Nintendo’s Future: The New Sega?

NES. GameBoy. SNES. GameBoy Pocket. GameBoy Color. Nintendo 64. GameBoy Advance. GameCube. Nintendo DS. The Wii. Nintendo 3DS.

Those are all the Nintendo consoles I have owned. Needless to say, I’ve been very loyal to the company throughout my life. I’ll even mention that I had to buy three different NES’ as the first two broke. Also, bought a GBA SP when my original Advance broke. I had the “phat” DS and the “slim” DS as well as the DSi. Bought two different Wii’s, as well. I love Nintendo.

Nintendo gave me some of the best gaming memories of my life, a lot of which include my family members. I had mentioned once before that Super Mario 3 brought my uncle and I together. What I didn’t mention was that The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Season had some great bonding moments with my cousin and I. My friends and I were bonkers for the Mega Man Battle Network series and even staged local tournaments. The first time I saw my mom pick up a game controller was with Wii Bowling.

Nintendo also has some of the best single player games in gaming history, as well. The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Star Fox series have been great over the years. Basically, what I’m trying to get at is that Nintendo has an arsenal and they’ve used it very well over the years. The arsenal still makes waves even to this day. Whenever a new Zelda game is announced it is the top breaking news for days. New Mario games? Gonna sell great. Etc. Etc.

Now, onto my current thoughts about Nintendo. The 3DS was the last piece of Nintendo hardware I’ll ever buy. I was an early adopter for the handheld and was excited for it. The slow, slow launch and overall quality of the hardware and games was depressing after shoveling out the money. My most looked for game was cancelled (Mega Man Legends 3) and although that wasn’t Nintendo’s fault I was looking for reasons to keep the 3DS and still be happy. I didn’t find it. I waited a bit and got the Ocarina 3D port and waited some more. All I got out of the 3DS was ports with a 3D addition and a lot of waiting. I don’t have my 3DS anymore.

I know that there have been plenty of releases since then but I haven’t felt an urge to go back and get another one. I have a Vita now and I originally intended to own both handhelds. After seeing the kind of effort and quality in Sony’s new handheld and the direction Nintendo is taking with the Wii U, I have to wonder if their time is coming to an end.

That isn’t to say an end to the company, oh no no, but as hardware makers? I believe so. Nintendo has been in some financial issues recently and while I’m sure their reserve funds are well in the OK, this is nothing to ignore. People just aren’t buying the Wii anymore and haven’t for some time. You could argue that most gamers have one so why keep buying? However, it can argued that the while the Wii was major success financially, its library of games was less than average in quality. Besides Nintendo’s hits and a few, rare gems from 3rd parties, the shelves at stores were filled with shovelware. This seriously detracted me from the Wii and I felt left behind by the company I supported for some long. Since the NES, I’ve bought and paid for so much of Nintendo’s products and helped them along. The main feeling that I was starting to feel is that Nintendo stopped growing with gamers like me.

Its original fanbase is older now and into different things. We still love our Link, Mario, and Samus but we want more modern, mature, and entertaining things to go along with our bouts of nostalgia. Nintendo seems stuck in an age of casual, family-centric, kid approved gameplay. Which is great for the new generation of gamers but what about all the people who helped bring them this far? It seems we are left in the dust. Nintendo promised for E3 after E3 that core games are coming and we’ll be happy about what they’ve got in store. I don’t see it. Sure, they masked the dreadful 3DS launch with a great showing of what’s to come with some choice titles like Resident Evil, Metal Gear, and more but did anyone buy it? The Wii U reveal had Batman, Ninja Gaiden, and a promise of a much more rounded selection but… well, we’ll get to the Wii U in a little bit.

All-in-all, Nintendo has not delivered on their promise and we’ve been waiting. That was strike one. Releasing the 3DS before it was ready and had a good selection of launch games and window games, that was strike two. What is strike three? The Wii U.

During all the rumors, the Wii U seemed like a champion console for Nintendo. A lot of tech we didn’t think they’d use. Those were all rumor specs, though. With the reveal, Nintendo said a lot of things that scared me. One tablet controller, still debating about even selling other tablets, and the limitations of the tablet are bad. First off, how is it fun to have one guy in the room with a giant, awesome tablet with everyone else using little Wiimotes. You can’t move away from the TV with the tablet and keep playing. These things are gonna cost an arm and a leg if they sell more. I talk a lot about the tablet but that is the main attraction of this console. Without it, it’s only a suped up Wii.

Suped up to a point, as well. I doubt this thing will be enough to keep up with what Microsoft and Sony will bring out. Which we’ll see Nintendo back in the same situation that the Wii was in. Low quality software selection with high hardware sales. They’ll bank on their arsenal to bail them out of tough spots but is it going to work with a console that is going to cost more than the Wii with accessories that cost a quarter or more of your paycheck?

Nintendo is backing themselves into a corner. Their Wii U launch will be populated by a bunch of game we’ll already have beaten with some new titles I’m sure they’ll announce this E3. If they want this to sell well at launch, they’ll need their arsenal. I just can’t see it lasting. I do believe that the Wii U will be the last Nintendo home console made.

What next after that? Nintendo goes full handheld next generation. After the 3DS goes through its cycle, and the Wii U goes the way of the Dreamcast, Nintendo will come out with a new handheld that has juggernaut specs and storms the handheld world. Sony will have no way to keep up with this thing and Nintendo will become the lone ranger in the handheld fight against this upcoming war with phones and tablets. I can see Nintendo taking the iPad 3rd Generation seriously and perhaps if this happens the next handheld will be a Nintendo phone with an option one without the cell phone inside.

If that doesn’t work, then Sega won’t be alone in the failed hardware business. Nintendo will cease hardware production and become software only. You know what, though? That will benefit everyone. With Microsoft and Sony left in the fight, they can both get rid of the gimmicks and rip-offs and do what they feel is best. The PS5 and Xbox 4 will be great consoles backed by their first party exclusives, great 3rd parties multi-platform games, and Nintendo-branded software. Mario HD. Zelda HD. Metroid Prime HD. I can go on. How does that not excite people? Whatever this Wii U can do won’t be close to what the other hardware giants are doing. Hell, even Apple is getting close to the Wii’s current power with the A5X chip. Nintendo has a lot to think about and perhaps going the software route earlier with their handheld keeping up the hardware for right now is the best way. Who knows?

I doubt Nintendo will wow people this year at E3. More questions will be raised and more concerns will be had. Reggie won’t divulge much info and that will leave all the gaming blogs to speculate. Their earning forecast will drop drastically again and they’ll lose more and more millions.

There is one fact to be had here out of all of this: Nintendo’s future is up in the air. No matter what your stance is on its upcoming console and its current handheld, things look grim without something miraculous coming out of this E3 of Tokyo Games Show.

I love Nintendo but they’ve struck out with me. I won’t support their hardware any longer. I think it is in the best interest of all gamers to see them go the way of Sega. That’s not a bad thing.



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