Nintendo Doesn't Have a Understanding of Why They've Been in the Weeds

On Wednesday, while I was watching the Nintendo Direct presentation, a feeling of pride washed over me as I saw them attracting the 3rd party support they haven't had for the last two-ish decades. Having LA Noir, Doom, and Wolfenstein II come to the Switch is a big step. Around that same time, I heard a rumor about Nintendo developing an achievement system which people have enjoyed on Microsoft and Sony Consoles for two generations. Way back when we were just hearing details about the Switch for the first time, I was so happy I could cry when they announced the Switch would support Unreal Engine 4, which was an unreal (sorry) decision to exclude from the Wii U. Nintendo seems to be learning from their past failures, sometimes, but, I can never tell if they're thinking about why.

Nintendo has been having a difficult transition into the modern era of consoles. Until just now, with the Switch, potentially, Nintendo has been pegged as the company with all the "little kid games." As Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Kirby, and the other members of the classic Nintendo roster aged, and saw less and less fresh paint, interest waned in these beloved characters. Other franchises were shelved like, Metroid, Star Fox, and F-Zero for god knows what reason and the new internal IPs over at Nintendo were coming to a fast halt. Things were stagnating. To aid in this already declining company, their inability to attract 3rd party support was hurting them badly, leaving them with two gaping wounds which remained unaddressed for 3 generations of consoles, the Gamecube, Wii, and Wii U.

The Switch is changing that on several fronts by attracting the 3rd party support, creating a niche with their high-powered portable console, and generating new 1st party IPs that people care about. It feels like Nintendo is learning something about creating good games and a solid console to play them on again. But, all of this is done with a certain flair that makes me unsure if they are internalizing the reason why they are modernizing.

The only way an online shooter will ever be fun for me is if I'm playing with friends. Harassment, level of competency, and a need for social connections makes sure of that and I'm not the only one who is that way. So when I play one of these games, I need online co-op. When Splatoon came out on the Wii U I was positive that it would have that feature and I was also, sorely disappointed. I think most people were. So again when Splatoon 2 was announced, I was positive it would have online co-op and it did... sort of. You can play with your friends in normal online matches if you're willing to fight against them most of the time. During Splatfests, you're shit out of luck. Salmon Run was exactly the type of thing that could have remedied this problem but then it turned out Salmon Run wasn't always available. 

The Switch has no voice chat functionality but, has a companion app for smart phones, which not everyone has. It was another situation which made very little sense. Nintendo knew people wanted voice chat but implemented it in the most obtuse way imaginable. This is a reoccurring theme. If I keep making examples, I could go for god knows how long. Nintendo always seems to understand something is wrong in a very vague sort of way and addresses it but, it's always off.

Nintendo knows  they have a horrendous problem in their production line for everything from consoles to amiibos. They'll make a statement about why the shortage is happening but they don't fix their production line. Maybe that's a good way of thinking about the company at large. They know there may be a problem but, they never really go about fixing it. Before it's all the way sorted, they wander off to the next task, leaving the last one still incomplete. If Nintendo wants to maintain the solid crawl they have going out of the giant hole they've dug for themselves, they're going to have to go a little deeper into the why of the changes they endeavor to make.