It’s kind of sad, but one of my favorite things to write about is Nintendo’s seemingly dumb business practices. Actually, it’s more that it's an easy topic to write about because they keep making stupid moves in the industry. Whether they want to admit it or not, Sony and Microsoft definitely watch and react to each others moves. If they get an exclusive in a certain genre, or series that may prompt them to one up the other. I feel like Nintendo is blissfully unaware that there even is competition out there. There have been reports that the company has so much money that even if they continue to fail they’ll be strong for decades. You can chalk that up to savvy investments and milking their top selling franchises like Mario and Pokémon.
Nintendo is on a whole other level compared to Sony and Microsoft. They’re not necessarily better than those two, but they do have a higher pedigree in terms of video game history. Perhaps this lack of care is helpful for the company to grow, but in some regards it’s also frustrating. How is it that a video game console in 2017 has so many online issues that were fixed in the Xbox 360 era of consoles? The Wii U was like the first Xbox in its infrastructure. Exaggerated, yes, but it’s not that far off either. There are a lot of other small issues like this that I could have written about, but I think the fifteen listed below are more egregious.
14 Amiibo Look Great, But Are Pointless
I loved Disney Infinity, so when Nintendo announced their Amiibo line I was over the moon. Imagining a game like that but with Nintendo’s roster of colorful characters sounded amazing to me. However, it's been three years now and I'm still waiting to be wowed. Nintendo is an innovator and rarely jumps on the bandwagon, but it seems like they jumped the gun on this genre without a plan. Since launch, most Wii U and 3DS games supported Amiibo in some way, but their uses are very basic. Tap this character in your game to get some gold, or a new hat. It’s basically DLC, but you get a figure with your purchase. I guess that’s cool, but Amiibo could be so much more.
13 Artificial Hype Based On Limited Quantities
Amiibo is part of this problem, but I'm mostly thinking about the Nintendo Switch and NES Classic for this one. First of all, last year's launch of the NES Classic was a shit-show. No one knew when stores were getting them, pre-orders sold out faster than Sonic can run, and this all created that artificial hype. That's what scarcity does. Instead of fixing this shortage, Nintendo just outright discontinued it so that they could apparently make more Switches. If that’s true, than good on them, I guess. The Switch problem is getting less stressful, but they’re still not that easy to find either. All this makes me worried for the SNES Classic, which is something I want more than those two other consoles. Are we doomed to repeat history?
12 Needlessly Complicated Peripherals
Nintendo fails to produce enough consoles time and time again, but they're okay with clogging retail shelves with useless plastic peripherals. This has been the case since the dawn of the NES, but let’s warp ahead to the Switch. With the release of Splatoon 2, Nintendo will be launching a headset that comes with a device that will connect to your console and phone. Why your phone? In case you didn’t know, voice chat and other multiplayer functions for the Switch will all be handled via a phone app. It's so confusing and convoluted that they're basically saying "we don't like the idea of voice chat, so here's a terrible version to get you fans off our backs. Please use Skype instead." It’s, ha, truly mind-boggling.
11 Too Many Kirby And Yoshi Games
Don't get me wrong. I love how accessible every Kirby and Yoshi game is designed, especially when they implement multiplayer. That said, it’s only nice to have once in awhile, but what's the deal with Nintendo cranking these two series out recently? It seems like we get at least one, if not two, Kirby games a year. They're fun, but they ultimately look and play the same. Yoshi games aren’t as frequent, but this new Switch title just looks like that yarn one all over again. They obviously figured out these games sell and I'm sure they're easier to develop than a lot of other IPs in their repertoire. That’s probably why we don’t see certain franchises anymore. The bottom line is all about money. Innovate indeed.
10 Announcing Games With Just A Title
Speaking of long-forgotten franchises, Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 4 with just a logo. Really? This series has been dead since 2010 with the god-awful Metroid: Other M and all you can do is show fans a title? First of all, yes, they did announce another game, a remake, and Metroid Prime Federation Force released last year, but I'm not going to count that abomination. That’s only one Switch example though. There's also Fire Emblem that was revealed with just a logo, and there’s a new Pokémon too and its unveiling was even worse. All they said was that they were working on a “core” Pokémon title for the Switch. I feel like these “announcements” were made more to appease investors than fans. Back door shady deals.
9 Where's Mother 3?
It’s a tiring subject to cover, but seriously, Nintendo. Where the hell is Mother 3? First of all, it’s not like the game hasn’t been translated. You know this. I played and reviewed it, because I was tired of waiting. It’s amazing! I have no problem with emulation if a company refuses to localize a game, especially if that game is old. There are those out there still waiting for an official release though, because they want to support it. You’ve already released the original Mother as EarthBound Beginnings, which I took as a sign of faith that Nintendo was going to release Mother 3 as well, but look where we are. That was back in 2015. Just get it over with so people can stop complaining. It’s annoying on all levels.
8 Continuing Pointless Franchises Like Mario Party
You know what else I don’t understand? Mario Party. Why are these games still being made? It’s like Monopoly with mini-games, but somehow even less fun. Yes, some of the mini-games are novel, but they are far and few between during long sessions of tedium. There are other examples too. I know I’m in the minority, but Animal Crossing is another series I just don’t get. It’s cute, I like the raccoon characters, but sim games just don’t do it for me. On top of that, every game so far feels like diminishing returns. There are other series that are getting stale like the Mario RPGs and Pokémon, but I don’t think they should necessarily be stopped, especially compared to Mario Party and Animal Crossing.
7 Putting Wario On The Back Burner
For a while the Mario RPG and Paper Mario games were the place for Nintendo to get creative with the Italian plumber. You know what other Nintendo character in the Mario universe got used for experimentation? Wario. His last platformer was in 2008 and his last game was in 2013, which was a mini game collection. He’s the perfect anti-hero for oddball antics and I can’t believe he’s been gone for so long. Like why wasn’t he and Waluigi placed in that Rabbids game instead. They seem more fitting to use guns and hang out with dumb creatures all while being gleefully annoyed. On that note why hasn’t there been a Wario and Waluigi RPG spinoff? I’d even settle for just another Wario Land game. Anything would be great at this point.
6 Pre-Order Shenanigans
Publishers put so much emphasis on pre-orders now to gauge interest in their titles. The more pre-orders that come in, the better their shareholders may value that game. The same goes for retailers. Let’s say Target gets a phenomenal amount of pre-orders in for Super Mario Odyssey. That then tells the company that it would be prudent to have a lot of extra stock, since interest in the game seems high. That’s how pre-ordering is arranged as I understand it. Nintendo doesn’t seem to work like that regarding Amiibo, or those retro consoles. Why don’t they just let everyone pre-order them, make enough consoles based on those numbers, and then maybe a bit more just to be safe? I just. I can’t. Arg, Nintendo!
5 Putting Bad Controls In Their Games For A Gimmick
Say what you will about Nintendo, but good or bad they stick to their guns. Most companies would take feedback from the press after demo impressions come back, but not Nintendo. The recent Star Fox Zero comes to mind. No one was really keen on the awkward motion controls you had to use the Wii U GamePad for, but despite comments on it this was never changed and it made the game annoying to play. For motion controls, I think most first-party titles on the Wii were garbage too. Why was this ever a fad? I overlooked the bad controls in Kid Icarus Uprising, but I wasn’t exactly happy about it. I feel like I’m still suffering from hand cramps, but that game was amazing despite this.
4 Where’s The Switch’s Virtual Console?
When the Virtual Console was first announced for the Wii it made me ecstatic. You’re telling me I can download all of my favorite retro games on this new system? Kick ass! However, what followed was a train wreck. There were long droughts between releases, a lot of bad games made it onto the system, and the pricing was all over the place. The Wii U was even worse, and now it seems like it’s going to be non-existent on the Switch. Maybe that online service wherein you get free games to play every month is the new Virtual Console? Their solution could be just doing what they're doing now, and releasing those classic consoles. Whatever the case may be, I just want Nintendo to be frank with us. Why hide it?
3 Supporting Old Hardware Over New
Do you know what the most shocking announcement of E3 2017 was? Just Dance 2018 is going to be released on the Wii. Do retailers even sell Wii games any more? For that matter, why is the 3DS still being supported so heavily? The new Pokémon games are a good example of this. Why not just put all effort on that Switch game? I thought the point of the Switch was to combine the handheld and console teams together to really focus in. The Switch is selling like hot cakes, but there are still more 3DS systems out there. Stopping support for such a large market would be insane. So in a way I understand, but am also frustrated. Who knows? Maybe there will actually be a true successor to the 3DS someday.
Bad Pricing Models For Switch Games
I could talk about Amiibo again, like how they suddenly jumped from $12.99 to $15.99 even though their usefulness hasn't changed. However, boxed copies of Switch games are even more insane. Let’s look at Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. This version is based off of the HD re-release made for the PS3 and Xbox 360, all the way back in 2008. Back then, it was released digitally for $15. This Switch iteration is selling at $40 digitally and in retail stores even though not much has changed. According to reports, like this one in US gamer, Nintendo is charging more for publishers to print carts. Another example is Just Dance 2017. The PS4 version costs $50 at full price, but the Switch one is $60. I’ll just let that sink in and move on.
2 Using Miyamoto As A Crutch
Look. Shigeru Miyamoto is to video games as Steven Spielberg is to movies. When you think of directors, those two are at the top of their medium. He’s an icon, so I understand why Nintendo has elevated his status to some sort of god-like stature, but I also think he’s old hat. He hasn’t fully directed something since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He’s mostly been credited as a supervisor and producer since then, but how much does he actually do? The way in which Japanese companies use its employees is definitely different from the west and I think Nintendo has even a stranger model than that, something we can’t fully wrap our heads around. So yes, he’s an icon, but perhaps one that shouldn’t be paraded around that often.
1 Ignoring Fans: Nintendo’s Lifeblood
The fans are the lifeblood of your economy, so why do you choose to ignore them, Nintendo? I understand that not every comment is going to be helpful. Telling a company to go screw off and die because Mother 3 isn’t here isn’t exactly useful. However, fan protests have helped the western world get games. For example, Project Rainfall gave Nintendo the incentive to localize Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower. Whether that was all because of this petition is something we're not able to tell, but I want to believe that it was. It’d be great if Nintendo listened to everyone, but that’s not possible. Once again, the bottom line is all about money, and simply hiring enough employees to sift through comments would make an astronomical difference. It’s a sad truth to end on, but hey, maybe my ideas will help Nintendo out. I have to be positive.