Which is bigger: His mouth, or his nose?

Well folks, he’s done it again. Reggie hits the news today with more crap about how special 3rd party developers are to Nintendo. Today was a little different however, because Reggie had no qualms about putting Nintendo’s development studios to shame.

“The fact of the matter is we know we create great content for younger consumers, we know we’ve got great content for more casual players, and we want fantastic content for that more active player who loves Metroid or Zelda but maybe also wants something like a BioShock 2 to play as well. And we also recognize that we don’t create that type of content ourselves. We’re not good at it and it’s not a key focus area.”

Right from the big man himself, Nintendo sucks at making “hardkore” games for “hardkore” gamers. Before totally flipping out though, perhaps we should think about his reasoning behind comments like this. I mean, Nintendo does have a pretty thin release schedule when it comes to first part titles. Most of them have been oriented towards a different group of people this generation, leaving die hard fans waiting anxiously. He also has a point that the 3rd party focus just isn’t there when it comes to Wii development. This is very important to remember though, because that ideal in itself is the whole reason ol’ Reginald is touting off.

The buzz is slowing down, and sales numbers are falling. According to Reggie, Nintendo has problems supporting the Wii on its own, and it apparently needs 3rd party developers to pick up slack. This all seems fine and dandy, until you pay attention to the NPD stats for overall game sales. In 2009, Nintendo Wii’s top performers were all 1st party titles. In fact, not one 3rd party title for Wii hit the top ten in 2009.

I can remember Nintendo taking a firm stance against “doing what others are doing”. Instead of developing for the core game fan, which admitedly didn’t work for them in the past (See: Gamecube), they proudly marched the good march; Developing a software platform with everyone, kids, grandma, and old man Peirson in mind. Nintendo is pulling in truckloads of cash from 1st party sales, and they haven’t really had any reason to care about the little guy. Yes, here and there we’ve gotten titles that are geared towards the core fan, but those types of releases have never really been an obvious inclusion in the “master plan”. This was made even more apparent when Reggie suggested that Animal Crossing Wii was just the kind of thing loyal Nintendo fans were waiting for. Not Zelda, not Metroid, not a new Kid Icarus, but bug collecting and fishing.

So if it isn’t a money problem, and it isn’t a popularity issue (I mean, my aunt just bought a Wii, and Wii Fit, and the EA workout thing, and DDR ect ect ect), then why is Reggie pandering to the masses? The answer is far more simple than you think, and it’s kind of pathetic when you consider the way it was handled. You, me, and Jack the Nintendo fanboy aren’t who these quotes are directed at. My mom, grandma, aunts, and the various soccer moms of North America are not the intended listener. Its actually the 3rd party developers themselves. Companies like Capcom, who have inadvertently made their dislike for Wii development public; Electronic Arts, who’s Dead Space prequel BOMBED on the Wii; Or Sega, who have been very open about their disappointment in Madworld sales. It is no secret that these companies aren’t seeing the investment return on the Wii that they are on other consoles. It’s also pretty apparent that most of them aren’t too open minded about future development for the Wii.

“Look at the most recent NPD results. I’m not sure how much was invested into a game like Dante’s Inferno, or how much is invested into a game like BioShock 2, but if that sales level is the best that they will do in a particular month, and it’ll fall off rapidly from there, then those games aren’t going to pay off their investment. So to me, it’s a much bigger question than ‘why aren’t developers creating core content for the Wii?’ It’s a much broader question: ‘How can the development community create content that will strike a chord with consumers and be financially attractive?'”

Reggie seems to think that Dante’s Inferno sold like ass, and the return investment is small because of production costs. If you develop on the Wii, its cheaper and if you can garner enough sales, a higher return investment can be made. Right, barring the fact that Reggie forgot which game he was talking about here, this would be fundamentally sound. The problem is Dante’s Inferno didn’t sell all that well (Reggie said it, not me), because it is a God of War clone that was released 2 months before God of War III. No one is buying Dante’s game, because people can buy Kratos’ game instead. What I find ironic about all this, is the fact that Nintendo is pandering to 3rd party companies for attention. Back in the 80’s, Nintendo used to have no problem contractually destroying any 3rd party company that was “disobedient” and disloyal. Ever seen that movie Misery? Yeah, the small company was the dude tied to the bed, and Nintendo was the crazy lady cutting feet off.

To make matters worse (and far more confusing), the timing of these statements just seems off. Reggie claiming Nintendo is having problems pumping titles out is good and fine, but why say something like that right before two very large 1st party titles are released. Metroid Other M hits shelves in just under 2 months, and Mario Galaxy 2 is less than 3 weeks away. If you look at Nintendo’s release schedule, and what NPD sales are at, you have to surmise that Reggie is full of crap. Without thinking about the reality of the situation, he’s sacrificed his own companies credibility in a vain attempt to stick a big professional middle finger up at the 3rd party companies who are weary about working with the Wii. Good job Reginald, you just proved that you have no brain. Perhaps he lost it, or maybe it tucked itself into that giant air intake valve parked above his heedless smile.


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