I just read a fairly disturbing article from Gamasutra regarding Nintendo’s indie development program and practices. Based on this article and what the author experienced with Nintendo, it brings cause to worry about Nintendo’s direction as a company; he was attempting to interview a spokesperson for indie development in each company (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo) and give them a face people could relate to. The problem is that Nintendo wouldn’t allow their spokesperson to speak, fueling the stereotype that Nintendo doesn’t care about it’s customers. Now, I love my Wii U and 3DS, but if Nintendo is really practicing these company protocols, they won’t be in the industry (or a prevalent name in the industry) much longer. This is not a Nintendoom post. This is a concerned consumer post; this sort of mentality and close-mindedness would explain the dire 3rd party situation Nintendo finds themselves in, and the general lack of support from the public.
The article brought up a very valid point – the coming generation of gamers did not necessarily grow up on Nintendo, but rather, consoles like the PS2 or Xbox. Nintendo can only rely on it’s core [nostalgic] gamer base (myself included) for so long until they have to adapt to all cultures, especially here in the west, where the gaming market continues to grow yearly.
Game companies – even the faceless, money-grabbing giants – need to be humanized for the public to latch on, and in turn, this relatability does help to sell their games. What makes this situation worse than with other companies is that Nintendo fans are extremely loyal, and generally take things personally when Nintendo makes stupid decisions; whether that be business decisions or PR decisions, like this one. Why would a 3rd party developer, or even an indie developer, want to work with a company that doesn’t open up to them, especially when two other companies are going out of their way to reach out and promote them? I know that if I was in that business, I wouldn’t go to Nintendo if they truly were closing their company up to everyone.
Though I think Nintendo is getting way more hatred directed at them than they should, and that they have begun the redemption process for their Wii U console, I cannot look past the fact that they need to get with the times and relate to their gamers. If Nintendo does not adapt and open up to these game developers, both big and small, the competition will capitalize on their mistake and add another nail to the coffin Nintendo loves making for itself. In addition, if they won’t open up to the developers, what makes anyone think they will open up to their loyal gaming fans, who are wishing and hoping they do well? These types of experiences worry me as a Nintendo gamer – do they worry you?