Nintendo Just Doesn’t Get It

*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!

 

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2 thoughts on “Nintendo Just Doesn’t Get It

  1. First let me also preface my comments by saying I own a Wii, Wii U, and 3DS, I’ve also owned Nintendo consoles since the NES days.

    I think Nintendo is a victim of their own (prior) success. I also think a lot of Nintendo’s problems are a result of “old way” thinking. Also, a lot of Nintendo’s problems are due to their current president, Satoru Iwata.

    You see, Nintendo for the past few hardware cycles, has this notion that they need to be “innovative” with their systems… 3D, motion controls, second screen experience… 90% of gamers just want to sit down on their sofa with a controller and enjoy a game, be-it a casual experience, or a hardcore shooter. What happened to those innovations? They released a 2D system to satisfy the people who didn’t want 3D, they had to release a “pro controller” for those who didn’t want to use motion, and their second screen has to be tethered to a power cord, due to the bad battery life.

    You mention that the Wii U comes with a tiny storage device. I agree, and there are two reasons for this. #1) Nintendo does not believe in digital #2) Nintendo does not believe in multimedia.

    When I say that Nintendo does not believe in digital, I mean that their digital offerings are an afterthought. Sure, they have a somewhat functional eshop for the Wii’s and 3DS, but their policies with their eshop are archaic. The games are tied to one system, you can’t redownload stuff if it’s lost or stolen.

    http://mynintendonews.com/2013/04/22/nintendo-reitterates-it-wont-replace-lost-or-stolen-digital-3ds-games/

    Also, while the Xbox One and PS4 are considered “entertainment” machines, Nintendo still classifies the Wii U and 3DS as gaming machines. While there is nothing wrong with that, gamers like to get video and music on their devices (I tend to use other devices, but i digress). Apps like Netflix and Hulu are available for both systems, but the fact that it’s an afterthought on Nintendo’s part is just back to their old way of thinking..

    Also, Nintendo needs to embrace indie gaming. I know that’s a buzzword these days, but honestly, some of the best gaming experiences as of late have been coming from smaller independent studios. Sony has embraced the indie scene pretty much from the start. Microsoft was a little cold at first, but they are warming up to the community, and Nintendo is like a castle. You either play in their yard, or don’t play at all.

    Nintendo also does not believe in online gaming. Look at the thriving online communities on xbox and playstation. For years, if Nintendo gamers wanted to play online, they needed convoluted “friend codes” just to connect to people they know, nevermind the fact if you wanted to reach out to new ones. Even now, on Wii U, they use their “Miiverse” community to interact with other users.

    Also, Nintendo is just seen in the gaming community as a “kid friendly” system. A large part of that is due to the cast of characters that Nintendo has created over the years. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, especially if you’re a parent concerned with what your child watches or plays. The problem is, that most developers who make “mature” video games sees Nintendo’s platform and realizes that it doesn’t make sense to release their product on their system.

    And let’s be honest, the Wii U, released two years ago, is about on terms with the PS3 and Xbox 360 in terms of power. When the other guys release systems that make those systems crumble, well it’s hard to compete. Are you going to tell a developer to make a game for these brand new systems. Then turn around, take things out of their game, lower the resolution and frame rate, just so it can run on the Wii U?

    So yeah, I agree. Nintendo doesn’t get it. And Nintendo probably won’t until they get rid of their old management with their old thinking. The days of NES,SNES, and N64 are long behind them. If they don’t start adjusting now and competing in the 21st century, they’re going to be left collecting dust in someone’s attic just like those systems are now.

  2. I would argue the SNES was the last, really great system they put out. They started crumbling at the birth of the N64, with their “innovations” and what not. The Gamecube was the nail in the coffin, and the Wii was their attempt at rebirth that – while successful with a certain group – was mainly a failure. Yup, I said it. Failure. The Wii U could have been a great come back, but they stumbled and fell at launch and the 1 1/2 years that followed. When they did regain their footing, recently, it was too late. They’re the fat kid bringing up the tail of the race.

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