A Steady Pacing of Lame
In the wake of the Nintendo Switch’s unveiling the company’s slope-browed Frankenstein looking American mongloid mascot, Reggie, has come out strongly for the console. The console is compelling, apparently – Even if Reggie does say so himself:
“Nintendo Switch is a home console you can play anywhere, with anyone. Clear. Compelling,”
“We see the reaction by consumers whether it’s measured in Twitter trending topics or views of videos on YouTube or just the frequency with which I get called by old high school buddies that I haven’t heard from in 30 years who are asking me how to get their hands on Nintendo Switch. We have communicated the proposition clearly and it is compelling.”
Uh-huh. Some old high school buddies who Reggie has not spoken a word to for thirty years who just so happen to have a direct line to the president of NoA, and also just so happen to think that the easiest and most direct way to get their hands on a Nintendo Switch is by contacting the company president directly! Perhaps the real reason that the Dreamcast failed was because Peter Moore was too busy to take orders personally.
Apparently Reggie has identified the reason the Wii U failed, and it was because of the inconsistent release of games:
“Wii U will go down as having fantastic content–the issue was as you look at the reality of exactly when the games were launched, there were large gaps in between.”
So for Reggie it is all about the games, which it fair enough. In light of the Nintendo Switch’s prospects being all about the games, when a journalist pointed out that the Switch’s launch line-up of five games was objectively worse than the Wii U’s launch line-up of twenty-three games [featuring an original Mario title not available on any other platform], Reggie replied:
“Launch day is not the be-all and the end-all. It really is the steady pacing of content that continually reinforces for the people who bought into the platform why they made a smart choice, as well as what compels people who might be sitting on the sidelines to jump in.
We feel we have this great ongoing march of content to motivate you to jump into the platform.”
Is this author taking crazy pills? Where is the steady pacing of content that Reggie is talking about? The only worthwhile games that the Switch will see in the first ten months of its life are ports of games that are already available on other systems. The first release of any real significance is Super Mario Odyssey, and that game will not drop until Christmas 2017, by which time the Switch will have lost all support and momentum. If Nintendo has additional game releases planned for 2017 and yet decided not to reveal them at the Switch unveiling when the eyes of the world were upon them, then that is a colossal failing on their part, because the Switch release schedule looks desolate. But worry not Nintendo fans, because a system’s launch is not ‘be-all and end-all’ – that is why the Wii U had no problems in turning things around.
Nintendo Reveals Why the Switch Is a Console Made for Nobody
There is a reason that Sony’s PS4 is the current industry leader. It is not just because of the system’s healthy line-up of games, and it is not just because of the fact that the system is reasonably priced given the power of the hardware and the relative value proposition it represents – all of these factors are important, but that is not all there is to it. From the moment the PS4 was unveiled in 2013 until the day it launched later that year Sony did an excellent job of communicating that they had made a console for gamers, and that their exclusive focus would be gaming. Sony is experienced enough to know that before they can pull in the mass market what their console first needs is a solid foundation, and that solid foundation almost always consists of enthusiast gamers.
Nintendo on the other hand is a poorly run company governed by blind, deaf, and dumb people who cannot think or reason. Nintendo’s greatest console success [in terms of units sold] was the Wii, which was a mass market item pretty much from day one. Nintendo failed to recognise that the Wii’s success was a complete aberration, and so when it came time to release the Wii U, they did so with the same muddy focus as its forebear [not to mention its name]. One might have expected Nintendo to have learned a lesson from Wii U’s failure, but then one would be wrong. Comments this week by Reggie indicate just how little Nintendo have learned about precision messaging since the Wii U went down in flames:
“Just like every system Nintendo creates, we believe in having a very wide footprint, and we are experienced enough in this industry to know that the footprint changes over time. We believe that by [next holiday season], with the launch of Super Mario Odyssey, that the footprint for Nintendo Switch will be very broad. Kids, young adults, parents, gamers will occupy that footprint. But what’s going to happen is that, that space is going to be filled in at each point in time with the subsequent launches.
So for example, if you look at the first 45 days, you’ve got Zelda, 1-2 Switch, Mario Kart 8. So the active gamer. And candidly, the more the active gamer sees, the more excited they’re going to be for that game. […]1-2 Switch is a party in a box. And so that is going to be an all family type of experience that will then broaden the footprint. And then Mario Kart 8 is going to expand it even further. And so that’s what I see happening.
A game like Arms will have a diverse footprint. A game like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will be much more narrow. And so, I think it’s the best way I could describe how the consumer base for Switch is going to evolve over time. And certainly by the end of our first full year, it’ll be kids, young adults, parents and gamers occupying that footprint.”
What gets gamers excited is hearing that they will be catered for over time. What does not get gamers excited is hearing that Nintendo’s support for a system is being pulled in multiple different directions in order to appeal to every demography under the sun. Jack of all trades, master of none. Why would an actual gamer [as opposed to a Nintendo fanboy] ever want to buy a console with a weak gamer focus when they likely already own a console with a strong gamer focus? The excessive price of the Nintendo Switch already makes it seem extremely likely that the console will not attract a large user-base, which in turn makes it unlikely to receive strong third party support. That being the case, the last thing prospective buyers wish to hear from Nintendo is that some portion of the three to four games they release in a calendar year are going to be aimed at some group other than them. Even if things do not turn out anywhere near as bad as it sounds, it is still just very poor messaging.
Reggie Is Perplexed by the GameCube
From here things get even more amusing as Reggie expresses bemusement at the fact that people want GameCube games on the Switch Virtual Console:
“And it’s interesting, you know, as consumers think back, the fondness and the memories shift. I joined the company as GameCube was ending its life. And as we look at the install base of the platform, certainly it’s not one of our higher install base platforms. And yet it seems the talk now is all about how consumers are hoping that there’s a GameCube virtual console, which I just find interesting.”
The thing that this oaf does not understand is that the reason a lot of gamers are fond of the GameCube is because it was a system that catered well to core gamers and had a modest library of great games that remain relevant to this day. This is why the GameCube will be remembered long after everybody has forgotten about the Wii. The Wii sold five times as many units of hardware as the GameCube, but it was mostly non-gamers who bought it because that is who Wii games were developed for, and as a result of this the system’s library is less relevant to gamers than the GameCube’s much smaller library of good games. It was a console for somebody.
The Nintendo Switch is a console for nobody. It is too weak to please console gamers, too expensive and large to please portable gamers, and it is definitely not priced correctly to be the impulse purchase of the mass market casuals. It is for nobody, and through Reggie’s own words we can see exactly why this is the case. Nintendo takes a step in one direction, and then it takes a step in another direction, and they wind up pleasing precisely nobody.