Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mini Console Post of the Week

Two items this week, and in quite a rarity, they're both about Nintendo.

The first item is that it's being widely reported that the Wii Speak peripheral can be resold (still allowing access to the Wii Speak channel), which contradicts Nintendo's original position. However, the wording of the statement is puzzling. Take a look:
In a statement issued to GameSpot, Nintendo claims that Wii Speak Channel codes can now be obtained through the company's customer service center.

"Nintendo can confirm that when consumers purchase the Wii Speak accessory, they are provided with a Wii Download Ticket with a unique number. The ticket, which can be redeemed via the Wii Shop Channel, will enable the user to download the Wii Speak Channel free of charge to a single Wii console," reads the statement.

"Any consumer who may have misplaced their Wii Download Ticket number for the Wii Speak Channel or require a new number following a Wii exchange may contact their local Nintendo Customer Services department, where they can request a replacement Wii Download Ticket number."

This is puzzling, because while Gamespot says this means the Wii Speak channel will still be available if the peripheral is resold, that's not how I understand Nintendo's statement. Nintendo talks about original owners losing their codes and a new code needed after a Wii replacement, neither of which have anything to do with the resale market.

I assume that it's implied that anyone can request a new number just by saying they lost theirs
(I don't see how they'd be able to tell one way or the other), but it would have been easy for Nintendo to specifically address the scenario of resale in their statement, and they chose not to.

Second, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime gave an interview to Forbes, and he discusses the oft-repeated complaint that third-party software doesn't sell on the Wii:
Fils-Aime says this is because third-party publishers still don't quite understand the Wii audience. Tweaking the game-play mechanics is only part of the equation. This audience, he believes, is just as interested in games that do well on other systems--but, to date, publishers have been reticent to bring those to the Wii.

"I will be able to say our licensees 'get it' when their very best content is on our platform," he says. "And with very few exceptions today, that's not the case."


In most cases, I think Fils-Aime is entirely correct: the Wii really isn't getting the best content (although there are a few outstanding exceptions). However, it's clearly a mistake to say this publicly. Nintendo has done a tremendous job in the last two years of almost never sounding condescending or arrogant (Sony and Microsoft, take note), and to continue that streak, this kind of issue should be addressed privately.

Plus, after Nintendo has repeatedly claimed that third-party software sells just fine on the Wii, and has shown countless presentations to that effect, they're undercutting their own position.

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