Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Reggie is Wrong for Calling Gamers "Insatiable"

"What's wrong with me" is that I don't have enough Reggie in my life.
Last week, you may have read Kotaku's post about a conversation with Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime regarding the "core gamer."  He essentially blamed the bad blood between many of today's "hardcore gamers" and Nintendo on a refusal to ever be satisfied or content with what's being offered.  Now, the general claim that gamers are an entitled bunch is defensible enough.  One merely needs to look at the myriad outcries against DLC, DRM, "online passes," HD rereleases, retailer-exclusive pre-order bonuses, and the fact that every Tom, Dick and Harry now feels the need to create a petition every time something doesn't quite go his way.  The Mass Effect 3 ending controversy and the petition for a non-GFWL PC version of Dark Souls stand out as some of this year's douchey-er "give me more!" spectacles.

But "the Regginator" invokes different reasoning when he calls out gamers.  And I'm here to tell you why, while the general sentiment is correct, the logic behind it missed the mark entirely.

In the exchange with the Kotaku writer, Reggie cited Pikmin 3, Nintendo Land, and New Super Mario Bros. U as a WiiU launch title as examples of being unable to keep up with gamers' tireless demands.  Reflecting on this year's E3, he said:
For years this community has been asking, 'Where's Pikmin?' 'Where's Pikmin?' 'Where's Pikmin?' We give them Pikmin. And then they say, 'What else?' For years, this community have said, 'Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game.' So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, 'So what's more?' I have heard people say, 'You know, you've got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you're doing in Smash Bros., isn't there a way to leverage all these franchises?' So we create Nintendo Land and they say, 'Ho-hum, give me more.' So it's an interesting challenge.
Here's the thing:  not every "core gamer" fan asked for a new Pikmin game, a Nintendo franchise-inspired mini-game compilation, or a launch Mario game.  I know I didn't.  Logic would say that the people who did ask for those things were at least relatively hyped to see them at E3.  However, Reggie's assumption is that gamers are "insatiable" because they demand more right after Nintendo has given them precisely what they've been asking for.  What about those who, instead of the aforementioned games, wanted to see a new Star Fox (*ahem*)?  Or those who wanted a peak at Retro Studios' next project (*ahem*)?  Or those who simply wanted to be surprised by an actual, interesting announcement, and not just re-iterations of games we already knew about (*ahem*)?
You cannot fathom the depths of how damn badly I wanted this to be true.
I'm not saying that Nintendo should have necessarily come to E3 with all of those to offer, or that they should attempt to cater to every single little demand the peanut gallery has up its sleeves.  (I'm not that insatiable!)  However, Reggie is showing how truly out of touch he is with "core gamers" if he thinks that gamers universally, and solely, asked for Pikmin, Mario, and Nintendo Land.

Reggie's next comments bridge the gap between "out of touch" and "out of touch and dickish."
It's the question of, as a gamer, 'Is this for me and something I can get excited about?' And Wii Fit did not get that reaction.  And yet 43-million copies around the world, it's a phenomenon. And so I would argue that the gaming community actually is unable to differentiate between a phenomenon and something that is 'ho-hum.'
Translation:  if Wii Fit U got a lukewarm reception at E3, it's only because gamers are too ignorant to recognize its awesomeness.  Those poor, silly, misguided gamers; they're too foolish to even know what they like!

The obvious response is, of course, that massive sales numbers don't automatically signify a game that "core gamers" will adore and shower with praise.  The resounding success of the Wii is attributed to the (oft-vilified) "casual gamer" demographic.  It's puzzling that Reggie seems to so severely lack an understanding of this Gamer 101 concept, given his frequent use of the term, "core gamer."  Either that or, again, he just thinks we're all a bunch of idiots.

Much like his famed "what's wrong with you?" quip, it seems Reggie's comments will, for the most part, only fan the flames of ire between Nintendo and the "core gamers" they profess to so deeply cherish.  Personally, I love Reggie for the reasons a parent loves a small child:  he's so charismatic; so earnest; so eager to please; so innocently oblivious to the world and has so much to learn.  Love you, Regginator!  Even if the words that come out of your mouth occasionally make me shake my head in woe.

No comments:

Post a Comment