According to Kotaku, Nintendo is not satisfied with their current offline offerings. They realize that Microsoft, and even Sony, are destroying them in terms of online play. Nintendo effectively has none.
“And I can say that we are not currently satisfied with the online efforts that we have made so far, and we are working at ways to improve those. On the other hand, I do not think that online functionality is something that we should be devoting resources to for every single product.”
Wait, what’s this extra bit about not doing it on every single project? On the XBox every single game has some sort of XBox live functionality. They might not all have the full-blown online play like Super Street Fighter IV or Halo, but they’ll at least let you compare high scores with friends. The Kotaku editor also questions how Nintendo can possibly have limited resources.
So Nintendo is not satisfied with its online efforts, but does not think online functionality is something it should be devoting resources to for every single product? Can’t we have both? Isn’t Nintendo one of the most successful companies in not only Japan, but the world? Limited resources? Bwah?!
It is absolutely true that Nintendo’s online offerings suck ass. If they want them to stop sucking, they have to do two things. First, they have to give up on the friend code system. I know they are trying to protect all the children playing Pokemon from pervs, but it’s time to give up. It’s not a fight they can win. If they don’t open up the system, they might as well not have it at all. If they do open it up, the amazing online games will make them more than enough money to outweigh the bad press about child predators. A Pokemon MMO is probably the only thing that can threaten World of Warcraft and Farmville.
That being said, the Kotaku editor clearly doesn’t understand Nintendo very well. He’s surprised that Nintendo is claiming to have limited resources. Of course Nintendo has limited resources. The three limited resources they have are talent, time, and money. They have big talents, but they don’t have them in huge quantity. That’s why the quantity of games they put out is so low, and releases are infrequent. By limiting budgets for their titles, they insure the high profit margins continue.
Think about it. A blockbuster game like Modern Warfare sells millions of copies, and makes hundreds of millions of dollars. However, it also costs many millions of dollars to produce. Meanwhile a game like New Super Mario Bros. Wii or Pokemon costs far less to produce, and also sells millions of copies. If Nintendo didn’t act like their resources were limited, and included every feature possible on every game, their production costs would shoot through the roof, and their profit margins would go down in the basement.
And be honest here. How much do you think adding online play to New Super Mario Bros. Wii would cost in terms of production? It would take a lot of time to code around problems like lag, so that the quality of the online play was up to Nintendo standards. Those programmers could have been working on some other game instead. How many extra sales would adding online play have gotten them? They calculated that it wouldn’t be worth it, and they’re probably right.
Yes, Nintendo’s online play sucks, and that hurts gamers. Yet, like everything else Nintendo does, it’s all about the money. They are laughing all the way to the bank every single time. You know you’re still going to buy that new Zelda game, Metroid: Other M, and they know it as well. They’re going to do the bare minimum necessary to make sure it happens, and move on. If online play isn’t part of that bare minimum, you’re not going to get it.