*Note: I actually began writing this blog post 2 days before Nintendo posted the news about their New Nintendo 3DS and plans to focus on a hardcore gaming audience. (Click here for the Wired article) Since I already had so much of it typed out, I decided to go ahead and post it anyways. As for Nintendo’s new announcement on their goals, we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out!*
Before I begin, let me say that I’m the proud owner of a Nintendo Wii U, a 2DS and our son has a 3DS. I’ve owned every Nintendo console except for the Gamecube and Virtua Boy. My love for Nintendo extends all the way back to my younger days when I first was exposed to Super Mario Bros. on the NES my cousin had gotten for his birthday. My mom, on a tight budget, managed to scrimp and save and buy me one for Christmas that year. In fact, being on the poor side of things, that one pack-in cartridge was the only game I had for about a year or two. Not once did I mind or complain. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the SNES is one of my favorite games of all time. So, before I begin with my current opinion on Nintendo, just know that I don’t hate or despise the company. We’ve been friends since way back in the day. This is just my feelings on their actions as of late.
Money doesn’t always equal success. I’ve heard it said recently that Nintendo could operate at a loss for years and never feel the heat as their games and consoles tank. I’ve heard it announced that the 3DS alone is holding the company afloat in the sea of next generation consoles that they’re swimming in. But the truth be told, money isn’t everything. When you have lost sight of your audience and continue to rehash the same material on consoles that don’t live up to “next generation” standards, then all the money in the world can’t save you in the market you’re in. This is where I believe Nintendo is now, and I worry that they still just don’t get it.
The Wii U is a fantastic gaming machine, don’t get me wrong. But Nintendo has never really come out and said exactly why it took them nearly 2 years to bring games people want to play to market. Wii U games line-up on the horizon looks awesome, with franchise hits like Super Smash Brothers, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta, etc – the console is finally offering the consumer something. There’s a problem though: those consumers have already invested their money in Xbox One or Playstation 4, leaving the average gaming household broke from another big purchase in the gaming market.
Since E3 2014, Nintendo has also noticeably picked up their Twitter presence. They are right in there with Sony and Microsoft in hyping digital offerings, future releases, locations where you can play upcoming games and so forth. It’s all a case of too little, too late, it seems in most everyone’s eyes I’m hearing from. Even now, with all these great titles on the horizon, the Wii U going on 2 years old, and people are looking at it going, “Well, I’m still gonna wait and see how this plays out.” In my opinion this goes back to the fact that most gamers, especially the new hardcore audience Nintendo wants to attract, has already chosen their console for the next generation. And why would they want to step down (a harsh choice of words, I know) in hardware when they’re already at the top of the food chain with one of the two major players?
Another issue Nintendo needs to address is their storage solutions. I realize external hard drive units are very affordable right now, but to the average gaming family (yes, I know, they’re targeting hardcore, but that’s not going to be a viable crowd for awhile) the thought of having to spend $250-$300 (if you get a bundled game) and then having to turn around and buy an extra, separate storage unit on top of that seems a bit extreme. Launching their console with limited storage was suicide, especially now that they’re churning out tweets daily about downloadable content. They’re even offering expansion dlc for games like Mario Kart 8 and Sonic, but where do they think people are going to store these space hogs?! The last several years, from the Wii to the Wii U have been a nightmare to watch for me. Bad decision after bad decision seems to be the norm around the Nintendo offices.
My hope is that Nintendo wakes up and smells the coffee. Going after hardcore gamers isn’t a viable long term solution – those gamers already have their platforms of choice. If you’ve talked to a fanboy of either Sony or Microsoft, you know how stuck on their systems they are, and they aren’t going anywhere. Continuing to focus on their family friendly MiiVerse – where they will block your profile from others if you even post your gamer tag for other services because they think you’re trying to contact little kids outside the MiiVerse – isn’t viable because those kids and families will eventually grow out of Nintendo’s offerings and want something more. Then again, maybe that’s the plan! Get them when they’re young, grow with them, then have the hardcore offerings so they never even have to look at those other guys.
Who knows, maybe that little scenario I just concocted might work. If that isn’t what they’re thinking of for long term gamers, they’re more than welcome to use it. Go ahead, I’m fine. No compensation necessary. 🙂 I mean no ill will toward Nintendo, of course. I’m still a fan and a proud owner of the Wii U. I’ve got to find an external hard drive that’s suitable for our needs, of course, but that’s beside the point. I’d just like to see them pull their company together, focus on delivering a promise of a solid, long term gaming solution to their dedicated customers and stop with the half-assed business plans. Give us a console with decent built-in storage. Give us a console that will play these great Wii U games that are headed our way. Give us a console that will rival the Xbox One and PS4. Give us a console with 3DS integration as a choice other than the GamePad (that has terrible battery life).
In short – if Nintendo wants us to give them our hard earned money, then they need to stop screwing around and give us a solid, acceptable, well thought out gaming experience.
Thank you, and good night!