Next year’s release of Nintendo’s console has me pondering the fortunes of the gaming giant. Coupled with that the fact that Sony are releasing their VR and PS4.5. Microsoft has the One.5 and Scorpio. In all, things could be looking bleak for them. Nintendo has been a staple of the industry for some time. For a while, it was almost synonymous with gaming. Perhaps two decades ago, you’d struggle to find a gamer who didn’t own a piece of Nintendo hardware. But Nintendo’s been losing its grip on the market, over the years. And I believe that this is mostly down to the fact that they refuse to give up on their hardware.
The Wii was Nintendo’s last successful console. Even that was only successful with a select segment of gamers. It was recognised as the console of the casual / family gamer, or the Nintendo devout. For me, this was the beginning of the end for Nintendo. Whilst the console was almost revolutionary at the time, it always struggled to appeal to a wider audience. I knew a lot of people who had a Wii, but few who actually played it. It became reserved for parties, family events and casual nights-in, playing Wii tennis or Mario Kart. It was a novelty, for some at least.
After the Wii, along came the Wii U – and little changed. Glimmers of hope that the console could appeal to a more ‘adult’ audience quickly faded. And so did the games, such as ZombiU. Bayonetta 2 perhaps kept the flame alight for the longest. But, if you ask people what their favourite games on the Wii U are, most would pick out a Mario title. A Zelda game. Smash Bros or maybe Hyrule Warriors. And, the funny thing is, that’ll probably be the answer for many a Nintendo gamer. From the Wii U all the way back to the SNES – because that’s where Nintendo’s strength really is, in its IPs.
So my argument is, why waste money on consoles? Nintendo has the handheld console market down. But that’s slowly diminishing in the face of apps and gaming on tablets and mobile phones. So much so that they’ve already made the plunge into the app market (albeit 5 years too late). Sony and Microsoft has the console market on lock-down. Along with the rise of indie developers – there are so many different types of games to choose form. In truth, the only thing that Nintendo can really bring to the market is their IPs.
So why not just develop games instead? If Nintendo really want to survive, I think that they need to move their IPs from their own consoles to other platforms. Develop Zelda for the PlayStation 4, for PC and Mac, for the Xbox One. The same goes for Mario, Pokemon, Smash Bros – you name it. Any Nintendo IP would rake it in on other platforms. Package me up a next-generation Pokemon game and I’ll be yours forever – just saying. Why waste time, money and reputation on consoles? Everyone already knows that their strength is in their IPs. People buy their console for that reason, so why not just cut out the middle man?
But what do you think? Maybe I’m just being a little doom and gloom about it all. Perhaps the NX will be their saving grace, and the console will make me (and this article) look a little foolish. Or perhaps the Scorpio and PlayStation VR will leave it as a side-note in 2017. Let me know in the comments below!