I’m not a mutant or clairvoyant but I think I see the end of Nintendo…
And this saddens me.
Nintendo was/is my brand… My favourite.
As a kid I had the donkey kong game and watch screens, then after a brief flirt with Commodore 64 and Atari 2600 I got a NES in 1986 on UK release. The Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Mario brothers and Duck Hunt. Since then I’ve had every Nintendo console released.
I loved Mario. Until the last few years (Although I still play, I don’t have much time now with, work, Age, kids) I played consoles religiously and I played every singe Mario game to death. Side scrollers, 3D worlds, karts, Luigi’s Mansions, everything.
I was with Nintendo in the Sega wars where you’d fight a guy in the playground if he liked Sonic instead of Mario.
I was with Nintendo when the Gameboy came out and changed gaming forever.
I was with Nintendo in the glory days of the SuperNes when F-zero, Super Mario world, and Super Mario Kart came out, amazing and making very jealous, even the most die hard Sega fan.
I was with Nintendo when the N64 was putting out future classic games like Mario Tennis, Golden Eye, Super Mario64 and the game that is still considered one of the best games ever made… The legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of time.
I was with Nintendo during the dark days of the Gamecube when a lot of people thought they were going to die and arguably only the The wind waker, Pikmin2, Metroid Prime, Mario Kart and the little known Battalion wars kept them alive.
And I was there when the Glory days returned…
When the Wii came out and the DS was thriving and everyone was finally seeing what I had seen for all these years. Nintendo was the most innovative exciting gaming company there ever was. I even wore a (know your roots) Nintendo T-shirt in an episode of Doctor Who.
Have I made it clear? I’m a nintendo man and I’ve always considered myself reasonably wise. The problem is, Playstation and X-box who generally catered for a more hardcore and slightly older gamer got wise too. They released their versions of the Wii’s motion control technology and things started going down hill from there.
Now although Nintendo still own the handheld market. With tablets and smart phones becoming as much about being phones as gaming devices, it’s clear that things are changing rapidly. Is the answer to make the Nintendo DS a Skype phone type device as well? Maybe.
Where Nintendo is really suffering and what I think will ultimately drive them to only having handhelds or force them into becoming a software company is the flagging performance and sales of the WiiU.
Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want to see Mario bouncing around a PS4 or Xbox1 but I’d rather Nintendo give in voluntarily as part of a strategy than be forced embarrassingly kicking and screaming into licensing Link, and Mario to other consoles.
Nintendo had to slash global sales forecasts by 70% and they lost around 35 billion yen £204.05 million in our money last year. They were expecting a profit.
I still have a DS and I love my WiiU, it sits proudly next to my PS3, which is waiting to be replaced by a PS4. But something needs to happen to the WiiU, something smart, revolutionary and innovative. Nintendo have to do something like Nintendo have done so many times before. Not just software, not just games. Something special.
I don’t just want my kids to just know who Mario is. I want them to experience Mario like I did, to punch that first coin brick, to work out a their first dungeon in Zelda, to fire their first red shell and beat someone at the finish line in Mario Kart, To win their first Pokemon battle and I want them to do that to do that all on a Nintendo console.
But if Nintendo doesn’t change I fear the WiiU will be the last home console Nintendo ever release and regardless of how much time I get to play, my age and my work and my kids.
I would certainly not be happy about that.