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Tips for Buying EarthBound

December 11th, 2013 | Interviews

This is old news by now, but ShirowWolf sent me this e-mail back around the time the EarthBound Bash was happening so I didn’t get to it until now:

Hi, Tomato-

So here we have Reggie Fils-Aime basically admitting that Nintendo of America doesn’t listen to fan petitions and campaigns, and they ‘don’t effect what [Nintendo]’ does. Now, this isn’t surprising at all, and will shock no one, but it might say something that NoA is now actually admitting it. Mother 3 isn’t mentioned in the article, but the Operation Rainfall RPGs are.

So….yeah. Here’s the interview from Siliconera– LINK

The topic of Xenoblade comes up, and I’m really glad there was that push to get it sort of released in the States – I ended up putting 150+ hours into my first playthrough 😯 So thank you to everyone who helped make a ruckus about that back in the day!

But Reggie also mentions these things about petitions/campaigns:

I have to tell you—it doesn’t affect what we do. We certainly look at it, and we’re certainly aware of it, but it doesn’t necessarily affect what we do.


The thing we know [about petitions] is that 100,000 signatures doesn’t mean 100,000 sales.

Has Nintendo ever been burned by listening to a big fan petition and then getting crappy sales? His wording makes me think that’s happened before.

Anyway, I feel like EarthBound fans’ petitioning heyday is long over. Maybe these sort of things are better suited for Nintendo’s Miiverse stuff these days anyway. If it helped get EarthBound re-released, maybe it’ll help get the other two games released in English some year 😛


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18 Comments to Petitions Don’t Affect Nintendo

DJMankiewicz said on Dec. 11, 2013

Hmm, well I for one bought every one of those Rainfall games. I know Nintendo says they don’t “respond” to petitions, but it seems clear that the petition had an effect. I think it is just safer for Nintendo to not set up false hopes among gamers.

I am curious though. What sort of sales did those Rainfall games actually get?

Carl said on Dec. 11, 2013

Of course Nintendo doesn’t respond *directly* to petitions, releasing a game explicitly because of a petition with a certain number of signatures.

But large petitions can certainly form part of the broader picture of a game’s cultural significance, and give insight into the expected sales of a game, just not in a naive “one signature equals one sale” kind of way.

Bionic said on Dec. 11, 2013

Arrrgh Reggie! *Shakes fist* Isn’t his backwards thinking the whole reason he got demoted and now Iwata has his old position?

I mean here we have an EB fanbase that asked nicely for an Earthbound re-release for a decade. Reggie is like oh no no, several hundred thousand people asking for something would never result in actual sales. Finally they re-release it and what happens? EB is in the top selling charts for the entire year. Gee Reggie, I wonder if petitions could actually result in…sales? *Facepalm*

Halloween said on Dec. 11, 2013

There can’t be that many people who would go through the trouble of signing a petition for a game they weren’t going to buy, right? Add the people who learn about the game after it’s made and I would imagine that each signature would roughly equal a sale.

Nintendo has always been the most “high and mighty” I guess, when it comes to listening to feedback. They just hole up and do what they think results in quality, which granted is safe but annoying in this day and age when the communication channel between companies and consumers are wide open. I feel like there are a lot of risks they could take that would make a lot of people very happy and earn them a lot of money.

2Sang said on Dec. 11, 2013

I think petitions are still fun to do and prove a point to nintendo, even if they don’t take action in response. It’s their loss and they can’t blame the fans for their failures.

Gradon said on Dec. 11, 2013

I think that the Rainfall petition barely had an effect on Xenoblade coming over to the US.

Nintendo of Europe are keen for niche games and already planned to release Project Zero 4 (cancelled for glitches) and then eventually Xenoblade. Nintendo of Europe also published the other two (The Last Story & Pandora’s Tower) here as well + all of the dubbing and Project Zero 2 Remake for Wii. So that’s 5 Japanese games so far with one cancelled.

The funny thing is, Nintendo of America didn’t publish Xenoblade until over a year since the European release, even using the same dub NoE recorded.

Then they didn’t bring the other two across to US.
I think that the petitions did help with the other two, but not Xenoblade. XSEED jumped into that when Nintendo didn’t.

And the fact Nintendo hasn’t brought over Project Zero 2 to the US I believe is another factor to this.

Did Xenoblade sell well in the US anyway? I heard they only made 100,000 copies and thats why its so expensive. Nintendo of Europe had a Club Nintendo special for merchandise I believe if you bought all three Rainfall games.

Justin said on Dec. 11, 2013

Iwata said they brought over EarthBound because of the Miiverse reaction and Project Rainfall rather clearly had an impact. I think Reggie is just saying this because he doesn’t want to condone every single game getting its own petition, which in the digital age is pretty much what happens.

Zack said on Dec. 11, 2013

The petitions…are absorbed…by the darkness.

The Apple Kid said on Dec. 11, 2013

I’m not a surprised, but I’d be lying if I said, “I don’t think there is a petition in the world that has ever affected Nintendo.” I think Carl put it best: petitions don’t garner a direct response.

ebisubaru said on Dec. 11, 2013

lol zack. you a funny guy.

Anon said on Dec. 12, 2013

@Bionic: I agree with your sentiment, but Reggie never got demoted. Iwata took the CEO (Chief Exectuive Officer) position at NoA, which is one that Reggie never held. Reggie was (Vice-?)CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and went on to become President and COO (Chief Operative Officer). Iwata stepping up as CEO of NoA had no effect on Reggies career what so ever (besides reducing his chances of acquiring the CEO position in the future). The guy who left was Tatsumi Kimishima (I believe he works at NCL now), who in fact was promoted to CEO from the COO position, allowing Reggie to take his place.

Chivi-chivik said on Dec. 12, 2013

This is completely understanable. Heck, they can’t please every fan out there. That’s IMPOSSIBLE to do. If authors themselves (of other media) can’t please their fans 100%, why would NOA be able to do that?
Petitions can be useful, but they don’t always have to be followed.

I would like to see MOTHER 1 and 3 officially translated and stuff (specially here in NOE territory), but we should stop being this insistent and capricious sometimes. We’re not special: we’re just fans in front of an important company.

Anonymous said on Dec. 12, 2013

@Anon it was my understanding that he was president of NoA before (with no one to answer to on the North American side of things) and that now that Iwata was named CEO of North America, he must report directly to Iwata and is now more of a second-in-command, even though he kept the same title. Is that right?

KingMike said on Dec. 12, 2013

I hear Nintendo got pretty burned on Tales of Phantasia (which some people like Cless, refused to support it for the GBA being reportedly the worst version of all. Though that probably didn’t help convince Namco to localize the better Sony versions.) and Magical Starsign (people wanted Magical Vacation, Nintendo localizes the sequel and it flops. It must’ve flopped pretty bad if I can remember seeing it on a Target shelf bundled with Deal or No Deal. 😛 )

Anon said on Dec. 13, 2013

@Anonymous: He was (and is) President, yeah. Though the situation hasn’t changed; instead of having to report to Kimishima (who was COO and President and got CEO when Reggie was named COO and President), he has to report to Iwata (who replaced Kimishima as CEO). At least that’s how I understand it. It was just a change of positions to give Iwata direct power over the American branch.

Captain Cab said on Dec. 14, 2013

No kidding you don’t listen, Reggie, thanks for nothing. I’m glad Iwata was cool enough to publicly say he WAS listening to Earthbound fans when the Miiverse campaign was on and he and Itoi even thanked us.

Reggie/NOA: We don’t listen to what you say, we don’t care about your requests no matter how fervent, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and adhering to our stale, rigid, business “vision.” Iwata/NCL: We are listening and if you’re passionate enough sometimes you’ll get our attention.

Gee, I wonder which of these two executives has the more refreshing attitude toward their customers? I was really happy NCL threw the hammer down on Reggie and NOA by finally forcing them to release Earthbound on Virtual Console in NA and EU.

I find it hard to believe OpRainfaill didn’t have at least a bit of impact, this sounds like a bit of sour grapes from Reggie to me, honestly. Whatever the case, U.S. NPD November sales data for Wii U sales were horrible and could lead to a management shakeup at Nintendo. If NCL is smart they’ll either fire or demote Reggie and axe the entire U.S. marketing/promotion team at NOA who have done a horrendus job of marketing and messaging with the Wii U.

Ness and Sonic said on Dec. 22, 2013

The first Mother needs to be remastered or remade. It doesn’t quite fit right with the style of the other games. Random encounters were kind of insane and it didn’t help you can’t see them coming. Offensive PSI Gamma moves were pretty much an instant KO or pretty close to it, etc.

Nick said on Dec. 27, 2013

I don’t see the point of petitions any more. Nintendo clearly has no will nor desire to localize and release Mother 1 and 3 in the states. The game is readily available to anyone who can do a google search, and it can be played on all manner of computers and mobile phones. I don’t see why it’s a big deal if it gets released on the virtual console or not.


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