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Reggie: What fans want and say doesn't affect what we do

Reggie: What fans want and say doesn't affect what we do

Thu 05 Dec 2013 9:10am GMT / 4:10am EST / 1:10am PST
PeoplePublishing

"100,000 signatures doesn't mean 100,000 sales."

Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime has spoken frankly about the publisher's attitude towards fan petitions and campaigns, telling an interviewer that they have a a negligible effect on policy at best.

During an interview with Silicon Era Fils-Aime was asked about Operation Moonfall and Rainfall: two fan-run campaigns which hoped to persuade Nintendo to re-release both Zelda Majora's Mask for 3DS and Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower for the Wii. In response, Reggie answered that although the company was very much aware of the campaigns, they had little to no effect on its decisions.

"I have to tell you-it doesn't affect what we do," Reggie began, bluntly enough. "We certainly look at it, and we're certainly aware of it, but it doesn't necessarily affect what we do. I'll give you an example. I mentioned earlier that our head of product development had a bet on X versus Y-we also had a bet around localizing Xenoblade.

"I wanted to bring Xenoblade here. The deal was, how much of a localization effort is it? How many units are we going to sell, are we going to make money? We were literally having this debate while Operation Rainfall was happening, and we were aware that there was interest for the game, but we had to make sure that it was a strong financial proposition.

"I'm paid to make sure that we're driving the business forward-so we're aware of what's happening, but in the end we've got to do what's best for the company. The thing we know [about petitions] is that 100,000 signatures doesn't mean 100,000 sales."

Gaming petitions have become increasingly commonplace over recent years, utilising the power of social media to raise awareness and gather signatures for petitions for game releases, localisations and extras. Sadly it seems that, in Nintendo's case at least, these cries fall on very deaf ears indeed.

Nonetheless, a defiant post on Operation Moonfall's Facebook page shows that the campaign's organisers aren't giving up that easily, exhorting campaigners to redouble their efforts in the face of Reggie's indifference.

26 Comments

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
Popular Comment
And that is why your fans have been getting a PS4 last week.

Posted:10 months ago

#1

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,138 1,179 1.0
Popular Comment
Maybe Nintendo should try Kickstarter: Make it Majora's Mask, just for shit and giggles. Because 100.000 signatures there are 100.000 sales and instead of coming off as abrasive of fan opinion, the experience and result might be positive all around.

Sure, strictly speaking Nintendo does not need to raise funds from its users. But go ahead, entertain us, nobody minds to place a preorder.

Posted:10 months ago

#2

Shane Sweeney Academic

398 413 1.0
I would love them to use kickstarter.... But unless your an underdog can you get away with it?

Maybe if the Wii-U really does trail behind in third place they can act like an underdog despite having billions in the bank.

Posted:10 months ago

#3

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 183 0.2
Sure I agree 1 sale per signature isn't guaranteed, but it's still fans telling you what you want. Perhaps they want petitions in the billions.

Posted:10 months ago

#4

Lindsay Cox Unity Developer, Mediatonic

28 48 1.7
I am not sure it is good business practice to deprive hardcore fans who are essentially saying "take my money" of what they want...

Posted:10 months ago

#5

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

281 130 0.5
Popular Comment
what reggie said: "What fans want and say doesn't affect what we do."
what reggie meant: "What fans want and say doesn't always affect what we do because, we see the financial numbers, we see the costs and as a company we are responsible to stock holders and have to take that into account aswell"

I personally understand completely that what fans want, they dont always get as it is not necessarily based on financial facts.

Posted:10 months ago

#6

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

305 389 1.3
Popular Comment
I suspect another issue here is finite resource. Even if a petition could conclusively prove a title would pay it's way, if Nintendo's resource is already taken up with titles that will create a bigger return, it's not going to matter.

Posted:10 months ago

#7

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
While Reggies comments dont exactly rub off me in a good way, I see his point and its very valid. He came across as very honest and didnt beat around the bush. However it doesnt hurt to listen to fans once in a while. MAss effect 3 benefitted greatly from fan outcry regarding the ending. As one of my favorite games in the past generation, I too felt they dropped the ball with the ending. But in the end of all the fan out cry it resulted in a reworked and satisfying ending.

And I purchased Xenoblade Chronicles, Last Story and Pandoras Tower. True they fill in a niche market, not much money to be made there and it probably doesnt make sense for Nintendo to release them, but then again, It takes more than one game to build a brand or franchise. And wile they say it did not make much differance, i think they felt a little pressure from project rainfall.

I think that when Nintendo fans complain about how Zeldas formula hasnt changed they hear that and it affects there design descisions. And frankly if they only see the financial numbers, they can see the WiiU isnt selling very well. In the end, they dont have to go with what fans want, but it doesnt hurt to listen sometimes.

Posted:10 months ago

#8
@Rick depends where you're coming from on the issue. Personally I thought the faff over the ME3 ending was silly. It's obvious Nintendo do more than most to please their fans. They probably just see through the 'benefits' of pretending their customers know best for the giant helium filled PR exercise it is and realise time is better spent making the games they are releasing even better.

Posted:10 months ago

#9

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
Popular Comment
Nintendo of America has had a reputation problem for a while, while Nintendo of Japan and Europe continue to (at least appear to be) more fan friendly.

When it comes to the Japanese side of the business (the real Nintendo, so to speak), developments of games are clearly based directly on what fans have asked for. Skyward Sword was a direct response for demand to 1:1 sword controls. A Link Between Worlds was a direct response to requests for more of A Link to the Past. Super Mario Galaxy 2 was only created because people asked for more of Mario Galaxy. Monolith was bought and Xenoblade was developed because of the fan reactions to Baten Kaitos 1 and 2 on Gamecube.

So, while Reggie/NoA may kind of suck sometimes, I'd hardly say Nintendo as a company doesn't listen to fans.

Posted:10 months ago

#10

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

415 988 2.4
Yeah, I hate it when I get petitions from 100,000 people asking me to make something I can sell them. It's just awful. How dare they.

Because how do players know what players want? Dirty masses... I bet most dont even wear suits, and how can anyone not wearing a suit know anything.......

oh boy

Posted:10 months ago

#11

Charles Herold Wii Games Guide, about.com

36 80 2.2
Reggie's right. Think of it this way. You want to make a game that will sell for $50. You ask people to petition a publisher to take it on, and since it sounds really cool, you get 100,000 signatures. Now let's say instead you go to kickstarter. You list the same game, with a $50 minimum contribution. Will 100,000 people pledge?

No, of course not. And everyone here who is complaining about Reggie's statement knows that perfectly well. I'm not saying Nintendo shouldn't be responsive to their fans, I'm just saying, he's right that you can't make an important business decision based on a petition.

Posted:10 months ago

#12

Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
Dan, I think your article title is a bit disrespectful. "Reggie: Fan petitions don't effect us" would've been more direct and respectful. If you want people to do business with you, be respectful.

If fans want something, they buy it. That's the best way to speak out. Nintendo will listen to that.

I own no Nintedo systems. I'm not biased. I'm just saying.

Posted:10 months ago

#13

Dan Pearson European Editor, GamesIndustry.biz

115 337 2.9
I think that, if you read the source article, the headline is an accurate description of his response to a direct question.

I don't see this as anyway 'disrespectful', nor would I ever dilute a story in order to procure business.

Posted:10 months ago

#14

Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica

74 34 0.5
@Charles Herold

in nintendos case thy will. You can trust nintendo when it come down to quality.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stephan Schwabe on 5th December 2013 7:48pm

Posted:10 months ago

#15

Nelsun Rivera Mixed Media

18 15 0.8
Corporations exist to make money. They have this down to a science. So I understand the concept of making solid business decisions. That said, I would at least try to keep this "100,000 signatures doesn't equal 100,000 sales." stance unmentioned. The statement is obviously making some feel like they are ONLY a dollar sign to Nintendo and their input is irrelevant. Listen to your fans/costumers is the going theme nowadays. "SERVICE" is the new status quo. Do what you must to run your business and be successful but do not alienate your customers. And especially do not make them feel that their effort to express a concern or request is pointless. Human are very passionate about their entertainment.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nelsun Rivera on 5th December 2013 8:35pm

Posted:10 months ago

#16

Jordan Lund Columnist

37 84 2.3
I don't get the burning desire for fans to play old games on new hardware.
Majora's Mask is 13 years old. They made a Gamecube version which is playable on the original Wii. There's a Wii Virtual Console version.
I really don't see why they need to make it for the 3DS as well.

Posted:10 months ago

#17

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,184 979 0.8
Nintendo of America has had a reputation problem for a while, while Nintendo of Japan and Europe continue to (at least appear to be) more fan friendly.
When it comes to the Japanese side of the business (the real Nintendo, so to speak), developments of games are clearly based directly on what fans have asked for.
Its not all rosy though. NOA often have to work on what ever they've got as a result of decisions made in Japan, which is odd to an extent given around 90% of home consoles sales are from outside the home country.

Whilst Iwata and some of the key members there have good reputations and have friendly faces (and I'm sure they are I have much respect for them), the US side of the business gets a lot of flack from the consumers when things don't work out or when the messaging becomes harsh.

If games, consoles and practices aren't changing so much to appeal to the US audience (and beyond), or if feedback really isn't having an impact, why not just say "we can't always listen" or "we already have all the games we need! More Animal Crossing and Mario to come!"? Its easier than trying to (or pretending to) change a situation you have no control over because the power is centralised elsewhere in terms of games development and strategy,

Reggie has been one of the major faces of Nintendo over the past decade. When he's "kicking ass and taking names" the fans rally behind him, when something is up with their console or their game releases, he becomes a focus of anger and of course, that lowers NOA's reputation.

Its just one alternative view which I feel at least a bit of truth can come out of.

Posted:10 months ago

#18

Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online

134 75 0.6
I wanted to bring Xenoblade here. The deal was, how much of a localization effort is it? How many units are we going to sell, are we going to make money? We were literally having this debate while Operation Rainfall was happening, and we were aware that there was interest for the game, but we had to make sure that it was a strong financial proposition.
This puzzles me. Xenoblade is out in Europe in several language, how much would NoA have had to pay for the localization?

Posted:10 months ago

#19

Gordon Brown Quality Manager, Latis Global Communications

5 4 0.8
what reggie said: "What fans want and say doesn't affect what we do."
That's not what he said at all. He said online petitions don't affect company policy. It's slightly niggling, yeah, but a pretty big distinction.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Gordon Brown on 6th December 2013 1:08am

Posted:10 months ago

#20

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer

482 293 0.6
@Gordon

I'm glad someone read what Reggie actually said. Nintendo have a weird reputation but, it's largely down to their very slow first party release schedule. You've often given up on their home consoles long before the "Must Have" title arrives. Take Mario 3D world for instance. I actually had to dust off my Wii U when that came out.

At this stage Nintendo have a very steep hill to climb. They've started with the indie offerings on 3DS but, need to move that support over to the Wii U. They also need to swallow their pride and start funding some third party exclusives. AAA games that can fill the gaps between their own first party home runs. Without this their consoles quickly become irrelevant as they are simply not well served for the games machines they aspire to be.

Posted:10 months ago

#21

Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance

213 529 2.5
The great thing about what Reggie said is that it makes perfect business sense, and he's right, 100,000 signatures does not equal 100,000 sales.

The stupid thing about what Reggie said was that he said it at all. What is the potential upside to letting fans know their opinions don't matter, even if it is the truth? Sometimes the smartest thing an executive can do is keep their mouth shut. (I'm looking at you, EA.)

Posted:10 months ago

#22

Charles Herold Wii Games Guide, about.com

36 80 2.2
What he said, according to this article, is "...we're certainly aware of it, but it doesn't necessarily affect what we do." That's not the headline. The headline is a clickbait headline, pure and simple.

Posted:10 months ago

#23

Paul Jace Merchandiser

942 1,428 1.5
The headline is a clickbait headline
Welcome to the internet. I think more than anything that Dan was simply paraphrasing Reggie's statement with that title. It's still very similiar when put into context.

Posted:10 months ago

#24

Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation

116 69 0.6
No matter what context it is taken in, the fact he has even remotely been as blunt as that is astounding. Reading the section that this is speaking about via the link in the article, I can't make heads or tails of how it can be related to just speaking about petitions.

Communication whether verbal, written or someone jotting down what you say...is important. Press Releases or even answers to interview questions should have checks, one of them being "How can this be twisted when released to the public later on?"...this is something I have always done and always point out heavily to anyone in the communication business. Example...

Taken from the link (Silicon Era) is the question put forward. To be fair I don't know what Operation Moonfall or Rainfall are but that's where my point comes in. Luckily I check things before I post, now knowing they are petitions for remakes or localisation for games like Xenoblade but most people these days don't check, so they see the following
Going off of that, how much do what fans want or say influence your decisions? [Operation Moonfall and Operation Rainfall are cited as examples here.]
I have to tell you—it doesn’t affect what we do
Of course there is more of an answer but instantly Reggie and Nintendo become more hated than EA and Activision put together all because of that sentence (Ok a little exaggeration but work with me). Now I know what Reggie means, that petitions don't affect what they do but that one simple sentence there is what kills the rest of his answer and there's one simple change and addition he could do to make that sentence and his answer the best there is.

"I have to tell you petitions—don't affect what we do but we take all feedback seriously"

Then lead into the rest of the answer with a few more changes and the addition of the word "petitions" in there just to let readers know that the answer is specifically about petitions not affecting their decisions rather than the full fan feedback.

Reggie does make a very good point though, 100,000 signatures doesn't mean 100,000 sales.

Overall, it could be just Silicon Era that has paraphrased it but people will glance or not research certain things, they will take things at face value and before you know it, one tiny crack turns into a massive hole. All because that ""How can this be twisted when released to the public later on?" check wasn't fully utilized.

Posted:10 months ago

#25

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