The Intellivision Amico is a rather interesting new system that's heading to the market, a game console focused on 'family-friendly' content (age ratings below 10) that brings to mind a mix of Wii and Wii U in concept. That said it's also had its share of issues; there have been online spats, controversies over some of those involved in the project, and multiple delays to the hardware. We tackled quite a few of those issues in a summer interview that you can read here.
At present the system doesn't have a fixed release date after multiple delays, but it does have Limited Collector's Boxed Edition sets up for sale; yes, it is rather odd to sell bundles of games before the hardware is on the market. Limited to 50,000 units there are a combined eight games, split between an all-in-one bundle at $149.99USD or two volumes of four games each at $79.99. Though the games max out at $20 each in one sense, the lack of flexibility with the bundles shows that these are very much targeting enthusiasts and collectors only.
What's rather intriguing is the detail of how the physical media in the system will work. It's been common knowledge for some time that the Amico will have RFID (radio-frequency identification) support, a technology commonly used for tracking and monitoring goods. The game cards (designed to look like the media of the original Intellivision) don't work as physical media like a disc or cartridge; instead you scan it on your system, there's a download and then it's linked to your system.
In what is a very current-day approach scanning the card also makes it an NFT (non-fungible token) on your system, with your digital copy then being managed in the blockchain. Like cypto-currencies and those NFT sales you've no doubt been reading about, you then supposedly 'own' that digital copy and can transfer it. So, theoretically, the game card can be used on multiple systems, with the card shifting the ownership to the system being used. The benefit cited is that it's easier to move your download around via this card than digital purchases we'd typically make on the eShop, PSN or Xbox Store.
It's very 2021. It does make us think of some interesting topics around download games, though, and the limitations they have. Some games are download-only by necessity, but of course when we finish we can't lend or give them to friends or family members in the way we can with a cartridge. Our downloads on stores like the eShop are really licenses, too, in which we're essentially leasing games, so that's always a sticking point. The Amico solution is an intriguing take on the idea of owning a 'download' of a game, even if we're likely a long way from seeing this sort of approach at a mainstream level from Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft.
We should also mention there are various criticisms and concerns around NFTs and blockchain technologies, from their environmental impacts to a general lack of oversight and regulations. Any product that fully embraces that technology will also face similar questions.
Still, if the Amico is anything it's a bit unique, despite its troubled route to market.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Mon 11th October, 2021.
Well, old fashioned way with real physical item is still all the way.
Yikes. NFTs are by far the worst idea coming out from the internet in the past decade. I truly hope games don't embrace this wasteful scam of a technology.
Fake Tommy says “thanks for hyping my garbage product! BOOM!”
Nope. No no no no no no.
This sets a dangerously unhealthy precedent for physical games. Can you imagine a big-wig AAA publisher like EA or Ubisoft getting their hands on this? This makes games hard to preserve and harder to resell, which is the dream for corporate gaming.
Ufff... "physical" but its just an RFID card with a digital download. Using NFTs nonsense doesn't change that, thats not a physical game.
And don't get me started with the "its limited" when the console its not even out! Are they really going to push the idea that this is going to be rare and you can gain money selling the games as nfts?
"even if we're likely a long way from seeing this sort of approach at a mainstream level from Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft"
Go watch the Xbox One reveal again... they were trying to offer a second hand digital market, giving us the ability to sell our digital purchases.
Guess everyone just lost their s**t when they heard always online and didnt bother to watch the rest.
how much did tommy pay you for this article?
NFT? No thanks. Just another worthless strain on the environment.
This Intellivision Amico thing is never going to work anyway. I just don't see who is the audience for? I don't see why you would get a this when Nintendo Switch exists and Playstation and Xbox has plenty of family-friendly entertainment.
Tommy "I'm still angry that Miyamoto fired me on Metroid Prime, so I'm going to call the Switch a (actual word) "child r*** console"" Tallarico
Also for actual Nintendo related news from the Intellivision Amico, Tommy's Moon Patrol game that should've released a year ago with the console is still using placeholder text from Star Fox as of last week.
Hahaha. Honestly, I was quite interested in this at the beginning, when I thought that it'd have more Intellivision remakes. The direction it's taken now, as though the Switch doesn't already have cheap, family-friendly, couch co-op titles, is baffling, the tech is dated, and the price a joke. I'm out.
I think this might be the one of the most baffling ideas I've ever heard. This thing sounds like that one console that had the card scanner (obviously not as stupid as that whole system but still a very dumb idea), and it being NFT's make it even more so. Imagine harming the environment so much by buying one little video game
Guys, it would be amazing if you could actually read the entire piece before posting a comment. Tom addressed many of the points being raised in the piece – the focus of which is very much the unique way in which this approach mixes physical and digital ownership.
Everyone's pretty much on the same page that Amico has a mountain to climb, but that doesn't stop this approach from being unique, which is the prime focus of the news item.
This system will probably never come out. Also, why report this on a Nintendo website?
@SonOfVon So you didn't read it then.
@Jamie_R We've been following this since it was first confirmed that more than one former Nintendo executive was involved with the system. Plus, this is an interesting approach that could have wider ramifications for digital purchases on other systems, including Nintendo's.
A lot of work for a console that will fail even harder than Ouya, Ouya had zealots within a day or two of its Kickstarter beginning and I haven’t seen a single one for this thing.
Oh boy we’ve officially entered the stage where people start gaslighting the Xbone’s DRM vision.
@ThomasBW84 I've read it. for a console that has been canceled 3 times if I'm not mistaken any media coverage is good, especially the one that tries to be objective with luke warm criticism
Does anyone think this thing will actually successfully release.
Eurgh. NFTs are a truly diabolical concept and of course Tommy’s jumping on them.
Really looking forward to the amico , looks like intellivision are trying to be a bit different.
Good luck to them.
They're all on AtariAge where anyone who isn't for Tommy has been rooted out one by one by their moderators.
@Gwynbleidd But that's the whole point of this - it mixes physical and digital. A digital purchase, at the moment, is tied to your user account and cannot be sold. This approach still offers the convenience of digital (one tap and the game is on the machine until you delete it) but allows you to sell your copy if you want to raise cash to buy another game, or if you're bored of it.
It's a different approach to tackling digital ownership and gives the consumer more options. Options are good - physical, digital and this new approach - it's all good for the end user to have that choice.
anyone who criticises the amico is a mentally unstable gaming racist with a drinking problem. according to tommy
@SonOfVon Sure, though your two comments directed at me have little in common. The first one was implying this was an ad / paid-for article, which is ridiculous as a) that would have to be declared and b) I spend half the article being critical of it. I've never so much as exchanged social media follows never mind words with Tommy Tallarico, I was writing about the Amico's take on physical media / downloads as I saw the video and looked into it. That's just my job.
The reason I wrote this, as Damien has also said, is because it's a bit of a different take on physical / download ownership, which is pretty relevant to modern gaming. But for the record I am not personally a fan of NFTs and blockchain tech, hence the paragraph highlighting that there are ongoing issues and controversies such as climate impact, and the complete lack of regulation.
But, I would like to see download stores from Ninty et al find a better way to give more convincing 'ownership' of downloads, and it'd be neat to be able to pass on and share DL games like we do with physical copies (my preference is just through accounts, utilising our user data / cloud / whatever). So I'd love to be able to pass my brother a copy of a DL when I'm done, even if it is then locked / removed from my account until he 'passes' it back. Features like that would be welcome imo.
The Amico is something I WANT to like but I just don't. There are some clever ideas there, but it's just not exciting overall. There are also some obvious issues with development and marketing - it feels like it will never come out. They'd have been better off with a mini replica console with the classic Intellivision games.
Sorry but this is just another non physical, its just the boxes with codes
@Damo This system using physical media is just marketing. Yes, I did read the article. All these cards appear to address is the issue of downloads being transferable, but just like any other digital library it is reliant on the servers. Once the servers are shut down, the physical media is useless. It's no better or more physical than a digital library with Sony, Microsoft or Steam, and if I had to put money on whose servers will be running longest, it wouldn't be Tommy Tallarico's.
@Meteoroid Why are they diabolical? The answer lies in experience of large parts of the industry telling us that, if the concept behind this system were to spread, it would likely be used to undermine traditional physical game ownership even further more than it would be used to enhance solely digital "ownership".
God damn it.
Should've expected this from a console supported by TenNapel.
Holding rights on a worthless blockchain means nothing. Having your digital rights backed by a real company is better. Imagine calling Nintendo saying you lost your download because the blockchain disappeared without a trace, which literally happened yesterday for some stupid pictures and 2.7 million dollars
This is nor physical Media.
It is just your Download Key in that Chip.
While I do like the box and package as a whole, the physical set does missed an important key item such as a manual. The RFID thing is already what was expected as Tommy had been hinting at it via most various podcast since the idea came to mind. Not sure what was the purpose of the token though, while cool if it does nothing then that's a waste of metal. If we could use the token at an arcade machine that'll be good. Overall not the kind of physical release I want but it is expected to be just these. Now get the darn console out so people could actually play these.
This is a terribly complicated and stupid solution to something that is actually very simple: have the actual game on the actual d**n cart! Using a blockchain won't change a thing for the better. (Kudos to this article for mentioning the environmental aspects, for example).
Meanwhile, the Evercade - a much more interesting alternative game system - has come up with carts that can be updated! So your physical release can receive updated versions of the game/games on it. That is seriously cool and something I'd like to see Nintendo adopt!
In the end it's still a digital product. So once servers shut down, that's it.
@Meteoroid I’m going to decline what you said. I have nothing wrong stated there. I didn’t really inquire to anything extra nor am I confused about anything of it. I even provided an example. I suggest that if you are into NFTs yourself u should drop out quickly.
How is THAT simpler than how the mainstream consoles handle digital titles?! And why does it also sound way less consumer-friendly, to top it off? Do they even want to compete with the Big 3 at all?
For the love of god can people stop referring to these amico cards as physical media. Physical media would imply that i just insert the game and play. That is not what is happening here. It is just a digital download. Nothing more. Calling it physical media is a lie started by a conman.
@Meteoroid I’ve informed myself enough to contend. It’s a predatory technology. End of story. Inform yourself more before endorsing purchases essentially based on an honor system
Umm...this is not a good move.
@Imerion That does sound cool.
@Meteoroid Because they’re horrifically terrible for the environment for starters. And you’re just trading one set of banking billionaires for another set of tech billionaires.
@WhiteUmbrella "Once the servers are shut down, the physical media is useless. It's no better or more physical than a digital library with Sony, Microsoft or Steam"
That's certainly true of the servers, but at the moment, you can't exchange digital games on any other platform. So this approach is different, irrespective of what you think of the Amico or Tommy.
@Meteoroid You've hit the nail on the head.
Any company that's decided to use blockchain/NFTs like this just screams "we were approached by some sleazy business man who somehow convinced us that this is the future and it will also make us tons of money" to me.
The more info that comes out about this console, the more it feels like a bad joke.
For everyone not paying attention this system will never be released and it is no more than an elaborated scam...
Sketch. As. Hell.
Imagine having control of how accessible that download will be post support.
Got a physical cart for Intellivision? Shame that company is now defunked and pulled access to said download.
And let's not mention how predatory it becomes once the system is removed from circulation and all support is pulled. The games are then rendered useless.
Glad to have the article and I'm excited for Amico to release (even if I probably won't get one).
It's always interesting to me when someone does something different.
As a parent I dig that they are only doing E & E10 rated games.
As a gamer I was excited to go to one of their public test sessions, and though I wasn't impressed by the games (Evil Knievel was fun, but it's a port I think?) I was impressed with the D-pad that also has the circular motion.
As a game developer, I like novel inputs and couldn't stop thinking about how to use that circle input.
I expect they fail, and badly, but I'd love to see them succeed. So much of the game industry is repeating the same thing over and over. Amico is different. I like different, so I'm rooting for it.
So they're physical download codes?
There's a lot of philosophical questions to break down here about the nature of ownership and the real differences between physical and digital purchases (which aren't huge, if you're able to back those purchases up), but the real question which DOES have a clear answer is will there be any secondary market for Amico games? (hint: no)
So much hype for something we still have yet to see even a smidge of evidence about.
Is NintendoLife so desperate to shill for this thing that the author of this article and other members of staff (Damien) will come into the comments to argue with users and tell them why their opinions are wrong?
Great look, NintendoLife! I hope Tommy is paying you enough to make it worth it.
@Ocaz you really haven't informed yourself at all. A blockchain won't just vanish without a trace. I haven't heard anything about the example you gave in your first post and I'm pretty deep onto crypto. But what most likely happened is that the server where the content of the NFT was hosted went offline, not the blockchain itself lol.
If TenNapel really wants to make some dough off Earthworm Jim, he should just port over a collection of the games to PS4/Xbox/Switch. He'd make a hell of a lot more money off of it than the game will make exclusively on Amico.
That would be really hard to believe when has NL shilled for Tommy before-
Oh right that interview linked in this very article where they don't challenge him at all , when he deserved it the most after threatening to sue a journalist over reporting on by then months old public information.
@Damo I don't see why everyone's feathers are getting ruffled. I read the article and thought, "wow, that sounds pretty darned convenient." I'm not into the console, but it sure looks and sounds like something interesting for the end-user. It would be nice if Nintendo had something like this, honestly. It would be really interesting to see if this practice impacts the industry in any way. It would also be nice if people read the article before commenting
@Fugazi8 Look, I'll be the first to call out hypocrisy when I see it, but there wasn't anything wrong with the posts I saw from Damo. I highly doubt this site is shilling for this extremely niche console, which has a very low number of production units to begin with.
@rottame I don't understand? Unless I misread something in the article, this actually sounds really convenient for the end-user. You get to retain ownership of the digital good, due to having the cartridge. With old carts, the ROM is flashed to the cart itself, so why is it bad that you can now freely move the game files wherever you like, as long as you have the cart?
its as "physical" as a downloadable game protected with a password... not physical at all. Its just a "key" for a download.
And as soon as the service ends, that download will not be obtainable never again.
@Zequio What do you think will happen in the next console generation if Nintendo no longer supports Switch games on whatever their next box will be? Ever tried to download any Wii games, lately?
@dBackLash I’d say I have. Plus I wasn’t talking to you. So there’s two things. Relax dude and go with the flow.
First paragraph handwaves the criticisms that others may have with the Amico by linking to an in interview where Tallarico is trying to sell the darn thing.
Next four paragraphs contain almost zero criticisms of the Amico mostly oogling at the technology behind it other than saying that the games launching months before the actual console "rather odd" and spins the lack of flexibility as for collectors.
Last short paragraph states that some people/governments have criticisms have complaints about NFTs (not a criticism of the Amico)
Oh and there's a short little blurb about the Amico having "trouble" getting to the market.
Did you read the Kotaku equivalent article by chance, I don't know how 50% of this article could be considered "criticism"?
Tommy is well known for giving Youtubers rides in his Ferrari along with free Intellivision branded T Shirts and baseball caps as long as he likes their "honest" opinions. So they wouldn't be the first!
There’s something here that doesn’t feel right.
I appreciate Tommy’s passion and support from other developers but I can’t shake this feeling.
They're obviously doing this because they need cash now and can't wait for the hardware production issues to resolve. Or they know the hardware production issues will never resolve and they're trying to make whatever money they can off this thing before the company collapses.
Can the Blue Sky Rangers please reclaim the Intellivision brand from these guys? They are single-handedly ruining all the good feelings I have for the Intellivision I grew up with. #FreeRunningMan
Even after filtering out all the junk, there are more games available for the current Nintendo console than this site can possibly review.
And yet here is another instance where this site devotes its limited resources to covering a product that may never even come to market. Nintendolife has now likely published more words about the Amico than the number of consoles that will sell. And this time, put your pitchforks and torches away, guys, because the real point of *this article is the potentially revolutionary way in which Tommy Talarico will rip off the people still fervently buying into this.
I guess Nintendolife has a demographic of 40-50 year old men who frequent AtariAge that we didn't know about.
That is the only people who couldn't see right away how junky and this console is. This thing has a CPU as powerful as a cheap 2016 phone. It makes the Switch look like a PS5.
So, a video game console that damages the environment. I had enough reason to not wanna buy this with Tenappel and Talarico working on it but now I flat out pity anyone who’s getting this.
@BloodNinja Exactly!!! I cant download any wii games anymore, no matter if I payed for them.
I can STILL play all my SNES, NES, WII games, as I own many cartridges and discs for my owned consoles. I can still find and buy a Gamecube or N64 consoles and games in the wild and own them.... and those can be preserved for future generations...
Console power isn't something that necessarily bothers me. I have been primarily playing on Nintendo consoles which have been underpowered compared to the competition since the Wii. However, there are serious concerns and flaws in leaked documentation around this console. The constant chasing of marketing fads is a concern, as this console should be fairly nailed down at this point in development.
As I have said before, I love the original Intellivision. This thing sets off my danger sense on multiple levels. This is approaching the level of artificial hype of "The Devil's Third" by the producer just before release.
I purchased all of them! Ok not really...
It's weird, I started on a 2600 but have Zero nostalgia for the system, compared to the NES which I got used probably a year after the 2600 superseded it in every way and the 2600 is now in the dustbin of my memory. I wonder how many folks really have nostalgia for old Atari games?
I haven’t been following the Amico very closely, so I might be way off. But, can’t help but feel that the “people have been asking to purchase the games before the console comes out, so we decided to do it. Get them now, they’re limited” line just smells like “we are running out of funding and need a quick cash injection, please give us some money now”.
Like I said, I may be way off, but my gut talks to me sometimes and I listen.
@Fugazi8 I'm not arguing with anyone; I'm just pointing out that the piece in question is focused on why this approach is new and different, and why it could be potentially interesting for digital purchases moving forward. It's not about whether or not the Amico will fail.
As for the 'shill' comments, I'd normally ignore them as they're downright hilarious, but you might recall that we've covered a lot of tangental projects on NL - the Evercade, Polymega, SNK, Konami and Sega's micro-consoles, etc. Why was there no outcry there?
The only reason people seem to think we're shills for covering Amico – which, like any new piece of hardware, I'm personally excited by because new hardware is almost always positive for gamers (even stuff that flops is often very interesting) – is because they've taken a personal dislike to Tommy. There's not much I can do about that; Tommy's always been very polite and forthcoming with me, but then again, I've not been hurling rocks in his direction. As for the interview we did where we apparently didn't challenge him, we raised all of the points that were mentioned in the Ars piece and gave him the platform to respond to them. Whether or not you believe what he said is up to you, but he had a right to reply (and for the record, we asked the Ars journalist to contribute as well but never got anything back in the end).
Tommy hasn't offered me a ride in his Ferrari or a free t-shirt (more's the pity, I like fast cars and I try to wear clothes all of the time), but if you honestly think those are the things that tempt a fairly large and successful website that's been running for over 15 years to write something positive, then I'm not sure I can convince you otherwise.
Bottom line, there are some very interesting things happening around the Amico, as well as many worrying things – but finding out how it pans out is part of the fun.
@BloodNinja Exactly. The concept is interesting. It's odd that people are so negative about it when they're paying good money to Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft for digital games which they can't re-sell, and don't have any more ownership over than they would Amico games.
@Damo "I try to where clothes all the time." 🤣🤣🤣🤣
That was a classic!
The more I think about it, the more I believe I'll buy this to support them. I had a great time with the original Intellivision back in the day.
Don't really plan to pick up an Amiico myself when it releases, but I'm still interested in seeing how it plays out.
@Damo We take issue with the nature of Tommy above all else. He's acted like a child whenever people critizize him.
@InkIdols And that's fine, you're entitled to do that. But we're not talking about Tommy here, but the approach Amico takes with physical / digital games.
@Damo And.... The "physical games" are acutally NFT's? Like, not only is that not strictly physhical, but destructive to the enviroment? (And I feel that Tommy and Amico are impossible to seperate anymore)
@InkIdols Re-read what @Meteoroid has posted in these comments so far, as the use of NFT here shouldn't have any impact on the environment. The use here is to simply identify a digital copy of the game and match it with the physical game card.
@Damo Well, i guess. Still looks concerning
@Damo Not to mention, the digital games we get on Switch will one day be unavailable to us, unless Nintendo goes crazy with backwards compatibility!
@BloodNinja Well, the same thing will happen when the Amico servers are shut down I guess, but I still think this is a step forward for digital purchases.
@Damo Definitely. I do hope that other companies catch on.
The tree huggers crying about "ThE eNvIrOnMeNt!" aside, I'm not feeling very confident in their physical console still not having a release date. Seems the more I hear about amico, the more worried I am about their success.
Good news, pat and Ian have found this article
@InkIdols They are right about it too.
@Damo it’s not a step forward
@KevinTriforce yeah, it’s a step back if anything
@KevinTriforce totally. They’re the only ones with brains on the subject
Sigh. I really like the look of this console, and hope it goes well. Shame it probably wont though. I'll keep an eye on it.
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