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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:23 am 
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So when Nintendo supported the NES and SNES they only allowed games approved by them to run on their systems. Hence the lockout chip. While some 3rd party companies managed to make games never the less, they were classified as "unlicensed". Some brick and mortar stores may have been hesitant to sell these because Nintendo apparently threatened the store owners with penalties. Obviously Nintendo as well as other companies didn't want people making games for their systems without their approval and without a license.

So the other day I was on my laptop computer and I was thinking.... I have a Sony laptop, but does that mean that I can only run Sony software and use only Sony hardware with this laptop? What if some company make a computer which was specifically incompatible with everything else except its own brand of software and hardware? Would anyone even buy this computer?

A video game console and a personal computer are similar. While they have their differences, the main goal of each is to run software. So I am going to ask you guys, how can a company like Nintendo purposely block unlicensed software on their console while a Sony computer allows you to run whatever software you want on it?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:22 am 
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Games on the Famicom didn't need to be licenced, as it had no lockout chip.

In the US the atari market was crippled with extremely low quality games, which caused the great video games crash. Which is why Nintendo introduced the lockout chip and licensing for their NES. To be honnest, this was mostly a successful measure, although it didn't prevent shitty games to appear at least those could play correctly and be exept from obvious bugs such as crashing when selecting a level or things like that.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:50 am 
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Isn't it also a way for Nintendo to profit off each game (even if they didn't make it)?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:07 am 
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Both.

-a way to enforce royalties
-a way to gatekeep shovelware
-a way to limit the quantitative output of 3rd party publishers (enforcing quality over quantity).

Companies who actually could handle a larger output would create subsidiaries (eg. ultra, palcom). Others wouldn’t bother.

It was all for the better.

This gatekeeping upped the stakes, so the window for economically viable software was shrinked (cost & risk vs profit forecast). Very hard to do a quick cash grab. Now, big movie tie-ins tend to be economically viable regardless of quality, so the filter didn't work on those. And you could still cut some corners to make a non-viable idea viable, so it wasn't airtight either. But it worked if you consider the alternative, which is a repeated 2600 scenario. Developing economies tend to thrive under protectionism and guild-like structures. Unregulated, it ends up harming itself. Once established, the story changes a bit. Profitability control becomes decentralized. You can see the big companies have internalized protectionism today by being very conservative the with format, presentation and content of new games.

In scandinavia, the quality control was even tighter, thanks to Bergsala (an independent partner to nintendo with exclusive import rights), so we "missed out" on a lot of the dissapointing games that Japan, the US, and the rest of Europe saw. They simply made a case-for-case judgment if the title a)would sell enough b)cause harm to consumers' trust in a small, fragile market.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:21 am 
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Espozo wrote:
Isn't it also a way for Nintendo to profit off each game (even if they didn't make it)?

Oh I thought it was so obvious I didn't even mention it.

Actually I think Nintendo forced a minimum copies per game, so the risk of getting a game licenced and mass-producted was quite high. This high risk would prevent people from releasing low-quality games, as it would have serious consequences for the company if the game sold poorly, but if the game was great then it was a win-win situation for Nintendo and the 3rd party.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:37 am 
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There is also a guarantee to get it made. I mean we all have flash carts and you can get a PCB made for $5 online. Go back to 1986 and how are you going to get a cart made? How are you going to get enough made to make it viable? So the License is a promise with Nintendo. You say we want to make X, Nintendo say "Ok, this is probably going to sell, you make it and we will make the carts". You make the game, they then test it, if the can see it can be finished and plays well enough, then Nintendo then do the effort to make the Mask ROMS and fire up the forges.
The other problem is brand loyalty. If you get a bad Nintendo game, I mean really bad. You look at the Nintendo and say "Why?", you want to keep the quality to make people think well of your Brand so people want to buy your console again.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:38 am 
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Erockbrox wrote:
So the other day I was on my laptop computer and I was thinking.... I have a Sony laptop, but does that mean that I can only run Sony software and use only Sony hardware with this laptop? What if some company make a computer which was specifically incompatible with everything else except its own brand of software and hardware? Would anyone even buy this computer?
Ask Apple :P


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:53 am 
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Everyone seems to be answering why, when the real question is how which is rather simple.

Erockbrox wrote:
So I am going to ask you guys, how can a company like Nintendo purposely block unlicensed software on their console while a Sony computer allows you to run whatever software you want on it?


Your question seems to be making the false assumption that they could legally block unlicensed software. They couldn't block it legally. Because they couldn't use legal means, they chose physical means by use of the lockout chip. Of course some came up with their own legal means around the lockout chip. When this happened they used perfectly legal business leverage they had. Telling distributors they must only sell licensed games if they want to retain their retailer status/deal with Nintendo. This is why unlicensed games were more easily rented than purchased. Rental shops only need to purchase a copy or few (from where ever they could find) Nintendo had no business leverage over them like they did with retailers.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:03 am 
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People buy a console because they want to play games, not fool around with video card drivers and the like, and the guaranteed compatible games currently on shelves are appealing enough to justify the purchase. Developers put up with console makers' BS in order to reach these end users. I wrote about this in an article titled "Consoles are easy".

That and smooth scrolling on an Apple II or an IBM PC with CGA was impossible, and displaying video from an IBM PC with VGA on a living room TV required an obscure, expensive scan converter.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:39 am 
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Oziphantom wrote:
Erockbrox wrote:
So the other day I was on my laptop computer and I was thinking.... I have a Sony laptop, but does that mean that I can only run Sony software and use only Sony hardware with this laptop? What if some company make a computer which was specifically incompatible with everything else except its own brand of software and hardware? Would anyone even buy this computer?
Ask Apple :P


This is the first thing I thought of -- this is exactly the situation with iOS. Apple is the gatekeeper, and requires you to get their approval before you distribute iOS software, and it can only be sold in a way that Apple gets a large cut.

And people LOVE it.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:52 am 
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One difference is that Apple courted micro-ISVs the way no major console maker had done previously (apart from Xbox Live Indie Games in a handful of countries). Nintendo around the same time was infamous for the Bob's Game incident, denying a home-based studio a devkit primarily because it was home-based.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:18 am 
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They didn't want to see Super Maruo (NSFW) running on the NES, hence the lockout chip.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:08 am 
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gauauu wrote:
Apple is the gatekeeper, and requires you to get their approval before you distribute iOS software, and it can only be sold in a way that Apple gets a large cut.

And people LOVE it.

Well, some people love it.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:28 pm 
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The approach I would suggest to make a video game console computer machine can be:

It is easy: When switched on, it displays a version notice and the Forth "ok" prompt. You may enter a program immediately, or you may (more commonly) insert a DVD (or CF card) and push START button to execute the program on the DVD (which does not necessarily have to be written in Forth; it is more likely to be native code). You do not need to worry about menus or even video cards; just push one button, which is the easy way!!!

Official licensing: Both official and unofficial development is possible, but you need to be official and follow the requirements in order to have a seal of quality; unofficial software is not allow to claim to be official, although it is permitted to write such software, execute such software on the computer, and for stores to sell them if they wish to do so.

(I also don't like the touch screens and wireless game controls. The joypads and keyboard are wired, although you could implement wireless controls easily also if you like them.)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:09 am 
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That sort of certification program sounds like Microsoft's "Games for Windows".

Development of the Windows operating system is funded through royalties paid by PC makers to include OEM Windows on a PC. Development of console operating systems, on the other hand, is funded through royalties paid by third-party game publishers. If user-written Forth programs have access to system libraries to drive the GPU and other parts of the hardware, how would development of these system libraries be funded?

(Aside: Apart from licensing, if a console boots to a Forth prompt, how would non-technical end users understand how to set the console's clock and display resolution and manage games' save files stored on the CF card?)


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