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The Future of Nintendo: Life After Iwata-san

CrimsonCavalier

Fuzzy Pickles
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It has been over a week now, and I think we've all been able to digest the news that rocked the gaming world. However, as sad as it is, life has to move on, and that includes life at Nintendo. After all, those left behind still have a business to run.

All of the news point to Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda as taking over, at least temporarily, but some sources claim that Miyamoto is unlikely to be the next actual president of Nintendo. Rather, they point to Takeda as a more likely candidate, though that isn't for sure either.

Takeda, for those of you who may not know, was one of the biggest critics of the graphical arms-race, of which Nintendo is no longer part. If it is true that he is to take over the company, I believe we are going to see some of the same things we have been seeing with Nintendo for the last decade.

However, some people may not be happy about this. Personally, I think it's fine that Nintendo do not wish to directly engage with Sony and MS in creating the absolutely most state-of-the-art graphically powerful hardware, but I do not agree with his stance on graphics as a whole.

He likened the Wii to a hybrid car, while the PS3 and 360 were sports or performance vehicles. Frankly, that worries me. I don't want a hybrid. I don't want a sports car either. I wonder if Nintendo will continue with Iwata's plans, or if the next president will take the company in a different direction.

As a whole, what do you expect of Nintendo in the rest of this year, and for the rest of this generation?
 
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http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2015-07-21-miyamoto-unlikely-to-succeed-iwata-say-analysts

Here's my opinion on it all:

Miyamoto is like Jonathon Ive. Both are the cdreative geniusesw in their respective companies. You do not want to burden their creative freedom with the mundane every day tasks of CEO. The role of the genius is not to lead us. The role of the genius is to imprive humanity through their genius. And we can say both Miyamoto and Ive are doing this.

It's just sad that both companies lost their CEO to cancer around 55 years old. I just hope Takeda understands what fun was like Iwata did. He feels like a Tim Cook in my opinion. Less animated and more a bean counter but if he can move Nintendo forward then I'm behind him 100%.

One point the article says is this:
"Nintendo's next leader may instead focus on the hardware, selling the product directly rather than the community that comes with it,"
This would kill Nintendo. The games and the community is what makes Nintendo. Nintendo need to keep selling the whole experience. That being the ingetrated hardware and software experience as well as marketing Nintendo as the best fun the customer can have. Moving to a hardware first business model would not be good. You only have to listen to Iwata's Heart of a Gamer speech to realise how well Iwata just got it. Iwata had the ability to speak to our innerselves like he was right next to us and not 3000KM away in Japan. That was his blessing on us.

I do not expect the next CEO to be blessed with this talent. No two people are alike. But I do hope Nintendo can transition itself to a better time. Nintendo has all the work Iwata did on NX. And they can push that through the pipeline. They don't have to styart from scratch, that good. And based of the success of that, Nintendo can move forward.

The most important thing, should Takeda become CEO is to stregthen the Ninteo Garage department. That is the future of Nintendo. It's already proved it's worth with Splatoon. Their first project was a smash hit. It was a hard fought victory though as many of the senior staff were initially not sold on the idea. That is a good thing as the Garage needs to really sell their ideas. They need to prove to us why their games are fun. And not just go through the motions like most other game developers. I jsut hope Takeda really understands this.

I do think Takeda will not do the CEO asks interviews or Nintendo Directs. We'll have others doing them. For the US ones I can see Bill Trinnen taking over that role. He does a good job at them. Even if he not young anymore. The Japanese ones will be much tougher. But I'm sure Nintendo will find someone.

There will be no Takeda asks like there was Iwata asks. I think that died that day Iwata did. A shame really. But really that's not the job of the CEO to do. Iwata just took it upon himself to do it cause he loved doing it.

Nintendo need to work out who will be their PR voice now. Sure Reggie and Trinnen exist still. But they'll need a Iwata replacement. Someone we can really empathise with. Someone who wants to go on the journey of being a Nintendo customer with us. This is Nintendo's biggest challenge in my opinion (much more than the NX which already has a concept and most likely a lot of the work already done on it).

However, some people may not be happy about this. Personally, I think it's fine that Nintendo do not wish to directly engage with Sony and MS in creating the absolutely most state-of-the-art graphically powerful hardware, but I do not agree with his stance on graphics as a whole.
I agree on his stance on graphics. Nintendo are not a direct competitor of Sony and MS just as much as Apple is not a direct competitor of MS. They have totally different outlooks and aims with their products. Sony and MS are out to make the largest profit they can and make the best looking games ever with the beefiest console hardware. Nintendo on the other hand is all about affordable fun.

If Nintendo entered the beefy hardware graphics race that MS ans Sony are in, Nintendo would lose, for many reasons. Nintendo have no want to do this, no expertise to get this done and it's customers are not even wanting it. Nintendo have survived so long by doing their own thing. Nintendo's only competition is itself and bettering it's past achievements. And staying profitable. Of cause Nintendo are not out to make money for the sake of it like Sony and MS but they have to (and do) understand that without a resonable profit margin they cease to exist as a company.

When people say Nintendo don't want to compete with Sony and MS, they are correct. This is not because Nintendo do not want to do it. This is because Nintendo makes products that don't compare to Sony and MS's products. It's like apples trying to compete with oranges. Both are fruit but past that there is nothing else similar about them.
 
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As far as the future of Nintendo is concerned, I don't think it will change course all that much. Its not just who is president that makes for an entire company's perspective on their business, just like the president of the United States isn't the only one making all the decisions. Whoever they pick, I simply hope that they are younger and can embrace many of the modern expectations of gaming.

Having said that, I believe Nintendo does not need to go over-the-top with hardware specs, but they do need to compete to remain relevant. The DS and Wii were both extremely revolutionary pieces of gaming hardware that everyone had to try, anyone could pick up and play, and most everyone loved enough to hold on to. Hardware sales brought in third parties, making for a huge library of anything and everything, plus the Nintendo IP's which the longtime fans could enjoy. The Wii U tried to go the route of the Wii in that Nintendo knew it would be overpowered sooner than later, but banked on revolutionary style of play to sell the system. The problem here is that Nintendo wasn't ahead of the game like they were with DS and Wii, as tablets were becoming more relevant, and no one really cared about the dual screen experience on a home console. Many of us, including myself, saw immense potential in the Wii U, but the majority of gamers looked at it with a "meh" attitude.

So where does Nintendo go from here? I see them continuing the trend of trying to be revolutionary, which is completely fine as long as they don't bank completely on that alone to sell the system. Otherwise, they'll have another Wii U on their hands. They need to have a mix of revolutionary gameplay along with hardware power comparable to other current-gen systems. Some of you may not agree that this is what they need to do, but history tells us otherwise. If Nintendo continues to bank on gimmicks over power, they will come up short again and again until we're either playing Zelda on a Playstation, or not playing Zelda at all. There's only so many more Wii U's that Nintendo can afford to suffer through.
 
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If Nintendo continues to bank on gimmicks over power, they will come up short again and again
Um what was the Wii? That was total gimmicks over power and it outsold everything else. The gimmicks over power is not an issue of worry for Nintendo. But I do agree with you that they can't go all revolutionary on their control system to the total neglect of the hardware specs. The right balance is needed. And this balance helps keep Nintendo hardware affordable to the average consumer.
 
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Um what was the Wii? That was total gimmicks over power and it outsold everything else. The gimmicks over power is not an issue of worry for Nintendo. But I do agree with you that they can't go all revolutionary on their control system to the total neglect of the hardware specs. The right balance is needed. And this balance helps keep Nintendo hardware affordable to the average consumer.
The Wii came at the right time, basically. If Sony had created the Move before Nintendo released the Wii, do you think the Wii would have been relevant had it been the same system in comparison to the PS3? Definitely not. The Move failed because that gimmick had already been done, and anyone who wanted to play those kinds of games could on the Wii which everyone in the world already had.

Again, the Wii U is an obvious reason why gimmicks over power is most certainly an issue for Nintendo. No one cared about dual-screen play, so the potential for those kinds of games was never truly tapped into. When you look at most Wii U games today, even many made by Nintendo themselves, the GamePad's screen is more or less an afterthought. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze doesn't use it at all, Wind Waker uses it to swap items which is a very basic idea, and most other games either slap a map on there or simply project what is already on the TV screen. Virtually nothing interesting has been done with the GamePad. The best example of it being used well in my opinion is ZombiU, which integrated it in such a way that it really made the player feel more "in" the game itself.

The Wii U was comparable to the 360 and PS3 when it was released and for about the first year, and despite low hardware sales, the system got many great third party games ported over to it. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, for example, was one game that was better on Wii U than it was even on rival systems because it could do everything they done plus more with the GamePad. If the Wii U would have been beefed up more for the likes of the XBOne or PS4, then hardware sales may have been better and we would be playing many of the big third party blockbusters that we have missed this generation because of its falling behind in power. Nintendo put all their money on the GamePad believing it to be a huge selling point for the system, causing the system to be priced as it was, but when no one cared about the GamePad, all they could see was dated hardware that they weren't willing to shell out that much cash for. All I've heard since the first year of the Wii U's release is "They should lower the price" and "They should include a system with just the Pro Controller". No one cares about the main selling point of the system, which is why its in the gutter and why Nintendo has not made mounds of cash off of it like they could have.
 
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The Wii came at the right time, basically. If Sony had created the Move before Nintendo released the Wii, do you think the Wii would have been relevant had it been the same system in comparison to the PS3? Definitely not. The Move failed because that gimmick had already been done, and anyone who wanted to play those kinds of games could on the Wii which everyone in the world already had.
We can always say what if. The fact is Nintendo got it right first. Not Nintendo's fault for Sony being late to market with their product.

No one cared about dual-screen play, so the potential for those kinds of games was never truly tapped into.
People cared about it but when it was done well. Dual screen play is done well on the 3DS. And it's slowly being utilised in better ways in the WiiU. The WiiU failed at launch and the gamepad really was not the reason. Neither was the lower hardware specs. Nintendo totally screwing up the launch, not having a console selling game and not treating the 3rd party developers as good as they should have were more reasons. To date I've only heard of one game or developer say their reason for not making a WiiU game was Project CARS. They tried hard but the WiiU hardware could not do it. Everyone else just says poor sales or no want to port to the WiiU is the reason. I did at launch fail to see the good points of the gamepad. But why I didn't buy a WiiU at launch (only later) was because there was no console selling game for me. No one is going to buy a WiiU for Black Ops 2. But People might just buy Black Ops 2 for the WiiU they already own . . . I think you get the point I am trying to make.

Also there is Kirby's Rainbow Paintbrush. Used the gamepad really well. But it also failed as a game. It used the gamepad so much that you never looked at your TV. Might as well call it an off TV game. Getting that TV and gamepad screen balance right is hard. I will agree with you and say very few have done it really well. ZombieU did as you correctly point out. Captain Toad did use it very well. Star Fox Zero looks like it will. Xenoblade Chrinicles X also looks like it'll do it well too. Splatoon uses the gamepad well also but that's the gyro in it and not the 2nd screen.

The best feature of the gamepad is, in my opinion off TV game playing. Perfect for those older VC games and indie games.

The WiiU's price was always much lower than the XB1 or PS4. And that's intentional I think, Nintendo usually go for affordability over massive raw hardware specs. The people were just winging at the WiiU's price without even realising that the competition was even more expensive.

You make a very good point. The gamepad was supposed to be the selling point on the system at launch and it was not, I agree with you there. But the reason for this was not because the gamepad was bad and not because no one wanted it. The reason was Nintendo failed to give enough games that used it really well to sell the concept to us. By really well I mean innovatively. Off TV gaming was not mentioned much back then either, which is a chame as it's a massive gasmepad feature. Oh well, I guess Nintendo can learn from it's miatakes for the NX.
 
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We can always say what if. The fact is Nintendo got it right first. Not Nintendo's fault for Sony being late to market with their product.
But you get my point there. The whole "motion controlled" gaming deal was done first by Nintendo and then everyone else decided to jump on the bandwaggon which, at that point, everyone had experienced that on Wii and didn't really care. Nintendo did an amazing job at creating something so appealing to the masses gameplay-wise that hardware specs didn't matter all that much. People just wanted to experience the Wii. This is something that I can't imagine Nintendo being able to do again, with the way technology has advanced since then, but time will tell.


People cared about it but when it was done well. Dual screen play is done well on the 3DS. And it's slowly being utilised in better ways in the WiiU. The WiiU failed at launch and the gamepad really was not the reason. Neither was the lower hardware specs. Nintendo totally screwing up the launch, not having a console selling game and not treating the 3rd party developers as good as they should have were more reasons.
The fact that dual-screen gaming was done so well on the DS and later 3DS was one reason I personally thought Wii U would do well. I saw how much developers got out of the idea on a handheld, and could only imagine the games that would be made on a full-blown home console. The reality of the situation is that it simply didn't happen, largely due to lack of hardware sales and marketing. Nintendo failed to really have anything solid in place for Wii U as far as games go, and I don't remember seeing a Wii U commercial or solid advert until a year or more after the thing was released. I think this was due to Nintendo believing people who bought Wii would instantly jump on the Wii U boat, and again, that didn't happen and in reality was a horrible way to assume their product would sell. Luckily, this isn't something that we'll likely see again with the NX.

You make a very good point. The gamepad was supposed to be the selling point on the system at launch and it was not, I agree with you there. But the reason for this was not because the gamepad was bad and not because no one wanted it. The reason was Nintendo failed to give enough games that used it really well to sell the concept to us. By really well I mean innovatively. Off TV gaming was not mentioned much back then either, which is a chame as it's a massive gasmepad feature. Oh well, I guess Nintendo can learn from it's miatakes for the NX.
I think the biggest selling point to the general gaming public when the Wii U was released was off-tv play. But I don't think, looking back, that it was a big enough selling point to make someone want to shell out $350 for the system, obviously. The idea is cool, but its not very revolutionary and its not something that people just had to experience. And its definitely not something that I see as a lasting appeal over the course of a console's entire lifespan. The GamePad was really so much more, and still is so much more, than what people use it for. The front-facing camera and built-in microphone have been completely neglected, which I could see as providing even more interesting ways to play games when integrated properly. that sad truth is that they never were, and likely will never be at this point.
 
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But you get my point there. The whole "motion controlled" gaming deal was done first by Nintendo and then everyone else decided to jump on the bandwaggon which, at that point, everyone had experienced that on Wii and didn't really care. Nintendo did an amazing job at creating something so appealing to the masses gameplay-wise that hardware specs didn't matter all that much. People just wanted to experience the Wii. This is something that I can't imagine Nintendo being able to do again, with the way technology has advanced since then, but time will tell.
What you say is very true and I agree with you. It is just a consequence of Nintendo being first to market. Others could have been first but they chose not to.

The fact that dual-screen gaming was done so well on the DS and later 3DS was one reason I personally thought Wii U would do well. I saw how much developers got out of the idea on a handheld, and could only imagine the games that would be made on a full-blown home console. The reality of the situation is that it simply didn't happen, largely due to lack of hardware sales and marketing. Nintendo failed to really have anything solid in place for Wii U as far as games go, and I don't remember seeing a Wii U commercial or solid advert until a year or more after the thing was released. I think this was due to Nintendo believing people who bought Wii would instantly jump on the Wii U boat, and again, that didn't happen and in reality was a horrible way to assume their product would sell. Luckily, this isn't something that we'll likely see again with the NX.
Dual Screens is not what harmed the WiiU. Not advertising them well enough and not enough games that made good use of both screens was the killer. I can see the NX having a gamepad of sorts, as Nintendo have said the NX will not stop Nintendo supporting WiiU game and 3DS game development. I can agree with the lack of hardware sales amd lack of marketing too. But Nintendo will learn their lessons for the NX hopefully.

I think the biggest selling point to the general gaming public when the Wii U was released was off-tv play. But I don't think, looking back, that it was a big enough selling point to make someone want to shell out $350 for the system, obviously. The idea is cool, but its not very revolutionary and its not something that people just had to experience. And its definitely not something that I see as a lasting appeal over the course of a console's entire lifespan. The GamePad was really so much more, and still is so much more, than what people use it for. The front-facing camera and built-in microphone have been completely neglected, which I could see as providing even more interesting ways to play games when integrated properly. that sad truth is that they never were, and likely will never be at this point.
I can agree here too. Off TV play is a great feature but it's not a console selling feature. This just proves Nintendo games sell Nintendo hardware. Iwata understood this. Why he didn't enforce a good Nintendo game upon WiiU release, we shall never know. The lack of that one console selling game upon launch did the damage. And couldn't sell the idea of the gamepad properly.

It all comes down to the fact that Iwata knew good Nintendo games sell Nintendo hardware. There was no good Nintendo game upon WiiU launch. Why Iwata? I think the buck stops with him. But since he's dead now, sll we can do is hope everyone else at Nintendo understands this mistake. And makes sure it never happens again.
 

Dio

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I hope a CEO is chosen that will help take Nintendo out of the direction it has been going in lately.

I think someone who is younger and more in touch with what gamers actually want rather than someone who believes that rehash's and amiibos are all we are interested in.
 

CrimsonCavalier

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I loved Iwata. He was a gamer first, a developer second, and that's how he ran the business. He knew what it was like to be a gamer and a developer, and knew what the gamer wanted. But he did not run a good video game business. Like it or not, the market has changed, and Nintendo has not. At least not enough. I hope Nintendo never stops innovating and making games that gamers want to play, but I hope they do it with a more business-savvy person in charge. Iwata saved Nintendo with the DS and the Wii, two systems that will always be remembered as the most innovative, and two of the best ever. But Nintendo needs to be able to adapt. There are industry standards that Nintendo refuse to embrace, and such things have cost them.

There are many reasons, and all of them valid, why the Wii U has tanked, and I don't think any one of them is the only reason. It's definitely a combination of weak launch, poor GamePad support, laughable marketing, underpowered hardware, and an arrogant attitude towards 3rd parties.

Whoever takes over needs to understand these mistakes and fix them.

No one will ever do what Iwata did. More than any other CEO of any major gaming company, he knew what it was like to be a gamer. He related to us, and we related to him. And it was grand, while it lasted. But Nintendo now needs someone to take them out of the mire and into the modern gaming landscape.
 

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