Nintendo was once viewed as the Alpha and Omega of the video games industry. Now, it seems as though Microsoft and Sony’s more modern approaches to their platforms and Nintendo’s unwillingness to embrace the future have left the juggernaut company limping behind in the great console wars. Is this the end of Nintendo? What can they do to put themselves back in the game?
I think it’s worth noting that this is not the first time Nintendo has been in trouble. Their name carries so much weight within the industry, not only because of their extraordinary library of iconic characters but, because of their ability to endure the test of time and their ability to innovate. With that said, I do think there are a number of things the company needs to sort out if they’re going to come back from their current predicament, that is the Wii U.
The first thing that must happen is the removal of Satoru Iwata from his current position. I understand that Mr. Iwata has done wonderful things for Nintendo in the past however, the times have changed. Iwata has proven himself to be rung dry of innovative ideas and the company needs a fresh mind with a new perspective to bring to the table.
Second, Nintendo needs to decide what their message to gamers is going to be and they need to stick to it. I personally know people who don’t even realize that the Wii U is an entirely new system, they think it is a new controller for the old Wii. This is completely to blame on Nintendo’s scrambled messaging and emphasizing focus on the Wii U’s game pad instead of the system’s capabilities.
Finally, the company has been unclear on who exactly the Wii U is for. It was first pitched as being for the hardcore gamers, now there is mention of a fitness focused approach on the horizon. If there is anything to be learned from Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal, it’s that it is vital to make your intentions clear about your hardware before making any further moves.
Nintendo’s most recent news of stepping into the Skylanders/Disney Infinity territory could be a step in the right direction for them but again this is something created for a new audience and if that’s what they want then they need to make that known. There is no doubt that Nintendo could position themselves back on top. They’ve got the right IP’s at their disposal and with some regrouping I think they could put it to great use. Perhaps it’s time to let Mario grab some bench for a while and let the likes of Metroid, Zelda, and Starfox usher in a new era of high definition, action packed Nintendo titles.
Nintendo does have two hard hitting franchises on their way, Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., but are two games enough to save the console at this point? I think it’s too late for the Wii U to become a success however, I don’t think it’s too late to make the Wii U a sustainable platform.
Check out my overview of Nintendo’s Mario Kart 8!