Nintendo was once a proud company, delivering fun titles and uniting gamers; friends and family in fun quality time under the same roof. As times have changed however, Nintendo proves more and more that they have not, locking themselves in a weatherproof time-capsule and being left behind in contrast to the rest of the gaming industry.
Initially the big N’s standing on family fun was endearing and many praised the company for dedicating itself to the softer side of gaming that was in danger of becoming forgotten as technology advanced, but will the company survive if they continue to live in the past? It is evident that Nintendo will always have a fan base, but will this fan base be one that grows, shrinks or remains in an unmoving static position?
Up until now many have been happy with the company’s lack of competitive advancements, even when the Wii was released at the same time the more hardcore consoles were pushing graphical capabilities and giving gamers visuals they had never seen before. Nintendo arguably put up a poetic fight, firmly holding down their corner while simultaneous sending the message that gameplay with always remain the leading focus in a gamer’s mind. The error on Nintendo’s part was that although they sent a message and managed to be successful, they were only weakening themselves in the long run by allowing themselves to fall further and further behind the other consoles and therefore showcasing their shortcomings.
Innovation eventually becomes limitation and after having years to reflect upon the current consoles and the current state of the industry, a large portion of the gaming community began to see through Nintendo’s veil of fresh ideas and view the Wii for exactly what it is – a glorified Gamecube with a (then) unique control scheme. Regardless of its gimmicks however, Nintendo still reigned as the king of family fun, nut novelty never trumps quality and Nintendo constantly failed to miss out on a potential portion of the market due to its graphical shortcomings that many deem unacceptable in such an age. Further damage was done to Nintendo’s innovative crown when Microsoft introduced their Kinect, which admittedly initially failed to prove itself more fun and functional than the Wii’s wireless motion controlled setup, but did succeed in pointing out to gamers that they did not have to accept lesser graphics and power to benefit from new creative technologies.
The companies gimmicks have begun to wear thin, and their lack of connection to the modern gamer’s needs and wants are laughable at best. Where gamers seek accessibility, usability and connectivity, Nintendo gives a console with an SD card slot, friend codes and standard definition graphics all neatly wrapped in a tacky white casing.
The New Wii U makes It evident that Nintendo have spent so many years attempting to be different, that no longer know how to fit in. In fact, the Wii U is almost a physical metaphor of the company waving its white flag. Now finally stepping into the HD realm (which at this point is barely even a selling point since it is nothing new), is Nintendo not contradicting themselves – what happened to focusing on gameplay elements as opposed to graphical power, have Nintendo implicated their realisation of the necessity to move forwards? Also worthy of note is the somewhat ridiculous controller that Nintendo fashioned, they are obviously still relying on gimmicks, and some would say this is them admitting something else: they feel inferior and cannot compete with the other consoles without a newfound “innovation” to brag about. The well-selling Snes needed no special treatment, nor did the N64 and those console were arguably Nintendo’s best and most popular home console systems, so it seems a shame that the company has become addicted to proving themselves with trivial gadgets and weird control mechanisms in order to gain an audience.
When seen logically, the Wii U is more a sidestep than a leap forward, and in some ways a foolish gesture. The Wii U was released in the later part of 2012 to compete with consoles already exceeding 5 year lifespans – surely this a joke. The irony on Nintendo’s part is that while they cheekily offer up their Wii U as an alternative to other home consoles in an unfair match up, the next 2 years will see both Sony’s and Microsoft’s new systems which will be the true successors to their current models and therefore the true and fair competition of the Wii U in terms of gaming Generations.
Many feel that at this rate Nintendo will eventually become the joke of the gaming industry and is already collapsing into a parody of itself. Mario cannot carry the company forever, and when fans grow tired of the next New, New, Super Mario Bros. where will the company and its brand be then?
We once loved Nintendo, now we simply tolerate it. Let’s keep an eye on the future and hope that Nintendo does not become the Nokia of the gaming industry and suddenly wake up to find they have been made redundant overnight.