One of the worst things Nintendo
is doing right now is controller specification. They have multiple styles due
to redesigning the human interface several times in the last few years. I know
what you’re thinking. “That sounds like a good thing.” Everyone should be able to choose
their favorite controller and get to the game.
If that is how it worked, it
would be good. Sadly, each control style has to be enabled in the game in order
to use it. That means that almost always, players are forced to play with a
controller that is not their favorite. Often, games inexplicably force players
into the least favored control styles.
You can often judge the
effectiveness of Game design by the after-market price. This has some
limitations. For instance, there are a few games that since they are the ONLY
games with specific features, are expensive because they fill the specific
billet in a collection.
Recently, I purchased 007 Quantum
of Solace at Game Stop for $4.49. Let that sink in for a second. This is the
absolute cheapest after-market game for the Wii U. I found it back when I was
still optimistic about the Wii U. I knew that something had to be wrong with
the game for it to be that cheap but I was hoping that it would be something
that I could deal with or that it would not affect multiplayer play. What I
found was a flaw that destroyed my ability to enjoy both the single-player and
the multi-player modes. The control style requires that you point the control
stick at the screen and turn by turning your whole body. While this is a novel
approach which simulates some of the better arcade games, it makes the game
hard to control. I found that it took longer to master this new control style
than I felt it was worth. This is Nintendo’s new interface that they are
banking their future on and it put this game in the used bin for under $5. The active
interface is good for some games but this is not good for classic first person
shooters. When you get to multi-player mode it becomes prohibitive in small
spaces, like my apartment. Most people who play these games don’t have enough
space for 4 people to stand and move around as much as is required.
One of the reasons that Nintendo
does not understand that they have made such large miscalculations is that they
are relying on focus groups comprised of average people instead of experienced
gamers. They wanted to exit the competition for the coveted gamer market and
capture a new audience that no one was previously taking seriously. This is a
game console that is designed for people who don’t really play video games. If
that sounds suicidally stupid to you, then you clearly aren’t a highly paid officer
at Nintendo Corp. They abandoned the market that existed in favor of a market
that does not exist. It may not surprise you then to hear that sales are
struggling. Sales have been incredibly poor on both the console and games.
Controllers - My Recommendation:
Reverse Course immediately. Fix this
by setting controller specification standard. Regardless of the shape or style,
every controller should be electrically identical. They should have all of the
same buttons and inputs. The shape would be a simple preference of the player
at that point. Nintendo needs to make sure that they allow players to use
alternative controller configurations in each game. This means that sometimes
strafe will be a joystick and sometimes it will be the directional keypad. Most
importantly, allow players to get away from the need to point their control
stick at the screen all together. My favorite configuration is the Nintendo 64
Golden Eye standard. It allowed you to strafe and run increasing your speed by
about 41%. It’s those little things that Gamers know that make control styles
and configurations so important to them.
In order to correct course,
Nintendo does not need to get rid of the new control styles. They need to
program underlying drivers that will allow the user to have the option to use
any desired controller they like for any game.
Standardize the hardware to
offer choice to the user.
Prime example - The latest ken block gymkhana video, a follow up to the initial viral, both of which have tons of fast car porn and more skidding and smoking tyre action than you could imagine. The only difference is that the second one looks like it has been through a couple of research groups and then the marketing team at DC shoes and Monster energy drinks asked the finance and HR department for their opinion. The result, an unapologetic logofest ! so much so that even tried to spoof the fact that they branded the hell out of pretty much everything.
In my opinion the “spoof” is embarrassingly transparent and takes the brands into the negative when it comes to street cred.
The greatest irony is that I think the initial video had more brand impact with less brand presence - a simple principle that few brands are brave enough to embrace. Its much easier to paste a whole bunch of logos and product shots all over the place, and its far safer too… or is it ?
All that being said - he really is an incredible driver, and it is an amazing brand association. If only the brands involved had a bit of self confidence.
(I went to try and find a link for the original video only to find that they had plastered it full of overt branding as well - under the title “infomercial” i think what they meant was “overtly commercial” maybe it was a typo ?)
The last thing you would want for your brand is to be in
either last place or knocking on the door of last place in the view of
customers. Recently, McDonald’s, Jack in the Box and Burger King found
themselves in exactly that situation. I believe that the issue they face is one
The winners of the same survey all have a plan in place for
making sure that the food they offer is fresh and natural, while the losers
offer unhealthy, chemically offered fair that goes stale quickly.
Oh! Taco Bell and KFC, were also on the short list.
Recipe for a ‘feel good’ SA TV Ad. Throw in a montage of epic moments, add 1x classic song and then peg your brand onto the end of the montage, you know so that it looks like your brand was part & parcel of all these great moments.
Ouch!! Didn’t see this one coming. An article written by (genius) Tyler Brule, the current editor of one of my favourite magazines, Monocle.
Remember Cool Brittania? When Vanity Fair declared London one of the greatest places to live? It was a great time to be in good old Blighty, now it seems to be suffering a branding issue and thanks to News International, it’s just became epic.
It was all going so well, yes the economy had come off the rails but the Brits were doing what Brits do best…coping. There was a great plan, the Royal Wedding (all eyes on Britain), the Olympics (all eyes on Britain again please), then probably another bloody Royal Wedding (just for luck). Then came the summer of pain, not even the most useless of British institutions (insert name here, British Airways comes to mind) could have delivered the three way blunder that was the hacking scandal. It was humliating and the whole world watched, the final nail being the custard in Ruperts Face.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, we lack hard powers, a major manufacturing base or any real tangible exports. But it’s not the tangible that matters, it’s the intangible that matters to Britannia. We are in fact a nation of brands - waiting to be leveraged. The Royal Family, English Premier League, BBC, The Beatles, Posh and Becks!! etc. all able to turn heads and maintain the UK’s position as world leader in creativity and diversity.
All we need is a great leader. I’m living in Africa now, please give me a shout when he/she arrives.
From the Marketing Geniuses of Big Pharma: AcipHex
I thought this was a joke when my friend sent it to me. No way a Big Pharma heavy hitter with a multi-million dollar marketing budget would let a medication for acid reflux and other gastro-related issued to be named: AcipHex.
Proofreading tip: Read your copy out loud to avoid ass effects.