All hail the great corporation and their face

If you’ve visiting pretty much any Mega Man related sites as of late, you’ve probably noticed that there’s absolutely nil news on Mega Man on itself. Rather, the sites have turned into general Keiji Inafune & related news. These sites are more or less a good example of consumer idol worship, where the consumer idolises any providing company that has a face to associate with.

By associating their favourable opinions on a product via a face that sits high in the company, the consumer is more lenient and forgiving on any misgivings a company, or rather, the person has made. This is why Keiji Inafune himself is pushing his games and always pulling his history in at every single turn with Mega Man as this causes people to associate him with the good memories. Of course, if you didn’t care for Mega Man, it’s a miss. A face can’t really attract every kind of consumer towards the company, thus sometimes you see multiple faces.

Nintendo employs the multiple faces tactics with Reggie, Iwata, Miyamoto and some others to the extent that these people have become the brand. Inafune is his own brand, and those who worship Inafune will follow him and ignore whatever would come. While Nintendo has kept the name Nintendo as the brand, it can’t be ignored that it has become a tertiary brand over Miaymoto and company rather than the corporation itself.

Millennials trust face more than the corporation. Baby Boomers on the other hand stuck more with the companies themselves. The Internet and social media has changed this quite a lot, where Millennials are more dependent on the opinions of their peers and social media in general. Some Youtubers have become influential in what can become successful and what will fail, especially when it comes to entertainment industry. User created content often becomes as something that’s just a hobby, but then becomes a full-fledged job. A consumer becomes a provider in this case, and companies often want to influence these entrepreneurs in order to maximise their positive image. It’s not too uncommon to see consumers starting to idolise these sole providers for information and reviews. It’s a double effect if the consumer feels attached to both big corporation and smaller provider.

It should be noted that Boomers trust far more their friends and family on recommendations what company and product is to be trusted, whereas Millennials trust anonymous sources slightly more, and are three times more likely to turn to social media for input. Millennials are also far more willing to engage with companies for a dialogue, despite they recognize that this dialogue will mostly be used to tailor a product to be more successful on market and advertise it further.

Here the whole face things really applies. While a face is still attached to a company, these faces usually are represented as the consumers’ friend and someone who levels down with them. This is your normal marketing tactics and it works. How many Nintendo fans think Reggie is their friend in some manner and wants to bring the best entertainment you can have? Or how Miyamoto is a struggling artist who has to fight the corporate power to realise his true dreams of the perfect game? Reggie has become the brand and reflects Nintendo in many ways, and Miyamoto’s filthy rich who can do whatever he wants as money is no problem. Hell, he is a semi-professional dog breeder. It should be noted that Miyamoto has been producing force in the vast majority of the games that are associated with him rather than named as Designer or Director. To put that into an extremity, it’s like sitting in a chair and yelling people how it’s done rather than getting yourself into the work.

It’s no wonder Mega Man fans are sticking with Inafune in this regard. His name is largely associated with the series, despite he too worked more as a producer than designer or the like with the series. This applies especially to the GameBoy Mega Man games, which were outsourced to two other companies. Minakuchi Engineering is the people tend to remember most, as they produced the better games in the series and managed to think outside the box with Mega Man V with Mega Arm and managed to make Mega Man X 3 stand apart from the two predecessors, a thing that divides opinions.

It doesn’t help any that CAPCOM is doing nil with the Mega Man franchise at this moment. There’s that collection coming up, which amounts to very little. They are basically watching their own creation, the Church of Inafune, having sermons to their idol without profiting any of it.

Red Ash is another spiritual successor to Mega Man Legends, which means you’ve most likely played the game. Lost Planet’s engine was made to be used in a Legends game, and they play very similarly to each other. E.X. Troopers is far closer how the engine would’ve been used in a Legends game, thou the whole hub-mission instead of overall-dungeons makes the game a very different experience. It’s like playing Monster Hunter with Legends mechanics.

Red Ash in itself shows that Inafune is willing to push his image with Mega Man out there. Mighty Number 9 has gotten a lukewarm reception from various funders already, and there has been some criticism on franchising the ever living shit out of it before the game is even out. With this much hype, it better be successful. Red Ash follows the same lines, and it’s very clear it’s a similar copy of Legends, and to this extension, Lost Planet in the sketched looks and mechanics they’ll put in.

Inafune is a businessman and knows that he has a following that will buy whatever he puts out. The same applies to Miyamoto. Putting your trust in the corporation or in the face is something a consumer should avoid. Nobody is your friend, everybody wants your money. It’s up to the consumer to say whether or not they’re willing to throw their hard earned money at them.

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.

Miyamoto, do you realize what your job is?

“The fact of the matter is that we are often asked ‘another Pikmin, another Mario, why won’t you come up with brand new ideas and franchises, et cetera, but… even though we are creating a new iteration for the existing franchise, we are always trying to make unique entertainment, and one way to do this is to take new technologies and apply that so that even the existing franchise will be able to provide you with a brand new experience.”

Miyamoto, I need to ask you this; is it NOT your job to make the product the people ask of you? We never did ask you to apply new technology in there nor brand new experiences. Games are not made to be experiences, games are mean to be played.

Applying new technology for games comes out naturally. Technology does not only mean physical inventions, but also ways to use existing tools. This evolution then gives room for the tool itself to be evolved. It was this kind of use that evolved the NES controller into the SNES controller.

Do we ask new games? Yes. Do we ask them to be something completely and utterly different? No. You do not want to find out that Mario has suddenly become a first person shooter in the next game where he shoots Russian spies in MI5. That’s not Mario. What we do ask is to expand them, add more content and refine what made the previous games so good. Adding 3D screen or a gimmick mechanic (like FLUDD from Super Mario Sunshine) doesn’t do that. Heck, moving into 3D didn’t do it for Mario, but returning to 2D did. Miyamoto, you have no saying what kind of game is good, it’s your gods’ job.

“Now that a lot of network technologies are evolving, games like [Zelda] Four Swords actually have great potential to evolve even further from now. Internally, we had continued debate as to the reason why Four Swords could not expand to the audience the way we really hoped it might have.

One of the dominant opinions as to the reasons why it didn’t sell was ‘Maybe people did not think that they could fully enjoy playing alone, they’d think that they’d need four players together to make the most of it.’ But I thought ‘No no, we should not think in that fashion at all. If we can really tell that the game itself is fun enough, but that there are obstacles to playing with other players, [then] we need to find out what [that obstacle] was really, and get rid of the kind of nuisances and disturbances.”

Miyamoto, do you know why the game didn’t sell? Because it was bad, it wasn’t what the customers wanted, and neither was Skyward Sword. You, as in Nintendo and not just you yourself, have no place to say if the game was fun in itself or not. The obstacles that need to be removed is YOU in order to get a game that the customers would appreciate.

Seeing this just makes me mad. Really mad. This kind of self-entitled circle jerking is just awful. I’d really love to go over the rest of the article and discuss on Wii U a bit, but this…. This just kicked in me in the nuts. Granted, I haven’t slept for 46h so I’m a little bit by the edge.

Miyamoto doesn’t need to come up any new ideas. His job is not to come up new ideas. Every idea that he needs is already there given by the customers, but he ignores them. He has done so since the SNES. Miyamoto’s job has always been to make good games. Before you can do that, or any other product, you need to listen to the customers. Clearly he doesn’t do that.

I just want to sleep and forget about video games for the next eight hours.

Customers can be stupid too

I’ve decided that every hundred posts or so I’ll dwell into countering matter that I usually discuss. Normally you’d read me ranting about the service providers sucking at what they’re doing (like what Sony &co. are doing) but I really want to tell you that the customer base they have can be just as stupid as well. This might be somewhat harsh text, but hey, even I need to vent these things out.

Let’s take an example of the “hardcore gamers.” Let’s be clear once more; hardcore gamers do not exist. And why? Because the self-entitled HC gamers are nothing more than remnants of PC gamers. Why? Because the HD twins, and even before that, are nothing more than dumbed down PCs running dumbed down PC games. Why? Just to give a simple example; the PS3 is marked as a computer to avoid higher tax as they did with PS2. And UK court said nope. And I want to quote Kutaragi himself;

Recently, SCE president Ken Kutaragi went into great detail about how the PlayStation 3 is “clearly a computer,” not a games console.

“Speaking about the PS3, we never said we will release a game console,” he claimed in a recent interview with PC Impress Watch. “It is radically different from the previous PlayStation. It is clearly a computer.”

So yeah, the same applies to X360 by all means. Honestly, I would be completely fine with this. Both HD twins do have some games I wish to play. However, the customer base on all three platforms are just insanely stupid when it comes to both ignorance and sheer stupidity. They either do not acknowledge realities that are in their faces or they simply will not seek knowledge outside their opinions. They’re like religious zealots who can’t see past their own noses.

The Wii was the first proper home console since the NES. Both MegaDrive and SNES were already more PCs than their predecessors and PlayStation sealed the deal. 3D has always been more PC element that console element, and always will be. This is why Nintendo always fails when they release a console that concentrates on 3D; they’re going away from their arcade roots that sells. People wish to play arcade and console like games on home consoles. PC games have not vanished or PC gamers have not vanished; they’ve just moved to consoles.

And the customers are stupid enough not to notice this.

This is part of the problem, as many industries listen to customers the wrong way, especially the game industry. Yes, the industries’ are having a crisis because the rampaging creativity and all the bad it brings with it. Remember, it’s not the creativity that creates a good product, but research and craftsmanship that have little to none to do with creativity. The customers are blind to certain aspects they do not like to think and are victims to to their own idolization. Certain comic writers have become like gods in the industry that are allowed to do anything they want at the cost of the quality of the product and sales. One person who is like this is Grant Morrison, who is a good writer but is currently undermining the Action Comic by his behaviour. Morrison does not tell DC what is his plans on Action Comic and on Superman, which undermines another writer’s job and is being rewritten on number basis because Morrison is an asshat diva who is treated as creative god. Same with Miyamoto; the guy can do good games when he is forced to, but when his creativity is allowed to shine we get games that do not sell and of low quality. And the only people we can blame is the customers who idolize them.

Same with designers, where certain names always pop up. These guys always gets the god status due to their creativity, but only of them actually have proper reason to be at that state, as they actually spend half of their work hours just researching what they could do better for the customers, y’know, like a craftsman should. A service provider should never be a creative artist like the customer sees, because customers are idiots who can’t do research and do not know the difference. The industry has to know the difference, but as people from the customer side enter the business side, the industry begins to lose its integrity and the creative artist view takes more control and the quality of everything just drops like a dead fly.

If we want to keep having quality products, we the customers have to become more strict and face the truth. Let’s stop this god bullshit altogether and let’s start demanding better games, movies and comics. I want to see a new 2D Mario, but with the same budget and work that 3D Mario sees. Nintendo doesn’t like to do them, but honestly, fuck them if they don’t want my money. Just like Capcom. But as long the customers are bullshitting themselves with these terms of “harcore gamer” and “casual gamer” and thinking that the creators are some kind of gods, we’re never going to see anything of high quality again.

What we, the service providers, need do to fix this? First of all, stop bullshitting ourselves and stop jacking ourselves off to the creativity crap we’re loving so much. Let’s stop making pandering crap people keep talking about but never purchasing, and straighten out all the misconceptions that lead to low quality products. In other words; let’s start making good products and tell people that we’re listening, but not only the vocal minority that keeps circle jerking themselves.