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Nintendo/Iwata's Bias Against The West

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foxtail said:
Soundwave said:

Meanwhile Nintendo's happy to fund things like Wonderful 101, which apparently had a large budget at that, and proceeded to flop in Japan and then everywhere else worldwide. Would they allow a Western studio to do that? No way. 

Wonderful 101 was greenlight because Hideki Kamiya has proven himself as a skillful developer with good work ethic and has built his relationship with Nintendo with games like Viewtiful Joe on the Gamecube.  

Talent is hard to find and relationships take time to build, even Rare took time.  Though Nintendo should be actively looking for possible talented and driven partners in the West.

Nintendo could also strike deals to make another Epic Mickey, Goldeneye Reloaded or Rogue Squadron but it requires the right talent pool and the opportunity for a license must exist first.

Epic Mickey and GoldenEye Reloaded are not Nintendo financed titles. 

They basically only finance Japanese games, so either there's only talented people in Japan or there is some kind of bias here. 

Not even Nintendo themselves operated this way in the 90s. Things like Rare and Rogue Squadron would not happen with today's Nintendo. 

Why is Nintendo so reluctant to give a Western dev a shot at an original IP?

I love Platinum Games, but they get to work on 2 funded titles right off the hop of their own choosing, meanwhile Retro has been paying their dues at Nintendo for 13+ years now and still hasn't been able to work on more than 1 Nintendo game at a time and when they do it's a pre-existing IP. 

It just seems to me to be a pretty strong double standard. 



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Soundwave said:

Epic Mickey and GoldenEye Reloaded are not Nintendo financed titles.  

Were they not timed exclusives?  Some form of financing was probably there from Nintendo.



Nintendo is a Japan-centric company now. It's also partially Iwata's fault.

I really think this happened because of the twin success of the Wii and DS. For a while, the interests of both West and East seemed to merge and become one, resulting in the Wii and DS having expansive Nintendo-published game catalogs that are largely JP-facing in nature.
That, and they took the third-party support from Western publishers for granted. Take a look at all the games they released for the Wii and DS, even if a lot of them are shovelware.



 
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foxtail said:
Soundwave said:

Epic Mickey and GoldenEye Reloaded are not Nintendo financed titles.  

Were they not timed exclusives?  Some form of financing was probably there from Nintendo.


Pretty sure that's a no.  They just couldn't be released simultaneously on PS3/360 because they were built for the Wii first and foremost which is a fairly different architecture from the PS3/360. 



Dunban67 said:
Soundwave said:

It is kind of odd that Nintendo has pretty much disengaged from the West, whereas in the 90s they were much more of an East + West company. Why the change and is it warranted? Especially when the West now is basically the entire console market? It seems to basically all trace back to Iwata and even Miyamoto moving up the ranks on Nintendo's Board of Directors. A few points I'd raise:

- Iwata after being groomed since about 1999/2000 takes over as Nintendo president officially in May 2002. His first major move as president? Selling Rare to Microsoft in September 2002. Despite spin at the time that Nintendo would use the money from the sale to invest in a similar Western studio (Zoonami was thrown around a lot), this never materializes. 

- In basically two years, Iwata dismantles pretty much all of Nintendo's Western relationships. Silicon Knights is out. Factor 5 is out. NST is downsized to a Mario Vs. DK studio. Left Field is out. The deal for Star Wars exclusive games is not renewed. Nintendo Sports is shuttered.

- Now you may say 'b ... bu ... but Retro!", but Retro opened in 1999 was supposed to supply Nintendo with *multiple* games in genres like action/sports/shooters at once. That was Howard Lincoln's brainchild. Under Iwata, Retro is stripped down to one team and kept under an extremely tight leash where they only work on Nintendo IP. The same is basically true of Next Level Games (one game at a time, on a Japanese Nintendo IP only). Nintendo does work with a very small handful of Western companies, but basically only lets them work on Japanese IP that they're too busy to do themselves. No chance of an original IP like GoldenEye, Eternal Darkness, Killer Instinct, or NBA Courtside being greenlit here. 

- Under Iwata, Nintendo finances many different 2nd party Japanese titles ... The Last Story, Bayonetta 2, Zengeki No Rengleiv, Endless Ocean 1/2, Pandora's Tower, Fatal Frame IV/V, Devil's Third, The Wonderful 101, etc. etc. etc. Yet they never do this with any Western developer, even though Western devs like the Darksiders guy did make advances towards Nintendo. Nope, Nintendo only bails out a project, like Devil's Third or Bayo 2 if it's a Japanese developer. Tough luck if you're American/European. 

- Monster Hunter was a huge hit ... in Japan. Notice how Nintendo moved quickly to secure that as exclusive? But what about Western trends? They apparently won't even talk to the Minecraft people ... how much do you want to bet if Minecraft was a Japanese IP that there would be considerably more outreach from Iwata's Nintendo on it? You'd probably be able to play it on your Wii U/3DS right now if that was the case. 

- Another example of Nintendo's complete disengagement from the West ... Activision actually apparently offered Nintendo exclusivity on the Skylanders franchise while it was in the conceptual phase, Nintendo basically told them "thanks, but no thanks". 

- All their crossover games too are basically Japanese collaborations only. Hyrule Warriors, SMT x Fire Emblem, Metroid: Other M, Pokemon Conquest, Mario & Sonic are fair game ... but doing that with a Western IP ... nope. 

- NOA is basically stripped of any real power they had. Reggie mentioned they liked Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet) too and had them on their radar but Sony beat them to the punch. I really have to wonder if a lot of that has to do with NOA having no real power to make deals anymore. Iwata basically granting himself presidency over NOA when he himself admits he doesn't understand the Western market as well as Japan is just incredibly non-sensical. 

I'm not saying supporting Japanese development is bad, but really the above points to a bit of a disturbing trend of bias. I understand Iwata comes from the Japanese game developer community and maybe views it like a fraternity where deals are inked over glass of sake, but really there should be no excuse for Nintendo to be a more closed off Japanese company in 2014 than they were in say 1997. 


Very well said-  and their Japan centric philosophy does not help them w a global consumer base-  

IMO one reaaon Iwata focuses on Japan 1st is due or most of the stockholders living there-   They prob assume that Nintendo takes care of their largest Western marckets nearly as well as Japan 

They can't assume that. Even if Nintendo is really successful in Japan, their rest-of-world numbers will drag that down, and I don't think Nintendo can afford to downsize to JP-only at this point.



 
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I just realized something: What if this was the Blue Ocean strategy all along? Nintendo panders to the Japanese crowd with Gunpei Yokoi's philosophy on hardware (which fit Japanese households really well), and their powerful software exclusives (that appeal to Japan). At the same time, they can lure the powerful Japanese third-party devlopers into developing for their platforms because their architecture is familiar, and the Japanese market doesn't necessarily hinge on realistic graphics.



 
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:3

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Very well said. If Nintendo were more Western-oriented many gamers like me would probably have also bought their console.



Nintendo has no bias against the west. They just do not understand it. Read what I am saying. They don't understand it. Not even a sliver. They never have.

You think they understood the west in the 90s? You are wrong. They lucked out. Every success they have ever had in the west has been luck or just universaly acceptable/good products. Nothing else.



A warrior keeps death on the mind from the moment of his first breath to the moment of his last.



to counter your point against Retro they had 5 games in development when they were first founded and they struggle to make just about all of them so 4 of them were cancelled to put a focus on Metroid Prime due to the fact that in 1999 a newly form studio making 5 different games at once was pretty freaking insane and its worth mentinoning Iwata became CEO in 2002 the same year when Metroid Prime was released so it wasn't his fault why out of those 5 games we only got Metroid Prime. also with Donkey Kong it sounds it was there idea to make both DKR games and that not anyone at force them to so if they wanted they could make what ever they want.

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2013/06/retro_studios_after_donkey_kong_country_returns_we_had_a_lot_of_gas_left_in_the_tank

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2013/06/retro_chose_donkey_kong_over_metroid_as_its_first_wii_u_title