Interview with Peer Schneider
If you like video games and use the internet you probably have heard of Peer Schneider or at least visited his website IGN.com. Mr. Peer Schneider is the General Manager and Co-Founder of IGN. Peer was nice enough to take time out of his busy day to answer a few questions exclusively for NintendoNuggets.com. In this interview we asked fun questions like, “which console do you play most?” You will also learn his thoughts on the Wii U being a failure, what the NX will be, Zelda Wii U, and much more. Peer Schneider has helped legitimize gaming journalism. He is a pioneer and an innovator but you wouldn’t know it just by talking to him, as he is a down to earth father who just simply loves video games. Check out the full interview below and comment your thoughts on the legendary Peer Schneider in the comment section. Don’t forget to check out GamingDocs on youtube for more NintendoNuggets video interviews, game reviews, and gaming history video’s including the history of Super Mario and the History of Amiibo.
You have started many gaming websites that have become successful, from N64.com, Nintendojo.com and obviously the most successful IGN.com. IGN really sets the standard for video game websites. What was the reasoning behind creating some of these websites and did you think IGN would become this big when you helped start it?
PEER: Well, I was being entirely selfish when I created my fansite, Nintendojo. I wanted an outlet to practice writing, play around with graphics design and html, and to just share my excitement for Nintendo games with other fans. I did it as a side project while studying journalism. I was — and am — a huge Nintendo fan. The website became my outlet to write about fun stuff. IGN was already on a success course when I joined. Imagine Media, the former parent company of IGN, was already dabbling with gaming websites such as Saturnworld and N64.com. I joined and we then worked on pulling all the disparate sites together into a coherent network, before spinning out IGN as a standalone web-only company. I knew back then that we had something special on our hands, but I had no idea we’d ever grow it to a global audience of tens of millions.
You are on a Nintendo Podcast on IGN called Nintendo Voice Chat, out of the “big three”, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, which do you play the most?
PEER: I go through waves. I probably spend most of my time playing PlayStation 4 right now. It’s replaced the Xbox 360 as my go-to platform for multiplatform games. So it’s where I play Fallout, Witcher, GTA, and all the other big multiplatform games. But I’ve also put some good time into Xbox One recently, thanks to Tomb Raider being a timed exclusive. Plus, I can’t pass up a good Forza or Halo game. It really depends on the time of year, though. When I’m traveling, I’m all about 3DS. Right now, I’ve got an unhealthy obsession with Picross 3D 2. I’ve spent dozens of hours in Mario Maker and Splatoon as well. And when a new Zelda, Metroid, Fire Emblem, or Mario game comes out, they’re at the top of my list to play before I touch anything else.
Personally I love the Wii U and I play it all the time. Most people think of the Wii U as a failure. What are your thoughts on the Wii U? Is it a failure?
PEER: It depends on whether you’re looking at it from a business standpoint or as a consumer looking for great experiences. Compared to the massive audience the Wii reached, Wii U is both a failure from an audience reach and from business a business perspective. It’s not a viable platform for third-party publishers, which means Nintendo isn’t seeing much in the was of licensing royalties — and Nintendo isn’t selling as many consoles, peripherals, or games as in previous generations. It’s not Virtual Boy bad, but it’s not good, either. From a player’s perspective, Wii U is a better piece of hardware than the Wii. It’s got fantastic games like Splatoon, Mario Maker, Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and Mario 3D World that alone are worth the price of admission. But it’s definitely less of a “first console” for players given the smaller lineup.
Nintendo has a lot going on right now, a new president, the NX on the horizon, mobile games, Amiibo, and much more, what are your thoughts on the state of the company today and will they ever be back on top?
PEER: What makes the “console wars” so fun is that there isn’t always a clear winner. I mean, the Wii had the biggest install base last time around — but it’s hard to argue that it eclipsed Xbox 360 or even PS3 based on playtime and overall games lineup. A generation later, and the PS4 is vastly outselling the Xbox One. And that’s ignoring that Nintendo is the undisputed leader in the dedicated handheld gaming market. Nintendo absolutely could rise to the top once again. They are consistent when it comes to creating great games, but don’t always predict where the market is going. But think of Wii Fit, or Brain Training, or Animal Crossing, or WiiSports, or Nintendogs. Nintendo keeps creating new gameplay concepts that rise to great mainstream success. I can’t imagine that they’d strike out when pairing that creativity with the biggest gaming platform of all: mobile. I’m also really curious to find out what NX is all about!
From listening to NVC podcast (GM money) I know you collect Amiibo. In the past some Amiibo were hard to get but Nintendo has somewhat started to fix that problem. But, compared to other toys to life figures amiibo don’t really do much in games they are compatible with. Do you think Nintendo has handled Amiibo the right way so far?
PEER: I think they should be commended for creating a quality product — and continuing to improve it. The latest amiibo look fantastic and make for great collectibles. But I think they underestimated what it takes to give them a compelling application in games. The Smash Bros. integration was decent, but they’ve mostly acted as keys to unlock costumes and the like. I think Nintendo backed themselves into a corner by committing to make them a true multi-title product. Unlike LEGO or Skylanders, they are jack of all trades and masters of none from a gameplay perspective.
Will there be a Zelda on the Wii u and if so will It also come out on the NX?
PEER: Ha, I wish I knew! So far, Nintendo keeps saying the next Zelda game will be on Wii U. Whether they’ll pull a Twilight Princess and launch it on NX as well depends entirely on what that platform will actually be like. Assuming it’ll have a traditional controller and more hardware power than the Wii U, it’s hard to imagine Nintendo not creating a “Definitive Edition” type rerelease to get the maximum player audience.
What do you think the NX will be?
PEER: I think it’ll be a true bridge device that lets you play games on the go and on your home TV. I’ve got to think that the “X” stands for crossover.
You are very active on social media and tweet back to your fans a lot. Why do you think its important to stay connected with your fans?
PEER: It’s one of the big reasons for our success. Back when I ran my own IGN channel, the most popular pieces of content were our daily Q&A sections. Obviously, the web has changed a lot — many interactions now take place in videos and there are more sites than ever to let you connect with your fellow gamers, including social networks. But a direct connection with the audience is key. I actually think we can do much better on this front. But since we now publish across so many different platforms, from IGN to YouTube to Snapchat to Facebook, it’s not easy keeping up with our fans everywhere.
You also have been willing to be on some podcast that were new or not quite that popular yet. Someone like you going on NintendoDads podcast really helps their show out. You don’t have to do things like that, why do you?
PEER: I want to reward initiative. We get a lot of questions about what it takes to get a job at a company like IGN. My answer is always the same: do something online. It’s a great time to be alive for talented people. Anyone can show off their playing and commenting skills, share their insight via articles and blogs, or get their art noticed. When someone musters up the courage to reach out and ask a question, I try to make the time to respond and help out where I can. I can’t be everywhere at once or give feedback to every resume or listen to every podcast, but I try my best.
Like NintendoDads I am also a dad who loves Nintendo. My daughter is only two so she isn’t playing any games yet. I know you are a dad what are some of the first games you introduced to your kids? Also what games do you play with your kids now?
PEER: I have a video of my daughter — barely able to walk straight — pointing at the TV screen and yelling “Ganon!” She watched me play Wind Waker at an early age, but most of the first games I played with them were 2D sidescrollers. The SNES is a wonderful starting point for kids. They can’t wreck the cartridges, the D-Pad and buttons are simple to use, and you don’t have to think spatially to explore a 2D world and solve puzzles. Right now, my daughter is playing Fire Emblem: Awakening, Okami, and Splatoon. It took me a few tries to get her hooked on Awakening. She’s a big anime fan, but somehow it didn’t click the first time around. So I gave her Ni no Kuni — once she was done, she went back to FE and now she’s obsessed with it. The boys are different in their tastes. Battlefront, Halo, Binding of Isaac, and of course, Minecraft. They’ve got 3DSs, too, but somehow find ways to shun them and play iOS games instead. My biggest success last month was getting them into StarCraft II, though. Gotta keep the love for the RTS genre alive!
Out of all the Nintendo home consoles from NES to Wii U which one was your favorite and why?
PEER: Super NES. No contest. Nothing comes close. Well, specifically the Japanese Super Famicom, which is a much prettier piece of hardware and introduced the button color-coding Nintendo should’ve kept as their symbol. I mean, the games that came out for this machine were just so good. Link to the Past. Super Metroid. Super Mario World. Contra III. Castlevania IV. Mario Paint. Ogre Battle. Pilotwings. ActRaiser. EarthBound. Chrono Trigger. Pocky & Rocky. Soul Blazer. The three best Final Fantasies. Secret of Mana. Mystical Ninja and the even better Goemon 2. Super Star Wars. Axelay. F-Zero. I could keep going for a long time. From the fantastic sound chip to the foresight of Mode 7 effects, to the control setup: this was the perfect evolution of the NES.
I can’t say thank you enough for doing this. I really appreciate it.
PEER: Thanks for asking great questions!