Very often, as I’m sure many of you do, I find myself reading an awful lot of video game news. With the current console wars undoubtedly going to go down as one of the most fierce in the history of the industry, it’s imperative to keep up with any kind of breaking news that’s being released. Sony’s Jack Tretton murdered the Xbox One at E3, and Microsoft repealed all of their restrictive policies. It’s fiery. There are factions forming on all sides, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft being on the forefront.
With the Xbox One and PS4 both due out by the end of the year, Nintendo’s Wii U has had some steam taken away from it, seemingly overshadowed by DRM announcements and 8 gigs of RAM. The console is close to 8 months since its release, and hasn’t regained any kind of momentum it may have had. The promises of a gracious flow of launch titles unimpressed, and the expectations of releasing new software any time soon seems as if it’s just a pipe dream. I haven’t been thoroughly “happy” about the Wii U’s baffled launch, but it’s still too early to count it out. I’m excited to see what Nintendo is going to pull out to bring their console home. And there are many who feel the same way. Others, however, want Nintendo gone.
One of most common comments I’ve ever read on any video game news site with any Nintendo coverage is this:
“Nintendo should just stop making hardware, stick with software.”
Out of anything I’ve read coming out of the mouths of the Nintendo naysayers, this particular combination of words irks me the most. On a personal level, I’m not ready to give up on Nintendo yet. They turned the 3DS around, they can do it with the Wii U. Things may look bad, but I have faith. I’m as frustrated as anyone, and I do think that there’s a point where it’s okay to throw in the towel. But we aren’t at that point yet, and it’s because of these hardware protesters.
For the past couple of years, there’s become an obsession among the gaming community about being “hardcore”. Hardcore gamers own PS3s, Xbox 360s, high end gaming PCs, plaster their walls with posters, etc. They’re obsessed with graphics, FPSes, violence, polygon count, 1080p, 120HZ, silky smooth frame rates. So when they look at a Nintendo console outputting standard definition, with “gimmicky” motion controls and a weird controller, they pass it off as a child’s toy and disregard it. ‘Colours are kiddy, give me blacks and browns. Mario is kiddy, there’s too much laughing. Kiddy games for a kiddy console’, they cry. These same gamers are the ones so passionately telling Nintendo to throw in the hardware towel, to only make software for other consoles, which, unbeknownst to them, causes their words to turn around and shoot into their own feet.
The problem with “hardcores” telling Nintendo to publish on other platforms is that it is exactly the kind of feedback Nintendo is looking for. A hardcore gamer states that he hates Mario and would never play it, “die Nintendo” blah blah blah. What he doesn’t understand is that by stating that the game should be on another platform turns you into a target and a statistic. Don’t you think that Nintendo knows who they cater to? What kind of audience they have? Of course they do. They’re VERY aware of who they sell games to, but they’re also aware of who they WANT to sell to.
The gamer who says he would play the game on another platform is telling Nintendo “Don’t give up, yet. You have something I want. You just have to play your cards right to make me care.” From a business standpoint, a comment on a website isn’t going to make you shut down your entire operation. It motivates you to try harder to garner the naysayer’s attention. There’s no reason for Nintendo to go software-only if you’re creating a market for them to aim at. It’s a tough market to crack, and it’s most definitely not going to be the main target, but the interest is there.
Nintendo has a monopoly on Nintendo games. They make them, and they sell. If they’ve cornered the market on their own games, why should they allow other people to cash in on their work? The software sells the consoles, always has, always will. In the words of Nintendo of America’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications:
“Nintendo systems come to life the best when the hardware and software work in perfect harmony. That’s why we’re still in the hardware business, because we think our hardware is the best way to bring software to life. It’s tuned perfectly for that. When Mario bounces from mushroom to mushroom, it feels so responsive because the software has been tuned especially for that hardware.” –Charlie Scibetta
Once you can prove to me that a Zelda, or Metroid, or Pikmin, or Mario game will benefit anyone but yourself by being on a different console, I’ll take your software-only jabs under consideration. If you can show me that Nintendo will blossom as a company, if you can show me that I will get better experiences, if you can prove that this is the way to go, I will follow suit. I’m not one to try to fight for something that I don’t believe will work. But until that point, I’m going to continue buying my Nintendo consoles.
Yes, the Wii U is struggling. Yes, Nintendo’s bitten off more than they can chew. Yes, the games aren’t here yet. But remember, even if you’re fighting your hardest to bring down Nintendo’s hardware, you’re not doing any good by saying you still want it.
Nintendo has been in the game industry for a long time. They helped revive the failing business in 1983 with the NES, and they’ve had a steady stream of major game and console releases since. Many people I know, many comments I’ve read, point to a childhood with a Nintendo home console. Nintendo is keenly aware of (A) what it takes to be a successful company and (B) the struggles the Wii U is having currently. They’re their own worst enemy. People compare the 2013 company to the 1983 company. There’s marketing problems, confusion, competition, and it’s going to be a long couple of years for them. But they’ll thank you when you finally break down and purchase the console for the next Zelda.