I’ve been in two minds about writing an article such as this. On one hand, I really love Nintendo and their stubborn ways, always sticking to what they think is best, regardless of whether it is or not. Doing so in the face of adversity either means you’re incredibly brave, or incredibly naive. So, on the other hand, they need to look at the gaming landscape around them and realise that it’s going to be pretty hard for them to carve their way to success should they fall further behind the curve. Titles, or rather demos for games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, show us that they are still more than happy to throw a curve ball into the mix, but whether they can subsequently smash it out the ball park is yet to be seen. So, my plea to Nintendo: Please stop making hardware, and focus primarily on your games.
Nintendo hardware is always interesting and unique, by some stretch of the imagination. There’s always something special about it, such as the glasses-free 3D nature of the Nintendo 3DS, the motion controls of the Wii, and the second screen experience of the Wii U. However, from a gaming perspective, very few games make meaningful use out of these features, or gimmicks as some people would view them, and that puts 3rd party developers in an interesting situation. Do they make titles primarily for these consoles in order to make optimal use out of the added features of the hardware, especially considering that, due to the smaller amount of console units out in the wild, they would most likely not make an adequate return on their investment? Do they port games to the consoles and, in order to simply tick off an imaginary box, force features that were already in the game to work on whatever hardware feature is currently being touted?
In most cases, it’s easier to just simply not release it on Nintendo’s consoles at all. But who are we kidding? If you buy a Nintendo console as your primary gaming device then you will, unfortunately, be let down if you are interested in 3rd party games. You buy Nintendo hardware for the Nintendo software, simple as that. Titles such as Mario, Pokemon and the aforementioned Legend of Zelda are all somewhat exclusive to the consoles, and that is what pulls us in.
But does it need to be that way? The scope of the games, and subsequent breadth of people the game can actually reach, would be significantly larger than what it is currently. Whilst the games would be constrained to the technology that the hardware provides, you wouldn’t lose that beloved Nintendo magic that each of the games gleefully excretes all over the walls. Zelda would still be Zelda. Mario would still be Italian. People still wouldn’t have any idea what gender Birdo is. If Pokemon Go is anything to go by, the names that Nintendo have made household names have transcended Nintendo themselves, and would be better off to have a little freedom. A little change never hurt anyone, and Nintendo, despite their old fashioned ways, are wacky enough to do such a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Nintendo hardware, and I think that they would have to continue making portable consoles in some manner, simply because they are unrivaled in that area, but if anyone knows how to shake up the industry, Nintendo are right there at the forefront. So, Nintendo, I ask you this. Ditch the hardware. Make the Nintendo NX some sort of software front that you can put onto pre-existing consoles, a la Steam, and release your games through there.
My body is ready.
What do you think? Is it time for Nintendo to shake up the industry again? Let us know below in the comments, or over at Facebook and/or Twitter!