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Editorial   

Rage Quit: Nintendo Keeps Tripping Over Their Own Feet

Jesse isn't really mad at Nintendo, he's just disappointed.

At PixlBit we pride ourselves on reporting news and reviewing games with as little bias as humanly possible.  That being said, there are times when we don’t want to sit all quiet and polite and instead rage into the vastness that is the internet. In this installment, Jesse rages against Nintendo's self destructive death grip on IP image control.

Nintendo made waves earlier in the week when it was announced that they were blocking the streaming of Super Smash Bros. Melee EVO events.  This move mobilized a fanbase to protest, especially since that same fanbase had worked so hard to get Smash Bros at the premier fighting tournament in the first place.  The noise was apparently loud enough to get Nintendo to change their minds concerning the stream and the show will go on this weekend. The original issue was further compounded by the even more head-shaking news that NOA (Nintendo of America) was trying to get Melee pulled from the tournament completely (which only surfaced after their reversal of the stance on the streaming) has fans frustrated with a company that introduced countless to the hobby they love so dearly.

Image consciousness is common among the holders of widely recognized IP, but Nintendo often times does more damage to its reputation through the practice than not.  Nintendo didn’t want Smash Bros. in what is considered the Super Bowl of digital fighting tournaments, because it was afraid that it would somehow negatively impact the IP and parent company’s image. Instead the venerable company did much more damage to themselves than a simple fighting game tournament ever could.

We must take into consideration that Smash Bros. was not originally going to be in the tournament to begin with.  It took fans raising more than $90,000 for charity to get the game a seat at the table.  If Nintendo wanted to improve their image, they could have embraced this outpouring of support from loyal fans by endorsing the idea; perhaps even make a matching donation as well.  Instead, they spurn these fans – and perhaps turn a few loyalists into rebels – by attempting to thwart what should have been considered a feel-good story.

And what possible negative press or damage could have been done had Nintendo just quietly sat by and let this thing happen?  Nintendo might want to label Smash Bros. a party game rather than a fighting game, but what harm is there in letting a passionate group of gamers play it in a fighting game tournament? Would watching this on the internet make us suddenly aware that Mario is a scumbag because he’s beating the every loving crap out of Peach?  The whole premise is based on popular characters brawling for supremacy – or did we get that wrong?

This news also comes on the heels of Nintendo’s decision to target Let’s Play videos on YouTube for monetization.  The business savvy out there may say that it’s a good move for the big N to not allow others profit off the use of their IP, but it’s not like Nintendo was losing millions by letting a few nerds play a round of Yoshi’s Island with commentary.  If anything, this was all free publicity – I myself have bought more than a few titles after watching some YouTube “stars” take a whack at it first.

I know that the videos haven’t been stripped from the internet – Nintendo was good enough not to be a complete dick about it – but they stripped away a lot of the incentive for the better produced shows out there to feature Nintendo titles.  In a move to protect their precious and apparently delicate IP, Nintendo yet again, does more damage than some silly YouTube videos ever could.

And of course it looks like they may be reversing their stance on this as well.  But the damage has been done.  People only remember the initial policy, not that it was quietly reversed.

It’s hard not to think of Nintendo as a cantankerous old man at this point.  The world of rapidly expanding connections and information is not a world that they are comfortable with.  Their archaic stance concerning online functionality highlights this – it’s restrictive, not user friendly, and not really all that fun.

I love Nintendo, I really do.  I bought a Wii U on day one because I was, and still am, genuinely excited to see what they’ll do with that wonderful tablet controller.  But I can’t stand to see them continually getting in their own way.  They may walk to the beat of their own drum, but they don’t seem to listen to, or care about the wants of their own fan base.  The reversal of their decision to block the melee stream is a good first step, but the fact that it got to that point in the first place is ridiculous.

Nintendo, you need to think before you act.  Much more of this pig headed attitude towards your own audience and I may just have to rage quit.

Agree?  Disagree?  Add to the discussion by sounding off in the comments section below!


 

Comments

Matt Snee Staff Writer

07/12/2013 at 03:16 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I love Nintendo too.  But they do some aggravating things, for sure. 

asrealasitgets

07/12/2013 at 03:47 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

Nintendo does some weird things sometimes. Denpamen is so awesome though so it's hard to be mad at them.

Justin Matkowski Graphic Designer

07/12/2013 at 04:09 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

It's hard to believe that a company that can be so innovative and creative can also at times be so archaic and stubborn in some of their policies. As you said, Youtube Let's Plays are free advertising, and instead of thinking "This is a wildly popular phenomenon that showcases people enjoying watching others play and enjoy our games, we need to support this and reward this kind of loyalty", Nintendo has one of their "Big N Panic Attacks" and tries to earn a buck while doing so.

I've been a big Nintendo fan since the NES/SNES days, and it saddens me to see them kicking themselves in the nads with illogical business practices. In these regards, they are certainly their own worst enemy. They need to bring someone onboard that could see how lucrative the evolution of gaming media and tactile inclusion of your fanbase can be, rather than act as an overprotective parent with their IP.

Cyberxion

07/12/2013 at 05:24 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I don't mean to offend, but If I'm being honest, I have to say that the concept of being a fan of any of these companies is one that's completely foreign to me. It just doesn't compute. Oh, I certainly understand having a preference for their consoles and games, and I even understand brand-loyalty to an extent. However, to be a fan of them just because they've put stuff on the market that I happened to enjoy is one that I can't wrap my head around. It's not as if they're doing it for me. They're not even aware that I exist.

That having been said, it's not my intention to come across as dismissive. I understand that this is an issue apart from whether or not Nintendo listens to its...fans, and I feel like even had they made it clear up front why they were doing it, it still wouldn't have been a very smart move to have made. Microsoft's recent blunders have put us on-edge and have made us unwilling to take any more crap, and given that Nintendo isn't exactly moving tons of WIi U consoles at the moment, they should be actively avoiding doing anything to generate itself ill-will.

Jesse Miller Features Editor

07/12/2013 at 05:37 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

Your last sentence sums up the whole of what is being said. They generate this ill will while thinking they are doing the right thing for their brand.  Brand loyaly is a real thing for a lot of people (I don't see how any offense can be taken by your stance on being a "fan" of these companies), and these people make up a company's base of consumers.  Offending these folks is dangerous because these aren't the ones you should be worrying about.

gigantor21

07/12/2013 at 06:16 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

For all the innovations and new ideas it's brought to gaming over the decades, Nintendo doesn't know it's ass from it's elbow when it comes to digital content. It's amazing how insular they're being about this. Nintendo tried to shut down Melee at EVO, while Sony and MS are building streaming technology into the consoles next-gen and cutting deals with UStream and TwitchTV. It's mind-boggling.

I've been watching EVO for hours today, and Melee already amassed 2 million views just since this morning. It's going to be played over 3 days. Why would they not want that kind of exposure for the Smash series when they have a new Smash coming out? Or for their WiiU games in Let's Plays? Because they're scared of the lack of control they have over the presentation? Because they can't bear the idea of people making ad money off the video without getting a cut? Give me a break.

Between that, the pitiful storage in the Wii U, and how digital copy is tied to hardware instead of the user accounts--which should've been introduced on the Wii instead of that Friend Code bullshit--it's clear that Nintendo has no idea what they're doing.

BrokenH

07/12/2013 at 06:36 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I really don't get Nintendo sometimes. It's nice they haven't taken Nintendo-centric youtube videos down but preventing people from making an honest buck off game commentary will simply make said people stop showing Nintendo products at all. (Aka, no more advertising. Get ready for dwindling sales,guys!)

And Nintendo feels "ashamed" fans got Super Smash Bros Melee to make an appearance at Evo?! They should be proud. Only the best & most popular fighting games get played at Evo. How does this "worsen their image"??

Alex-C25

07/12/2013 at 07:22 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

Kinda harsh, but yeah, those things with Nintendo are pretty bad. Now that I look at it, I kinda find confusing why instead of supporting games on some causes like EVO, they are like "No it's bad" and tried to cut the stream. I think what happens is that because they have a mentality of "everything for the whole family", they find the more passionate gaming croud foreign and don't see the big cloud of followers.

Jamie Alston Review Writer

07/12/2013 at 10:38 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

Nice article. I too am a Nintendo fan. Been one since the NES and to usually trust their decision-making. But this is plain ridiculous and kinda stupid. Nintendo is taking the unnecessary risk of alienating well-meaning producers and the gamers that watch their "Let's Plays". Personally I think it's greed that's taken hold of many a game developers out there ever since people became smart enought to produce good quality YouTube show without the involvment of a third-party benefactor.

Coolsetzer

07/14/2013 at 09:09 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Well I'm glad they stopped being a collective ass and "let" them use open software in a tournament. They made a ton of money off the Smash series already, and to be a grinch just to control the "image" of a game is ridiculous. It reminds me of publishers paying off reviewers to score higher on metacritic. Those kinds of business practices should not be allowed.

Cyberxion

07/14/2013 at 11:41 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I've seen plenty of people accuse various websites of allowing publsihers to buy higher than deserved review scores, but is this a thing that actually happens?

It's just that on any given day, just about every videogame website on the internet will be accused of being biased either towards or against Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all at the same time by readers who happen to be fans of their respective consoles. Since that's not possible, the far more logical conclusion to draw from those accusations is that the only bias' they're reflective of are the accuser's own.

That's kind of how I take the accusation that publishers pay reviewers to inflate their review scores. I'm not denying that we've caught publishers doing some shady stuff over the years, and the almost incestuous relationship between the industry and the videogames press with respect to the latter's reliance on the former for advertising revenue is cause for concern. However, unless we have proof that this has happened, and that it still is happening, I'm a great deal more inclined to write this particular accusation off as coming from folks who don't know how to deal with it when a game that they were predisposed to like didn't get the score they expected it to get, or who otherwise possess a tenuous understanding of the concept of opinion.

Considering that I've witnessed plenty of incidences of gamers going ape-spit over low-scoring reviews for games that went live well in advance of their street-dates, and also considering that I've seen people justify accusing critics of being bought and paid for by publishers for no other reason than because the critics in question liked a given game more than the accuser did, I'm pretty confident that's what it is rather than any grand, far-reaching conspiracy by the industry to artificially inflate review scores. 

As far as what Nintendo did goes, I'm not sure how you could possibly draw a comparison between it and buying inflated review scores. It's not remotely comparable. Granted, how the company went about it was stupid, but they were merely doing what they thought was necessary in order to protect the integrity of their intellectual-property, as is their prerogative. While they'd be smart to go about it more carefully in the future, there's nothing illegal or even particularly shady about it. You don't have to like what they did, of course,  but I feel like suggesting that they not be allowed to protect their IP is a little silly if I'm being honest.


Ryan Bunting Staff Alumnus

07/15/2013 at 03:13 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

Being a YouTube video producer that focuses on games, a good handful of which have been Nintendo games - I can personally say that they're going a little far. We do parodies/comedic reviews and commentaries. We did SMB3. It's 23 years old. Immediately get the notice "Hey, Nintendo owns this, and they're not like, comfortable and stuff, of a video with their like, stuff in it. So. You can keep it up and all, but they're probably going to take money from you if you ever make any money through YouTube, because they need it really badly, and passionate fans that are already buying their games need to get raked over the coals a little more. You know, for publicity."

Pacario

07/18/2013 at 09:22 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I doubt all these sins will hurt Nintendo much--while it reinforces the skepticism a more neutral-minded gamer like myself might have of the company, the typical fanboy will complain but then quickly forgive the moment Nintendo does something "good" again. Which is pretty much anything, from making another Mario game to giving out chintzy awards through its Club Nintendo program.

But seriously, Nintendo is not your friend. From fabricating cartridge shortages in the '80s to trying to ban rental games in the '90s to blocking a fan-made Zelda film a couple of years back, why anyone still defends the company is beyond me.

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