I woke up, took a good shower, ate a nice breakfast, and since i had nothing better to do, i gone check out the news on Kotaku. Much to my surprise, i find that Nintendo is no longer acting on the Brazilian market. In case you don't know, yes i'm from Brazil.
I just could't believe it! What does that mean? No more store sales, no more new releases (digital media will continue to sell normally), no console sales, nothing. Heck, even ROMs are disappearing from sites. What happened?
This was the major point in the announcement, and honestly, they are totally right. Taxes here are a fucking absurd, increasing the value of a product in 100%, sometimes even more! Just for an example, PS4 cost U$ 400. In the local currency (The Real) this should be around R$ 800,00; maybe 850,00. But in the reality, it cost R$ 4.000,00. That's U$ 1.700,00!!! The Wii U here is also twice the price.
It's not just games. Practically everything that is imported suffers from abusive taxes. Cars, musical instruments, games, food, you name it. Games here can cost U$ 100,00 on the release date, sometimes even more. Digital distribution helps a little, but it's only 30% cheaper i would say.
Putting like this is easy to understand why they left. Nintendo is not on a great phase, and the last thing they need is waste money on a market that is not profitable for them. To make things worse, we do are one of the biggest users of pirate games on the world. But make no mistake, is not because we don't wanna buy original games, it's because in the most cases, we can't.
But is also a cultural problem. Our culture came from the colonizers, in our case Portugal, and they just love free stuff. I've seen people download piracy copies of games that only costed aroud five dollars. That's culture for you (bad culture, but still...)
No surprises here. The price of things here keep going up, but our salaries don't. Most of us can't possibly afford a console with original games only. People need to eat and pay their bills. Remember my only buy on sales things? That's a reflex of the fucked up economy of my country.
And the political parties DO NOT care at all. As long as they are in charge and making easy money (mostly from dirty ways) they are happy. And the fact that most people are just happy in having the famous trinity (Soccer, Carnival and Beer), they do absolutely nothing to put and end to this.
It may look like a hate my people, but that's not it. There's good people here too, others like me, that make their best to try to change our reality. Even our local game developers have a hard time, since there's no incentive from the government, and from most of the gaming community. It's a hard reality we live here.
What does that mean for us? For now, it means that if i want a 3DS, i better hurry. For the future, it might be just the first of many companies to left the country. I pray i'm wrong....
Hat's Thoughts is a column where i give my personal opinion on stuff, usually related to the game industry.