Nintendo launched the Wii U, just over a year and a half ago and since then things have not been going as planned. Due to poor marketing, confusion by the public and lack of support by third-party developers the system has been struggling and so has Nintendo. Sales have continued to be soft for the system and Nintendo have had to cut back on their own forecast predictions of how many systems they are going to sell, a number of times now in fact. Things, they seem, are not looking well for Nintendo.
Many have written that Nintendo should give up the hardware game and go the way of Sega and just make games for other consoles or for cell phones, but I think that Nintendo should weather the storm. Nintendo doesn’t need to just give up and make games for anyone other than themselves, they need to continue to mould their own identity and own the place that is rightly their own. Here is why Nintendo matters.
Nintendo have a long history in the games industry as a company that provides gaming experiences that are focused on fun more than anything else. Either through challenging single-player games like Legend of Zelda, or fantastic multiplayer experiences like Mario Kart, Nintendo have always been synonymous with fun.
As PC gaming continues to rise with a focus on MMO games or online shooters, and Sony and Microsoft’s consoles similarly heading the same way, many have lost the fine art of getting some people together to crowd on a couch and have some fun playing a game. The Wii was a casual hit machine which brought friends and families together to have a blast playing classics like Wii Sports or New Super Mario Bros and the games were accessible and easy to play. Everyone and their dog it seemed had a Wii or knew how to play simple games and have a good time.
While Sony and Microsoft toyed with motion control gaming, and trying more to appeal to a casual crowd, both experiments ultimately did not end up the way both companies had anticipated. Kinect is still an integral part of Microsoft’s strategy, or so they say, but Sony’s Move and PlayStation Camera both are mere afterthoughts. While both have some games targeted towards a more casual crowd, ultimately both of their machines are set up to be used by a more hardcore type of gamer.
Trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Where does this leave the casual crowd, or the family that just wants to gather around the TV and play some games? Well I would argue that Nintendo still fills that role.
Nintendo does not need to compete with Sony or Microsoft in the console game space, they exist in their own realm and do things their own way. They create games and experiences tied into the hardware that they feel suits their games the best, and these systems highlight their games. I feel that if Nintendo would stop making their own hardware and simply make games for Sony or for tablets, that they may still be fantastic games, but ultimately the magic would seem lost, the games would seem watered down or just not how they should be.
That might not actually be the case, but I feel that whenever people would play the games, and for years even, they would reminisce on how great the old Nintendo games were and how they were much better on Nintendo’s systems. I’m certain I did that to a point with Sega’s games, and I am sure with Nintendo it would be about the same but multiplied by a hundred.
No, Nintendo needs to power through and keep doing what they do best. They still have a large amount of money earned from the Wii that they are sitting on, enough to float them through the dismal showings of the Wii U. Hopefully with the success already seen by Mario Kart 8 and with Smash Bros later this year, more units will be sold, and if Nintendo has taught people anything it is that software sells hardware. In the end however, Nintendo will do what it does best; provide great games and great gaming experiences for everyone. That is why Nintendo matters.
Featured image belongs to Nintendo.