Nintendo's Iwata brands 'product smear campaigns' as 'a big problem that interferes with business'
4th Jul 2012 | 10:43
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has highlighted so-called 'product bombing' campaigns as a problem that the platform holder needs to be proactive in addressing when building the Wii U's Miiverse.
Nintendo's bespoke social network functions much like an internet forum in that it allows users to attach their opinions to games. Since these messages are propagated throughout the community the reputation of a game could be unfairly influenced by such campaigns, Iwata claimed.
Speaking in a shareholders meeting Iwata admitted "negative campaigns on the internet in which false opinions are deliberately posted to ruin the reputation of a product" are a "big problem and could be considered business interference".
The Nintendo exec went on to say it needs to be careful in balancing genuine complaints and freedom of speech: "It is very difficult to tell consumers' real complaints from those that are posted as part of a negative campaign. If we were to delete anything negative about our games, it could constitute a suppression of free speech and you would not able to believe in even a good reputation."
Iwata said he believes the number of people engaged in bombing campaigns is "just a fraction of all users" and thinks "in a community in which a number of users with fair opinions exist, opinions posted just for the purpose of a negative campaign will be gradually overwhelmed by the majority of posts of fair impressions."
"Also, if a number of game players put a remark to indicate "I think this comment is inappropriate," the subject comments will be seen as unreliable and thereby decreases their influence on other consumers."
Despite this his closing remarks indicated Nintendo isn't confident enough to allow the community to police itself.
"We cannot afford to always act on "the ethical doctrine that human nature is fundamentally good." At the same time, however, we would like to believe in the possibility of "the wisdom of crowds," which could create a very interesting and fascinating world, and make efforts for the services to realize it in one way or another."
Last month Nintendo revealed a three-pronged Miiverse security initiative to curb levels of profanity and other non-family-friendly content posted. One part of the initiative involves a moderation team which will manually monitor posts, as a result interactions could be delayed by up to 30 minutes.