Nintendo's biggest attempt at radical transparency came to an end earlier this week.
On Monday, the "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" Dojo posted its final entry. Was it worth it?
With more than 300 entries, the game's lead developer Masahiro Sakurai covered every inch of "Brawl." Since last May readers have been frantically checking the site every weekday updates, hoping that it would reveal a new character or stage that would be included in the game. Each new post brought gamers closer to the release of the Wii's crowning achievement.
But now the game is out, the Dojo is nothing more than an archive of content and, in retrospect, a resounding success. (It's likely to keep doing well, considering that the cheats page for the GameCube's "Super Smash Bros. Melee," has continually topped Gamespot's most popular pages list since its release.)
At its peak, the Dojo topped out at over seven million page views in one week - which is astounding for a video game website. Those numbers, coupled with the sales of the game, prove that gamers appreciated the level of transparency.
So why isn't Nintendo doing more stuff like this?
The Dojo was the first time that Nintendo has allowed this amount of information to be released prior to a game. The blog style format, focusing on one post each day, kept gamers coming back on a daily basis, often first thing in the morning.
The Dojo alone generated more buzz, and subsequent blog posts all over the web than Nintendo could have bought with any kind of marketing campaign. So why wasn't there a "Mario Kart" Pit Stop? It seems like a missed opportunity for the next big "bridge" game.
Maybe it is asking too much from a company that has been very tight lipped about their upcoming projects.
Radical transparency, as new as it may be to Nintendo, isn't that new to the games industry. Nintendo may have had the means create this type of site on such a grand scale, but they weren't the first to do so. Jonathan Blow, creator of the time-twisting platformer, "Braid" has kept a blog as his game has gone through development for Xbox Live. Other developers such as David Jaffe, Tim Schaefer, and Clint Hocking all regularly update blogs that blur the lines between personal and professional. Think of the stigmas Nintendo would overcome if Miyamoto was added to that list.
As we all know, even keeping a personal blog is something that Nintendo frowns upon, and, when it comes to discussing upcoming projects, Nintendo is even more stringent. It's understandable to want to keep the flow of information regarding your upcoming content controlled, but, since the Dojo was such a success, why not try and continue with that type of strategy?
Only time will tell, but here's to hoping that Nintendo will support more of their upcoming games in a Dojo-esque manner.