I’ve been banging on about the need for Nintendo to pack it in with their games consoles for quite some time. I believe that their true strength is in their IPs – and Pokémon GO has really highlighted that.
Here we have a very basic, rudimentary version of Pokémon. A game that was massive twenty years ago, and has slowly declined in popularity since. It’s perked back up, and fallen back down, in those 20(ish) years – but Nintendo has never reached the lofty heights that they achieved with Pokémon Red and Blue. But then comes Pokémon GO – a game that’s had an estimated 7.5 million downloads in the US alone.
Whilst Nintendo didn’t necessarily create Pokémon GO, they do own The Pokémon Company, and invest in Niantic. So they won’t be directly getting all of the profits, but it’s most certainly not going to do their bank balance, and reputation, much harm. Since the release of Pokémon GO, for instance, Nintendo share prices have risen around 60%. I’d like to see them achieve that with the release of their next console, the NX. But I doubt they could.
Which brings me on to my point. Will the success of Pokémon GO convince Nintendo that it’s time to focus on making quality games (which they’re fantastic at) rather than making consoles? Let’s face it, their last few consoles haven’t been the best. But, despite what console it’s on, their IPs are always fantastic. Mario, Zelda, SmashBros, Pokémon – they always hit the nail on the head with those titles. And now we have Pokémon GO, which is quickly becoming the most popular app on the market. It’s already surpassed the daily users of Tinder, and it’s hot on the heels of social media giants like Twitter. Sure, the buzz will eventually die down, but it shows that there’s an apatite for Nintendo games outside of Nintendo platforms.
Sure, Pokémon GO is free – that’ll be a driving factor for its success. It’s also on iOS and Android, which are the predominant operating systems for mobile users. That’ll help too. But I still think that it proves a point. The point being that Nintendo can be successful outside of their own platforms.
So, could Pokémon GO be the kick up the backside that Nintendo needs. A driver for them to move away from consoles and towards developing their IPs for other platforms? I’m not sure. The numbers suggest that it should be. And now would be the time to capitalise on that success. But Nintendo do seem a little slow to react, at times, and it’s not like they’re just going to abandon the NX.
Whilst I’d love for Nintendo to start developing games for other platforms, on the regular. I can’t see it happening anytime soon. What I do hope for, however, is that Nintendo realise the power of their IPs a little more. Particularly Pokémon. Whilst Pokémon GO might not herald the dawn of Nintendo as publisher for other platforms. I do hope that it convinces them to update Pokémon for the modern gamer. Pokémon GO proves that the franchise needs a new twist, to draw people back in. Pokémon GO will be that new twist, at least for the next year perhaps. But if they go back to the Gameboy style Pokémon after GO dies down, I doubt they’d be able to capitalise much on their success. Here’s hoping we see a more modern version of the classic Pokémon game – one that utilises the lessons learned from GO and creates an immersive, online experience for gamers on the NX. That would be enough to convince me to buy the NX… I don’t know about you.
What do you think? Do you see Nintendo moving toward game making and away from console making? Or do you think they’re fine as they are? Let me know in the comments below!