Part four of the four part series.
Nintendo is the king of nostalgia in the gaming industry, tapping into the love of millions of gamers the world over. They gave birth to gaming as a popular pastime and introduced us to the likes of Mario, Link, Samus Aran, and Star Fox. For this, they’ve earned the love and respect of the majority of the gaming community, which is well deserved.
Some of my best memories from gaming have been on Nintendo’s systems. Like playing Kickle Cubicle, Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Metroid Prime, and even Wii Sports. Yes, even Wii Sports…
What’s unfortunate is that even Nintendo isn’t immune to making immensely stupid decisions, and recently has shown that when they have a choice between trying to protect their assets and throwing their customers a bone, they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure their profit stream is safe.
Going After Those Dastardly Content Creators
Nintendo has been showing its true colors with the rise of YouTube and Twitch, cracking down hard on those that want to create video content. Creators wanting to show off Nintendo titles have had their revenue taken away, videos taken down, or even had their channels deleted.
I’m not saying that they’re the only offender, but as far as platform holders go, they take the cake. Where Sony and Microsoft normally just let gamers do what they want, for the most part, Nintendo routinely shuts down anyone that appears to be showing even the smallest amount of content.
Graciously, Nintendo reached out to content creators to give them a means to show off their gameplay. By registering in their Creators program and agreeing to forfeit a large share of any ad revenue generated, creators can stream and record games approved by Nintendo.
Want to make a video about a game that isn’t on the list? Too bad. Want to keep your channel ad-free? Sorry. Just want to make a video that has a tiny snippet of one of their games? Makes sure Nintendo gets their cut.
They may have the right to lock down their customer’s content and disallow anyone streaming or making videos without their express authorization, but there’s little reason to be so anti-consumer. There’s no evidence to prove that streaming and YouTube videos of gameplay affect a game’s sales negatively. If anything, it drums up interest in any game that’s being shown off.
Innovation, At Any Cost
When the Wii hit the market, it became a huge hit. Everyone seemed to have one hooked up to their living room TV, and the game of choice was Wii Sports (or Guitar Hero). Bowling or boxing with the Wii Remote was actually really fun, and it made for a wonderful party game. It’s just too bad that those motion controls didn’t translate so well to other games. Nintendo’s history of game consoles has included many different unique ideas, but often those ideas were marred by weak execution or poor follow-through.
Take the Wii U for example. The Wii U’s tablet style controller was actually pretty good; it was comfortable, light, and had a decent screen. Some games, like Zombi U, made good use of the tablet portion. The second screen served as the player’s inventory and scanner, and opened up the game to include some interesting mechanics.
But what did Nintendo do with it? They did things like trying to build Star Fox Zero around the use of the Wii U tablet controller, instead of just making a solid Star Fox game. Instead of bringing another Metroid title to a console, they made a crappy co-op shooter for the 3DS.
It’s almost as if they are trying to do something new, for the sake of doing something new. They seem to throw out the past to see what weird thing they can try next, without considering other more conventional options.
Everything Nintendo makes just seems to be expensive. If you want a Switch Pro controller, you’re going to set yourself back about $70. Buying an extra pair of Joy-Cons will cost you around $80. Switch games are also regularly priced at, or higher than, equivalents on other systems as well.
For a brand that’s big on local multiplayer, Nintendo seems to have one of the steepest pricing structures that I’ve seen on any console. Furthermore, there are so many different control schemes for their titles, that you might end up having to spend more than you intended, just to be able to play a game of theirs.
What if I bought a Nintendo Switch, and wanted to be able to play 4-player in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, I’d first need to figure out how I could actually do it, then buy the correct controllers. 4-player gaming locally can be carried out by connecting two pairs of Joy-Cons to the system, or by letting everyone use Pro controllers. So my options are limited to spending $80 for an extra set of Joy-Cons and forcing my friends to use the dinky controllers, or spending $70-$280 on Pro controllers.
It’s just… Expensive…
I’m one that likes options, and the sheer volume of controller options on the Switch makes the prospect of being prepared for local multiplayer quite daunting. Where I can have all the controllers I need for a PC, PS4, or Xbox One for about $180, I’d have to spend $360 on controllers alone on the Switch (4 Pros and an extra pair of Joy-Cons).
That’s not even getting into the subject of Nintendo’s games, which hold their value better than most commodities.
And apparently they think 1-2 Switch is worth $50.
The topic of Nintendo’s availability issues is the deadest horse in the history of dead horses, so I’m not going to continue for long. However, for whatever reason, Nintendo consistently ignores any criticisms regarding product availability.
Still, knowing full well that people want access to all Amiibos, Nintendo discontinues them and refuses to manufacture enough to meet demand. The Nintendo Switch and Wii were both hard to come by, long after their respective launches (the Switch is still hard to find in some places). The GameCube controllers and adapters for the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros were exceedingly difficult to find, despite Nintendo knowing the favorable reception their product received.
Why Nintendo continuously underproduces their products, and consistently fails to meet consumer demand, is beyond me.
The Amiibo situation itself raises new concerns considering that Nintendo wants to lock certain content behind the paywall of the figurines themselves, creating some weird version of DLC where customers are cut off from buying them due to inconsistent manufacturing practices.
Seriously, Nintendo. You could make a Poop Link Amiibo and every fan would buy it… Do you seriously think you wouldn’t sell every Wolf Link Amiibo?
Just Generally Baffling Sometimes
Nintendo is far from the perfect bastion of gaming that their often assumed to be. They appear to view their customers with contempt. Seemingly refusing to allow people to buy the products they’re selling, viewing their creative fans as thieves, ignoring loved franchises and driving other ones into the ground with stupendously bad spinoff games (looking at you Metroid Prime: Federation Force), or just making some really strange decisions with their company.
I swear, half of the news I’ve seen with Nintendo is genuinely good, while the other half leaves me with my face buried deep into my palm. It’s almost as if they don’t care if they do well or not, and people seem enamored with them as long as they keep churning out Legend of Zelda or Mario Bros. titles.
Did I miss anything about Nintendo? What other hilariously bad missteps have they made? Let’s hear it in the comments!
You can find the other pieces here:
- Failures Of The Xbox One
- Failures Of Steam
- Failures Of The PlayStation 4
- Failures Of The Gaming Community
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