It may have seemed uncertain at the outset, but 2014 has turned out to be a strong year for Nintendo. Not only did new installments of Super Smash Bros. bring their A-game to both of the Big-N’s platforms, but Mario Kart 8 revitalized the flagging Wii U, while Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire upheld the series’ long tradition of quality on the handheld side. Even Platinum Games’ Wii U-exclusive Bayonetta 2 got some love; nominated for “Game of the Year” at Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards.
That’s a big change from 2013, when Wii U owners spent most of the year complaining about the lack of quality titles. While Super Mario 3D World and Pikmin 3 were both fairly popular, overall the Wii U seemed doomed to suffer the same fate as the GameCube, a console with some great games that just didn’t catch on with the general public. Shifting that perception is a big deal, and it’s no wonder that Nintendo’s starting to feel a little cocky.
However, this time the Kyoto-based game maker might have gone… a little too far. In a last-minute appeal to holiday shoppers, the official Nintendo Twitter account made a bold claim:
Great games make great gifts, and there are more great games on Nintendo platforms than anywhere else! pic.twitter.com/7y2WEUE21M— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) December 19, 2014
They’ve got the numbers to back it up: in an associated image, Nintendo claims that, cumulatively, the Wii U and 3DS have 19 “great” games. All the other consoles only have 8. Combined.
Of course, Nintendo’s analysis is a little fuzzy. They lay out the standards for their claim: games currently available at retail (which apparently excludes download-only titles) that have a Metascore of 85 or above and a user rating of 8.5 or higher. A quick glance over Metacritic actually supports Nintendo’s math. While it’s not specified in Nintendo’s graphic, the “other consoles” in question seem to be the PlayStation 4, which has two qualifying titles; the PS Vita, which has six; and the poor Xbox One, which doesn’t have a single game that made the cut.
Obviously, there are several problems with this approach. For one, the Wii U has an extra year on both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One; if one was to limit Nintendo to games that only came out during the console’s first twelve months, the overall number of qualifying titles on the Wii U would be significantly lower.
Secondly, eliminating downloadable titles from the calculation doesn’t make any sense. Sure, getting a redemption code instead of a physical disc doesn’t lead to a spectacular ‘unwrapping’ experience, but it doesn’t mean that the games themselves are somehow inferior.
The biggest problem, though, is how Nintendo arbitrarily decided on 85 as the cut-off. Is a game with an 84 Metascore really significantly worse than something with an 86? The inclusion of user scores further complicates things; regular users tend to be more extreme than critics with their opinions. Using a universal 85% approval rating doesn’t take into account the differences between the two audiences. That’s not to say that user opinions should be discounted – they’re arguably more important than the scores from professional critics – but they need to be handled differently.
These kind of claims are nothing new for Nintendo, taking shots at the competition without actually mentioning them by name, or directly criticizing their audiences or developers (they want “hardcore” consumers too!). Even so, where do you land on this question? Do you agree that Nintendo has more great games (even if the wait for them has been significantly longer)? Sound off in the comments.