Ignored By Nintendo, Brazilian Fans Film Their Own Nintendo Direct

Illustration for article titled Ignored By Nintendo, Brazilian Fans Film Their Own Nintendo Direct

If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.

As USGamer reports, a group of Brazilian Nintendo fans, fed up with the way the company has withdrawn from the market (which has left them paying big import prices for games and hardware), decided to team up and record their own Nintendo Direct.

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Led by the hard work of Rodrigo Coelho (who actually lives in Tokyo), the Direct showcases the work of Brazilian studios (or “developers with Brazilian backgrounds”), and puts them all in a very Nintendo Direct-style video, only with Coelho doing the presenting.

The hope is that by showing how much local fans care about Nintendo games, and how good so many Brazilian games are, they can convince the company to return to the market, from which they’ve been absent since 2015.

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You can read more about Coelho’s hard work over in USGamer’s story.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

Good service for the fans from these guys!

So... brazilian here. I’ll try explaining a bit better what happened.

It’s not only Nintendo that closed doors and gave up on the country... it’s a whole ton of foreign companies and subsidiaries that ends up leaving. They try opening business here, get completely flabbergasted by how things are done here business wise, and get out of the country as soon they realize there is no way to make their business viable here.

Nintendo closed doors officially in Brazil back in 2015. They don’t have an address here, and products are all imported, but they made a deal with a 3rd party for “investigation” and analysis for potential distribution of games digitally and whatnot. It must’ve bore some results because Nintendo seems to have both the official page and a digital store for Switch games right now. But it doesn’t make much sense for them to work on an official brazilian Nintendo Direct. First because they don’t get much profit here. Second because a whole ton of brazilian gamers also speak english - they have to in order to play most games.

It doesn’t change the fact thought, that I’ve never seen an official Switch launch in Brazil, it’s very hard to find physical games and the console in store, and what little there is out there seems to be all imported grey market stuff. In fact, the presence of official physical games and hardware seems to be dying here, for all brands. Most electronics shops and whatnot that carried physical games that I know of are only selling old stock and very few copies of the most mainstream new stuff. Several game dedicated stores that we had half a decade ago closed doors, or reduced their chains to very few locations.

Which is nothing new. Back at NES times the situation was the same. Nintendo indirectly sold NES consoles and games by licensing rights for a brazilian electronics company called Gradiente, and it was called Phantom System instead of NES. That is, through official channels, because the market was flooded with grey market imports and pirated consoles and games. Most people have those instead of the official stuff.

The other thing is that Brazil is riddled with grey and black market stuff... it has always been, and until politics change here it will always be. I’m not only talking about pirated stuff... I’m also talking about contraband - stuff that got into the country without paying proper taxes and all that. The absolute vast majority of gamers and tecchies all go through the grey market route, and you’ll soon understand why.

Reasons for these companies not operating in Brazil, including stuff like Amazon being a failure here, among several other stuff is two fold:

1. the import taxes. Basically all products comming from outside the country faces an importation tax that can go anywhere from 60% the value of the product PLUS shipping, up to sometimes 120% because of airport taxes, extra taxes imposed by our public mailing system, and other bullshit. The only exception is books, and extremely cheap products provided that it’s not coming directly from a business (so, either used crap or stuff sold in online auctions). Everything else is supposed to be taxed, though sometimes it goes through inspection without being detected. Nowadays, most stuff will get taxes though, because of several deals that were made with some of the biggest international online stores (you have to pay for the taxes when you buy the stuff, like on Amazon US and eBay).

It’s protectionism taken to the ultimate consequence, which has not only made Brazil a country that is years behind in technology, has a increasingly struggling scientific community, and no government backing for tech related startups, but that is also constantly bleeding high level professionals and companies because the costs of working with technology inside the country is absurdly impractical. It’s just way cheaper to move to another country and try making your tech related business there.
For a corrupt government this is great. They keep getting the tax money, and politicians all have more than enough to do annual trips to Miami and bring back all the electronics they want to. Brazilian people get fucked over and are forced to see technology as a luxury because all the replacement internal brands are absolute crap, and almost as expensive as importing stuff because all the internal components are made in China anyways;

2. the hellish bureaucracy. Both opening and closing simple businesses in Brazil is not only an years long death march, you’ll be paying a limb and your soul in taxes and whatnot. Everything passes through an extremely onerous process involving government, public institutions and whatnot, it’s all sluggish, stopped at every point, questioned and crappy, and every single system involved is either ancient or extremely poorly made - or both. No company coming from developed countries will ever get used to how things are done here, so the few companies that have estabilished here and succeeded somehow, probably hired an entrepeneur who knows how to do business here, and they can be extremely expensive because it requires decades of expertise, the right contacts, and whatnot. Basically a mix of lawyer, accountant, and politician with contacts inside the government.

A third point worth consideration. Brazilian government is corrupted from roots to leafs. All levels of governance here has some type of institutional corruption deeply ingrained from years and years of existing unchecked. As most will know there has been some advances in this area recently, but it is far far faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar away from being solved. And I bet everything I have that a whole lot of this corruption gets involved like vultures circling a piece of dead meat everytime a big foreign corporation wants to invest in opening business officially here. They gotta pay undue money to the right people, and lots of businesses are not willing to go through that process, despite the potential big market that Brazil has.

So yeah... from a business perspective, I’d definitely not put it against Nintendo for not wanting to do business in Brazil. It’s a shit country. I live here, I was born here, but I know full well, as lots of other brazilians also do. I’d 100% have moved away from this shithole if it wasn’t for family.
The entire atmosphere, culture, way people think, how people live, and how the economy goes is propped against them (I mean, foreign businesses). We have lots of gamers in Brazil, and for a few years we even had a budding community of game developers that made a little splash internationally, but that ended as soon as government changed, because it was reliant on governmental cultural funding that got taken away from all technological initiatives to fund friends and family of politicians. Every type of cultural support goes in a circlejerk to fund the corrupt and failed culture background of the country.

Some brazilian games pop up every now and then, now that there are facilitators like app stores, ready to use game engines, and open digital stores like Steam, but it’s more like a tiny initiative by extremely passionate gamers. I know this because I actually went through a post graduation course on game development in the early 2000s. The absolute vast majority of our teachers were all coming from recently closed/bankrupt or about to close game development companies. Several of them were in deep debt because they had mortgaged their homes, sold their cars and borrowed a whole ton of money to prop up their companies. Lots of them became teachers because they had no other option.

But gamers don’t matter here, nerd and geek related stuff don’t matter here, technology doesn’t matter here, modern international pop culture doesn’t matter here - not for the vast majority of the country. It all goes around soccer (YES, I’M SAYING SOCCER), shitty soap operas that have run the same shitty formulaic script since the 50s or so, and all of the crap cuckold betrayed man kind of music, or ones with shallow superficial lyrics objectifying women or talking about shallow sex, one night stands and other crap like that.

The shallowness of cultural content and the stuff that the majority of the country gets via public channels and whatnot is stuff that is being aired and regurgitated since I can remember it, at least from back in the 80s, but probably far longer then that. Science and technology is an absolutely alien thing for mainstream brazilian culture. What most of us have here is stuff that’s coming from the US, or from english speaking international communities. Which is why most gamers or most people that have an interest in technology here also reads and speaks english. Because there is no other choice. But it’s nice that these guys are trying to translate Nintendo Direct, because it’s an extremely rare initiative.
YouTube in Brazil is also littered with low hanging fruit content. Tech channels are rare, and they struggle to get a significant following. I have several friends who are trying to do something in that area, I can see how they struggle to make a living. There is no profit to be had with extremely rare exceptions, and all this entire brazilian situation that I talked about only gets further in the way.

Guess I ranted enough for a week... oh well. Just finish it here.