What Nintendo Needs to Do to "Win."

Posted by DrRandle (1202 posts) -

"If wishes and buts were candy and nuts, then we'd all have a bowl of granola."

Console wars are kind of a weird thing to even talk about. From an intelligent, and rational person's point of view, it makes sense to want all the consoles to do well. Success for every platform, while remaining competitive, means better games for us. It's fun to root for your favorite and condemn the obvious loser, that's all fine and good; it's part of the game. I don't want to start any flame wars, so if that's all you're interested in doing, take a hike. I'm here to discuss a few strategies that I think will help ensure that Nintendo, as a company who is in a very strange position right now, continues to thrive as a competitor.

It's no small secret that Nintendo as a publisher and as a developer is at a sort of crossroads. The 3DS came out and had a shaky start, but has come through looking better for wear. If they can keep this momentum going, we're in luck. Recently, they announced a new Mario game, so I know I'll be slavishly waving my hard earned money at the person behind the counter to pick up my copy. Here's to hoping they do a little innovating on this title.

Ice White Nintendo 3DS

The future of the Nintendo Portable platform has me a bit intrigued though. The 3DS is here, and it looks like it will remain mostly successful. But what's next? A lot of Nintendo's share holders are calling for a Nintendo Phone, but that'll take a shoehorn the size of Montana to eke out an existence in that sea. If you think about the (complete, global) saturation of iPhones and Androids, there's really nothing left for Nintendo to bring to the table other than Mario. Perhaps Japan has a vastly different cellular market that has enough legroom for a new cell phone company, but over here isn't so likely. Nintendo could open up and just slap the Android interface in there, however, Nintendo is traditionally very tight-knit with it's devices. I foresee more of an iPhone path for them, if they were to ever go that way. And that's just not going to be viable in this ecosystem. Would you trade up your smart phone to a Nintendo Phone? Sure, there are some people saying yes. I don't think I would, though. I love my Samsung Nexus S and I'm addicted to Google's infrastructure. I'd probably still get the Nintendo Phone, but just to keep around as another dedicated gaming device. Because of that, I'd rather they spend their time making quality handhelds like they do now, something they pretty much own the market on.

Looking at the WiiU, I think Nintendo has the opportunity to make a bajillion dollars right off the bat. Would you like to know the very simple answer to this? Angry Birds. I won't deny any love loss for what i feel to be a lackluster game, but the fact is that it's got wings. If you slap that grumpy, red bastard on the front of a WiiU box, you're making money. Pack it in with every console as a game that can be played on the WiiU's tablet-like controller, and you've just banked. If you're Nintendo of course. Imagine now, if I may expand, all of your favorite iPhone and Android app store games coming over to Wii U. Game Dev Story. Sword and Sorcery. Canabalt. Anomaly: Warzone Earth. Cut the Rope. All streamed from the big white box to your lightweight tablet controller. Some of them even could come with button controls, which YHVH knows they need. And the Stylus that comes with it would make games like Cut the Rope more accurate, and more playable. Plus, you could have high-end graphics for all of them. Forget Infinity Blade's shine on the iPhone, imagine how good it could look with more horse power? The long and short of it is, opening itself up to this kind of an App Store (and preferably partnering with an existing partner, like Google) would be a killer.

Imagine: Angry Birds... Right there. And on the big screen, so the whole family can enjoy.

I just thought about playing Plants vs. Zombies (for the 9th time) on this controller, and I would kindly set fire to a puppy orphanage to have it.

Last, there's this little bit about the Virtual Console and how they handle it. For one, it's no secret that the Wii Virtual Console is kind of dead in the water. I'm not sure how much of that is Nintendo choking it out while they focus on the 3DS, and how much is that nobody just putting anything up there anymore. For another thing, they've been putting out NES games on the 3DS now, and I can't help but wonder why I'm paying for these. Again. With the WiiU, there needs to be enough forefront to create a way to convert my Virtual Console games from my Wii, to my WiiU and to my 3DS. If I have to be that roundabout, that's fine, I'm gonna move everything to the WiiU anyway. But having I'd be much happier not having to pay for Startropics again. At that point, Nintendo is sort of just asking people to go get emulators on their SD cards and go from there. If they open up that Virtual Console on all their machines, on your same profiles/accounts, that would be stellar. While on the subject of Virtual Consoles... Why haven't we seen Mother, Earthbound, and Yoshi's Island yet? There's some work to be done there, and I'm sure somebody on the interwebs would gladly take a contract job to do it.

With that off my mind, I want to know what you think? Can these strategies be improved? Do you have other ideas? Better ones, even? Please feel free to sound off below!

As a programming note/advertisement, I plan on discussing a -lot- of Smash Bros. in the coming month. Starting May 1st, and every day through E3, I'm going to drop something else I think should be in the next Smash Bros. All of that will lead up to hopefully -some- sort of announcement at E3 that I can geek out on, and then see if I have anything to expand upon with some crazy new knowledge. I look forward to the discussion!

Social Media Go: @DocRandle , Facebook, The Midnight Roost

-Make it a good one.

#1 Posted by DrRandle (1202 posts) -

"If wishes and buts were candy and nuts, then we'd all have a bowl of granola."

Console wars are kind of a weird thing to even talk about. From an intelligent, and rational person's point of view, it makes sense to want all the consoles to do well. Success for every platform, while remaining competitive, means better games for us. It's fun to root for your favorite and condemn the obvious loser, that's all fine and good; it's part of the game. I don't want to start any flame wars, so if that's all you're interested in doing, take a hike. I'm here to discuss a few strategies that I think will help ensure that Nintendo, as a company who is in a very strange position right now, continues to thrive as a competitor.

It's no small secret that Nintendo as a publisher and as a developer is at a sort of crossroads. The 3DS came out and had a shaky start, but has come through looking better for wear. If they can keep this momentum going, we're in luck. Recently, they announced a new Mario game, so I know I'll be slavishly waving my hard earned money at the person behind the counter to pick up my copy. Here's to hoping they do a little innovating on this title.

Ice White Nintendo 3DS

The future of the Nintendo Portable platform has me a bit intrigued though. The 3DS is here, and it looks like it will remain mostly successful. But what's next? A lot of Nintendo's share holders are calling for a Nintendo Phone, but that'll take a shoehorn the size of Montana to eke out an existence in that sea. If you think about the (complete, global) saturation of iPhones and Androids, there's really nothing left for Nintendo to bring to the table other than Mario. Perhaps Japan has a vastly different cellular market that has enough legroom for a new cell phone company, but over here isn't so likely. Nintendo could open up and just slap the Android interface in there, however, Nintendo is traditionally very tight-knit with it's devices. I foresee more of an iPhone path for them, if they were to ever go that way. And that's just not going to be viable in this ecosystem. Would you trade up your smart phone to a Nintendo Phone? Sure, there are some people saying yes. I don't think I would, though. I love my Samsung Nexus S and I'm addicted to Google's infrastructure. I'd probably still get the Nintendo Phone, but just to keep around as another dedicated gaming device. Because of that, I'd rather they spend their time making quality handhelds like they do now, something they pretty much own the market on.

Looking at the WiiU, I think Nintendo has the opportunity to make a bajillion dollars right off the bat. Would you like to know the very simple answer to this? Angry Birds. I won't deny any love loss for what i feel to be a lackluster game, but the fact is that it's got wings. If you slap that grumpy, red bastard on the front of a WiiU box, you're making money. Pack it in with every console as a game that can be played on the WiiU's tablet-like controller, and you've just banked. If you're Nintendo of course. Imagine now, if I may expand, all of your favorite iPhone and Android app store games coming over to Wii U. Game Dev Story. Sword and Sorcery. Canabalt. Anomaly: Warzone Earth. Cut the Rope. All streamed from the big white box to your lightweight tablet controller. Some of them even could come with button controls, which YHVH knows they need. And the Stylus that comes with it would make games like Cut the Rope more accurate, and more playable. Plus, you could have high-end graphics for all of them. Forget Infinity Blade's shine on the iPhone, imagine how good it could look with more horse power? The long and short of it is, opening itself up to this kind of an App Store (and preferably partnering with an existing partner, like Google) would be a killer.

Imagine: Angry Birds... Right there. And on the big screen, so the whole family can enjoy.

I just thought about playing Plants vs. Zombies (for the 9th time) on this controller, and I would kindly set fire to a puppy orphanage to have it.

Last, there's this little bit about the Virtual Console and how they handle it. For one, it's no secret that the Wii Virtual Console is kind of dead in the water. I'm not sure how much of that is Nintendo choking it out while they focus on the 3DS, and how much is that nobody just putting anything up there anymore. For another thing, they've been putting out NES games on the 3DS now, and I can't help but wonder why I'm paying for these. Again. With the WiiU, there needs to be enough forefront to create a way to convert my Virtual Console games from my Wii, to my WiiU and to my 3DS. If I have to be that roundabout, that's fine, I'm gonna move everything to the WiiU anyway. But having I'd be much happier not having to pay for Startropics again. At that point, Nintendo is sort of just asking people to go get emulators on their SD cards and go from there. If they open up that Virtual Console on all their machines, on your same profiles/accounts, that would be stellar. While on the subject of Virtual Consoles... Why haven't we seen Mother, Earthbound, and Yoshi's Island yet? There's some work to be done there, and I'm sure somebody on the interwebs would gladly take a contract job to do it.

With that off my mind, I want to know what you think? Can these strategies be improved? Do you have other ideas? Better ones, even? Please feel free to sound off below!

As a programming note/advertisement, I plan on discussing a -lot- of Smash Bros. in the coming month. Starting May 1st, and every day through E3, I'm going to drop something else I think should be in the next Smash Bros. All of that will lead up to hopefully -some- sort of announcement at E3 that I can geek out on, and then see if I have anything to expand upon with some crazy new knowledge. I look forward to the discussion!

Social Media Go: @DocRandle , Facebook, The Midnight Roost

-Make it a good one.

#2 Posted by Slag (3995 posts) -

I disagree.

I think the Angry Birds craze has crested.

Besides that why would I voluntarily want to play dinky limited IOs games on my TV (and rebuy them) which doesn't need to submit to same hardware limitations as a phone? Why would I buy a 300+ dollar machine to play stuff I can already play on a device I already own? There is zero competitive advantage in Nintendo pursuing those games.

Nintendo needs to deliver the AAA stuff that can only work on console to get people excited. That's the whole point of their new controller, to create an experience that is unique and can not be had elsewhere. That's why the 3DS has 3d and why the Wii had motion controls. That aspect of Nintendo's strategy is smart and where Sony likely made a big mistake with the Vita.

What Nintendo needs to do is deliver on making the WiiU have killer games and have the social environment to support that.

Which means making sure online multiplayer modes work, get their online stores and profiles in order as you pointed out, do achievements, and finally finally getting their third party relationships healthy. They are years behind Sony and Microsoft on some really basic expected features.

They did none of this with the Wii and gave up the lead and goodwill they had.

#3 Posted by masternater27 (915 posts) -

@Slag said:

I disagree.

I think the Angry Birds craze has crested.

Besides that why would I voluntarily want to play dinky limited IOs games on my TV (and rebuy them) which doesn't need to submit to same hardware limitations as a phone? Why would I buy a 300+ dollar machine to play stuff I can already play on a device I already own? There is zero competitive advantage in Nintendo pursuing those games.

Nintendo needs to deliver the AAA stuff that can only work on console to get people excited. That's the whole point of their new controller, to create an experience that is unique and can not be had elsewhere. That's why the 3DS has 3d and why the Wii had motion controls. That aspect of Nintendo's strategy is smart and where Sony likely made a big mistake with the Vita.

What Nintendo needs to do is deliver on making the WiiU have killer games and have the social environment to support that.

Which means making sure online multiplayer modes work, get their online stores and profiles in order as you pointed out, do achievements, and finally finally getting their third party relationships healthy. They are years behind Sony and Microsoft on some really basic expected features.

They did none of this with the Wii and gave up the lead and goodwill they had.

Couldn't have said it better. I really enjoyed some stuff on the Wii and I love Nintendo, but other than Zelda I hadn't played it since Donkey Kong Country and other than that I hadn't played it for about a year.

#4 Posted by DrRandle (1202 posts) -

The triple A Titles is the short answer yes, but in terms of broad, wide-reaching success outside of the standard gamer, putting angry birds on the box is going to keep the far-reaching success the Wii had in it's early days going wider. Adding an app store for the controller was an idea I had after re-watching the launch trailer, and seeing the prototype of people playing small games on the controller itself. It's a much broader concept than just playing the latest and greatest giant effin' games. Combine the powerhouses of being able to play Darksiders 2 and Smash Bros: TNG with the ability for one's kids to play angry birds on something for 200 bucks cheaper than an iPad, and you've got a hell of a winning strategy.

In short, I really don't disagree, and you bring up something I wasn't thinking about when I wrote this. However, I think your strategy plus my strategy is what the WiiU will need to become more than just another gaming console, and allow it to really become something big to everybody.

#5 Posted by Spadina (1 posts) -

With respect to the phone, if they made one, I'd think it would have to be basically a 3DS with a phone built in, not a new platform. But if that were the case, it would be too large, or the screen and controls would be too small. The form factor would also just be weird to use as a phone. I personally think that's a market they don't want to get into -- working with phone carriers is notoriously awful, and it's not like their handhelds are doing bad on their own.

I'm not sure why people would buy a new non-portable home console to play the same games they're playing on the smartphone they already own. I agree with the others -- they won't do themselves any favours chasing smartphone games.

Angry Birds in particular seems weird -- it's popular because it's a simple, cute, $0.99/free cell phone game. I don't think anyone's buying a new phone/console to play it.

They really do need to better integrate their online stuff. I should be able to log into every system with my Nintendo account, and add friends (across systems) by entering their handle/email/phone. Virtual Console/WiiWare/eShop games should be stored on an account, not associated with the system. It''s a good thing these systems are so robust, because I'm sure getting your games back if your system dies is a huge pain.

#6 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -
"If wishes and buts were candy and nuts, then we'd all have a bowl of granola."

A-

#7 Posted by Gaff (1650 posts) -

Considering that the 3DS' battery is already terrible as it is now, I don't see cramming phone capabilities in their current hardware as a viable course of action. New hardware? Introducing another product would stretch Nintendo incredibly thin (the Wii, Wii U, 3DS and a phone). And to paraphrase Michael Pachter: "Nintendo isn't in the business of making phones".

And as for allowing ports of popular Android / iPhone apps on the Wii U, the chance of that happening is very slim. While it would make for a good marketing bullet point ("Play all your favourite apps on the Wii U!"), the closed ecosystems of Android / iOS would mean that consumers would have to pay for basically the same app at least twice. Add to that the fact that most apps are free but with either micro-transactions or ad support, Nintendo's frankly antiquated way of handling developer profits (reach a sales threshold before you see any pay-out from Nintendo? Seriously?)... Overhauling their online strategy and infrastructure to accommodate this is something I don't see Nintendo doing.

#8 Posted by DrRandle (1202 posts) -

The idea isn't so much because they already have it on their phones. It's something that I think would attract 'normal folk' to the package. The point of "it's only 99 cents" kind of means people won't have a problem paying for it. Overall, my idea here is turning the WiiU controller into an iPad for the house, which is what it looks like Nintendo is looking to do, in a way, judging by that initial teaser sizzle real from last year's E3. We'll see what goes on in with that, and if they make smaller, dedicated games meant to be played just on the controller itself.

#9 Posted by BestUsernameEver (4825 posts) -

Nintendo is screwed if the Wii U bombs, and it probably will now that I think of it, it's just a 360 with a neat controller, and everyone has a 360.

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