The city I live in was recently thrown into another period of isolation. Two weeks of not leaving the flat, and the first thing that I did was get out the Switch Ring-Con.
Ring Fit Adventure has been an excellent fitness tool during the pandemic. It allows me to work out when the gyms are shut, and it does a really good job of making me sweat.
It isn’t perfect, however. Sometimes pretty rubbish moves (looking at you Overhand Arm Twist) do a great amount of damage to an enemy, so you’re left with a choice between better progress in the game, and better progress on your body.
The casual mode is also rather slim. My wife isn’t interested in the RPG mechanics or defeating enemies but has played the casual mode. But there’s no progression at all here, and no sense of working on a proper fitness plan.
So, Nintendo has things to work on for a sequel. But a better idea would be to allow developers to make their own Ring-Con games.
Ring Fit Adventure has sold 13 million copies. That’s an incredible amount. If Nintendo opened up the Ring-Con, we could see loads of fitness games, appealing to everyone. We could have a Joe Wicks game, with workouts tailored by his fitness team. We could have a dancing fitness game using the Ring-Con. The possibilities are endless. We could see the Ring-Con used in interesting and unique ways. And Nintendo would get a slice of every game sold. It’s a win-win situation.
Nintendo doesn’t seem to agree. They’ve been pretty radio silent on Ring Fit Adventure since it was released, with only a small update released in March 2020 adding a limited rhythm game.
They seem content to release their games and forget about them. It can be a breath of fresh air in the ‘games as a service’ age, but it can also be incredibly frustrating.
This month saw the last major free update to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a game I have also picked up again whilst indoors. While the update is great, it also was clearly planned from the get-go. You can now craft recipes, something that you were clearly always going to be able to do, as villagers would carry around food and snacks pre-update.
Nintendo has no obligation to keep the updates coming, but by only updating the game with content that was planned before release, they’ve missed out on the opportunity to react and respond to player feedback. There are a few fan-made videos that show the potential the game had to really elevate itself with feedback.
Nintendo’s willingness to keep moving on to new projects is a strength. Like a shark, Nintendo needs to keep moving. But it’s also become an area of weakness, a blind spot.