Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

NOA's Reggie Fils-Aime skirts region issues

Ross Miller

There are always two ways to look at every situation, and the best businessmen are the ones who can convince you that their perspective is right. In a string of interviews lately, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has aptly spun the region situations into a pleasant bullet point. Let's look at his argument.

In an interview with MTV's Stephen Totilo, Fils-Aime was questioned about the disparity between the US and Japanese Virtual Console lineup, where the US was receiving around half the titles going to Japan. In his words, some games "may make perfect sense in Japan but we don't think in our marketplace have a lot of potential." Translation: why waste the megabytes on titles that didn't have the popularity?

However, the cost for Nintendo to put a a title on a server is minimal and builds reputation to a brand for supporting its fans. There is no shelf space to fight for, and we know Nintendo are wizards with their emulators. Even if the title only appeals to a niche audience, that's still money for intangible property. Forget Mother 1 and 3, with this talk we're afraid they might skip over uploading cult-favorite Earthbound. Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone will want Goldeneye.

As for the timing of VC releases, Fils-Aime told Totilo in an update that the release of popular titles such as Super Mario World will be "a bit more strategic ... If there's a month where we don't have a fantastic lineup of Nintendo-packaged software, that's where I want to release a great SNES game or a great N64 game to maintain the momentum." We can't fault Fils-Aime for smart business tactics, but we're hoping Nintendo doesn't rely on their library of classics as a crutch during a drought, or overestimate the value of retro titles.

In another interview via Second Life with Reuters (Fils-Aimes' purported avatar is pictured), the NOA President discussing the region locked issue. He makes a valid point about technical issues (NTSC vs. PAL resolutions), but what about Japan titles? As Game|Life's Chris Kohler points out, Japan also sports the US-favored NTSC format. Play-Asia testers are "confident to confirm that a full region lockout exists."

The DS has no region encoding whatsoever, and that sure hasn't hurt the sales in any country. When will Nintendo's home console sector apply the portable sector's philosophy? Will we see enlightenment in their Wii successor, or must we keep to our hack-friendly solutions?

See Also:
Comparing the Virtual Console lineup by region

Read -- Nintendo Exec Predicts Wii Future, Chances of 'GoldenEye' On Console
Read -- Nintendo's Fils-Aime on Wii and Second Life (Reuters)

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr