#1 Posted by oraknabo (1453 posts) -

In the wake of Nintendo's problems with the Wii-U and slow path to profitability for the 3DS, I've heard a lot of people talking about how they should get out of the console business and focus on their IPs that still have strong followings.

Beyond having a few great franchises in their favor, one thing I think Nintendo has always been ahead of everyone else on is controller design. The original gamepad basically killed every other type of controller that was available at the time the NES was released, especially the 4-directional, single-button joystics of the Atari. The N64 introduced the analog stick and force feedback and the Wii was the first successful motion controller. While I'm no fan of motion controls, I don't think MS and Sony would have even tried to make things like Kinect, Move or the Wavebird without the existence of the Wii Remote. The DS got people playing with touchscreens before other handheld devices could really play games well.

Sure Nintendo could probably continue to thrive on IP alone, but I think this is one area where the industry would lose out if they ever get out of hardware manufacture. One possibility I think could work though, is if Nintendo was able to continue to build controllers like the Wii-U controller and license them to MS, Sony and other console makers in the future. They could play the games that are native to those systems and have special content that the games could push to the touchscreen if they detect that you are using a Wii-U controller, but they could also have their own app store that sells games through Nintendo that can only be played on the controller itself.

There are changes that would have to be made to the other consoles to make this work and I'm sure their development is way too far along to start incorporating the hardware that would be necessary to turn an XBOX or PS4 into a Wii-U controller base station. It would also conflict with MS's SmartGlass plans and Sony's plans for the Vita, but I think there could be an interesting future for Nintendo to become a console/handheld-only manufacturer and provide components and dev kits to any console maker or game publisher that wants to to connect with their products.

#2 Posted by Marcsman (3125 posts) -

They survived the Gamecube era, they'll survive this.

#3 Posted by Daveyo520 (6662 posts) -

Handhelds

#4 Edited by ProfessorEss (7282 posts) -

I'm sure Nintendo will pull through this but I do wonder if they would potentially have more to gain by focusing all their resources on software development.

@oraknabo said:

While I'm no fan of motion controls, I don't think MS and Sony would have even tried to make things like Kinect, Move or the Wavebird without the existence of the Wii Remote.

I disagree. I think all three companies were probably working on motion controls but Nintendo was the only one who could get away with releasing half finished product.

#5 Edited by MedalOfMode (294 posts) -

Next-generation is newly starts, i can't think next-next-generation. But Wii U will sell a lot more, i think.

#6 Posted by oraknabo (1453 posts) -

Handhelds

I wonder if dedicated handhelds are really viable now that phones and tablets are playing quality games.

#7 Edited by Daveyo520 (6662 posts) -

@oraknabo: Probably not but that is what they will do.

#8 Posted by casper_ (901 posts) -

yeah i think they will have handhelds if that market holds up over time but personally i would really like to see what they could do as a developer first and foremost if the console stuff isnt working out for them. when i think of nintendo after the nes and snes era i think very little of their consoles but more about their IP's (when i think sony or microsoft i usually think of the playstation or xbox first and foremost)

#9 Edited by mmikej24 (6 posts) -

Nintendo was the best family console back when I was a kid. That's why so many gamers now who are in their late 20's and early 30s have built this fanbase that Nintendo has been thriving on. My question is, does Nintendo still have this effect on children today? Will kids who own a Wii-U be hardcore Nintendo fans 10 years from now? My guess is no, and that leads me to believe that Nintendo's time as a hardware manufacturer is coming to a close. Their constant inability to keep up with the digital marketplace and online arena has already set them back to the point of no return. I believe Nintendo's future lies in the handheld market and their software IPs. The console market has a rocky future ahead with the looming demise of physical media, and the Wii U might just be a good exit point.

#10 Posted by phantomzxro (1565 posts) -

I'm sure Nintendo will pull through this but I do wonder if they would potentially have more to gain by focusing all their resources on software development.

@oraknabo said:

While I'm no fan of motion controls, I don't think MS and Sony would have even tried to make things like Kinect, Move or the Wavebird without the existence of the Wii Remote.

I disagree. I think all three companies were probably working on motion controls but Nintendo was the only one who could get away with releasing half finished product.

I don't know i'm pretty sure MS and Sony would not have went down the path of motion controls if it was not for Nintendo. Nintendo proved it was a hit and MS and Sony followed suit. They would not have let Nintendo rain in all that money alone if they had these things cooking along side Nintendo. Also half finished products is a bit mean and uncalled for when you look at the track record of the kinect not delivering on games and features it marketed way back in its early days.

Sony basically made a better Wii mote controller with no shame about it. The problem is Sony did a crappy job supporting it with worth wild products. So all in all i have to say Nintendo offer the better feature set when it comes to motion controls unless you bring up dancing which kinect was good for.

#11 Edited by StarFoxA (5140 posts) -

The 3DS is doing really well, as far as I know. I think combined with the XL it's sold around 35 million copies now, which is more than 10x the Vita's sales.

#12 Posted by oraknabo (1453 posts) -

@starfoxa: I wasn't calling the 3DS a failure, just talking about how slow it was to be profitable, but I also think this is the last generation of handhelds that can offer anything you can't get on a smartphone.

I like the idea of being able to buy a Wii-U controller that I could hook up to my PC or any console I own and I could also use as a handheld when I'm not on those. Having the buttons and sticks gives it an advantage over phones & tablets and having the touchscreen gives it an advantage over a regular controller (for games that recognize it).

I'd buy a SteamBox with a Wii-U controller if Valve wants to cut a deal with them. They don't have the default conflicts with Nintendo that MS and Sony do.

#13 Edited by BestUsernameEver (4825 posts) -

@marcsman said:

They survived the Gamecube era, they'll survive this.

Gamecube actually sold well, just not on par with the competition, it certainly wasn't a dent to the company financially.

#14 Posted by BlackLagoon (1384 posts) -

I don't know i'm pretty sure MS and Sony would not have went down the path of motion controls if it was not for Nintendo. Nintendo proved it was a hit and MS and Sony followed suit.

Ever heard of the PS2 Eyetoy?

#15 Posted by StarFoxA (5140 posts) -

@oraknabo: I'd disagree that we're seeing the end of dedicated handhelds. Mobile gaming is quite different from handheld gaming.

#16 Posted by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

@marcsman said:

They survived the Gamecube era, they'll survive this.

I'd say things actually look a lot more grim for the Wii U than they ever did the Gamecube. That console at least had a level of parity with its competitors; at least in regard to 3rd party support. The Wii U's gotta survive on 1st party titles and...well...Japanese exclusives I guess?

I'm not saying it's all doom and gloom, but I see reason to be skeptical about Nintendo's future as a console manufacturer.

#17 Posted by EXTomar (4519 posts) -

The Gamecube also existed in a different world where developers were beating on their door to produce carts for the Gameboy SP. I am pretty certain a lot fewer companies are eager about getting into production contracts for 3DS carts.

#18 Posted by Soapy86 (2620 posts) -

I think it would be really smart if Nintendo took their Wii U Gamepad idea to its logical conclusion for their next console and made a console/handheld hybrid. Have something high end like the VIta to take around with you, and then when you're at home there could be a receiver hooked up to your television so you can use the handheld as a controller and the TV as the display.

There are a couple of potential issues with this approach. The first is the graphical capabilities would be limited by a handheld, but you have to to keep in mind two things; A: Nintendo's next console most likely four to five years away and by then I imagine handhelds will be able to produce visuals roughly on par with the current gen home consoles, and B: Nintendo's games are very stylized, they don't need a lot of horsepower to produce impressive visuals. The second problem that might arise is that third parties would undoubtedly be unwilling to play ball with Nintendo by creating such a different console, but then again, with the Wii U and especially the Wii third parties have proven they're not interested in supporting Nintendo anyway, even with a massive install base. No real loss there.

On the more positive side, creating a unified console would have a number of benefits. One big one would be that Nintendo's developers would no longer be split between making games for consoles OR handhelds, they would be creating content for the same system. This would enable Nintendo to have a much more steady stream of great games all year round. It would also help solve a problem that has plagued Nintendo their last two hardware launched; no games. With both the 3DS and the Wii U Nintendo has dumped these consoles out in the wild with little to no attractive software until more than a year after launch. Having more developers devoted to the same platform would enable them to put out games in a more timely fashion.

I'm not saying that's a perfect path for them to take, but if nothing else it would at least be an interesting experiment.

#19 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

I think they should get out of the hardware business altogether and rely on iOS for their mobile game market. Why spend money on hardware that does the same thing any iPad or iPhone can do? Let them make the hardware and focus on the games. Same for the console market. Nintendo really only has two games that most people would be interested in, Mario and Zelda. The rest doesn't even matter to most of the video game market.

#20 Edited by myketuna (1655 posts) -

@marcsman said:

They survived the Gamecube era, they'll survive this.

I'd say things actually look a lot more grim for the Wii U than they ever did the Gamecube. That console at least had a level of parity with its competitors; at least in regard to 3rd party support. The Wii U's gotta survive on 1st party titles and...well...Japanese exclusives I guess?

I'm not saying it's all doom and gloom, but I see reason to be skeptical about Nintendo's future as a console manufacturer.

@extomar said:

The Gamecube also existed in a different world where developers were beating on their door to produce carts for the Gameboy SP. I am pretty certain a lot fewer companies are eager about getting into production contracts for 3DS carts.

Definitely agree with you too. I don't want them to "die", but they eventually will if they continue to reject the idea that they need to evolve. And if the Wii U's network is their idea of evolving, they need to do it a lot quicker.

It's crazy that in 2013, Nintendo still doesn't get the internet. I don't even mean in terms of multiplayer and matchmaking and all that (though they need that for strong third-party support), but service-wise (accounts and licenses, etc.). I believe if they got their shit together one generation, they would do very well for themselves.

If the Wii U promised me a solid network and access to Call of Duty, Metal Gear Solid, Grand Theft Auto, AND all the Nintendo stuff I know and love (not just Mario and Zelda, but Metroid, Star Fox, new IP maybe?), I would buy that over the other two consoles easy. Because I would get EVERYTHING.

#21 Posted by oraknabo (1453 posts) -

@starfoxa said:

@oraknabo: I'd disagree that we're seeing the end of dedicated handhelds. Mobile gaming is quite different from handheld gaming.

Do you really think they won't mostly converge within the next 5 years, or at least 10? The controls are different, but I think we're going to end up with people playing most handheld games on mobile devices and going to consoles when they want to use traditional controls. Even the button and analog stick widgets are improving enough for touchscreens that, even though I don't think they will ever fully replace a physical controller, it's close enough to not want to buy a dedicated piece of hardware for handheld gaming when the games on your phone are just as good or close.

@jdh5153 said:

Why spend money on hardware that does the same thing any iPad or iPhone can do?

But phones are never going to natively have the buttons and sticks necessary to play the kinds of PC and console games I'm talking about. Maybe you could get some kind of hardware to snap onto each side of a tablet to accomplish that, but it gets complicated with the variety of different tablet hardware out there. I may be proven wrong if someone does something amazing with SmartGlass, but right now it seems like you can pick some menu items with your tablet and navigate the dashboard, but you'll still need a controller to play most games.

#22 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

@oraknabo said:

@starfoxa said:

@oraknabo: I'd disagree that we're seeing the end of dedicated handhelds. Mobile gaming is quite different from handheld gaming.

Do you really think they won't mostly converge within the next 5 years, or at least 10? The controls are different, but I think we're going to end up with people playing most handheld games on mobile devices and going to consoles when they want to use traditional controls. Even the button and analog stick widgets are improving enough for touchscreens that, even though I don't think they will ever fully replace a physical controller, it's close enough to not want to buy a dedicated piece of hardware for handheld gaming when the games on your phone are just as good or close.

@jdh5153 said:

Why spend money on hardware that does the same thing any iPad or iPhone can do?

But phones are never going to natively have the buttons and sticks necessary to play the kinds of PC and console games I'm talking about. Maybe you could get some kind of hardware to snap onto each side of a tablet to accomplish that, but it gets complicated with the variety of different tablet hardware out there. I may be proven wrong if someone does something amazing with SmartGlass, but right now it seems like you can pick some menu items with your tablet and navigate the dashboard, but you'll still need a controller to play most games.

That's not true at all. On screen joysticks are incredibly useful once you get used to them. I can play FIFA 13 as easily on my iPad using on screen buttons as I can on my 360. It feels just as fluid, it's an awesome experience. Same goes for many other games.

#23 Edited by myketuna (1655 posts) -

@jdh5153 said:

@oraknabo said:

@starfoxa said:

@oraknabo: I'd disagree that we're seeing the end of dedicated handhelds. Mobile gaming is quite different from handheld gaming.

Do you really think they won't mostly converge within the next 5 years, or at least 10? The controls are different, but I think we're going to end up with people playing most handheld games on mobile devices and going to consoles when they want to use traditional controls. Even the button and analog stick widgets are improving enough for touchscreens that, even though I don't think they will ever fully replace a physical controller, it's close enough to not want to buy a dedicated piece of hardware for handheld gaming when the games on your phone are just as good or close.

@jdh5153 said:

Why spend money on hardware that does the same thing any iPad or iPhone can do?

But phones are never going to natively have the buttons and sticks necessary to play the kinds of PC and console games I'm talking about. Maybe you could get some kind of hardware to snap onto each side of a tablet to accomplish that, but it gets complicated with the variety of different tablet hardware out there. I may be proven wrong if someone does something amazing with SmartGlass, but right now it seems like you can pick some menu items with your tablet and navigate the dashboard, but you'll still need a controller to play most games.

That's not true at all. On screen joysticks are incredibly useful once you get used to them. I can play FIFA 13 as easily on my iPad using on screen buttons as I can on my 360. It feels just as fluid, it's an awesome experience. Same goes for many other games.

I wouldn't go as far as saying on-screen controls are as good as actual, physical controls, but League of Evil on my Galaxy S 3 has the best ones I've "felt"(?) so far. And they'll only get better from here.

#24 Edited by oraknabo (1453 posts) -

@jdh5153: I did say they're getting close.

There's a problem when you're not actually playing the game on the touchscreen though. When you're playing a game on a TV screen, you need to feel the controls under your fingers. How many people can type on a tablet without looking at it?

#25 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

@oraknabo said:

@jdh5153: I did say they're getting close.

There's a problem when you're not actually playing the game on the touchscreen though. When you're playing a game on a TV screen, you need to feel the controls under your fingers. How many people can type on a tablet without looking at it?

Who plays DS games on a TV screen? They should make mobile games for iOS and Android and make console games on Xbox and Playstation.

#26 Posted by BeachThunder (11719 posts) -
Online
#27 Posted by gaminghooligan (1424 posts) -
#28 Posted by oraknabo (1453 posts) -

@jdh5153: I guess you didn't read my original post.

What I'm saying (in agreement with your post) is that touchscreen controls and mobile games are getting good enough that mobile gaming on phones and tablets will soon overtake dedicated handheld game devices but that there is still some potential for a hybrid touchscreen controller on consoles like the one on the Wii-U.

Because I think Nintendo is always ahead of the game on controllers, I'd like to see them focus on their core IP games and make controllers for console and PC hardware makers to use as special peripherals.

I think the Wii-U controller can still offer a better experience than tablets alone can in controlling a console game, but also add value to playing with traditional controls.

#29 Edited by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

DIdn't Nintendo say that if they go down their taking their IP's with them?

#30 Posted by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

@sathingtonwaltz said:

DIdn't Nintendo say that if they go down their taking their IP's with them?

Shareholders may have a problem with that.

#31 Posted by JCGamer (659 posts) -

Man, does everyone forget that Nintendo has a load of cash stored up? I mean from a financial standpoint Sony is more likely to have to leave the gaming market than Nintendo. And as far as Nintendo making more money on strictly software--they already sell tens of millions of their own games on their hardware without having to give royalties to anyone else plus getting a cut of the (meager) 3rd party games. How does Nintendo make more money going software only?

#32 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@sathingtonwaltz said:

DIdn't Nintendo say that if they go down their taking their IP's with them?

Shareholders may have a problem with that.

But aren't most of the shareholders former Nintendo employees and execs?

#33 Posted by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

@funkasaurasrex said:

@sathingtonwaltz said:

DIdn't Nintendo say that if they go down their taking their IP's with them?

Shareholders may have a problem with that.

But aren't most of the shareholders former Nintendo employees and execs?

There was a whole thing a while back wherein shareholders were trying to get Nintendo to put games on iOS, so I don't think so.

#34 Posted by ProfessorEss (7282 posts) -
#35 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

@oraknabo said:

@jdh5153: I guess you didn't read my original post.

What I'm saying (in agreement with your post) is that touchscreen controls and mobile games are getting good enough that mobile gaming on phones and tablets will soon overtake dedicated handheld game devices but that there is still some potential for a hybrid touchscreen controller on consoles like the one on the Wii-U.

Because I think Nintendo is always ahead of the game on controllers, I'd like to see them focus on their core IP games and make controllers for console and PC hardware makers to use as special peripherals.

I think the Wii-U controller can still offer a better experience than tablets alone can in controlling a console game, but also add value to playing with traditional controls.

The Wii-U controller is the worst controller in video game history. Gimmicky piece of shit.

#36 Edited by ripelivejam (3587 posts) -

3DS is providing much of my gaming enjoyment lately, and i'm seriously eyeing a Wii U if only for the (most likely excellent) first party games (and maybe MH3U ;) ), so personally i think it's a little early to start shouting that the sky is falling. maybe it would have served them better if they waited a year and built hardware that competed power-wise with the PS4 and Xbox Next, but then they'd just be a 3rd entry in an already heated competition. i think ninty (especially after the wii's initial success) are doing the right thing in going the road less traveled and offering things the others can't, even if they made some poor advertising and budgetary decisions along the way. i have a feeling it will pay out for them in the end.

who knows, maybe they have something huge in store (like a first proper console outing for pokemon...)

#37 Posted by EXTomar (4519 posts) -

Why do we need buttons and sticks to play portable games? This also ignores the big problem has is that Nintendo has never really embraced third party support which is what Android and iOS bend over backwards to provide.

It seems to be too expensive and to intensive and to closed to create software for the 3DS compared to Android and iOS. But never mind that those devices will never beat the 3DS because they lack buttons and sticks? Okay....

#38 Edited by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@jdh5153 said:

@oraknabo said:

@jdh5153: I guess you didn't read my original post.

What I'm saying (in agreement with your post) is that touchscreen controls and mobile games are getting good enough that mobile gaming on phones and tablets will soon overtake dedicated handheld game devices but that there is still some potential for a hybrid touchscreen controller on consoles like the one on the Wii-U.

Because I think Nintendo is always ahead of the game on controllers, I'd like to see them focus on their core IP games and make controllers for console and PC hardware makers to use as special peripherals.

I think the Wii-U controller can still offer a better experience than tablets alone can in controlling a console game, but also add value to playing with traditional controls.

The Wii-U controller is the worst controller in video game history. Gimmicky piece of shit.

Really? Really?

You do know that the gamepad has a lot of functionality outside of the touchscreen right? Stuff like tv control, off-tv play... basically it's own dedicated display which is kind of awesome especially for local multiplayer. Not to mention being a lightweight and comfortable controller, it's really great for just cozying up in bed with headphones and just gaming on the controller itself. I mean seriously, you probably haven't been playing video games for very long if you thing the Wii U Gamepad is that bad.

#39 Edited by StarFoxA (5140 posts) -

@jdh5153 said:

The Wii-U controller is the worst controller in video game history. Gimmicky piece of shit.

What about this monstrosity? Or even the Nintendo 64 controller? That thing is awful.

#40 Posted by oraknabo (1453 posts) -
@starfoxa said:

Or even the Nintendo 64 controller? That thing is awful.

Sure, compared to today's controllers, but the analog stick and z-trigger were a pretty nice step up from d-pad only and shoulder buttons

#41 Edited by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@starfoxa said:

@jdh5153 said:

The Wii-U controller is the worst controller in video game history. Gimmicky piece of shit.

What about this monstrosity? Or even the Nintendo 64 controller? That thing is awful.

I don't mind the 64 controller as much as others, it looks a lot more awkward than it actually is. That being said the Sega Saturn 3D controller is vastly superior, not only to the N64 controller but even to it's own successor, the Dreamcast controller which is... weird. Seriously it has more buttons, a better analog stick, and the amazing Saturn dpad it's fucking weird that Sega literally made everything worse on the next one.

#42 Posted by oraknabo (1453 posts) -

I'd also like to nominate the Jaguar Controller, the CDI remote, the U-force, Atari 5200 controller and of course, the Power Glove as the worst controllers ever. And while it eventually inspired a good idea in the DDR dance pad, how about the Power Pad for a gimmicky failure?

OK, so Maybe Nintendo doesn't always hit a home run on controller design, but they've done more to push things forward than anyone else and I'd like to see them still working in that domain even if they ever give up on consoles.

#43 Posted by phantomzxro (1565 posts) -

@phantomzxro said:

I don't know i'm pretty sure MS and Sony would not have went down the path of motion controls if it was not for Nintendo. Nintendo proved it was a hit and MS and Sony followed suit.

Ever heard of the PS2 Eyetoy?

Yeah i heard of it but that really is not motion controls and was only later used hand in hand with motion control features. MS or Sony would not have went full force into motion controls if Nintendo did not prove it was a huge market for it.