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Shake-ups in gaming, from Netflix to Nintendo

A general view of atmosphere at Nintendo's celebration of the launch of Super Mario 3D Land at Siren Studios on November 3, 2011 in Hollywood, Calif. Netflix and Nintendo are among the companies struggling to compete in the gaming market today.

Adriene Hill: Netflix also announced yesterday it's backing away from plans to rent video games. Sorry, you gamers out there. And that wasn't the only video game news making headlines.

So we figured we'd call Jeff Ryan for a little video game round-up. He's the author of “Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America.” Good morning Jeff.

Jeff Ryan: Good morning.

Hill: So Netflix is ditching its plans to rent video games. What does that tell us about the video game industry?

Ryan: Well GameFly was a competitor to Netflix that was renting video games. Video games are a lot more expensive and I think Netflix is basically trying to stay with their core businesses, which is movies.

Hill: And so now to Nintendo, which announced its first ever annual loss in 2011. What do you make of that?

Ryan: Well some of it is, they have a problem with online content. You can’t really play online Nintendo games the way you can with their competitors. Another thing is Apple. Apple is really eating their lunch with smart phones. If you’re carrying a smart phone, you’re carrying a mobile gaming device -- even if you don’t use it as such. Nintendo sells hardware and software and you don’t need to buy any hardware to play a $1 version of Angry Birds.

Hill: Now one more piece of video game news today; there’s a rumor that Xboxes next system won’t be able to play used video games. What’s that tell us about the industry?

Ryan: That has a lot to do with GameStop. Because you can guy videogames online now and stream them directly, GameStop has nothing to do but sell used video games. So this is their way of saying no, not even used video games will fly nowadays.

Hill: Jeff Ryan is the author of “Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America.” Thanks.

Ryan: No problem.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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