Nintendo: Broader, Awful Anti-Piracy Measures Are Sure To Turn Our Fortunes Around!

from the save-the-princess-from-bad-policy dept

Nintendo isn’t having quite as much fun as normal lately, the launch of their Wii-U console not being particularly well-received in the market, over-shadowed by the launch of much more powerful and compelling hardware by Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo recently slashed the company’s original full-year Wii U sales forecast by nearly 70% to 2.8 million units. It’s not all sour; Nintendo’s 3DS unit has been a smashing success overall (at least according to my Animal Crossing animal friends), sales of the 3DS are up, and despite some piracy threats from recent flashcart advances, 3DS software sales are clicking right along, with Nintendo recently stating 2013 was a “record year” for both 3DS hardware and software sales, 3DS software sales in particular are up 45% year over year.

Still, low Wii-U sales leave Nintendo in a tough spot, forcing the game company into a bit of an existential crisis. What can possibly turn around the living room fortunes of one of the world’s most-adored gaming companies? Developing better games? Better scrutiny of third-party game quality? Developing a less gimmicky home console with enough power to battle Sony and Microsoft while retaining Nintendo’s unique charm? Leveraging the inexhaustible energy of your massive fanboy base to generate clean, renewable energy for years to come?

A large portion of Nintendo calories that could be directed to those pursuits are instead being directed at convincing the U.S government to pressure Brazil, China, Mexico and Spain into imposing tougher anti-piracy countermeasures. Nintendo informs the U.S. government they’ve suffered “heavy losses” in those countries, which should be encouraged to embrace blocking websites and turning ISPs into liable Internet content nannies (both things that have clearly worked so well up until now). According to Nintendo’s letter to the U.S. government, 16% of all online piracy of Nintendo products traces back to Spain:

“Since so many illegal video games are downloaded in Spain from foreign-based cyberlockers, and accessed through cyberlinkers or P2P linking sites hosted outside Spain, the IPC must address this issue by authorizing the blocking of linking sites,” Nintendo writes.”

Except that much of that Spanish content is hosted here in the States, where Nintendo hasn’t made the same recommendations. Nintendo would also very much like it if the United States would “train” and “educate” the Spanish legal system on how to properly treat piracy (read: a swift and heavy fist entirely detached from an operational brain):

“The Spanish Government should work with the U.S. Government and rights holders to provide necessary IP training to Spanish prosecutors, judges and IPC officials, particularly focusing on Internet piracy and effective online investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of criminal copyright infringement on the Internet.”

Which, again, should really be efficient since most of those sites are hosted in the United States, combined with the problem that these kinds of efforts don’t work (or wind up impacting legitimate businesses and websites). My Animal Crossing animal friends go on at nauseating length about how instead of wasting energy on bad anti-piracy policy, Nintendo could instead focus that energy on better hardware and games (and perhaps a new fountain for the Animal Crossing town square) — but what do they know.

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Companies: nintendo

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Comments on “Nintendo: Broader, Awful Anti-Piracy Measures Are Sure To Turn Our Fortunes Around!”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

A pity

I had been considering picking up the Wii U at some point, but with Nintendo refusing to admit that maybe they didn’t quite think this console all the way through, or support it enough to really make people want to buy it, and instead shifting all the blame outward and trying to screw over everyone else with more, harsher laws… well, much like MS and Sony, I don’t support companies that are anti-customer, so there goes that sale.

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: A pity

Actually, I bought my kids an old XBox 360 with a ton of games from a co-worker (sold the games we didn’t want and got it free with about 10-11 games). I did this because the Wii U didn’t have any good games out.

But I also picked up Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World and Pikmin and my kids and I have been playing those ever since and the Xbox barely gets touched.

So they are starting to turn it around with some great games, it’s just taking time.

Inkeyis says:

Re: A pity

This is such a stupid comment. Of all three big companies, Nintendo is the one that offers backward compatibility, controls from the wii, used games, very little yet worthwhile paid downloadable content, QUALITY in most of there games, free online multiplayer, the cheapest console, … The list goes on. To me they are really consumer friendly, and workplace friendly (they very rarely fire anybody) compared to the likes of ea. And your telling me your not going to try the wiiu (which I have and is truly amazing), just because they want to protect their copyrighted ideas. That’s just sad

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: A pity

When that ‘protect[ing] their copyrighted ideas’ involves getting the US to pressure other countries to act as copyright cops, and in manners that have been shown to be at best useless, then yeah, I kinda have a problem with it.

Also, just to clarify, this was more a ‘final straw’ thing, considering the Wii U has received fairly lukewarm reviews so far from what I’ve gathered, in large part because Nintendo put it together, pushed it out, yet didn’t think to really support it with games or stuff to take advantage of the tech.

Karl Bode (profile) says:

Re: So...

I think pirates have had some recent luck with the Gateway flashcart, but it doesn’t work on any of the newer firmware updates and I don’t think it’s as easy as some of the flashcarts were for the DSi. As such overall I think 3DS piracy is still lower that it was with previous incarnations. Sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: So...

Agreed, it is very handy to do something like take the US rom of Disgaea and patch in the Japanese sounds which should have been included as an option…

The reverse is also true for fan-ports of games not yet released in the US.

Region locking is repugnant and evil. Similarly tying licenses to an easily stolen device instead of an account identity (individual) is also repugnant and evil.

If Nintendo would fix those above issues, maybe they could sell me a license to play games on a portable console I already own, namely my cell phone which has specs that whip those of most of their portable devices (aside from having only one screen, though higher resolution).

Anonymous Coward says:

funny how it’s always ‘work with law enforcement to stop people pirating’! there’s no mention of anyone working with the customers to sort out what they want and what makes them ‘pirate’ stuff at the moment! these companies seem to think that the only changes that are needed are by the customers but never by the game and console makers. weird!

Anonymous Coward says:

“Better scrutiny of third-party game quality?”

Having some third party games would already help. Maybe a bit harsh but the reality is, there is no software library to make the console appealing.

They can whine about piracy as much as they like, but the sad truth here is, for the WII U there isn’t really anything to pirate to begin with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I was a big defender of the Gamecube and even the Wii due to the Resident Evil games and other good games made by third parties. This Wii u….just sucks…damn. The Nes and Snes had over 1000 games and of course, many of the great ones were Nintendo made, but not in all cases. This makes me sad. The Resident Evil Chronicles (and Dark Chronicles) games on Wii were really fun (and kinda made fun of its old franchises….wow we can blast locked doors open with a shotgun now) with the Wii Zapper. There is nothing compelling on the Wii u, except for the Mario game (are they even making a REAL NEW Zelda for it?) but that’s not enough incentive to buy it just for that.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re: Re:

When they revealed Hyrule Warriors, they said it was not the new Zelda most Zelda fans have been aware is in development (this is why I have a Wii U). A few things I heard for it are they’re considering going back to an open world, but are trying to work out how to do a story that way as well; they’re considering what the graphics will be like; & I think that huge spider-boss we saw a while ago may be in it.

Also, when X, Bayonetta 2 & Smash Bros. release, that will help w/ sales.

Something that may have hurt sales was the Watch_Dogs delay.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There are homebrewers that release stuff for it. They had figured out how to exploit a bug using the game Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess on the original Wii that would allow you to install a homebrew channel on it. Among other things that homebrewers have made, there have been many unofficial ports of classic games that you could play on the Wii once you had.

Anonymous Coward says:

Or here is a novel idea...

Why not learn a little something from history and go the other way? Remember how popular the PS3 was when people found out that you could install Linux on it allowing you to do all kinds of different things with it that they never Sony never dreamed of. There were even people who had no interest in playing games that bought them strictly because of this. Of course that was before Sony stuck their head back up their ass and yanked the functionality in a later update. Or learn for id Software’s little experiment with releasing Quake with an open console that allowed people to freely develop mods for the game turning it into one of the biggest successful releases of all time, generating free R&D for the company to be used in later stunningly successful releases as well as dynamically expanding the viability window from what at the time was approximately 6 months that gamers would continue to play a game to several years that they would still had a viable product on the market. Nintendo could simply open up the Wii ecosystem and embrace those homebrewers and they would likely regain a huge competitive advantage even with inferior hardware. The units would likely start flying off the shelves when people found out it was open and new cool things started coming out for it from sources that they wouldn’t have to spend a dime on. But no that would make too much sense. They will never do that.

Jake says:

I think Nintendo’s problem is that they don’t realise -or maybe don’t to realise- that games consoles as we have understood the term until recently may not be around much longer. Why buy a separate device just for games when you can spend not a lot more money on one that can also double as a DVD/Blu-Ray player, stream from Netflix and let you check your Facebook page?

And the same goes for whatever they replace the 3DS with; they won’t be competing with a descendant of the PSP, they’ll be competing with the iPhone and the various Android tablets. And I dare say Nintendo could crowbar its way into a market that Apple and Google have got pretty much sewn up at the moment if they put their minds to it, but if they don’t put their minds to it now they’re going to have a rude shock in five years or so.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re: Re:

The Wii U comes w/ a Netflix app installed already. Along w/ Hulu Plus & some other streaming stuff I haven’t used.

It also has a pre-installed YouTube App, which I do use to watch some YouTube videos on my TV.

The Wii U also has a browser, but I don’t know it’s capabilities (I’ve heard it doesn’t like Flash). I have a computer for internet access.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re:

lol, this is what microsoft wants people to think anyway. They act like unlocking running netflix is innovation. Personally I think consoles aren’t going to be around much longer because people are going to realize they are just PCs with more DRM restrictions on them. As it is the only thing holding them up is that certain software is specially locked to only run on them.
Unlocking netflix and a browser on your console is hardly something people are going to cheer about. Once someone makes a decent couch friendly interface for PC that catches on, consoles are 100% useless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I disagree. When tablets first came out, I didn’t think they would be that successful since you are kind of limited in what you can do with them compared to what you can do with a laptop for the same price. The reason why consoles are successful is the same reason tablets are successful, they are appliances that are easy to use and are good at what they are good at the tasks they are designed for. What I see as their demise is when their functionality gets absorbed into another appliances functionality, in much the same way that GPS functionality has been absorbed into smart phones, such that GPS devices are really no longer necessary. I see something like the Apple TV or an Android TV where games can be purchased from the App Stores and downloaded directly to the TV with no need to have a separate console.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

And consoles for the most part are also an appliance designed predominantly for gaming. Sure they can often be hacked to do other things but they are really designed with that in mind. PC’s are really designed to pretty much be generic computers that can do whatever you want to make them do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Actually most consoles traditionally haven’t had more powerful hardware than PCs, however because they have fixed hardware specs the code can be written in specific ways, like writing specific code for the GPU directly, that optimize performance. When you have to code something to run on machines that could have many different components made by many different manufacturers interpreted by software drivers that have to be installed, you can’t do that sort of thing.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I never said they were more powerful, they are just regular full fledged PCs with most functionality locked through software. There absolutely is nothing wrong with standardizing a run of PCs, thats entirely a seperate thing. Standardizing absolutely will make things easier, although honestly they aren’t, we have too many competing standards anyway and everything is made general so it will run on multiplatforms.

Standardizing is not the issue at all, it’s just that taking PC hardware (standardized or not) and blocking people from using most software on it and pretending it’s something different, and then pretending you are innovating by adding back in some of the functionality that you blocked is just insulting people’s intelligence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

For most people, buying a TV or a whatever appliance you want to use as an example, they care predominately about 2 things other than price and durability: 1. Does it do what they bought it to do well? 2. Is it easy to use? Sure if it has added features that they find useful then that’s a bonus, but most of them aren’t really concerned with whether it COULD be used for something else but can’t because that functionality was disabled by the manufacturer. Most people don’t care. That’s one of the reasons so many of them buy Apple products and put up with Apple’s walled garden. They don’t care as long as it does what they bought it to do.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Yes, that’s true.. What I think the issue is going to be going forward is that PC hardware progress is slowing down tremendously. If these people are like me, they probably already have a PC that can easily do everything these consoles can anyway, and as far as I can see, the actual value being added by the console above that of the PC you already have is becoming less and less. Really the only thing I see that a console adds to someone who already has a decent PC is a good interface that is usable from a gamepad, and that won’t be the case for much longer. The exclusive software certainly helps them lock people in so they have no choice if they want certain titles, but how long are people going to continue making exclusive software for them if the value isn’t there for consumers?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I see a TV manufacturer, probably Samsung, integrating the necessary hardware with a customized version of Android to market a TV that has an integrated gaming console to compete with both console manufacturers and other TV manufacturers. That will be the beginning. The technology for this is already there.

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