Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stop blaming the fans

It seems the new cool thing to do if you are head of marketing at a major entertainment company is to blame the fans of the product you are trying to shill, as to weather said product comes out or not.

For example, today Reggie Fils-Aime, the President of Nintendo of America said depending on the sales of Xenoblade Chronicles in Europe, determines if we get it in the States.

Now, being a big fan of Japanese games, I've seen my fair share of games that I have wanted here in America (North variety) that I knew would never make it stateside.  I've imported and struggled through translations just to enjoy the game as much as I can.

But now we have a game, that fans have been demanding Nintendo to bring stateside, which now has an English localization that has been shipped to Australia and Europe, and Fils-Aime is trying to tell me the game may or may not come to America.

Stop feeding me bullshit.

The game is coming to America, and I'm sure it's been a bulleted item on his marketing press sheet that he hands out to investors for the last quarter at least.  Xenoblade, and Last Story are two games fans have been clammoring for on the Wii and Nintendo has remained coy on the subject.  Why?

Because they want to throw a big press conference and act like they are really reaching out to the fans.  "Whoop! Whoop!" for them.  All of this would have been fine, if he hadn't said the equivalent of:

"Scream hard enough fanboys or we might not release it!"

Don't act like bringing the game over here has anything to do with how vocal fans are on message boards.  Nintendo has committees of old people in suits, and focus groups, analysts, and a whole bunch of other equally worthless jobs they pay people exorbitant money for what is basically just superstitious voodoo.

This scapegoating of the fanbase has reached a limit in my opinion.  The above example is ultimately fairly harmless, and is just another way to advertise.  In the end I'm happy Nintendo is bringing these games over here, so it is easy to look past the viral marketing.  However, it is when it goes the other way that this handling of the fanbase gets dangerous.
A few weeks ago, Capcom announced that the eagerly anticipated Megaman Legends 3 is getting canned, because fans weren't vocal enough on the forums about the game.

Yet, if you look at the chain of events leading up to the canning of Megaman Legends, you can easily see this was inevitable.  After Megaman creator and Capcom president Kenji Inafune left the company, slowly every Megaman game that was in development was getting canceled.  Even in the fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom, Megaman was never added to the roster.  It was a matter of time before Legends 3 was on that chopping block as well.

Having a highly anticipated title canceled is one thing, but to go the extra mile and blame the fans for it.  That takes a lot of balls on Capcom's part.

I've honestly tried to not get on board the Capcom hate train that every one seems to be on these days, but when decisions like this are made, it makes it hard to stay a fan.

Personally, and I have nothing to back this up with, but I think this line of thinking from corporate stooges goes back to the early days of MP3 downloads and Napster.

Once it became okay to sue the people they were too old and out of touch to figure out how to market to, they started down a slippery slope where they feel we should worship them and beg and plead to them for content, instead of them finding out what the consumer wants.

And for the record, I honestly don't give two craps about Xenoblade or Megaman Legends 3.  I've never played a Megaman Legends game, and I hated all the Xenosaga games.  It just irks me to no end when company's start down these pandering marketing paths. 

Last Story however, I'm all about.