Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Nintendo needs to do (and not do) with the "Nintendo Figurine Platform"

Well, we're just a month away from Nintendo's big "E3" conference and I'm sure everyone is beginning to use their Jedi mind tricks to predict the outcome of the show, so they can complain afterwards that [some title] wasn't shown, yada, yada...yeah I'm not doing that. Sorry, no. What I will be doing, however, is discuss about Nintendo's latest surprise announcement last week: "Nintendo Figurine Platform" which is the company's answer to Skylanderss/Disney Infinitys' buy-expensive-toys-to-unlock-game-content gimmick. Many fans probably reacted to this news with a chorus of "ughhss" and "hell no"s, and rightly so, but note that we haven't seen any of these figurines in action and no tie-in games have been officially announced, so we can't be entirely pessimistic...yet. On one hand, the prospect of collecting video game figurines is enticing, but there is so many directions where this could go sour fast.

"It's-a-me! Your wallet's arch-nemesis!"

So I made it my goal in this blog to name specifically what Nintendo needs to do (and on any accounts, do not do) with the NFP.

Do tie it in with Smash Bros Wii U/3DS: The old Smash Bros. Melee intro trailer from 2001 shows a kid throwing a Mario trophy in the air, which then descends on the ground, lights up, and comes to life -- back then we thought nothing of it, but now it's completely possible and it needs to be done. The fact that the NFP is compatible with both Wii U/3DS is perfect, since no one will get cheated from being able to use figurine exclusive characters. And the best part: It would give smash fans more hope for future fighters to be included in the game(s), and the trophies would look wicked sick on top of our moniters.

Do NOT lock content that can only be unlocked by using figurines: The bone with Skylanders is that you pay $70 for 80% of a game that requires you to pay for more figurines in order to complete the last 20%. It's an absolute grotesque gimmick of an otherwise cool idea that would make Capcom jealous, and it's just plain out frivolous. I believe in Nintendo more than this, but their latest trends with DLC in recent years has made me a little skeptical. If NFP means that we have to BUY Waluigi for Mario Kart 9 then the whole point of the gimmick is to milk money -- and that's not cool.

Do let third parties in on the action: Hey, why should this be limited to just Nintendo figurines? This is the perfect opportunity for the Wii U get some major third party attention. Okay, maybe not "major" attention, but if third parties to want to make their own figurines for the NFP, then what does Nintendo have against that? While not a whole lot of third parties would actually jump the bandwagon to use it, the possibility of collecting figurines from third-party series including Kingdom Hearts, Metal Gear Solid, and Mass Effect would give gamers an incentive to buy the Wii U version of those games (it's wishful thinking, I know, but you never know what could happen). And while we're on the subject...

Do NOT make this your master plan to save the Wii U: Look...I know it's too early to judge whether this will boost Wii U sales, but if this (and GBA Virtual Console) is Nintendo's master plan to save the Wii U then...well, good luck to them. Whether it will out compete with Disney Infinity is uncertain, and who knows if anyone would even bother with yet another money mulching toy-to-game gimmick for kids to milk money from their parents. Nintendo is doing the right thing by allowing one figurine to access multiply games, but is a few IPs enough? Unless...

Do use Pokemon to promote it: Yes, I do realize Pokemon Rumble U has already tapped into the whole figurine gimmick, but I don't mean they should make more Rumble figurines for the NFP: re-release different Pokemon figurines that look less like big headed N64 polygons and tie them in to a new game.And I imagine everyone is dieing for a good Pokemon game for the Wii U, so it's a win-win for everyone (But a Pokemon Snap 2 would be nice as well). Plus Pikachu and company are equally if not more well-known than the Spyro and Disney IPs, so Nintendo would have no trouble gathering up an already existing fanbase to buy their toys.


If nothing else...the NFP is a promising addition to the Nintendo consoles, and E3 is going to be most intriguing this year when Nintendo reveals what new titles will take advantage of this tried-but-true gimmick. Let's hope they know what they're doing.


1 comment:

  1. U should not give Nintendo ideas on what to do, what they do is what they do, you can have ideas on what they should do but to offer them options is like a poor man going to a king with absolutely no knowledge in money and telling him how to save it.