“On to the next one…
Somebody bring me back some money, please!”
The lyrics from the Jay-Z hit “On to the Next One” must be playing at Nintendo headquarters in Japan. There is a rumor floating around the interwebs that Nintendo has already begun moving forward to new console and handheld projects codenamed “Nintendo Fusion”. (If that name sounds familiar, it should. Back in the early 2000s, Nintendo used the name as a joint video game and rock music tour.)
It’s pretty much common knowledge that Nintendo has been taking a back seat to Sony and Microsoft in the console gaming wars. Since the Playstation 2 and the original XBox 1 debuted in 2000, the Japanese video game legend has struggled to regain their spot in the console gaming marketplace.
In 2007, Nintendo introduced us to the Wii, and there was moderate success with the console as it was the first console system to utilize motion gaming — which was later trumped by Microsoft’s KINECT complement to the XBox 360. A little over a year ago, Nintendo released the Wii U as the successor to the Wii, and in that year, the system has failed to yield the same positive results of their Sony and Microsoft brothers. As of the end of 2013, Nintendo Wii U sales have only been around 5 million units. Compare that to the 3 million XBox One’s and 4.2 million Playstation 4’s that have been sold already.
Here we are, then, Nintendo. About 14 months into the release of your new system, you’re going back to the drawing board. Would it be worth it for you to pour more capital into a new system? Sony and Microsoft already have a pretty significant stranglehold on the console gaming market at this point. You could certainly try to squeeze a couple more dollars from the avid Mario and Zelda fans, but how much longer can you live off that?
It all comes down to the idea and opinion that Nintendo systems and many Nintendo games are built just for kids. They have the Pokemon crowd, the Digimon crowd and whatever else kids 7-12 are into these days. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the ever essential 16+ year old gamer isn’t going to want that. Nintendo has failed to shake this image over the years (for whatever reason), and they’ve paid the price.
Will this new Nintendo Fusion be the thing that pushes the company in a new direction? Maybe. It’s very clear that most of the gaming world has spoken that Nintendo just isn’t that relevant anymore. They’re a dying breed. Nintendo could very well go the route that SEGA went after the Dreamcast — one of the best systems of the last 15 years, by the way. Nintendo could just make games for other systems and not consoles (doubtful), or they could own the handheld market — something they do already.
A new console, however, may not be that next thing you want to move on to.