This is a reply to BlindsideDork's earlier post called Will Nintendo Ever Get It's Respect Back?. If you haven't, you should since it's good and this blog won't make complete sense without having done so. This started as a reply to that post but I quickly realized it would be too long. So let's get into the Wall-O-Text.
I think people give Nintendo flack about this because they feel that they've been relying on the same franchises for too long. Mario, Metroid, & Zelda. I somewhat agree only because Nintendo can't seem to devote any time into new franchises that aren't spin offs of others. Where's the new Pikmin? Where's the new Kid Icarus? Where's the new....uh..I can't think of another one.
On the flip side of this, I think they do innovate with each new iteration of said franchises. Practically all of the Marios are different, and Zelda and Metroid have made the crossover to 3d succesfully and have tried some new things out. But they are getting a little lax with those last two especially Metroid so they need to be careful.
Let's face it, Nintendo WANTS to be seen as family friendly (really, who doesn't) and they embrace this. They love it. It's a big part of their success at the moment because parents feel more comfortable buying it for their kids and knowing they have something to play with the whole family. Sure they have mature-rated titles on it but how many of those did Nintendo make? Therein lies the root of their kiddy image. Nintendo does not create original IPs that aren't family friendly. Project H.A.M.M.E.R. would have been a step in that direction but look what happenned to that. There is nothing wrong with this (or the kiddy image as a whole) but let's not pretend it isn't what they're doing or even trying to portray.
Also, I wouldn't attribute Microsoft at all to this perception (I know you hate them and all but come on). If any company is to blame it would be Sega with the "attitude" campaign they had against them back in the day, and then Sony solidifing it with the Playstation. Even as a kid back then, I realized that the Playstation brand was trying to be more grown up than Nintendo and that in and of itself is a big contributor to games becoming mainstream and exceptable to the public at large.
Nintendo should have had online play from day one. No excuses. Just because it's their first time, doesn't mean we should give them any slack for it. Sure, Xbox didn't have LIVE from day one but that's because they fucking pioneered it. PS3's online isn't as robust as LIVE but Resistance had online play from day one. Red steel should have been online. Even Excite Truck should have been online. No console should launch in this day and age without a complete online strategy. I don't expect them to come out of the gate with a service that's right up there with the current iteration of Xbox LIVE, but at this point in time, there shouldn't be one game released without online play that can implement it.
Now I do like some of the ideas they have with the 24 hour connect thing, and I give them props for having built in Wifi, but fucking use it assholes! They seem more worried about setting up the weather channel, and the everybody-votes channel, and a fucking digital clock rather than making sure every game on the platform can be played online if need be. Virtual Console is good and all but I'd like them to focus some more on original titles. Imagine some XBLA style games developed by Nintendo. And friend codes are a fucking joke, not to mention they further solidify the "kiddy" image. I know they are getting better and improving this but there's still no excuse for the slow start since it shows that it was never a priority for them and people are right to call them out on it.
WILL NINTENDO EVER GET IT'S RESPECT BACK?
Blindside's original question is extremely loaded because it depends who you're talking to. The Nintendo faithful fanboys would say that they never lost respect. They got their Mario/Metroid/Zelda and they're happy and content. "Hardcore" gamers (who aren't Nintendo fanboys) would probably say "not until you pay attention to my needs". And let's face it, Nintendo doesn't really pay attention to the hardcore market anymore beyond throwing them the expected franchise game. I'll open old wounds by reminding everyone that Wii Fit was they're big E3 announcement. If that's not proof enough then think about this: How often have you seen Reggie give interviews to actual gamer sites or magazines? Now compare that extremely small number to the numerous interviews Peter Moore and Jack tretton have given. Even the "big boys" of video game publishing 1up and EGM have mentioned how notoriously hard it is to get an interview with the man if you're not Time or Newsweek. You know why, because "traditional" gamers are not his priority, the casual market is. Is there anything wrong with that? From a business perspective, no, but if you want the "hardcore" gamers to respect you, snubbing them is not the way to go.
Now despite all of the negative things I've just said (typed?) I am not trying to bash the Wii, Nintendo, or Blindside. I'm just trying to provide the counter argument. Plenty of people love the Wii and with good reason, but it's just not the kind of gaming console I prefer to have (at least not as a primary console). They do have solid titles though whether they are "mature" or not and I will be getting one to play Smash Bros. Hopefully I'll get some of your insanely long friend codes so we can play online for Friday Night Fights.