With the recent problematic launch of the WiiU leading to disappointing sales, the knee-jerk reaction among the gaming community has been, for some at least, to ask Nintendo to reconsider their position. It looks like Nintendo is falling behind in the times and needs to think about competitor consoles and mobile gaming as a method of selling its games to a wider audience not willing to buy a new console.
Nintendo – A company with no future goals
The problem with this notion is that it seems to be based on two faulty notions. Nintendo is losing ground in the gaming business, but they don’t really seem to care about financial danger.
The company is rich, mega-rich, billions upon billions rich, so they could have 5 failed console launches and still survive the fallout for their sixth to save them. Their liquid assets alone are enough to buy Richard Branson’s Island and build a Nintendo theme park. They should think about financing space travel; seriously they could fund a Nintendo-sponsored moon mission and plant a Mario flag on that giant floating golf ball in the sky.
Nintendo doesn’t want to advance because it’s already advanced enough
Nintendo has great confidence in its products. You see, by having an in-house hardware team married to their software division, Nintendo is capable of achieving the level of workmanship and quality in their products which is almost unthinkable in the wider industry. The games are known for being reliable and complete from day one.
Can you remember the last time there was a bug in a Nintendo game? The only one for 2013 was the Pokémon x and y that was fixed within two weeks. Compare that to companies like Gearbox who regularly push out games where it’s possible to fall through the floor of the map just by trying to climb the scenery or where a save glitch prevents you from ever completing the game when you are one level away from the end boss.
Quality bought to extremes – yet without innovation it’s useless
Nintendo hunts for the type of in-game quality you just don’t see anymore in other gaming companies; however, despite that high quality, if the games are not advanced from a technological point of view, they’re useless and people won’t want to play them. That being said, Nintendo has other problems, after all, Nintendo does rehash its intellectual property quite a bit….but does it really?
Let’s take a game like Call of Duty: what major change in gameplay design has the last one had over its predecessor? The answer: barely any change because the Call of Duty Franchise is a business model giving gamers what they want. Now let’s look at Mario: how many different kinds of games has that little fat Italian plumber been in? The answer: a lot, and that’s because Nintendo has kept a story and a character who sells but then used him to experiment with game design to the point of madness.
That was just Mario; think about the other Franchises like Metroid, Zelda, Star Fox (which needs to come back soon please), and others. They’re all been toyed with and tweaked, experimented with to the point of lunacy. No other studio would have the bravery to do this in the current environment, that’s for sure.
All in all, Nintendo should be doing exactly what they’re doing: selling games that are well-made, with fresh design and the imagination to reapply a concept in a different way. They need to keep their own hardware as part of that innovation because it allows them to have an understanding of their product which other studios would kill for. Nintendo is making niche games for numerous communities rather than a mass product, and that’s why the company will succeed in the gaming industry without modifying its current philosophy.