Nintendo’s plans to win back Brazilians

The relationship between Brazilian fans and Nintendo has had a series of ups and downs in recent years. The worst moment was in early 2015, when the company stopped distributing games and consoles in the country on the grounds that the business environment and taxes made its presence in the domestic market unfeasible.

In 2018, the company rehearsed a return to the country, by launching a national version of the eShop, its online game store. And it materialized this movement in September 2020, when it started selling the Switch – which until then could only be purchased via independent importers.

“I know that the Brazilian fan is passionate and, first of all, I would like to apologize for this period that we were apart”. This was one of the first speeches by Bill van Zyll, Senior Director and General Manager for Latin America at Nintendo of America, in an exclusive interview with tilt during the Brasil Game Show 2022.

“We always had the notion of this passion and this motivated us to seek a more efficient model to be present in this market. This took a while and required decisions involving the age rating of games and product distribution models”, he added.

Nintendo at BGS - Disclosure - Disclosure

Nintendo’s booth at BGS has dozens of stations for the public to play the Switch

Image: Disclosure

Did you come to stay?

At BGS, the start of sales of Switch games in physical version was announced, with the right to translated inserts in the boxes. The new model of the Switch, with an Oled screen, also landed in the country. The brand seems to be experiencing a good moment in its relationship with the country.

But this ends up generating another doubt: is Mario and Zelda’s company here to stay?

“That’s our idea,” says van Zyll. “The goal was to develop a sustainable business model in the country and, definitely, that is what we are doing. We are developing something precisely thinking about the long term”, he says.

But there are still challenges to this apparent “honeymoon”. One of the main ones, often cited in complaints on social media, concerns the localization of games in Brazilian Portuguese, especially those exclusive to Switch. Some games have even recently come out in our language, as in the case of Mario Party Superstars, from 2021, but they are still in the minority.

For van Zyll, this issue is not so simple to resolve, for two reasons: the complexity of the process and the company’s philosophy.

“The problem with localization is that it’s not just a translation. It involves conveying the emotion of the games, the humor, in short, offering a complete experience. It’s important to point out that Nintendo has a history of quality above all else, we don’t we are going to release an unfinished game, for example. And this also goes for localization. But our idea is to bring more and more localized games to Brazil and expand our library”, he says.

He also promises to put the country on the launch route. “Our idea, from now on, is to bring the news here as soon as possible. It’s a commitment that my boss, Doug Bowser [presidente da Nintendo of America que, coincidentemente, tem o sobrenome idêntico ao nome do principal vilão da série Mario], passed to me personally and that, as far as possible, we intend to fulfill. It’s not a promise as there are a lot of challenges, but we’ll do our best to make it happen.”

mario and the rabbits

Mario + Rabbids Spark of Hope - Disclosure - Disclosure

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is a crossover with addictive gameplay and lots of humor

Image: Disclosure

Nintendo has what is probably the most prominent booth at BGS 2022, with dozens of Switch stations for the public and a stage for various activities.

It was there that Tilt could experience first-hand one of the next games that will land on the console: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. In a test of about 20 minutes, it was already possible to understand that the game is a promising evolution of its predecessor, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, from 2017.

It’s a crossover in the form of a turn-based strategic RPG produced by Ubisoft, bringing together the crazy rabbits that are the company’s mascots and characters from the Mario universe.

There are a number of new features in the game. The most noticeable is a new freer movement system, which favors a more creative approach both when attacking and defending. The story has strong comic appeal and, judging by the first in the series, it has everything to be the type of game capable of holding players from start to finish.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is scheduled for release on October 20 and will be entirely in Portuguese.

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