Nintendo has been in the media a lot since E3. After coming off a strong unveiling for the Wii U, things have really turned around for the company. First there was the stock market drop. Investors felt the Wii U looked comparably weaker than the Wii in terms of target audience and worldwide appeal, not to mention the highly confusing unveiling. Iwata-san tried to calm them down by telling investors everyone at E3 was excited for the product and that, once again, only by actually getting your hands on the device can you really appreciate it. He admitted the company made some mistakes with the unveiling and would have to do a little ground control to fix that. Some investors asks if the company had learned from their 3DS launch mistakes (including launching without adequate software and missing features), and Iwata confirmed Nintendo will make sure there are enough quality software titles to accompany the Wii U launch.
After the investor meeting, there was this whole business about the core gamer. You see at E3 Reggie and company said the Wii U was about everyone, it was about keeping the casual fans and bringing back the core gamer. It’s why they focused on the user experience, showed an HD version of Zelda and had a third party reel consisting of titles like Arkham City and Ninja Gaiden. These are games that were sorely missed during the Wii days. They also said they wouldn’t stop supporting the Wii once the Wii U was released. Surprisingly three big games were missing from E3, Xenoblade, Pandora’s Tower and The Last Story. When questioned about these excellent looking Japanese-only releases, Nintendo of America refused to comment.
As you all know, we’ve been following Operation Rainfall ever since the fan-fueled campaign kicked off, and it’s the very purpose of this article. As someone that is making a genuine effort to try and get back into the Nintendo scene, the company is sure doing its best to keep me away. Since I myself am the core gamer they’re trying to entice into buying a Wii U, I find myself asking a very important question, does Nintendo really want me back? Do they really want any core gamers back?
I recently picked up a 3DS for Ocarina of Time 3D. The Legendary Journey series I have been writing has really gotten me back into Nintendo in a big way. I wasn’t about to leave a remake of one of my favorite games of all time just sitting in some shop somewhere. Ever since I bought the game, I’ve been enjoying Nintendo’s new hardware. It’s sleek, offers a console-like experience on the go, and yet retains that Nintendo charm the company is so well known for. So on one hand, I’m really digging this direction.
On the other we have the Wii, which I think is a lost cause now. I played through both Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker on the machine and had a really great time. Sure one of those releases was a GameCube release, but the fact remains, I was enjoying my time with Nintendo-made products again. Then the whole core gamer issue popped up. Yesterday I looked at all the articles Ahmed and I have been writing about this issue and I realized that Nintendo really doesn’t communicate well with their fans anymore. Years ago something like this never would have been an issue, but today, just look at the mess this is causing.
Nintendo no longer controls Nintendo Power, they barely use Facebook or Twitter for social interactions, they don’t have a Major Nelson or an official blog. So their only resource is us, the media. Problem is, by keeping core gamers out in the dark the media is ripping the company a new one. This whole Operation Rainfall situation is making the company look very outdated. It’s not even so much about the videogames themselves, but rather the company has no official means of relaying information to their fans. Don’t post a simple Facebook update about why these three big releases won’t head to North America; create a blog with daily updates so we know what you guys are up to. If we knew more concrete information about why these games wouldn’t be released or if you’re thinking of maybe moving them to the Wii U, that would be better than not knowing anything at all.
Core gamers today expect interaction with their console makers. Just look at the strides Microsoft and Sony have made because of their tight connection with fans. They don’t reveal all their cards early, but they know that by keeping in constant communication with the core gamer, they’re staying in their good graces…even when we don’t always agree with what they do. Nintendo has lost that platform, and right now it’s looking like they just don’t care anymore, even though that may not be the case at all. Clearly the company is doing something right. The Wii is the undisputed market leader for this generation, having moved over 80 million systems, and yet the company that makes the system has completely dropped support for it outside a few marketable first party titles including Kirby, Zelda and Mario Party. I know there are a few others like Rhythm Heaven, but honestly the core gamer is looking for something a bit more hardcore, wouldn’t you say?
So I’m not going to go on any longer. I simply wanted to point out that for a company that claims to want to create a system for the core gamer out there, I fail to see how they’re going to do this when they refuse to speak directly to those core gamers. It’s going to take a lot of work to convince Steven, Marc-Andre, and myself that the Wii U can really give us the core gamer experience we crave. Right now it’s starting to feel a little like empty promises, which is a shame considering all my gaming right now is being done on Nintendo consoles.