The Chicken Or The Egg? Does Nintendo need to be more like Sony and Microsoft?

Reading the comments section of the Live and Leveled Gamer’s Podcast #65 an individual asked a question.  “Do you want Nintendo to be like Microsoft and Sony?”  I started to answer his question there but this is a multi-faceted situation and deserves more exploration than just a quick few sentences.

The answer to the question is NO.  Nintendo does not need to be like Microsoft and Sony.  You know why? Sony and Microsoft are what Nintendo USED TO BE. There is very little that they do that Nintendo didn’t already do and their mind-set and agenda is no different than the one Nintendo had with the NES, SNES, N64, and to a lesser extent the GameCube. We want Nintendo to go back to being NINTENDO.

The company that gave you games in all genres, not just the ones they fancy. The company the truly understood that marketing was important in every place media exists, not just where they are comfortable marketing. The company that understood that it’s better to have power and not need it, than to need power and not have it. The company that improved on existing technology that people enjoyed or took failed ideas and made them work to BUILD upon the previous generation, not to REMOVE things that people enjoyed in place of new experimental things that may or may not get over with the consumer.  In short………..THIS Nintendo.

Did you see that?  Excitement!  Fun!!  Imagination!!!  Creativity!!!! Innovation!!!!!  You know what else you saw?  Variety.  All different types of games from many different genres.  You know what else you saw?  MARKETING.  Not just for Nintendo, but for 3rd party developers as well.  A large number of those commercials were for 3rd party games.  I remember seeing those commercials on TV all the time when I was a kid, and I mean ALL THE TIME

This wasn’t just about core Nintendo fans.  This was about anyone who even had a passing interest in gaming.  Nintendo had something for everybody.  How many movies or TV shows did you see where whenever it came time to play video games you either saw an NES console sitting on the TV, or you saw them holding an NES controller?  Even into the 1990s when the SNES was out you still saw it.  You had Nintendo cartoons, you a movie unveiling Super Mario Bros. 3, you had Mike Tyson at his peak included in Punch Out, you had Nintendo-themed cereal.  They were everywhere, but you know what? 

When it came down to the nuts and bolts of what a gamer needs there was NOTHING missing from Nintendo consoles.  The consoles had the power they needed and the controls always took what worked last-gen and improved upon it.

In my opinion, asking Nintendo to remain the way they are NOW reeks in selfishness. When people suggest that having a powerful console is not important, having 3rd party support is not important, having games in most if not all genres is not important, having more aggressive marketing to cater to it’s core audience is not important to me says that people are insinuating…

“Hey, I got mine. Screw everyone else. They need to conform to what Nintendo thinks and says they SHOULD like.”

That is unabashed arrogance.

If that was a working strategy, why is the Wii U dead? Why is it the worst-selling home console Nintendo has ever had? If ever there was an object-lesson as to that being a failed strategy, the Wii U is a prime example of that. 

If you don’t take care of home first then how can you do anything else?  The CORE gamers are the ones who created this industry.  The CORE gamers are the ones who sustain this industry.  The CORE gamers are the ones who allow this industry to flourish.  CORE gamers DO know what they want and they go out and get it.  The problem is, Nintendo no longer has IT.

PS4 – Most powerful console to date.  Launch price of $399.99.  Sold at a profit of $18 dollars per console within weeks of launch.  Does not have a robust 1st-party line-up, but has the best console versions (arguably) of all 3rd party games.

43 million sold

Wii U – Most powerful console to date for Nintendo, least powerful of this generation.  Launch price of $299.99 for Basic, $349.99 for Deluxe.  Sold at a LOSS until 2014.  Has the best 1st-party line-up this generation, but possibly the worst 3rd party line-up in Nintendo’s history and the worst versions of the few multiplats it did get.

13 million sold. 

Numbers don’t lie.  Nintendo has stated that they made mistakes with the Wii U and have learned from them and Ubisoft which is gushing all over about the NX also claims this and is standing on it.  So it seems like change is coming.  Even though Nintendo has made it known that they are going after the ‘blue-ocean’ again based on comments made by Reggie Fils-Aime, they never said that would be their focus.  Based on what the actual facts we have from what has been filed in patents and from what Iwata explained in detail about the NX, it sounds like Nintendo is indeed trying to go back to their roots of making something that appeals to everybody and not just one group of gamers.  It seems like they want a console that appeals to the core gamers, the portable gamers, and the casual gamers alike with possible smart phone connectivity. 

If you have a powerful, dedicated home console that is just straight up with no gimmicks that disturb normal game-play but only enhance it, that satisfies the core gamers. 

If you also have a portable/hybrid console that does everything a dedicated portable console can do, but has the ability to connect to a TV either by a dock or a dongle for play on a TV, that satisfies the portable gamers.  In fact it gives them an even better experience.  Some people travel a lot and don’t have time to sit down in front of a TV for many hours playing games.  This is perfect for people to have a home gaming experience away from home.

If you allow connectivity with smart devices, the casuals that LEFT Nintendo for smart devices can now be reintroduced to Nintendo.  Instead of trying to make another gimmick to lure them back (such as the Wii U) you go to where they ARE, give them what they WANT, and let them decide on if they want to come back.  If they do decide to come back, great!  If they choose to stick with their smart devices, that’s great too!  Nintendo still wins!

That is what I think the NX is, and what I think it should be.  Everybody wins, everybody gets what they want, everybody comes out smelling like roses.  Whether the architecture is AMD, DMP, or nVidia it doesn’t matter.  All three companies now have extremely powerful, yet inexpensive GPUs.  If the NX handheld is using a Tegra X1, that’s fine.  If it’s using an AMD Opteron, that’s fine.  If it’s using a DMP M3000, that’s fine too. That doesn’t mean that the home console cannot be using an nVidia GTX 1060 or 1070 GPU or an AMD RX 470 or 480. 

The thing is, when I listen to some of the comments from “Nintendo” fans, it almost seems like they WANT the NX to be under-powered, lacking in features except for the features THEY like, only have games that cater to what THEY like, and only marketed to THEM through Nintendo Directs.  That’s why I say that type of thinking is selfish and this reclusive and introverted attitude does not work in business when you are a publicly-traded multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  It works for small and/or private business, but not big business.  Instead of having a gaming platform where everybody gets served, they want Nintendo to keep trying to drive a square peg into a round hole for THEIR benefit alone.

I sincerely hope Nintendo is not that dense.  To answer the question once again, no Nintendo does not need to be like Microsoft and Sony.  Nintendo needs to be like Nintendo.


  • D2K, this was some on point am giving you a standing ovation…. We all want Nintendo to return to who they once were and appeal to all their fanbase

  • Thank you

  • Well the portable version, if it were to run a Tegra x1 or x2, that would be ARM architecture. Which is similar to PowerPC which is what the Wii U, Wii, and Gamecube run, but that was the initial problem with the Wii U.

    The Developer
    "Great, so we figured out what to do with the gamepad, okay so now let's port our game from xbox to wii u, oh wait, I forgot, it's running powerpc, I don't have the time and money to rewrite and optimize the code. Hmmm, maybe if I copy and paste the code, people won't notice the difference"

    The consumer
    "Yay, I got mass effect 3 for my wii u! What, the graphics sucks, this is supposed to be a next gen console. I'm going to buy a PS4 next christmas."

    People often forget that and don't realize how challenging it is to port code from one architecture to another. Despite PowerPC and ARM being more efficient, more powerful and more modern architectures compared to x86, a program written for x86 will always run worst on the ported device. In order to overcome that issue, it is best to write new code for the other system. However, that is an expensive solution when it comes to the gaming industry.

  • Several things to note here. The PS Vita uses ARM architecture and the PS4 obviously uses x86. hey work fine together.

    While we won't know for sure until the NX is revealed, we've heard several comments from developers exclaiming how easy it is to port games to the NX. In contrast to teh Wii U by this point in the systems life we had already heard not only about it's lack of power, but about the issues going from PPc to x86. So if such an issue was there, we would have heard about it by now.

    While it is a chore to go from ARM to x86, it is nowhere near as bad as going from PowerPC to x86 even though both PPc and ARM are RISC-based.

    Lastly, it is most likely that that the NX will use AMD's Heterogenous System Architecture (as will all console with AMD APU's going forward) not to mention the Vulkan API which Nintendo helped along which make things considerably easier for developers.

    It's a whole new ball game now. I'm not going to get into the whole AMD design win issue because because if peopel don't get it by now they either can't or don't want to. The point is that the last AMD semi-custom design win for a gaming console has to be ARM because the PS4 Pro and Scorpio would use x86 being that the CPU is still the same in PS$ pro, but the GPU is a Polaris-based GPU. At this point we don't know if the CPU in Scorpio will be the same or something different, but we know that the GPU will be different whether it is an overclocked RX 480 or possibly a Vega-series card when they are released next year. The point is, the lats ARM processor has to be for the NX it being RISC rather than CISC isn't going to be an issue anymore

  • Pardon the spelling mistakes

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