My colleague Chad Hargrove recently put out an article on what he expected from this year’s E3 coverage. One of his predictions was Nintendo-bashing on the part of the gaming press. As he put it, in the eyes of the gaming press, “Nintendo is now the worst ever, their demise is ever constant and imminent!” And Chad was indeed right about that: there was a lot of Nintendo-bashing at E3, and other than pointing out how utterly tone deaf Nintendo was towards Metroid fans with their Metroid Prime: Federation Force trailer, most of the bashing was stupid and misinformed.
Nintendo Is Dead, Long Live Nintendo
For years now, I’ve heard the same line about how Nintendo is in trouble. Nintendo is dying, Nintendo is finished, this latest misstep will spell the end for Nintendo: it’s like a cacophony of retardation. Over and over again, I hear people claiming that Nintendo needs to change in order to stay relevant. And for the longest time, I bought into that crap myself. I even wrote blog posts on what I thought Nintendo needed to do to save itself.
And you know what? It was all crap.
Nintendo doesn’t need to do a damn thing different. Oh, there’s plenty of things they should do. I’m not arguing Nintendo can do no wrong; far from it. Their policy regarding YouTube and Let’s Play videos is idiotic, and they would do well to focus a lot less on gimmicks like motion control or 3D when making consoles. But really, Nintendo is in no danger of dying anytime soon.
Nintendo Owns Mario, Zelda, And Pokemon
You can certainly point to all sorts of things Nintendo could or should be doing better, but to imagine they’re in some sort of bad position because it’s fashionable for the gaming press to shit on them—or because some gamers like to sneer at them for not being “hardcore” enough—is the height of foolishness.
In an industry that’s falling apart, Nintendo still manages to make a modest profit where many companies are losing money by the bucketloads. There’s a reason for that: the strength of Nintendo’s intellectual properties. Nintendo owns franchises that have stood the test of time, that generations of gamers have grown up on, that pretty much built the industry.
And I’m not just saying that because I love Mario. I’m not a big fan of Pokemon, for example, but look at how successful those games are. Look at the mountains of merchandise that IP has moved. Look at the Pokemon cartoon that has gone on for over 15 years and spawned countless theatrical movies. Nearly two decades for a kid’s cartoon is insane.
A Fashionable Hatred
It’s fashionable to bash Nintendo. Part of the hatred of Nintendo is because, as Chad pointed out, they don’t suck up to the gaming press. Part of it is also because—and I need to be careful how I say this—Nintendo doesn’t make games for douchebags.
Oh man, I didn’t say that very carefully, did I? Look, all I mean is the Wii U isn’t gonna have the latest Call of Madden game on it. Hey, if you love Call of Madden, that’s fine. I like the Transformers movies, so it’s not like I don’t enjoy vapid cookie-cutter crap sometimes, too. But it is what it is.
There’s this meme floating around lately meant to make fun of Nintendo. People use this to mock Nintendo, but to me it shows that Nintendo is actually standing out from the crowd. Nothing wrong with the above games; it just seems obvious to me which one stands out. And in the case of Splatoon, it paid off for them, with over a million games sold already.
Nintendo Isn’t Going Anywhere
Nintendo is a company that has saved the industry from demise multiple times. Nintendo is a company that owns a laundry list of legendary IPs. Nintendo is the company that has basically dominated the handheld market since the original Game Boy, and unless you count people playing Candy Crush on their Obamaphones, that continues to this day. Nintendo is doing just fine, or at least as well as can be expected in the current climate. Only a fool places a long term bet against Nintendo, because mark my words, as long as there even is a video game industry, there will be Nintendo.