Monday, December 10, 2012

Well, This is Unfortunate

Apparently this has been a -thing- that the net has known about for a little bit, but I personally didn't really start hearing about it until yesterday, or rather this morning when I was laying in bed, unable to sleep despite it being three goddamn thirty in the morning when I needed to be up in mere hours.  I didn't think too much of it because surely, it had to be a silly, incorrect thing, right?  Something that is way beyond oversight as this to the point of being intentionally dumb can't actually be a thing, yes?  Well, it -is- a thing, but skimming under the surface shows that it's not completely 'intentionally dumb' as it is Nintendo being super-duper ultra-over-cautious as only Nintendo can be.  Or....just unfortunate as Nintendo usually is not.  I'm not quite sure about what's actually the case here.

'What's the issue already?', I know you're saying.  Well, the issue is that European Wii U owners can only download M-Rated Games in the middle of the night.  The whole of Europe.  The window is between 11 PM and 3 AM, and those are the -only- hours in a day that you can spend towards downloading an M-Rated (18+ Rated over there) game onto your shiny new Wii U console.  Given that said games are...rather large and that's generally not a feasible amount of time, it's a major, major problem for people who are looking to eschew disks in favor of over-large external hard drives that have to be externally powered or something like that - I don't remember but it's kind of dumb.  So, at face value, what that means is that in the entirety of Europe, you're only allowed to download 18+ games, such as ZombiU and Assassin's Creed 3 at those few wee hours in the dark of night which basically means unless you have patience and a super-duper internet connection, you're pretty much -not- going to get to buy and download those games.

That is, of course, really really bad.  The first instinct is to wonder just what the -hell- Nintendo is thinking with that one, and, well, they're thinking in terms of the law, which I guess is pretty smart.  You see, across the whole of Europe, there's all sorts of various restrictions on entertainment content, be it video games or movies or etc. and king of them all in terms of restrictions is Germany.  For years now, it's been kind of hard, if not impossible, to provide Germany with a lot of things directly, in terms of the digital space, and this is no different.  Still, those restrictions tend to just focus on Germany, since it's Germany's law, so what's the deal?  Well, the deal is that Nintendo of Europe operates out of, you guessed it, Germany.  The unfortunate matter of these types of things is that Law is generally sovereign based on where you operate from, if I'm not mistaken, which is precisely why the whole of Europe is affected.  Since Nintendo of Europe operates from Germany, it, as a whole, has to abide by Germany's laws, insanely restrictive as they might be.

In a sense, this isn't really Nintendo's fault, but at the same time, this is going to do only negative things for them overall.  The bare fact of the matter is that, basically, you cannot buy 18+ games digitally on a Wii U, which, given that this is Nintendo's attempt at appealing to the demographics that felt left out with the Wii, poses a real issue.  The big mainstream titles they're looking to pipe through like the mentioned Assassin's Creed 3 and other things like the various Call of Duty games are thus inaccessible to a percentage of the market which is something you don't want to happen.  Especially on the digital side of things since Nintendo and the various companies involved stand to make a little more off of those copies rather than the physical ones out there.  At the same time as this is just Nintendo adhering to the laws that they have to follow, these aren't new laws by any means, and you would think that at some point during development of the Wii U with its big, bad internet focus, they would...sort of think about this sort of thing at any point.

Overall, I think this is just telling of Nintendo's whole state with the entirety of the Wii U's launch.  You really get the feeling that they just weren't ready for this, and I worry that they actually rushed it out of the gate to ensure they got a head start on Sony and Microsoft.  The move will pay off a little simply for the fact that it's Nintendo, but it certainly is proving with each passing day that it might not have been the wisest move and will likely cost them a bit more than it could've gained them in the long run.  It's just been a rocky launch for the Wii U and it's all-but eaten away at Nintendo's perceived console durability since the Wii U is certainly not made of 'Nintendium' as it were.  There are more than a few flaws with the device, and more than a few instances of failures, both small and on the large scale (hardlocks/freezes to absolutely bricking in noticeably large quantities) and one can only hope that if they'd perhaps waited a little longer, it would've been a better machine overall for the short term and long term both.  I guess we'll never really know, and I just hope that Nintendo will be able to fix the issues that exist before it's too little, too late.

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