GAMING BLEND

Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime Says Core Gamers Are Never Satisfied

By William Usher 2012-06-23 15:02:38 discussion comments
Kotaku's Stephen Totilo managed to land an interview with the head of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime. The interview took place during E3 but it was more of a post E3 interview where Reggie took the time out to take a few jabs at the core gaming community.

According to Kotaku, Reggie wanted a few difficult questions to answer before parting ways. So Totilo asks Reggie about the way the community reacted to the Nintendo press conference at this year's E3, a conference that was met with a lot of "Mehs", sighs and "Well, is that it?". Reggie had the following retort for such responses...
One of the things that, on one hand, I love and, on the other hand, that troubles me tremendously about not only our fanbase but about the gaming community at large is that, whenever you share information, the perspective is, 'Thank you, but I want more.' 'Thank you, but give me more.' I mean, it is insatiable.

"And so for years this community has been asking, 'Where's Pikmin?' 'Where's Pikmin?' 'Where's Pikmin?' We give them Pikmin. And then they say, 'What else?'

"For years, this community have said, 'Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game.' So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, 'So what's more?'

"I have heard people say, 'You know, you've got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you're doing in Smash Bros., isn't there a way to leverage all these franchises?' So we create Nintendo Land and they say, 'Ho-hum, give me more.' So it's an interesting challenge."

The thing is, it's nice that Nintendo Land was announced at E3 and it's nice that Pikmin 3 was announced, but the biggest problem with the Nintendo press conference was that there was very little for the core community to get excited about the Nintendo Wii U. It's a new console. Nintendo wants people to buy this console. You have to expect that people will want to see something amazing when the console drops otherwise, what's the point?

I actually think Microsoft did a good job during 2005 and 2006 leveraging the Xbox 360 with a lot of new and exciting franchises for the Xbox 360, showing off games like Crackdown, Gears of War, Perfect Dark Zero, Quake IV, Condemned, Call of Duty 2, Prey and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. From 2011 to 2012 all we know about the Wii U is that it will get a couple of multiplatform titles that may or may not be better than their console counterparts (according to the uneven developer anecdotes) and there will be a new Smash Bros, Pikmin 3, Nintendo Land, Super Mario U, ZombiU and Lego City Undercover.



By comparison of when each console was announced, the Xbox 360 from 2005 to 2006 was a much more exciting console for core gamers than the Wii U has been from 2011 to 2012.

Reggie went on to say that gamers complain regardless and that the blogs are usually wrong compared to sales numbers, stating...
"When we show a game like Brain Age or when we show a game like Nintendogs, what's the fan-based community reaction? 'Ho-hum.' Until it sells millions of copies. When we showed Wii Fit on stage.. go back and read your blogs, what was the reaction?"

"It's not a question of understanding. I think people understood what we showed. It's the question of, as a gamer, 'Is this for me and something I can get excited about?' And Wii Fit did not get that reaction. And yet 43-million copies around the world, it's a phenomenon. And so I would argue that the gaming community actually is unable to differentiate between a phenomenon and something that is 'ho-hum.'"

WRONG!

What core gamer was desperately craving a game like Wii Fit? No core gamer has ever been excited about motion-based fitness titles as the future of gaming. Does anyone actually think people are on forums right now praising Your Shape for the Xbox Kinect? It doesn't matter about sales; as stated before, casual gamers will buy a lot of crap (no offense casual gamers) and blast sales up to phenomenal numbers. I've never once heard a core gamer praise Wii Fit or express excitement about Wii Fit 2 or even consider picking up a fitness game over something like Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, Battlefield or Batman. This is not to say that core gamers never buy casual games, it's just that excitement levels and expectations are going to be vastly different for a game like Wii Fit and a game like Watch Dogs.

Reggie is making the same mistake EA is making; he thinks that because casual gamers bought specific products in great abundance it means that the core community enjoyed those same products. Look on the forums Reggie, the most talked about Wii U game is Ubisoft's ZombiU. I expect that game will probably hit the million mark (and if it's good) manage a decent niche community, very much like Arma II's DayZ.

Sadly, execs don't seem to understand that there is a difference between core gamers and casual gamers and the expectations that come along with both demographics. The same people who go out and buy a game like Max Payne 3 are not going to be the same people who go out and buy a game like Zumba Fitness 2. Also, pay attention to sales of both games over the next two years, Max Payne 3's sales will steadily grow where-as Zumba Fitness 2 will hit the casual niche and then fade away into obscurity, it's not like it's going to develop a modding community or a fanbase like the former.

It boggles my mind how Reggie would think that all the moans and groans during Nintendo's E3 press conference was from core gamers expecting a few more core titles. Technically, they could have stolen the show with an exclusive third-person adventure game similar to Uncharted and an exclusive story-oriented game similar to Beyond.

More than anything, Reggie should look at the Sony fanboy camp and ask them if they were satisfied with the offerings for the PS3 during Sony's conference, and I'm pretty sure he'll get a resounding "Yes!".
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