It’s no secret that Nintendo has been having a few issues over the past few years. With many seeming to lose faith in the console maker after the Wii, their Wii U woes, the issues with Amiibo supply, and the whole YouTube partnership debacle, Nintendo had a serious rough patch. Some even went as far as to say that the company had reached stagnation, and was in many ways archaically structured. That’s something that a company looking to advance their industry probably doesn’t want to hear.
To be fair, Nintendo always tried to do what they felt was best for both their company and their fans. It’s hard treading both sides of the line, especially when profit is a very important beast that must be fed if things are to continue. Being incredibly selective with the titles that they put out, and going for innovation over power in their latest console felt like the right move at the time, but it led them to an incredibly slow start that was immediately trumped by the competition only a year later. And that was only a small part of their issues.
Being selective with exclusive franchises is one thing, but failing to properly court major third-party games is a completely different problem. The lack of huge support from major publishers and developers left Nintendo in quite the pickle. What the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One lacked in first-party offerings in the beginning, they made up with in a steady flow of third-party blockbusters.
Making matters worse was Nintendo’s inability (or outright refusal) to embrace new technologies outside of their tightly controlled eco-system. The company that led the charge in “console wars” was now beginning to find itself left in the dust despite its amazing leaps in the gaming space and strong fan base.
The lack of mobile support and their need to control the YouTube scene put Nintendo at odds with the times. To be fair, they honestly can’t be blamed after the issues they had with Phillips way back when. (Horrible Zelda games on CD-i, anyone?) But, in this day and age where everything is becoming connected and sharing is an integral part of the experience, Nintendo needed to loosen up the reigns just a bit. And that’s precisely what they’ve begun to do.
First was the announcement of Nintendo finally deciding to get into the mobile market, much to fans’ surprise and delight. Nintendo had for a long time been completely against seeing anything of theirs on another platform, so this is a step in the right direction following Sony’s companion apps & games as well as Microsoft’s own forays into the same market. Though they have already confirmed that they wouldn’t be porting any of their classics to smartphones, this is at least a start that has many hopeful that everyone’s favorite plumber, as well as a few hundred pocket monsters, will make their way to their devices in due time.
Next, was the fact that Nintendo decided to begin development on the NX. Although no specifics about the hardware, especially whether or not it’s even a console, are known, fans and critics are optimistic. There are no shortage of individuals who feel the Wii U was dealt a bad hand from the jump, considering the fact that the PS4 and XB1 surpassed its capabilities almost immediately. The NX can possibly serve as a clean slate for Nintendo, which is a strong probability if it’s learned any lessons from its predecessor. Yes, power and graphics aren’t everything, but they sure do help when consumers have to make a choice between three great consoles.
Nintendo’s most recent announcement doesn’t even really concern video games, yet it manages to show just how much Nintendo is changing. Yesterday, Nintendo announced that they are teaming up with Universal Parks and Resorts to bring exciting experiences based around their popular properties. For some this means “YAY! MARIO KART IN REAL LIFE FINALLY,” but it’s also so much more than that. It shows that Nintendo is listening, that they actually do want to provide the many things their fans want. It shows that they are willing to give in a little to let consumers know who’s really important. And it shows that, contrary to popular belief, Nintendo doesn’t actually hate money.
But it isn’t just the new that shows Nintendo is finally getting with the times. They’ve realized that they botched the whole Amiibo deal by not meeting supply for what was an obvious seller. Nintendo is on track to make amends by bringing back some figures that have been out of stock. They are also slowly figuring out the whole YouTube thing, something that will definitely take some time as they wrap their heads around what it is. Sure, many would like for them to “fix” things faster, but that they are at least trying is proof that they are finally getting with the times.
Nintendo as a whole is entering a whole new territory. They are a company that helped to build and define the market as we know it today, so it is way too soon to count them out. It is true that they may seem outwardly stubborn at times, but Nintendo is a smart company that can learn to, and will, adapt to the changes around them. These past few months have been proof of that.
Are there any changes you hope to see come from Nintendo? How do you think they’ve been handling things thus far? Share your thoughts in the comments.