Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nintendo (Short Take)

Nintendo Gamecube Games Pile
People continue to blame Apple for Nintendo's downward spiral and while there is some truth to the assertion that the iPhone and other similar devices have bitten into Nintendo's revenue that isn't the only issue. Another problem is that the Wii should have been a stopgap, not a platform they depended on for six years. At it's heart the Wii is essentially as slightly upgraded GameCube. The GameCube came out five years earlier in 2001 and wasn't state of the art hardware wise even then. Nintendo built their success on innovative game controllers and great content but that was only going to carry them so far. Their aging core hardware and the rapid mainstreaming of HD Television have made the Wii look anemic and dull visually. The Kinect has added insult to injury by taking the wind out of their sails on the controller front.

Nintendo is still a year away from delivering their new console apparently. That will likely be much to late. They should have had new hardware ready by last year at the latest. Expecting to go a decade plus on the same platform would have been a stretch if they had started from a superior position technology wise. Content is the most important factor in a consoles success but there are limits to how much it can help an increasingly inferior platform.

Nintendo still has several great franchises including Mario. If all else fails they can start making games for other platforms including the iPhone. That will be a bitter pill to swallow if it comes to pass but at least they have something to fall back on.

Right now they are claiming that their hardware is essential to the company and that they won't give it up. If they manage to pull a rabbit out of their hat then they may be able to maintain their presence on the hardware front. I don't see that happening though. For the good of their shareholders I think they should be seriously exploring other options at this point.

Image by digitpedia via Flickr
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