Why Some Critics Believe Nintendo is Failing
What I mean by that is that Nintendo has a stigma about it being a child’s console. Despite many growing up playing old Nintendo and Sega classics, it is almost as if gamers are presumed to shed their Nintendo shell of young to grow into their PC, PlayStation and Xbox counter parts as an older gamer. Simply this should not be the case. Some of the most beloved franchises in gaming, as well as the most successful of all time are heralded by Nintendo due to how they’ve been able to captivate gamer imagination.
Does this look like a children’s game?
I argue that when you purchase a Nintendo console, you are not doing it because you are looking forward to the third party titles, you are looking forward to the exclusives. When I sought to purchase a Wii U, it was not because I wanted to play the latest Grand Theft Auto, it was because I wanted to play those games that were only available on the Wii U. This argument should be made for all of the consoles, regardless. Heading into a console or PC simply based on third party almost nullifies the justification for preference of playing methods.
Critics of the Wii U are always trying to nail the console for having last generation specs. The console cannot support third party titles because the developers cannot get their game to work nearly as well. They also disregard that Nintendo probably did not intend to make their console for the third party studio because its bread and butter lies in its first party games.
[Also related: Huffington Post: Nintendo Admits The Wii U Is A Failure]
Where Nintendo Is Doing Right
The best thing that Nintendo does is utilize its hardware to make the best games available to make. Many of which are bright, colorful pallets that are not supposed to reflect realistic texture packs that you see in many other franchises on other consoles. Frankly, the last thing that anyone wants to see is a realistic Mario with his five O’clock shadow. Mario has always been accustomed to the cartoon-like look and that is honestly what Nintendo does best.
Nintendo also knows their franchises and knows what is best for them. Unlike games at other studios, Nintendo typically does not upset their fans with an over-hyped game with something that feels far removed from the franchise. I was a huge Halo fan, however, Halo 4 did not sit as well with me as the rest of the franchise. Not that it was a bad game but it did no’t feel like it was Halo, again, to me. When The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was released, many naysayers of the cell-shaded art-style typically came from non-players of the game. It turned out to be one of the most beloved entries, as many titles before and after it. It played like Zelda, it felt like Zelda, it was Zelda, only with a curated look for the game.
Nintendo also capitalizes on being the only console maker that offers backwards compatibility. While all of the other consoles are shoving HD-remakes into gamer’s faces, Nintendo is offering gamers the ability to play their old Wii games without the necessary requirement of paying for the game at full price. On top of that, their library is constantly being filled with old games that fans loved and would likely be eager to play again. My only complaint with this is that I am still waiting on Guerrilla War from the NES; where is it Nintendo I need my war games badly!
Where Nintendo Should Be Focusing
Sure, Nintendo does lack behind in features that modern gaming should feature. Online multiplayer is not as big of a focal point for their consoles as it should be. Ironically, the Nintendo 3DS features a much more utilized online feature than the console counterparts. This I do agree is something that Nintendo should spend a little more time into and start bringing some of their classic franchises on board to be played with friends online. At the same time, we all know how toxic the online gaming community can be. Last thing you want is Call of Duty and Halo-like obscenities while playing a joyful inspired game like Pikmin or Mario Party.
Nintendo typically does not have to deal with massive online outages due to their lack of support in this model. If Nintendo wants to keep up with the Jones’ they do not need to have the most powerful hardware, instead they need to make sure their online abilities are up to par. The company needs to create the online service, make sure it works and actually consider a paid-service. Yes, I know it is blasphemy, but upkeep of servers does require money in order to keep it running steady. Maybe do what PlayStation does and offer it as a premium service with additional goodies. With Nintendo Club going away, maybe this can be an excellent way to reward continuous spenders.
Then again, with Nintendo and online gaming entertainment, we should not be too surprised about the lack thereof. Over the past weeks Nintendo has been making headlines with their new YouTube policy and sharing gameplay footage of their titles. Sure, a little bit back is better than nothing, but this is a digital communication era. Sitting on your information instead of trying to spread the good word as quickly as possible can sometimes lead to yesterday’s news; no one wants yesterday’s news today. Nintendo needs to figure out how beneficial the YouTube community can be.
Nintendo Is Not Going Anywhere Soon
Despite popular belief that Nintendo is the little brother in the gaming sphere, Nintendo’s little secret is they are very much ahead as far as fan support. On top of owning several top franchises in gaming, they also have a pretty large sum of money in their own bank. $10 Billion to be exact, which is nearly $1 Billion more than what it was last year. In 2013, Nintendo ranked 63rd, in Forbes, as far as valuable brands worldwide against all other companies combined. Microsoft is ranked 2nd (2014) and Sony was ranked 80th (2013) [Side-note: These are the most up to date numbers I can find]. If you take into consideration that Nintendo ranked this all while only focused on gaming entertainment it shows how powerful of a gaming company they truly are.
Despite this value, many critics call for Nintendo to announce a new console and do it soon. Many would have you believe that if they do not do this, then they will be forced to sell of franchises and shut down company doors. To them, Nintendo cannot win for losing, no matter how profitable and valued the company is.
For 2015, Nintendo has a massive lineup scheduled, beginning with Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and probably ending with the next Zelda entry to the Wii U. Right now they are experiencing an influx of sales powered by a brand new Nintendo 3DS and accompanied by NFC figures that are all the craze. Nintendo is even planning to hold an E3 press conference live at the event this year, which is the first time since 2012 that they will do this. It should be a massive year for Nintendo delivering so much to gamer’s plates. So while critics may be looking down on Nintendo, assuredly they are looking up to more fortunes to come for not only themselves but gamers alike.