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Some of the best games I’ve played were on the original Sega and Playstation consoles, although their graphics are downright crude by today’s standards.

The truth is that better graphics don’t necessarily make for better games, and realism isn’t the most important factor to game fans.

Although he didn’t go into great detail about what Nintendo is planning to do about this issue, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata hinted that their next generation of console, which is code-named Revolution, will focus more on what gamers really want.

"What we need is not a next-generation machine but a next generation way of playing games," said Iwata.

As I said, he’s got a point. Overall game sales are declining in Japan and growth is slowing in the American market. Part of the reason is because gamers are waiting for the next generation consoles, which will start to hit shelves sometime in 2005. Part of the reason is that games are so immense that they can take months to get bored with.

Nintendo believes there’s even more to the story, and that it’s going to take more than enhanced graphics and sound to get game sales back on track.

Most consoles currently retail for slightly over their manufacturing cost, and in the case of the Microsoft Xbox the company loses money with every console that’s sold.

The reason for this is that the software is where the real money is – all you have to do is get enough of your hardware out there to create a big enough market for it. That’s why when game sales decline, game console companies are forced to sit up and take notice.

The 2004 Webby Awards

Usually at this time of year I would spend about six weeks going through all of the different Web sites nominated for Webby Awards from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which is a kind of Academy Awards for the Internet. This year I was too lazy, and slightly annoyed because the same Web sites keep cropping up year after year and I was getting tired of coming up with new ways to present them.

Still, I suggest you check out the list, which includes five nominees in 30 different categories as well as an overall people’s choice winner. Visit www.webbyawards.com and follow the links to the different sites in the categories that interest you.

There were a few on the list that you might find especially interesting and that I would recommend to anybody.

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