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Nintendo's Ninten-don'ts

By Alex Sferrazza
On March 4, 2014

Nintendo needs to jump into the 21st century. If there's one company whose failings have been their own fault, it's Nintendo.
Nintendo's current struggles are no surprise to anyone. From the moment of its announcement, the Wii U has failed to attract the hype or attention awarded that of its predecessor. Its sales have been doomed from the start. Factor in a current price of $299 for the deluxe model, only $100 less than the popular and graphically superior PS4, and the Wii U has pretty much been nailed in the coffin.
The failure of Nintendo to recognize the growing expectations of the modern gaming audience, robust online play, multimedia playback (Blu-Ray, DVD, music) and most importantly, cutting edge graphics that can support the very best titles third party developers offer on competing platforms, are what have caused these issues.
The inability of the company and its CEO, Satoru Iwata, to recognize these shortcomings in advance, much like they failed to adopt disc based architecture for the N64, include any DVD capabilities on any systems, or online capability whatsoever with the GameCube, is unacceptable. The company is in desperate need of management change, as the current regime is hopelessly out of touch with the modern audience.
Look, I'm not hear to say Mr. Iwata hasn't done great things during his time at Nintendo. The Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii forever changed the gaming industry with their wildly innovative touch and motion control schemes. Only a few short years ago, the Big N was by far the market leader in both hardware and software sales amongst both home and handheld consoles. Additionally, Iwata has overseen the development of quality first party software across all platforms, introducing new hits such as "Wii Fit" and "Brain Age" as well as revivals of classic favorites in the forms of "Donkey Kong Country Returns" and the Wii's "Punch-Out!"
But the fact of the matter is that Nintendo is in its currently sorry state as a result of poor decisions made by the very same management that spearheaded its earlier successes. Whether said decisions were made as a result of arrogance or yet another severe misjudgment of audience's tastes is neither here nor there. With the company losing money at an unfathomable rate, someone should be ready to take the blame.
Nintendo is a very traditional Japanese company. Until 2002, the company was still run by the Yamauchi family and as of 2014, the CEO appointed by Hiroshi Yamauchi has remained in power. Unlike an America in company where Mr. Iwata would have surely been ejected by now, Nintendo will not remove their leader against his will. I just hope for the company's sake, Mr. Iwata himself realizes its time to go. Only then will Nintendo have a chance to regain a foothold in the home console market it once dominated. With the combined efforts of the most valuable IPs in the industry and the best first party developers in the world, it just might yet again dominate again.

 


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