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By Nate VanLindt On 10 May, 2017 At 12:35 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Opinion, ROG News | With 1 Comment

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If you’ve made it past the title of this article, you’ve probably already formed an opinion on this issue.  However, let’s set the record straight.  I love Nintendo’s games.  They make fantastic first party software and many of their games are quite fun.  They also make some durable hardware and their handhelds have excellent battery life.  I’m not a fanboy for any system, I’m just a gamer who likes to play a variety of games.  Unfortunately, Nintendo is making it harder and harder to do just that.  I simply want to buy a system, buy a game, play the game.  It should be a simple recipe, but things have somehow gone wrong.

First up is the hardware.  Forget about all the older systems as we already know how great those are.  Let’s only look at the newer systems.  The WiiU has a painfully paltry 32 GB of storage space without buying a hard drive for your system.  Essentially there is no storage for modern games, especially with the trend towards digital distribution that Nintendo is trying to push.  The same goes for the Switch: a brand new console that has 32 GB of storage space (expandable with MicroSD).   Add the fact that Nintendo’s systems rely on gimmicks like the WiiU tablet and the Switch’s portability instead of raw power for higher-end software like the Xbox and the PS4 and you have an underwhelming experience.

On the portable front, Nintendo is also shooting themselves in the foot.  Since the original Game Boy Advance, they’ve made multiple hardware revisions to every single system they’ve released without offering any rebates to the consumer.  Being an early adopter with Nintendo is a punishing experience.  The 3DS is on its third revision since its release currently (the New 3DS XL) and the announcement just came that  they’re putting out a 2DS XL system and are likely to retire the 3DS line altogether.  As an early adopter to the 3DS line, I lost money replacing the 3DS with the 3DS XL when it came out due to the vastly superior screen and system design.  I did the same on the New 3DS XL which could play some games that the previous iterations couldn’t in addition to a more stable 3D experience and better battery life and screen quality.  In looking at the 2DS XL reviews, it also appears that the build quality has cheapened on the new units with thinner, flimsier top screens and a messy and easily fingerprinted matte color scheme to save fifty dollars on the price.

At this point you may be wondering why anyone even bothers, with 5 versions of the hardware out there.  Nintendo really needs to take the time to determine a solid design and stick with it.  Every version of hardware I have to buy means less games that I buy for that system.  And software makes more money than hardware.  Simple, right?   Don’t even get me started on the NES Classic, one of the most high demand Nintendo products in recent memory, which was under-manufactured, poorly distributed, and then shut down before demand was ever filled.  It was essentially a console that was one big ad to remind people that Nintendo was still around and it was purposely made scarce to fuel demand for Nintendo products.

Now we come to software.  Nintendo, like all game companies, is putting out software that’s unfinished, requiring internet connections and updates for optimization.  In addition, they’ve begun catching up on the DLC market that other consoles and computers have been exploiting for over a decade.  But Nintendo has terrible internet connectivity in their devices, a poorly optimized digital storefront, and worst of all, their digital content is extremely expensive.  If they run sales on DLC, the sales are 10-20% off, not the deep discounts everyone else does.  And now they are leaving out large chunks of their games and charging full price for the remainder of the games too.

Look at the forthcoming Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.  It’s a $40 game which you can buy the season pass for, providing all five DLC packs for the low discount price of $45, five dollars more than the game itself!   And that $45 is a 30% savings off of the retail price of the downloadable content!  On top of that, the game has a pair of Amiibos that can only be bought in a set for $24.99 which unlock additional content.  In the end, to get the complete game with all content works out to $110 plus tax!  This is becoming a standardized marketing tactic and a large number of consumers are falling for it.  I’ve purchased every North American Fire Emblem game since the original release on the Game Boy Advance  and due to this style of predatory sales, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia will be the first Fire Emblem I will not buy.  I feel confident in saying that it won’t be the last one I skip either.

This isn’t an isolated incident either.  Many of Nintendo’s larger first party titles have expensive Amiibos that had very little to actual gameplay.  The much-lauded Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (WiiU, Switch) which only came out a month ago suffers from Amiibo diarrhea.  Eighteen (yes, you read that right) Amiibos add content to this $60 title, five of which were released just for the game totalling an MSRP of $84 plus tax excluding the other 13 figures.   It also already has an Expansion Pass available at a whopping $20.  It’s a large pack, to be fair, but it brings the grand total for the official Breath of the Wild content and main game to a ridiculous $164.   And don’t forget that if you don’t rush to get these short-printed Amiibos, the price goes up quickly on the secondary market and you may end up paying as much as $60 on eBay for an ‘out-of-print’ figure that was just released.  Not all consumers will buy all the extras, but the point is that they shouldn’t have to in the first place.  A game should be overall self-contained when it is released and this is certainly going overboard.

Finally, Nintendo also has a unique view on digital rights management which only allows the transfer of your digital content to another console a total of eight times.  With my upgrades to various iterations of Nintendo systems, I’m personally up to five transfers on some items and that’s without ever having broken a system or had one stolen.  A few more upgrades and I won’t even own the content I paid for anymore, whether I’ve had a chance to play it or not.  No other company does this.  Not Sony, not Microsoft, not Steam.  For everyone else, once you buy it, it’s yours as long as it’s on your system or still available on the server.  What makes Nintendo so different about this?  As far as I can tell, simple greed.  There’s absolutely no excuse for this system of DRM.

I’m tired of paying for inferior processing power on my hardware, multiple hardware upgrades, add-ons that don’t add-on and content that should by all rights be free downloadable additions or already in the game.  As consumers, why are we tolerating this ridiculous amount of nickel and dime-ing for a sub-standard payoff?  I find that for the amount of money I have to spend on Nintendo’s products, I’m simply not getting enough enjoyment out of them anymore.  As gamers, we need to speak with our wallets if we ever want this to stop and Nintendo is the place to start that conversation.   We need to ask ourselves if we are buying for the love of gaming anymore or just simply buying because we can’t stop ourselves.  And we need to be aware that the money we spend, even if it’s just a couple of bucks on a random DLC that interests us, equates to millions of dollars worldwide for companies that don’t put out a better product with that money.  I’ve loved your products for a long time, Nintendo, but I just don’t think I can support your company any longer.

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