Shower Thoughts About Nintendo's Paradigm Shift

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Ryukouki, Mar 3, 2015.

?

Too late for Nintendo to change?

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  1. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Just a few days ago, I made polite "small talk" about some personal observations regarding Nintendo's recent business decisions that caused upsets to their audiences. Lately, Nintendo has been on my mind as a concern, that makes me wonder what would happen if Nintendo decided to actually listen to their core audience and face the problems that they've been staring at. Those thoughts are below.



    I'm very fond of Nintendo. They were the first "real" group out there for me when I got my first game console all the way back in the 90's, a beautifully boxy Nintendo Entertainment System. Sadly I wasn't raised in the more retro era, so I can't make remarks about that. The 80's and 90's were apparently a very solid time for Nintendo, whose presence in the video gaming industry was incredibly solid - about $5 billion in sales (after adjusting for inflation, it'll be $9 billion) and 90% of that was Nintendo's money. When I look at something like that, it feels very absolute - you were either with Nintendo or against Nintendo. Looking on, about twenty or so odd years later, things changed quite drastically. We saw the rise of Sony and Microsoft as an accomplished and viable gaming platform, the rise of PC gaming, and the budding of independent gaming developers trying to make a name for themselves. I was looking at this piece written from Games Industry and they noted that in 2013, the Garter Group forecasted that the industry had brought in $93 billion dollars, with Nintendo having only sunk in a total of $9.3 billion. Their presence went from dominating to... relatively quiet in terms of those earnings. At the same time, they generated almost ten billion dollars, so I'm not going to balk at that.

    But lately, things just feel kind of iffy. Nintendo announced that they would make a "quality of life system" that is more geared towards improving human health (with an initial release of a camera that monitors sleeping patterns...) but they've also made statements that they want to stick by gaming. It feels like kind of a weird strategy when I look at it, because Nintendo has been a gaming company from the start, so when I saw this quality of life thing come up, it felt kind of odd to say the least. Their business patterns, which at this point are just a minor quibble to say the least in the long run, felt damaging to their audiences in the short term. What felt like a few grains of sand turned into a huge sea of problems. Games being too easy and too kid centric (some of you may have read GBAtemp Contributor Tom Bombadildo's tepid review of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse), the limited edition failure in execution with the New Nintendo 3DS XLs and Amiibo, the poor online infrastructure, a refusal to modernize, and embrace the fact that the internet really exists (instead choosing to remain in a closed ecosystem of sorts that has more locks than my brain during a midterm exam...), and the fact that their products just don't have that wow factor anymore as they did in the old days. The list goes on and on. We've seen them plenty of times by now. So, why are they not changing?

    I actually caught wind of a fascinating interview that took place with a guy named Dan Adelman, who worked as an executive for Nintendo. He was interviewed and gave some feedback on why Nintendo is so bent on staying in the past. That interview is here in the event that you are interested, but he noted that Nintendo's practice was very Japanese. Like, Japanese Japanese. I never really thought much about the term, so I talked with my father about it some time ago, who had spent time in Tokyo on business trips, and he told me interesting tales about how different their work ethic is over there, when compared to the American business practice. Both my dad and Mr. Adelman made similar remarks - Japan is extremely hierarchy based and very slow to implement changes. Adelman brings up some interesting remarks about how getting things done is akin to being careful to not step on the toes of the executives, because according to him, stepping on toes and getting a single "no" is about as good as a guarantee that the proposal would die.

    For those that seem to think that Nintendo doesn't want to change (I won't even deny it and say that they are static), this interview made it pretty clear that it wasn't quite the fault of Satoru Iwata, but the board of executives who refused to really make such groundbreaking changes. Please understand. The board of executives was described as being very "ancient" and out of touch with their idea of gaming - things that are apparent everywhere nowadays, like friends lists, online, etc., are all things that this board just didn't understand because they were more familiar with the era when things like this didn't happen - the era of NES and SNES.

    It's a very interesting view on something that I had been pondering for a while. Their thought process and decision making chain makes a lot more sense, and goes together with the remarks that my father made about the Japanese business operations. Things that don't quite make it to the top over in Japan have little real chance of spreading to the lower regions. But at the same time, come on! Some of these changes are so prevalent nowadays that at this point it doesn't seem like it would hurt them to try it. Don't get me wrong, they make interesting things that can be more gimmicky than not that somehow end up selling pretty well, but I have to admire the pride that they give about their products and maybe it's why I continue to, for some reason, stick by them, even though my thoughts are pretty clear that I'm a bit bored with their current trends.

    But even so, what would happen if Nintendo actually started listening and facing the problems? What would happen in the event that all of the problems that we observed lately about them actually started getting rectified? In a more video gaming related aspect, what would happen if their games started actually becoming better than what we're seeing? Nintendo is still one of the three big contenders out there, but is it too late for them to get their core audience back? Regardless the circumstances, they're still going to make money and all, but they'll more than likely make more than they're making now if their decisions actually were right side up and not all over the place! What kind of foothold do you guys predict is upcoming for them? Do they still have a place? Have at it in the discussion below.
     
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  2. endoverend

    endoverend AKA zooksman

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    Japan is really interesting in that people seem to think it's a technology wonderland, yet in reality it is frightfully low-tech. It's surprising how many official documents are still done with pen and ink. Nintendo of America has no input on Nintendo's decisions (see the numerous protests and fan outcries that made no change at all) and function only as a PR and translation group. It's hard for Nintendo to listen to their fans with such a huge language barrier. And while Nintendo of America may have the opinion that listening to fans and changing their ways is better, Nintendo of Japan isn't going to have that same spirit of innovation.
     
  3. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    I'm actually surprised at how simplistic their life style is. Their technology is quite dated from what I was told, so it's definitely interesting to see how they mange to do all of these things.
     
  4. LegendAssassinF

    LegendAssassinF GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Sadly I don't see Nintendo getting up to date anytime soon since it would be incredibly hard to pull people out from Sony and Microsoft's family of home consoles. Say Nintendo made the most powerful console next generation they wouldn't know what to do with it.... Nintendo would need to buy out big budget games to secure 3rd party support. Sadly even when they do this and bring in amazing games like Bayonetta 2 people are unwilling to give it a try or buy the console for that game. That leaves Nintendo with producing a AAA 3rd party game and not getting the sales to match it.
     
  5. ferofax

    ferofax End of the World

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    To get stuff going, some really big stuff, you need a unanimous decision up top. The difficulty is translating those changes from a video game perspective which execs and stockholders don't really get to a business perspective which execs and stockholders understand better.
     
  6. Herobroski

    Herobroski GBAtemp Regular

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    If nintendo dies, theyll become a legend. But honestly I dont think nintendo will die. The fan base is big to keep Nintendo on its toes. Also I think that since there is still a healthy variable fanbase supporting nintendo and still growing, I believe that Nintendo will do well. Also, I believe that in future time, much of the children and future generations will adore Nintendo more. I feel like people will actually move away from gore-like games, not particularly shooting-based, but in general, a gore-like or bloody, or M-rated game. My prediction. I just feel like people will come to appreciate Nintendo more.
    Edit: Well, then again... Gateway, a 3ds flashcart, has and will probably leech a fifth of their 3ds sales... nvm. gg. Hacks are too op.
     
  7. thorasgar

    thorasgar Checkout my evil Soon-in-ator™

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    After a couple of lean years we were able to buy our boys a WII U and a new 55" HDTV this Christmas. They had been begging and begging and begging. An Aunt bought them some Game stop gift cards and Rainbow Curse was it, took them on release day and they were so proud with their first purchase they mad on their own by pooling the cards.

    After about 20 minutes of game play the screams started waffling up from the basement. "stop!, Stop!, No fair! I quit!" I roll my eyes and go investigate and discover being a second player kind of sucks and is really boring. Furthermore I am watching my 9 year old staring at the Gamepad the whole time. Looks beautiful up on that big screen, look over his shoulder and see this old crappy SD display his eyes are glued on. "Look at big gorgeous screen you have there, it looks great", "I can't Dad!" " What? Why not?" "I just can't, it doesn't work that way". OK, I think, "Maybe we should have purchased the 3DS version, I bet it would look even better on the new super stable 3D. "Dad, are you stupid? They don't make it for the DS!"

    I look at him and then back up at that big screen and start wondering WTF did I buy?
     
  8. purupuru

    purupuru GBAtemp Regular

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    Just Google Japan and fax machine and you'll get an idea why Nintendo is so backward. The last fax I sent out was three years ago and I was kind of blown away. It's like Japanese businesses are stuck in the 80's just like the old people who run them.
     
  9. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    That's actually one of the more interesting questions that caused a lot of disconnect for me as well. I played through games like Captain toad: Treasure Tracker, and my colleague through Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and the games are extremely game pad heavy. There's no reason to be looking up at the big screen because you're forced to look at the smaller one, and it KILLS the experience. The whole thing with multiplayer nowadays kind of blows two, having to play a completely hollow character with no real fleshed out personality - in Kirby you play as a Waddle Dee thing apparently. :/ Kind of sucks and that disconnect is going to harm them in the long run.
     
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  10. cephalopoid

    cephalopoid Member

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    I've been rooting for Nintendo to stop making consoles for some time now.

    No. Wait. Hear me out.

    I remember the Wii was supoosed to change how we interacted with games, and there were a few shining games that did that, but the bulk of games didn't really innovate. Waggle became what the Wii was known for.

    But even before that, I always saw Nintendo being a great game publisher/developer, and when the Xbox came on the scene, I felt the console race was too crowded.

    And look what happened to Sega. Sega games are now enjoyed cross platform.

    Imagine if Nintendo did the same thing? The could be a multiplatform gaming company. Instead, most of their games are trapped on a mediocre console (3DS aside).
     
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  11. Herobroski

    Herobroski GBAtemp Regular

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    True... If Nintendo could open up, in whatever way, geez it would help them a lot.
     
  12. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    At first I was kind of sceptical, as any thread starting with a "what would happen if Nintendo decided to actually listen to their core audience?" question usually translates to "here's what I want nintendo to do" kind of thing.

    But the talk of the difference in culture is interesting to say the least. :) Overall, business really is done differently than in the US, which I don't think is much of a surprise. And while I can agree that it's not helping them at this point, I think it is but a factor of their situation (after all, sony is also based in Japan).
    EDIT: have to scratch the sony comparison, as Kyoto is apparently 'more Japanese' than Japan in itself.

    I'll get back to this after reading that interview fully and thinking about it. But for now, I doubt this 'core audience' is as easy to listen to as you'd think. The only thing everyone really seems to agree on is more nintendo franchised games need to be made (which they certainly are).

    thorasgar: just out of curiosity: did you knew in advance that Kirby game has you drawing on the gamepad the whole time?
     
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  13. thorasgar

    thorasgar Checkout my evil Soon-in-ator™

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    I knew you drew on the Gamepad, yes. I did not know the the TV was totally useless except for spectators or the rather useless multiplayer in the game.

    Not that it would have made any difference, it was the boys that wanted the game and knowing the Gamepad exclusivity would not have altered their desire for it.

    I thought the purpose of the game pad was to enchance or extend gameplay, not dominate it.

    I agree Nintendo is having difficulty listening to its core audience. They speak Nintendo doesn't listen.

    I may be totally wrong but I will start a list of issues I doubt there is little disagreement over.

    Region locking
    GameCube adapter
    Technical limitations in implementation of Amiibo
    Online account/content ownership/NNID/sytem transfer
    "New" 3DS name (have they never heard of Apple in Japan?)
    WII U name (Pii U)
    XL exclusive in NA only
    Complex architecture driving 3rd party developers away.
    Gamepad Battery
    External HD puts WII U on par price wise as the other systems.
     
  14. Herobroski

    Herobroski GBAtemp Regular

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    AT this rate, in order to make your money's worth, I would buy smash bros and Zelda U, when it comes out. And then teach your son to get into the Zelda series. :P
     
  15. SolarisHeights

    SolarisHeights GBAtemp Regular

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    imo the state of nintendo/sony wii u and handheld portable device such as vita is as good as it can be atm. i juast think many people are just not interested in this devices and rly not much u can do abt that.
     
  16. thorasgar

    thorasgar Checkout my evil Soon-in-ator™

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    Done. I have collected about 23 disks in the past 3 months all but 5 used in excellent condition. Patience with glyde.com.

    Just received the Mayflash adapter and 3 GC controllers this week.

    3 "New" 3DSs, and have all the newer Zelda titles, except 4 Swords. They need to teach me. :) Right now they are teaching me Smash.(I think I am to old)

    My boys sleep with Mario plushies and the family has been M&L, Toad and Peach for the past 3 Halloweens. :)
     
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  17. Jayro

    Jayro MediCat USB and Mini Windows 10 Developer

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    I hear MiniDisc is still the platform of choice for music distribution, and that they still rely on MO discs... I wonder how that still holds up in todays world of flash devices.
     
  18. Heran Bago
    This message by Heran Bago has been removed from public view by Veho, Mar 3, 2015, Reason: Pointless.
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  19. XrosBlader821

    XrosBlader821 Digimon Tamer

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    Nintendo should try to finally catch up.
    They can't implement features that Sony had figured out way earlier. region locking their systems because programming multiple E-shop support is too difficult, Friendlists that still require friendcodes, friend lists limited to 200, digital purchases that are not bound to an account, no messaging system at all, No achievements, no media Server support, no screenshot support, poor resolutions on handhelds.
    Like, come on! It's 2015! You guys had enough time to decide how to modernize your systems.
    Nintendo is a company that started doing DLC in a good way and slaps the triple A industry by offering good gameplay and not some "cinematic" bollocks or season passes or Preorders that give different content from different retailers. Yet still, their consoles aren't the most enjoyable to play on.
     
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  20. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    Back with some more thoughts...

    Let's first start with my vote in the poll: 'no'. Of course it's not too late. If for nothing else, they've got way too much financial reserves to be 'too late' to change, even if every wiiu and 3DS in the world suddenly exploded.

    But as to their decisions lately...I sort of wonder how bad those decisions would actually be if sony and microsoft didn't do consoles. In that case, they still had some questionable decisions, but all in all, not as bad as it's made out to be. A lot of the "they should do this, and this and THIS" kind of blaming seems to be based solely under "because the competition does it".
    Take the demo situation, for example. As Adelman points out, it was conventional wisdom at a certain point that demo's should always be available (and in feedback, a wide audience is pretty much the definition of 'conventional wisdom'). Nintendo didn't. And in the end they were right with their idea that too many demos actually hurt sales (though for a different reason).
    And yeah...they're certainly slow to mature their online infrastructure. They're making small steps where the main competition has pretty much ran the race. I'd argue that at least that way they are avoiding those mistakes they made...but it actually doesn't seem that way (ouch!).

    So being conservative isn't without disadvantages, but doesn't exactly help them much either. And that latter is but a minor example of not looking enough at their competition. Their relationship with third party developers is worrying. Correction: their CONTINUED BAD relationship with third party developers is worrying. It's one thing to not give in to EA's business practices, but their relationships with indie devs really isn't up to snuff compared to sony and MS (who are more than willing to help, especially if exclusivity is involved).


    The strangest thing in this article, though, is that this conservatism "one 'no' from higher up kills an idea outright"-kind of thought somehow greenlights that sleeping pattern monitor. Perhaps I'm looking into things too much (after all, it's not like MS and sony don't do weird shit), but it doesn't make sense to me. At all.

    Another interesting/worrying thought is that nintendo can't keep breeding on nostalgia. Right now, nostalgics are their second cash cow (the first one being kids). They'll soon get tired of rebuying Mario Bros or Ice climbers over and over again. I wonder which percentage of those VC gets sold to people born in the 21st century. Probably not much. That isn't to say those games aren't great...but that those who grew up with it now have the age to make these sorts of games themselves (newer SMBW, anyone?). Yet on the top of ninty's food chain, they hardly bother to do anything. For every splatoon, there's 2 NES remixes. For every...erm...*looks at Bayonetta 2, monster hunter, X, fatal frame and devil's third* ... erm...let's say I doubt they will be timeless.


    Speaking of the newer wiiu games...I had thoughts to create a thread about how a lot of them seem to serve the Oriental market quite a lot. It's almost as if they want to get rid of the 'kiddy' image and go for a 'weeaboo' image instead. I know this is sort of racist and not really having anything to do with culture...if it didn't illustrate how the top decides and the rest has to follow.


    Okay...enough Japan-bashing for now (gomen'nasai to those guys).

    As to how to deal with the issues...it may not work out that bad. For one, Iwata's loan is still halved, right? I doubt he'll simply allow everyone else to just "stay the course". Sure, some changes hurt (why yes, your 55" television is USELESS for Kirby). But how to know in advance? Those amiibo's somehow manage popularity. And do we really want nintendo to clone MS and sony? (note: you guys DO know that this'd mean abandoning the wiiu asap, right?).
     
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  21. DarkWrath669

    DarkWrath669 Member

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    I do love Nintendo, I can be called a fanboy and I do have a large Nintendo collection.

    Starting to notice them getting the bad habits from other game developers. Some of it's okay, their form of DLC isn't stuff that was cut content and the price to content ratio is pretty fair, just hope it doesn't go downhill in the same fashion it did over the years for other devs.

    It's great to see them push for 60FPS in a lot of games too. More so than the newer consoles.

    I'd be happy for them to take the good habits that gave other consoles some benefit. I like the idea of twitch integration, but glad there isn't 3rd party social media integration for example.

    I don't want the next Nintendo console to be another clone of the PS4 and Xbone, which seem to be primarily a media center.
    I really like the Wii U and the content they can get out of it is great. I feel they do a good job of pushing it to it's limit with 1st party titles and you can tell a lot of effort is put into optimization which isn't done so much on other consoles.
    But having the ability to read Bluray and DVDs would have been nice, on board gigabit ethernet, USB 3 etc. to make the most of the latest technologies without that great of a cost increase. Even a little bit better resolution on the gamepad.

    I guess these features were not deemed necessary by Nintendo.
    Personally, I probably spend an hour watching Youtube and an hour gaming on my Wii U each day.
    I know this probably makes me sound very contradicting.
    As long as it's mainly a game console first and an entertainment system second. It's a good ethos.
     
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