You Should Never Go Full Reggie
When is a free download also a paid product? When is a cock also like an ass? How can a Frankenstein’s monster with a jaw as protruding as Reggie’s manage to whistle competing narratives from both sides of his mouth? Nintendo’s mongoloid mascot answered all these questions this week when he discussed the creation of fan content and the reason why AM2R was served with a cease and desist.
Since E3 the Metroid series has been a fairly hot topic of conversation. Partly because of Metroid Prime 4, but mostly because of Samus Returns [which is Nintendo’s official remake of of Metroid II], and how its existence finally explains why Nintendo chose to C&D the fan project AM2R [Another Metroid 2 Remake]. With this in mind Reggie Fils-Aime was interviewed this week, and was asked specifically about Nintendo’s philosophy of working with fan creators such as AM2R‘s Milton Guasti. Reggie initially had this to say:
“So, I think there needs to be clarity in what the line is, and, in our view, the line is when an initiative crosses from being an homage to something that is monetizing our IP. We allow homages to exist in a variety of different ways. And, for me personally, as a fan before I was an executive, I understand the attraction that you could have to our IP. But, when it transitions to something that… now, you’re trying to monetize, you’re trying to sell, you’re trying to profit off of, that is what broaches or breaks through that line for us, where we have to claim our IP protection.”
OK, so Nintendo allows homages to exist, but draws the line at people trying to profit off of Nintendo IP. That is reasonable, but it is also mystifying that Reggie would bring this up in relation to AM2R, when AM2R was a free download that was not commercialised in any way. The creator did not have a Patreon that he was advertising through the existence of the fan project, and he was not using Nintendo IP to profit from site adverts, so the interviewer can be forgiven for being a little confused here. In a follow-up question Reggie was again asked how his response pertained to AM2R when the game is a free download:
“But again, to differentiate this, we have had conversations with entities that started as fans and became more of a business partner. Those conversations happen all the time, but again, when something transitions to a commercial product, and that’s what [AM2R] was—there wasn’t a charge, but it was now a commercial product.”
Oh, OK. Nintendo is fine with fan projects so long as they are not commercial ventures, and they are commercial ventures if Nintendo says they are. Which they do in this instance. Despite the fact that AM2R is not making anyone any money. How is it commercial? Only Reggie knows. This is nice and clear cut. No room for ambiguity here.
On the Verge of Kickstarter’s Biggest Funding Disaster
Kickstarter is a double edged sword. No producer may mean complete creative control, but it also means a lack of oversight and accountability. Worse still, a developer may have a very clear plan for what they want to create, but if they find their budget drastically inflated by backers then they can go completely off the rails by adding reams of unplanned content. This brings us to the situation of Star Citizen
Cloud Imperium Games asked backers for a budget of 6 million dollars [for their maximum stretch tier] when they went to Kickstarter in 2012, and received 152 million dollars as a result. To put things into perspective Grand Theft Auto V had a development budget of 137 million dollars. Now Cloud Imperium Games had 152 million dollars with no oversite, and no carefully mapped out blueprint for how to spend it.
Fastforward to today and Cloud Imperium Games has just taken out a secured loan with Coutts & Co. The studio has put up all of their assets as collateral, and the bank now owns Star Citizen and all associated code and distribution rights, which is being licensed back to Cloud Imperium Games so they can continue development.
24.1 The Chargee, ( bank ), hereby grants to the Chargor , ( CIG ), an exclusive license, revocable only in accordnance with Clause 24.2, to develop, produce, exploit and otherwise deal with the Game.
24.2 The Chargee, ( bank ), may terminate the license granted pursuant to Clause 24.1 above upon the happening of an Event of Default which remains unremedied on the date failing 60 days after the the Chargee has given written notice to the Chargor of such Event of Default.”
Imagine burning through 152 million dollars in five years, and then having to put your studio up as collateral! Given that the studio has been undisciplined enough to blow through 152 million dollars in five years, there is no reason to think that Cloud Imperium Games can make good on this bloated project now that the studio is living on borrowed time.
Nintendo Pulls Out the Stops
Despite some initial skepticism, the Nintendo Switch has been facing some very real post-launch shortage problems. Consumer demand burned through Nintendo’s stockpile of systems in a matter of weeks, and now the number of systems produced do not come close to meeting demand. This situation has led many people to speculate that, much like with Amiibo, Nintendo was deliberately producing too few systems in order to create an artificial sense of demand. This week Nintendo reached out in order to allay customer fears that this was the case:
“We’re making it as fast as we can. We want to get as many units out as we can to support all the software that’s coming out right now… our job really is to get it out as quick as we can, especially for this holiday because we want to have units on shelves to support Super Mario Odyssey.”
Nintendo do not want to limit the production of Switch consoles. They need to have enough units in stock for all the many, MANY games they have coming out right now! So many games! Perhaps the problem here is that Nintendo said to Foxconn that they wanted them to produce enough consoles to support the games they have coming out, and so Foxconn decided to produce twenty. What Nintendo need to do is tell Foxconn to produce far more consoles than are required to support the games they have coming out in 2017.