State Of Play: Nintendo Should Concentrate On Games

nintendo-kirby_00363355Nintendo are the reason many of us are gamers. It was certainly the case with LFG-man Dave Green, who is saddened by the Japanese companies current state. He argues it’d be better for everyone for them to pull out of the hardware race and concentrate on the games

Get Your Granny Playing

Nintendo were my first gaming love. The N64, in particular, has a very special place in my heart after being released during a very difficult period in my childhood. In many ways, the console and its games were my best friend. While I accept that nostalgia can play tricks with the mind and memory, I believe Nintendo have created some of the finest titles and consoles we have ever seen and had the pleasure in playing. Their current situation saddens me. In fact, it’s my opinion that Nintendo need to pull out of the home console business and concentrate on what they do best – making astonishing games of unmatched quality. Before it’s too late.

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The Wii was a gamble. After the GameCube was beaten in sales by both Sony’s PS2 and Microsoft’s first Xbox, Nintendo decided to change tact. There wasn’t enough room for three hardware manufacturers going after the hardcore gamer. Instead, ‘The Big N’ concentrated on the casual gamer; the person who played Super Mario World in their youth, your parents, your girlfriend – your nan! This was an untapped market of millions. Nintendo realised that the usual gaming controller, something that they had perfected with the GameCube (only surpassed, in my opinion, by the 360’s pad) was the barrier to entry for the ‘non-core’ and set about creating an interface anyone could use. The rest is history; sales records were broken and everyone scrambled to replicate Nintendo’s success. Not everyone was happy though. The hardcore Nintendo fan, the fans that had stood by the company patiently during the numerous gaming droughts of the N64 and ‘Cube felt alienated. This perceived slighting has come back to haunt Nintendo in a major way.

Helen Mirren and Harry Redknapp Walk Into a Game Store

You see, the people who bought Wii in their hundreds of thousands simply aren’t interested in buying games  – that’s what the hardcore do. While Nintendo chased Helen Mirren and the Redknapps with Wii Sports, Fit and Music, the loyal Nintendo fan-base grew disenchanted and moved on to the Xbox, PS3 or PC – they wanted games. While the Wii console sold at an unprecedented rate, software attachment was at an all time low – new installments in popular series such as Zelda and Metroid were outsold by titles like Mario and Sonic at the Olympics and other wand-waving guff. Wisely, Nintendo realised that they couldn’t achieve long-term success with their current model. The Wii U was announced, but with the air of a company with no clear direction.

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Anyone who tells you Nintendo aren’t interested in having the most powerful consoles have short memories. The SNES and N64 were THE cutting-edge powerhouses of their day and the GameCube was comparable to the Xbox. In fact, technology has always driven Nintendo’s creativity, from the original game saving device in the Legend Zelda (allowing a larger gaming world to explore than before) to the first true 3D world in Mario 64 and the touch-screen control of the DS. The Wii was a calculated risk that paid off – a cheap console with a distinct interface based on old technology (the console was basically a GameCube with motion-control to keep costs down). The Wii U is none of these things. It’s a HD console boasting the power of 8-year-old machines, aimed at hardcore gamers (the Wii U’s main launch title, Nintendo Land, is a celebration of classic Nintendo IP’s and there are currently no versions of Sports or Fit – the casual gaming champions) who have since moved away from the company, with an expensive and confusing interface for the casual gamer who bought Wii. Nintendo weren’t even confident enough in naming the console – they kept the “Wii” to entice their new audience. Unfortunately, their new audience were happy enough to stick with what they have – between January and March 2013, Nintendo have sold less than 200,000 Wii U’s in the USA. Microsoft sold more than that in March 2013 alone, in the final year of their 8-year-old machine to boot. To make matters worse, Nintendo bungled the initial unveiling of the console with many in the gaming world believing the Wii U was an add on for the existing Wii console.

Just The Games, M’am.

For all their hardware troubles (handhelds aside, the 3Ds is a great unique console that, at the right price, will have a healthy life-span), Nintendo know how to make great games of high quality. I’d argure that their home-console focus is actually hampering them – I’d like to see them pull out of the manufacturing business and concentrate on software only (3DS excluded). Why? I’d hate to see Nintendo go bust. Could it happen? Stranger things have and the console business is a risky and expensive business to be in. Gamers on other formats WOULD buy their games – most of them grew up playing them! Who wouldn’t want to play the latest Mario, Zelda, Metroid or Pikmin on their PS4, Next Xbox or high-end PC – the platforms and gamers would be richer for it? Imagine what Nintendo could do cut loose with on the bleeding-edge of gaming technology like the old days? You never know, they might even create some new IP!

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I’d say the chances of this happening are quite high. With the rise of mobile gaming, Steam and the continued power of Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo are finding themselves increasingly marginalised and isn’t something a (much-needed) price cut would fix. Companies such as EA have no current Wii U titles planned, explained their new engine of choice simply won’t work on Wii U, and other companies have been making similar comments. In times such as these, gamers can’t afford to have a main gaming platform with a Nintendo console in back-up for the 1st party software. Becoming a third-party software developer makes sense for everyone.

So come on Nintendo, my old friend. I WANT to play your new games. I want to see a Hyrule I’ve never dreamed off; to see the wonder and dangers of the galaxy from the behind the eyes of Samus Aran – I want that unique Nintendo magic. Make the tough decision; it’s the correct choice.

– Dave Green @davidpgreen83

Where do you see Nintendo heading? Does the Wii U have a future or do Nintendo need to “do a Sega”? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter @lowfatgaming or like our Facebook page and get involved with our community.

One comment on “State Of Play: Nintendo Should Concentrate On Games

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