With Wii U sales waning, no one would blame Nintendo if they exited the console market and focusing on multiplatform development. It’s a move that worked for one of their competitors, Sega, and could help the company stick around in the long run.
Switching exclusively to games development, however, is not in the foreseeable future, as revealed by Nintendo head Satoru Iwata. As Iwata explains, Nintendo is a unique company because they integrate software with hardware.
Obviously, the same could have been said about Sega during their heyday, but apparently Iwata doesn’t see the comparisons. Many gamers, on the other hand, have felt that it is only a matter of time before Nintendo abandons console manufacture. Of course, Iwata disagrees:
“What I believe is that Nintendo is a very unique company, because it does its business by designing and introducing people to hardware and software. By integrating them, we can be unique. And because we have hardware and software developers in the same building, they stimulate each other.”
If Nintendo didn’t have to worry about cultivating an install base for their console as well as putting out high quality games, we might see a faster turnaround for some of their more popular franchises. Rather than waiting almost 5+years for a new Zelda or a new Mario, what if fans only had to wait two years or so?
There’s no guarantee that would happen if Nintendo focused exclusively on games development, but there’s no denying if they did that it would increase the visibility of their franchises. There are likely a lot of gamers out there who are interested in Nintendo games, but afraid of the investment.
Take the Wii U, for example. While some gamers are getting regular use out of their console, others haven’t powered on the device since launch. Not out of spite, but because they don’t have any worthwhile games to play. That will presumably change once some of the bigger Nintendo franchises like Mario and Super Smash Bros. hit, but that doesn’t change the fact that Wii U sales are slumping and they aren’t showing any signs of improvement.
At the same time, one rough patch isn’t necessarily reason enough for Nintendo to pack it up and leave/ The Wii was a massive success — selling over 100 million units — and the 3DS is starting to grow in the handheld market, so there’s no reason to think the Wii U can’t bounce back, yet.
Maybe 10 years from now we’ll look back and remember when Nintendo used to make consoles. Or maybe we’ll laugh at how foolish we were for thinking Nintendo might stop making consoles. Either way, Nintendo’s focus right now is both software and hardware.
Do you think Nintendo should continue making hardware and software? Or do you think they would find greater success if they focused only on games?