Nintendo Pulls Game From Evo Live Stream, Igniting Backlash; Comes To Senses Mere Hours Later

from the it-can-be-taught! dept

Nintendo's adversarial relationship with its fanbase continues. Following on the heels of its colossally boneheaded Let's Play YouTube land grab, the company decided to yank its Super Smash Bros. Melee from the Evo (Evoution Championship Series) live streams.

Competitive Smash Bros. fans have been working for years to gain acceptance from the greater fighting game community. Smash Bros. is very different from Street Fighter, Tekken, and Virtua Fighter, but as many have said, it still is a fighting game, despite what some of the more exclusionary members of the FGC may tell you.

These years of effort have more or less paid off. After raising nearly $100K for Breast Cancer research, Smash Bros. Melee was set to be a marquee title at Evo 2013 this weekend. As the live stream phenomena has grown in prominence and popularity over the years, so has Evo's online presence. Evo 2011 was streamed by over 2.2 million viewers (still working on digging up numbers for 2012). That's more than Bayonetta sold in the US.
Instead of being thrilled its game was going to be featured alongside other prominent fighting games, Nintendo felt the best course of action was to "protect the brand," even if that meant the company's public image would greatly resemble a bootleg window sticker featuring Calvin peeing on a pink ribbon.

Needless to say, the backlash was immediate. A petition was posted at change.org asking Nintendo to reconsider its decision. Of course, Nintendo hardly seems concerned with the public's reaction to anything at this point, so it's kind hard to imagine an internet petition changing its mind. In fact, it's hard to imagine anything changing its mind, even vague promises to support the WiiU, issued with the same momentary earnestness as the pained vows to attend church more frequently that often follow long nights of hard drinking and bad decisions.

But, as hard as it is to imagine Nintendo walking back a "protect the brand" decision, it's actually a true fact.
Update #2: Nintendo has reversed its decision! They're now allowing Melee to stream at Evo this year. Though Nintendo has its share of old codgers that don't know how to internet, maybe this proves that their younger colleagues have the capacity to shake them into reality, and in just a few hours no less.
They say you can't teach old dogs new tricks. However, it appears the old dogs still have a healthy respect for the sting of the tightly-rolled newspaper social media outlet. Is this a sign that Nintendo is now a willing participant in its own future, able (and willing) to react nimbly to a wired-in fan base, with one hand on the Tweeter and one eye alertly watching hot social indicator wthrVane? Probably not. But it shows it's at least listening.



Reader Comments (rss)

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 10th, 2013 @ 2:58am

    "However, it appears the old dogs still have a healthy respect for the sting of the tightly-rolled social media outlet."

    But, like Microsoft, only AFTER they've made a public embarrassment of themselves with an idiot move that anyone could have told them would backfire beforehand. The problem is that people are telling them how dumb these moves are well before any announcement is made - even comments based on half-assed rumours can give you a clue as to how opinion is going to go on the final decision - but their comments are ignored.

    ...and what do they get in return? "Protect the brand"? From what? People who are going to see the game in action - many of whom won't own the game, or even necessarily own a Nintendo product at all? Are they going to suddenly not buy because they see someone else playing the game? Are their trademarks at risk because someone sees a streaming game?

    It's the sadly typical story of late. Over-protection of IP actually makes the product less valuable, and people who point out the problems are ignored until a public, potentially costly, about turn is required. the lawyers get paid either way, of course, but the corporate mindset really does need to change before they risk killing their own products entirely.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 4:27am

      Re:

      I agree, with the caveat that MS didn't reverse its decision for a good 2-3 weeks, long enough that both Nintendo and Sony got to milk it for promotional purposes.

      Yes, it was a bone-headed decision by Nintendo in the first place, but they were much more responsive to their customers.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:03am

        Re: Re:

        I do see what you're saying, but the parameters were different.

        MS's most recent problem was on a brand new product in the final processes of development, if not already being manufactured. The problem was with something presented as a fundamental feature of the console, for which there may already have been infrastructure and licencing in place. Backtracking involved making huge decisions about the marketing, production and design of the console, and required re-evaluation of their whole product line. True, it's stuff they should already have known about and considered long ago, but there was huge financial and other implications of what they had to do.

        On the other hand, Nintendo are talking about a Gamecube game that's already sold millions worldwide, and a controversy that boils down to a legal letter sent to a 3rd party. All they needed to do was say "oops, sorry, you can play the stream after all". Of course they were more responsive!

        That's not to defend either company (MS in particular should have considered the months' of comments based on rumours as a big clue to how the similar reality would be received). But, Nintendo don't come out better just because they happened to make a mistake that was quicker to rectify.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 9:16am

      Re:

      ...and what do they get in return? "Protect the brand"? From what? People who are going to see the game in action - many of whom won't own the game, or even necessarily own a Nintendo product at all? Are they going to suddenly not buy because they see someone else playing the game? Are their trademarks at risk because someone sees a streaming game?


      Not to mention the game in question is over twelve years old, exists on a system that can't be bought new anymore and is several years out of print.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:04am

        Re: Re:

        ...but which does have sequels on the Wii and upcoming on the Wii U and 3DS. So, not just removing free advertising for the game in question but also their current and future products.

         

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    theDude, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:24am

    Window Sticker

    "even if that meant the company's public image would greatly resemble a bootleg window sticker featuring Calvin peeing on a pink ribbon. "

    I have to create a sticker with Mario peeing on a pink ribbon, submit your orders now!

     

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    Free Publicity?, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:51am

    It could be, considering that they announcement to retract the first decision was so quick in coming, that they could have already decided to allow the stream. I would have never even known about the whole thing if not for this "news" article. Now I find myself interested to see what the game looks like.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    the only thing these software, game, music and movie people understand is money. remove that from the equation and you may just get their attention. revert to paying them again without getting any cast iron guarantees and you have to start again. i suggest a day, then 2 days, a week, 2 weeks, a month and then permanently. they will take no notice of anyone unless this happens and it has to happen everywhere at the same time!

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Nintendo is a great case-study of how a past reputation well built will survive even the worst retardation from the PR crew... I wonder what rationale the genius behind the brand protection uses. Because all they've done so far is gather ill-will and bad pr......

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Nintendo is a funny company, they still seem to be the only healthy video game company alive on the planet that treats the internet like some kind of Leviathan, like it's going to jump out from under their covers one night and devour them unless they protect themselves with awful online implementation and shoddy system-linked DRM schemes.

    Really I'm amazed Nintendo learned about EVO at all, it seems unless news is faxed to them or is delivered via carrier pigeon, they seem completely deaf to it happening

     

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    s7, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    The wise thing to do when people are going to promote your product to potentially millions of very like minded viewers is to mail these guys 4 or 5 gold plated WiiU systems to give away as prizes at the event.

    The downside is that gold plated WiiU's would cost a few thousand dollars. The upside is that you'd get hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertizing in return.

    I fondly remember the days when id was giving away Ferraris' at these type of events.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 3:24pm

    Nintendo has done some bad things badly this year, like this (Before updated), "bug" for same marriage, and that major lawsuit about R4 cards that just happened like a day ago..

    Hey you or some other guy should make an article about that R4 report, they sadly won a court case about R4, and that the R4 companies has to pay about 944k. I personality think it's an issue.

    Glad they did something good today though for this though.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    I still play my Sega

     

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