Waypoint Editor-in-Chief Austin Walker sits down for a chat with Nintendo of America CEO and President Reggie Fils-Aimé.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://video.vice.com/en_us/video/waypoint-e3-2017-nintendo-reggie-fils-aime-super-mario-odyssey-metroid/5939d9597a4e80ff1da6dc8b
I know this will start this thread off going wildly off topic, but I’ve never been able to read “AM2R” and not think that it wasn’t some sort of Craigslist sex solicitation.
I can’t disassociate it from ASMR myself. Drives me ahhhh!
So, again, to unpack this, for March we had publicly committed that we would sell-in 2 million units. Where actually, we sold-through, so not even sell-in, sold-through 2.7 million units.
In case anyone else is wondering what this means: sell-in means a sale from Nintendo to a retailer, while sell-through means that a customer has made a purchase. Retailers that don’t sell all their sell-in units could return them to Nintendo for a rebate.
I guess I need… what’s the definition of “commercial product” for Nintendo?
It’s obviously a little weird to say that a non-monetized fan game is a commercial product, but it’s clearly a product that could be sold commercially if the creator actually owned the relevant IP rights. It’s hardly surprising that Nintendo would draw the line there, particularly if Austin’s right in saying that excitement for Nintendo’s commercial game is being diluted by the recent unlicensed fan game.
I’m a little curious as to what Austin was fishing for with the AM2R question, since he seemed to have something in mind, though it’s hard to see what other action Nintendo could take. Hire the fan developers? License the fan game? Any policy of collaboration would seem to introduce a pretty big loophole for obtaining Nintendo IP (just use it then wait for retrospective permission). Even letting fan creators know what types of projects Nintendo doesn’t want them working on is tricky, because it could leak info about Nintendo’s plans that are not yet ready for publication. I mean, it’s cool when companies share their IP – if Nintendo suddenly decided to make all their franchises public domain (or even CC BY-NC-SA) it would be the greatest thing to ever happen in gaming – but I wonder what we could reasonably hope for Nintendo to do in this situation.
I’m not entirely sure what Austin was fishing for here, either. Obviously, Nintendo wants to encourage fan projects, but there are boundaries, and AM2R is a clear case of a fan game (commercial or not) posing a potential threat to their own commercial product. And of course Nintendo isn’t going to just reward the creator of AM2R for his work by signing him or releasing his game as something for sale, because that would, as you said, just open the floodgates of other fan developers seeking the same treatment.
And I mean, AM2R may be a good game (I never played it myself), but Nintendo’s case for the takedown in this instance is clear-cut, even if Reggie was roundabout in his answering the question.