In light of absorbing a lot of gaming journalist in japan podcast and articles I’m starting to get a viewpoint on Nintendo’s issues for the future. See effectively the gaming generation of Japan has switched favoring the handheld, even actual gaming companies expect this as part of growing up and proper behavior. Due to long work hours and commutes, generational housing arrangements, and general layout the average 20-40 year old isn’t even at home to play his console, when he’s entered society proper gaming at least as Americans can see it is to be put away. Nothing wrong with a PSP or DS on the bus or train but even if you are home grandpa likely has the TV. This more than anything is informing Nintendo’s strategy for future action.
Moreover a lot of the “Japanese” or “traditional Nintendo” franchises are not big in Japan but abroad. Now Nintendo isn’t abandoning the Western market but they are more than likely focused on seeing gaming and how to approach it from the angle to secure Japan, especially as between things like Love Plus and even other franchises like Monster Hunter that has no Western/US appeal or even presence are securing them income and others…aren’t (Zelda, not that big in Japan).
Overall Nintendo is fighting off the iOS explosion, the Western gaming explosion (let’s just say Western game developers are having more presence and success with the Western market), and with the horrible performance of the 3DS and still slow adoption rate even in Japan of the PS3 pushing the WiiU home-console needs to pull some interesting moves or else Nintendo may actually fall apart in just a dozen plus months if they don’t court some good sales or confidence. Mainly there is a sense of apprehension at the Nintendo product quality due to the Wii’s reputation and the 3DS performance, the feeling of abandonment and lack of success with their software, and general assumption of fickleness of the wider family audience the Wii brought in that will leave them for Kinect or at least not follow them to the WiiU. Almost EVERY gaming news or speculator assumes this will be so, especially with the WiiU’s proposed price point being more expensive than Elite 360 and the 3DS’s critical failure (unless a Christmas miracle happens it looks like the 3DS might be Nintendo sounding the first bell of their demise if not for the costs of itself then loss of street credit and confidence in their name and products). Nintedo’s failure is obvious and pre-eminent, and their need to change or being in a desperate position has lot of people circling.
There have been proposed solutions.
1) Change of corporate culture and attitude. Those in the know I beg you take it away here. But it seems Nintendo can’t court third party developers and are decried far and wide as arrogant in a way they never engenders them the love and companionship of a company who will GLADLY void exclusivity or just plain not pursue a relationship based on both treatment and the demands and schemes to exploit contractors and developers. This is a major thing, a bad coporate culture sucks especially on products that need so much manpower, expertise, oversight and participation
2) Online support and capabilities. Rumors of change but much as I love them I know not to ease up on RUMORS or promises of increased service, why give the cow if they’ll pay for the promise of milk with no actual delivery.
3) NEW and UPDATED IP or attitude to gaming, this is primarily consumer directed as face/attitude. Now this is of mixed importance. The key to remember is that we are enthusiasts but now the majority of game culture drive the sales of Angry Birds which is likely only going to outsell Minesweeper for sheer presence. Its like the App Store version of Portal, great distinct and iconic pageantry, physics and simple but challenging gameplay. Or Modern Warfare, or Super Mario Brothers Wii. But its believed a slow or worse no adoption rate is coming from the new casual gamers who are seen as surge from a fad who won’t upgrade to a Wii U as it can’t compete with PC and will only be a tad more potent than a PS3 and likely offer less multi-function (the new Xbox likely won’t play Blue Ray which means it won’t play HD which.. anyways) while as expensive. So Nintendo needs a hook, a draw, and means new IP to set and create a mood for the console, how and what it will be used for and a deep appeal to the modern and more diverse gamer without feeling they are.. well going around with offbrand knockoffs of “the real thing/
a. This means something to handle Nintendo’s family/kiddie –to-the-point-of-offputting-for-mainstream-adult-gamers-with-disposable-income image
b. At least one likely more with no primary colors
c. A modern IP with non-80s origins but lots of refinement and gameplay creation
d. Without gimmick integration.
I really want to focus on the IP one. Its fun.
So Iwata has his secretary who is also like master IP negotiator and a wing of the marketing department dedicated to a handpicked studio of your choosing they can also be a hot asian female if you are of that persuasion, but that is not necessary.
Now Nintendo wants you to be creative, unique (or create some sort of brand identity and carve niche into the audience), and profitable (so general breakdown of how and what you’d sell would be neat).
What’s baffling me, aside from the risks of a first time property is the me-tooing backfiring on Nintendo. The people dissing them for not having the right brown man shooters with great online play support, AI, controls, and so on just don’t seem like the folks that if Nintendo comes out with Battlefield 4 will doing a 180 and buy the Wii U for yet another brown military shooter, that’s assuming there isn’t a shooter backlash or glut in general. The I already got a 360 issue.
The other is what could be made and how can Nintendo make it so it draws people. I mean Red Steel seemed like sure fire investment, it was on the heels of the Kill Bill craze, had noted developer with strong team and was integrating a basic playstyle only without the same setting and some melee combat interludes and a neat little dark underworld story/action movie more thriller elements. But the controls made people hate it. And though Red Steel 2 fixed a lot of that its kind of hasn’t rehabbed the Wii’s image.
What New IP inspired by current trends can Nintendo make? OR what existing IP needs more consideration for modernization? Who isn’t served and how would you gain them, and how would you profit from them? How many IPs do we make, do we make a new imprint, akin to DC and Vertigo or Viz or the Viz Signature line and other similar divisions to avoid association backfire. Will these be the traditional lockdown proprietary mascots or move to more universal multiplatform stuff to batten down for the coming of the Cloud or at least the foreseen death of the console as this major stream of investment.
Who are missing an IP? The shooter fen who made Modern Warfare a virtual cultural phenomenon? We can agree the minigame collections aren’t.. well if not bad than at least not underserved. If we go after the identified group how, are they part of the Nintendo base how will we say by the Wii U for it.
What does the new IP do for the console? What is its Genre? Who, if anyone, is its star? What’s the general rating and cotent?