The Increasing Desperation of Switch Owners
This week we have been able to see the results of what happens when a company releases a console with no games to play on it. It was eye opening when the Switch version of Breath of the Wild actually managed to sell more units than the Nintendo Switch itself, but it is downright surreal that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a re-release of a 2014 Wii U game, has managed to become the fastest selling title in series history. First day sales of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe were 459,000 units, completely smashing the previous record held by Mario Kart Wii of 433,900 games sold.
Nintendo fanbabies are touting this as proof that Nintendo is back, and that the Switch is destined to be the new SNES – yet to this author it looks a whole lot more like symptoms related to the dire problems being experienced by the platform. Jefferies Equity analyst Atul Goyal recommended that investors purchase Nintendo shares on the strength of the likelihood that company profits will exceed the company’s projections. Goyal went on to praise Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s sales performance:
“No, this is not just any ordinary success. The scale of this success is many times bigger than what is visible with ‘MK8D sales of 459K units exceeded MKWii sales of 405K’. Analyzing the scale, we realize that like-for-like, MK8D is mega-hit on a different scale altogether (maybe 5-10x better).”
Maybe one is setting oneself up for an epic faceplant, but all of this ‘success’ looks like bad news for the Nintendo Switch. Consoles are currently sitting on shelves, while the price of the Switch has crashed among online sellers. Any vaguely entertaining software may sell like hotcakes among existing Switch owners, hell Super Bomberman R managed to shift over 500,000 units, but these games are not going to do shit to sell additional units of Switch hardware. Splatoon ‘2’ is not going to do much to sell consoles, and nor is Arms – with Super Mario Odyssey looking a long way off in the distance. If the Nintendo Switch gets the stench of death about it prior to Christmas then it could lock the platform into another lingering slow death like the Wii U. E3 announcements will be make or break for Nintendo.
Reggie On the Demand for New 2DS XL
Nintendo’s announcement of the New 2DS XL caught the industry by surprise. How many hardware iterations does one piece of hardware need? The 3DS debuted as a tiny console for babies, before being fixed in the guise of the 3DS XL. Next up came the slice of toast look-a-like 2DS [which was something of a failure], followed by the New 3DS and New 3DS XL, which fixed the console’s implementation of 3D. The New 2DS XL is the sixth different model of 3DS hardware released in the span of six years – one per year.
Apparently the existence of the New 2DS XL is not the result of Nintendo’s addiction to constant iteration however, as it is instead a response to the overwhelming demand for another product in their crowded 3DS line-up. According to Reggie the New 2DS XL was designed to fill a gap in the market by catering toward people who want to buy a handheld that is more expensive than the 2DS but less expensive than the New 3DS XL:
“The Nintendo 2DS really focused on that entry level gamer. The four-, five-, six-year old that is just getting into gaming, but wants to play Mario Kart, wants to have a Super Mario Bros. experience, wants to play Pokémon.
And we feel with Nintendo 3DS XL at $199 that it’s a fully-featured product, that it is, if you will, the Cadillac of handheld gaming. And then we heard from consumers, ‘Boy, I wish there was something in between.’ That’s why the company decided to make the 2DS XL.”
The Cadillac of handheld gaming? Are you sure you do not mean the Rolls Royce of handheld gaming, Reggie? The fucking monster truck of handheld gaming! Nintendo should put more effort into developing an affordable model of their Nintendo Switch hardware before it becomes the Wii U of handheld gaming!
More Trademark Shenanigans From Bethesda
What is it with companies releasing an awesome game, and then instantly turning around to be dickbags to the little people? First Atlus and now Bethesda. Trademark law is a fucking joke. Bethesda [and more importantly their parent company Zenimax] is also a joke. Bethesda has this week gone after No Matter Studios, a small three person indy developer who had the unbridled gall to feature the word ‘prey’ in the title of their game Prey for the Gods.
“We really didn’t have much of a choice. If we don’t oppose the mark, we risk losing our Prey trademark and that isn’t acceptable. Unfortunately, that’s how trademark law works.”
Bethesda is so full of shit. Ignoring the existence of a game that happens to feature a title which shares one word in common with your own title does not constitute the abandonment of a trademark. Not even remotely. This is an industry where Legend of Dragoon can happily exist alongside Legend of Mana and Legend of Zelda, despite all three games being Japanese RPGs of a sort. This is because despite sharing a word in common, all three titles are still tangibly different – just like Prey and Prey for the Gods. There is no way that this challenge would hold up in court, but there is no way that an indy studio can afford to fight Bethesda in court. The legal system offers more ‘justice’ for those as can pay for it.