Climbing ladders and dodging barrels rolling down a ramp was a favourite pastime as a kid for many. Donkey Kong was one of Nintendo’s first releases that people remember back in 1981.
Since then, Nintendo have managed to release six consoles and eight versions of handheld consoles selling more than 669 million units in total and over 4.2 billion video games. But is the legacy of Nintendo coming to an end against its competition of today?
Nintendo systems have always tied to hold their own but just don’t appear to be moving with the way that society now wishes them to go. When they first started out in the video game market, Mario, Luigi and Yoshi grabbed the world’s attention but now if you can’t hit it and steal it like you can in GTA5 then it doesn’t appear to get the same attention.
When the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was first released, there was no need to appeal to adults with enticing story lines that gave you not just hours of gameplay but days and even months. There was no reason to make subplots and challenges within challenges because it was new to the world and everyone loved it.
But as the video gaming era went on, the gamers got better and better and started to need something else to challenge them. And as the years went on, designers started to create better graphics, new storylines and challenges to really make even the best of the gamers think and find a new height to get to.
As the gamers grew older, the games that were released started to get age ratings, so that they could change the level of violence and the graphic story plots. But Nintendo continued to stay aimed at the younger audience. They have not grown with their audience and found a new foothold in series such as Elder Scrolls or Final Fantasy but instead stuck with their all-time favourites and classics such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda.
Having had more than one console not live up to its reputation, no one seems to be sure where Nintendo will go next. With the Wii U following suit of the Gamecube where sales have not been as expected, and the issues that were first discovered when the 3DS was released, it has not gone unnoticed that the company appears to be on rocky ground.
The best-selling console that they released was the Gameboy, to be succeeded by the DS, but now with the release of mobile apps as well as tablets, will the company have to resort to becoming an app designer or will they be able to focus their efforts and really go for the cheaper hand held gaming with a twist?
The handheld consoles do have a grip on the market that is not available through the Xbox and is not a target for the Playstation Vita which is to aim it solely at the younger generation. Not only can you get your Mario games like Mario Kart, Mario Party and Yoshis Island which all take you back to the days of the original NES and Super NES but you have the Imagine series for young girls and, of course, you still have Zelda.
There are rumours that there will be another console on the way and that Nintendo are, in fact, learning from their previous mistakes.
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata stated in an interview with Forbes that the company would “also like to change the way we sell our hardware from now on. We think that it will be very important to make it as easy as possible for consumers to buy hardware. Particularly, if we are able to manage and recognize customer relationships in terms of accounts, or individuals, we can clearly differentiate those who only played one game in the lifecycle of a system from those who played, say, 10 or 20 games, and predict their engagement levels when they purchase their next systems. Among other things that we are considering, we feel that this will enable us to provide hardware to consumers in new and flexible ways.”
Hopefully the future of the company is bright. Nintendo provided a digital show show for the E3 event earlier this month and made quite an impression, especially with the new Legend of Zelda game which is to follow suit the open world nature found in games like The Eldger Scrolls. They showed many different game trailers for what they have in the mix and showed that they do still have stuff that people want. Hopefully with the teasers from E3, Nintendo will build back up and take the under 16 gamer market by storm. But we will have to wait to see what the effects are.