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November 2021
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Nintendo's YouTube Video For Its Switch Online Upgrade Is Its Most Hated Video Ever

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Well, this is moving fast. We had just been discussing Nintendo's announcement for a new tier of Nintendo Switch Online services. While there are several extras added in for the $50 per year tier, a 150% increase in cost from the base subscription, the real star of the show was supposed to be the Nintendo 64 games that are now included in it. As we discussed, however, the list of N64 games on offer is very limited and there are all kinds of problems with the games that are offered. Those problems include graphical issues, scaling issues, controller lag issues, controller mapping issues, and multiplayer lag. You know... everything. When you put all of that side by side with Nintendo's concentrated efforts to obliterate emulation sites from the internet, the end result is that Nintendo decided to deprive the public of pirated classic games in order to sell them a vastly inferior product.But it's one thing for me, known Nintendo-detractor Timothy Geigner, to say all of that. What really matters is how the paying public will react to all of this. Well, if you're looking for a canary in the Nintendo coal mine, we can look to the video Nintendo put on YouTube announcing the new tier of NSO.

Well, it seems a lot of people don't like Nintendo's new Switch Online Expansion Pack based on the reveal trailer's likes and dislikes. The video, which revealed the pricing details for the plan, now has 104k dislikes on YouTube, overtaking the previously most hated video on Nintendo's channel: A trailer for Metroid Prime: Federation Force.NSO's Expansion Pack costs $50 a year, more than double what the basic Nintendo Switch Online plan costs. That extra money gets you access to an Animal Crossing expansion (which can and should be bought separately) and 23 N64 and Sega Genesis games. It's not a great deal and making matters worse, the emulation quality of these games ain't great, with many complaining that the older games run poorly, lack proper control remapping, and feature numerous visual and gameplay bugs and glitches. It's just a big, over-priced mess.
Somehow, I doubt that when Nintendo dreamt this plan up, it wasn't going for "a big, over-priced mess", but that's absolutely what we have. That video has only been up for about two weeks now. At the time of this writing, the video has 17k likes and 141 dislikes. As far as decent market research on public feedback for a product, that's fairly clear-cut.As are the comments on the YouTube page itself. Some examples include:
  • "It seems like they are asking us to emulate their games SO MUCH."
  • "I admire Nintendo's bravery. It takes guts to do something so idiotic and not back down when the hate comes."
  • "Hats off to Nintendo for inadvertently reminding people that they can play their old favorite games on an emulator for free."
It goes on and on and on. Is Nintendo going to alter its plans based on this near uniform negative feedback? No, of course not. That's not how the company rolls. But it's also true that this sort of thing is the reason why emulation is never going to completely die. If a company cannot offer a product that is at least as good as the pirated product, how in the world can they successfully sell it?

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posted at: 12:00am on 04-Nov-2021
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

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Advertising Is Content: Taskmaster Edition

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Many, many years ago on Techdirt, I wrote a lot about the idea of advertising being content (and content being advertising). The general idea was that, without captive audiences any more, you had to make your advertising into really good content that people would actually like, rather than find it annoying and intrusive.I still think this is an important insight, but with the rise of a limited number of internet giants and (more importantly) Google and Facebook focusing on better and better ad targeting, most of the focus on ads these days hasn't been so much on "advertising is content," so much as "advertising is creepily and slightly inaccurately targeted, but you're going to live with it, because that's all you've got." Still, every once in a while, we're reminded of this idea about how advertising could actually be good content in its own right. Ironically, the example I'm about to share here... comes from Google. But we'll get to that in a moment.In the midst of the pandemic, I discovered the amazing UK TV show Taskmaster, which is too good to describe. It's sort of a cross between a typical UK panel show, a game show with incredibly ridiculous tasks, and.... I dunno. Perhaps it's the anti-Squid Game. It does involve people playing games, but it's hilarious, not deadly. You kind of have to watch it to understand how good it is, and then you kind of can't stop watching it. Thankfully, the first eight seasons are fully and officially available on YouTube outside the UK. The show is now on Season 12, but it appears that they've stopped posting full copies of the new shows to YouTube -- perhaps because the show has become so popular they're looking for a licensing deal with some streaming service or something (their content is advertising!) For what it's worth, an attempt at a US spinoff version completely flopped because it was terrible, though other spinoffs, such as in New Zealand, have gone well. If you want to get a sense of the show, Season 1, Episode 1 is hard to beat, though it's missing some things that became standard in later seasons. If you want to watch the show once it really hit it's stride, seasons 4, 5 and 7 are probably the best.Anyway, while they're not posting full episodes any more, the Taskmaster YouTube page continues to post new content -- usually clips or outtakes from the show. But last week they also posted two ads. They're clearly labeled as ads -- but they're brand new Taskmaster content, advertising Google's Lens feature. They involve a couple of Taskmaster contestants competing in tasks that require the use of Google Lens to compete -- and they're just as entertaining as the show, while actually showing off this Google product I didn't even know existed. Since I've seen basically every available episode of Taskmaster, I thought this is a fantastic example of content as advertising, so I'm posting them here -- though I'll admit I'm not quite as sure how well they work for people who don't watch the show:

I still think the advertising world would be better -- and less hated -- if there was a focus on making sure your advertising was actually good content that was entertaining or interesting. It may not be as exciting as trying to tweak the AI to squeeze an extra 0.000003 cents per user with more targeted ads, but it might make for a nicer world.

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posted at: 12:00am on 04-Nov-2021
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

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