Opinion: People Should Remember that Nintendo is a Business First

Earlier this week during a Nintendo Direct focused on upcoming DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Nintendo announced the new pricing for it’s expanded Online services that will now include classic Nintendo 64 games and Sega Genesis games. Called the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership, this new tier will cost $49.99 (USD) a year, and will include:

  • Nintendo 64 games at a higher resolution than the originals
  • Sega Genesis games
  • Suspend points
  • Local and online multiplayer
  • More games to come
  • Animal Crossing DLC
  • Everything already included in the base Nintendo Switch Online membership

For a detailed pros and cons discussion by two of our Boss Rush writers, check out this excellent article here.

Boy, were people not happy at this price. At $49.99 (USD) a year, this new membership is $30 (USD) more than the original Nintendo Online subscription cost, which includes classic NES and SNES games and online play for Nintendo Switch games. If you look anywhere on Twitter, everyone is bemoaning what they think is an astronomical price increase, and citing this as just another example of Nintendo being a ‘terrible company that makes wonderful games but horrible business decisions.’

But this is just one instance in a long line of examples where Nintendo has been a horrible company, according to people online. Just look at how ferociously the company goes after emulation sites and fan made projects based on Nintendo IP. Or look at the uproar that came when Nintendo announced Skyward Sword HD would be a full price game, when the original version came out for less and hand a branded Wii-mote packaged with it.

Hm. Is that really the case here? Look, I can’t tell you what is and is not affordable for you. I don’t know your budgetary needs. But I can tell you that a price jump from $3 to $4 (USD) a month is not an astronomical price jump. And I can also tell you that a company trying to protect it’s IP—the very IP that provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of people around the world—is not an evil corporate practice. Nintendo is a business. They are in this for money. That doesn’t change just because what they create is something we like to do as a hobby. Just because Nintendo is known for making cute and cuddly games doesn’t mean they should turn a blind eye when people are stealing the very creations they have put their blood, sweat, and tears into. 

There is this perception out there that corporations acting in their own interest is something that is inherently evil, and, to me, that just isn’t the case. Why shouldn’t Nintendo charge more money for something it knows fans want. This is why they got in the business. Yes, to create wonderful games that everyone loves, but they need money in order to do so. And it is not wrong for them to charge for and protect the things they created. They own their games and characters, not us.

Now, don’t get me wrong—there is a lot Nintendo could do to salvage its reputation. Things would have gone a lot better for them this week if they would have announced the price increase at the monthly tier instead of the yearly tier. That would have been much more palatable. Or imagine how much better it would go over if they recognized the fan creations based on their IPs while still protecting them and shutting down illegal copies? Yes, Nintendo could do things with a little more heart, there is no question. But at the end of the day, we would all do well to remember that Nintendo is a company. They exist to make money. 

That is not a bad thing. 

Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward SwordSuper Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

Featured image source: Kaozbender YouTube

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