Reggie Fils-Aime Says Gamers are “Insatiable”…And He’s Right

During this year’s E3, Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime told Kotaku the following:

One of the things that, on one hand, I love and, on the other hand, that troubles me tremendously about not only our fanbase but about the gaming community at large is that, whenever you share information, the perspective is, ‘Thank you, but I want more.’ ‘Thank you, but give me more.’ I mean, it is insatiable.

“And so for years this community has been asking, ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ We give them Pikmin. And then they say, ‘What else?’

“For years, this community have said, ‘Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game.’ So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, ‘So what’s more?’

“I have heard people say, ‘You know, you’ve got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you’re doing in Smash Bros., isn’t there a way to leverage all these franchises?’ So we create Nintendo Land and they say, ‘Ho-hum, give me more.’ So it’s an interesting challenge.

If you prefer the “tl;dr” version: Even when gamers get what they want, they want more.

I can already hear the legions of fans out there sharpening their blades and shouting for war. It’s easy to get offended when a leader of the industry calls out the consumers. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I realize one simple thing:

Reggie Fils-Aime is absolutely right. 100% accurate. Besides the examples he gave, one needn’t look far for evidence, either:

Any recent fighting game release. As the release date for a highly-anticipated fighter nears and more details are announced, there will be fans in every direction campaigning for their favorite characters to be included. Some ask nicely, others request repeatedly, and a few even DEMAND their character of choice be in the game, under threat of not purchasing the game. Case in point: the exclusion of Mega Man from Marvel vs Capcom 3. Granted, this particular case was heightened by the cancellation of two Mega Man games, but it certainly enhanced the “insatiable” image of gamers.

Conventions. E3, Gamescom, Tokyo Games Show…all of the industry’s major events are packed to the gills with new announcements, information, and demos. We should be satisfied with everything that’s revealed…yet some tend to focus on what was left out. I’ll freely admit that I’m guilty of this too; I left Nintendo’s E3 conference this year wondering what happened to Retro Studios’ project. However, my expectations for the presentation were born of rumors and speculation, not of sound factual evidence. How could I be upset when something that was never officially promised didn’t show up? If we build up our expectations through rumors, then it’s our own stinkin’ fault that we get let down when those rumors don’t come to fruition, not theirs.

Mass Effect 3. I’ve harped on this a lot, but it’s the most recent example of a game not meeting lofty fan expectations for the wrong reasons. The game is everything we wanted it to be, save for the final ten minutes. For many, forty hours of gaming (100+ hours if you include the whole series) were essentially ruined because the ending wasn’t the confetti-strewn, “hell yeah we did it” victory party they envisioned. BioWare was dragged through every puddle of mud imaginable as gamers raged about the trilogy’s denouement. Groups focused on “retaking” the franchise, cupcakes were sent to the BioWare office, and some even threatened bodily harm. BioWare listened to these disgruntled fans, answering with tomorrow’s 1.9 GB patch FREE OF CHARGE that will expand the ending with additional scenes and dialogue.

The release of the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut could very well make Fils-Aime’s argument for him: if the patch delivers all of the closure the fans demanded yet those fans still aren’t satisfied, then Fils-Aime’s point will be irrefutable.

I’ve heard some say that Fils-Aime, and by extension Nintendo, is “out of touch” with the hardcore gamers. I’m wondering what the evidence is. Fils-Aime’s quotes above show exactly the opposite: the fans are asking something of the company and they are delivering. Pikmin 3? Sure. A Mario launch game on the newest system? Done. A new game with all of Nintendo’s franchises under one roof? Check. Yet because some of these things aren’t what we gamers expected, they’re considered inferior and quickly cast aside so we can move onto our next big request.

I’d imagine a whole lot of game developers and publishers feel a bit like this sometimes:

I can’t say I blame them. Even though most companies deliver the games we want, we’re too busy asking for more to enjoy them.