Author Topic: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark  (Read 5255 times)

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Offline Bizzy_Fatso

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Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« on: November 14, 2012, 04:59:16 PM »
First off, just want to say I've been a fan of Nintendo since the NES, but I also own and play other systems.  I've been increasingly frustrated at Nintendo as the Wii U launch date inches closer and there is still so much we don't know about the system.  They have deliberately withheld information about core features of the console, including online infrastructure, chat, etc., not only from consumers but even from the gaming press up to this point. 


Why is this a problem?  Well, if the Wii was any indication, your best bet if you want a Wii U before the holiday season is over is to preorder.  So, Nintendo expects you to preorder their console without feeling the need to tell you what it does.  To me, this reeks of arrogance and is a big insult to our intelligence.  Why do I feel like no one is taking Nintendo to task for this?  From what I've seen, the gaming press (this site included) has been basically silent on this issue (aside from some occasional jokes on the podcast).  Is anyone else annoyed about this, and do you all feel like Nintendo should be taken to task for this strategy which feels very hostile as a consumer/gamer?

Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 05:10:10 PM »
I think the reason you don't hear people complain about it is it's pretty much par for the course with Nintendo. This is the same PR strategy they've been using for a few years now, so most people are kind of used to it by now.

I'm also not sure I'd characterize it as "deliberately withholding" information. There's an old saying that you should never ascribe to malice what could be more easily explained by incompetence, and I think this is the case here. Nintendo is just not good at this kind of thing, and they pretty much never have been. They just used to be better at hiding how bad they were by not even trying.
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Offline MrPhishfood

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 05:25:59 PM »
Not really. Early adopters are usually people who are very tuned in about these things. I think the best way to show people how the online works is for them find out for themselves, some things can't be fully explained with words.

Did Microsoft or Sony have such clear explanations about their online systems pre-launch? Its been so long I can't remember.

Offline Bizzy_Fatso

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 05:29:23 PM »
Well they're certainly deliberately withholding it....it may not be driven by malice, but it's certainly not accidental.  To be honest, I can't think of any logical reasoning to explain their strategy.  If they know that the features are half-baked or lackluster, they're just going to have a bunch of angry consumers who feel let down on launch day and some percentage of whom will sour on Nintendo as a company.  This is not a good strategy - it's much better to be honest and transparent up front so that consumers at least feel like you are treating them with respect and not trying to dupe them into parting with their hard-earned cash when they otherwise wouldn't.  If the features are earth-shatteringly awesome and move the industry forward, they would only benefit by hyping them up prior to launch so they get more press and bigger lines on launch day.  They would also potentially get a portion of gamers willing to skip picking up a title like Call of Duty in order to get the Wii U version if they knew that the online integration was going to be better or at least on-par with its 360 counterpart.


Sadly...I think the truth probably is that the features don't compete with what is and has been available on competing consoles for years, and Nintendo knows it.  They're probably trying to avoid the bad press they would get prior to launch day so that they still get the lines and the preorders they desperately need in order to have a successful launch.  Is this malice?  Maybe not...but it certainly isn't putting the customer first, nor is it treating all of us the way we deserve to be treated after we have supported the company for so long.

Offline Bizzy_Fatso

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 05:34:05 PM »
Not really. Early adopters are usually people who are very tuned in about these things. I think the best way to show people how the online works is for them find out for themselves, some things can't be fully explained with words.

Did Microsoft or Sony have such clear explanations about their online systems pre-launch? Its been so long I can't remember.

The original XBox had XBox Live added during its lifecycle, and the XBox 360 launched with an included headset and live trial.  The service was a pretty known quantity by the time the 360 launched...it certainly wasn't the big mystery that the Nintendo Network has been.  When preorders for Wii U started (and quickly sold out in most places), we still didn't know if we were going to be inputting friend codes and using Wii Speak!

Offline UncleBob

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 05:44:56 PM »
Oh, I do love the Entitled Consumer Mentality.

As Insanolord said, this is SOP with Nintendo - down to the letter.  Nintendo has always been a company that holds their cards close to their chest.

The fact that you've bought a few Nintendo systems doesn't mean that Nintendo should change their entire corporate strategy to suit you.  If you don't like it, that's perfectly fine.  You have a few options open to you: A) Don't buy it.  Go play a 360 or a PS3 if you feel that Microsoft or Sony will treat you better. B) Buy it and learn that, much like any relationship, you can't go into it expecting to change the partner. C) Buy it, then come to random Nintendo and complain about it.

I mean, it's not like Nintendo is saying "Here's a box.  Buy it."  They've shown what it can do.  All kinds of things.  If those aren't the things you want, then don't buy the system.  If there comes a day when they do offer what you want, then buy the system.

If Nintendo goes out of their way making vague promises (like "Oh, we're going to support online game play on the GameCube") and those promises fall through, they'll have fans complaining about it 11 years later.  If they don't make these promises... well, fans will still complain about it later.

The only way they'll make people happy is by making great games and giving the system great support.  What you're asking for is more marketing BS and promotion - which means absolutely nothing for the system itself.
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 05:47:18 PM »
Basically everyone who's getting the system at launch committed to doing so months ago, when we knew far, far less than we do now. By a week from now there will be all kinds of first-hand information available to people before the second shipment even hits.
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Offline Bizzy_Fatso

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2012, 06:12:38 PM »
Oh, I do love the Entitled Consumer Mentality.

I don't think taking a company to task for asking people to commit $300+ to purchase their product without disclosing core pieces of functionality of said product is being overly entitled.  In fact, I think it's just good common sense.  Expecting a company to tailor their offerings to what you want is being entitled - expecting a company to tell you what their product does is just being a good consumer.  Can you imagine a company like Apple announcing a new phone or tablet and starting preorders without telling people what new features it brings?  If they did, the press would be all over them, and rightfully so.  Nintendo is getting a pass and it shouldn't.

Offline Adrock

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2012, 06:14:50 PM »
Yeah, early adopters don't really need or care about this information because they're going to buy it anyway. They might complain about it, but they're still going to buy it anyway.

For me, I was undecided due to a combination of available funds and whether I needed one this year. Well, I scrounged up the money and really, I don't need one to live or whatever, but I know I'm going to get one eventually so I'd rather not deal with shortages. Even though I pre-ordered in September, Nintendo could have announced this week that there were still Friend Codes and that Miiverse calls my mother a whore every time I start up the Wii U and I still would have said, "Just shut up and give me one." That's early adoption mentality and Nintendo knows it. I wish Nintendo was better at relaying information to their consumers, but they aren't. That's the reason, even if it's not a good one.
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2012, 06:18:04 PM »
What haven't they told us at this point? Two weeks ago you might have had an argument, but by now we've had events focusing on the online stuff, as well as god knows how many Iwata Asks things and the UncleBob's Secret Identity Bill Trinen thing in the last couple days. What is there that we don't know that's anywhere near a selling point?
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Offline Bizzy_Fatso

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2012, 06:22:26 PM »
Nintendo could have announced this week that there were still Friend Codes and that Miiverse calls my mother a whore every time I start up the Wii U and I still would have said, "Just shut up and give me one." That's early adoption mentality and Nintendo knows it. I wish Nintendo was better at relaying information to their consumers, but they aren't. That's the reason, even if it's not a good one.

lol....good answer.  I preordered as well, despite all my ranting and frustration.  I've owned every Nintendo console, so I knew I'd cave eventually anyway, and I didn't want to deal with the same nightmare that getting my Wii ended up becoming.  I just wish I could go into the launch feeling completely positive about my purchase and about Nintendo as a company, but it's stuff like this...   Even if the information had been disappointing, I'd have felt better about my purchase if they had just been more open about it.

Offline Bizzy_Fatso

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2012, 06:27:06 PM »
What haven't they told us at this point? Two weeks ago you might have had an argument, but by now we've had events focusing on the online stuff, as well as god knows how many Iwata Asks things and the UncleBob's Secret Identity Bill Trinen thing in the last couple days. What is there that we don't know that's anywhere near a selling point?

Good question - is there a good place to go where someone has compiled all the available info?  Maybe this is already known, but will the voice headsets be available at launch?  Is there any cross-game chat or how does voice chat work within a game?  How do you go about managing your friend list/adding people?  Can I see what my friends are playing and join their game? 

Offline UncleBob

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2012, 06:29:02 PM »
core pieces of functionality of said product

You put shiny round things into it and play games on the bright flashy box you already have and now, on the new, smaller flashy thingee it comes with.
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Offline Adrock

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2012, 06:31:24 PM »
I wouldn't buy one if I didn't feel completely positive about the purchase. That's why I didn't get as DS or 3DS at launch. It's a lot of money. There's never been a great debate with me when it came to spending. I'm cheap careful.
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2012, 06:33:30 PM »
Maybe this is already known, but will the voice headsets be available at launch?

Headset support is there, but all the headsets confirmed to exist are third party. It apparently supports USB headsets, though, so any old one should work.

Quote
Is there any cross-game chat or how does voice chat work within a game?

No cross-game chat at this point, right now voice chat is only in-game, and not all games support it.
 
Quote
How do you go about managing your friend list/adding people?  Can I see what my friends are playing and join their game? 
I'm not sure they've answered those specifically, but since you can do that on the 3DS I'd be surprised if it weren't there on the Wii U as well.
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Offline Bizzy_Fatso

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2012, 06:42:10 PM »
Thanks!


Maybe this is already known, but will the voice headsets be available at launch?

Headset support is there, but all the headsets confirmed to exist are third party. It apparently supports USB headsets, though, so any old one should work.

Quote
Is there any cross-game chat or how does voice chat work within a game?

No cross-game chat at this point, right now voice chat is only in-game, and not all games support it.
 
Quote
How do you go about managing your friend list/adding people?  Can I see what my friends are playing and join their game? 
I'm not sure they've answered those specifically, but since you can do that on the 3DS I'd be surprised if it weren't there on the Wii U as well.

Offline Ian Sane

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2012, 06:57:52 PM »
This "strategy", which I think is more a clueless company stumbling around blind than anything intentional, is the reason I'm iffy about the specs.  They were quiet about the specs on the Wii and it was to hide the knowledge of crappy specs.  But they did that with the 3DS and those specs weren't anything to want to hide.  So which approach do I assume Nintendo is doing here?  Can't tell so I might as well play it safe and wait until people get ahold of the thing and rip it apart.

The problem with the situation is that the only logical benefit in withholding this sort of information is to intentionally deceive so it looks bad.  I suppose the other explanation to do it intentionally would be paranoia of all your "brilliant" ideas being stolen but at the level Nintendo does this that comes across as delusional, which isn't a good public image either.

Offline Louieturkey

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2012, 08:03:31 PM »
The problem with the situation is that the only logical benefit in withholding this sort of information is to intentionally deceive so it looks bad.  I suppose the other explanation to do it intentionally would be paranoia of all your "brilliant" ideas being stolen but at the level Nintendo does this that comes across as delusional, which isn't a good public image either.
This is what they've always done.  I don't know why you think this time is any different.  They are always paranoid that someone else will steal their ideas and run with them.  It happened again this current gen (before Wii U) with motion control.  They did analog and rumble and that was used by the competition.  Their game ideas are stolen and shoehorned into new mascots for other companies.  I don't see how it's delusional when the reasons they are paranoid actually happen.

Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2012, 09:38:49 PM »
Nintendo is the same Nintendo they've always been. They usually learn from their mistakes, although not always the right lesson, but they're essentially the same company they've been for at least the last 30 years.
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Offline rlse9

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2012, 09:57:25 PM »
Does anyone else see a similarity between the Wii U launch and the Windows 8/RT launch?  I listen to a lot of tech podcasts and read several gaming sites and in both cases, it seems there is a lot of confusion about what the products are, even among enthusiasts.  I was reading a thread on a different forum earlier today asking if regular Wiimotes could be used with the Wii U and there were several responses, most of which were people not really being sure of the answer.  I could only imagine how lost the average consumer is going to be walking into stores this holiday season not understanding that the Wii U is a new system, not just a peripheral for the Wii.  And on the Microsoft side, I can't imagine how many Surface table buyers who are going to be baffled by the fact that their Windows tablet somehow doesn't run their Windows software.  I guess in that way it's a good thing that they're not making the Gamepad available to buy separately at launch because I think it'd lead to more confusion and Wii owners trying to buy something they can't use.

Microsoft and Nintendo are multi-billion dollar companies so I guess they know what they're doing but it seems to me that having confused consumers is not a good thing.

Offline EasyCure

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2012, 10:26:06 PM »
I'm sorry but I honestly feel this thread is pointless. There's been more than enough information on what Wii U is to give anyone who really wants one a clear picture in time to pre-order.

Personally, I'm easy to please so they had me at "no friend codes". Ok, honestly they had me at the GamePad, but not right away. It was a cool idea for sure and I wouldn't say I was "sold" on the idea right off the bat, I just had to see the games that went with it. Once that came out, I knew I wanted one day 1.

Everything you've mentioned not knowing has already been discussed in the last few weeks at least, and I personally think they're incredibly MINOR details..
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Offline Adrock

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2012, 10:33:26 PM »
They had me at "Nintendo."
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Offline EasyCure

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2012, 11:16:15 PM »
They had me at "Nintendo."

Me too, can't lie. No matter what happens, Nintendo 1st party titles will always be worth it, so getting one is a no brainer. If the 3rd party support isn't there again this time around, I still don't know for sure I'd pick up another console. Besides the fact that PS4 and Next-NextBox are around the corner so it wouldn't be wise to purchase PS360, I just don't know if the newer systems are worth it considering I don't play games like I used to.

That's exactly why I'm content with the fact that they had me at "nintendo"
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2012, 12:11:16 AM »
They had me at "Nintendo."

That's really it for me. Regardless of online systems or third parties, I have total confidence that the games Nintendo themselves will make for the system will be worth the price of admission on their own. Everything else is just gravy.
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Offline Tamazoid

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Re: Nintendo's Wii U Launch Strategy - Keep Consumers In The Dark
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2012, 12:13:22 AM »
They had me at "Nintendo."


Same here. Patcher's right for once, Nintendo could release a card board box with "Nintendo" written on it and i'd probably buy it.
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