So Nintendo’s Doomed Again Eh?

Well, that’s all the response this latest surge of anti Nintendo sentiment needs.  They’ve apparently been doomed non stop since the company was founded about a hundred years ago.

Oh right, you want an ACTUAL response to the financial issues Nintendo’s supposedly going through?  Some sort of opinion on what they should do to get out of this mess and back into profitability?  Well in that case, keep reading!

First up, let’s get the obvious out of the way.  Nintendo’s in trouble because the Wii U isn’t selling and they’ve made too many over the top sales predictions with the theory that a miraculous recovery is somehow right round the corner. The Wii U isn’t selling because Nintendo’s marketing is terrible, the games are generally lacking, no one knows that it’s not an add on to the original Wii and third party support is basically non existent.

And so because of this, everyone online has jumped on the ‘Nintendo is doomed to die and go third party/shut down/whatever’ bandwagon.  With their own pet favourite ‘how to save Nintendo’ theories involving everything from Nintendo making mobile games, Nintendo making seperate consoles specifically for the ‘casual’ and ‘hardcore’ consumer rather than for everyone, Nintendo going third party… heck, one somewhat deluded individual even said that Nintendo should somehow hire Eninem for their marketing efforts because his ‘reputation’ would help Nintendo strike it big with dudebros…

None of these are practical ideas.  Mobile games would make them less money than they already do, and dilute the brand.  Third party would mean both less money and a near endless stream of cash cow franchise games instead of the variety they currently have (aka non stop Mario, Zelda, Pokemon and maybe Smash Bros) in the same way Sega is now often just seem as the ‘Sonic’ company.  And the idea of seperate consoles for different markets is just plain insanity; they can barely support two right now.

So here’s a nice, common sense argument to how Nintendo should regain steam and popularity…

1. Start getting together more teams and making more types of games

Because if your third party support has dropped off a cliff, you can’t afford to just publish the same few franchises over and over again.  Yes, I know that’s what some companies (like Activision do).  But guess what?  They’re not making games consoles (for very good reason, they’d be in a worse situation than Nintendo currently is).  Nintendo are, and hence need to basically provide for every type of gamer likely to be using their systems.

So start new franchises.  Bring back old ones.  Buy out currently failing companies like say, Capcom and get them making exclusive games.  Stop relying on third party companies that seemingly hate you to fill in the gaps.

2. Market things decently

Actual ads in the UK (and other regions not called Japan or North America) would be nice.  Ads that show off the games in a way which don’t embarass the hell out of people would be another good start (no dubstep, no happy families around the TV).

And generally, just make noise and be heard somewhat. This is the modern era.  Of Youtube and Twitter and Facebook and companies catching attention by doing loud, over the top things that make them stand out.  It’s not an era of quiet word of mouth promotion and hoping that if you build it they will come.

3. Scrap asymmetric gameplay/the gamepad

No one cares about the concept.  Nor did they ever, otherwise the likes of Mario Party (which had 1 vs 3 mini games since the 90s) would be the next Wii Sports.

Is this harsh?  Maybe, but I’d say it’s true.  Motion controls got popular because people immediately grasped and liked the idea; things you did in the real world (loosely) translated to on screen actions.  Asymmetric gameplay?

No one cared.  And do you know why?  Because as a concept, it just isn’t that easy to grasp nor that exciting.  The only reason the company even chose it was because hey, they hit it big with the Wii, so they went out looking for a new concept to build a system around and found that this one was a bit cheaper or more practical or more ‘original’ than the alternatives.

Nintendo needs to move on.  Depackage the Gamepad and keep it as an optional accessory.  Accept asymmetric gameplay is something of a Mario Party style party trick/gimmick rather than the next big step for video games.  Focus purely on things people actually care about.

4.  Stop focusing on Japan

It may be your home market, but guess what?  It’s not the world market.  It’s a place where people have a very different culture in general and have different wants and needs to just about the other 98% of the planet.  StreetPass may be a good idea there, but it’s a bad one in other regions due to lower population density. Dragon Quest and other such games may be popular in Japan, but its alternatives like Final Fantasy which hold interest in the West. And why Nintendo may have a certain level of paranoia about the internet due to a seemingly Japanese distrust of it (and overly rose tinted views towards local multiplayer), these are irrelevant and backwards views.  Most people want online multiplayer.  They want an account system, they want to be able to communicate online in their games.

The list goes on.  3D Mario games like Mario 64 and Sunshine are something that’s more popular in non Japanese regions, so stop the obession with linearity and go back to that.  Realistic Zelda games sell best in America and Europe, so release more of them and stop pushing toon shading on people.

Accept that Japan isn’t the only gaming market in the world and accept that you need to do different things in different places rather than desperately forcing consumers to try and do things the ‘Japanese’ way.

5. Just replace Iwata already

He says one thing, then just endlessly makes the same mistakes until Nintendo comes into even more trouble.  The Wii had game droughts (but sold due to really good first party support early on).  The 3DS had game droughts.  The Wii U has them.  Third party support has stayed crap throughout.

So just boot the guy out already.  He can’t do his job properly, he’s led Nintendo to a string of losses recently and guess what?  The whole Japanese ‘seniority’ thing is complete crap. Get over it, find someone else and take Nintendo in some sort of new direction.  Before that war chest of funds gets slowly sapped away over the next ten years.

And that’s how I think Nintendo should turn itself around.  Am I wrong?  Who knows, but you have to admit that some of these changes would seriously help their sales and general marketing success, and that they should certainly focus more on things like this than aimless ‘make games for cellphones’ or ‘go third party’ comments like the ones that make up most of the internet.

Agree?  Disagree?  Post your thoughts below or at Nintendo 3DS today!


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6 years ago

“He says one thing” Please Understand.

6 years ago

I agree with number one. Personally, I kind want to know what Retro can do outside of an established IP.

6 years ago

I agree with most of your points, and they’re well stated. However, I’d say giving out franchises to third parties is a good idea: look at Minish Cap and F-Zero GX. Especially if Nintendo keeps the top-tier franchises to themselves, and allows others to use their big pool of B- and C-list series, it could turn out really well.

Also, asymmetric gameplay can be great, it lets me and my wife enjoy games together with our different tastes and skill levels. Best example is, ironically, the non-Nintendo Rayman Legends.

Nameless Drifter
Nameless Drifter
6 years ago

I’ve been a fan of Nintendo since I got a Gameboy, and have yet to be dissapointed by them.
Sure I don’t have the funds for a Wii U, but my 3DS sees more play time than any of my other systems, be it Wii, 360 or PS3.
I’m not too worried about them being “doomed” since over the 20+ years now I’ve had a console – they’ve received more of my gaming time and attention then anyone, with Playstation 2nd but not very close.

6 years ago

I’ll be a nintendo fangirl probably forever. I truly hope they don’t start making cellphone games. That would make them a complete joke. They’ll always have us fans who have bought & will always buy the newest console/handheld/Mario/LoZ/etc since the beginning. I can honestly say I’ve never been disappointed. But they need to appeal to the masses, & get everyone taking again, like when the original Wii launched. Everything you said in this article is 100% on point & would make a huge difference for them. Their support has been nearly non-existent. Look at the whole Wii U/3DS Nintendo Shop… Read more »