Kern Corrigan, the senior product manager from console accessories manufacturer MadCatz has talked to IGN about how they plan to tackle perhaps their biggest challenge yet - the Nintendo Revolution.
Bozon: First off, what did you think when you first took a look at the Revolution controller? Was it a welcomed change, or did it simply offer up more challenges for your teams?
Kern: The first glance of the Revolution controller inspired a mixture of apprehension and curiosity. On paper it seems an ordinary remote control. In use, it is a captivating control scheme that connects the gamer to the play in extraordinary ways. The challenges arise when trying to define who will play the new system, how will they play it, and where can Mad Catz improve that experience? Mad Catz views these challenges as opportunities and is excited to offer a broad array of products to support the Revolution.
Is there any fear of difficulty in integrating new accessories for the Revolution? In short, how friendly is the system to work with if you have had the chance? If you haven't had hands-on time, do you foresee any issues with creating new innovative accessories for the controller, specifically in the expansion port at the bottom of the core remote?
Clearly every system has technical issues to address and the Revolution is no different. One key to creating new innovative accessories for the Revolution controller is to maintain close relationships with Nintendo. Mad Catz has established a strong relationship with Nintendo and will work to maintain those relationships in order to support development efforts. A second approach is to employ our expertise gained through past console launches to solve technical issues. The team will employ a blend of the two strategies to overcome engineering challenges, including the expansion port, to provide Mad Catz Revolution peripherals at launch.
What does the future hold for Revolution? Do you see the possibility of creating custom controllers for specific games for Developers/Publishers, or does Revolution's advanced technology tie your hands more than open doors?
The Revolution has great potential for game specific controllers. Anything you swing, point, fling, or flick is fair game. The possibilities are endless. The challenge is to partner with the appropriate Developers/Publishers to create a compelling integration of controller features and game play. With that integration the controller will have the hook needed to gain retail support and consumer interest. Mad Catz anticipates the new technology will open many new avenues of mainstream gaming and looks forward to participating in the development.
Does Nintendo's controller limit what can be done for controller production, specifically with the core remote and the technology inside it? Will you be attempting to create the core remote, or simply look to creating new expansions on Nintendo's core controller?
The release of the Nintendo Revolution will be a major milestone in the video gaming industry and as such Mad Catz will support the system launch with a complete array of quality peripherals. This will include core controllers as well as a variety of supporting products. As a top 3rd party gaming peripheral manufacturer, we owe to the market and consumers a wide range of differentiated product options to choose from. It is our responsibility to fully utilize our technological expertise and resources to make this happen.
Nintendo has given information stating that a shell controller will be used to play mainstream games for Revolution. Any plans on supporting that play-style as well?
Mad Catz is dedicated to providing peripherals that meet the needs of the gamer. The shell controller is an excellent way to link the new system to the mainstream crowd and is thus in the launch plan for the Revolution. With that in mind, we may find the shell controller to simply be a bridging controller that pulls the mainstream gamer to the Revolution which then ultimately leads to mass adoption of the Revolution's innovative control system.
Can you give us some examples of types of Revolution peripherals that you might be interested in making? How might they work?
Mad Catz is excited to offer a full line of Revolution peripherals. We are particularly interested in leveraging unique Mad Catz styling with wireless and motion sensing technology to further strengthen our core controllers for the console. Beyond those core controllers, we are evaluating wheel, arcade stick, dance pad, and other unique input solutions. The challenge is to maintain close relationships with Nintendo to seamlessly integrate these solutions into the Revolution platform.
Which Mad Catz peripherals have done the best on previous systems? Are you adapting any existing product lines (such as Micro Con for example) for the Revolution?
As a leading third party peripheral company, Mad Catz has had excellent success with its controllers for previous systems. Clearly Nintendo wishes the Revolution to span all demographics and become a mass market solution to video gaming. With such a disparity among gamers there is an opportunity for a variety of controllers. One possibility under evaluation is, of course, a Revolution version of our very popular MicroCon. We have received a tremendous amount of consumer support for the product since it has clearly satisfied a large segment of the consumers who demand the differentiated value that our MicroCon can deliver. MicroCon is a prime example of us as a consumer good manufacturer, stepping up to satisfy the need of a particular segment of the market and deliver the customized value. The tradition will continue with the next generation consoles.
Nintendo is obviously stressing its Virtual Console service. Can we expect to see Mad Catz NES, SNES or N64 controllers for Revolution as well?
The library of Nintendo games being offered via the Virtual Console is impressive. Mad Catz will support these games with our core controllers and investigation into retro controller shells is currently under way.
Is it going to be more difficult for you as a 3rd party company to work with Revolution since many products in the past were Universal for all three systems such as racing wheels, fighting sticks and dance pads?
As with previous console launches Mad Catz intends to offer a full line of Revolution specific products. The Revolution poses many challenges to the development of these products given the unique interface. We view these challenges as opportunities and look forward to providing innovative solutions to meet the gamers' controller needs.
How have Nintendo DS and Cube accessories been received by gamers? Did this encourage/discourage you from supporting Revolution over PS3 or the 360?
Mad Catz Nintendo DS and GameCube accessories have been very well received by the market. We are encouraged to continue this success by supporting Nintendo's new platform. As one of the largest video game peripheral companies in the world, Mad Catz has the resources, talent, and experience to support each and every console in the market. Of course, each next generation console market size will be different from others. However, we believe that the overall success of the next generation video game industry will be most effectively achieved by collective success of all the consoles ultimately through market expansion. Our goal is to provide a wide range of values to our consumers whenever and wherever we can. We take every console seriously.
Any other comments that you would like to make about the Revolution or your philosophy on the upcoming years?
Mad Catz applauds Nintendo's bold stroke to appeal to the mass market beyond hardcore gamers. This is a great opportunity for the entire industry to expand the overall size of the existing market.
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