Posted on July 08 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
It’s normally not our style to post videos on the front page, but seeing as we’re running out of Operation Rainfall-related images… This guy’s name is Jordan White, and he’s the founder of the popular StreetPassNYC, one of the biggest StreetPass events out there. While he’s not a Nintendo authority by any means he does have some interesting observations about the JRPG localization issue.
In a nutshell, his rationale is this: Nintendo of America, while it is the largest arm of Nintendo in terms of its market region and number of customers, is actually hardly responsible for the release schedule for its region. It’s actually Nintendo Co., Ltd. (otherwise known as Nintendo of Japan or NCL) that decides what games will get released; NoA’s just responsible for localization, marketing, and distribution. Jordan believes that NCL is concerned that the decline of traditionally-strong genres such as JRPGs has to do with the strong “Japanese” feel these genres usually adopt. Meanwhile, Western developers are stronger than ever before, with gritty shooters like Call of Duty often dominating our markets… at least for a time. Since Japanese culture is one largely based in aesthetics, Jordan suggests that Nintendo HQ is wary of publishing any such titles in America.
Meanwhile, Nintendo of Europe isn’t under such tight restrictions. It’s been only recently that Europe’s become a blip on Nintendo’s radar, and so the region isn’t as critical a market as the West. They therefore have much more freedom in terms of what games they release to their markets.
This is all speculation of course, but it makes sense given recent economic trends. No doubt Nintendo of America is struggling to perform with the declining value of the dollar, which not surprisingly coincides pretty closely with software droughts in 2009 (right after the major economic crash of late 2008) and 2011 (right after Nintendo’s profit margins dropped considerably thanks largely to stagnant U.S. currency). Jordan suggests that in addition to the current America-based letter-writing, social network-blasting, emailing campaign, fans should also focus their efforts on NCL themselves. And I’ve got to say, it sounds like a good idea to me. NoA does inevitably answer to the suits over at HQ at the end of the day.
I also mentioned an update regarding yesterday’s rumors: it seems they might indeed be too good to be true. A look at Nintendo of America’s track record for testing localized games reveals that NoA Testing often works on games being released to only the European market. This could explain why NoA’s been involved with the localization of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story: it’s not because a release will come later down the line, but because their testing division needs something to do. I’d love to say that I’m wrong, but my gut’s telling me that this is likely the case. Still, the OpRainfall guys are sticking to their guns and seem to believe that their source is legitimate and their information accurate and speculation-free. Only time will tell.