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What supermarkets can tell us about videogames

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my pet theories is that you can tell the shape of consumer technology by going to the supermarket. Supermarkets care very much about making money, so they don’t stock what they don’t think they can sell – so for example Blu-Ray is still conspicuous by its absence, and films on Sony’s UMD format barely appeared before disappearing again. So it’s interesting (to me, at least) to see what the three big supermarkets in my area are up to with videogames.

In the last couple of weeks, all three big chains – Tesco, Asda and Morrison’s – have changed their games aisles. Previously you’d find three equal sections: Wii/DS, Xbox/PC and PS3/PS2. Now, all three supermarkets have reshuffled things. The winner? Nintendo’s Wii. In my local Tesco it has two sections to itself, with a third section shared between the Xbox, PS3 and DS titles. PS2 and PC are relegated to the bargain buckets.

The reason is obvious: supermarkets make money from Wii games in a way they don’t from more serious consoles. Maybe it’s because Xbox and PS3 gamers buy online, or go the preowned route (I do the latter, which is why I’m currently being irritated by Army of Two before turning to Mirror’s Edge). Or maybe it’s because the Wii market dovetails nicely with the typical supermarket buyer, who doesn’t read Edge and who hasn’t heard of Metacritic. Whatever the reason, it’s proof that Nintendo has cleverly carved itself a whole new niche in gaming: games for people who aren’t gamers.

While we’re on the subject of supermarkets, my printer needed a pair of ink cartridges last week. It worked out £2 cheaper to buy a new, better printer with ink in it than to replace the cartridges in my existing one. If you had any doubt that the money’s in the ink and that printer firms sell hardware like Gillette sells razors…

37 replies on “What supermarkets can tell us about videogames”

The ink thing annoys my head, and I don’t even have a printer. The cost to make those cartridges must be fairly small so it’s obvious to me that these companies are trying to stiff their own customers.

Interesting about the Wii games too. I tend to not have a lot of time to spend ages shooting myself around some complex game and so the Wii-style games suit my lifestyle much better.

I don’t think they’re stiffing their customers: it’s no different to, say, getting a free laptop with mobile broadband. The prices are based on a whole-life calculation, so the “free” laptop is compensated by the margin on the contract. Same with printers: I interviewed HP a few years ago and they were completely honest, said that their prices were based on a 15% margin over the life of the printer. Obviously it costs considerably more than £30 to make an all-in-one photo printer with scanning and copying (and the supermarkets play a part in this: these things are often sold at half price, like the one I picked up the other day) so the manufacturers will work out how many cartridges they’ll expect you to buy and make their profit from those.

As a rule of thumb, the cheaper the printer the more expensive the ink.

Incidentally, that’s why the cost of third party carts and refills is so low: they don’t have to recoup the cost of the hardware.

I don’t feel stiffed, but I do worry about the environmental impact a wee bit. I’ll recycle my old one, but I’d imagine many people won’t.

I’m with you on the lifestyle/gaming conflict. How’s the pram shopping going? :)

Incidentally, despite bad reviews I picked up Army of Two for £12 the other day and was going to blog about how it’s not that bad, it’s a pretty fun shooter and worth picking up second hand. And then, twenty minutes in, it gave me a timed level. I HATE TIMED LEVELS EVEN MORE THAN I HATE PUZZLES. So it’s shite and nobody should buy it, ever :)

The Club is very good for quick, don’t have much time shooting. Some bugger borrowed my copy and hasn’t given it back yet. Gaaah.

In recent years the amount of ink in a new printer is less than you’d get buying new cartdridges. Just saying.

I want to buy Guitar Hero World Tour. ;-)

“games for people who aren’t gamers.”

This kind of makes sense, when you compare games to music and film. When you think about it, most films are made for people who aren’t film buffs (but want something to do for two hours or somewhere to take their girlfriend on Friday), and most music is made for people who aren’t really that into music (but want something to drown out the noise of their car engine/fellow bus passengers).

The one thing that makes games different is that the different platforms available mean that one manufacturer makes all the commercial supermarket fodder. Nintendo should use the profits from the Wii to design a console designed purely for geeks, which would take the PS/Xbox market.

The other thing about the supermarket wii games is that more than half of them are complete garbage. I don’t know how it happened (since nintendo used to be vary anal about quality control for games – especially third party ones) but the wii has much more crap for it than the other consoles.

> Nintendo should use the profits from the Wii to design a console designed purely for geeks

Absolutely, yes. They’d have to be crazy not to copy the business plans of the firms who are losing to them.

Point taken about the ink. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense from an ecological point of view, but if that’s the way they want to do it then that’s up to them ;)

> Absolutely, yes. They’d have to be crazy not to copy the business plans of the firms who are losing to them.

Very poor, Jo, very poor. If you’re going to attempt needless smartarsery, at least base your comments on what I actually said.

Can you inform me which rival to Nintendo operate a business plan along the lines of – ‘use the profits from our hugely successful Wii to launch another console aimed specifically at the area of the market where our rivals operate, thus taking even more market share from our already battered competitors as well as pleasing the most loyal and vocal section of the market’?

It’ll be news to Nintendo, who were making games machines when I was little, that their erstwhile customers, who now use the recent inventions of relatively recent arrivals in the market, are “loyal”. It’ll be news to Sega and Atari, too, come to that.

It’s about branding. Look at Nintendo’s advertising now — all of it, not just the Wii stuff. It’s footage of people, not of games. They’re trying to sell to ordinary people, not gamers. They’re trying to persuade people that having the odd quick muck-around on a game without getting all obsessive about it is a normal thing to do. They are very deliberately moving their company’s image away from traditional gamers — repositioning themselves. And it’s working very nicely. Making another X-Box would completely undermine that.

In other words, Nintendo’s business plan isn’t just “Make Wiis” — it also includes “Don’t make anything like an X-Box”. Making an X-Box would involve copying that part of Microsoft’s business model that counteracts and that isn’t working as well as Nintendo’s business model.

And now I’ve said all that, they will definitely launch an X-Box.

> If you’re going to attempt needless smartarsery, at least base your comments on what I actually said.

Things I’ve said have been publicly twisted and misrepresented by you more than by any other person ever — in fact, more by you than by every other person ever. And not in order to make a quick cheap joke, but in order to seriously insult, to stab in the back, and to actively defame. I think you can take a bit of light-hearted smartarsery on the chin, to be honest.

> I think you can take a bit of light-hearted smartarsery on the chin, to be honest.

Oh well, if it helps you to feel better about yourself, knock yourself out. It’s just that, well, it makes you look a bit of a tool. If you’re still deeply hurt over some messageboard comments from upwards of 7 years ago (very little of which I can recall), I can only advise that you grow a thicker skin. I’ve moved on.

Deeply hurt? Hardly. I know this’ll shock you, but I have better things to think about than you. I just made a fairly glib comment is all, and, as ever, because I neglected to provide three pages of explanatory footnotes, you flew off the handle. You and Alex, by the way, are the only two people who do that, presumably because you’ve both moved on. I then merely pointed out that the phrase “at least base your comments on what I actually said”, coming from you of all people, is unlikely to cause in me regret or sympathy.

Anyway, I know Gary won’t want a fight on here, so I’ll make that my last comment on the matter.

“seriously insult, to stab in the back, and to actively defame”

Get over yourself. By your own admission, you made a needless smart-arsed dig, and gave as your justification the fact that I’d apparently driven you to the brink of a nervous breakdown the greater part of a decade ago.

When this is pointed out, you resort to tu quoque, using some laboured sarcasm (“You and Alex, by the way, are the only two people who do that, presumably because you’ve both moved on”). Quite why you had to throw in a dig at Alex as well I don’t know – he rarely posts here that I’ve seen.

“Anyway, I know Gary won’t want a fight on here”

And *I* don’t want to have one. You’re the one with the problem.

Anyone with half a brain can see that Sony and Microsoft have no deep understanding of the gaming market and treat it as an exercise in engineering (faster hardware etc). They’ve been totally outplayed by Nintendo, which has been making good games for so long that it knows it’s not the hardware that matters, it’s what you do with it.

I’m not sure I agree with that. I think Microsoft and Sony do understand one gaming market, which is the traditional, hardcore gaming market – that’s why the Xbox went from zero to major player, because Microsoft did a brilliant job courting gamers, especially with the Xbox 360. Sony not so much with the PS3, but a big part of that was pricing and not having enough launch titles. And Xbox Live and Live Arcade were brilliant ideas, really well implemented.

Nintendo, on the other hand, basically told the hardcore to bugger off and created a whole new market. The supermarkets reflect that: madworld, which is the sort of thing that would appeal to hardcore gamers rather than family ones, isn’t even stocked by my local supermarkets.

There’s no doubt that Microsoft have done a good job on that little slice of gamers, but what I meant by “the gaming market” is “everyone who likes to play games”, and I think that Nintendo have remained targeted on this larger definition over decades, and basically ignored the hardcore gamer market as too narrow and too dependent on hardware superiority. I will probably never buy an X-box or a PS of any description because I simply don’t see myself ever having large chunks of my daily life available to play the hours-long games that are the staple of the X-box/PS world, but I’ll play the odd quick game on my computer, iPhone, Wii, DS etc as and when I have a few minutes and feel like doing so. And I suspect the vast majority of the population is more like me than the hardcore gamer.

>>I think that Nintendo have remained targeted on this larger definition over decades, and basically ignored the hardcore gamer market as too narrow and too dependent on hardware superiority.

Really? Nintendo only dropped out of the hardware superiority race with the wii. The N64 claimed to be the most powerful console of it’s time, most of the big “the hours-long games that are the staple of the X-box/PS world” franchises started on Nintendo kit (Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, etc) (Also, since when were any of the Zelda games considered “casual”?)

Nintendo, with the wii, changed their home console focus from the hardcore market to casual gamers because they got their arse handed to them by Sony and Microsoft(which was their own fault, since they pretty much made Sony make the playstation) who managed to tempt/force the Nintendo top tier developers like Square and Rare to make games for them. Nintendo already had control of the handheld casual market with the gameboy, so they switched their marketing to that group. And it’s entirely that. Marketing. I’m not that familiar with the PS3 catalogue, but I’ve got a wii and a 360. There are as many, if not more, games aimed at the casual gamer on the 360 as the wii. From launch there was the 360 arcade, which had lots of original quality casual stuff. Nintendo have only recently caught up with that on the wii. (The virtual console doesn’t count as it was entirely emulated old-games, many of which were also on the 360 arcade) There are numerous first and third party casual games for both consoles, including stuff like Raving Rabbids and other party games.

There are only two reasons why anyone would think that the wii was better for casual gamers. The wiimote – which if you’re honest isn’t any easier to work out than a controller for most games, however it is a type of controller which people hadn’t associated for 20 years with hardcore gamers, so there isn’t the immediate resistance to it. The other thing is the absolute torrent of utterly shit third-party casual titles that’ve come out for the DS and the Wii in the last couple of years. These are the ones that you see all over Tesco et al. Poorly designed and programmed crap. All that the “casual” label that wii and DS have gained is given shoddy developers a license to produce nothing but shallow, short-lived mince to sell to supermarket shoppers.

Nintendo only dropped out of the hardware superiority race with the wii. Er, yes. That’s what I said.

Nintendo, with the wii, changed their home console focus from the hardcore market to casual gamers because they got their arse handed to them by Sony and Microsoft.

Umm, right. In the same way that Apple changed their portable music player focus from geeks to the general public because they got their arse handed to them by Creative. If only they had remained focused on those geeks!

Nintendo already had control of the handheld casual market with the gameboy

That’s what I meant by “Nintendo have remained targeted on this larger definition”.

so they switched their marketing to that group. And it’s entirely that. Marketing.

Those evil marketers! Making people buy things they don’t want! If only Sony and Microsoft had some of them…

There are as many, if not more, games aimed at the casual gamer on the 360 as the wii.

Funny then that no-one buys them. Must be the eeevil marketers again.

The wiimote – which if you’re honest isn’t any easier to work out than a controller for most games

You’re right there. Pressing a button to hit a golf ball is just as obvious as swinging a remote to do so.

The other thing is the absolute torrent of utterly shit third-party casual titles that’ve come out for the DS and the Wii in the last couple of years.

I’m with you on the torrent. I don’t know if they’re shit or not, because I haven’t played them all, but I’m sure you know better than all the buyers.

>>Er, yes. That’s what I said.

No Stephen, you condescending arse, you said “and basically ignored the hardcore gamer market as too narrow and too dependent on hardware superiority.” Which is incorrect. They stuck with the hardcore gamer market until the point where they were unable to compete. That is completely different than being cleverer than the opposition and coming out on top. Nintendo nearly came out of the console market altogether and gambled a fair bit on the wii. If it hadn’t been a success then the company would probably have been sold.

>>Umm, right. In the same way that Apple changed their portable music player focus from geeks to the general public because they got their arse handed to them by Creative.

In that analogy Nintendo would be Creative as they were the dominant force in that market, who were usurped by the new arrivals, so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Is it that you need to mention Apple at least once per thread?

>>That’s what I meant by “Nintendo have remained targeted on this larger definition”.

They’re not the same thing – different arms of the same organisation. Using that argument you could say that Microsoft have dominated (if not invented) casual gaming when they released patience.

>>Those evil marketers! Making people buy things they don’t want! If only Sony and Microsoft had some of them…

Again, I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. You are claiming that the xbox and PS3 are only for hardcore gamers and the wii is for casual gamers. That is not the case, is a gross oversimplification and is an opinion that appears to be based entirely on watching adverts on TV.

>>Funny then that no-one buys them. Must be the eeevil marketers again.

Lots of people buy them. That’s why they make them.

>>You’re right there. Pressing a button to hit a golf ball is just as obvious as swinging a remote to do so.

I watched a group of mainly non-gamers attempt to play wii golf the other day and they actually found it quite difficult at first. There are very few games where the mechanics of the game are much more complex that merely waving your arms around.

>>I’m with you on the torrent. I don’t know if they’re shit or not, because I haven’t played them all, but I’m sure you know better than all the buyers.

I have not, at any point, claimed that I have played all of these games. However, I often shop at supermarkets and often buy games there. I have an internet-enabled phone and look up reviews of the games on sites such as meta-critic. It is very usual for the majority of the games for sale in my local Tesco to have an average score above 40%.

> I’m sure you know better than all the buyers.

You’re the last person I’d expect to use the popularity=quality argument. Or do you think Windows Mobile is better than the iPhone, Vista better than OS X, Eoghan Quigg better than [insert credible artist name here]?

And Mupwangle’s right, you are being condescending here.

> They stuck with the hardcore gamer market until the point where they were unable to compete. That is completely different than being cleverer than the opposition and coming out on top.

It is completely different, yes, but Nintendo, I think, did both.

> I watched a group of mainly non-gamers attempt to play wii golf the other day and they actually found it quite difficult at first.

This surprises me. Having played Wii games against my six-year-old niece, it looks to me like waving and twisting are a hell of a lot easier to get the hang of than button-pressing.

It’s interesting to look at some of the numbers here, btw. Microsoft is stomping everybody in the online side of things – 11 million paying Xbox Live members, and combine that cash with XBLA sales and you’re looking at just short of 3/4 of a billion dollars in annual revenues. Attach rate is higher too: Xbox 360’s attach rate is 8.2 games per console, PS3 7.3 and Wii 6.9 (although MS’s figures are US-only, and as the console’s been out longer you’d expect a higher attach rate).

Wii sells more consoles (so far, although PS3 just overtook it for the first time in Japan) but fewer titles per console, and there are signs that the casual games market is softening, and if that’s replicated over here Nintendo’s facing some headaches.

Not to mention the iPhone, which is doing big numbers in games and being spoken of seriously as the next major portable games platform – what we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.

There’s an interesting post on Gamasutra arguing that for developers, the Wii isn’t the best platform. Full version here:

“The choice here is really between investing for the Xbox 360 and PS3 — since their capabilities are fairly similar — or the Wii. I would caution investors and developers that the larger installed base of the Wii is really a bit of a red herring… I think the Wii installed base represents, to a certain extent, fool’s gold for someone looking to invest in video game development. You’re rolling the dice on succeeding in a market which has proved very resistant to generating meaningful hits away from Nintendo titles and the music genre.”

No Stephen, you condescending arse,

Nice ad hominem there.

you said “and basically ignored the hardcore gamer market as too narrow and too dependent on hardware superiority.”Which is incorrect. They stuck with the hardcore gamer market until the point where they were unable to compete.

Unable to compete, or chose to compete on something different? Like innovation in controls?

Nintendo nearly came out of the console market altogether

How do you know this?

and gambled a fair bit on the wii. If it hadn’t been a success then the company would probably have been sold.

Every new console is a gamble. Microsoft gambled a lot on the Xbox, and by the reckoning of some analysts, is yet to make a profit on it. Don’t see what your point is.

In that analogy Nintendo would be Creative as they were the dominant force in that market, who were usurped by the new arrivals,

Not at all. Nintendo created an entirely new thing, a console for casual gamers, just as Apple created an entirely new thing, a portable music playing system that didn’t require an MCSE to use.

They’re not the same thing – different arms of the same organisation.

Don’t know what you mean, I’m afraid.

Again, I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. You are claiming that the xbox and PS3 are only for hardcore gamers and the wii is for casual gamers. That is not the case, is a gross oversimplification and is an opinion that appears to be based entirely on watching adverts on TV.

It’s not just my claim, it’s the claim that Gary made in the original piece, and many others have made it too. Gary has backed up his claim using the evidence of supermarket shelving practices, and I arrived at my conclusion from a number of pieces of evidence, including huge demand for the wii that Nintendo has taken some time to satisfy, the wii’s apparently effortless ascension to the status of cultural icon, appearing in movies such as Tropic Thunder, and the fact that virtually every family I visited or spoke to over the last Christmas had gotten a wii, etc, etc.

Lots of people buy them. That’s why they make them.

Not enough people for them to be stocked by the supermarkets though.

I concede that popularity does not equal quality, and apologise for being condescending on that point. I don’t feel I was condescending on the rest of it. Sarcastic maybe!

>>Nice ad hominem there.

It’s not ad hominem when you’re not basing any of your argument on the fact that the person’s tone is offensive. It was an observation. Your tone was unnecessarily patronising.

>>Unable to compete, or chose to compete on something different? Like innovation in controls?

Unable to compete. Nintendo went from completely dominating the market (5 times more sales than Sega) to losing a huge amount of market share to the Sega Genesis/Megadrive (about double the sales of the megadrive) and in the following generation got outsold 3 to 1 by Sony. When the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube were released, Nintendo couldn’t sell more than the Xbox – which had no pedigree. It is very clear that Nintendo either could not or would not throw the same resources at it’s console as Sony and Microsoft could. Even the current success of the wii is dwarfed by the success of the PS2 over the Gamecube. Nintendo chose to try something new, but the decision was forced on them. They would’ve been extremely foolish to try and compete on power. Their choice was to innovate or quit.

>>How do you know this?

It was from an interview that I read about the development of the wii. I’ve tried to find it, but I can’t.

>>Every new console is a gamble.

Yes, but not in the same sense. The gamble with Microsoft and Sony was the same as every gamble before it – that the gamers would choose the other console. That wasn’t unknown territory to them and they were prepared for it. Nintendo, by their own admission, knew that they had absolutely no idea if the wii-mote would be popular. (I know where this one came from – Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto in Wired, June 2008) “What we’re trying to do now is develop interfaces that are more welcoming to a broader audience. But we took a very big gamble in developing the Wii remote.” Gambling based on sales is normal. Nintendo gambled their entire reputation as a company. Also Microsoft and Sony didn’t just do games machines, unlike Nintendo, so failure wasn’t as much of a risk.

>>Nintendo created an entirely new thing, a console for casual gamers, just as Apple created an entirely new thing, a portable music playing system that didn’t require an MCSE to use.

Again, it’s all back to marketing. Sony brought out the Eye-Toy, Singstar and a lot of other things which were even more casual-gamer friendly than the wii is. They didn’t market them very much or push their development so they were a bit of a damp squib. I think that the eye-toy was more revolutionary than the wii-mote – but the technological limitations (it didn’t work well in low light). Sony even patented a “wand” that would allow gesture control in low-light a few months before the first revolution press conferences. The eyetoy itself dates back to 2002. The difference is that Sony didn’t need the eyetoy to succeed – Nintendo did – so the emphasis was different. I’m still not convinced that Apple did anything innovative with the iPod. They certainly marketed it better than anyone else. The interface, although very easy to use, wasn’t that much easier than other players at the time, such as the Archos. Admittedly the Archos looked like shit compared to the ipod and had the build-quality of a poundshop special, but it wasn’t hard to use.

>>They’re not the same thing – different arms of the same organisation.

You said that Nintendo remained targeted on one market segment. They didn’t. Their handheld division did but their home market stayed on the hardcore market. Different divisions of the same company don’t necessarily share the same people/vision/goals, etc, hence the Microsoft example. They know casual games from Windows. Those people don’t work for Xbox.

>>It’s not just my claim, it’s the claim that Gary made in the original piece, and many others have made it too.

Again, we’re talking about marketing here. Nintendo have managed to get non-gamers buying the wii because their marketing has made people think that you don’t have to be a gamer to buy/use one. The point I was making is that the perception that the PS3 and Xbox are entirely for hardcore gamers, to which you obviously subscribe, is incorrect. Microsoft, especially, have been letting this slide because, since the 360 is the cheaper console, people are buying both the Wii and the 360. It’s probably helped them by leaving Nintendo to it.

>>including huge demand for the wii that Nintendo has taken some time to satisfy,

Yeah, I don’t buy it. Neither did Gamestop who publicly questioned the timing of some of the dry spells.

>>Not enough people for them to be stocked by the supermarkets though.

There are many issues there, the most obvious of which is that it is much easier for a supermarket to control and regulate games sales and display for games which do not need parental ratings on them.

>>it looks to me like waving and twisting are a hell of a lot easier to get the hang of than button-pressing.

For a very small subset of games though. A lot of the wii stuff has the wii-mote shoehorned into it in a really horrible way. The accuracy is a big issue too – which is why the motion+ thing is due out.

There are also the odd issues with Wii ports of games too. For example, Guitar Hero World Tour on the Xbox allows you to play with as many instruments as you own. On the wii it is how many wii-motes you own. If you’ve got 2 guitars, drums and a microphone but only 1 wii-mote then you’re playing by yourself.

> it is much easier for a supermarket to control and regulate games sales and display for games which do not need parental ratings on them.

I hadn’t thought of that. Good point.

> I’m still not convinced that Apple did anything innovative with the iPod. They certainly marketed it better than anyone else.

The iPod was a combination of pretty and marketing. I reviewed an early iPod against its rivals, and IIRC I decided that the Creative machine was the best. iPod was nice, but others sounded better and had more features. My archive’s not on this machine but I’ll try and remember to dig it out tomorrow.

FWIW for a long time Sony made *the* best sounding MP3 players, but buggered it up with insistence on ATRAC and shit, shit PC software.

I want to read some of my old reviews now and see how wrong I was :)

A lot of the wii stuff has the wii-mote shoehorned into it in a really horrible way.

Yeah, I’ve noticed that’s apparent just from reading the back of the box in a lot of cases.

> Again, it’s all back to marketing. Sony brought out the Eye-Toy, Singstar and a lot of other things which were even more casual-gamer friendly than the wii is. They didn’t market them very much or push their development so they were a bit of a damp squib.

Aye, but I think the point of marketing is that it’s not just customers you’re marketing to, it’s developers as well. Which is why a console the whole point of which is the interface is always going to be a completely different deal from a console with an extra interface option. I take my hat off to Nintendo for the Wii, I really do. Yes, it was a huge gamble, but I think it shows that it was a gamble made by people who really knew what they were doing.

> The accuracy is a big issue too – which is why the motion+ thing is due out.

Computer hardware will always improve, regardless of what you’re doing with it. I think part of Nintendo’s genius here was to invent the concept and interface first and let the hardware follow later.

I know I mentioned this earlier, too, but I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the importance of Nintendo’s advertising containing more footage of people than of games.

> FWIW for a long time Sony made *the* best sounding MP3 players, but buggered it up with insistence on ATRAC and shit, shit PC software.

I have a simple rule now for Sony stuff: If it’s analogue, I might buy it — they still make great headphones. If it’s digital and has any way of interacting with anything else I own, forget it.

>>I know I mentioned this earlier, too, but I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the importance of Nintendo’s advertising containing more footage of people than of games.

All of Sony’s PS3 advertising was utter garbage. They were trying some sort of tarantino vibe, I think, and it just didn’t work. Some of the Xbox stuff was really good (like the banned play soldiers one (which I thought was ace)) and a lot of it was shite (like the current open back of head stuff). The wii stuff tapped into the who celebrity culture thing, which is what people seem to be into these days.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the wii. I’ve just spent the last hour bashing the drums very badly and I’ve got a sore shoulder from an boxing the other night. :-)

>>I have a simple rule now for Sony stuff:

My rule is simpler – I don’t. I find Sony (who I used to consider to be the best consumer electronics manufacturer) to be a bit hit and miss. If you buy a Sony product it might be good but it’s equally likely to be shite. Not a good thing.

> All of Sony’s PS3 advertising was utter garbage.

Hear, hear.

> I find Sony (who I used to consider to be the best consumer electronics manufacturer) to be a bit hit and miss.

Their DVD players and TVs are still generally very good. Laptops are good too, but overpriced. Especially their £900 netbook.

> Some of the Xbox stuff was really good (like the banned play soldiers one (which I thought was ace)) and a lot of it was shite (like the current open back of head stuff).

I don’t see many ads – I very rarely watch TV that I haven’t recorded – but I saw the open-head ones the other night. Terrible.

> they still make great headphones.

I used to use sony headphones exclusively, but in the last few years I’ve found the quality’s been pretty poor – with in-ear jobs anyway. I was only getting about a month from a set, because the flimsy cables would go where they join the headphones (not just a Sony problem. I’ve had the same thing with other in-ear phones too). So instead of paying £30 for Sonys I doubled the budget and bought a pair of Shure E2Cs, which I’ve had for ages now. Superb build quality, amazing sound (bass is particularly good) and they double as earplugs on planes.

Sorry, meant to say – one thing I’ve found is that Sony in-ears tend to overcook the bass a little bit, whereas the sound from the Shures is more accurate. So if you’re crazy about bass, you’ll probably prefer the sound from Sonys.

It’s true what you say – “games for people who aren’t gamers”.

I used to be an absolute, hardcore, pasty faced gaming individual, but ended up getting a proper job and feeling guilty about lost hours. Two broken legs’ve put me firmly in a wheelchair and sofa combo, and all we have in the house is a Wii. It’s sending me mental. All I want to do is shoot people with a large dollop of gore, but all I have is sacharrine sweetness and feckin’ Mario!

Keep up the good work in .net, it’s the best section by far!

Why, thanks. But don’t despair – both Dead Space Extraction and Madworld are gory Wii games, and both are going for around £12-£15 in supermarkets. I’m sure the usual online suspects are doing them for low prices too. Your life needn’t be gore-free :)

There’s another inline shooter on the wii whose name escapes me at the moment (Is it one of the House of the Dead games?) which is extremely gory and currently holds the record for the most swearing in any computer game.

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