Nintendo has always been at its most dangerous when they’ve been quiet. It usually ends with a bang that causes a lot of buzz. The Wii and the Wiimote revelation were like this. It was phenomenal. Nintendo has been rather quiet about the NX in overall terms, put recently they did push out some information.
Before we go into any details on that, we need to remember that Nintendo acts to its own interests. Nintendo does not function like other game companies. They do not act like Sony no Microsoft either. Nintendo has a history of using separate media to bring people into their own products, to NES, SNES and GameBoy. Miitomo is an example how Nintendo is using other media to say Hey, we have these great games on our systems, wouldn’t you like to play them? Nintendo on smartphones will be like Nintendo in comics or Nintendo in television. Their main function will be creation and further expansion of Nintendo and its brands.
This is what it’s all about
After the NES, Nintendo has very rarely allowed their IPs to cross out of their hands to other platforms, but you never saw Super Mario Bros. 3 on a PC or the like. You did see Super Mario Bros. though. I don’t see Nintendo going their way out breaking their solid streak now. You could almost say that we are seeing a spiritual resurrection of Nintendo Power.
Last month I wrote about the smartphone app market, and in it there are damn good examples why anyone might want to stay away from the market. No company or individual service provider should be excited about the fact that they are able to give their products away for free. Nevertheless, with NX Nintendo is getting their product in there, but as mentioned above, it’s not because they’re entering that market like it was another platform for their products. They’re treating it like an advertising platform, showing people that their own system and games are superior to others. They want to sell their own thing. These Nintendo smartphone apps and games won’t be aimed at the hardcore crowd, they’re intended to those who use these smart devices as is.
Nintendo seems to be wanting people to link to their Investors Q&A session, so check it here, there’s some good stuff.
Right off the bat we have talk about monetization, which isn’t a thing, at least not yet. There is no grand scheme behind this, and it is very apparent that Nintendo will be playing the app market game by game. Which brings us to Miitomo. It’s not called a game here either, it’s a social app.
Seeing how Nintendo’s applications would be able to work with Nintendo’s own systems, we can regard them as the same as Wii’s different Channels of sorts. But this next one is important to note;
While it is important for us to earn profits from our smart device business alone, our primary objective is to encourage smart device users to be interested in and to play with our dedicated video game systems, and we are focused on this goal.
This is the Goal. To reiterate; Nintendo wants you on their consoles.
The Q&A session has discussion about Nintendo’s history, and it’s apparent that nobody expected arcade and video games to become their main business in the early 80’s. While he doesn’t say it outright, Famicom could only become a thing because Donkey Kong was successful in the arcades. Game consoles have always been leaning towards arcades, and one could argue that without the arcades becoming popular we would have never seen home consoles. Atari followed the same model originally, but the lack of quality control caused the second crash. The few good games that existed during the crash couldn’t prevent it, and seeing how smartphone app sales have flattened, few games won’t make a dent on it. A new approach would be needed to make the sales rise again.
There is another spot I want to give special attention from the Q&A;
Just as this amiibo example shows, Nintendo’s proactive use of its IP is to improve its business performance by taking advantage of Nintendo IP in a variety of ways, not by limiting use to merchandise licensing activities. For example, this is one of the objectives of deploying our IP on smart devices but it includes our attempt to increase the awareness of Nintendo by delivering our messages to people whom we have not been able to communicate with when deploying our IP on dedicated game systems.
I don’t personally care for Amiibo toys, but they have become a collectors’ items without a doubt. If you’ve followed toy scene in the last few years, you might’ve seen a slight surge in Nintendo IP toys, like Link Figma or that Zero Suit Samus statue. People have been wanting high quality Nintendo toys for some time now. This is where things are going, Nintendo will be making money on their IP. A console is a box to play their games on, but what brings people to buy that box and those games in the first place?
All this sounds closer to the Golden Age Nintendo. Less concentration on small market, more expansion. An investor mentions Splatoon as an example of a new successful IP, but that’s horseshit. Splatoon is successful only with the people who already owned a Wii U, it caused no impact on Wii U’s sales. Like always, the game industry games so damn excited about Splatoon, but right after it was launched it was left alone. The game industry always does this, commending Nintendo for the products that won’t be a big hit and condemning Nintendo for doing products everybody else loves.
Kimishima’s comment on how creating a new IPs one after another won’t result good results is almost an outright lie. Remember Golden Age Nintendo; Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Mach Rider, Metroid, Star Tropic, Kid Icarus, Fire Emblem, Kirby, Mother, Nintendo Wars, Punch-Out!! and load of others. Others were successful others were soon forgotten. With the DS and Wii, Nintendo replicated this exact same formula with the likes of Wii Sports and Brain Age titles. Nintendo has always found success when they’ve ventured out there with new IPs, rather than just sticking with the old ones.