In the history of video games and the surrounding industry, there have been hundreds of thousands of mistakes made. We’ve covered the biggest mistakes of all time in the past, but what are the worst decisions and choices made by game companies during this generation of gaming hardware in particular. Fans of certain systems may choose to turn a blind eye to issues their console of choice may face, but there’s no denying that the decisions on this list have directly impacted sales and in some cases, the way we view a company in general.
No Dual Shock at Playstation 3 Launch
“Rumble is last-gen.” We all remember reading and/or hearing those words and thinking, “WTF?” At the time we didn’t know everything that was going on behind the scenes which included disagreements between Sony and the rumble manufacturer and patent holder of the Dual Shock 2. Once that was settled however, we all got the word at TGS 07 that the Dual Shock 3 would be appearing and a year later the Sixaxis was dead. Sony recovered quickly, but trying to convince gamers that a feature was obsolete just because they didn’t want to pay for it was a pretty big blunder.
Nintendo has led the way in a lot of areas concerning gaming, yet for some reason there are some pretty big areas where the Big N refuses to be current. Much like the way Nintendo refused to let go of the cartridge, the hardware and software giant has been hesitant to really get behind online gaming. The Wii is able to provide multiplayer gaming, but for the most part, players have to deal with the dreaded “Wii Friend Code”. This has been as annoying to the press in terms of digital media delivering as it has been to gamers who just want some quick matches. Nintendo is a big innovator, but sometimes they need to learn to follow the example of others. Online gaming is one of those situations.
Microsoft has done a lot of things right in terms of entering the game industry. They released a strong and superior piece of hardware with the original Xbox that they knew would operate at a loss to build a brand name. Then they jumped the gun with the next-generation of consoles in an attempt to capitalize on being early. It worked to a point, but a design flaw came up that could have been easily avoided. A poorly designed X-clamp system which pivots the pressure points in the center just below the GPU and CPU on the 360 warped a majority of consoles boards that were released for the first 3 years of the life-cycle. The issue has been pretty much eliminated, but the jokes, images, and fanboys who bring up the Red Ring of Death won’t go away anytime soon. The decision to use the X-clamps instead of eight screws (4 each) on the heat sinks will be remembered as one of the worst decisions in gaming.
Sony fanboys will lash out quickly over this one and complain that the price was fair and a good deal. However the decision to start out at $599 and the subsequent announcement of the price at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2006 drove casual gamers and those on the fence about the Xbox 360 into the arms of Microsoft and Nintendo. Those who live online and on gaming forums want to argue that the price didn’t affect those casual consumers, but they’re so far disconnected from the actual casual consumer because they’re always online that they don’t realize not everyone is a fanboy. Sony is catching up now, but the high price tag (partially due to the Blu ray) temporarily crippled the PS3 sales and kept shelves stocked with the consoles for months while the Wii sold out and the Xbox 360 gained ground in the west.
Both companies are in the midst of recovery on this one, but there’s no denying the impact casual consumers and gamers have had on this generation in gaming. Some believe it’s possible that causal gamers have had just as much impact in the past, but the major differences in the competition this generation just made the casual choices much more apparent. The Nintendo Wii was considered by many to be a last hope for Nintendo with home consoles. Despite great successes in the portable market, the N64 and Gamecube had the Big N on a slippery slope in the home market. Out of left field came the Wii with the smallest price tag and motion controls that attracted everyone from toddlers to senior citizen homes. Since 2006, Sony and MS have fought over hardcore gamers while trying to catch up and lure casual gamers away from Nintendo. Ignoring the casual gamer has turned out to be the biggest mistake this generation.