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Opinion Piece: Nintendo just doesn’t “get it”, do they?

By J.T. Melanson in Opinion Pieces

Nintendo Procrastination RealGamerNewz Parody

Hi everyone, it’s been forever in a day since I’ve written something for any gaming website, and let me tell you it’s been quite an experience. I’ve been incredibly busy with college and for a time I was working almost full-time hours as well. That said, I’m in my second semester back at college again as of this writing and I have to say it feels damn good to be moving my life forward, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have much to say when it comes to a certain company we all love but also love to hate at the same time, I am referring to Nintendo, the genesis of all modern day gaming. You gotta love Nintendo, they’re a lightning rod for controversy and of course for scorn within the gaming community these days; but they are also known for making some of the best damn games on the face of this planet hands down!

First off, let me start with a disclaimer. I do love Nintendo; I love all the games from them that I own for their systems. Anyone who’s anyone knows I get hyped about a new Smash, Fire Emblem, Zelda, Mario, etc. My 3DS and Wii U have seen a ton of gameplay between the two and anytime I hear about them announcing new games, I’m always looking forward to finding out more about them. Also, I am well aware I don’t represent the views of everyone at RGN; or of all Nintendo fans either. So why am I writing this article?

Well, there are some things that need to be said about their business practices during the last 8 or so years. They have some serious issues that we all know about; the disaster that followed a strong launch of the Wii U in the US is just the tip of this proverbial iceberg. I sincerely believe that this goes way back to when the Wii was still flourishing, kicking ass and taking names and it starts with the lackadaisical attitude they began to have regarding localization of titles that people would’ve paid damn good money for to obtain, but couldn’t due to…well, you know, not releasing these games in the respective regions of the world.

It calls back to 2007/2008 in particular when Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse was being produced. A lot of us were genuinely excited about it, finally what became my favorite survival horror franchise was being continued and it was looking great too I might add. Localization was definitely in the works, and rumors began to spread that the game was going to hit the US/EU. Then out of the blue, it was announced that the localization for the title was being shuttered, as in cancelled. To say me and others were angry about this would be an understatement. For a brief time I actually considered selling my Wii and if it weren’t for Metroid Prime Trilogy among other titles, I would’ve done so.

An image from Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse – a title that unfortunately never saw the light of day outside Japan.

It only continued to get worse from there, games like Disaster: Day of Crisis ended up not seeing the light of day in the US, yet again rumours spread that it was because Reggie Fils-Aime; current COO of Nintendo of America declaring the game to be “crap” that led to the cancellation of the title. I’m sorry but if this is true, then this is absurd, you don’t cancel a North American release just because the COO calls a game “crap”, what’s crap to him could be gold to another person. If it were me, I would’ve released it in North America anyway.

Another Code: R for the Wii also never saw the light of day in the US even though its predecessor Trace Memory for the DS did. Yet Another Code: R saw the light of day in Europe. Anyone else noticing a trend? Because I am, and it’s going in a negative direction, pointing the finger of blame squarely at Nintendo of America and possibly NCL too, both parties are guilty as charged. It doesn’t even end there either, oh no, it gets even worse.

We almost didn’t get this amazing game, along with two other titles.

You see, this all culminated with Operation Rainfall and their awesome efforts to push Nintendo of America to release Xenoblade Chronicles in the US. It was a massive success, and the title ended up selling the best in the US, the same goes with the Last Story and Pandora’s Tower, though the remaining two games were only released in the US thanks to XSEED Games. I do not believe Nintendo of America deserves credit for them as it was XSEED that stepped up to the plate for the last two games. Without XSEED’s efforts, chances are we would’ve been denied these games as well, just like we here in North America were stupidly denied the Fatal Frame 2 remake (which Operation Zero valiantly tried to campaign for) while in a hilarious twist of irony Europe never got Kirby Dream Collection. Gee, one would think if Nintendo truly wanted our money, they’d release both games in both territories, right? Guess what? They didn’t.

Sales charts proving that Nintendo games sell the best in the US. Slightly dated but you get the picture.

Ultimately, the end of the Wii’s lifespan was a hot mess. I find it funny, and not as in funny ha ha, I mean funny as in “that’s f***ed up” that people say “Oh, Nintendo was smart for not bringing <insert title here> to North America/Europe,” for instance; and then try so hard to validate their reasons, but always they fall back on the same excuse, that being “sales”, each and every time anyone has tried to argue that point or any inane reason they could possibly justify with me, I always come back with the fact that the Fatal Frame series or just about any game Nintendo has ever released for that matter, always sold best in North America, hell, even the 3DS spinoff known as Spirit Camera sold the best in North America. Also, I am going to add something else here, Nintendo actually has partial ownership of the Fatal Frame series now. Why piss away good money on an awesome IP only to screw over those who follow the series? See what I am getting at?

Why am I writing about this per se? Well, I am doing so to show that Nintendo really is out of touch, and that the roots of their problems are deep-seated within the company’s traditional hierarchy. Many ideas have been shot down before they could even get to the planning phases, just because someone higher up has the power to veto. Yes, it’s thanks to some of those higher up that Nintendo has had the power to remain in business for over 120 years, but at the same time, this structure is a double-edged sword that could very well end up make them pull out of the console hardware market and the gaming industry almost completely.

When you have a company that is inconsistent with their releases in North America and in Europe, one that isn’t focused on delivering the best of the best to their consumers’ worldwide, well, that lightning in a bottle that you captured? Eventually it escapes and shakes the ground, causing the foundation to crumble like a house of cards. That’s exactly what has happened with the transition from the Wii to the Wii U.

Nintendo f***ed up the international release of this incredible game badly.

You see, Nintendo neglected to pay attention to what the core fans wanted in order to pander to the new casual base that they built up during the Wii’s lifespan, and instead of sending the Wii out with a bang? It died with a whimper. Had Nintendo just made sure Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, Pandora’s Tower, and the Fatal Frame 2 remake had all hit North America at the same time as they did in Europe, and along with that; I know I will probably catch hell for this, but also delayed the launch of the Wii U itself until everything truly was ready to go, I guarantee they would’ve been in a more prime position to gear up for the Wii U’s launch.

Instead, the problematic launch of the Wii U, along with delays of key titles (with one notoriously going multi-platform and having the Wii U version delayed so it would launch at the same time as the other versions), software droughts, missing sales targets and third parties dropping support for the console? It’s no wonder Nintendo is in the conundrum that they’re in. While they might be making bank for the first time in a few years, let’s face it, the Wii U is still selling very poorly and a system that was thought to be dead on arrival, the Xbox 1, has surpassed it in overall lifetime sales to date.

I give Nintendo credit where credit is due; their games are always top notch, also having that warmth and charm that you simply can’t find anywhere else no matter how much others try. Plus, they have stepped it up with the edginess of the games they’re picking up and publishing, games like Devil’s Third and Bayonetta 2, the latter of which has sold very well in the US and we have Xenoblade Chronicles X coming later in 2015 as well. They’ve done a lot right, but I feel they’ve definitely not done enough to smooth things over. Nah, they need to make up for their mishaps during the last generation, big time I might add. When you miss a chance to appeal to your audience, that audience ultimately turns their backs on you.

How can anyone sit there and even think that Nintendo is in an okay situation here? Yeah, they might be turning a profit, but damn, when one thinks about it, the reason the Wii U is tanking horribly is because of bad mistakes they’ve made over the last 8 or so years. I’m sure some of you will still try to justify that they were smart in giving the Fatal Frame series in particular the shaft ever since acquiring partial rights to the license. Suffice it to say though, I am a firm believer in karma, and in this case karma bit Nintendo in their proverbial backsides, has sunk their teeth in, and is not letting go. Of right now, the Wii U’s LTD is about 9.2 million, after two and a half years that is just pitiful. Especially when your competitors have been on the market for just over a year, and one of them has sold more than double that amount in that amount of time.

Let that sink in to your heads if you may. How can anyone even think that Nintendo would be smart in not localizing every title they can get their hands on? How can anyone even think to justify the excuses made to defend Nintendo as if they’ve done no wrong in giving gamers the shaft on games they would love to play? How can anyone defend horrible business practices? When you have people (and these are actual quotes) going as far as saying “maybe there is a clause in the contract that makes it disadvantageous for them to localize the series, you never know” or “Nintendo is a business, not a charity! They don’t need your money!” to which I say yes, Nintendo is a business, but they remain in business because of us. When you use ludicrous statements like the two quoted from above to try to justify your view, I hate to say it but your argument is pretty much invalid by the time you’ve reached that point.

I might love Nintendo as much as the next guy, but I’ll be damned if I am going to stand by and watch the train-wreck happening and not say anything about it. I won’t claim to speak for all gamers, or all Nintendo fans, but I do believe that there are many out there who echo my sentiments almost to a tee. Yes, Nintendo might be a business, but they remain in business because of us, the fans, as in you and me. So long as we use our voices and do not remain silent, we control the market, we control who gets our hard-earned money, end of story.

Editor’s Note: The views of J. T. Melanson may or may not reflect the views of RGN’s Audience, RGN’s Staff, or RGN’s Affiliates. Please enjoy this Opinion Piece responsibly and feel free to disagree in the comments section below, thank you. Sincerely, RealGamerNewz Team.

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