Thursday, 14 November 2013

How to hamper a party

  Well, it’s the morning after, and true to form, the Internet is weighing on my enthusiasm.

  Funny how time does that.  A Nintendo Direct launches choked full of fun new games announcements and I am stoked.  I admit I checked a few articles about the PS4 and others, but really, nothing has changed overnight on that score.  The only thing dampening my spirits for Nintendo is the overarching negativity of the Internet.  Well, that and a few legitimately confusing actions by Nintendo.

  I don’t play in multiple regions, but I, living in the American region, in Canada specifically, have found plenty of instances when region locking has become a pain.  Can anyone else remember the Operation Rainfall?  News breaks today that Nintendo is indeed moving slowly towards unified accounts, but its regions remain disjointed; specifically, users who have a balance in multiple currencies will lose the currency of their non-homeland.  Wiped clean.  Goodbye.  You don’t have to be affected by this directly to get all kinds of bad vibes from it.

  There’s no good reason for Nintendo to talk about deleting balances; even if there was a balance that couldn’t be reconciled with the total, you could wipe the balance and offer equal eShop credit.  Ta da!  Potentially embarrassing story about Nintendo stealing children’s lunch money solved.

  The bigger questions revolve around how region locking is causing this problem in the first place.  Superficially, Nintendo isn’t a bank and isn’t in the business of buying currency – it would be the easiest way to lose money, and for a company that barely balances this quarter, and has harsh news coming at the end of the fiscal year to explain why they can’t move 9 million WiiU consoles, the logical idea is that they want to keep the bad news to a minimum for shareholders.  But this is still my best guess, and smacks of Nintendo not trying hard enough to outthink the trap rather than bite the bad-news bullet.  Surely there is something else I haven’t seen causing Nintendo to contemplate petty theft.

  All of this can’t crimp my joy going into the holidays for the 3DS, including Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.  Nor does it change my view of Nintendo, much.  While Nintendo’s family of gaming companies continues to be in my view the best in the business, the business side of the family continues to give me pause.  Who thinks up this kind of policy, even as it pertains to customers who are “breaking the rules.”  It would be a lot easier to see Nintendo’s side of the story if we knew why these are the rules. 
Why should there be region locking?  What does region locking deliver to the business?

  I leave my readers with this thought:

  Sony recently had region locking in its business (as in the Playstations 3 and 4; the Vita TV is region locked and only announced in Japan).  Sony likewise did not balance the books this quarter, and this is because of the weak yen, while their Xperia brand cell phones sold well.  The Playstation 4 is not yet available as of this writing.  This probably shouldn’t be meaningful … Sony not profitable?  When did that become news?  But still … its company I’m sure Nintendo doesn’t want to keep.

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