Nintendo! Listen. What are you thinking with this whole “free game” thing that you’re trying to offer up?
Your Nintendo Switch. Look, I’m on board. I even think 1-2 Switch is neat, though it could certainly be a pack-in title.
I even understand that it’s time to charge for online stuff with your platform. I don’t like it, but I understand it. Investor pressure does a lot to a company, and Nintendo being the last console maker with free online made it prime time to start charging for what the others have charged for from one-to-two generations back. I get it.
This free game thing? “Free.” Let’s put that where it is. This isn’t even “free.” It’s a glorified demo.
If you’re unfamiliar with the service, here’s the skinny. Nintendo will now charge for certain online features. It looked at Sony and Microsoft, and saw the free games offered each month (Sony’s go away if you even unsubscribe from PS Plus, but the games are yours again if you re-up your subscription). Then Nintendo said… what did it say?
It said, internally, “Let’s give them a free game from the NES or SNES library each month. But then let’s take it away when the month is over. They’ll have to buy it after that.”
That’s right, your monthly freebie? It’s one SNES or NES game of Nintendo’s choosing. You have it for that month, then it disappears from your account unless you buy it.
What a joke, right?
Ha. Hahaha. Ha. Haaaaa. Why?
PlayStation gives gamers somewhere between four and six titles. Some of them are new, some are old. Gamers still complain about the lineups. Microsoft gives four or five games each month. Again, some old, some new. The good thing is that all are playable on the Xbox One thanks to backwards compatibility. Gamers still complain.
These folks complain because they feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth on a month-to-month basis. That’s their right, I suppose, though I’m more happy with both platforms than frustrated.
Nintendo, you think gamers will be cool with you handing them a single old game and then taking it away after 30 days? Just yesterday we ran a story about how you claim you read all the message boards and sites. How could that be true if you have the audacity to offer up this part of your online service with a straight face?
Nintendo has a stupidly massive pile of classic games between the NES and SNES to build a monthly stock of. Why stop there? Why not include the Game Boy, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Advance in this pile? You have this Virtual Console library that could be absolutely stupendous. Use it to sell your console, folks! It’s at your disposal, and all you can come up with is a 30-day rental service?
It’d be like a Netflix subscription where Blockbuster only gave you old movies of its choice, once per month and then took them back. Only games last much, much, much longer than movies.
It’s not too late, Nintendo
It’s not too late to change things up. Pull the feature for now. First of all, nothing at launch is really all that online heavy so far as I can tell. We don’t need online play for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We need it for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on April 28. So, pull the service until then.
It’s not even February yet. Before January is up, reannounce your online service. Put out a press release. Have Reggie stand up and say, “You talked, we listened. We’re giving out a free game every month for online subscribers. We’re starting with Super Mario Kart to celebrate the launch of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!”
Do you know how excited people would be? You should. You read the forums.
Yet, here we are. I’m excited for the Switch. I’ll get the online service to play Splatoon 2, then I’ll cancel my subscription. I can’t be the only one with this plan, can I? If Nintendo gave me a free classic game or two to keep every month? I’d be all over the service. This extended rental idea is insanely bogus, and it’s completely tone-deaf on Nintendo’s part.