Nintendo Says Get to the Back of the Box [Update]

nintendobuilding.jpg Nintendo knows it. People buy Nintendo consoles to play Nintendo games. So no wonder third parties don't get much respect! Mike Wilson from developer GameCock explains the situation:

...we discovered that it's actually the letter of the law with Nintendo to put the publisher's name on the front of the box and the spine, and the developer only on the back. Obviously, this flies in the face of our philosophy of who deserves the credit, and how gamers can actually see who made the game they love or hate, and thereby develop a relationship with their favourite artists, just like authors, musicians, directors, and so on. Nintendo of America says it's a customer service issue, and they believe people might try to call the developer if they have a problem with the game, and they want them to call the publisher, who is the licensee of NOA.

Sure, it's a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval thing, but c'mon. Seems like unnecessary branding on Nintendo's part — like they're taking credit or something. GameCock Interview [GameSpot via Go Nintendo]Hit the jump for the update.

Gamecock's Mike Wilson pinged us, saying the quote we posted was confusing people into thinking the company was bitching about not being able to put Gamecock on the front of the Dementium box. Not so! He'd like to clear the air, so here's his email:

Nintendo forced us to put our logo on the front, by their policy. Does this make sense to you? Here's the full text of what I sent to Gamespot if it helps:

RE: other speedbumps/surprises we've encountered. we discovered that it's actually the letter of the law with nintendo to put the publisher's name on the front of the box and the spine, and the developer only on the back. obviously, this flies in the face of our philosophy of who deserves the credit, and how gamers can actually see who made the game they love or hate, and thereby develop a relationship with their favourite artists, just like authors, musicians, directors, etc. NOA says its its a customer service issue, and they believe people might try to call the developer if they have a problem with the game, and they want them to call the publisher, who is the licensee of NOA. nevermind the fact that we're required to put our contact info on every box and warranty information in the manual... they don't want any chance that the consumer might instead try to find contact info for the logo on the all important front, lower right, box real estate. i asked how they handled developers like id (where i cut my teeth in this industry and saw the truth in the importance of developer IP ownership and branding), who would absolutely refuse to put their games on their platform given this policy. they apparently created a loophole specifically for this, whereby if you change the actual name and logo of the game to the possessive, ie id's DOOM, then their name can be on the front of the box. unfortunately in our industry, this is often considered pretentious, and you'd better be id or valve or sid meier or richard garriott if you're gonna try to pull that off (apologies to american mcgee). so, renegade kid, dementium's developer, chose to just roll with it and be on the back of the box. we did start the dementium manual with the following statement: "We at Gamecock Media Group want you to know that we did NOT make this game. An awesome new developer in Austin, TX, named Renegade Kid made it. Check them out at RenegadeKid.com."

for what it's worth, sony and microsoft both also require the publisher/licensee logo to be in the holy lower right corner, but you can also put the developer logo in the lower middle. the publisher branding thing is one of the most backwards idea's in this industry, if you ask me. its absolutely ludicrous to think that any gamers can have loyalty to these giant publisher names who create 100 different games a year, which vary wildly in scope, genre, and quality.

it's like imagining someone saying "man i LOVE Random House", or "I can't wait for the next offering from Universal Pictures." gimme a break. gamers need to know who their favourite TALENT is in this industry, not their favourite publicly traded conglomerate of suits. even a tiny publishing label like rockstar with only a few games a year can never come close to matching the quality of GTA. why? they DIDN'T CREATE GTA. a small, forgotten, developer in scotland called DMA made it before being bought by TTWO. if rockstar the label has anything to do with its success, you'd see other megahits from them. i think even they have forgotten at this point that they didn't create the game.


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