OPINION: Scapegoating and Excuses: A Reoccurring Formula in the Gaming Industry

Friday, February 8th, 2013

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Activision: Making excuses instead of profits

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick stated that they are disappointed in the Wii U launch, yet they have confidence in the Skylanders franchise.

The question is, why all this negativity towards the Wii U, when the advertisements, and the sales of the particular Wii U version of Skylanders is completely ignored? Perhaps this may be a Canadian thing, but I have never seen a Wii U Skylander package within our EbGames, nor have I been aware Skylanders even EXISTS on the Wii U. Could this be my ignorance? Perhaps. As a consumer though, some advertisement would be preferable, whether it’s a giant billboard in a corner of the store packed with Skylander figures for the Wii U, or even a banner that has Wii U and Skylanders in the same area.

I may be a cynical person in general, or perhaps a critic by nature, but I am personally ridiculously tired of the higher ups blaming the consoles for their failures, and using them as scapegoats. Much like SquareEnix has been doing recently, by blaming the consoles and the market for their lack of sales…Allow me to be blunt…How dare you? When you put out garbage products, and expect people to gobble them up and purchase them, and suddenly it doesn’t go your way, how dare you blame the consoles and the economy?

This is coming from a very interesting article that Destructoid posted, about SquareEnix blaming the console market for their lackluster sales, and thus deciding to move into the mobile market where they can make games like All the Bravest, where you swipe the screen and dump money into a game that is…not a game. It is a money sink that offers you nothing in return. If you dont believe me, check out this wonderful review that made my day. Hats off and Kudos to Justin Davis for telling it like it is.

I remember a time when anything with Square on it, would be purchased immediately, even if it meant I had to auction off a kidney, or do dishes for my parents to save up the money until my fingers were sore. Now? I wouldn’t touch their products with a ten-foot pole even if they begged me. Type – 0, Bravely Default, Versus 13… THIS IS WHAT WE WANT…Not, FF13-3?!

The use of SquareEnix as an example is not because I do not like the company. I LOVED the company, when it cared about the products it put out, and not just the money that came in. I use them as an example because they are probably the BEST company to use when you try to explain and prove just how much scapegoating and excuses penetrate and saturate the gaming market at this time.

The above is just an example. Dear companies…When you fail to market a product, and when you fail to deliver, please do not blame the consoles. Yes, the launch was not spectacular for the Wii U, but that does not suddenly take all the blame away from you, when you have failed to properly market and distribute the product, as well as make it available to the consumer. Let’s all take a moment to think before we spew out excuses, because every console has a rough start at launch, and that is when they need games to be advertised and produced, in order to boost sales. It’s a win-win situation, and instead of pointing fingers, perhaps the better way to go would be to work together. Just a thought from a student without an MBA, but with enough logic to realize what you are saying makes about as much sense as a monkey reading the newspaper.


About Ceruleath Noreleth

Former Volunteer- A girlie gamer that likes long walks on the beach, vanilla flavoured ice cream and...I lie.

I collect weapons, I PWN newbies on CoD, and if I put as much time into studying as I have put into Video Gaming, I would have cured every disease in the books, and then some. I am a closet nerd, a gamer, and a fan of everything out of the ordinary. GET AT MEH! ';..;'

  • he was dissapointed in ds and 3ds launches too. The guy is out of his mind

    • TwinTails

      This guy just suffers from poor judgment, it’s common throughout the gaming media, even Pachter when he said Microsoft was doubling the price of Xbox Live, or when Grand Theft Auto V was coming out in 2010, or when Kinect was launching at $50.

      The bad part is that they never learn from their mistakes and it’s an insult to the intelligence of gamers everywhere.

    • 3DS’ launch wasn’t exactly good, though.

    • Guest

      Depends on your definition of “good”.

      The 3DS had a better start than the PS3, Xbox 360, Vita, PSP, Gamecube, and original DS – even before the 3DS price cut.

      So by that standard, the only successful console launch of the past decade was the original Wii.

      To put it into perspective, the Wii U is still having a better launch than the PS3 and 3DS and is only slightly behind Xbox 360 and Wii in early sales numbers, which is of note because the economy was much stronger at the start of the last generation of consoles.

      I’m really curious – if Wii U is being seen as a failure when it already has higher sales than the PS3, 3DS, and DS did within the same 4 month period – what is Activision going to say about PS4 and Xbox 720, which will most likely start at a higher price than the Wii U and may potentially cost even more to develop for.

      Think about it, more processing power, more capabilities means more developers will need to harness that. To harness the power, though, means more manpower to create higher resolution art at a smoother framerate. The machine does the actually processing, but it doesn’t create the game content on it’s own – so how much will development costs rise for more powerful machines?

    • ddsfan2

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the 3DS’s future prospects and like it’s current library, but the Vita had better games at launch, at least to my liking. I wasn’t interested in the 3DS until I heard SMT 4 was coming to the system.

      I agree that almost all systems have terrible launches, at least in terms of games, but I assume you are measuring this in terms of sales? If that is the case, then many systems had excellent launches.

    • Guest

      Sales. For example, the PS3 had only sold roughly 2 million within same launch timeframe, while the Wii U has already sold over 3.6 million in arguably worse economy.

    • Hec4Mets

      The industry is just taking a hating to Nintendo like they always do the Wii U has done far better in its first 3 months on the market the PS3/360 combined did all this doom and gloom is nothing new from 3rd parties because they need there hands held by companies like Sony and Microsoft who offer them money without a moments notice to put there games on there consoles. This generation that is passing has seen a slew of developers and publishers go bankrupt or get closed down because of the unrealistic expectations of publishers who expect games to sell millions of copies. Maybe if they would of banked on the Wii more last generation we wouldn’t of seen as many people go out of work and the list is huge from the amount of developers especially that went out of business because of terrible decisions and banking on expensive HD games which I think is only going to get worse on this next generation coming up.

  • Honestly, at this point with Activision’s only true titles being Skylanders and CoD, I don’t put a lot of thought into Kotick’s comments and far too many people do. On the subject of Square Enix, I think that someone or something threw a monkeywrench into the leadership because they seem extremely disorganized and have been for the last couple of years.

    • Hec4Mets

      Square-Enix has been an absolute mess ever since Sakaguchi left in 2002. The last sort of resemblance of the old Square left is Nomura’s KH team and even they are taking far to long to make a PS3 game in Versus XIII which at this point i’m convinced is getting reworked for newer consoles and could end up being a mainline FF entry instead.

    • Spookyryu

      fortunally for the fans, we can play the last story, and still have a great game among us

    • RagunaXL

      HERE HERE! it kind of reminded me of final fantasy for some reason 😉

    • RagunaXL

      i agree, i feel Versus XIII is more likely to resurface as final fantasy xv on ‘ps4’ and ‘720.’ I don’t think any of the people following Versus right now would ultimately care. It would also give the game a better chance at being recongnized by a broader audience. It would be on a new system and is a new game in the anthology. It wouldn’t be held down by associating it with XIII. as well, Versus XIII has a gibberish japanese game quality to it. you might as well call it “Final Fantasy 200% LAZER BOUT! Crystal Redemption” and only sell 25 copies to all of us.

  • Guest

    So, the Wii U has already out-performed the PS3 launch… I guess that means everyone should have abandoned the PS3 4 months after launch, right?

    eh, I could care less about what Activision, EA, or Squeenix have to say about Wii U. I’m lovin the Wii U for now and more kick ass games are on the way soon. If absolutely nothing – and I mean nothing – else, at least we know Nintendo will support their own console with a ton of amazing first-party games.

    • Ryan_oprainfall

      There’s not much on the way, anytime soon. Well at least for many gamers, there may be something you’re looking forward to. I know many were looking for to Raymon and we all know how that went. It does seem that the Wii U may be struggling.

      You do make a good point though about the PS3, many people said the exact same things about the PS3 because it was slow to be adapted due to the high price but it ended up being quite successful.

    • Guest

      PS3 also released during the month of November (2006) and had sold less than 2 million worldwide by February 2007. For comparison sake, the economy was doing better then as well and people were actually ready for a new console generation at that time.

    • Hec4Mets

      Nintendo has a new first party release every month from March onward I don’t see how that’s “not having much on the way” exactly when Iwata himself said this. Its the 3rd parties that continue to play the waiting game with Nintendo like always.

  • Who cares what Activsion thinks? I sure don’t. None of their games appeal to me anyway.

  • I’m disappointed in Activision’s continued existence.

  • multibottler0cket

    I miss Square… And by the looks of it the Enix side is being dragged down…

  • They make crappy games so who cares?

    • RagunaXL

      HERE HERE! activision and electronic arts will probably be hanging it up soon

  • RagunaXL

    here here! i remember reading squaresoft blaming the length of this console cycle being the fault of their lower sales. ds ports of dragon quest, the final fantasy xiii’s and remakes of final fantasy iii and iv are all well-and-good but not-at-all what i am going to give two minutes of my time. their playstation classics for pspGo on the other hand…

    i could be mistaken but the wii U skylanders either an exclusive to target or wal-mart. an entirely fortune 500 fan-base is not a good way to kick-off the next step in the skylanders series. i mean all these kids’ parents are insane clown posse fans. sarcasm ahead, of course it’s everyone’s favorite console’s fault.
    the last activision game i purchased was ‘Boxing’ from Sears Roebuck with my allowance i saved up for an entire summer. Boxing 2, anyone?

    • madmofo145

      I’ve heard a number of people blame the console cycles length for problems, and I just don’t get it. Square especially is in zero position to complain since they took forever to get 13 out, have no versus, no KH3, and as a whole have put out an extremely small and poor showing of games this generation when compared to any other. During the PS1 era we saw 3 numbered FF’s, Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story, Xoengears, Threads of Fate, FF Tactics, etc, yet now we can’t get a game that has been in production since 05? If the consoles has shorter cycles they’d be lucky to get a single game out.

    • RagunaXL

      too true! your list of ps1 games brought a tear to my eye, life for a gamer was great we were also given front mission 3, brave fencer musashi, saga frontier 1 & 2 and several more. what square accomplished on playstation was great, it somewhat carried over to playstation 2, with some snags, but no real complaints. unfortunately it was not a sign of things to come… i hate to say it when square and enix merged and all the square greats left for monolith soft and mistwalker studios SE fell apart. the enix side of things have been great but the square properties have been treated like an unwanted step child.
      and like you said that is what little of it they do release…

  • Does that mean we’re not getting a Zoobles sequel for Wii U?!
    Oh 🙁

  • Lol Activision so silly…

    Square’s problem as I see it is, they are living in the past, trying so hard to figure out how the heck they were so popular in the past and so reviled now… fact is, the guys who made their block busters back in the day are now making games like… The Last Story and Xenoblade… Are they doomed because those guys left? Nah, not really, they are doomed because they keep poking at our nostalgia like we’re cash cows they can milk at the mention of FF7 (suddenly ashamed I downloaded that pc version) or kingdom hearts I guess… if you’re into that sort of thing…

    Personally? As much as I wanted FFvs13 before, I don’t care now, I don’t want any more FF from them, they CAN’T make Final Fantasy games anymore, they’ve made that painfully obvious… Ten was the last real FF for me… It’s a great game and hey as much as it pains me, its a good stopping point for them, and that is where I will personally remember the series ending.

    • RagunaXL

      man i love your post! it’s the gospel truth!

  • FrancisUnderwood0482

    a skylanders game, properly advertised would be a system seller for WiiU nearly on par with Pokemon X/Y being a 3DS seller. I have no interest being 30 and all but what’s good for the console is good for me as an owner.

  • 100% agree!