Nintendo of America's Damon Baker Explains the New Nintendo 3DS XL Decision and Desire to Engage With the Community

"The core audience... we weren't going to win with them on that decision"

Nintendo of America has been an active supporter of Indiecade in recent years, and recently attended the New York based Indiecade East event to showcase eShop releases and to promote the Wii U and 3DS as valid platforms for small developers of all types. It was in attendance once again, and we were on hand to catch a presentation delivered by Damon Baker, Senior Manager in Marketing and Licensing, who is a figure that's stepped up in visibility - with all-important eShop curation and developer support work - after the departure of well-known 'Indie' manager Dan Adelman last year.

The presentation showed the various tools and means of being published on the eShop, and Baker was also on hand to generally meet fans and chat to developers. Nintendo Life's Lee Meyer was fortunate enough to sit down with Baker for a chat about the eShop platforms but also wider topics that are currently relevant for the hugely valuable North American region.

The full feature and interview will be published later today, but below you can see an excerpt in which we asked Baker about the decision to only bring the New Nintendo 3DS XL model to North America at launch. We asked, simply, did he expect the blowback from fans at the announcement?

Yeah (laughs). Look, the face plates are super cool, but we're a different market. And now we have clear differentiation between those three systems. Before, there was a very limited difference between the 3DS and 3DS XL: other than size. It was the same resolution, same functionality... now, there's the 2DS, 3DS, and New 3DS XL, all of which have their own functionality and features. The different price points give it a clear message for consumers. The core audience... we weren't going to win with them on that decision. But we had to think about expanding the user base, we had to be able to market it and make it easy to pick up for consumers.

We covered a range of topics, another being the matter of how much Baker and his team follow community feedback online. With Nintendo's social media accounts typically avoiding any direct engagement, and staff not exactly renowned for talking with fans about the company, we asked for his views.

I'm there daily, multiple times a day. You have to go there with an open mind. I'd love to get to a point where we have marketing channels where we can promote direct communication with the community, where people comment on stuff and Nintendo can communicate back. That's my dream. Right now, PR is driving our social media, we're not actively engaging the community, or very rarely. People have a fascination with Nintendo and want to be close to it and we feed off that excitement. We need to be more active there.

Let us know what you think of these comments on the New Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo's engagement with fans. Be sure to check back later today for the full interview, in which we report on Baker's presentation and then discuss a variety of topics, including the eShop platforms, how the Indie 'team' operates and Nintendo's work with third-parties.