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.