(article was originally scheduled to publish on Jul 16th, but in the wake of Satoru Iwata’s untimely death, the publication was delayed)
It seems like Nintendo is always doomed, with analysts predicting time and time again that the last Nintendo console, was the last Nintendo console. Every single time, Nintendo proved them wrong. Analysts would then leave Nintendo alone for a while, only to come back once again with yet another prediction of Nintendoom.
Honestly, it gets rather tiresome reading the same articles over and over again, from various supposed professional sources within the industry. And yet, I find myself being the author of such an article. Even though I accurately predicted the fall of OnLive, I feel like there is significantly more risk involved in predicting the fall of such a massive entity like Nintendo. For starters, what if I get it wrong? What if my prediction turns out to be inaccurate, and Nintendo succeeds for another twenty years? Worst yet, what if I’m right? Do I even want to make a prediction of this scale, where being right isn’t a victory, but a failure for an entire generation of gamers?
No, I don’t want to. But I feel as if I have to.
If Nintendo doesn’t change their business operations and current mindset, they will cease to exist in their current form in ten years time.
First off, I’m not saying that Nintendo as a company will cease to exist. They’re huge, and it will take a lot to force them out of business. No, what I’m saying is that Nintendo, in its current form as a video game development company, will no longer exist. They’ll stop making video games and game consoles, and will move on to other ventures. Hell, they’re even coming out with a theme park, so Nintendo as a company won’t be going anywhere. They’re basically Disney. Immortal, and impossible to stop.
So, why do I find myself writing up this article, if I believe that Nintendo is going to be around for quite some time to come? Am I not basically contradicting myself; making two separate statements about the same thing? Well, not really. You see, to me and many others, Nintendo is a video game company. They’re the makers of Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, and Donkey Kong. If they were to suddenly fail as a video game company, they would cease to exist for the vast majority of consumers. Nintendo would be dead.
And unfortunately, that appears to be exactly where they’re heading. Everything we’ve heard about the NX, seems to indicate that Nintendo is once again going for a gimmick. Whether it’s virtual reality, augmented reality, or just some super crazy touch screen technology, they’re focusing on quick sales. They want something that will sell, and sell rapidly from launch. They want to make money on every system sold, so that they can once again become the behemoth we all know and love. On paper, this may look rather impressive, especially if you happen to be a Nintendo investor. However, in practicality, it seems to indicate something more. Something that’s not as pleasant and happy as we’re all led to believe.
You see, the very fact that Nintendo is going to be selling their brand new system at a profit, means that they’ve cut some rather massive costs somewhere down the development line. It is safe to expect underpowered hardware incapable of competing against the current generation of home consoles, as well as some type of unique new control scheme, one that may truly be revolutionary, or just yet another gimmick with a short four year lifespan. No matter what, and no matter how you tend to look at it, Nintendo’s newest system isn’t going to impress anyone, at least not on a technical level.
Sure, there’s been a ton of rumours flying around as to just what the NX truly is, and some of those rumours are actually revolutionary. However, the odds of them being true? Low, to say the least.
Personally, I would be super excited to find out that Nintendo’s latest system will utilize some level of cloud technology, where the power of your system increases depending on the power of the servers Nintendo deploys. This was Microsoft’s original plan with the Xbox One, and it’s one that I still stand by as being utterly genius. Unfortunately, Microsoft failed to properly express just what their Azure cloud technology could do, and ultimately ended up scaling back significantly to meet consumer demand. So if Nintendo’s future is the cloud, they’ll need to spend a ton of money on proper marketing… which, from recent history, isn’t something Nintendo is particularly good at.
Speaking of marketing, Nintendo is going to have to step up their game, if they want for the NX to succeed. I’m talking massive television spots, with wide-market promotion. They’d need to promote both individual games, as well as the hardware system itself. They would require third party publisher support, and would need to maintain a modern online service comparable, or even better than, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. They need to evolve and modernize. They need to advertise. They need a lot of things, but most of all, they need a great system. And right now, Nintendo’s upcoming console does not appear to be very great. It appears to be mediocre, blending right in with the current generation of home consoles. I’ll just say this right here and now. If the Nintendo NX isn’t a leap in technological advancements, it won’t compete, period. It can’t compete against the supposed PS4k, and whatever Microsoft is doing to revamp their Xbox lineup. I’d even wager that the NX, if it doesn’t provide anything new and unique to the table, won’t even be able to compete against the current PS4 and Xbox, let alone whatever new versions both companies plan on releasing this holiday season.
Nintendo has everything riding on this console. If it’s not successful, and well received, I fear for the worst. Nintendo won’t be able to recover. They will be forced to ditch the home console market, and focus entirely on their handheld devices which, for some odd reason, still sell incredibly well. Nintendo may even begin to release their video games onto Sony and Microsoft platforms. This didn’t work out too well for Sega, and I highly doubt it’ll work for Nintendo. Remember, Sega was at one point in time one of the largest and most well respected video game companies in the world, and now they’re just a shell of their former glory. I mean, honestly? When was the last time you purchased a quality SEGA release? A game that they both designed and published? The only one I can think of, is All-Star Racing Transformed, which came out four years ago. Sonic was once a staple of the home video game market, and now Sonic is nothing but a bargain bin mascot. And if Nintendo continues down this path of failure, Mario too will become a bargain bin mascot. A lifeless token of a time long past.
So please, don’t fuck this up, Nintendo. Modernize, and succeed with your upcoming console. Don’t let me be right. I honestly can’t imagine a world without a little Italian plumber. Nothing would ever be the same again.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the content of this article, or do you think it’s all a big ol’ pile of hogwash? Let me know in the comments below.