Why Nintendo Will Never Die
For a few minutes, think back to when you were a small child, specifically that period of time in which you were reliant on your parents for not only the basic necessities of life, but also for your entire understanding of the external events of the world. Ego, hubris, and greed were aspects of your personality that were not developed enough to direct your actions. In their stead were innocent curiosity and a sense of adventure that came as naturally as walking and talking. What directed these senses were the ideas, advice, and opinions of your role models; parents, older siblings and adults guided and oversaw your development until you reached a more mature and independent state. Oftentimes, they did not explicitly convey messages, but through observation and imitation, you learned the way you were expected to act and think. This lasted up until you became a teenager, at which point you no longer wished to react to the external world but rather incite and direct it yourself. If we carried this into an analogy of the gaming industry from its inception up to the present, we may see some interesting parallels.
For the sake of time and clarity, we will focus on Nintendo. First, a bit of history: The Company we know today as a videogame giant began, humbly enough, as a card game business nearly 120 years ago. Through the early twentieth century, they ventured into other businesses as varied and diverse as can be imagined: selling rice, setting up a taxi service and television network, even starting a chain of strangely themed “love hotels”. These years were Nintendo’s childhood. They made mistakes, stretched their attention over many things at once, and looked to other successful enterprises for their ideas. This period, if you will allow me to stretch the analogy, lasted well up until the 1970’s, where the company gained a new focus and interest in electronics.
The spark that lit the company’s success was their newfound sense of innovation. The industry of electronics did not develop many interactively driven entertainment devices. Early adopters of this niche, such as Magnavox and Atari, found early success but lacked the will to push the idea forward. Nintendo jumped right in, realizing the enormity and potential of this up and coming industry. Beginnings slow, they released and distributed arcade games throughout the world, which quickly earned them a reputation of quality.
Eventually, the early adopters of the video game console market stagnated on the same ideas and concepts, dangerously letting the industry slip into the category of a passing fad. Nintendo, however, did not agree. Despite all the analysts and economists calling the industry dead, they released their own console, the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1985. Through their originally developed games and avoidance of the standard video game formula, the video game industry was resurrected and the big N became synonymous with video games. They could do no wrong; nobody could compete at the same level and succeed as well.
That is, until their first real competition, the Sony Playstation, arrived on the scene. Sporting flashy disks and a sleek design, Sony quickly pulled the lion’s share of the video game market away from Nintendo. “Nintendo was set in their ways, geared toward children, not meant to compete with this new adult phenomenon”, sang the chorus of doom seekers proclaiming the death of Nintendo’s dominance. In the following years, other successes further pulled Nintendo from their place of prominence. Nintendo stuck to their guns, however, unwilling to change their style and persona. In a sense, they had fallen victim to the same mistakes that Magnavox and Atari made 20 years earlier. However, Nintendo was the old man in the fight, with the experience and wisdom that they developed in business practices stretching back to the 19th century. They knew it wasn’t the mistakes that define your business, but the successes. So they began to change things up, to give a fresh look to an industry that was once again too focused on one concept (1980’s- Money, 2000’s- graphics).
The Nintendo DS, upon revelation, was scorned as a gimmick, a different and unworthy successor to the Gameboy line. It succeeded tremendously. Overhauling the gameplay and look of some of their own game franchises led many to feel that Nintendo was betraying their past. Wind Waker’s unorthodox style had mixed opinions, but eventually even those against it complimented its freshness. Games such as Wario Ware and Animal Crossing invented new ways to experience a game. Nintendo, however, still could not regain what they lost in the latter half of the 90’s. They were in third place in the console wars and to most did not stand a chance to take the market back.
Their best hope was to do the one thing that had worked before: change the experience of the game. They remembered their early years- developing a control system that was intuitive; regained their sense of adventure- publicly stating their new console was not the same experience as their competition, but a new experience entirely; and shed whatever pride they had- naming their new console the Wii, something easy to ridicule but easy to remember. In short, they changed their direction rather than follow the advice of others. They stayed true to their independent, rebellious nature. And it payed off.
Nintendo does not and never will accept the notion that there is a right way to play a game. They realize that beyond the nature of the industry lies a vast “blue ocean” of possibilities that lay untapped. No matter how they are thought of or what their market share, they still are able to change things up time and time again. This, to me as a Nintendo fan, gives me confidence that they can and will adapt to whatever the industry morphs into. Because, as with any other business sector, games evolve with the tastes of the consumer. Nintendo will always be there to give them a new flavor.
Very well written but it's horrible. Never post here again.
Just kidding, I liked the article, but loved the writing style. Keep up the good work.
I had read this before and when I popped into the Nintendo gaming section I thought Id read it again, and its still just as good. Very good read and intelligent post Strife I really liked this!!
I love you, I hate you. Will you marry me? I just want to kill you.
Yeah nice read.
Although I don't agree that Nintendo will live forver. We all know what happened with the N64 and Gamecube.
As you stated “Nintendo was set in their ways, geared toward children, not meant to compete with this new adult phenomenon”. Nintendo where also set in their ways with hardware as well. This was due to the Japanese traditionalist attitude of Hiroshi Yamuchi.
Once he retired and Iwata took over, things took a turn around. This is because before Iwata, Nintendo where creating innovative games but not innovative ways to play games(via different console design). Because Iwata is also a game developer he managed to change that.
Now if Nintendo loses sight of that, then they certainly won't live forvever.
Thanks for the feedback everyone.
you should write articles for this site...if not already
THERE IS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY ADDICTIVE ABOUT THE WII
Very well put, viva la Nintendo!
Koopa Kid Klan 4 Life
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