Warning: This is an editorial article. You are allowed to disagree with my opinions.
Since I’m finally finished with my Wario epic (Go read it!), I decided to start doing active research into who Japanese users are requesting online. This will be a sequel to the highly popular, often sourced Perception of Smash DLC in Japan. Before I begin, I wanted to clear my thoughts on the Smash Ballot, the effectiveness of polling and the size of our community.
First, as SmashChu said in his article Smash Ballot: More Suggestion than Popularity, the Smash ballot is NOT a popularity contest. It’s a suggestion box. The notion that someone is going to “win” is completely unfounded.
Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that Nintendo or Sora LTD will release the results. The only Smash Ballot data that we’ve received was the If There Were a Smash 2 PolI way back in 1999. Melee’s and Brawl’s Smash Ballot were never released. In that case, some of the top characters were not chosen because the choices were uninspired, or the series was over-represented. Look at the “Retro character” selection. The Ice Climbers were on the bottom of the polling, yet they were chosen over Sukapon, who had to most votes. but was originally delegated to a mere item. Votes matter but not to the extent that many believe. Simply put this isn’t like voting for prom queen or king.
In addition, more votes does not equal better data. If you interview 10 or 40 people holding “Frosted Flakes” cereal in the grocery store the majority of people are going to say they enjoy eating “Frosted Flakes”. Accurate polling is actually very difficult. You need to try to actively search out a variety of demographics and opinions. With polling there’s always a margin of error anyway, so we really shouldn’t take our attempts at polling as the ‘word of god’. By posting polls in Smash communities, we are only getting the hardcore Smash community’s opinion. That’s not a variety of opinions, that’s an echo-chamber. In the end, the only poll that matters if the official Smash Ballot and no matter how hard we try we can never recreate the votes that it received.
Our polling is not 100% effective. If you look at a variety of polls, they all give slightly different data. That’s because within each community there is bias that is clearly evident through polling. If I had to really simplify the wishes of each of the communities: Wonder Red is popular on NeoGaf, Daisy on Tumblr, Shovel Knight on r/smashbros, King K. Rool on SmashBoards, Chrom on Miiverse. None of these communities by themselves represent the wishes of the Smash community as a whole, and these characters represent which characters get the most “feverish” support.
To make an analogy, it’s like polling the hardcore Democrats (Or Republicans) about who they want to see President. Sure, they have strong views on what makes a good candidate but (theoretically) they need to pick someone who will appeal to the moderates. Otherwise, their candidate will lose the popular vote as they aren’t aiming for the middle.
Right now, the Smash community is not doing that. We are picking characters that we want. This is an issue, because the community isn’t as large as we think it is. We are grossly exaggerating our importance. Chris Pranger recently discussed this on the Part-Time Gamer podcast. Go listen to it, as it clears a lot of misconceptions about Nintendo’s relationship and the hardcore community.
“People are like, “why don’t you support the tournament scene? support the hardcore players?” Because– you guys are loud and like ever present but you don’t make up a great enough number to justify cost on this game.”
Even though he is talking about the tournament scene, his sentiments can be easily applied to the speculation scene too. I would highly suggest reading SmashChu’s article, Econ 102: Opportunity Cost and Character Selection which has been highly influential in forming my thoughts. Whoever is picked from the Smash Ballot needs to sell. DLC needs to be popular among all gamers, not just the people who talk about Smash all day.
Ryu is a perfect example of this. In my Mega Smash Poll, Ryu placed 39th out of 50th. Viewtiful Joe and Crash Bandicoot placed higher than Ryu. Even if we looked at “likelihood” (Wants/ potential), Ryu was thought to be extremely unlikely. I know there was that misconception of the “No Fighting Game” quote, but I’m asking the Smash community to exercise practicality in our expectations. From one super fan to another, please remember that we are super fans, and our opinions do not represent the “moderates” or the general public.
PushDustIn continually pisses off the fanbase. If you would like to give moral support, or just argue with him you can follow him on Twitter.