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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 11.28.12: Wii U vs iPad, Sony, Underrated Games, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 11.28.2012

Stewart Lange has joined the game.
Dan Watson has joined the game.
Todd Vote has joined the game.

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op, the game that gets more fun the closer we get to Christmas. Mostly because everyone's frazzled from it being really close to Christmas. And then I ask them tough questions!

Start the game!

QUESTION ONE: Turns out the most anticipated piece of technology kids want under the tree this Christmas may not be the Wii U, as a survey says that the iPad is a more popular choice. Granted, the numbers aren't that far apart and everything else is a distant third place, but is this more a victory for Apple, a bit of disappointing news for Nintendo, or just a sign that kids today get way better gifts than we ever used to get?

Stewart Lange
First up, I'd like to suck up to the Quizmaster by wishing him a belated Happy Birthday. Secondly, it's clear that children get far too much these days. Just last week, I saw a 10 year old, on his own, texting on a Samsung Galaxy S3. I had to save for weeks to get my iPad, what with car payments and rent to think about and the contract I have for my iPhone 5 has 23 months left on it. What could have stopped me just taking that phone from that kid? A sense of morals that I've gained by not having everything handed to me.

Dan Watson
I'm going with number three on this one. What parent buys their kid a $300-$600 dollar item? As for the other two options, Nintendo shouldn't worry and Apple shouldn't be impressed. Nintendo and any other console that launches normally doesn't have a quick follow up to their launch titles. Kids and families need to see long term investment reasoning when buying this console. There has to show something more than a few Mario games and a Wii TV possibility. As for Apple, I'm pretty sure this Christmas won't make or break the iPad or the company.

Todd Vote
Kids today get way better gifts than we did. No question about it. A friend of mine at work was talking today about how she is going to be selling her son's iPod, because both of her kids are getting Samsung Galaxy tablets for Christmas from their grandma. The kids in question? Ten years old and 4 years old. I don't even have a smart phone, let alone a tablet. Oh, and a minor victory for Apple too, I guess.

Man, we are all grumpy old men. When did that happen? Stewart gets 542 points to make up for not robbing that kid…I mean, because he's a good person who would never steal from a small child.

QUESTION TWO: Continuing on the Wii U, news is that although the system is being sold at a loss, buying a single (first-party) game will completely negate that loss and put Nintendo in the black on each system sold. Once more, Nintendo's massive library of first-party titles comes to their aid in the form of the ability to make gobs and gobs of money. I know we harp on Nintendo for eschewing third party developers for the most part, but would you really care if Black Ops 2, for example, wasn't a Wii U title? Would it benefit Nintendo more to lean even harder on their own franchises than they already do, or are third-party games necessary to their business plan?

Stewart Lange
Nintendo are always more reliant on their own franchises, are they not? Sure, you can get the Call of Duty series for the Wii, but how successful are they? Not a patch on Super Mario, or Zelda, or Smash Bros. People don't buy a Wii to play Black Ops 2. They buy it because it's the only place they can play these enduring franchises. I don't think they should cut out the third party titles, as Mass Effect and Bioshock Infinite will be a unique experience on the Wii:U, but they'll continue to use their own super franchises to really push the sales.

Dan Watson
I think in the current market you need to have third party support. Looking at the Wii and why many considered it a failure, it was because the games were all mini games and lack of third party substantial support. When comparing consoles, you need a base set of games to compare and then look at first party exclusive titles. Microsoft and Sony have many similar titles and then they have their exclusives. It just makes for easier comparisons but also doesn't give consumers a reason to leave you. Why allow them to buy a Sony or Microsoft product to play a game that is third party and make them turn your console off? That's bad business.

Todd Vote
I wouldn't call this strategy necessarily leaning on their own franchises. Nintendo has already stated that the Wii U will have third party support. Nintendo is selling the machine at a loss, and then just stated that once they sell a first party game to go with the system, they are making money. This isn't dependence on first party titles, this is using that massive library of first party titles to their advantage.

I should note that I don't think Nintendo should go with that particular business plan, but why have a forum for people to give differing opinions if you're not going to see if any of them are different than yours? I think Dan is the most right, for 1203 points, and Nintendo would seem to agree simply because they did get Call of Duty and Arkham City (among others) for launch titles. Remember, once they ran out of first party games for the Wii, they pretty much just stopped putting out games for that console for much of 2012.

QUESTION THREE: On the other side of the fence, Sony looks like it might be in some trouble, as its corporate credit rating has been seriously downgraded, and analysts predict that the electronics giant will need to undergo some massive restructuring in order to reverse the company's fortunes. While gaming is only a piece of the huge Sony pie, if things continue to go squirrely, do you think there's a chance that changes higher up the ladder could result in Sony not even having an entry in the next generation of consoles?

Stewart Lange
I really can't see it happening, but who knows. If they are going to be making as big an initial loss as they were on the PS3 per unit, somewhere up the decision line the brakes could be put on. The question is how far along in development and how much money has already been sunk into the "PS4?" If it's a substantial amount, they'll probably press ahead but you never know.

Dan Watson
Quizmaster, there is no chance in hell Sony doesn't enter into the next console generation. Sony lost a bit on 3D TVs and lost a bit of ground in the laptops and tablet battles. There isn't a major drop in cash because of the gaming side. I don't have a Sony television because they are overpriced, I don't have a Sony laptop for the same reason, and I don't have any other Sony product other than the PS3.

Todd Vote
Has it been stated at all that Sony's financial woes are because of the video game market? I think Sony needs to look into all aspects of their company, lose the arrogant "We are Sony, of course people will buy it" attitude, and figure out how to right the ship. I'm not sure if it is any one branch of Sony causing the problems, but I would be willing to bet that the video game industry is the least responsible for the situation they are in right now.

I was curious, so I went and checked Sony's Q3 financials, and unfortunately, the video game division shares a portion of the blame for their massive losses, thanks to declining PS3 sales and the fact that the Vita hasn't exactly set the world on fire. I mean, the 3D TV thing put them in a massive hole, but it's not like the gaming division wasn't digging out a few shovelfuls as well. Stewart's most likely correct, and gets 2343 points in the bargain, because the PS4 development has so much sunk cost into it right now that, short of the factories where they build the parts sinking into the ocean, I'd imagine the console will hit the street at some point.

QUESTION FOUR: It is the last week of November already, which means that Game of the Year awards are going to start coming fast and furious. We're not at that point yet, but let's whet some appetites with a tricky award that should make you think a bit: pick a video game that you feel isn't going to get the respect it deserves on everyone's "Best" lists? In other words, for want of a better term, what's your Most Underrated Game of 2012?

Stewart Lange
I'm calling either Dishonored or The Walking Dead my game of the year. At the moment, I'm leaning more towards Dishonored but boy, that game blew me away. I have a couple of things I've not played through just yet, like Max Payne 3 and Medal of Honor, but at this point, I can't see either of them beating out the two games I've mentioned already. Dishonored is the first game since Fallout 3/New Vegas I've played through in different ways, as I first played it just to beat it, then all-out war and now I'm going for no powers. It's a challenge but boy, is it immersive. I think I've made my decision while writing this.

Dan Watson
That's a tough question Quizmaster. I was worried early in the year about Mass Effect because it came out so early in the year. Dishonored could be up there as underrated and possibly Medal of Honor as it came out in a rough part of the year.

Todd Vote
Damn... Good question. I would say that TellTale's Walking Dead Game is going to get snubbed, but that is not the case, as it has already been included in a lot of GoTY talk alongside some of the best disc games. Like it or not that is quite an accomplishment for DL-only games. I do feel that Resident Evil 6 was given sort of an undeservedly harsh backlash. I thought it was a solid entry into the series. I loved the 4 interconnecting campaigns, and co-op campaign gameplay is always a plus.

Looking at these choices here, I have an early question that I'll probably use next week: does this year have the smallest pool of potential GOTY nominees in a long time, or is it just me? Anyway, I'd be hard-pressed to consider Mass Effect 3 "under-rated", but the ending controversy and the fact it came out very early in the year seemed to have pushed it way down the list of choices, somehow, so give Dan 4312 points for reminding us that it did come out in 2012, and it was still pretty damned awesome despite the ending.

BONUS QUESTION: Less than a month until Christmas! How's that shopping list going? And how much do you want to kill me for asking?

Stewart Lange
Christmas doesn't stress me out. No problem. I have a list made and you know, it'll take me half an hour to order it online and I'll be done. We visit family so nobody needs to cook, all I have to do is drive and since the furthest away I have to go is 60 miles, even that isn't a bother.

Dan Watson
Top benefit of being married, Christmas shopping and Christmas cards are done. I have nothing to worry about at all. I'm good there but pissed off at my Vikings.

Todd Vote
I got a few things for one of my nephews... that's about it so far. Thanks for reminding me, dick.

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