Nintendo Direct, EA vs. the Wii U, and Unprofessionalism

There’s a lot to talk about concerning the Wii U today. Over the past couple of days we have gotten a Nintendo Direct, a controversial statement from EA, and a direct attack against the fledgling system from an EA Senior Engineer. As per usual, the internet has been opening its hate hatches against Nintendo’s system, particularly due to the comparatively underwhelming announcements from the Nintendo Direct. I’d like to say something definite like “Nintendo is in trouble” as so many journalists have said, but that’s not really true or accurate. The fact of the matter is, no matter how sensational the news is, the Wii U is still only a handful of months old, and has yet to see any of its big games come out, and, unlike the PS Vita, there is a large number of announced games coming out. Conversely, Nintendo hasn’t been getting a lot of great news recently and public opinion on the console is extremely important, especially early on in its life cycle. Today, I want to look at the recent announcements and discuss their meaning in the “Nintendo is doomed” equation, as well as touch on professionalism in the industry.

That’s right, Nintendo. Replace Mario, but not one of the identical Toads.

First up, let’s talk about the Nintendo Direct. This is a rather new delivery system Nintendo has put in place that they have been using to make large-scale announcements which would only normally be seen during one of the big conferences of the year. So far we have been getting excellent announcements ranging from the surprising such as SMT x Fire Emblem, to the expected such as details for new Zeldas. Yesterday we didn’t get any major new announcements other than the fact that the Luigi version of The New Super Mario Bros U is going to be available as downloadable content as well as a stand alone release. We also learned a couple of release dates, particularly for The Wonderful 101. I suppose some people would point to a three game Sonic exclusivity contract between Nintendo and Sega as being a major announcement, but it isn’t. Firstly, one of those games is another edition of the awful Mario and Sonic at the Olympic games, and, as for the other two, Sonic games aren’t something that anyone should brag about.

Yes, this is exactly the game everyone was waiting to see.

What Nintendo seemed to be doing with this update was to show that some games would be released in the summer. Unfortunately, August is still very far away, so there wasn’t much impact. Sonic games haven’t been good since the Sega Genesis, and some people like me would argue that Sonic games were never good to begin with. For the few Sonic faithful left, there is still no indication that Sega will turn things around, especially since the only game showed off was the Olympic games spin off, which shouldn’t fill anyone with confidence. As for the other minor announcements, they were all too unimportant to mention. Nintendo has promised another, larger Direct before E3, which leads me to believe that they were just trying to take care of some minor points. However, I feel that it would have been better if they had just waited to release a much bigger Direct instead of settling for this, which was the least impactful Direct they’ve done so far.

But at least Sonic can show us how incredibly poorly he aged.

EA has officially announced that they are not working for any Wii U games. As has been pointed out around the internet, this goes in direct contradiction to their promise of “unprecedented partnership” with Nintendo. EA, as you may know, has been voted the worst company in America two years in a row, and sometimes it is hard to dismiss that. EA had released several games on the Wii U prior to this, ports such as FIFA 2013, but there have been nasty signs of this for awhile now, particularly the announcement that the Wii U couldn’t handle the new Frostbite engine (Something I don’t entirely believe). EA pulling out makes sense, considering that they probably haven’t made much money on their initial investment. This is partially their own fault considering that they put the worst version of Mass Effect 3 on the new system for more money than they were selling the entire trilogy for on other systems. Actually, scratch that, it is entirely EA’s fault. The games they put on the Wii U were terrible, overpriced and few in number. I try to remain as unbiased as I can when writing, but it is really hard when dealing with EA. They are a thoroughly reprehensible company, which relies on their chokehold on several big franchises to buy and tank better developers.

This is literally the worst game to port to the Wii U. I am not misusing literally. I truthfully think this was the worst possible game to release on a new system.

That all being said, EA is undoubtably a powerful company. I don’t care for many of their games, but the loss of their support is a blow to Nintendo and thinking otherwise is shortsighted. The yearly sports games are huge sellers, and their acquired properties, particularly Bioware produce some excellent games. Of course, as EA will likely be supporting Sony and Microsoft heavily, and EA lives and dies by multiplatform ports and not exclusives. It may not effect Nintendo as much as you might believe. After all, if EA continued to support Nintendo, the Wii U would always have the worst version of every game, as they would have to downgrade it for the old technology. The Wii U was designed for exclusives and smart design, and this does not fit into EA’s business model. It makes sense that EA doesn’t want to commit resources to building inferior ports, and EA seems to have no interest in developing exclusives, so why would they force themselves for the Wii U? The answer to that question may be that they promised that there would be an “unprecedented partnership” between the two companies, but they weren’t voted the worst company in America for nothing.

Peter Moore’s arrogant, and downright evil expression seems to personify EA as a whole.

Finally, I want to look at professionalism, which, coincidentally involves EA. Bob Summerwill, a senior engineer with EA went on a bit of a twitter rampage against Nintendo and the Wii U. Calling the Wii U crap, and recommending Nintendo just give up. Summerwill’s tweets have since been taken down, but due to the fact that twitter is part of something called “the internet,” all of those tweets have been saved. IGN posted them in their entirety for those interested. Executives and other key employees of game companies have been losing their minds on twitter on an ever increasing basis, and most of them tend to lose their jobs for their outbursts. These people deserve to be fired for their extreme lack of professionalism. These are key employees and they are expected to hold themselves up to a certain standard. I don’t really care if people hate the Wii U, or the PS4, or whatever the hell the new Xbox will be called, but there are ways of expressing those feelings that don’t involve hugely inflammatory comments being broadcast across the internet.

Yes, this is how professionals behave.

Seriously, these people are paid professionals. Yet they hold themselves up to the standard of a child. These are not random people on the internet. They actively represent the company they work at, and misrepresenting those companies to the public is a major problem. I cannot even begin to understand how these people think that it is fine to do these things. I don’t care if the opinion is genuine, true, or even in line with how the company acts. These are not professional comments, and twitter is not anonymous. Is the video game industry entirely populated with immature young boys? Because much of the media still thinks that this is true, and comments such as this, which would be unacceptable in any professional context should not be tolerated here to reinforce this image.

This just happened. What is wrong with you gaming industry?

I’m not going to wonder if Nintendo is doomed this time because the truth of the matter is there is no way that news like this is any indication on its future considering that the Wii U is less than a year old. We are in the time where sensationalism is king, and everyone is looking to hate the new guy. Companies like EA make decisions based on profitability. Despite their promises and ineptitude, I understand the future lack of profitability for their games on the Wii U based on their business model. As a final note, I plead to professionals in the video game industry to avoid acting like children and throwing hissy fits on twitter. The internet does not let these things go unnoticed.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer


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