VIDEO GAME EVOLUTION : FEW 16-BIT TITLES BEING DEVELOPED.Byline: Yardena Arar Daily News Staff Writer
Casey Williams still checks out the demos on the 16-bit Genesis at Game Dude, but the Van Nuys 15-year-old said he isn't spending his video game dollars on Sega anymore.
``I'm saving my money so I can buy more realistic games for my (Sony) PlayStation,'' Williams said.
That statement came as no surprise to Game Dude owner Herb Davis, whose North Hollywood store trades in new and used video and computer games. Davis was equally unfazed un·fazed
Not fazed or disturbed. by Acclaim Entertainment's announcement last week of a $51.2 million ``cartridge market exit charge,'' which the Glen Cove Glen Cove, city (1990 pop. 24,149), Nassau co., SE N.Y., on the north shore of Long Island, at the entrance to Hempstead Harbor; settled 1668, inc. as a city 1918. , N.Y., game publisher said resulted from an unexpectedly rapid decline in its sales for Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Super NES (also called SNES and portables such as Game Gear and Game Boy.
``Sixteen-bit was dead last year,'' Davis said, referring to the processing power of the Genesis and Super NES NES Nintendo Entertainment System
NES Not Elsewhere Specified (shipping)
NES Nuclear Export Signal
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NES Nashville Electric Service
NES National Evaluation Systems, Inc. - the dominant game platforms of the early 1990s. ``Last Christmas was basically it.
``You might see a sputter of a few games coming out from Nintendo or Genesis. But basically the only 16-bit business is people like us, who are selling used ones.''
What's killing off the cartridge business is a combination of new 32-bit CD-based console systems - Sony's PlayStation and Sega's Saturn - the increasing popularity of CD-ROM CD-ROM: see compact disc.
in full compact disc read-only memory
Type of computer storage medium that is read optically (e.g., by a laser). games for PCs, and anticipation of Nintendo's next-generation cartridge player, the Nintendo 64.
``The 16-bit systems have gone the way of the eight-bit systems,'' said Lewis Alton, a San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden analyst. ``The 16-bit market had a good run - there were as many as 80 million Nintendo dedicated game units worldwide with eight- or 16-bit systems - so that was a pretty good-sized market.
``Somebody will still be using them, but I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. who's developing for them.''
Nintendo and Sega officials acknowledge that their 16-bit systems are on the down slope of their market life cycle, but say that they're far from dead.
Sega's Dan Stevens Daniel Jonathan Stevens (born 10 October 1982 in Croydon, England) is a British actor. He was educated at Tonbridge School and Cambridge Universtiy, reading English Literature at Emmanuel College. said Acclaim was ``still supporting us in a very big way.''
``The just are not going to be developing 16-bit cartridge games, but they will still be licensing games for distribution,'' Stevens said.
Perrin Kaplan Perrin Kaplan is the vice president of Marketing & Corporate Affairs for Nintendo of America Inc. of Turkish origin.
Perrin Kaplan oversees public relations, government affairs, investor relations and internal communications for the Western Hemisphere and plays a key role in , spokeswoman for Redmond, Wash.-based Nintendo of America, said the perception that Super NES is a dead system simply isn't borne out by the figures.
Last year, she said, 86 percent of all game software sold was for 16-bit or hand-held platforms, with the 16-bit systems accounting for 65 percent of the total. Unit sales unit sales
Sales measured in terms of physical units rather than dollars. Unit sales data are often used by financial analysts when evaluating the health of a company. totaled 23 million, or 5 million below the 1994 figures, ``but 23 million is still a heck of a lot.''
Kaplan said 16-bit games accounted for 65 percent of all games sold in 1995, and that Nintendo projects that figure will fall to just under 50 percent in 1996.
``Sixteen-bit is still alive and healthy,'' she said. ``It's not growing tomorrow, but it's not going away tomorrow.''
A handful of developers are producing new 16-bit games. Williams Entertainment Inc., best known for its Mortal Kombat Mortal Kombat (commonly abbreviated as MK) is a popular series of fighting games created originally by the Midway Manufacturing Company. Mortal Kombat games, is developing three new titles compared to two last year.
``Exiting the 16-bit market is not in our plan at this time,'' said Paula Cook, manager of publicity and promotion for the Corsicana, Texas Corsicana is a city in Navarro County, Texas, United States. It its located on Interstate 45 some 55 miles south of downtown Dallas. The population was 24,485 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Navarro CountyGR6. , game publisher.
However several major publishers are either completely abandoning or greatly cutting back on development for the Genesis or Super NES.
Electronic Arts began concentrating on CD platforms 2-1/2 years ago, said corporate communications Corporate communications is the process of facilitating information and knowledge exchanges with internal and key external groups and individuals that have a direct relationship with an enterprise. manager Pat Becker. ``We believed that the 16-bit marketplace was going to decline a lot faster than a lot of others, including Acclaim.''
Acclaim officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment, but Alton said that the company's problem was not so much that it miscalculated the overall decline in sales but that its 1995 games just weren't hits.
Electronic Arts projected a 30 percent to 40 percent decline in 16-bit software sales in 1995, ``and that was pretty much what happened,'' Becker said. As a result, the company plans to have only a handful of 16-bit titles in stores next Christmas - mostly sports games. In all, 16-bit titles will account for no more than 10 percent of the company's lineup, with the bulk of its releases split between CD-based console systems and CD-ROMs for PCs.
Konami America Inc. quit developing 16-bit games about the middle of 1995, said Andrew Donchak, president of the Buffalo Grove Buffalo Grove
A village of northeast Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Population: 43,300. , Ill.-based video and arcade game An arcade game is a coin-operated entertainment machine, typically installed in businesses such as restaurants, pubs, video arcades, and Family Entertainment Centers. Most arcade games are redemption games, merchandisers, video games or pinball machines. company's consumer division.
While the installed base of PlayStations and Saturns in the United States is under 2 million, Donchak notes that prices are already falling - the Saturn is now available at $249 - and he expects the Nintendo 64 to cost ``well under $250.''
``I don't think it's going to be within the next year, but I feel you'll see a fairly significant installed base emerge over time at about the same rate as the 16-bit market emerged,'' he said.
Game publishers are only too happy to concentrate on CD-based games, said Mirko Freguia, product manager at Square Soft Inc. of Redmond, Wash.
``They're cheaper and a lot easier to make,'' he said, noting that it takes 50 days to produce and distribute a finished cartridge game compared to as little as a week for CDs.
CDs also have considerably more storage space for digital data, allowing for fancier graphics and better sound.
Freguia expects 1996 to be a difficult year for publishers caught in the transition between platforms.
``People aren't running out to buy the new systems,'' he said. ``But retailers panicked and didn't want to buy 16-bit games. So now you've got 19 million Super Nintendos with no new software.''
Back at Game Dude, Keith Weitzman of Northridge and his 8-year-old son, Justin, seemed resigned to the fact that their Super Nintendo is being superceded by faster, more expensive games.
``It's just like everything else,'' Weitzman said. ``They'll move on to the CD platforms.''
Photo: (1--Color) Brian Martin helps Keith Weitzman andhis son, Justin, at Game Dude. They were looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. Super NES games.
(2--Color) Game Dude owner Herb Davis sells used Nintendo cartridges for about half-price.
Evan Yee/Daily News