Nintendo Listens to Fanbase Earlier this year, Nintendo teamed up with DeNA to announce the unthinkable – Nintendo would bring its most beloved franchises to the mobile market for smartphone (and even PC) platforms. This was the exact maneuver that fans have demanded for years and Nintendo swore would never happen; Mario on their iPhone. The reception was overwhelmingly positive, and Nintendo even benefited from a substantial increase in their stock price proving that this adjustment was exactly what analysts, consumers and the industry demanded. During this same press event, Nintendo was quick to announce that they were in development of a new console, codenamed NX. Details are still very scarce (Nintendo already confirmed they will have no new information presented during E3), but this signifies a shift in Nintendo’s mentality of maintaining a presence with the Wii U, which was unfortunately dead on arrival. Minds were blown. Nintendo was making savvy business decisions, looking forward to the future and listening to consumer input. Today, Nintendo managed to pull another brilliant tactic that will have the same element of surprise to fans and resonate within the industry – The Humble Nindie Bundle. For the next two weeks, consumers can purchase Guacamelee, Woah Dave and Mighty Switch Force for as little as a dollar. If the donation/purchase is $10 or more, it will include Stealth Inc 2 and SteamWorld Dig. However, if the purchase is above the average (currently $9.23) the bundle will also have The Fall, OlliOlli, Moon Chronicles with more games to be revealed during the week. That is a minimum of 9 games for only $10! PC owners are already well aware of the Humble Bundle model, and many Steam libraries are filled to the brim with extra content that gamers purchased in collections just like these but have no intention of playing. However, this is the first time that we have seen this type of treatment on consoles. And even more surprising is that it’s occurring on Nintendo (United States only…sorry non-region one gamers) who is famous for their stance on not discounting games, services or products. It is worth noting that none of the games mentioned are from the first-party developer themselves, but this is still a huge surprise from Nintendo. This story may not pick up as many national headlines and attention as Nintendo’s earlier announcements, but it is still just as important and vital to the consumer base. It represents a willingness to adapt to market conditions and shift in mindshare that Nintendo has been reluctant to accept in the past. Nintendo is a seasoned company, originally founded in 1889 as a card company, and moves slowly. Since the Nintendo 64-era, they seem to exist solely as toy makers who happen to make videogames and less like a videogame developer. Nintendo has weak third-party support and awkward relationships with other developers within the industry as evidenced by their marketing strategy and also in the amount of games within their library. This humble bundle will not be a silver bullet that sets everything right but may serve as the canary in the coal mine (but as a sign of good things!). This is the first real step that fans can point to as a new age of Nintendo, where the company is willing to work within the gaming space that others have created and follow popular trends. Nintendo prides itself on marching to the beat of its own drum, but sometimes others have great ideas, and it is okay to borrow from their playbook. I by no means think that Nintendo will jump onto every fad that comes along and I certainly don’t think that we will see everything that everyone has asked for be resolved this year. However, I do think that we will see Nintendo build better relationships with third-parties, create a more sophisticated online infrastructure and be willing to listen and learn from the successful ideas of others instead of letting pride make their decisions. I think that anyone, even those who don’t own a Wii U or 3DS, should consider donating a dollar to this Humble Bundle if for no other reason than to signal to Nintendo and the first party publishers that console gamers are hungry for this type of offering and to reward them for being willing to reach outside their comfort zone. Level Up, Friends!