Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rise and Fall of the Nintendo Empire

I pleasantly recall the glory of Nintendo in the 80's and 90's. Back then, the NES was epic. The big ole' brick GameBoy was sweet. When I got my hands on an N64 and played Mario 64, I about lost my mind. That was the first game I was ever a "completionist" for (in an era pre-Gamerscore, too!).

But, with the advent of the current superpowers Sony and Microsoft and the exploding popularity of mobile gaming, Nintendo seems to be on the downward slide. The Nintendo 3DS, practically a brand new piece of hardware, has already had a price slash from $249.99 to $169.99. While there were short-term gains from this, the platform hasn't performed very well. On top of this, there are major doubts about Nintendo's upcoming Wii U project, with the company's stocks sinking after the unveiling at this year's E3. This is hardly a good sign, as many are skeptical of the system and concerned about its "premium" price point.

Nintendo's performance brings to mind Sega's downfall in 2001 with a system under-performing, despite price cuts. Perhaps Nintendo should look at the history here and learn from its [former] competitor. While the platforms are not performing well, people love their games!

Imagine if Nintendo were to make a Super Mario Bros. for smartphones? What if you could play Zelda or Star Fox games on the Xbox or PS3? While the success of Nintendo's systems is sometimes questionable, their games are legendary and well known. Being a cross-platform developer would be extremely lucrative to the company, as it already has several series with well established recognition.

It remains to be seen if Nintendo can pull itself up from its current position. However, if it cannot, I sincerely hope that they are able to take a look at the past for a potential option for the future.


  1. Agreed. Nintendo needs to stop catering to the casual audience that ate the Wii up like cotton candy and give some much needed attention to its hardcore fanbase. Super Mario Galaxy and Legend of Zelda could feasibly turn the tide of their seemingly imminent downfall. All they have to do is get off their butts and do something about it.

  2. Even beyond the fanbase, just imagine the potential of a classic style or new installment of a Nintendo game on a phone platform.

    I'd be strongly tempted to get a smartphone just for the excuse to roam Hyrule on it!