World Class Customer Service by

Good Olí Nintendo of America

 

Iíve got a little story to share with everyone today.  To start, Iíd like to point out that Iím trying to capture some video footage of an awesome import for the DS, called Daigasso! Band Brothers.  Iíll write my piece about the game once Iíve completed my video conversions, which are almost complete.  Anyway, capturing some decent footage from the DS is proving to be VERY difficult, as I canít use the usual equipment we have for capturing game videos.  For the moment, Iím attempting to capture some videos using a DV video camera on a tripod, while holding the DS as steady as possible.  Keeping the image centered and focused in the camera is nearly impossible, as you can imagine.  Soooo, after seeing DS gameplay doubled up on televisions at E3, and knowing that I can download direct-feed footage of DS games from Gamespot, IGN, and a handful of other sites out there, I decided that Iíd try contacting Nintendo and their renowned ďWorld Class Customer ServiceĒ to find out if I can buy a video capture device from them.  And that takes us to my story.

 

First I sent them the following e-mail.  And FYI, to e-mail Nintendo, you pretty much have to use their web form.

 

Hello.  I would like to know if there's any way for me to capture direct-feed video
footage from the NDS.  My friend and I want to capture footage to showcase on
our web site.  As it stands, I'm fumbling around with a DV camcorder over my
shoulder trying to record videos, and the results aren't very good.  I'm able
to download some NDS videos from Gamespot and IGN, and the videos they have are
direct-feed, so somewhere out there is some kind of video capture device for
the system.  I also noticed at your E3 press conference and on the show floor
that there were televisions displaying the screens from a DS, so that others
could view the games without trying to peer over someone's shoulder.
Is there some sort of video capture device I can buy so I can show off NDS
games on my site?  What are gaming sites such as Gamespot and IGN using?  There
are several DS titles I want people to be able to see, and I would really like
to capture nice direct feed videos instead of camcorder footage.  Thanks for
your help.

 

 

THIS was their original response.

 

Hello and thank you for contacting Nintendo,
Hope that you are enjoying the games that were introduced at the E3 show.
Unfortunately, we do not know of any video capture techniques that would allow
you to feature specific clips from our sites.  Keep in mind that the video
(that you are trying to copy is the property) of the individual sites.   Most
sites, including our site at www.nintendo.com, do not authorize outside sites
to copy videos.  To authorized the copying of the information could be
construed as endorsing a particular site.  And, since most companies do not
have any means to monitor the content of the thousands of game sites that are
on the net, they cannot and do not authorize the copying of information from
their site.
As to the technology used at the E3 show for displaying the Nintendo DS games
on a television, this was created by our engineering department.  However,
there is not a commercially available product that would allow you to do this.
Sorry.
While on our site at www.nintendo.com, be sure to check out the My Nintendo
program.  Not only does this allow you to monitor the status of a part order,
repair, or a Nintendo Power subscription, it also allows you to interact with
other players via the Nintendo Forums.
Thanks for your email and good luck with your game site!
Nintendo of America Inc.

Bruce Mann

 

 

WTF?!  Does this guy know how to read?  Can somebody point out where I mis-worded my message?  Thatís just perfect.

ďOh please, Mr. Nintendo support guy, can you tell me how I can copy video clips from your web site so I can put them on mine?  I donít know any of the special techniques.Ē

I really didnít know what to say to that.  So I took into account that this guyís job is to ask people if they have a system plugged in, make sure the cartridge is inserted the right way, make sure youíre holding the system right side up, etc. and also factored in that a new support monkey would answer me if I sent another e-mail.  So I responded with the following, along with a copy of my previous e-mail conversation.

 

Hello again.  Based on the reply below, it appears that Mr. Bruce Mann did not 
understand my question.  I have no desire to capture footage from video clips 
off of your site or anyone else's.  I want to capture my own direct-feed 
footage DIRECTLY FROM THE NDS, to host on my site.  Why would I e-mail you for 
help on how to copy material from your site?  There's no special technique to 
feature clips from another web site.  Anybody can do that.  That is absolutely 
NOT what I'm trying to do here.
Media sites like Gamespot and IGN have NDS direct-feed videos of NDS footage.  
Somehow, they have a way to directly capture video from the NDS.  I seriously 
doubt they've engineered and fabricated their own hardware device to accomplish 
this.  Whatever they're using had to be provided by and acquired from Nintendo, 
which leads me to believe that there is something out there to capture DS 
footage that I should be able to buy from Nintendo.  I expected the answer that 
the E3 television setups were custom engineered by Nintendo specifically for 
the show and not for sale.  However, since there are several sites that can 
create direct-feed footage directly from the NDS, Nintendo must have something 
available for the gaming press to showcase NDS titles.
I will ask again, is there a video capture device of any kind that I can buy to 
showcase NDS footage DIRECTLY FROM THE NDS SYSTEM on my web site?  Are there 
certain conditions I must fulfill to be permitted to possess such a device?  
There are many good games coming out for the DS, and I want to be able to show 
off what the DS has to offer on my site.  One game in particular that I'm 
trying to show is Daigasso! Band Brothers, which I know has the US title Jam 
with the Band and has no release date, nor any mention of it on Nintendo's 
site.  I want to be able to show off what the game is like, and if possible I'd 
like to create direct-feed videos, instead of recording with a video camera.
I would like to re-emphasize that I AM NOT trying to replicate pre-existing 
video footage from Nintendo's web site or anyone else's.  I simply want to 
provide the same quality content on my site with the same tools available for 
other sites.  Thanks again for your help.

 

 

Fair enough?  I talked to Leon about the BS response I got the first time, and he found a section on IGNís site where somebody asked them about how they were going to capture DS footage, and they flat out said they got a device from Nintendo.  It even had a name, though I forgot what it is.  The Nitro Capture, or something like that.  Whatever it is, Nintendo makes it, and anyone capturing direct-feed video from the DS got some kind of device from Nintendo.  I eventually got this in my box.

 

Hello and thank you for contacting Nintendo,

I am sorry for the confusion, and while our web site is equipped to address 
many of the issues our fans might encounter with our products, we would prefer 
to speak with you directly as yours is a unique situation.  At your earliest 
convenience, please contact our Consumer Service Department by calling 1-800-
255-3700.  When calling this number, you can bypass the recorded information by 
pressing "0" on your touch-tone phone.  This will connect you to the next 
available Consumer Service Representative.  Please note that our 
representatives are available between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 
seven days a week. 
 
Sincerely,
Nintendo of America Inc.
Sharon Matheny

 

 

Well all right, now weíre getting somewhere!  Or so I thought.  I was feeling pretty optimistic at this point, assuming that perhaps I had to call for pricing.  Silly me!  I went ahead and decided to give them a call.  I figured I would most likely be told that we have to be a commercial site or something before we can even talk about buying a device.  I did not expect the second half of our conversation.  I really wish I got the guyís name.  Hereís the gist of what was said.

 

I explained the situation, and what Iím trying to accomplish.  He tells me that there is no device of any kind commercially available for sale, and thereís nothing I can do.  I inform him that Iím already aware that such a device is not commercially available (and Iím thinking to myself that the Component cable for the Gamecube isnít exactly commercially available either), but Nintendo has something to capture direct-feed videos because several web sites are capturing and hosting such videos.  This guy then tries to tell me that he doesnít know how the other sites are making direct-feed videos, as Nintendo doesnít have any kind of device capable of outputting a video signal to capture from.  I responded that Nintendo had live DS gameplay footage feeding televisions all over the show floor at E3.  ďOhÖ  HmmÖĒ  While he was trying to figure out what to say next, I told him that thereís no way that IGN, Gamespot, or many other sites engineered and custom built their own hardware to get direct-feed captures.  Whatever theyíre using, they got FROM YOU.  So he then asks if I can hold so he can talk with a supervisor.  When he gets back, he tells me that they only work with large commercial web sites that partner with them, such as IGN, and that they do not support smaller sites in any way.  He says even though the device Iím looking for exists, Iím not allowed to buy one.  Basically, since weíre a little nobody site, weíre SOL.  He also added that since weíre not a commercial site, he canít direct me to anyone that can help me.

 

I asked him if there were any other departments that handle this kind of thing, and he repeated that he couldnít direct me to any of them.  I asked him if thereís some kind of special licensing arrangement, and he couldnít say.  I asked him WHY not being a commercial site means I canít talk to anyone about this, and he just simply responded that thereís nothing he can do to help me.  So I asked one final question, what does it take to be allowed to talk about buying this device, and for that matter, what does it take to become a Ďcommercial site.í  He said he couldnít say.  Alrighty then, I guess thatís the end of the conversation.  He then added at the end he had an idea to help me out.  He suggested that I mount a digital video recorder onto a tripod, put it on macro-focus, and BUILD A STAND AND CLAMP THE DS TO IT!  He then said thatís what the other sites are probably doing.  I said okay, thanks, and hung up.  Thanks a lot, jackass!  What the hell do you think Iím trying to do now?

 

So way to go Nintendo, thatís some mighty fine customer service you got there.  I think Iím entitled to know what they expect from a web site to qualify as a Ďcommercial siteí before theyíll even talk to me, but whatever.

 

 

And thatís my rant.  Actually, Iím considering doing a little rant on a regular basis, just to talk about whatís wrong in the videogame world.  Thereís tons to talk about, and I doubt Iíd run out of material anytime soon.  Weíll see.  Anyway, why donít you go play a few rounds of Super Smash Bros. Melee now!

 

            Bruce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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