QUOTE(throwingks @ May 12 2007, 01:25 PM)
^ Take for example Psychonauts on the Xbox. It is a cult hit. One of the most creative games on the Xbox. But, there is no talk of even a sequel simply because noone is sure if the demand is there. XSN was an amazing idea, but EA shattered that. All for money.
Anytime you conform to the norm, you are not breaking away from it. Pioneers are the ones that break new ground and also put it all on the line. More times than not, they fail. Big companies don't like failed products, for obvious reasons. So they stick with what works instead of taking a chance. But with chance taking, you can potentially get that gem that will define a genre or gaming era.
There are avenues you can go with current genres, and there are different genres to be explored. I think this has nothing to do with the physical power of a console. The Wii is about as powerful as the original Xbox, but right now is the lead runner because of stirring up the pot a little bit.
The reason I am saying PSN and Live Arcade are not good places, is the general (dumb) population won't even look there. They look for the prettiest box on a shelf, or a name they have heard of before. PSN nor Xbox Live offers the opportunity for either. I think it is great for aspiring programmers, to build a resume. But, not good enough for a company trying to get off the ground.
The counter to that would be the DS and Wii. Given the sales, they are as mainstream as it gets. Maybe people are buying the Wii because of the innovation... I'm sure the newness of it has a lot to do with it (I also think price plays an equally big factor). But doesn't that go against the very anti-mainstream argument you are making? Doesn't it show that the mainstream is willing to adopt new ideas? Honestly, most of the Wii games are average to bad right now. The controller is innovative, but most of the games are simply innovative junk. Innovative != good... a point many seem to ignore when a debate like this comes up. Anyway, I think the 360 has the best games right now. A couple of innovative games like Viva Pinata, but most are using tried and true formulas. So which is really better? Innovative junk, or good games sticking with traditional good game formulas? I know which I'd rather play.
But all that really just confuses the issue. I do think people need to innovate and comes up with new ideas. They may fail, but many deserve to fail. Because, again, innovation doesn't automatically a good game make.
I also think you are wrong about the power of the console having nothing to do with innovation. Clearly, before the advent of 3D, there were many genres (namely every 3D game in existence) that simply could not be done. Power clearly plays a part by opening up more avenues to explore. That's not to say you can't come up with creative ideas given less power, but more power at your disposal can't be considered a hindrance. After all, if the 360 was using a Wiimote the exact same games could be done, but also be prettier, with better physics, better AI, etc... Nintendo just went the cheap route to keep it affordable. Price is the penalty for power, not lack of innovation.
To sum it up... I don't think gaming being mainstream has anything to do with lack of innovation. A bigger pool of potential customers is a good thing. I also don't think there are fewer good games now than at any other time. Nostalgia clouds people's judgment about generations gone by. People also seem to forget that they were much younger in those days. Games that may have seemed good as a young kid may not have been that great. Just throwing popular movie/cartoon characters in a average/bad game can entertain young kids. We were the same when we were young. Don't fool yourself into thinking you knew better at that age... because you didn't. Go fire up an emulator and play some of those games. Outside of a small group of games I think you will find that most of them simply aren't as good as you remember them to be.