It’s April 1st and, as Nintendo warned us six months ago, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is no longer available on Switch eShop. While some expected that we would see Nintendo make a last-minute reversal and keep Super Mario 3D All-Stars in the eShop permanently, Nintendo stood firm and removed the game exactly as promised. The company also stopped sending new copies of the game to retailers, and once those copies run out, Switch owners will have to resort to used copies if they want to own Super Mario 3D All-Stars (assuming, of course, that using copies can be found).
Nintendo used this limited-time strategy a few different times in the past, and I’ve always been a critic of it. There is nothing consumer friendly about deciding to just offer something like Super Mario 3D All-Stars or the NES / SNES Classic for a limited period of time; in fact, Nintendo uses this strategy for specifically anti-consumer reasons, because it knows how to tell the world that something will be available for a limited time will increase demand and trigger the fear of losing interest from Nintendo fans who would otherwise take longer to consider your purchase.
Why does Nintendo not seem to like their fans so much? Super Mario 3D All-Stars is just the latest in a long list of bizarre anti-consumer decisions that Nintendo has made in recent years. The irony, of course, is that it is difficult to find a fan base as loyal and passionate as Nintendo’s, but it seems that Nintendo rewards such loyalty so rarely. In fact, it can sometimes seem that Nintendo struggles to prevent fans from enjoying their games.
The price is not right
Perhaps “resenting” is a very strong word – “indifference” may be the best phrase – but, leaving all that aside, I think it is clear that Nintendo values your IP a lot and not enough to do the right thing. by your fans. A good example of this is the price of Nintendo games. It’s not always that we see major Switch releases for sale, and while I’m sitting here typing this, I’m having a hard time remembering the last time games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey – two games since beginning of the Switch lifecycle – went on sale.
When such sales take place, they are so rare that they make headlines, despite the fact that Nintendo usually only gives discounts in small amounts. Nintendo usually gives discounts on games by 35% and, more rarely, will discount some of its original games by 50%, but it is exceptionally rare to see prices drop more than that. That’s while, apparently, all other gaming companies offer increasing discounts on their games as they age.
Nintendo also does not usually reduce the price of its games. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe still costs $ 60 and is a version of a Wii U game that was almost three years old when the Switch was released. Super Mario Party, which came out in 2018, still costs $ 60 in the eShop. Do you know that another great original game was released in 2018? God of War on PS4, and nowadays, Sony has this game for $ 20. This is an absolute steal compared to Super Mario Party in any price range.
I’m not saying that Nintendo shouldn’t value its IP, but throw a bone to your fans every now and then. Breath of the Wild is one of my favorite games of all time, but there is no reason to cost $ 60 four years after launch, and there are many other games out there that should have dropped in price long ago or should get discounts bigger ones more often. Just do something to make being a Nintendo fan less expensive.
The problem of Smash Bros.
It’s not just about setting the price and launching high-profile items before snatching them arbitrarily, despite the pleas of the fans, but also the fact that Nintendo seems to have this strange difficulty in supporting the electronic sports scenes that appear in around some of your games. Super Smash Bros. it is by far the best example of this. The vast majority of Super Smash Bros. tournaments. held each year, whether hand-to-hand or Ultimate, are grassroots efforts, with the organizers themselves raising money for prizes and taking care of the logistical work involved in holding a tournament.
Nintendo is so infamous with the Smash esports scene that Hungrybox – arguably the best Super Smash Bros Melee player in the world – used his victory speech after his victory at Smash Summit 9 in February 2020 to denounce Nintendo’s lack of support. You can see his speech in the embedded video below, but he essentially begs Nintendo to show more support for the Smash scene, even if it is only supporting Ultimate while continuing to ignore Melee.
This is abnormal for a company that publishes competitive video games. As Hungrybox points out in his speech, there are other publishers out there who seem happy to support his e-sports scenes, and Capcom he mentions directly. There is also a very specific parallel to be drawn here between Nintendo and Microsoft, because Microsoft recently invested $ 75,000 in the Hidden Cup 4 prize pool, an Age of Empires II tournament that took place in March.
Like Super Smash Bros Melee, Age of Empires II is an old game with a very enthusiastic electronic sports scene. The Age of Empires II community has largely kept the competitive scene alive on its own for years, just as the Melee community has done with its favorite game, but the difference is that Microsoft eventually realized and put its support behind the community. In 2019, Microsoft released Age of Empires II Definitive Edition, a remastered version of the game that is receiving ongoing support from Xbox Game Studios and the company is now helping to fund Age of Empires II tournaments.
The Melee and Ultimate communities have shown incredible self-reliance when it comes to organizing these tournaments, so I think many TOs would be happy to continue doing the heavy lifting if they could just get Nintendo to sponsor more events. We know that Nintendo has the money because the Switch has been an incredible success, so why do you still insist on keeping the competitive Smash landscape at bay?
Unfortunately, when the Melee community hears from Nintendo, it tends to be bad news, rather than some kind of exciting development. Last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nintendo sent a cease and desist letter to the organizers of The Big House, one of the biggest annual Smash Bros. tournaments. Apparently, Nintendo has not approved the use of a Melee mod called Slippi, which allows online play in Super Smash Bros. Melee and it works really well.
Super Smash Bros. Melee, for those who don’t know, was released in 2001 for the Nintendo GameCube and, like most console games of the time, it lacked online matchmaking. With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping everyone at home, the Slippi mod allowed Melee tournaments to continue happening remotely, which was a huge victory for the scene. Nintendo, however, questioned not only the mod, but also the fact that Slippi would require an emulated version of the game, which Nintendo described as “illegally copied versions” of Melee in a statement to Polygon.
I don’t think anyone will deny that Nintendo has the right to stop what it considers to be unauthorized use of its games, but that seems particularly cruel. Super Smash Bros. Melee is a 20-year-old game that Nintendo no longer produces for a console that hasn’t been in production since 2007. It really is necessary to be so protective of a game that, if it weren’t for the popular melee scene that Nintendo is in for. shooting to cease and give up, was she just asleep anyway? It definitely looks like Nintendo closed The Big House just because it could, not because there was a good reason too.
The sad thing is that the Ultimate community would probably love to have an online feature like the one we see on Slippi, but instead, they are stuck with Nintendo Switch Online and the laggy games it creates. Fans have been pleading with Nintendo to improve the Nintendo Switch Online, but it seems that all that pleading has fallen on deaf ears. It gets to the point where I avoid playing Switch games online because Nintendo’s network is a craps game, and that’s a real shame, because I really love playing Ultimate online when it’s working well.
Talking to a brick wall
I love Nintendo games and, most of the time, I love the consoles and portable devices that it launches. I really want. But it often seems that Nintendo has put up a wall between itself and its fans and is not interested in hearing any feedback. In this clip I shared above, Hungrybox knows he is shooting in the dark; that he’s probably just screaming in the void. Hungrybox knows that even if someone at Nintendo Corporate is listening, nothing is going to change.
Unfortunately, Nintendo has little incentive to change. He knows that he releases good games that people want to play and, despite the fact that I criticized these releases for a limited time and complained about the $ 60 ports of the Wii U until I got a purple face, I can’t deny that any. I just wanted Nintendo to focus more on cultivating positive relationships with its fans, because now, it seems that Nintendo just wants to take as much as it can and, at the same time, give the least in return.