wake developer's most recent title is mobile app Death Rally, which has already been received positively. Järvilehto confirms in the interview that the company has been evaluating the 3DS and NGP platforms, but no decision has been made to support them.

"I think the market is changing in a radical fashion," said Järvilehto. "Barriers of entry are literally being blown away. New business models are booming and this is not about devaluation. Facebook is doing tremendous things to gaming and attracting completely new people to enjoy different more casual and social games.

"I can't see how the fact that mainstream consumers are finally embracing our industry could be negative. After all isn't that what we've been hoping for since forever?"

Järvilehto did not confirm that the company was involved in Facebook development, but instead stated, "We absolutely still love the console business model though; that's where the big stuff gets done and shines."

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Latest comments (9)

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 5 years ago
I'm not much of a mobile gamer, but I've still spent about $300 on consoles and $400-$500 in games over the past five years. How many iPhone customers does it take to add up to $150/year in game-related revenue?

If the console manufacturers switch focus from the core gamer to the casual gamer, I don't see how they can compete with platforms like the iPhone, especially now that those platforms are cranking up the CPU and graphics power. The casual gamer's not going to find it worth paying an extra couple of hundred dollars for a better game platform when he's already got an adequate device in a phone that he owns anyway, and he's probably not very interested in the longer, more detailed and more complex games even if they were $5 instead for $25 or $50. Such a move would seem to be to be abandoning a good, if not huge core gaming market to compete with goods that are considerably cheaper in another market.

Casual gaming works because it's a very cheap extra for people without a huge interest in games. It's a good market to be in only if you can produce things at low enough cost.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 24th May 2011 9:43am

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Hey AJ, why didn't you and MS sell Alan Wake for 0.99 cents?

When you answer that question, you'll understand that Sony and Nintendo do not need to reinvent their handheld strategies.
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Jake Clayton5 years ago
Aye, the 3DS has some very nice AAA standard games coming its way in the form of remakes to bide it over until the time origional ground up developmed games will be able to fully use the 3d function.

i know i'm happy to pay £30 for legend of zelda and mgs remakes for it, and i'll be happy to keep paying that for future new titles on the console.

It's a business model that works, yes not as effectively as producing 2,000 1 dollar apps some people may argue, but i'd much rather have a fully polished stunning 3d title in my hands, than a 2d arcade game when i could find a flash game of similar quality for free on places like kongregate and newgrounds.
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Show all comments (9)
"Nintendo and Sony need to "reinvent" the concept of the portable console,"

this statement makes no sense. how does he mean reinvent?
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Hasan Dervish Consultant 5 years ago
I agree with the good doctor (Chee Ming Wong). Sony have already launched a PSP-smartphone hybrid and are about to launch the NGP which has functionality and technology no smartphone comes near to.
Sony's achievement is remarkable considering the hit they took with the recent hack and the overall costs of putting new technologies on shelves in the current economic climate.

The Cloud Connection
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Tony Johns5 years ago
I believe that both Nintendo and SONY provide a great portable platform for games...

I seriously don't think that iPhone or iPad would really cut it when it comes to games that require a massive ammount of HD space on their small portable devises...

That is why the PSP and the DS/3DS rules regardless of the cost of games.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 5 years ago
I don't see space being a major issue. A UMD holds only about a gigabyte, and plenty of good games don't use all (often not even half) of that. An iPhone has 16-64 GB of internal storage.
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Brian Selzer President, Ogmento5 years ago
The best way for the portable consoles to to get ahead of the smartphone pack is to make the bold leap into wearables...

ala - [link url=http://www.maclife.com/files/u129772/1119_ivision_left_1000.jpg
]http://www.maclife.com/files/u129772/111...[/link]

The Sony SmartAR demo is great to see, but the technology is begging to move away from the PC and/or holding up your smartphone in front of your face to experience this type of gaming.

[link url=http://youtu.be/XCEp7udJ2n4
]http://youtu.be/XCEp7udJ2n4
[/link]

I'd give it a few more years, but the effort should be placed here, as the NGP, etc.. can only offer up better processing speed, cameras, etc.. which is not reinventing portable gaming... and cannot easily compete against the ecosystem already in place with Apple and soon Google.

Real world (LBS, AR) gaming is the future of mobile games.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Brian Selzer on 24th May 2011 6:59pm

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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
If the DS/3DS and the NGP havent revolutionized portable gaming, I dont know what will.... I mention the NGP because it has a bunch of nice features that I feel make it stand out, such as the rear touch panel that will offer more versitilel controller inputs in adition to the touch screen, and accerelomoters installed (providing rumors are true). And the 3DS with dual screen, 3D screen, street pass and wireless capabilities of both systems make them ripe for innovation. The problem ive had with these portables is the price. The 3DS at 250$ simply is not worth it to me. The 3D looks pretty but the gaming expirience is not much differant from the original DS.

I just think this guy is a casual gaming cheerleader. And i do agree that the pricing structure for console games needs to change. They usually drop down to a comforatible price a few month on the market, but maybe lowering the price right out the door would allow more copies to be sold for a longer term.
Paying 120$ plus tax for just 2 games is CRAZY!!!
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