The Nintendo Paradox
There is a lot of talk in the gaming community about what Nintendo should do to improve their sales and it has gotten me thinking. Nintendo seems to be in a strange state and not one that happens very often for companies. The following is, as are so many things on this website, just my opinion and its mostly allegorical, hypothetical, or some other heavily opinion based thing.
I am starting to feel with each passing month that it is not Nintendo that needs to change but instead the industry. The video game industry has shifted into something very predatory and acidic on the surface. The leviathan that is capitalism has moved in with little remorse and stripped clean the once fertile seas. I am of the firm belief that games are supposed to be made with the primary focus of engaging the player and exciting them. This excitement can come from challenges, or beautiful stories, or great mechanics. You create a fantastic game and in return you become wealthy because everyone buys it.
You do not build a game with profits in mind. This is the road to something dark and unseemly that I have absolutely no appreciation of. Games that are developed by a marketing team instead of a development team are the greatest bane to my existence. They take something I am passionate about and shit on it because they will turn a greater profit doing so.
But how, you might ask, does one make more money making a marketing tool than a video game? It’s a matter of simple psychology, manipulating people to act in the way you wish to maximize the returns on their wallet. Timer mechanics are a great example of this. They excite frustrations in a person which raises the likelihood that they will pay.
But ask yourself the next time you are thinking about paying for an in game function the following question. “Why does this part I wish to skip exist in the first place?” If the answer to that is “to get my money” close the game and delete it. The creators have already told you how they feel about you and their words are very unkind. When people are developing games their goal should be to create an experience that people want to feel, not one that they’d pay to skip.
Nintendo is basically the only major company that I’m aware of that hasn’t joined on this bandwagon whole hog. When they build a game like Super Mario 3D World it is an experience that takes you away. Pikmin 3, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokemon X & Y, Bravely Default, Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and many more new titles are all built from passion and it shows throughout them.
There are no timers demanding your money, there isn’t a catalog of DLC greater than the original product, and even in the instances where they have produced DLC (that I’m aware of) people have responded to it popularly.
They are basically the last non-indy company to actually care about their players. But this is not the most profitable mechanism and thusly everyone is looking at it as a sign of weakness. I find much more respect for the man who can farm from the land without destroying it rather than the man who can yield incredible crops but utterly destroys it.
It seems to me to be about time that everyone start taking on this view of capitalism before it utterly consumes and taints everything beautiful.