We Absolutely Should Be Upset With Club Nintendo's Latest Elite Rewards
Posted on Wednesday, July 23 @ 12:00:00 Eastern by Joey_Davidson
Early last week, Nintendo of America unveiled the Elite and Gold level reward tiers for 2014. These are the freebies they hand fans who buy a ton of games, register them and take pre- and post-play surveys.
In the past, we've had statues, posters, soundtracks, and more to choose from. We've always had a physical calendar. This year? The games you see above.
This Year's Elite Level Rewards Are Bogus
This year, we have games. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, EarthBound and Game & Wario are the most notable of the list. They're free, which is great but Platinum members are folks who, more than likely, already have these games. They bought these games in order to reach the Platinum tier.
There's nothing exclusive here. It's a list of games that we can get through other means. There's no once-in-a-lifetime loyalty reward. Gamers spent around $400 and took a ton of surveys to hit Platinum. The light at the end of the tunnel? A chance to download another game they probably already own.
Last year we received either the Majora's Mask soundtrack or a set of three high quality posters. The posters are fantastic and I've been working on framing the Pikmin one for the room with my games.
Maybe I'll frame the download code I'll never use for EarthBound this year, you know, because I bought it in an effort to tell Nintendo of America that I love the series.
Yeah, sure, entitlement and all that. I get that what I'm saying likely sounds incredibly whiney and spoiled. The fact of the matter is that I don't really need anything crazy rare and expensive, just a nice nod from Nintendo that says "here, our most loyal customers, this is our unique way of saying thanks."
Here's What They Regularly Get in Europe and Japan
Nintendo of America's standard selection of rewards, the kind earned through coins and not with status level, range from decent to mediocre. The games are okay, sometimes arriving with a Virtual Console must-have. The physical goods? Not always so hot.
I personally have a Pikmin tote and a set of Animal Crossing playing cards that I'm rather fond of. Though, quite honestly, these things don't really rate compared to what's offered elsewhere.
Europe has a Yoshi backpack, game soundtracks, original Game & Watch handhelds, Pikmin keychains (I neeeeeed one) and even point cards. Yep, you can use the currency you earn through buying and registering Nintendo games to get points for even more Nintendo games.
Japan offers games and hardware that literally can't be purchased through other means. There was once a Wii remote that had television functionality built-in. Japan's Platinum tier reward last year? A calendar (eh) and a copy of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Why's that game important? Because it had never been release in Japan. The only way to get it was by having reached Platinum status.
The Rewards Should Be Unique, Not Expensive
Look, I'm not saying that Nintendo of America should make it rain $50 limited edition Mario statues. I don't think al Platinum level members should receive hand-forged Master Swords complete with wall mounting kits.
Hitting the Gold and Platinum levels within Club Nintendo means spending around $400 on consoles and games and taking surveys out the wazoo for a full year. It means supporting a console and company with money and time. It's about being a loyal customer.
Nintendo's established the Club Nintendo rewards as a means to say "thank you" to these customers. Rather than spending likely tens of thousands of dollars to ship physical rewards all over the continent, Nintendo of America could have released a few digitally exclusive games.
Why not put EarthBound on the 3DS virtual console? How about creating Wii U ports of an early Pokémon title specifically for Platinum members? Sure, these things would require money to port, but they'd likely be a hell of a lot cheaper than manufacturing and shipping statues around the world.
They'd also be rare enough to encourage people to work towards Platinum throughout the year.
Like I said, most Platinum level members have the games offered up this year, simply because they had to buy and register them to get that many coins. Nintendo should reward these members with something exclusive. It doesn't need to cost them an arm and a leg, it just needs to be unique.
Nintendo needs to find an inexpensive way to say "you've been awesome this year with your time and support. Here, have this, on us" but they need to say it while giving us something that we don't already have.
Entitlement? Maybe. I know I probably won't be wasting my time on surveys between now and then end of June 2015, though.
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