Nintendo is like a rich brat

I’ve got no difficulties in admitting that I used to be a Nintendo fan. I liked their games and consoles and turned a blind eye to their worse decisions. At some point I began to wonder why Nintendo didn’t continue making as great products as they used to, but told myself that I had changed. The truth was that I still enjoyed the same old games they were producing, but the new ones just didn’t capture the same spirit. It was Nintendo that had made that change in themselves, and with these changes we’ve seen drop in quality and in their profits.

It all sort of came together as a whole this week, like seeing somebody into their soul and seeing how they really think.

With the DS and Wii Iwata told us that the only way for video games to survive as a business and as an industry is to expand the market, to include everyone in their user base. They succeeded in this, and Nintendo’s platforms flourished like during the NES days. Software and hardware sales were far higher than any of the competition. DS utterly devastated PSP. The Wii sold more than either of its competitors as one of Nintendo’s aim was to have a Wii in every household, at least in America. They pretty much succeeded.

The turning point in all this is hard to pinpoint. There’s two clear points to argue about; the release of Super Mario Galaxy 2 with its instructional disc, or the revelation and release of Wii Music.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 was marketed at the people who bought New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Nintendo clearly felt that Galaxy 2 was a superior product, but the consumers just needed to be taught how to play the game. That’s pandering, and an awful strategy. Everybody just laughed at this motion, and Galaxy 2 went to sell less and NSMB Wii. However, modern Nintendo always does whatever they want to, disregarding the customers. 2D Mario has always sold more than any 3D Mario. It’s what the consumers want, but that’s exactly what Miyamoto denies. He wants to do 3D Mario more than 2D Mario. Why? Because he wants and is allowed to whatever the wants to, and Wii Music is a prominent example of waste of resources.

Furthermore, Miyamoto has been pushing 3D Mario into 2D Mario with the 3DS to a large extent. Both Super Mario 3D Land and 3D World saw large amounts of 3D Mario elements pushed in while gaining long wanted properties, like the Tanooki Suit and multiple proper character that are not Toads, while the 2D Mario was essentially left into shadows and given very little attention, resources and effort. Latest 2D Mario games are like cheap flash games people do for practice. 2D Mario has always taken more effort to produce properly, but as mentioned, it also has produced more profits than 3D Mario. It would make more sense to give 2D Mario far more attention to maximise the potential profits, but that would mean Miyamoto would have to do something he doesn’t like and Nintendo can’t allow that.

It’s the exact same thing with Zelda. Aonuma doesn’t want to make an Action RPG, but a Puzzle Adventure games. It’s no wonder Zelda’s sales have dropped. Same thing with Metroid. Other M’s infamy is well known and everybody and their mothers knows what a Metroid game should be. Sakamoto clearly didn’t.

New Nintendo doesn’t just hate me, but it hates everybody. It’s common to see people blaming other mobile devices on the low sales of Nintendo products. Even Miyamoto does this in the Edge Magazine interview. It’s a common misconception. iPhone was released in 2007 and the whole pad boom began then, overlapping both DS and Wii. It didn’t impact the sales because the software was driving Nintendo’s profits just fine. The pad and mobile phone game market do no overlap with portable game console market. The only difference now is the quality of the products offered. It’s not the attitude of the customers of the expanded market they managed to create changed; the customer has always expected the service provider to entertain them. Nintendo was the one who changed from a healthy company to an incestuous self-back patters. The market pushed these games and consoles away because they ranged from mediocre to rubbish. This same market has no problems with games like Mario Kart, which saw high sales and for a while was a hardware seller as well.

But Miyamoto and Nintendo see their opinions worth more noting than what the market and numbers state.

That, of course, creates the question Who are the people Nintendo makes for? Sakurai has an excellent answer for this; the less vocal, not so visible group of players. Translation of that would say; our own imaginary customers. In the market there is two groups; the larger and the smaller. No matter how you hate the thought, the smaller group is the hardcore gamers, and out of these hardcores you have a smaller section of devoted Nintendo fans. This crowd is extremely loud and voices their opinion and the moment something goes online. They shout as strongly as possible in and out of the Internet. They are extremely passionate small group of users. The larger market, the ones Nintendo managed to expand to, remains largely silent and only voices their opinion on sales. With the Wii U and 3DS, Nintendo has lost most of its expanded market already because they began to cater hardcore group.

Aiming to sell only to a small, exclusive group of customers can be a valid strategy. This means that the products need to be more expensive in order to keep profits at a satisfactory level. Often these products are also have a high production value in every regard and come in limited numbers. This strategy often also sees support from products aimed at a larger market, but everything is of lower quality here. Nintendo’s strategy here is to just cater the one small customer group, the hardcore. This is not a sensible business decision as it’s not sustainable, especially in entertainment and video games. Nintendo’s aim to further diminish their market will equally diminish their profits, and seeing how mediocre products they’ve been cashing out toward the hardcore, like the few latest Zelda games and Other M, their products will see a drop in quality as well. Even more so, if Nintendo decides to cater just their core fans, it means they are able to do whatever they want. The small dedicated fanbase would probably buy anything and everything Nintendo puts out and defend it as the Second coming. I bet there’s Nintendo fans out there that defend even the Virtual Boy.

We’re seeing Nintendo’s disregard of their products even in Sakurai and Smash Bros for -console-. Sakurai has progressively put more characters from the games he has worked on for the sake of having them. Kirby is understandable and so is Pit. Then suddenly, we get King DeDeDeDe, Palutena and, for no good reason, Dark Pit. King DeDeDe is another understandable character, but Palutena and Dark Pit are slot wasters. There are more female Nintendo characters that would fit better in Palutena’s place, to promote another games series altogether too. I hope the leaks are incorrect and Dark Pit is merely just a colour change and nothing more. Sakurai pushes characters he regards as his own onwards, just as Nintendo pushes games that the expanded market doesn’t purchase. Fire Emblem, as much as fans tote the series as great, has never seen great sales in the West. It is inherently Japanese game for Japanese people to play, just like the Super Robot Wars series. Yet Nintendo pushes no less than four Fire Emblem characters to SSB for -console-. It’s surprising that Wii Fit Trainer got in, but I doubt it’s because of high software sales and more because of the infamy of Wii Fit with the hardcore crowd.

Sakurai calls other customers more interesting than others. What the hell does it matter if other customers are more interesting than others? Either group of people bring in money, and essentially are the ones funding his pay. Games won’t fade away if you don’t listen to a small group of people, it’s the complete opposite. By concentrating on a small group of people, like the hardcore crowd they’re now concentrating on, game will get monotonous, very similar and worsen in quality. There’s very little challenge in trying to make something that will appease small amount of people, but there’s incredibly challenge in producing something that will be a hit with everybody. And Nintendo has a history of doing the latter over and over during the NES era.

Then we have to talk about New Nintendo 3DS. I’m not sure if I should type it as *new*to emulate the logo. This, by all means, is further pushing the existing 3DS userbase away from the company alongside the expanded market. This is just a big middle finger from Nintendo. I almost typed CAPCOM there, I’m so used to using that sentence with them. The New 3DS, the N3DS, or as I call it; Stupid Flanders, is a dumbfounding product.

Pictured; The Customers' view at Nintendo giving a numerical value in how much they care about their customers
Pictured; The Customers’ view at Nintendo giving a numerical value in how much they care about their customers

Stupid Flanders is like the DSi, but worse. At least with the DSi, the games that supported it had no troubles running on the base DS models. While it’s typical for Nintendo to renew their handheld console design in its lifetime, never before we have seen this many; the 3DS has four different models now; the 3DS, 3DSXL, 2DS, Flanders and Flanders XL. The GameBoy had four iterations as well, if we count Colour, and that was during the span of nine years. The 3Ds has been out for three years, and now they’re making the decision to push a new hardware out that singles out previous version owners with their exclusive games. However, I honestly wish that the amount of exclusives will be small and consist only of home console ports.

The question is whether or not Stupid Flanders is worth buying? Sure, it has double the shoulder buttons and that C-Button, but those are worth crap if there’s no software behind it. It always depends on the software whether or not a console is worth purchase. Xenoblade Chronicles being announced for the Flanders is both dumbfounding and understandable. It’s stupid because it’s coming for Wii U and has been one of its hype driving forces among the hardcore, but bringing it on the Flanders seems would increase its sales. Stupid Flanders will most likely increase overall 3DS software sales as well, as they’re grown stagnant everywhere.

The stronger CPU means nothing if the developers are not up to the task. Even Nintendo’s own staff couldn’t port their own NES games properly into 3D. I’m still wondering what kind of black magic SEGA’s M2 section is using in order to make perfection 3DS ports of SEGA classics with the best possible 3D effects. Nintendo has been pushing GameCube games on the Wii U despite them never selling well on the original platform and the lousy success if Pikmin 3. I can see Stupid Flanders getting better CPU to accommodate GameCube ports of sorts. Even the included C-Button supports this.

And who the hell is heading the name department at Nintendo? NEW Nintendo 3DS? Super Smash Brother FOR WII U / 3DS?  Both of these are horrible names, just like the Wii U. But why should we care? Nintendo clearly doesn’t.

Why can’t Nintendo stop for moment and see what the market at large is wanting? Why do they keep pushing their own wants and desires over the customers? There’s only one real answer, and it is that they are selfish and in love with themselves. We’ve been seeing the slow death of Nintendo the Servant, and slow creation of Nintendo the Selfish Artist. Is this what the death of Hiroshi Yamauchi leaves? It seems like it. The sad thing is that Stupid Flanders will most likely sell decently, especially in Japan and among the hardcore Nintendo fans, but it won’t raise the quality of the products. Nintendo just isn’t in this business to make money anymore, but to make whatever they want to have fun with at the customers’ and profits’ expense.

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4 thoughts on “Nintendo is like a rich brat

  1. Ew this article is pure…. No. Palutena doesn’t deserve to be in Smash… REALLY!? She’s been in the Kid Icarus series since the first game! And always had an important role. I found the nostalgia-blind fool.

    You got to accept it. This is the new generation Nintendo CAN’T serve to anymore simply because of the fact everyone has been getting spoiled so now they choose so critically it’s ridiculous and it’s just an mess. It’s really not Nintendo’s fault that they’re backing up from that to avoid being thrown in the trash in favor for Sony and Microsoft. Doing nothing but just pleasing the long irrelevant old audience would be self-destructive because for example that’s like trying to give your daughter who has an family an gameboy. She would just give her daughter an Nintendo DS and the DS would be passed on and the Gameboy would fade into nothingness.

    Also woooow way to flip out over an NAME. It was named that because it’s supposed to be pun. Super Smash Bros FOUR 3ds/WiiU

    1. I’ve edited your three separate comments into one larger comment for the sake of cleaning clutter.

      Yes, really. If nostalgia goggles were employed, her inclusion would fit somewhat more. However, seeing how Kid Icarus had been a dormant franchise until Sakurai revived it for the 3DS, her inclusion was more about his own view on Palutena rather than her role in the franchise. Someone being from the first game onwards has little impact overall, as Palutena served the same role as Pauline did in Donkey Kong. If there was a case of nostalgia blindness, I would’ve referred some character I feel nostalgic for, a thing that largely goes unaffected when observing from third perspective.

      Whatever new generation you are referring to is unclear, but I assume you mean the generation that grew up with GameCube and PlayStation 2, even when that generation has already been superseded by the generation who began with X360 and PS3. That said, these generations are from spoiled. Their games of youth are simply different, and lack the scope those who had their first game experience a decade or three before, and have seen the changes. However, the homogeneous HD twins of previous generation and their predecessors largely share the same software library, and Nintendo has largely been the exception. Wii is an example of this, with their disruption strategy and emphasize on classic gameplay over anything else, at first. Wii U is more in-line with the MS and Sonny machines.

      As such, it is solely on themselves for not continuing their successful strategy. Whenever Nintendo has played to their strong suit, the arcade roots, they have been strong contenders. Whenever they begin to deviate from that and follow what the industry is doing, you get something like Nintendo 64 and GameCube instead of NES and SNES.

      The current average age of gamers is around 31. The way video game userbase is generally seen, that is rather old. The generation that grew with video games since the 1980’s is now at the prime age of spending money, either for themselves or their children. Sometimes both. Children don’t make any money, it’s their parents’ money that is consumed. Nintendo already abandoned their old audience with the N64 and have been in a flux about this, but the reality is that sticking with the niche, red ocean market is not a good solution. Nintendo’s tactic with the Wii and DS was to expand the market, something they did with the NES, GB and SNES. Grandmothers where playing Brain Age, mothers had Nintendogs in their hands and fathers were playing sports games. These consumers brought a large variety to the Wii library in a very successful machine. The Wii U and the 3DS on the other hand saw large decline in sales and user numbers, as they stopped hitting the blue ocean market and new user base they had created. Essentially, they abandoned the expanded consumer base to return to the same crowd that stood with Nintendo since the N64. That motion has been self-destructive, which was showcased with the very slow sales of both 3DS and Wii U as well as Nintendo’s first fiscal year where they did not make profit.

      Your example of giving a daughter a Game Boy that gets passed down does not really hold water, seeing how Game Boy had a lifespan of twelve years until the Advance came out. To add to that, with the introduction of eShop, GB titles have become largely available, althought none of the companies have made the best of the possibilities of re-releasing these titles despite their relatively good sales. A console does not fall into nothingness as long as it is supported by the creating company, and with the advent of digital stores these games should never fall into obscurity as long as they are available. After all, consoles are just boxes to play games on. They themselves have only potential value, and it is the software library and its size and quality determine how valuable a console is.

      And yes, Super Smash Brother For Wii U /3DS is a horrible title, going against the pre-established branding of the franchise as well as being a mouthful. As someone who enjoys large amount of puns and corny jokes, Smash For Console X’s title is not only lacklustre, but stupid. The name has created a disparity in the franchise, where one dual-entry in the series is simple called “four” instead of following the branding. That is probably least of the game’s problems, yet its naming left a very cold shoulder to the overall audience. The hardcore Smash fans didn’t really care at first, but knowing something about the scene, not many were pleased with the name. At least they didn’t use RE-prefixed word.

      1. Palutena is the Princess Peach of Kid Icarus.

        You don’t get it. The preference for games nowadays is way different.

        People don’t care about arcades anymore! They including the current generation only care about iphones and stuff and when they grow up they’re gonna pass that on. Nintendo shouldn’t be at fault for wanting to stay relevant and be apart of that.

        It really doesn’t matter. You’re talking about irrelevant yet you’re bitching over an Smash name.

        1. Palutena may be in a similar role to Peach, but your argument was that she has been there from the first game, not her comparison to Princess Peach. Even then that’s a bit off, but lore has very little do in this, as Mario Bros. franchise has been superiorly more successful than Kid Icarus. The same can be said of Metroid too.

          Arcades as a physical place have transformed and become a niche without a doubt. However, people still play games that stem from arcade roots. Short bursts of fun people play on iPhones, browsers and on other platforms stem their roots from the arcade scene, similarly how Devil May Cry franchise and its spiritual successors are nothing short of arcade fun. The current generation already has got their taste of the arcade spirit despite never been in the physical place. Street Fighter V is an example of a game that seemingly was all about the arcade VS, but it’s about modern eSports. If it had been developed as an arcade game first and foremost like its predecessor, it would’ve been a more wholesome title. The upcoming KoF is said to return to the roots of the franchise, which would mean carrying that Neo-Geo spirit to an extent to modern systems. Arcade systems as well have their own applications on modern consoles and have been rather successful in red ocean market.

          You mention passing a baton of something to a new generation, and the arcade spirit games are the example of this. They have already been passed down, and Wii was an example of that and it was successful.

          If Nintendo wanted to stay relevant, they would have kept expanding the market. Falling sales are the first sign of road towards irrelevancy, something that Nintendo has plenty of experience after Wii and DS.
          It all does matter, seeing Nintendo is a corporation just like any other and their main reason for producing game consoles and software is to make money. Making money and being relevant is highly important for any company.

          At least I argue for my complaints when it comes to Smash Bros. for Console X’s name. In grand scheme of things, that is the least of the game’s problems and Nintendo troubles, but it is indicative.

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