Back in July, there was major gamer outcry when Nintendo of America pulled the Super Smash Bros. Melee Tournament stream from EVO 2013. They soon rectified the issue after fans clamoured for the stream to be uploaded, but it was a difficult situation for Nintendo to be placed in, so says former Nintendo marketing employee Kyle Mercury.
In an interview with Not Enough Shaders, Mercury speaks about working for Nintendo of America during the GameCube era – as he worked for the company between 2001 and 2007 – but he also sheds light on what might have been NoA’s decision to shut down the stream in the first place, admitting that Super Smash Bros. Melee is a “dangerous” brand for them. Let us know what you think of Mercury’s opinion in the comments below.
“From a Promotional perspective the game is almost always a guaranteed victory, it’s easy mode. People love Smash, period. In this respect, it tends to swallow nearly all other titles it’s placed alongside. Even during the Wii launch, Smash Melee would still draw huge crowds at events if it was fired up, pulling eyes and critical impressions away from newer Wii and DS titles. As that relates to EVO, the decision doesn’t really seem to make much sense and from what I’ve heard it was more a miscommunication between the parties involved. On the other hand, highlighting a 12-year-old game from a console two full generations ago isn’t exactly going to lead to improved sales numbers. People always say “It’s free promotion!”, but that’s like using a Gameboy Advance SP to promote the 3DS. It was great at the time, but it’s not doing you any favors in 2013.
“From a Marketing perspective, Smash is dangerous because of the content/playstyle of the game. Iconic Nintendo mascots beating the hell out of each other is an awesome gameplay experience, no one will challenge that fact, but from an overall Marketing view it’s, well, dangerous. The popular image of Mario, the widely publicly recognized one, can never be of him beating the hell out of Princess Peach or, say, of Link tossing Zelda into the fires of Brinstar, Pikachu hitting Jigglypuff with a baseball bat, so on, so forth. Unlike most other fighting game characters, the Nintendo mascots have far-reaching brands and franchises unto themselves that have to be considered and protected in a bigger picture view. EVO would have taken the character representations out of the hands of Nintendo’s control, boiled them down to pure violence, and broadcast it directly to 125,000 people. It’s not hard to see why Nintendo would be a little gun-shy.
“Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled to see Super Smash Bros Melee at EVO2013 (full disclosure, I was a Judge at EVO this year), but the outcry against Nintendo at the initial decision was so one-sided, so inconsiderate of what the company has to deal with to protect their brands, and just generally uninformed. Gamers want what they want, but there is always more at stake than we know.”