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3DSWii

Does Nintendo Hate Excitebots?

by Jonathan Metts - May 16, 2009, 10:20 am PDT
Total comments: 63 Source: Gamesutra

It wasn't exactly a crowded month, as Excitebots was the only Wii release from Nintendo in April, and there weren't any major third-party Wii games released either. This robust sequel to ExciteTruck (a game that sold quite well, being a Wii launch title) didn't even have to compete with one of Nintendo's GameCube remakes in terms of new releases.

We all know that Nintendo's catalog releases have been mega-blockbusters over many months and even years. "Evergreen" titles like Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii deserve their success, and Nintendo is encouraging new Wii owners to pick up these games through continued marketing efforts. But as I ponder on the next episode of Radio Free Nintendo, could worthy new releases be suffering under the weight of these mega-hits?

As a relatively small company, Nintendo of America seems unable or unwilling to devote resources to all its games. It's no secret that the debut of Excitebots was, in game industry terms, a secret. Other than the standard press release, Nintendo offered no promotion at all for this game, despite fans and critics (including NWR) saying it's one of the best racing games on the system. Even Nintendo's own, insular promotion tools have so far been withheld for Excitebots. As of this writing, the official Nintendo home page has nary a mention of the game (see screenshot), while the website does push Penguin and Friends and DLC for Animal Crossing: City Folk. Excitebots hasn't exactly been showcased on the Nintendo Channel, either -- the lone trailer is currently on page 8 of 12, below videos for 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl and multiple spots for World of Goo, not to mention third-party tripe like Imagine Music Fest. Nintendo's other first-party game from April, Rhythm Heaven for DS, has an entire page of videos as well as a playable demo. While Excitebots has been on shelves less than a month, it's already disappearing from any official place where consumers might learn about it.

Not every game can get the star treatment, I realize that. Nintendo is clearly obsessed with Punch-Out right now, and that's fine. But Excitebots is worthy of more love than this, not only from the press (who have delivered) but from the game's own publisher and retail partners. It shouldn't be hard to sell this game. After all, it's basically Mario Kart with robots... and it even comes with the Wii Wheel (optional) that kids and grandparents seem to love so much. You could also present it to traditional gamers as an off-road Burnout, or to lapsed/nostalgic gamers as the modern sequel to Excitebike. But for now, most of these people don't even know the game exists.

We can only hope that when the game finally gets a release date in Europe, Australia, and Japan, Nintendo's branches in those regions will push it harder. It's not too late in America, either -- but if Nintendo doesn't step up efforts soon, this stellar arcade racer could fall into obscurity.

Talkback

nickmitchMay 16, 2009

I just wanna point out that Excitebots did manage to get mentioned in two newsletter e-mails.  One was for "Wii News: April Edition" and the other was just for Excitebots.  Punch-Out!! got two of such emails and was at the top of the May Edition.

They did a few small things right when it came out -- I'm sure it was on the official website for a week, and that Nintendo Channel trailer was on page one at some point.  But my point is that Nintendo has moved on, with Punch-Out already receiving orders of magnitude more promotion that Excitebots ever got prior to its release.  I'm not begrudging Punch-Out that attention, but it certainly seems to be coming at the expense of other games that are just as great.

I'm starting to blame NOA more and more, I think they don't understand that Nintendo truly is a broad spectrum company, and that while Iwata
intentds that Nintendo serve all gamers and all sorts of definitions of gaming, Reggie and Co. are starting to narrow their focus more and more to the exclusion of many titles.

And I agree, Nintendo NEEDS to advertise games. Just look at what Nintendo's advertising did for Professor Layton with that recent Lisa
Kudrow commercial. The advertisement may not come in traditional forms, i.e. Brain Age Point of purchase, months-later tv commercials,
ambassador parties, etc., but they still need to get the word out.

Although... I'm not one to think the excite franchise was that strong to begin with. It's always felt very arcade to me, and the sort of
thing a hardcore gamer would dig at launch, but with less appeal later on, especially to a larger audience.

broodwarsMay 16, 2009

I really don't understand Nintendo these days.  They do that last-minute piss-poor marketing for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and that game sells below expectations.  Then they do that massive viral marketing campaign for Smash Bros. Brawl, which I think we can all agree was brilliant and paid off tremendously when the game came out.  And then they go and announce Excitebots at the last minute, and the game unsurprisingly sells poorly.  Really, what were they expecting would happen?  Excitebots isn't my kind of game, but from all accounts it is a good game and didn't deserve the treatment Nintendo gave it.

Quote from: broodwars

I really don't understand Nintendo these days.  They do that last-minute piss-poor marketing for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and that game sells below expectations.  Then they do that massive viral marketing campaign for Smash Bros. Brawl, which I think we can all agree was brilliant and paid off tremendously when the game came out.  And then they go and announce Excitebots at the last minute, and the game unsurprisingly sells poorly.  Really, what were they expecting would happen?  Excitebots isn't my kind of game, but from all accounts it is a good game and didn't deserve the treatment Nintendo gave it.

I tend to think that the great Smash bros. Brawl blog was Japan-oriented.

I think that Nintendo's marketing has been very strong on some points, like the Wii would like to play campaign, and the female oriented DS tv ads featuring games from nintendogs to professor layton and stars from America Ferrarra to Lisa Kudrow. I also think their marketing for Wii Fit was pretty awesome.

However, I don't think they've created a repeatable formula for marketing, or have a template for success. I wonder whether they've identified what works and what doesn't in their marketing programs.

broodwarsMay 16, 2009

Quote from: Kairon

Quote from: broodwars

I really don't understand Nintendo these days.  They do that last-minute piss-poor marketing for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and that game sells below expectations.  Then they do that massive viral marketing campaign for Smash Bros. Brawl, which I think we can all agree was brilliant and paid off tremendously when the game came out.  And then they go and announce Excitebots at the last minute, and the game unsurprisingly sells poorly.  Really, what were they expecting would happen?  Excitebots isn't my kind of game, but from all accounts it is a good game and didn't deserve the treatment Nintendo gave it.

I tend to think that the great Smash bros. Brawl blog was Japan-oriented.

I think that Nintendo's marketing has been very strong on some points, like the Wii would like to play campaign, and the female oriented DS tv ads featuring games from nintendogs to professor layton and stars from America Ferrarra to Lisa Kudrow. I also think their marketing for Wii Fit was pretty awesome.

However, I don't think they've created a repeatable formula for marketing, or have a template for success. I wonder whether they've identified what works and what doesn't in their marketing programs.

That's the thing, though: Nintendo's marketing campaign is all over the place with no real consistency from title to title.  Really, didn't they go to the trouble of hiring a whole new marketing company just to fix stuff like this?  Instead, they've decided to go the way of the Sega Saturn: "We'd like to announce today that we're working on such-and-such title.  In fact, it's already out!"

Yeah I don't get why they made it seem like the second coming of FLUDD, that no other company (OR WATER DELIVERY MAN) should be allowed to look upon its brilliance lest they steal their idea and render it immediately archaic.

It's bizarre to think they kept such a beautiful animal under total seclusion and secrecy, only to set it free in the wild for it to be devoured due to lack of survival skills.

Save the bots.

ShyGuyMay 16, 2009

Project Hammer. Disaster Day of Crisis. Fatal Frame 4. Trace Memory Another Code Wii.

Time to buy a PS3.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMay 16, 2009

How ironic that the original Excite Truck was the first game to demo the Wii controls at retails and the sequel is left ignored :p .

But in all seriousness, I don't want to sound overly optimistic, since the theme of this blog is to criticize Nintendo for not advertising this game enough, but I think they are banking on word of mouth selling this game.

Its not that farfetched either. Many Wii games had very weak debuts only to end up selling a million copies, sometimes just in the US.

I'm more interested in overall lifetime sales than in first month sales since the Wii is about selling through word of mouth.

Again, I don't want to sound THAT optimistic, but weirder things have happened.

*Hopes that Nintendo pulls a Lisa Kudrow with Excitebots*

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMay 16, 2009

One thing I just learned is that the 13 K figure is only for the first two weeks of release. Since Excitebots was released near the end of April it only had two weeks to be an April best seller. Should we wait till the May numbers and see how the game does in a month?

Quote from: pap64

One thing I just learned is that the 13 K figure is only for the first two weeks of release. Since Excitebots was released near the end of April it only had two weeks to be an April best seller. Should we wait till the May numbers and see how the game does in a month?

Hah. No.

This is about longtime sales. I personally would be interested in what the game moves in 6 months, and worldwide, than in 6 weeks in a single market.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMay 16, 2009

Quote from: Kairon

Quote from: pap64

One thing I just learned is that the 13 K figure is only for the first two weeks of release. Since Excitebots was released near the end of April it only had two weeks to be an April best seller. Should we wait till the May numbers and see how the game does in a month?

Hah. No.

This is about longtime sales. I personally would be interested in what the game moves in 6 months, and worldwide, than in 6 weeks in a single market.

I agree. Like I already said, many other Wii games were released into an even worse sense of obscurity and end up selling at least 500 K.

If Excite Bot moves that in that amount of time, then I say its a sleeper hit.

As I recall, the original Excite Truck didn't set the sales charts on fire, yet it was successful enough that a sequel was made.

BlackNMild2k1May 16, 2009

I haven't seen a single ad for Exitebots, and if I didn't frequent sites like this, I wouldn't have even known it was released.
Actually I frequent sites like this, and I still didn't even know it was out yet until NPD came out and saw that it only sold 13k.

That just shows how little advertising and hype this game had.

PlugabugzMay 16, 2009

I'm putting this down to nintendo losing "marketing focus". At the start of wii's launch i'd see ads for all types of games. Now i'm only seeing them for wii sports, wii fit, wii music and rarely mario kart.

It's like they're implying that these games DON'T need marketing because the people who would want this game know how to use the internet and they can find info about it on their own.

Mop it upMay 16, 2009

I guess I'd better buy this game before it drops off the face of the planet like WarioWare Smooth Moves.

GoldenPhoenixMay 16, 2009

Quote:

They do that last-minute piss-poor marketing for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and that game sells below expectations.

What exactly were the expectations for the sales? It still sold better then MP2 Echoes which had an OK marketing campaign, and sold around 1.5 million.. Not to mention with the lack of marketing that means every copy sold is more valuable in terms to return on investment. So I'd like to know what this so called "expectations" is, is it from Nintendo or some forum nerd? All I know is that Sony/MS would be dang happy with their massive budget HD games to sell 1.5 million for a more "niche" series.

In regards to Excite Bots, isn't it kind of early to freak out about this? Haven't people learned anything from the slow burn sales of so many Wii games, I recall similar freak out stories with the latest CoD games and yet they sold VERY well. Even Wario Land, while not amazing sales wise sold decently all around from what I gathered.

Wario Land sold much better than this in its first month.  So did MadWorld (about 5x better).

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 16, 2009

Also gaming sales in general are declining due to the economy. Last month the 360 barely outsold the PS2 and PS3 is second to last in monthly sales. I agree with the people who think that it's early to judge, since the game was released on April 20th so NPD tracked the first 11 day sales of Excitebots.I think it's stupid that the media are focusing one specific title on a Nintendo platform when they do a "doom and gloom" forecast, the proper "doom and gloom" forecast should be that gaming in general is shrinking month-to-month. Apparently no one cares about the huge sale plummets that RE5 and SF4 took and those are huge long running franchises.  While I think that it's a shame that Excitebots didn't sell well in the first 11 days, I think the title will do well over time.

broodwarsMay 16, 2009

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote:

They do that last-minute piss-poor marketing for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and that game sells below expectations.

What exactly were the expectations for the sales? It still sold better then MP2 Echoes which had an OK marketing campaign, and sold around 1.5 million.. Not to mention with the lack of marketing that means every copy sold is more valuable in terms to return on investment. So I'd like to know what this so called "expectations" is, is it from Nintendo or some forum nerd? All I know is that Sony/MS would be dang happy with their massive budget HD games to sell 1.5 million for a more "niche" series.

Oh quit flying off the handle at everything I say, GP.  I just remember when the game came out IGN (and for that matter, RFN) was posting stories left and right about how the game wasn't really selling all that well and needed better exposure.  It's not a knock against a game I'm rather fond of.  Just a knock against Nintendo for deciding all they were going to do for the game is throw out some teaser videos on a special Wii Channel a month in advance and put Super Metroid on the VC (granted, the latter was a smart move).

Besides, saying that Corruption sold better than Echoes really isn't saying much in the grand scheme of things.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorMay 16, 2009

You know, my store did not even get this game in.  A first party title, and we didn't get it.  That's odd.

broodwarsMay 16, 2009

Quote from: UncleBob

You know, my store did not even get this game in.  A first party title, and we didn't get it.  That's odd.

I kind of wonder if it's due to a similar stigma that movies get when their studios refuse to screen them for the critics before the public release: that maybe with Nintendo just suddenly slipping this title in that maybe it wasn't worth selling?  It's more likely, though, that Nintendo announced this title so close to its release that maybe your company didn't get a chance to get a good feel for the title and if it was going to be a title worth selling?  It's certainly also possible that your warehouse just plain screwed-up and didn't ship you any by mistake.  It happens sometimes.

GoldenPhoenixMay 16, 2009

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Wario Land sold much better than this in its first month.  So did MadWorld (about 5x better).

Madworld came out 3/10. Can't say anything about Wario Land because I didn't know there was any reports on its first months sales since it came out the 22nd. We'll see what happens next month when it has a full month to show if Nintendo's piss poor marketing for it killed the game sales.

Quote:

Besides, saying that Corruption sold better than Echoes really isn't saying much in the grand scheme of things.

ROFL. Echoes was marketed fairly heavily. It is pretty sad when people whine about a games sales when it sold 1.5 million worldwide for a system that is pretty well known for having lower development costs. If you don't want to be criticized on something don't make statements with no real foundation like the expectations statement which was based on NOTHING that came from Nintendo. What fanbois expect and what companies expect are completely different things. One knows the budget, marketing aspect of the game and the other judges whose is bigger by units sold with no real understanding of the business side of things.

My guess is that MP3 was far more profitable then Echoes because of the limited marketing yet higher sales, then again only Nintendo knows that. Still at 1.5 million units it is pretty safe to say the game did just fine and chances are with more marketing (like Echoes) it wouldn't have sold much better because the Metroid series has always been relatively niche compared to a Mario or Zelda. Metroid Prime seems to have sold to the people who would have bought it regardless of a marketing campaign. Echoes showed relatively heavy marketing for the Metroid series is a waste of money. At the end of the day it is how much profit was made, not how many units were sold. That is why I think using the game as a poster child for bad marketing hurting a game is silly. There are much better candidates LIKE (hopefully not but you never know) Excite Bots or Battalion Wars II. MP3 almost proves Nintendo RIGHT, at least in that case, about their marketing strategy.

BTW I find your flying off the handle statement hilarious, because I am far from being mad and it shows in my previous response.

PeachylalaMay 16, 2009

Considering that Metroid Prime 3 sold only 300K copies less then Bioshock (according to some sources... don't know if it's true), I consider that successful.

BTW, NOA's marketing has always, always sucked. Even before Reggie. They do a few good things here and there, but most times I don't learn about games via TV ads and mags, I learn about it via the interwebs.

So we should all stop bitching and just say that NOA marketing sucks. Pro Daisy, we need your derailing powers NAO PLZ.

ShyGuyMay 16, 2009

I've become as disillusioned with NOA as Billy F'n Berghammer.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMay 16, 2009

Quote from: True

Considering that Metroid Prime 3 sold only 300K copies less then Bioshock (according to some sources... don't know if it's true), I consider that successful.

BTW, NOA's marketing has always, always sucked. Even before Reggie. They do a few good things here and there, but most times I don't learn about games via TV ads and mags, I learn about it via the interwebs.

So we should all stop bitching and just say that NOA marketing sucks. Pro Daisy, we need your derailing powers NAO PLZ.

Couldn't agree more.

While Pro shows up...

LOL casual gaming is doomed.

broodwarsMay 16, 2009

Quote from: ShyGuy

I've become as disillusioned with NOA as Billy F'n Berghammer.

Assuming that's a bad thing, I agree.  I don't know exactly what it is that started it (maybe the infamous Nintendo E3 Press Conference last year, which led to me purchasing my first ever non-Nintendo system in the PS2), but over the past year or so it's just been difficult to muster up the ol' lifetime Nintendo fanboyism I used to have.  I really want to revive the old passion, but it's just not there right now.  Among other things, Nintendo's marketing isn't helping matters.  I'll be curious to see how well Punch Out sells, considering the only ads I've seen for it have been brief little commercials or flash banners on gaming websites.

KDR_11kMay 16, 2009

You guys whine a lot about NoA... Imagine you'd get NoE.

PlugabugzMay 17, 2009

http://www.tellyads.com/show_movie.php?filename=TA2564 - I never saw this.

RABicleMay 17, 2009

Who knows, maybe Nintendo is trying to emulate what NAL did with Animal Crossing in Australia. Basically Wild World came out on DS, nobody bought it. And then over a year later they suddenly promoted the shit out of it and it flew into the top ten all formats chart. Maybe NOA want a piece of this surprise action.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusMay 17, 2009

Just a note on Metroid Prime 3's sales: I've also heard previously some vague and conflicting reports on how well it has done, but the recent publishing of Nintendo's internal figures on Wii and DS million sellers (worldwide, life-to-date) sheds some light on this:

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/nintendo-reveals-wii-and-ds-million-sellers

Metroid Prime 3 is not on the list referenced in that article, so I think we can be sure now that it has not yet sold more than a million copies worldwide. It therefore has probably performed somewhat better than Echoes, but would be much farther behind Bioshock than 300k at this point.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 17, 2009

Quote from: Yoshidious

Just a note on Metroid Prime 3's sales: I've also heard previously some vague and conflicting reports on how well it has done, but the recent publishing of Nintendo's internal figures on Wii and DS million sellers (worldwide, life-to-date) sheds some light on this:

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/nintendo-reveals-wii-and-ds-million-sellers

Metroid Prime 3 is not on the list referenced in that article, so I think we can be sure now that it has not yet sold more than a million copies worldwide. It therefore has probably performed somewhat better than Echoes, but would be much farther behind Bioshock than 300k at this point.

Umm Greg, those are fiscal million sellers, Nintendo only tracked games that sold at least a million between April 1 2008 - March 31 2009 in those results. I recently wrote an article about it and it sounds very similar to what I wrote for the site:  http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=18394

There are a total of 91 different million sellers on DS, and 54 million sellers on Wii (these figures include first and third parties).

I don't think the "slow burn" philosophy applies to all titles.  A lot of the games that I hear associated with that phenomenon are games that had big brand recognition to start off with (Call of Duty 4 on DS, for example), or were re-marketed in some way.  If Excitebots isn't re-marketed down the line, it's doing to die a quick death.

13,000 copies in two weeks is awful no matter which way you cut it.  It clearly shows that the market that should have known about the game, and would have bought it, didn't even know about it.  Excitebots is a quirky title, and if people aren't shown its strengths they won't know anything about it.  Heck, they probably wouldn't even know it's a racing game.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusMay 17, 2009

Though the article refers to life-to-date numbers (obviously Wii Sports hasn't sold 45 million copies in just the past year), you are correct that those life-to-date numbers are only given for the first party games that sold a million units in this specific fiscal year. Where I made a mistake is looking at a chart where the games were ranked by life-to-date numbers like so:

Wii: Life-to-Date (Fiscal Year)

1. Wii Sports - 45.71 million (24.15 million)
2. Wii Play - 22.98 million (11.47 million)
3. Wii Fit - 18.22 million (16.37 million)
4. Mario Kart Wii - 15.4 million (15.4 million)
5. Super Smash Bros Brawl - 8.43 million (3.58 million)
6. Super Mario Galaxy - 8.02 million (1.92 million)
7. Mario Party 8 - 6.72 million (1.86 million)
8. Link’s Crossbow Training (w/ Zapper) - 3.76 million (2.05 million)
9. Animal Crossing: City Folk - 3.38 million (3.38 million)
10. Wii Music - 2.65 million (2.65 million)
11. Super Mario Sluggers - 1.26 million (1.26 million)

It appears as though it is a chart of the biggest life-to-date sellers on Wii, but of course this omits other notable big sellers that didn't reach the million mark for the past fiscal year specifically like Twilight Princess (which I believe has sold at least over 4million so it would easily make an overall LTD list). The chart's scope would have been clearer had they been ranked by this fiscal year's sales, with the LTD figures given in parentheses.

Going back, the last official numbers for MP3 I can recall were at about 1.1million (this is in around Jan 2008), so again in the overall LTD charts it would appear over the million mark for sure. 

jakeOSXMay 17, 2009

i did see an excitebot add somewhere random and big, like the front of yahoo, but i don't remember now.

i think its title throws people off, excite bots doesn't sound like a racing game to most people.

StratosMay 17, 2009

Quote from: jakeOSX

i did see an excitebot add somewhere random and big, like the front of yahoo, but i don't remember now.

i think its title throws people off, excite bots doesn't sound like a racing game to most people.

Yeah, the game title and cover may send mixed messages to consumers about what the game entails. Plus any reference to 'mini games' during races may scare away some non-casual players.


Also, did Boom Blox have a re-branding? That may be a good example of where word-of-mouth carried the day and I think it could be the closest comparison to Excite Bots. Bot have strange and unclear titles and quirky gameplay features and both were received favorably by critics.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusMay 17, 2009

The most concerning thing for me about Excitebots' weak sales in the US is the idea that they might influence NoE to not release it in Europe at all. It still hasn't been announced officially here yet for some reason, so it is possible that NoE's decision-making on what to do with Excitebots could be influenced by these numbers (as the poor Disaster: Day of Crisis sales in Europe may have sealed its fate in North America). 

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 17, 2009

Quote from: Yoshidious

The most concerning thing for me about Excitebots' weak sales in the US is the idea that they might influence NoE to not release it in Europe at all. It still hasn't been announced officially here yet for some reason, so it is possible that NoE's decision-making on what to do with Excitebots could be influenced by these numbers (as the poor Disaster: Day of Crisis sales in Europe may have sealed its fate in North America). 

Sounds like an Eye for an eye situation if that happens and poor Greg's hunger strike would never end :(.

StratosMay 17, 2009

Quote from: Yoshidious

The most concerning thing for me about Excitebots' weak sales in the US is the idea that they might influence NoE to not release it in Europe at all. It still hasn't been announced officially here yet for some reason, so it is possible that NoE's decision-making on what to do with Excitebots could be influenced by these numbers (as the poor Disaster: Day of Crisis sales in Europe may have sealed its fate in North America).

Maybe we could arrange a game exchange program with you folk on the other side of the Atlantic? I'll send you Excite Bots if you send me Disaster?

Maybe this was kept so close to the chest that NoE didn't know until we did that it was coming out now so they didn't table it into their release schedule. That wouldn't surprise me that the different branches do not communicate very well with each other.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusMay 17, 2009

Quote from: Stratos

Maybe this was kept so close to the chest that NoE didn't know until we did that it was coming out now so they didn't table it into their release schedule. That wouldn't surprise me that the different branches do not communicate very well with each other.

At this point I still expect Excitebots to come out here eventually, and so I think you may well be right Stratos, but I remain somewhat concerned by the chance that my theory may end up being accurate.

StratosMay 17, 2009

Quote from: Yoshidious

Quote from: Stratos

Maybe this was kept so close to the chest that NoE didn't know until we did that it was coming out now so they didn't table it into their release schedule. That wouldn't surprise me that the different branches do not communicate very well with each other.

At this point I still expect Excitebots to come out here eventually, and so I think you may well be right Stratos, but I remain somewhat concerned by the chance that my theory may end up being accurate.

And jumping upon that concern there is the worry of this growing trend to not bother releasing games in other regions if they bombed in another. Especially in the case where PAL-land gets screwed in the optimization department and the game bombs that could be a really big issue.

Has Sega even SAID anything about the PAL/Madworld debacle? I still can't get over how you guys were treated on that one.

Mop it upMay 17, 2009

I think it is kind of silly to judge how well a game will sell in one region based on sales of it in another region. They are different markets, just because it didn't fare well in one place doesn't mean it wouldn't in another. An extreme example of this stupidity is Sin and Punishment for the Nintendo 64. It was specifically designed with the North American market in mind since it had the largest N64 userbase, but it was released first in Japan. Based on its poor sales in Japan, it never made it to North America. Where's the logic there? Did it take a bathroom break or something?

StratosMay 17, 2009

I think part of the logic there was that the N64 was near the end of it's lifecycle and GameCube was just gearing up. A number of titles always fall through the cracks or get transfered to new systems at those times. Eternal Darkness, Dinosaur Planet and Resident Evil Zero were ported. Animal Crossing for the GameCube was actually a port of the Japanese N64 version so it could have happened for S & P but they just didn't think it would be worth the effort from a financial point of view.

And who knows, if they had brought it over, would people have viewed it in the same light like they do now? It has been a forbidden fruit of sorts since it never came over before so that made it all the more sweeter to gamers.

PeachylalaMay 17, 2009

So basically, Nintendo is to the Wii as Squaresoft was to the SNES to PAL users.

Makes sense to me.

Mop it upMay 17, 2009

Quote from: Stratos

I think part of the logic there was that the N64 was near the end of it's lifecycle and GameCube was just gearing up. A number of titles always fall through the cracks or get transfered to new systems at those times. Eternal Darkness, Dinosaur Planet and Resident Evil Zero were ported. Animal Crossing for the GameCube was actually a port of the Japanese N64 version so it could have happened for S & P but they just didn't think it would be worth the effort from a financial point of view.

This would suffice if the game weren't released at all, but it doesn't explain why it wasn't first released in the region it was intended for.

Quote from: Flames_of_chaos

Sounds like an Eye for an eye situation if that happens and poor Greg's hunger strike would never end :(.

More like pinky toe for brain.  Disaster isn't nearly as awesome as Excitebots.

Infernal MonkeyMay 18, 2009

13,000 copies in what, 10 days isn't bad at all. =o I agree about the lack of advertising hurting it though, what with 'core' gamers refusing to actually buy/play anything on the Wii, you need more of that crucial 'casual' mass-market attention.

NinGurl69 *hugglesMay 18, 2009

Yeah, Nintendo should've green-lighted "ExciteDogs" instead, things Amerikans would actually THROW MONEY AT.  How Nintendo allowed ExciteBots to advance from the doodle-on-napkin phase is a completely mysterious joke.  Was it intentional bait just to excite the GoMeatCowboy audience and the rest of the whiney Nintendo blogosphere?  "Here is your non-casual Nintendo-published game, we listen to our fans, enjoy."  Nintendo probably figured they wouldn't need advertising anyway since those dedicated Epic of Zelda-game-loving Nintendo elite fans would've gobbled up any noncasual game that came their way.  Oh my bad, those fans don't buy shit, they're too busy typing about a lack of first party titles.

ExciteBots sells 13,000.  Apparently that's all Nintendo fans add up to.  Nintendo was right to keep ExciteBots a secret.  It's not casual enough to warrant the degree of publicity Rythm Heaven got.

Ian SaneMay 19, 2009

I've always found NOA to be, well, completely fucking clueless with marketing.  So while the "Wii would like to play" campaign did well it doesn't necessarily mean that NOA's marketing department actually knows what they're doing.  After all they DID apply that same type of ad to Metroid Prime 3 which really didn't make any sense for that type of game.

NOA may be as surprised by the Wii's success as everyone else and while they know something worked they might not know exactly what that was.  So all this stuff with ExciteBots isn't necessarily part of some grand plan by a master marketing genius.  And it might not be Nintendo setting up their own title for failure.  It might just be a marketing department that has no idea what they're doing but fluked their way into success once and are trying to do it again.

PeachylalaMay 19, 2009

Quote from: NinGurl69

 Nintendo probably figured they wouldn't need advertising anyway since those dedicated Epic of Zelda-game-loving Nintendo elite fans would've gobbled up any noncasual game that came their way.  Oh my bad, those fans don't buy shit, they're too busy typing about a lack of first party titles.

QFT and sig'd for truthness.

NinGurl69 *hugglesMay 19, 2009

oh hay, you fixed the forum code in your sig!

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusMay 20, 2009

Quote:

I've always found NOA to be, well, completely ****ing clueless with marketing.

That's funny.  Most of Wii's and Nintendo's detractors claim their successes are solely marketing, so they are either whiz kids at handling consumers or they are terribly inept, with no inbewteen.  See Mario Kart and Wii Fit where Nintendo's marketing team doing a great job.  Metroid Prime 3's "failure" (selling more than Super Metroid oughta mean something, jeez) is always a scapegoat for some reason I have yet to decipher.

There seems to be no baseline with a company that has "Good Marketing."  Who are we comparing to?  A lot of game companies have games that totally fail in the marketplace even with extensive marketing.  Microsoft, for one, just can't seem to get anything by Rare to take off.  The numbers are always horrible until they slash the price to bits and bundle it.  Sony had major hype for Lair and Heavenly Sword and both did horribly.  Even big time third parties like Capcom and Square Enix have games flop, particularly anything S-E has done on consoles for this entire Generation (how sad is it that Dragon Quest Swords is their most successful game this entire generation, and they even required Nintendo to develop it for them, and even beat games that Microsoft advertised themselves.)

Sure ExciteBots might have failed in the first month, and possibly for good.  These things happen.  It won't be the first time a good or critically acclaimed game fails, nor will it be the first game Nintendo published fails.  And sometimes it just can't be helped with ANY amount of marketing.

And if lack of marketing and lowness of priority make for "hatred," can it be said that almost all third parties hate Wii?  Because, despite being the market leader, and even when they make the majority of their games for the system like, strangely, Capcom, they always seem to hide their Wii titles from the light and keep them in the backroom and in the last pages of their portfolio.  And when released, they launch them under cover of night alongside either a full-effort Nintendo game or another of their own releases that has a higher priority on a competing system.  I actually hope that they DO hate the Wii, because then they can end the pretense of "trying to understand the Wii base" and the patronization of "recombinant demographic metrics" and just get the hell out.

But I digressed.  Excitebots is pretty fun, and a good game.  Nintendo has a site for it, they hoped word of mouth would sell this game like Excite Truck did, mostly.  That didn't pan out, and Nintendo, wisely IMO, decided to focus on Punch-Out because that's a series that needed to be done right and marketed well and not screwed up.  Not every single game can be a blockbuster.

jakeOSXMay 21, 2009

Quote from: Deguello

Metroid Prime 3's "failure" (selling more than Super Metroid oughta mean something, jeez) is always a scapegoat for some reason I have yet to decipher.

i think the point was that MP3's advertising was a failure. The only people who think the game sales were a failure are the ones that compare it to Halo 3, which came out almost the same time.

i think there is a lot of truth in Ian's post. Nintendo doesn't seem to know how to advertise itself very well. there are two great ads that come to mind, the nintendo characters running through the feild holding hands, then one slugs the other for smash brothers and then majora's mask one (which i saw in the movie theatre, made me want to play it there) but for the most part they either don't advertise, or just have print ads with release dates, etc.

maybe they think that nintendo power is all the advertising they really need?

excite bots is on my get / try list, it looks like a fun game, but with punch out and conduit right around the corner it had a strange time to come out.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusMay 21, 2009

Quote:

i think there is a lot of truth in Ian's post. Nintendo doesn't seem to know how to advertise itself very well.

Care to give any recent examples?  Maybe more than just a random game here or there?

People, the point of ads isn't to get Clio awards, it's to get people to buy stuff.  I'd say Nintendo's got a pretty damn good handle on advertising, considering they are dominating the industry and pulling in record profits for the industry too, and also being one of the very few companies even having profits and not massive, gut-busting losses.

Wii Fit Alone is a testament to their ability to use their position in the market to market things.  Yeah, sure you'll say non-gamers and casuals, but isn't the ability to get people dis-interested in your product to turn around and buy it better advertising than making a few feel-good TV ads for people who are already interested in the first place?

Yeah, Excitebots came out in a pretty bad time, Market recession, tax Month, belts-tightening, competing with Mario Kart in the same sphere, low-key advertising from Nintendo.  Shame, but it doesn't reflect on Nintendo as a whole, nor does it mean it would have been #1 if Nintendo did some complex viral campaign with fake blogs or blasted advertising across every screen.

Ian SaneMay 21, 2009

Quote:

Care to give any recent examples?  Maybe more than just a random game here or there?

For me it's just their history.  Throughout the entire Gamecube generation Nintendo released the same types of ads where there's some goofy little skit and about three seconds of gameplay footage and no indication whatsoever of what the game is about or why you should buy it.  You had to know the game ahead of time to have any clue what was even going on.  And the Gamecube underperformed.  Not the only reason for that but still I think it's clear that marketing style was not effective.

Fast forward to the Wii and the "Wii would like to play" campaign.  Suddenly Nintendo has ads that actually demonstrate what the game is about and why you would like it.  They also have a product in Wii Sports that just naturally grabs everyone's attention.  Sales are through the roof.  The same type of ad for Metroid Prime 3 though doesn't have the same effect.  And "Wii would like to play" seems to be a rare exception.  The Mario Kart Wii ads were the same sort of thing we would see on the Gamecube.

Okay, so why did Mario Kart Wii sell so good if the ad sucked?  Well because unlike the Gamecube the Wii is actually successful so you have a large audience looking for games to buy.  You can get away with lousy ads when you're the market leader because you don't have to sell the system itself with each ad.  With Mario Kart Wii you've got a popular character in a popular series on a popular system.  You pretty much just have to say "this game exists" and you let the money roll in.  On the Gamecube pretty much every ad had to sell the viewer on buying a Gamecube as well.  You couldn't just say "hey look here's a new game" because most of the buying public didn't have a Cube and needed a reason to buy one and Nintendo's typical ads didn't give them that reason.

The fact that Nintendo was so inept at marketing for an entire generation, the fact that they thought the ad campaign for Wii Sports would work for Metroid Prime 3, the fact that with Mario Kart Wii they went back to the exact same sort of ads that flopped on the Cube, the fact that the poor reception of their last E3 caught them completely off guard, and the fact that Excitebots isn't being advertised at all suggests to me that they don't really know what they're doing and fluked out once.  While I think Nintendo has shifted to a more casual focus I've never observed a real overhaul with how the company does things.  Many of the flaws they had with the Cube remain.  They still do things weird for no reason.  They're still stubborn.  The only difference is the Wii is a big success and the Cube wasn't.

But I don't see a Nintendo that's now totally on the ball and does things correctly that the old Nintendo would have fucked up.  They're as frustratingly inept and clueless as before fucking up routine stuff that any moron could have got right.  It's just that this time they managed to make a game that everyone in the world paid attention to and by some miracle actually advertised it well.  And that kind of one-time success can allow them to coast and get away with screw-ups that would completely handcuff a console in last place trying to get a foothold.  But they're not suddenly marketing geniuses that can do no wrong.

jakeOSXMay 21, 2009

Quote from: Deguello

Quote:

i think there is a lot of truth in Ian's post. Nintendo doesn't seem to know how to advertise itself very well.

Care to give any recent examples?  Maybe more than just a random game here or there?

i think the fact that i can't give examples may prove my point. when i think nintendo ad, the most recent ones i can remember are the two guys in the smart car. before that i remember metroid prime 2 with the gymnist girl, but all in all i don't remember them.

now i am talking TV ads here. naturally you see print ones in gamer mags more often, but TV? if they are there, i am missing them, and i am the core audience.

edit: i remember the animal crossing wild world with the animals visiting someone's house.

StratosMay 21, 2009

I miss seeing more of Reggie. He hasn't appeared much since last E3, has he? I always viewed him as a figurehead Nintendo fans listened to and could be used to promote games to us. Is this just because he's been promoted and doesn't oversee advertising anymore?

broodwarsMay 21, 2009

Quote from: Stratos

I miss seeing more of Reggie. He hasn't appeared much since last E3, has he? I always viewed him as a figurehead Nintendo fans listened to and could be used to promote games to us. Is this just because he's been promoted and doesn't oversee advertising anymore?

He probably bought Scrooge McDuck's Moneybin and has been busy swimming in all that cash Nintendo's made the past few years.  Othewise, he's probably been busy preparing those extensive financial Powerpoint presentations they put out at E3.  It takes a long time to put together something so thoroughly effective at boring all of us to tears.  -_-'

StratosMay 21, 2009

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Stratos

I miss seeing more of Reggie. He hasn't appeared much since last E3, has he? I always viewed him as a figurehead Nintendo fans listened to and could be used to promote games to us. Is this just because he's been promoted and doesn't oversee advertising anymore?

He probably bought Scrooge McDuck's Moneybin and has been busy swimming in all that cash Nintendo's made the past few years.  Othewise, he's probably been busy preparing those extensive financial Powerpoint presentations they put out at E3.  It takes a long time to put together something so thoroughly effective at boring all of us to tears.  -_-'

Maybe they could get a license to use LittleBigPlanet like Sony did for their presentation ;)

broodwarsMay 21, 2009

Quote from: Stratos

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Stratos

I miss seeing more of Reggie. He hasn't appeared much since last E3, has he? I always viewed him as a figurehead Nintendo fans listened to and could be used to promote games to us. Is this just because he's been promoted and doesn't oversee advertising anymore?

He probably bought Scrooge McDuck's Moneybin and has been busy swimming in all that cash Nintendo's made the past few years.  Othewise, he's probably been busy preparing those extensive financial Powerpoint presentations they put out at E3.  It takes a long time to put together something so thoroughly effective at boring all of us to tears.  -_-'

Maybe they could get a license to use LittleBigPlanet like Sony did for their presentation ;)

Alright, Nintendo to use Animal Crossing: City Folk for their E3 Presentation engine confirmed.  ;)

StratosMay 21, 2009

That would actually be pretty cool.

NinGurl69 *hugglesMay 21, 2009

Those Nintendo presentations are absolutely riveting.  It's the stuff internet memes are made of.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusMay 22, 2009

Just as a response to both Ian and Jake's posts, it seems like marketing has zero to do with success, because anytime a Nintendo game sells well, it seems to do so independent of marketing, and anytime a game dies it is solely due to marketing.  We still have no baseline company for who has great marketing with which to compare.

And really what makes "good marketing?"  Ian, you said the Mario Kart Ad sucked.  Obviously not because the game not only sold more than Double Dash, it completely destroyed it by a factor  of more than twice.  So what about it sucked other than " I didn't like it."  Remember.  Point of ads.  Sell games.  Not give jollies to self-described hardcore gamers who knew ahead of time and got the joke and had an idea of the ad before hand (this is what you DON'T want, right?)

Jake, I didn't want an example of an AD, I mean an example of a series of games, either unrelated or connected, that suffered at the hands of Nintendo's poor marketing, and not just a random flop here or there, which every company has.  As an example of what I'm looking for, Sega had a stint of terrible advertising in the late years of the Saturn, where they bumbled through their biggest titles by undershipping them, not even letting people know about the game, and just a general disinterest in video games.

And both of you totally glossed over Wii Fit, possibly because it just eviscerates any point you might have had.  This game is nearing 20 million sold.  In one damn year.  Obviously it's marketing worked, right?  Or is marketing totally unrelated when it's a success?  It seems the opposite with you, that Success never Nintendo's son, but Failure always is.

Again Excitebots failure in sales is a shame, but it's not the most important game ever, just like GTA: CW isn't.  People are trying to read too much into that game, like it's some kind of harbinger that "mature content" isn't suitable for Nintendo systems (funny, because eariler the DS was characterized as some only old fogeys and middle aged men/women owned), when a myriad of factors contributed to it's small performance, part of which is that the DS is a FIERCE battlefield with many games competing for dollars, and Rockstar doesn't get all the success just because they show up. Companies had been working hard on the DS for years, and Rockstar shows up in the 5th year and wants a cut just because they are Rockstar?  They aren't that important, and their failure definitely isn't an indicator of anything on the DS (Considering that device is also breaking records.)

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