Impressed by the recent Nintendo Direct, a reader explains why he’s such a fan of Nintendo and tries to explain the secret of their success.
As soon as I heard that this week’s Nintendo Direct was going to be 40 minutes long I had the feeling it was going to be a good one. Like most of them it was announced with very little warning, so it was hard to know what to expect, but Nintendo don’t tend to waste time with these things, so if it was going to be that long there’d have to be a lot to talk about, and boy was there.
What company other than Nintendo would go to the trouble of funding a sequel to Deadly Premonition? Just as they did with Bayonetta, they’ve plucked a critically acclaimed game from obscurity and given it another chance, even though they must know it’s not going to make them much money. They know it’ll given them kudos points from hardcore gamers, but as far as cynical decision making goes that’s not exactly the worst this industry has seen.
Then they spent ages on Return Of The Obra Dinn, even though it’s a multiformat indie game that’s also unlikely to sell well. But it is critically acclaimed and again they seem to think it’s important for the Switch to be home to such games, and I think that’s great. Especially as they did the same thing for Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition, a game that has had so many perfect scores and yet I don’t think Sony or Microsoft have ever even mentioned it.
They also went to the trouble of remastering Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore, which some might claim is just another lazy Wii U port but it’s clearly not going to sell any more than it did the first time, and yet they added in more content anyway. Ditto with Xenoblade Chronicles, which has somehow had two sequels despite not being anywhere near as big a seller as most of Nintendo’s other franchises.
Add in all the stuff about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with the endless, high quality fan service, and it all felt like a Nintendo’s fan come true. And I haven’t even mentioned their actual big hitters like Luigi’s Mansion 3, Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Pokémon Sword/Shield. And then the day after they reveal a new controller that’s actually a Pliates resistance ring. Talk about not going with the obvious!
Even if you don’t like Nintendo’s games I think anyone would have to admit that they never go for the obvious and they have an amazingly consistent quality control. Not every game knocks it out the park but the number of low effort cash grabs are extremely small (Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is the last one I can remember).
I am not a fanboy though. Even though you’re reading this and maybe thinking I am. Nintendo isn’t some benevolent charity blessing us with great games purely out of the goodness of their heart. They know they’re good at making new games and so, with only a few exceptions, they try to ensure they’re as high quality as possible. Just as EA try to fill theirs with microtransactions or Epic Games rely on constant updates for Fortnite. These are business practices that have a long history of success, so they stick with it.
That doesn’t mean EA can’t do ‘good’ things (they’re very good about diversity and representation and EA Access is surprisingly good value) and it doesn’t mean Nintendo can’t be bad (their online policies and attitudes to things like digital ownerships are terrible, they’re very slow to own up to things like Joy-Con drift, and they can be horribly greedy in terms of pricing).
It’s not a question of Nintendo being a good company it’s simply the case that they make very good games and they have a long track record of hardware innovation and that’s always worked out for them, so that’s what they always try to do. Not for any altruistic reasons but because time and time again it’s shown to make good business sense. A lesson that Sony has clearly learnt this generation and which Microsoft is still struggling with.
So that’s why I can say that not only are Nintendo the best video games company but they probably always will be. Unlike Sony and Microsoft they don’t do anything but make games and they don’t know any way to make money from them except to innovate and push quality above everything. Which just so happens to work out perfectly for both them and gamers.
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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