Author Topic: I sent a letter to nintendo europe...  (Read 5970 times)

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Offline Rory C

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« on: February 05, 2003, 07:46:57 AM »
I sent this letter to Nintendo europes consumer services people some time before christmas, and since they haven't bothered to acknowledge me since, i thought I may as well share its contents with everyone I can, it's a bit on the long side, but please bear with me...

"Dear Mr Gosen:

I decided to abstain from purchasing a US imported Gamecube around this time last year and held out for the European release of the console on the back of the promises that you yourself had made regarding Nintendo’s future treatment of the European marketplace, looking back, I wish I hadn’t bothered.

As I write this I have just been informed of the European release date for Metroid Prime.  The 28th of March 2003, over four months after its US release.  You would think it would be a priority for Nintendo to release what is arguably their biggest title since Ocarina of Time in what is rapidly becoming the largest market for videogames as soon as was reasonably possible.  Instead, I have to wait what is an obscene length of time for the finished game to arrive whilst my flatmate plays the US version in the next room.

I appreciate that Europe can be a difficult market to tackle with its myriad cultures and languages, I also appreciate that Nintendo have a Pan-European language translation policy and that gamers expect flawless PAL conversions, and maybe a 60hz mode in their software, but these delays are getting beyond the joke.  I don’t claim to be an expert on games development but I refuse to believe that it takes 4 months to translate and optimise even a fairly text-heavy game such as Metroid prime, which, incidentally, isn’t nearly as text heavy as Zelda must have been, which arrived on these shores a mere couple of weeks after its US arrival.  Incidentally, my import copy of Metroid Fusion cost some ÂŁ15 less than it otherwise would have from the UK high street.  Without the hype from its big brother to fall back on, the game appears to have by all accounts flopped in the UK.  Would it not have made more sense to release the two games together in time for Christmas?  Nintendo seems very keen to promote the connectivity that exists between the Gamecube and Gameboy Advance.  I get the nagging suspicion that Metroid Prime is all but ready to go and is being held back for marketing purposes, the logic of which continues to elude me.

Much as I hate to say this I honestly believe that for all their ultimately hollow promises Nintendo’s treatment of their European fanbase has actually gone downhill since the dark days of the N64.  The sad fact is that Nintendo have almost nothing with which to market its console to the casual consumer this holiday season.  Seeing filler material such as Mario Party 4 being hyped as the next big thing is more than a little depressing.  Starfox’s combination of obscure licenses and a game that is frankly not up to the standards I would expect from a Nintendo published title will not help it shift hardware this Christmas, and the sad truth of the matter is that Mario Sunshine has come and gone.  Reiterating a list of games I probably own or have owned does not change the fact that Gamecube is currently being outsold on an almost 2 to 1 basis by its closest competitor the Xbox, a console that I personally believe has almost nothing going for it.  

Metroid Prime would have been the perfect game to show the atypical cars and guns demographic that make up the majority of the videogaming market the kind of superior product that Nintendo can offer, unfortunately by the time they find out it may already be to late.  Nintendo are currently on a slippery slope and the Gameboy Advance is not going to save its big brother from obscurity unless urgent action is taken.  Release dates are my biggest concern, but there are also other issues, such as the overpricing of GBA software that need to be addressed as well.  If the situation does not improve then I may be forced to join the ever growing import crowd and purchase an Import Gamecube from the US (alongside an NTSC compatible TV) and I may have to sell my PAL Gamecube to fund this decision, either that or it will be relegated to playing the abundance of cheap PAL second hand software.  There is almost no benefit (I am aware of issues of warranty) to owning a PAL Nintendo console anymore when my flatmate can play the newest Nintendo titles as soon as they hit the market, and substantially cheaper as well, and what of the quirkily innovative and enthralling Animal Crossing?  It looks like I may never get the chance to play this game.  Ever.

I hope you understand that I am not out bear a grudge, I am simply a concerned fan who feels that Nintendo are doing their fans (and themselves) a disservice by failing to keep up with the PAL market, I hope you try hard to address these issues for your companies own benefit as much as anyone else, and I look forward to seeing a change of policy towards Europe on the part of Nintendo in the future.

Sincerely,

Rory Cresswell
"

Offline baberg

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2003, 09:28:36 AM »
A few questions and comments:

- Did you send this by e-mail or by snail mail?
- 4 months for translation time is not unreasonable - Zelda: Wind Waker is taking that long from Japan to the US, and there is no NTSC/PAL conversion necessary.
- Nintendo doesn't control the price of games, retailers do.
- Do you think Nintendo cares if you buy an import GC or if you buy one from the UK?  They receive money either way.
- How much time does it take games on other consoles to localize for Europe?
- How big a market is Europe, as in, how many consoles are sold per month?  I'm honestly asking, I don't know any figures.
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Offline Ian Sane

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2003, 10:12:07 AM »
"- Do you think Nintendo cares if you buy an import GC or if you buy one from the UK? They receive money either way."

I'm not sure if that's true.  I would assume Nintendo Europe only gets a cut from games sold that they produced.  The money from American games sold to European customers goes in Nintendo of America's pocket.  I don't know this as a fact but I think it's a fair assumption.

Offline Kai

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2003, 10:53:44 AM »
I'm Australian, and I know if I had realised the implications of being a PAL gamer (relatively limited choice of games, long waits for games and new hardware) then I would have bought an import cube from the start.

Now I read articles where Microsoft are boasting about their gains in Australia, the fact that their XBox apparently has a bigger market concentration here than anywhere else in the world.

A lot of people seem to have the attitude "Australia is a small market, they just aren't important" However MS are treating Australia/New Zealand as an important market. More importantly, they are treating the popularity of the XBox here as a marketing victory, whereas it has more to do with Nintendo's lack of marketing, imo.

Offline Kai

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2003, 11:00:08 AM »
Quote

Originally posted by: baberg
A few questions and comments:


- Nintendo doesn't control the price of games, retailers do.





http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/27848.html

"Nintendo and several of its distributors have been hit by the European Commission for total fines of €167.8 million for "colluding to prevent trade in low-priced products."

Furthermore -

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/29186.html

"Nintendo has been widely criticised for its failure to bring key titles to Europe until months after their release in the USA, and much of the dismal performance of the GameCube over Christmas in Europe was attributed to the lack of hit titles such as Metroid Prime and Resident Evil Zero, which drove sales of the console in the USA. The ability to easily import such titles may hurt retail sales of GameCube software in the UK even further. "

http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,57560,00.html

Animal Crossing nominated for game of the year at the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' 2003 Interactive Achievement Awards. Yet we Pal gamers won't see it. I just can't imagine this happening on the PS2 or the XBox. This is a highly-rated, some would say seminal game, and yet in order to play it we need an import cube, a freeloader, and have to import at great cost, a version that only plays on new tv's, and is inferior to the Pal versions of games we are accustomed to playing.

We have made it clear that we would be happy to play the US version, with no further changes made, and no e-reader support. Yet Nintendo decide on the basis of US sales not to release it in places where, fwiw, I think it would do very well.  

Offline alexzman

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2003, 11:27:38 AM »
It was more or less a fine for limiting the amount of consoles going into Europe to keep the price (and demand) up. Nintendo only suggests a price. That's why you hear something like, "... for a suggested retail price of...". In theory a store could only charge .99 cents for all games, but it would be the retailers loss, not Nintendo's.

I belive Nintendo, and other console makers, don't see Europe and Australia as key places for a console to become succesful. Most of their attention gets put on Japan and North America, since we make up 4/5 of video game sales. And also, in Europe games must be translated into multiple languages more the diverse countries in Europe. It's easy for Japan and NA, it's just Japanese and English (occasionaly Spanish), respectively.
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Offline baberg

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2003, 12:03:56 PM »
Quote

Originally posted by: Kai
Quote

Originally posted by: baberg
A few questions and comments:

- Nintendo doesn't control the price of games, retailers do.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/27848.html

"Nintendo and several of its distributors have been hit by the European Commission for total fines of €167.8 million for "colluding to prevent trade in low-priced products."
Now that's a horse of a different color.  In that case, Nintendo was severely limiting the amount of games provided to retailers, and threatening to cut their supply off completely if they complained about it.  There, Nintendo was controlling the retailers with threats and, while it's poor business practice and illegal, the retailers were bullied into charging more than necessary.  The retailers still had control over the price, but nobody exercised that control.  Again, it's a different situation

So yes, Nintendo was/is controlling the price, but it's being done indirectly.  Directly, retailers still sell for whatever price they choose; a primary example is Best Buy in the US selling Beach Spikers for $9.99, while other locations still sell for $49.99.    
Quote

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/29186.html

"Nintendo has been widely criticised for its failure to bring key titles to Europe until months after their release in the USA, and much of the dismal performance of the GameCube over Christmas in Europe was attributed to the lack of hit titles such as Metroid Prime and Resident Evil Zero, which drove sales of the console in the USA. The ability to easily import such titles may hurt retail sales of GameCube software in the UK even further. "
This reads more like an editorial than a news story.  The Freeloader ships to the UK, and the author (a website no less) begins speaking of the horrible selection of Gamecube games.  Show me a story with numbers supporting this position, and I'll change my mind.  Statistics on the number of games imported to Europe from other regions would be nice.  
Quote

We have made it clear that we would be happy to play the US version [of Animal Crossing], with no further changes made, and no e-reader support. Yet Nintendo decide on the basis of US sales not to release it in places where, fwiw, I think it would do very well.
Not to be condescending, but how have you "made it clear"?  Have you written letters to Nintendo of Europe declaring your interest in it?  Have you signed petitions (not online ones) stating your support for the title?  Have you called and spoken to Nintendo representatives about your interest in the title?  

If you have, then I apologize again for my condescending attitude, but it's been my experience that the most anybody (including myself) will do when they want a game is talk online about it.
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Offline nolimit19

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2003, 12:47:42 PM »
nintendo should stop having the retailers sell games for them, and open up their own chain of stores....kind of like apple. they could make more money that way, and u could always be guarrented certain games. they should rent games as well so we would have to rely on the crappy blockbuster. it would be so much more efficient, and nintendo would make more money.
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.

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Offline Infernal Monkey

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2003, 01:03:14 PM »
Wow, very well written Rory C.
I enjoyed every word in that letter, and I agree 100%. I too, fail to see why it's taken Nintendo so long to convert Metroid Prime. Splinter Cell was released in the same time frame in the US, yet it appeared on European (Even Australian) shelves a mere four weeks later, fully translated into different languages, and this too is a text heavy game.

I really wish Nintendo would take their fans seriously. It's almost like they're laughing at us because we don't live in the USA.

Plus, I'm still sore over the whole Animal Crossing issue. Sure, Nintendo still have it on their Australian release list for this year, but... Why? The sequel is around the corner for the rest of the world. First they promised us Doshin the Giant instead of Animal Crossing, but we didn't get that either. Now there are rumours going around that Nintendo think the European audience won't enjoy the odd gameplay featured in AC. Yeah Nintendo, take a gander over at the sales of The Sims on PC (Even PS2) in Europe. See all the big numbers? Wow, maybe some of us do enjoy Life sims! Shock!. Besides, Sony themselves have learnt that we DO enjoy strange gameplay. That's why they converted Vib Ribbon and Klonoa: Volleyball on PSOne here. You won't find them in the US...


 

Offline Kai

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2003, 06:51:16 PM »
Edit/deleted double post.

Offline Kai

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2003, 07:24:34 PM »
Edit/deleted triple post.  

Offline Kai

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2003, 09:01:18 PM »
Quote

Originally posted by: baberg

Quote

So yes, Nintendo was/is controlling the price, but it's being done indirectly.



You said, in response to Rory's note "Nintendo doesn't control the price of games, retailers do." First of all, I wanted to point out that Nintendo had recently been fined for "colluding to prevent trade in low-priced products." You can hmm and ha about "directly" or "indirectly" technically, we don't disagree on this issue.

You said "Do you think Nintendo cares if you buy an import GC or if you buy one from the UK? They receive money either way." That's your opinion. I agree with Ian and think that Nintendo Europe might care.

Quote

This reads more like an editorial than a news story.


That's because it's (at least in part) an op ed piece.

Quote

The Freeloader ships to the UK, and the author (a website no less) begins speaking of the horrible selection of Gamecube games. Show me a story with numbers supporting this position, and I'll change my mind. Statistics on the number of games imported to Europe from other regions would be nice.


I'm not interested in changing your opinion, just in stating mine. Any consolidation or shoring-up of your opinion that you require is something you should research.  

Also I'm Australian not European as previously stated. So no, whilst I haven't written to Nintendo Europe I have however written to Nintendo Australia.  

Offline BlkPaladin

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I sent a letter to nintendo europe...
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2003, 09:12:16 PM »
I doubt that Nintendo is doing it anymore. There are ways  for the Manafacture to control prices but fortunatly most of them are illegal. The price of games depends on several factors: how much the retailer is buying, which middle man they are using. (The Video game market uses middle men unlike the Auto Industry which has no middle man its shipped directly to the dealerships and the manufacture and the car sales man makes an average of $10,000 profit each on each vehical sold. All vehicles cost between 3,000 and 6,000 US to make and are sold at 16k-to-100+k each.)

By law the video game publisher can only set a MSRP, and sell the games to the retailers at a set markup field. (Like in Wisconsin certain products can only be marked up 20% it orginal price (gas etc....) Its by and large up the retailers to set their prices.
Stupidity is lost on my. Then again I'm almost always lost.