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Nintendo of America Closely Watching JRPGs in Europe

by Andrew Brown - August 10, 2011, 11:40 pm PDT
Total comments: 16 Source: (IGN), http://wii.ign.com/articles/118/1187097p1.html

The PAL sales of the Operation Rainfall games will influence localization decisions.

Nintendo of America is closely watching the sales of three highly-requested RPG games in Europe, to gauge their potential for North American localization.

The games in question, Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower, have been the cause for much petitioning against Nintendo of America due to the fact that all three are slated for an English release in PAL territories, yet there are "no plans" to release the games in North America. A fan-based community of protesters rallied together under the name Operation Rainfall in a campaign to convince Nintendo of America to change its mind about the releases. Little has been said by Nintendo in response to such requests.

In an interview with IGN, Reggie Fils-Aime was questioned about the status of the games in America. "We will be watching very closely what happens in Europe," he said. "Certainly if there are business opportunities and positive consumer uptake from some of those titles, that will be great data for us to consider as we look at what to do with these titles."

From this, we can at least glean the fact that Nintendo America has no intention of simply ignoring these games. It is now up to the PAL public to show that they truly intend to buy these games as promised, proving the US localization a worthy cause.

Talkback

TJ SpykeAugust 11, 2011

I hope plenty of EU gamers buy the games. Reggie said the same thing about Disaster: Day of Crisis (which I was looking forward to before the Wii launch), and it bombed in Europe.

Aw man, I loved Day of Crisis. The game was just the right amount of campy crappiness mixed with over the top silliness, it was like every action movie of the 80's and 90's mixed into one. And it was awesome.

Still, it sold really poorly here in Australia too, I picked it up on a K-Mart clearance for some $15. If I'd known how much fun it was I would have paid full price.

NinSageAugust 11, 2011

See, the unfortunate tidbit I'm gleaning from this article is that if NoA is planning to watch how the games do in Europe it means they are not secretly planning to release the games and simply waiting for the right time to announce it. =\

Also, by the time the games come out in EU and are given time to either succeed or fail, would it still make sense to localize them? Or wouldn't it be just too convenient for NoA to say: "oh well, looks like people wanted the games but now it's too late since Wii U is coming! etc etc"

AdrockAugust 11, 2011

The problem with this strategy is that there's no way to take importers into account. I don't expect importers to make a huge dent but they're not simply looking at just European sales if some of those discs are being shipped off. Let's say the sales are enough to convince Nintendo of America to localize the games, how many importers are going to double dip? That could lead to less than stellar sales thus falsely justifying Nintendo of America's apprehension which ultimately means future titles will get the shaft.

This isn't really the best plan. Nintendo of America should have released these games closer to when they came out in Japan but in limited quantities so they build an audience without taking on a huge financial burden if the games don't become the next Zelda. The important thing is to get the games out so the people that want it can experience them. It builds good-will and strong customer ties which is earned, not given.

Chozo GhostAugust 11, 2011

Wouldn't the game have to be localized to English in order to be available to the UK market? So the work to localize it to North America is already done, because America and Canada speak English. So what's the big deal? The games are complete and the localization is complete so bring it over already!

Bman87301August 11, 2011

This pretty much confirms what I've been saying all along-- NOA never ruled these releases out, they just weren't going to commit to anything.

I don't believe for a second that Xenoblade Chronicles' release date was bumped-up two weeks early by coincidence. As I've said before, NOA most likely requested the bump-up so they could have time to analyze the early sales numbers and still have enough time to throw together a last minute release for the holiday season, if they determine there's legitimate demand.

All "no plans at this time" really ever meant was that they didn't have a release date currently scheduled. If the internal leaks are to be believed, NOA already has a North American build of Xenoblade all ready to go, so it seems obvious to me that they have, at the very least, a contingent plan for a release already.

Like I've said before, it's all in Europe's hands now.

Ian SaneAugust 11, 2011

I'm probably being cynical but I'm almost reading this as "we're just waiting until these games bomb in Europe so we can justify our decision."

The part of all this that has upset everyone is that THIS is the time to release these games.  They're leaving the Wii userbase with literally NOTHING until Zelda or Kirby comes out.  Meanwhile they have these games right fucking here and could fill this gap up.  They could easily have had a semi-regular release schedule for the Wii this year if they positioned these games strategically.  Instead the Wii, the supposed market leader, is a barren wasteland in 2011.  It's not so much that we don't get these games but that we get nothing at all.  It seems like giving the finger to their fans.  "Hey thanks for your loyality despite shitty third party support, paying full price for a refurbished Gamecube, dealing with broken gimmick controls and dumbed down games targetted at casuals!  Here's an expensive paperweight!"

Nintendo wants to win back core gamers with the Wii U.  Core gamers expect healthy release schedules.  They expect variety and that means they expect some niche genres to be represented.  Do you think for a second the Playstation or Xbox brands would have the core gamer credibility they have if every shmup or RPG or other niche genre got blocked from localization because it wasn't a guaranteed mainstream hit?  Being the "hits only" company is really not much different than being the casual company.  They won't win anyone back with that attitude.  It doesn't matter if these games ever get localized, the damage is done.  If Nintendo was "hip" to the needs of core gamers, this would never have happened.  They've poisoned the Wii U before it even had a release date.  It's all uphill from here.

OblivionAugust 11, 2011

Quote from: Chozo

Wouldn't the game have to be localized to English in order to be available to the UK market? So the work to localize it to North America is already done, because America and Canada speak English. So what's the big deal? The games are complete and the localization is complete so bring it over already!

People have been saying this for six months dude. You're a smidge behind in the times.

Bman87301August 11, 2011

Quote from: Chozo

Wouldn't the game have to be localized to English in order to be available to the UK market? So the work to localize it to North America is already done, because America and Canada speak English. So what's the big deal? The games are complete and the localization is complete so bring it over already!

Well, there still would be some work because the current English version would be in PAL format (which isn't used in NA).  They'd still have to transfer the English script back into the original Japanese's NTSC format, then clean up any bugs that would result from the transfer.

But, that shouldn't matter anyway... Internal sources have leaked that NOA already has an English NTSC version completed. Assuming these reports are accurate, then I'm certain they also have a finalized US package design, manual, and provisional marketing plans all ready to go... They're just sitting  and waiting on Europe's sales numbers.

My guess is they already have a contingency plan in place and if the sales in Europe hit a certain number in a certain amount of time, a US release date will be announced for during the holiday season in a limited quantity. If it doesn't it hit that number, the American build will just go back into the vault and never see the day of light.

Chozo GhostAugust 11, 2011

Quote from: Ian

I'm probably being cynical but I'm almost reading this as "we're just waiting until these games bomb in Europe so we can justify our decision."

The part of all this that has upset everyone is that THIS is the time to release these games.  They're leaving the Wii userbase with literally NOTHING until Zelda or Kirby comes out.  Meanwhile they have these games right fucking here and could fill this gap up.  They could easily have had a semi-regular release schedule for the Wii this year if they positioned these games strategically.  Instead the Wii, the supposed market leader, is a barren wasteland in 2011.  It's not so much that we don't get these games but that we get nothing at all.  It seems like giving the finger to their fans.  "Hey thanks for your loyality despite shitty third party support, paying full price for a refurbished Gamecube, dealing with broken gimmick controls and dumbed down games targetted at casuals!  Here's an expensive paperweight!"

Nintendo wants to win back core gamers with the Wii U.  Core gamers expect healthy release schedules.  They expect variety and that means they expect some niche genres to be represented.  Do you think for a second the Playstation or Xbox brands would have the core gamer credibility they have if every shmup or RPG or other niche genre got blocked from localization because it wasn't a guaranteed mainstream hit?  Being the "hits only" company is really not much different than being the casual company.  They won't win anyone back with that attitude.  It doesn't matter if these games ever get localized, the damage is done.  If Nintendo was "hip" to the needs of core gamers, this would never have happened.  They've poisoned the Wii U before it even had a release date.  It's all uphill from here.

Not only would these games help fill that void, I think the fact a void exists would probably help these games sell. Because what are they competing against? There's nothing. Its not like they're going up against some Titan A++ titles like Mario or Zelda or something, so they would win by default and since Wii owners wouldn't have anything else new to spend their money on I'd think that would help these games sell better than they would if they were released on the PS3 or 360 or something where new hit titles would steal their thunder.

Chozo GhostAugust 11, 2011

Quote from: Bman87301

They're just sitting  and waiting on Europe's sales numbers.

If that's their thinking then everyone at NOA needs to be sacked and replaced.

Quote from: Bman87301

Well, there still would be some work because the current English version would be in PAL format (which isn't used in NA).  They'd still have to transfer the English script back into the original Japanese's NTSC format, then clean up any bugs that would result from the transfer.

It doesn't really work like that any more. There's just a simple setting they'd have to flip.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterAugust 11, 2011

You know what would be really messed up? If this or one of these other games does get released but roughly around the same time as Zelda leaving it so that no one buys it.

fernoumrAugust 11, 2011

Quote:

The PAL sales of the Operation Rainfall games will heavily influence localization decisions.

In my opinion, that's a bit of a leap to make.  If one pays attention closely to what Reggie says, it becomes apparent he's an expert at saying practically nothing while letting the reader fill in the blanks with whatever they wish.

" will be great data for us to consider as we look at what to do with these titles."  Notice how that literally commits NOA to absolutely nothing.  His response was nothing more than mollification. The U.S. market is many times larger than the European one--what could possibly be gained by watching sales there?

KDR_11kAugust 12, 2011

Xenoblade got one review listed on Game Rankings and it's a 9/10.

Mop it upAugust 12, 2011

I don't know why Nintendo would watch sales of a whole different territory and market to determine if the games are worthwhile to release here, but that's already been stated by others. If Nintendo have learned from the 3DS then they will be launching the Wii U in November 2012 to ensure that it sells at least a million units quickly, giving it a good start. If that's the case, they are going to need some more Wii games to release in the mean time, and for North America, that could mean these three games.

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