“A Farewell to Third Parties” or “The Nintendo Reap & Sew Show”
“There Was A Miscalculation”
- Nintendo president Satoru Iwata
The sky is falling and Nintendo is poised to a few very bad years ahead. Robbie will be fired, fingers will be pointed and Nintendo’s stock will drop faster than than a frat boy at a Phish concert. It is time for Nintendo to reap all that they have sewn.
There is enough hyperbole in that first paragraph to start a california wild fire sized flame war. If you haven’t immediately paged down to the comments to tell me how much of a rectum I am, please allow me to elucidate. Since changing the name of their “Project Revolution” to “Wii” many ++Good Gamers had a bit of a sinking feeling as to what Nintendo were up to. Nintendo amply stated throughout 2005 and in 2006 that they were, “looking to open up gaming to the masses [by] putting an affordable game system in everyone’s living room.”
An oldie but a goodie – GameCube vs Wii specs
Back then I was recording the Game Crazy – Gamer’s Edge podcast (which still on iTunes) and we tracked Nintendo’s press releases and even interviewed them at one point where they stated that they were going for the general consumer by making games affordable. By using an upgraded GameCube as it’s core, our expectations were tailored by Nintendo that they were planning on delivering a $99 machine into everyone’s homes. After they spent six months of hammering this message of affordability, Nintendo threw every hard core gamer a curveball when they changed the name of the Revolution to the much more consumer/mass-friendly “Wii” moniker.
Look at us metro’s having some F. U. N.!!!!
Eyebrows were raised, but our expectation for the ‘affordable console’ from Nintendo was all but confirmed. When Nintendo announced the $249 price point, the cat was out of the bag that their marketing department had deceived us all and that we had been disseminating false hopes and expectations for the better part of a year. It was all very crafty marketing from Nintendo, which we have all seen before, however Nintendo had opened the Pandora’s box of inviting the ‘general consumer’ to the table.
If there is a company that hasn’t delivered upon expectation since the SNES, it is Nintendo. Their 8-12 month first party release cycle has never been warmly accepted by gamers. How many people remember owning Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings for 8 months before Wave Race was released and 18 months til Mario Kart 64?
Waiting for the next Kirby, Earthbound or Killer Instinct? This is what you will look like by the time they arrive.
Nintendo has a track record of trickling out the titles to draw out the systems legs and it works for them. However, when you make a Joe 6-Pack or Sally Soccer-Mom stand in line overnight to spend $500+ on a console, accessories and games that gets shoved under the couch a few weeks after purchase…well…you don’t make friends for long. But the problem is not that Nintendo has egg on its face but that the game industry as a whole has taken a punch in the junk from this exercise. Nintendo has made record profits and will keep warm with them through winter like a squirrel with it’s nuts. Kids who want an Xbox 360 or PS3 will ask their parents who will say, “I got the flu when I sat out with people who smelled like salami to get you that piece of shit that is now under the couch that you never play! Why would I throw more money down the toilet?” That conversation is happening currently in two of the houses in my cul-de-sac and in thousands of homes across America.
The general consumer feels like they have been sold a bag of magic beans and will be twice as unlikely to invest again when it comes to Xbox 360 and PS3. Nintendo has Icarus’ problem where they flew too close to the sun with wings held together with paraffin wax. The wings are falling apart and it is a long way down. Just ask Atari where hubris got them back in 1983.
Try to effectively market games in an environment that is promoting THIS activity. GOOD LUCK!
Flash forward to this week where the finger pointing has already begun. Reggie dropped the bomb when he said, “High-quality, effectively marketed against our installed base, will sell. Period. End of story.” Effectively stating that all of the third parties that aren’t making money off the Wii are essentially “retarded” and/or “stupid.” The third parties have responded in kind. Grasshopper Manufacture and UbiSoft have announced that No More Heroes is going to be available across multiple platforms. The games that were being used to pull the hard core gamers back to Nintendo are defecting.
Now, the news of No More Heroes defecting to other consoles isn’t too surprising. The fact that that announcement comes a week before the biggest holiday sales season is pretty telling. Nintendo cannot afford much more bad press and to hear that the main reason to purchase/keep your Wii is for the New Super Mario Bros may, or may not be enticing enough. Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead, Bayonetta, Borderlands, Bioshock 2 and many, many others are properties are just too rich to ignore. If you bring on No More Heroes, Mad World and Muramasa: The Demon Blade to other consoles, Nintendo just has their first party games. Sole first-party support didn’t help Nintendo too much with the N64 for GameCube and I don’t expect their first party muscle will be enough to save the Wii either.
Why play MW2 and Borderlands? I’m havin’ a blast just trying to balance myself! Did I mention that I am single and I live with my 7 cats that are all named Pikachu?
No matter what user comments say, the Nintendo Wii has absolutely NOT done good by the games industry. Sure, Nintendo has introduced a new console to a new market. However, by not supporting their platform appropriately and by adding on peripherals that are expensive and gimmicky (32x), they have shown that new market that video games are expensive and only provide limited, sporadic gaming experiences.
Nintendo has done nothing less than position themselves as Atari did in 1983. I tried to call Atari this week to ask them how that whole ‘hubris-thing’ went for them, but when I called I got Hasbro for some reason. If you think I’m crazy or if you don’t believe what I am saying about the games industry, just watch how many Game Crazy’s, GameStops and Mom and Pop’s close up this year and then let’s talk about who’s to blame.
Would you look at me…Now I am the one pointing fingers :(