First before you guys send the lynch mobs after me, allow me to start by stating that I have been a huge fan of Nintendo since I got into gaming. Outside of the Nintendo Entertainment System (which my parents bought my brothers and I when I was five), I have purchased every Nintendo US system release on day one, and yes that includes the Virtual Boy too. There is no doubt Nintendo saved the gaming industry from the video game crash with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Nintendo has been pioneers in the gaming industry including how controllers are today, and if it weren’t for Nintendo, the gaming industry wouldn’t be the same. I thank Nintendo, and have huge respect for them on what they have done for the industry as a whole.
Not long ago Nintendo was at the top of their game. They were leading the home console sales with the Wii, and the DS was dominating the handheld market. Despite complaints from many longtime Nintendo fans about too much “shovel ware”, Nintendo had found a new audience with the casual gamer. Things were going so well for Nintendo with the Wii, that Nintendo decided to call their next console entry the “Wii U” to appeal to the Wii lovers.
Now let’s fast forward to today. Wi U sales are down 36% and the system hasn’t met Nintendo’s expectations. In fact, to put it in perspective, both Sony and Microsoft have sold as many if not more systems each compared to the Wii U, and the Wii U had a year head start. Well at least Nintendo has the 3DS right? Well the handheld market is drastically different today than it has ever been with the iOS and Android games, so Nintendo has much more competition in the handheld market.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for me with Nintendo occurred recently. As some of you may know I have a secondary channel on YouTube called NEStalgiaholic (the “NES” part of it is intentional, and shows how much I appreciated Nintendo). On that channel I review items from the 1980’s, 1990’s and occasionally review Nintendo Power magazines and Nintendo Game & Watch handhelds. For those who don’t know what a Nintendo Game & Watch is, it’s a small handheld by Nintendo released in the 1980’s with LCD graphics (if you want to call them that), with very simplistic bleeps and bloops and gameplay. I posted a short video talking about the game Super Mario Bros for the Game & Watch. During this video I showed some of the simplistic gameplay while talking over it and sharing my memories and thoughts on the game. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying that Game & Watches have graphics, because there are no sprits involved, just very simple and basic images.
So I upload this to my NEStalgiaholic channel, and the next time I logged in I noticed that the video shows that the monetization had been denied. This came as a surprise because I have uploaded numerous other Game & Watch videos without any issues. I’ve been producing videos on YouTube since 2008, and every once in awhile I’ll get an email from YouTube explaining that there has been a copyright claim on a particular video. In which case I can view the video and the exact location that is in question. In some cases I appeal, in others I have admitted to the mistake which the ads are left up and go to the publisher, and in some cases I remove the video entirely. In this particular case of the Super Mario Bros Game & Watch video, I was not sent an email nor notified of any wrong doing. I contacted YouTube support, and they responded the next day asking if I had permission from the publisher, in this case Nintendo, to show video game footage. I responded to YouTube explaining that this was a review over the game, and that I talked over the gameplay to share my thoughts and memories of the game. In addition there is no music involved in this video. According to the US fair use law it states that “brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder”. So in other words as long as you are reviewing a movie, song, and in this case a video game, then you have the right to show parts of the product that you are reviewing without permission from the publisher. YouTube responded the next day stating that the monetization was still denied and to be careful to not do it again or I’d receive a strike on my account. I have since removed the video from YouTube out of spite. This has nothing to do with the money or lost revenue. If it were, I would have posted this video on my Gamester81 channel which would have generated more views, hence more money. To me it’s all about the moral of the point. I don’t blame YouTube on this, because they’re just covering their ass.
Here’s the video:
So I’m boycotting Nintendo because of this one instance? Well not exactly, but this certainly didn’t warm me up to Nintendo. In fact I believe Nintendo is living in the past and has made some very questionable moves lately. First they target the casual gamer with the Wii. Which could be seen as a smart move by Nintendo, but at the end of the day those “casual gamers” are not shelling out more money to purchase the Wii U. The fact is Nintendo has focused too much attention on gimmicky features, that they’ve lost focus on their fans and long time customers.
Secondly, outside of the Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo made another questionable move with the release of the 2DS. Some people love it, but the thing is extremely bulky, and considering that the 3DS can play in 2D anyways, what’s the point other than a lower costs? Now are we going to see 2DS games only?
I’ll be the first one to tell you guys that I absolutely love Nintendo’s first party games. They’re fun, entertaining and have been for years. However, the Wii U is not very programer friendly when it comes to 3rd party publishers. Having strong 3rd party support is crucial to any system sales, and right now there is a lack of strong 3rd party support for the Wii U. Nintendo has not done enough to attract 3rd party publishers to release enough system exclusives for the Wii U. The Wii U controller, though sounds like it could do some really cool things, is not utilized enough to make a difference in gameplay experience.
As I mentioned briefly before, Nintendo has lost focus on the fans. They dropped the Nintendo Power magazine last year which was a great tool to keep Nintendo’s fans connected in the know, and share written letters and feedback etc. I understand that physical printing can be costly, but they could have at least kept a digital copy of the magazine around.
In addition Nintendo is biting the hands that feed them, and are going after game reviewers. As noted in my personal example, Nintendo flagged my video over the review of a Game & Watch item that is nearly 25 years old. Come on Nintendo! Rather than seeing it as stealing their product etc, why don’t you guys see it as free advertising, and appreciate the fans who help spread the word about your games. God knows Nintendo can certainly use some help. Nintendo has been notorious for flagging videos without any warnings on YouTube, so the lesson learned here is to never upload anything Nintendo related again. I hope that strategy for Nintendo works out for them. There are of course other companies including EA that are flagging videos as well, which is ridiculous, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Nintendo should be the leader when it comes to appreciating their fans. Many of us have been fans of Nintendo for decades. Where does Nintendo draw the line when it comes to going after the reviewers? At this rate we won’t even be able to show a game cart, box or label because it infringes agains their copyright policy. I strongly feel that we as long time Nintendo fans need to make a statement that enough is enough Nintendo. Quit spending your time attacking and going after your fans, and start spending that time and energy focusing on your company and getting back on top.
Will me not buying any Nintendo games or products affect Nintendo? Hardly. However if enough people can see through their bullshit, then we as fans can make a statement. Do I want to see Nintendo fail? Absolutely not! However I wouldn’t be sad if Nintendo struggled. I believe that sometimes it takes a nice slice of humble pie to get companies back to where they should be. Let’s take Apple as an example. In the 1990’s Apple was releasing products that their customers/fans weren’t interested in. Have you guys ever heard of the Apple Newton, or the Apple Pippin? Don’t feel too bad if you haven’t; both were huge flops. Apple stepped back, focused on new products that appealed to their core customers/fans, and with the release of the iPod, iPhone and iPad have become a huge power house today. I believe that someday Nintendo can become king once more, but right now they have a “we’re too big to care” attitude that is costing them millions of dollars and a ton of fan support.
When was the last time Nintendo listened to its customers/fans? I can’t recall anything in recent history. Many people gave Microsoft a lot of slack because of the always online and the doesn’t play used games policies with the Xbox One. Though I agree those were dumb decisions, at least Microsoft was man enough to admit to their mistake, listen to their customers/fans and change their policies accordingly. I’d love to see Nintendo hold another Nintendo World Championship event. How awesome would that be? They could include games like New Super Mario Bros, Smash Bros and Mario Kart as the three games. How much excitement would that generate for Nintendo? I’m just saying…
Nintendo can continue releasing great 1st party games all they want, but that can only sustain a company for so long. Nintendo relies on their popular gaming franchises too much to support their systems in the big picture. At this rate we’ll see Nintendo becoming the next Sega and releasing their games on multiple platforms as a 3rd party publisher. I want nothing more than Nintendo to do well with their own systems, but right now they are too cocky to seem to want to make changes. Their lack of sales and interest seem to indicate that I’m not the only one that feels this way.
I’ll now elaborate on my boycott stance: I’ve decided that I will continue to purchase retro Nintendo products and games (pending on the prices, because right now NES and SNES are getting ridiculous with prices), and if there is an upcoming Wii U or 3DS game that I absolutely can’t live without, I’ll buy it used and support a local game store instead. In other words my money will not be going directly to support Nintendo. I also will no longer be posting video reviews over any Nintendo game and any current or future Nintendo product. I can’t risk getting a strike on any of my channels, and I want to support companies that support me and appreciate the fact that people spend time to promote their games and products.
This article may come across as me being bitter that Nintendo went after me and one of my videos. I can assure you that this is farthest from the truth. The whole Game & Watch incident just further justified my thoughts and opinions about Nintendo. Some people say that the biggest fans can be the harshest critics. I think in this case that is true. Here is my advice to Nintendo. Nintendo, you need to hit the pause button and listen and appreciate your customers/fans. Don’t waste your time going after game reviewers, because honestly 95% of them are positive. Once you listen to your customers/fans, hit the reset button and come up with something fresh and new. When was the last original series created by Nintendo? And finally, keep in mind that we all have a limited amount of lives and continues, because once you’re out, you’re out. The Nintendo of today is completely different than the Nintendo of yesterday, and in the meantime I’ll gladly refuse to support a company that doesn’t support others.
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