Among my group of gaming friends, I was always the one who defended Nintendo. I wasn’t afraid to admit I would rather play Wind Waker on my GameCube over Halo on the Xbox. When the Revolution’s name was officially changed to the “Wii”, I stood by it, holding out hope that that this new motion controlled console was still revolutionary in spirit. Years down the line, after the Wii was fully realized as a underpowered gimmick at best and a shovelware machine at worst, I remained excited for Nintendo’s future hardware. Following the Wii U’s underwhelming announcement (really, you’re closing E3 with an in-game fireworks demonstration in Nintendo Land?) I still bought it within the launch window, believing that its full potential would be grander than any console of the coming generation. This April’s Nintendo Direct gave us all a broad idea of where the Big N was focusing its efforts on. Let’s just say I’m done defending Nintendo and their business practices.
As a long time Nintendo fan, nothing has been more disappointing and aggravating than the whole Amiibo marketing strategy. There is nothing noble about falsifying scarcity on a product that’s in such high demand. It was acceptable back in 2007 when stores couldn’t keep the Wii on the shelves; consoles are complex machines that take a little longer to manufacture to ensure the quality of the product, and shipping palettes of them must be a little more cumbersome than, let’s say, three inch tall plastic statues. However, now that we’re all seeing how Nintendo is practically holding these dumb little knick knacks at ransom, I’m starting to believe that even the Wii’s rarity 8 years ago was disingenuous. Furthermore, what the hell is the point of giving an arbitrary number of these things retailer-exclusivity? Making your consumer go to a store that’s either out of their way or somewhere they hate to shop (who wants to preorder something from Walmart?) for the sake of your product isn’t fun, Nintendo. It’s frustrating, especially when the preorders sell out in HOURS.
So in short, in their latest direct-to-fans video, Nintendo showed us all of the dumb plastic shit they’re planning on peddling to us at a premium, including which ones are exclusive to specific stores, which ones you can only get in a bundle pack, etc. I personally just find it obnoxious; the latest in a string of things Nintendo has done to marginalize the gamers who aren’t their most diehard fans – i.e., selling their latest iteration of the 3DS without a charger, assuming everyone who is buying one has already owned a 3DS. Sure, there was talk of 2015’s video game release schedule, but the crux of the video outlined their continued dedication to fostering their new toy line while not manufacturing rarity in order to create a false sense of value, because Nintendo. Oh yeah, and how exciting is it that with your Mario Amiibo you can play a two minute demo of a game from 1987? So cool, right?
I don’t hate Nintendo, but I am beginning to really dislike them. I’m starting to see why so many gamers claim that Nintendo only caters to fanboys. On top of it all, they are starting to crack down on YouTubers for creating content with their IP. Unless you sign a contract and offer them a cut of the revenue, Nintendo will now dole out copyright strikes. They’ve already done it to Angry Joe. I can’t help but find it difficult to support Nintendo in 2015, even if they’re hard at work on the new Zelda.