Monday, June 13, 2011

Hardcore Gamers Will Never Embrace Nintendo

And so it begins.  We all knew it was a matter of time before the so-called "hardcore gamer" crowd found some reason to not embrace Nintendo's next console, the Wii U.  What is that reason?  The analog circle pads aren't proper thumb sticks.  Yep, guess that means they'll be sticking with their PS360s.

This is one of those "Lucy and the football" events.  The hardcore gamers are a small minority, but they're very loud, and they also happen to be the ones with the magazines and websites.  They whine and whine and whine for Nintendo to give them complete and total attention, and then never deliver the goods.  It's very infantile and, frankly, embarrassing for both sides.  The hardcore clique should grow up, and Nintendo should learn to ignore them.

Nintendo has been spending the past couple of years focused almost exclusively on the hardcore clique, to the point of alienating and nearly abandoning the Wii's true core market.  Take a look at the games released in 2010 - Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M, Sin & Punishment 2, Samurai Showdown 3, NBA Jam, Goldeneye, Call of Duty, etc etc.  I even remember Kirby's Epic Yarn and Donkey Kong Country Returns being heaped with hype and praise by the gamer press last year.

So where did all these gamers go?  None of these games were successful at retail.  Galaxy 2 was a moderate hit, but still managed to sell a quarter as many units as Super Mario 5.  Nearly everything else just tanked.  They just don't deliver the goods.  Time and again, they make a lot of noise, but never deliver the goods.  Notice that the 3DS isn't going anywhere, despite the ridiculous hype.  The Wii U will meet the same fate, I assure you.

Maybe we shouldn't call this crowd the "hardcore" gamers.  They're really "industry" gamers, with all that implies.  The video game press has always been in the industry's back pocket, and there was a shining moment in the mid-90s when it looked like that would change, but the moment passed.  It's too bad.  I really miss Kunkel Katz Worley and magazines like VG&CE.  Those guys knew how to respect their readers and be honest.  The video game media today is full of fluffers and lapdogs.

Anyway, I don't mean to be grouchy.  I'm acting enough like Grampa Simpson, and I doubt this is being helpful.  I'm still too young to be shaking my fist as passing clouds.  The bottom line is that Nintendo really must stop trying to cater to a game industry that will never accept them.

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