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WiiU

Why Nintendo Needs to Continue Doing Its Own Thing

by Phillip Stortzum - December 1, 2012, 11:09 am PST
Total comments: 15

Nintendo doesn't play by normal industry rules. Here's why that can be a good thing.

There seems to be a narrative among gamers and the industry regarding the Wii U. It is often more exciting to have negative news about the console rather than positive. This is just an unfortunate part of the industry. However, some have gone so far as to say Nintendo should have made the Wii U more powerful to perhaps rival Sony and Microsoft's next consoles, or to somehow conform more to industry standards. I disagree with these assumptions.

Nintendo has its own niche in the market, and it can't enter hardware warfare with Sony and Microsoft because it would lose. Unlike its competitors, Nintendo does not have a computer division, a smartphone division, a music player division, and so forth. The company lives and dies by gaming. If Sony or Microsoft's gaming division fails, at least those companies can fall back on their other divisions to soften the blow. Nintendo does not have such a luxury, so when I see people wanting Nintendo to match the next PlayStation and Xbox dollar for dollar and spec for spec, I wonder if they consider what would happen if Nintendo tried and failed. Do we really need three platforms so entirely similar on the market? That's why I support Nintendo differentiating itself from its competitors. It might cost them a bit of third-party support in the long run, but it also gives Nintendo an innovative edge over Microsoft and Sony—one that interests gamers and non-gamers alike.

The Wii U might not cost an arm and a leg to build, but Nintendo is still losing money on every console shipped and sold. Perhaps this is because of the Wii U GamePad and its features. Perhaps not. Regardless, the system is still a risk for the risk-adverse Nintendo. If they had built a machine as powerful as their competitors' next consoles, the risk would be much greater. Would the people who deride Nintendo as being casual or simply for kids care that the Wii U would be stronger? Probably not. Would Nintendo be in trouble if the hypothetical console did poorly—more so than if the current Wii U as it is now failed? Yes, probably.

We're in an industry where some games need to sell a couple million copies just to break even. This business model is simply unsustainable. For this reason, I encourage the more modest hardware of Nintendo's Wii U. Yes, I would have liked a beefy, future-proof system, but if it affects the future of Nintendo hardware for the negative, I wouldn't want to see it.

It is no secret that Nintendo builds its systems not for third-parties' software but for its own. Maybe this is why so many third-parties are having trouble properly porting games to the Wii U. Nonetheless, Nintendo knows its own hardware and how to make the most of it. It made popular the analog stick, rumble, wireless controllers, motion control, and so much more simply for their platforms. If Nintendo were to go third-party and had to make games on other hardware, I think the quality of its titles would greatly diminish.

Perhaps some are angry because Nintendo doesn't play by the normal rules of the industry and still succeeds. The simple truth of the matter is that Nintendo isn't your typical gaming company. Maybe the company's nature will come back to haunt it, but in the short term, Nintendo is poised to do some interesting things.

Talkback

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorDecember 01, 2012

I think the thing that amuses me most is the folks who want Nintendo to do things the Microsoft or Sony way.

Why not just buy a 360 or a Playstation?

It's like complaining that Pepsi doesn't taste like Coke, but continuing to buy Pepsi.

I will say this: The reason I got this Nintendo console at launch is because of Nintendo franchises AND the potential of the touchscreen controller. 

I think I'd be waiting for the first price cut before purchasing if it was just Wii with HD graphics.  I want something that will provide me with compelling experiences I haven't played before, and with the next Xbox and Sony consoles I don't perceive anything but iterative experiences with their franchises.


Ozz236December 01, 2012

I am glad Nintendo does it's own thing. Because it doesn't have all those divisions to fall back on it focuses on creating a quality gaming product. With the exception of the Virtual Boy, Nintendo pumps out a solid product every time.


Also with Nintendo doing it's own thing it promotes innovation and moves the industry forward.




Pixelated PixiesDecember 01, 2012

Nintendo should continue to do their own thing. It's what they've always done. For me though, as a console manufacturer they're no longer moving in a direction which appeals to me.

AdrockDecember 01, 2012

Nintendo should continue to do things their own way depending on what it is. In 2011, launching a handheld with 1 analog stick was ridiculous (3DS is doing fine without it, but it would be doing fine or better with it). In 2012, not having universal voice chat is ridiculous. These are 2 things Sony got wrong years ago that the public never stopped giving them shit for. Nintendo didn't learn from those mistakes.

When it comes to specs, it gets a little trickier. I'm not a specs whore so I want to preface this by making it known that I'm not saying Wii U hardware is necessarily inadequate (prior posts of mine should back this up). I have 1 question: Would Wii U benefit by having high enough specs to handle 2-4 GamePads simultaneously with the same fidelity as 1? Absolutely, in my opinion. Don't point to expense because those things are absurdly marked up to $172 (or how ever much it costs with the current Yen). A few years ago, Nintendo was selling an $80 controller and if you don't have a Remote Plus, it still is $80. That wouldn't be a bad price for a standalone GamePad. Nintendo would have to make sacrifices elsewhere, namely the console itself couldn't be a longer Wii. However, something like this changes the dynamic of the entire console.

Quote from: UncleBob

Why not just buy a 360 or a Playstation?

Because they still want to play Nintendo games. The people who really amuse me are the people who don't like the last 6+ years of Nintendo titles ("Wah, waggle!") yet still want Nintendo to do things the Sony/Microsoft way. These people just don't want anything Nintendo is offering so yeah, get a different console.

NeifirstDecember 01, 2012

I don't disagree with the larger point that Nintendo needs to develop hardware in such a way that they can continue to be profitable for years to come.  That being said, it would be nice to be able to buy just 1 console so you could play all the great Nintendo-developed and top-tier 3rd party developed games.  Unless you're willing to skip out on 50% of the market, you have to buy at least 2 consoles each generation.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorDecember 01, 2012

Quote from: Adrock

Quote from: UncleBob

Why not just buy a 360 or a Playstation?

Because they still want to play Nintendo games. The people who really amuse me are the people who don't like the last 6+ years of Nintendo titles ("Wah, waggle!") yet still want Nintendo to do things the Sony/Microsoft way. These people just don't want anything Nintendo is offering so yeah, get a different console.

That's the rub though.  These are the same folks who cry "Oh, another Mario.", "Oh, another Zelda." *and* want Nintendo to resort to money hats and such to get the third party titles like Sony and Microsoft.

Just buy a 360/PS3 at this point.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, December 01, 2012

I respond to "Oh, another Mario" with "Oh, another FPS with the same mechanics but a different name and coat of paint." At least Nintendo's franchises generally (generally, mind you) change things up gameplay and mechanic-wise. I can't say the same for a lot of FPS games. Then again, I'm very bitter towards the industry and the gamers it caters to.

KITT 10KDecember 01, 2012

I admit, I'd like Nintendo to go toe to toe with Sony and Microsoft and win, but I can't see them winning that. HOWEVER, Nintendo is definitely a "pioneer" company in an way which is another thing that keeps them going strong. They have done things with game consoles and hand helds that the other two have basicly copied and changed it enough to be there own thing. Regaurdless who is BETTER at this or that, Nintendo is now and always will be my console of choice.

CericDecember 01, 2012

Adrock: We know each Wii U package sold is at least costs $300 to Nintendo to make.  People where having a hissy fit over that price even though its cheaper than most consumer devices released this year that are somewhat equivalent.  Supporting more than 1 would mean needing a beefier Wii U, more Bandwidth in the streaming tech, & more cost.  Which would mean that the console would need to sell for more or Nintendo would need to assume a larger attach rate.  It takes 1 game for them to be Profitable they've said.  Which is a safe bet for Nintendo.

As for Universal voice chat, whoever mentioned that, its one of those features that sounds great in theory, like handwriting recognition, but in practice its always meh plus a lot of trouble.  WoW has built in voice chat that isn't bad & everyone just uses Vent instead.  I would argue that MMO are one of the best uses of voice chat.  I general just mute everyone in most games because it might as well be called the demoralization/profanity feature. 

StrawHousePigDecember 01, 2012

The most succinct way I can think to put this sentiment is: Imagine where gaming would be without Nintendo.

Unfortunately the loudest usually have the most crippled imaginations.

EasyCureDecember 01, 2012

Quote from: StrawHousePig

The most succinct way I can think to put this sentiment is: Imagine where gaming would be without Nintendo.

Unfortunately the loudest usually have the most crippled imaginations.

That's not the kind of world I'd want to game in, that's for sure.

AdrockDecember 01, 2012

Quote from: Ceric

Adrock: We know each Wii U package sold is at least costs $300 to Nintendo to make.  People where having a hissy fit over that price even though its cheaper than most consumer devices released this year that are somewhat equivalent.

And people are also having a hissy fit because they don't feel the specs are high enough for a next generation console. So, it's obvious people are going to complain no matter what Nintendo does. However, the point is that increasing the specs for the purpose of supporting more GamePads at no quality loss is to open up more gameplay possibilities which further sets it apart from the competition.

Quote:

As for Universal voice chat, whoever mentioned that, its one of those features that sounds great in theory, like handwriting recognition, but in practice its always meh plus a lot of trouble.  WoW has built in voice chat that isn't bad & everyone just uses Vent instead.  I would argue that MMO are one of the best uses of voice chat.  I general just mute everyone in most games because it might as well be called the demoralization/profanity feature.

Good ideas are always abused by idiots. There's nothing to be done about that. Don't handicap a console's capabilities just because of a few bad eggs.

broodwarsDecember 01, 2012

Nintendo should do its "own thing". However, when it is doing things its competitors have been doing for 6-7 years now, I expect Nintendo to at least meet the industry standard.  You can talk about how far Nintendo has come on this or that until you're blue in the face, but it doesn't matter because they're still not as good as the companies they are competing against on that particular issue.  I consider such criticism perfectly valid.

Take the way Nintendo has handled online so far with the Nintendo Network and user Accounts on Wii U, for example. Actually having an account on Wii U is a baby step forward for Nintendo, but in the last 6-7 years Microsoft and Sony set the standard for how you handle network accounts: you buy a digital good on their services, and it's tied to your account to be played on whatever device can support it for as long as those companies make devices that support it.  You can be on your own system, you can be on a replacement system, or you can be on a friends system.  It doesn't matter, because your Account travels with you and your digital collection with it.  With Nintendo, if you lose a system or it becomes damaged or stolen, your only hope to get back the digital property you legally bought is the charity Nintendo most likely will not bestow upon you.  You also don't have situations where you have to buy the same game twice to play on two different devices simply because Nintendo can't be bothered to tie the devices together (i.e. Wii VC titles popping up on the 3DS VC).

That's an example of such valid criticism, anyway.  Nintendo can do its "own thing" all it wants, but if Nintendo just wants to bury its head in the sand again and pretend the last 6-7 years of progress on the other HD consoles didn't happen, then they deserve the criticism they get.  I'm not lowering my standards because Nintendo made its living on the Wii doing the barest of bare minimums after setting the lowest possible expectations.  Because it doesn't want to even try to live up to generally accepted industry standards and genuinely compete with the other console manufacturers out there when it comes to the quality of the experience.  And those standards go beyond mere technical specs, which are relatively unimportant compared to the other standards Nintendo continually doesn't want to meet.

stickerDecember 01, 2012

Nintendo totally needs to do it's own thing. It's what makes them shine among the other consoles. I know some people complain about it... but before you choose the console and the games you buy... you know, you totally know what you are getting and why you are getting it. I have been supporting nintendo since the wii, and my parents have been supporting it since the nes (I was born by the time they got one). And what have always charmed me about Nintendo is their quality on consoles (controls flying over the room and they still work like if they were new), their quality in games and the great times I have had with those games, and that's not because they are 100 million worth games with outstanding graphics and a super huge online experience... It's just because they are fun to play... and because I can play those games with everyone... I can have a great time with my parents by playing mario kart... I can play zelda and see my little sister charmed by the characters and the story of the game (we played both skyward sword and ocarina of time the same year, she's 7), when I bring some friends to my house (the kind of friends that doesn't have a nintendo console and only play on pc some mmorpg from time to time) I can still play mario party or mario or kirby or what not. We have fun! They don't even have to ask... hey, how do I play this thing! There's almost no learning curve for their games and they are also deep.
About the online... I'm not having any problems at all, when I play Mario Kart 7 with my dad online I just turn on skype and we talk through there, I know it would be cool to chat and see my dad's face on the 3ds... or the wii u while playing call of duty and what not, but there are always ways to solve those problems and since I want to play with my family and friends, I will always find a solution for that.
well... that's what I like about Nintendo, and that's why I still buy their consoles and games. It's not that I don't play cod from time to time... I would also like to buy an xbox like in two years at a really low price so I can get halo 1,2 and 4 (I'm the "single player campaign experience" kind of guy) and play again banjo-kazooie and tooie once again. Though I'm always looking for simple but engaging games (like sonic and all stars racing transformed, or nano-assault neo) and I can play those in wii u. I can play call of duty in my wii u with some nice graphics so... It's not that  I need another console. I'm ok with that. Maybe the people that want "the best port" possible will most likely buy a ps3 or an xbox 360, and that's ok, maybe they don't even need a nintendo console, or maybe they may want both because of the exclusives (a nintendo console and a xbox 360/ps3).


That's what I wanted to say, nintendo should still do it's own thing, as they did with the wii. There's a lot of people that had no problems on buying a wii and a ps3 or a 360 and I was the kind of guy that only got a wii. I started with handhelds with the ds, now I have a 3ds and my parents have one for them too. My mom plays 3d solitaire there, she also plays nsmb2 and Mario 3D Kart... these games are really easy to pick up and play... so that's it, there's something for everyone on nintendo consoles, and they always try to keep things easier for costumers. I like that.
(sorry if I wrote something wrong, this is not my native language)

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