Let’s look at Nintendo’s history
Once, Nintendo was one of the biggest companies in the gaming industry. However, they failed to adapt to the changes, and we are currently in a point where they don’t have as much power as they used to have in the past. To see what they did wrong, let’s look at their devices.
1980 | Game & Watch
Nintendo’s first console was Game & Watch, produced from 1980 to 1991. It had a single black and white screen using which you could play one game at a time. Even though it does not have any major impact on the gaming industry, Game & Watch series is recognized as the company’s earliest success.
1983 | NES
Following the Game & Watch, Nintendo’s second success came in 1983 with NES.
Released on July 15th 1983 ( Japan ), Nintendo Entertainment System, or abbreviated as NES, was their first home video gaming console. It was a tremendous success as honorably carrying the title “one of the best-selling gaming consoles” with about 62 million sold units. In a comparison with world’s best selling consoles, 61.57 million sold units means being the 10th. Even though this number is a little bit higher than the PS4 sales as of now, it is not as high as the sales of PlayStation 2 or 3. However, NES’ impact on the gaming world is unforgettable. Nintendo NES was the console which shaped the video game industry especially in the US. Starting with the NES, Nintendo introduced a new business model ( which is currently being used ) where the maker of the gaming hardware would license third-party developers allowing them to produce titles for its own platform.
In other words, it was a great start for Nintendo.
1983 | Game Boy
Company’s next device was Game Boy. It was released on April 21, 1989 ( Japan ).
Even though most people think Nintendo’s first handheld gaming console was the Nintendo Game Boy, the first one was the Game & Watch series from 1980. However, Game Boy can be described as Nintendo’s first successful mobile gaming console. Combining the features of the NES with Game & Watch series, Game Boy beat its rivals such as Sega Game Gear or Atari Lynx . Nintendo sold total of 118.69 million Game Boy and Game Boy Color units making it the third best selling game console after the PlayStation 2 and DS.
Even though the success of NES and the Game Boy is not even open to an argument, Nintendo has a more successful home video gaming console than the NES and more successful hand console than the Game Boy. Those are the Nintendo Wii and the DS.
2004 | DS
First, lets talk about the Nintendo DS. Released back in 2004, it is the best-selling hand held console ever and the second best-selling console after the PlayStation 2.
DS was a short form of “Developers’ System” or “Dual Screen”, named after its dual screen ( one of which is touch sensitive ). It was the first console to support Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, a service allowing gamers to interact with each other over Wi-Fi. Even though the service is closed now, it was designed to compete with PlayStation Portable at its time.
2006 | Wii
Nintendo Wii, on the other hand, was yet another success story. It was a seventh-generation console released in November 19, 2006. It was designed to compete with Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. Targeting a broader demographic, Nintendo Wii lead over its competitors in terms of sales. While Sony and Microsoft only managed to sell about 85 million units, Nintendo sold over 100 million Wii.
2012 | Wii U
Long story short, Nintendo were the leader in the gaming industry for such a long period. Most of their devices are currently in the list of best selling consoles. This success comes from the fact that they understood the needs and the desires of the gamers. At least, until 2012 when they announced the Wii U. Until 2012, most of the players didn’t necessarily wanted amazing graphics. The great story with perfect characters was enough. However, in the past several years technology moved on significantly. While the companies who could adapt to the changes not only survived in the waves but also rise in such a short period. On the other hand, the ones who couldn’t understand the changes started to lose their significance. This list also includes Nintendo. When they announced Wii U, the players were asking more than just a decent story. They wanted games with realistic graphics, something Nintendo couldn’t provide with the Wii U.
2016 | Switch
Now, they are back, but I still think that they don’t understand what we ask for. New Switch is better than the Wii U, but is it really a gaming console?
Basically, that is a tablet with few accessories and games. Now, they are not competing with Microsoft or Sony at all. I feel like they try to compete with the companies in the mobile gaming industry.
Even though it is too early to make a comment about the Switch, I don’t think it will bring Nintendo to its good old days.