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The late, great Satoru Iwata was one-of-a-kind in the game industry. We all knew how insightful the man was when he was with us, but the depth of his understanding of all things gaming has only become more appreciated as the years have rolled on since his passing. Yet another example of that has come up, and this time it’s in regard to reactions to game releases.

You’d think that if you put out a game, you’d cross all fingers and toes for universal praise. The more people hyping up your game after release the better, right? While it’s certainly not a bad thing to receive adulation, Satoru Iwata saw considerable value in games that split player opinion as well.

A feature in GamesIndustry Japan mentioned how Iwata believed their was something to games that didn’t wow everyone that played them. According to Iwata, “Things that are praised don’t sell – it’s the things that are criticized that sell. It is best to earn a divided response.”

That statement is certainly true when it comes to Nintendo’s games and products. It does seem that whenever the Big N makes a move that brings about discourse, it also is quite likely success is to follow. The DS and Wii baffled a lot of people upon reveals, and the Wii name in particular led many to believe the platform was doomed. Games like Wii Fit and Nintendogs were lampooned when showcased, but those experience went on to be major evergreen titles. Even the Switch reveal was met with a mixed response at best, and we all know how that story went.

Obviously, the key is finding that sweet spot of positive and negative reactions. If you reveal something and the response from the public is universal disinterest, you’re probably in for a very bad time. Nintendo is very well known for doing their own thing, and that has paved the way for major successes and some big failures as well. Still, the Big N has more hits than misses under their belt, so it does seem there’s merit in walking that razor’s edge.

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Comments (4)

pt-

12d ago

All press is good press.

There is great logic in this. If a game is universally praised, it may actually get buried under the hype to those who aren’t already fans. If it’s panned, no one will want to play it.

If it’s somewhere in the middle, it’s likely to stir up more debate. I’m likely to see a movie with mixed reviews since I’ll want to make judgement myself. It almost adds a layer of mystique.


tendonin

12d ago

It’s easier to learn from a mixed reception than from uniform praise. You can also learn from uniform criticism, but getting to that point isn’t worth it.


conangiga

11d ago

No game -absolutely no game- is without flaw. So even the best of the best will receive some sort of mixed reception.


enthropy

10d ago

@conangiga

Exactly. My all time fav games have some negatives, but those negatives are usually overshadowed by the immense positives. But those negatives are still there.