Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

August 16, 2005

Sly Kaplan: Distractous Announcementus - Look at the shiny DS

The sneaky minds at Nintendo pulled a one-two-punch today with a dual announcement, with no doubt a hidden agenda. Nintendo announced that the DS would see a price drop next week to an MSRP of $129.99 USD, meant to coincide with the release of Nintendo's trojan horse, Nintendogs. The price drop coincides with the release of a key Nintendo title, the announcement of the price drop does also. Did it never phase anyone about why Nintendo waited until a week before the date the price drop is supposed to go into effect, to go public with this stuff? Within the same few hours, Nintendo also announced that the release date of Zelda has been officially pushed back until after the 2005 fiscal year (March 31. 2006), into the fiscal year 2006. A vague statement indeed, as it could mean any date inbetween April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2007. We weren't even given a time period of release, except that it would be in the 2006 year and after March 31, 2006. It comes as no suprise that Nintendo needed a positive announcement to counter this saddening news. At this rate, Nintendo might as well port over the Twilight Princess engine to Revolution development kits, and give it a next-gen face lift. Keeping Zelda as a launch title for Revo would fortify it's place in the console market. Revolutions would sell themselves if gamers knew Zelda was a launch title.

That aside, it's rather deceptive, and more obviously so. It's not unheard of for a company to make two announcements in the same time period, but never in the same day. Square Enix announced that FFXII and Kingdom Hearts II would be delayed into 2006, but a week later announced a specific release date of September 13, 2005 for the feature film, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Microsoft pulled a similar stunt with 360, when asked about backwards compatibility, they stood firm on their original statement of 'only best selling games being back compat' but then said "Hey look, Halo 3!". It's a common occurance in the industry, but never has such a move been so transparent and painfully obvious. The Nintendo DS price drop is clearly meant as a distraction from the disappointment of Zelda's tardy arrival. Sneaky indeed. I never believed for a second that Nintendo would get it out by the holiday season. I also don't think Nintendo had ever intended on releasing it this holiday season. The pre-mature announcement of Zelda: TP at E3 2004 was meant as a distraction: a so called hype-theif. I don't blame them either. This is Nintendo's last great hurrah on the Gamecube, so they might as well make it count.

In regards to the reasoning, Perrin Kaplain says "This delay will increase quality and make it a multi-million seller!". I'm not quite sure I get what she's saying. More development time, make a great game it does not. It also has no bearing on how many units it would sell. In fact, Nintendo could release Twilight Princess as a half finished game, and it would still sell in the millions; once glance at Halo 2 proves that. Not only that, the game would still get great to perfect reviews, not because the reviewers played and enjoyed the game, but because it's Zelda. The Tri-force pedigree is so rich, that no game can bring it down from greatness, and thus forth every Zelda has to be great as a rule. With such a full and competitive holiday season, Nintendo is probably doing more bad than good. Being pushed into the 2006 fiscal year means our boy Link is going head to head with Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy XII, two games that have been delayed month after month and watered mouths since early 2003. This also means the Gamecube is without a significant release for over a year, considering the last BIG blockbuster release was Resident Evil 4, and that came out this January. Nintendo's going to have to bite the bullet and get rocking on that Revolution info, because as a gamer, I simply refuse to wait around while Microsoft and Sony waft the fumes of Xbox 360 and Ps3 under my nose.

No object is shiny enough to distract angered and disappointed fans Nintendo. We want Zelda, not 20 dollar savings at Best Buy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nicely done, Adam.

Today's announcement basically confirms a fact about Nintendo I've known for a damn long time: they have absolutely NO idea how to run their business anymore. Hell, I bet Perrin Kaplan's degree is written on a paper towel.

I think you said it best. "Most of the industry has forgotten about Nintendo". Well, that's true. What's also true is that this is Nintendo's own damn fault. They COULD compete...they have the technology, the money, and some of the best (if over the hill) developers in the industry. The thing is, they have no idea what the gamer wants any more. This is proven by their wanton desire to profit off of EVERYTHING they sell - if the gamer doesn't like it, no skin off their back.

Unfortunately, Nintendo is still using a buisness model from 100 years ago, or whenever Nintendo started. Profit means jack now...it's all about market share and selling the most. Even though Sony and Microsoft are losing money on their systems, they've made themselves icons in the gaming world, effectively turning Nintendo into a nonfactor in gaming.

So what do I do if I'm Nintendo. The right thing. Kill off console development and go third party. Stop making quirky, chilidish games. And for the love of God, kill the innovation.

The sad thing is, this is exactly the path I see Nintendo going down. 3 years into this gen, there will be no more Revolution or DS. There will be only Nintendo, doing what they should have done years: being a 3rd party company, just like Sega: and being Sony and MS's bitches.

Ironically enough, then they will truly be all about the gamer, as Sony and MS will force them to release what gamers want, instead of doing whatever they want. Won't that be irony?

August 16, 2005 11:35 PM

Blogger Erik said...

KIngdom Hearts got pushed back?
Dammit. Thats THREE titles I've been looking forward to pushed back.

Yes, it was a sneaky move to announce the DS price drop right before the Zelda release news. But as some of the GameFAQs boards show, it didn't work very well.

August 17, 2005 7:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely written Auron. I finally agree with you on one point. Damn it Nintendo, why did you have to do that?

At least I can buy Animal Crossing DS this Holday Season. That will keep me busy for sure.

August 17, 2005 10:57 AM

Blogger Adam said...

Nintendo isn't going third party any time soon, but I would agree that it's inevitable unless they get their act together. I just hope Nintendo doesn't pull stunts like this with Revolution. The Gamecube line up is all but dried up, and if that carries over into Revolution, Nintendo might as well be ready for third place again...even though they definitely have the potential and the money to accomplish second place again.

August 17, 2005 2:02 PM

Anonymous another jon said...

I doubt it will make a difference in the long run. If anything, they may add exclusive content to the game (zelda) for the Revolution, much in the same way some GBC had exclusive content on the GBA. Plus, it's not as if the Revolution isn't backwards compatible. It's more likely a move to spur on Revolution sales than anything else.

August 19, 2005 9:25 PM

Blogger Adam said...

I am personally on edge just thinking about Revolution could be, but at the same time I'm more than likely going to have to make a tertiary thought since Ps3 is on the top of the buy list, but 360 and Rev are tied, but if I'm not convinced I'm getting a revolution, I may end up making 360 the secondary purchase and not Revolution. We'll se, there's still quite a lot of time left.

August 20, 2005 11:19 AM

Anonymous Brent McBrenterson said...

Yeah, the delay wont help sales. I'm glad they're doing it, though. As long as it means a better game.

With a delay this long I would hope for something big like voice acting... but it is nintendo we're talking about so.. meh.

August 21, 2005 9:59 PM

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