Why Nintendo Struggles

Similar words have probably been slathered across the intertubes by every primate with opposable thumbs, but as a gamer it is my obligation to share my two cents because I can. Nintendo has taken on basically an untermensch status for a lot of gamers and a lot of the gaming industry, in the past decade or so, and it seems some people don’t understand why.

Nintendo started as a playing card company and tried their hand at several different business ventures for the next 100 years until they finally settled on consumer electronics, which turned out to be their calling. In the early days of electronic gaming, Nintendo was a huge deal along with Sega, Namco, and Atari, among other companies. They crafted and innovated the industry and nurtured it so that it could get where it is today. It seems to go without saying that most people aren’t going to even attempt to refute that fact. In the late 80s until the mid to later 90s, Nintendo was king. There was other royalty of course like Sega but Nintendo reigned supreme while even they eventually fell by the wayside.

ximage.jpg.pagespeed.ic.jmEjnyDudx

It seems to me there is a very obvious reason why this happened, at least in the eyes of my fellow “older” gamers. We grew up with Nintendo, the problem is just that Nintendo didn’t grow up with us. At the time they were pushing the limit of what 8-bit and 16-bit systems could do, or at least, the limits were being pushed by developers on their systems and they reveled in the spotlight, even with the Nintendo 64 which many believe to have been somewhat of a failure. Seventeen years have passed, and Nintendo does not share the love that it once had from consumers. It certainly shares the success, as you can see in the charts, but with the average gamer having grown up playing Nintendo, it seems that we can only look fondly on them with nostalgia, rather than appreciate their present efforts. We’re adults now, and Nintendo does not offer games for adults. It is constantly argued that games have not matured at all, but the fact is that they have.

Nintendo, to date, has still outsold each competitor in both the handheld and the console market, and I think that a lot of gamers, myself included, can’t really figure out why. As I said before, Nintendo did not grow up with us. The games available on their systems, in comparison, aren’t on the same level. They are less complex, less mature, and less engrossing. Aside from that, the Wii and the 3DS or DS are technologically inferior to the PC, the PS3, and the 360. It seems many developers don’t bother porting their game to Wii because it would handicap the game. Obviously this issue seems to have been resolved with the Wii U finally supporting full HD and being on par, resource wise, with the PS3 and 360, but the software support is just not there yet to perpetuate or gain the success of the new system. Its only games right now are things like Scribblenauts, Black Ops 2, or Nintendo Land or Mario. Other than Black Ops 2,  people just don’t find replayability or longevity in these games that are, in their minds, inferior. I spent some time playing Nintendo Land, which I found to be no fun at all, and Scribblenauts – which was humorous in its ability to let you create ridiculous flying tanks and whatnot – did not entertain me for more than 10 minutes. Zombii U is the only game I personally found to be interesting, and there is absolutely no way I’m dropping 400 dollars on a system that has one appealing game at launch.

The days in which riding Yoshi and facing simple jump-timing puzzles provided entertainment are long gone. In 2013, and recent years before, we have more interesting choices, Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted, Heavy Rain, BioShock, Half-Life, Portal, Dante’s Inferno, and so many other games, have interesting stories and gameplay that keep us engrossed and thinking both about their stories and their environments. Nintendo, as a first-party developer, just doesn’t turn out games anymore that can support their system. Unlike Sony and Microsoft’s consoles, where the best games aren’t necessarily first party and don’t need to be, Nintendo in the past has frequently bolstered the success of their systems by publishing first-party titles at launch and continuing to do so, like Zelda, or Mario, or Metroid. It seems at this point their lifeline is controlled entirely by Pokemon.

I truly believe that Nintendo needs to put a respectable effort into developing new IPs, and continuing established IPs like Zelda with new, excellent releases, in order to secure their place in the market. Reality proves me and everyone else wrong because they are # 1 in sales, but I don’t know how much longer they can last with a console that has yet to see one truly good game available, four months after its release.

There are other issues, too, such as the fact that Wii virtual store purchases evidently don’t transfer to Wii U. More importantly, there’s the overbearing fact that the Wii U relies entirely on external USB storage – storage which is inherently slow as everyone who has ever used a USB drive versus a SATA connection knows – to support virtual console games and anything else wanting to be stored on the system.

Time will tell, I guess.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s