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The Top 5 Worst Business Decisions This Generation

The Top 5 Worst Business Decisions This Generation

Gaming’s Biggest Flubs

by Nicholas Laborde

©2012 Nicholas Laborde

This has easily been one of gaming’s most monumental and interesting generations, showcasing a skyrocket in gaming prosperity and attention.

From the United States Supreme Court‘s decision to protect video games under the First Amendment to the disbarment of Jack Thompson, we’ve seen many ups over the past seven-odd years.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen just as many downs.

I now present to you the top five worst business decisions of this generation. Note that I’m specifically discussing the time span between 2005 and 2012.

Quick, call the internet!

PS3 and 360 Launches

Before you start furiously tack-tack-tacking away at your keyboard, I’m not saying that the actual release of the consoles was a bad decision.

I’m actually stating that the way in which Microsoft and Sony went about them was absolutely inexcusable.

Microsoft knew that over 60% of the initial batch of Xbox 360 systems were faulty, but chose to ship them anyway amidst scarcity that would last for far too long.

Sony chose to release the PS3 at the price of your firstborn child. Better yet, you HAD to buy the most expensive model. Not only was Sony a year behind Microsoft, but their system was tremendously costly, had very little first-party support, and had an inferior online service.

Microsoft may have been first, but their eagerness to set the precedent cost the company well over $1 billion USD in repair programs for the infamous Red Ring of Death.

Nintendo thankfully enjoyed success with the Wii, and I’m hoping that all of their bases are covered with the Wii U hardware, otherwise I’ll relapse to 2005 and suffer a minor mental breakdown.

Origin

I originally wanted to name this item “Battlefield 3 Not Being Available on Steam,” but that’s only a subcategory of a greater issue.

Origin sucks. Plain and simple.

It eats processing power, mines your PC for data, and is required to play Battlefield 3.

Some argue that Steam is a monopoly. Sure, it may hold the largest market share on PC digital downloads, but other lesser services do exist. Steam’s success shows why Valve is a successful company.

They listen to feedback and implement features. They push the envelope and give us things to play with that nobody has really tried to do (see: Big Picture).

Origin, however, sits there and serves as a barrier between myself and Battlefield 3.

I’ve never heard anyone say anything positive about the service, and quite frankly, it’s the reason I only put around thirty or so hours in to Battlefield 3. If it were on Steam, I’d play it daily.

PSN

I promise you that I’m being objective here, but I still cringe at arguments that PSN is a superior service.

The simple fact that I can’t voice chat with a friend while in-game is utterly inexcusable. At that, it only took two years to have the finicky XMB usable in-game.

The year is 2012, and I still can barely even play music in my games.

The interface also hasn’t aged well. If the PSN Store would have been improved more than marginally, I would be more inclined to say nice things about it.

PlayStation Plus was the start on a path to compete with Xbox Live on a fair level, and I do admit that the content bonuses such as betas and free games do allow the service to stand up on its own.

However, you can only give so much free stuff. Microsoft won the online battle this generation because PSN is a lackluster service that needs improvement. It’s the main reason that I play all of my multiplatform titles on Xbox 360.

If no major improvements come to the service for the PlayStation 4, I won’t be heavily invested, and I’m not alone.

DLC

DLC is a double-edged sword. While it’s a great concept that only provides more bang for your buck, it can also be used to nickle and dime consumers beyond belief.

I remember the first piece of downloadable content that I purchased. It was the first map pack for Call of Duty 2. Granted, it was a well-made game released at a time when people were aching for next-gen variety, but it was probably one of the most gratifying purchases I’ve ever made.

With full-blown expansions like Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam and the ongoing releases of the Battlefield Premium services, DLC has the potential to be good.

It also can screw you over. Take pre-order bonuses, for example. Sure, they exist in full force today because there’s a certain magic in being able to predict your sales numbers.

However, you cause stress on your consumer by offering content at multiple retailers. It’s as simple as offering cosmetic items like in Halo 4, or as far-fetched as offering an exclusive additional piece of single-player content as in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

More than once have I found myself at odds in regards to my pre-orders. Should I stick to the ease of Amazon Release Date Delivery and their promotional credits, or should I fight traffic and go to GameStop because Amazon’s Halo 4 skin isn’t that great?

Don’t even get me started on horse armor in Oblivion.

It needs improvement. We need a greater emphasis on allowing consumers to feel as if their purchase was made because they wanted to increase their playtime, not because they wanted to drain their wallet.

Things like Season Passes are a step forward, but with a big leap in price comes the ever-popular issue of faith in the developer.

Handhelds

I never thought the day would come where I looked down on handhelds.

My childhood was dominated by the Pokemon games, all the way back to Red and Blue. My GameBoys traveled across the country with me, and my original DS was used similarly.

I think the PSP was the first sign of a declining dedicated handheld market. The PSP promised PS2-tier visuals on a handheld, which should have been revolutionary; it wasn’t.

It sold moderately well, but wasn’t a DS killer or the next big thing. I used it more as a media device than a gaming device.

The 3DS serves to justify my statement even more. Nintendo sat back and expected it to be successful, which as you may recall, did not initially occur. The Big N had to cut the price back and dock salaries of its highest staff in order to make the damn thing sell.

Eventually, it broke even and became, as with the PSP, a mild success. Unfortunately, the Vita suffered the fate of its father.

The Vita, as with the PSP, was marketed as a literal handheld console, having the power to produce games that look like 2006 or 2007 era console titles. Unfortunately, the Vita launched with a weak lineup and continues to decline in sales.

It has Uncharted, Resistance and LittleBigPlanet, so what’s the deal?

The biggest unforeseen variable during the time that this generation has taken place  is the advent of the smartphone. When the Xbox 360 launched, the mass market was using a Razr.

Compare that with the market of today’s phones, and you’ll see the obvious reason why handheld sales have declined: they simply are no longer feasible.

We couldn’t take our consoles with us on the go for many, many years, and innovations like the GameBoy changed that. As technology evolved and the smartphone entered the picture, dedicated handhelds have slowly become pointless.

Why carry your bulky Vita with you when you can get games of the same production quality on your iPhone, and for cheaper?

Sony and Nintendo need to realize that it’s not their fault; it’s a changing market. They can either continue flogging a dead horse or abandon it, the latter of which would be the better choice for Sony.

Brace for impact

There, ladies and gentlemen, is my opinion regarding some of the worst business decisions of this generation.

Undoubtedly, our opinions will differ.

Let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree with the list.

Think I’m completely wrong? Contact us and submit your own article; we welcome opposing views.

©2012 Nicholas Laborde
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About exterminat (273 Articles)
I'm an American from steamy Louisiana, one of the most electronically deprived areas of the United States. I've gamed since I was four years old as a result, and plan to do it onto my deathbed. I discovered I could write in June of 2010 when I started a little site called Fans of The Genre with a few friends, and that eventually collapsed three months after due to social lives kicking in. No less than two weeks after that I discovered OXCGN via the community gamer gab competition, and become a staff member shortly after. In February of 2011 I was welcomed to the Editorial staff, then in March of 2012 I was promoted to co-owner... and here I am!

23 Comments on The Top 5 Worst Business Decisions This Generation

  1. I really like it whenever people get together and share opinions.
    Great website, continue the good work!

  2. I totally agree with sony interest with Justin beiber. along with MS stargery of hitting the love of curiosuity rover on xbox 360 ….My comments do make sense like rest of them !

  3. Lunacy or bribery… PSN beats Live because it does all the same stuff and for free. You can chat, just play the same game. No reason to bother people if you’re playing something different. Music, no big deal as many games are based around the music created for them. Racing games are the only ones I see that could use a ‘radio’ music feature. And smartphones are useless for gaming, they’ll never match the hardware or software of a dedicated handheld. I own a Vita and 3DS, not a phone nor a media player. Stick to games instead of doing everything half-assed.

  4. Your PSN compaint really has nothing to do wit Sony’s Gaming network. This is more a problem with the hardware. It’s been said at least 100 times in the past year or two that the PS3 CANNOT do cross-game voice chat/party chat/multi-chat whatever you want to call it simply due to the RAM/OS limitation of the PS3. This is why they gave the Vita much more RAM for the system to use.

  5. The PSP is the best handheld I have ever owned and I’ve got everything from the Game Gear to the DS. I’ll never, ever understand why the PSP failed to obtain the same level of success as the PS2. Anybody who complains about the games available for the PSP hasn’t learned how to use Gamerankings / Youtube to discover all of the gems available. Other than the irrational handheld hate I can agree with your list, although the PSN point has more to do with the PS3’s shoddy architecture and bloated OS.

  6. TwiggiePantz // 2 October, 2012 at 3:20 am // Reply

    Good read, though i have to say, this should have stood out more —->>The damaged handed out by MS on the 360…to me, still stands out as the worst of any console generation to date… i cannot even think of any piece of hardware that i have ever owned or seen around home that failed nearly as half as bad as the 360 did. I have never been so affraid to turn on and off a device… i think i prayed everytime i returned to the Dashboard in hopes it would come out of its 1-2 sec usual freeze ups.

  7. If you truly think iPhone games are of the same production quality as Vita games, you must be someone who JUST started getting into “games” through your iPhone or iPod touch.

  8. GOOD DAY Sir // 2 October, 2012 at 2:38 am // Reply

    “The simple fact that I can’t voice chat with a friend while in-game is utterly inexcusable.” You can voice chat with friends while you play games together, you just can’t Cross-Game Chat you might want to fix that.

  9. Do yourself a favor and don’t take ‘sides’ in your articles.

  10. Very few of these actually had any detrimental effects on business… DLC? Come on, if that’s a bad business decision then I think you need to go back to school. Business = making money.

  11. I agree with some aspects of the article and completely disagree with others. I can’t deny that XBL is a better service than PSN, but at least the latter doesn’t shove adverts down your throat like there’s no tomorrow, when you’re PAYING for the service. We’re looking at you MicroSoft!
    But no matter how you look at articles like this, there are going to be fanboys lurking around the corner ready to pounce but at the end of the day, what service you prefer to use boils down to preference. And he clearly prefers XBOX Services.
    As for the remarks about handhelds? Pffft. This guy needs a reality check.
    Even now the 3DS dominates the Japanese market with unprecedented sales of the 3DS: XL. The Vita however? Yeah…
    I can’t deny that handheld sales are being affected by the rise in popularity of iPhone/Android games but you simply can’t compare the 2. A handheld gives you better graphics, better sound and overall a more immersive feeling of gameplay. Whereas a mobile game is great for quick bursts of play between stations on the underground.

    I think you need to look back on exactly what you’ve written here and think again. I totally agree with Daniel Carlson here you sound “like a kid angry at something that didn’t go how he imagined it”

  12. I though he was spot on, the man sounds like a knowledgeable gamer telling the truth. But seems like most of you are too busy being fanboys to even undestand facts, such as the handheld era being over since smart phones and tablets came out.

    Denial is bad for you.

  13. the inventor // 1 October, 2012 at 8:55 pm // Reply

    PSN lackluster?
    Can’t talk to your friends while playing?…because using your phone or skype is too much of an inconvenience.

    I envy paying money for a service that lags. Or dealing with a “points system” instead of actual prices.

    When I moved into my new place, I was only able to setup my PS3 running off the neighbor’s wifi (while I waited for the cable company).
    I played Resistance 2 online, at 60% wifi with NO lag.

    Total lackluster performance.

    ….and it’s free.

  14. This guy clearly is not a gamer if he thinks that you can get even 1/10th as good of an IOS game as you can a true handheld game on something like the 3DS or Vita. Handhelds are what really madee a gamer as a kid, and my DS probably got more play overall than my 360 or PS3. And my 3DS is shaping up to be just as played of a handheld as my DS was. And handhelds have been consistently some of the biggest selling consoles of all time (The DS is THE biggest of all time). Handhelds dying would be a death knell for the true gaming community (and by that I don’t mean your Grandpa who likes to play Angry Birds once a week) . This guy has no clue what he’s talking about there.

  15. Don’t know why people are bashing this article he’s spot on. Especially about BF3 as I feel EXACTLY the same. Not 1 point on that list I disagree with.

  16. How much did Microsoft pay you to write this article?

    • How much $ony pay you to make a stupid troll out of yourself. The author is right about the PoSN and no amount of bribery is going to change that fact.

    • Sony is in fact the loser of this generation. They dont even feel a need to lower their console price because they figure “why lower it? We are just gonna lose even more money”. The Vita was a mistake…microsoft is smart and engaged the smart phones and tablets with “Smart Glass”…which improves gaming experiences within 360 games. They ignored the handheld market and ultimately saved money. Xbox Live is FAR superior to PSN. Sure, you pay $50.00/year, but its not like that money disappears. It goes straight back into the service to pay for the party chat, better servers, more features, avatar upgrades, exclusive 360 content, etc…basically everything PSN lacks. PSN is a boring service with limited capabilities. I dont complain because its free, but for those who dis XBL because it costs money…..need to understand what you get in return.

  17. im sorry but iphone games do not have anywhere near the quality or quantity of game play as ANY handheld console game. the rest of the article (other than the part about origin) seemed to be a kid angry at something that didn’t go how he imagined it.

  18. ds – 120 mil in sales

    psp – 80+ million in sales

    3ds – 20+ million after 1 year

    yeah, handhelds are better decisions than consoles.

    Games are better too.

    The article writer is a nutcase

  19. This guy is out of his mind when it comes to handhelds

    “It sold moderately well,”

    The psp is the 6th best selling system OF ALL TIME. It sold more than ps3, had more exclusives and solid games

    “The Big N had to cut the price back and dock salaries of its highest staff in order to make the damn thing sell.”

    All systems get price cuts you idiot, now its 1 in the world outpacing the ds.

    “Why carry your bulky Vita with you when you can get games of the same production quality on your iPhone, and for cheaper?”

    [Ed.: If you're going to state your opinion, please do it professionally. :)]

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