We’ve all seen internet trolls before, and they’re sometimes amusing, but could they actually be hurting Nintendo’s business? The company’s president, Satoru Iwata, certainly seems to think so. Speaking at an investor meeting yesterday, he said:
There have recently been negative campaigns on the internet in which false opinions are deliberately posted to ruin the reputation of a product. Such vicious rumours are a big problem and could be considered business interference.
Vicious rumours are never a good thing, but are they really such a big problem for Nintendo as a company? Iwata elaborated on the threat that this kind of behaviour brings:
It is very difficult to tell consumers’ real complaints from those that are posted as part of a negative campaign.
Perhaps Nintendo need to invest in a sarcasm detector. In any case, it’s obviously an issue that’s on Iwata’s mind at the moment, in the lead up to the launch of the Wii U. He went on to add:
If we were to delete anything negative about our games, it could constitute a suppression of free speech and you would not be able to believe in our good reputation. Luckily, those who are engaged just to be engaged in negative campaigns are in fact just a fraction of all users.
Clearly, deleting internet comments is not the answer. If the problem is coming from just a fraction of their users though, a fact that doesn’t seem to bother him, then you have to wonder why he even brought up the subject in the first place.
What do you think of all this? Harmless trolling, or something a little more sinister?