An article here somewhat recently reported upon Nintendo’s release of financial information regarding the fiscal year in which they reported an operating loss for the very first time, but that’s not exactly the entirety of the information given up. They’ve also got quite a bit to say in regards to various other things, particularly their aims for the future, localization options and choices and the like, so this article was only the natural course of action to provide you guys with the news on such, what will and won’t happen and what we’ve got to look forward to this year! Remember, since the financial information has already been discussed, this article will instead cover the mentions on software that Nintendo made during the conference.
“In addition, in order to make the Nintendo 3DS a platform which can maintain its momentum throughout the term… We absolutely need to keep the vitality of evergreen titles and release new key titles seamlessly. As products are getting old-fashioned in a shorter time these days, we have to make anticipated titles available in the market at a faster pace, and continue to vitalize the evergreen titles. We sometimes take criticism that first-party titles have too strong a presence in the market on Nintendo platforms. However, we have a belief that a platform holder has an important role to popularize the platform by releasing first-party software which can drive the sales of the platform. We will try to keep the momentum for the Nintendo 3DS during the full term in order to achieve our goal.”
Sure enough, this is one particular problem that Nintendo’s had for quite some time now - a general lack of third-party support, relying on their key titles and draw towards more casual players in order to make up for this. While it has been mostly successful for the most part(Wii’s decline comes more from the end of the system’s lifespan), it results in a sort of constrained approach towards software, where only Nintendo and Nintendo subsidiaries release the games that cater more specifically towards users of the Wii and 3DS. However, with the quote above, Nintendo notes that it’s important to sort of affirm the popularity of the console or handheld with solid, strong first-party titles to drive the sales of the platform itself.
That’s sort of a one-way assault, however - because people -do- buy consoles or handhelds in order to play specific games, be they third-party or first party. Kids buy PS3s just to play Modern Warfare 3. I’ve seen a few people who bought Wiis solely to play Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, as well as heard of others who bought systems solely for the presence of a particular developer for that side of the ring, so limiting the scope of your company to a single area of games can certainly build an initial base of users, there’s still a lot lost to those who don’t see a reason to buy a handheld that’s locked to that scope and that scope alone.
“Regarding evergreen titles, “SUPER MARIO 3D LAND” and “Mario Kart 7” which were released in the last year-end have established themselves as popular titles in each country they are sold in around the world, and we will take various actions to maintain their vitality in the full fiscal term. In addition to these titles, we will support Capcom’s “Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) G” (Japanese title) selling well in Japan as an evergreen title. In other countries, we will keep vitalizing the titles, including “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D” and “nintendogs+cats,” as a must-buy with the purchase of the hardware.”
Nintendo certainly likes that term: “Evergreen Title”. It seems to be their vision of a title that drives the sales in accordance with their last quote, a strong, powerful title that users see and users want to buy. They are also doing what most major first-party companies do, and that is applying their marketing towards the idea that certain titles are ‘must-buy’ titles, ala Nintendogs(wildly popular) and Ocarina of Time 3D(high-quality remake), both of which certainly fit the bill for such.
“It is generally said that game titles for skilled players sell a lot in a fairly short period of time after their launch and it is difficult for them to be long-sellers. We will nevertheless make “Kid Icarus: Uprising,” which was released worldwide last month and has been highly appraised by users, known to consumers who like action games into an evergreen title. In addition, regarding “Fire Emblem Kakusei” (Japanese title), which was released last week in Japan, its initial sales figure reached the record-high in the series since the GameBoy Advance and we have received a lot of messages from the Club Nintendo members that they bought a game from the series after a long interval. Although we have not decided on a plan to release it overseas, we hope to further increase its sales.”
This is particularly straightforward with Nintendo mentioning that ‘high-skill’ games tend to draw in a heavy amount of sales upon release and then dwindle as time goes on, which is relatively true in regards to such. Those interested in those kinds of games are more likely to provide immediate purchases in a slightly more narrow demographic, whereas titles like Nintendogs + Cats has an extremely broad demographic and much higher selling and staying power because of it. Nintendo appears to want to continue to push Kid Icarus however, wanting the return of Pit to become a more mainstay title that those interested in the more action-filled games of the 3DS will want to buy.
However, the end of that quote block has something that’s making me awfully upset - first they mention that the sales of Fire Emblem Awakening have been hitting RECORD HIGHS since the GBA games(this is big) over in Japan, together with messages from users saying that they’d bought the new title out of interest after having ignored the series for a while. However, despite that - America gets utterly stonewalled again in regards to the game, which is already announced for Europe this year while they say that they have no plans to release it overseas and “hope to further increase its sales.”, meaning that they’re likely pulling a Disaster: Day of Crisis with it and sending the title to Europe first to test the waters… and despite there being an English translation in such case, too bad, America - not enough EU sales to reach that hidden goal? Too bad, we’ll never enjoy Fire Emblem Awakening due to region lock.
Yes, don’t think I’ve forgotten that Nintendo of America bought a domain specifically for Fire Emblem Awakening, but that can be a simple preparation measure should they ever decided to localize it here. It doesn’t mean it’s ever going to be, it just means that they have the website ahead of time if they do. So who knows, maybe we’ll get the game in Q4 2013. If we’re lucky.
“On Nintendo Direct last week, we also announced the Japanese autumn release of the latest title from the much-anticipated “Animal Crossing” series, which has marked a specifically great performance in Japan. At later date, we will let you know when we will release it overseas. Additionally, we are developing “Onitore” (temp.), the software to train your concentration and working memories, with Prof. Kawashima at Tohoku University. We will release it in summer in Japan, and overseas afterwards.”
Animal Crossing is a strong title, albeit a lot of people who have played it feel that they’ve already experienced everything there -is- to experience and that makes an awful lot of sense - even I was tired out after the second game, so to speak. However, once again my jimmies are rustled - we don’t get Fire Emblem Awakening, no sir, but we DO get another Brain Training game with Devil Kawashima. Yes, that’s exactly what we want, Nintendo. More Brain Training games. It’s not as if those who had them originally have forgotten about them by now… oh wait, now I see what you’re getting at, you clever dogs you. And I hate you for it.
“Here are the first-party software titles we have already announced. We will release them in a timely manner. As we also have some unannounced titles to be released for this fiscal term, we are surely able to provide a fairly rich lineup of first-party software for this fiscal year. In addition, here you can see the game titles which have been introduced on Nintendo Direct in and out of Japan and are to be released by third-party software developers. The lineup will be enriched more and more in the future. Looking at the overseas market, the software lineup is becoming rich as we introduced on Nintendo Direct in Europe. New titles will be announced at E3 furthermore
Keep in mind that about half of these are Japan only at the moment, like Guild 01 and Etrian Odyssey IV. It’s certainly a fresh line-up, although it’s almost torture to look at a list of games, especially interesting games like Guild 01 and think that we’re never going to get them because NoJ or NoA feel like it won’t sell very well or just plain don’t feel like it, which is understandable on a few fronts but certainly doesn’t make it suck any less. We have a 3DS, and as games are coming out in Japan, it feels like we’re being totally bottlenecked away from very good titles and only being given very specific and ‘safe’ ones. It stings a lot more than it should, but we can’t just go make a million billion petitions for games we want - hell, it took an exceptional amount of effort and non-stop begging to NoA just to get The Last Story announced for localization as well as Xenoblade, which was Gamestop and Nintendo Store-specific - an almost insulting move even though we did get our hands on it after quite some time.
In the end, whining can only get you so far, and if you look towards the future with nonstop idealism, the crash of your hopes can just be all the nastier - I try to keep my overall hopes for most localizations low, but still keep in mind that there’s always a chance, however small.
At least we’re still getting Zero Escape…