Friday, January 27, 2012


Company history of the Japanese gaming giant, along with an incisive analysis on business strategies.

I was going over some news articles this week and they sparked my curiosity quite a bit. I'm sure most of you reading this blog are aware of a certain computer console called the Nintendo, which was birthed in the mind of a man named by Fusajiro Yamauchi, back in the year 1889. They've tried a variety of business ventures, ranging from classic playing cards to a "love hotel" [yes, they built a hotel specifically designed for passionate & kinky rendezvouses for couples in Japan]. And eventually, they started making video game systems from what can be viewed as compressed / portable arcade modules - after receiving inspiration from the Atari firm. The first in-home gaming console that Nintendo made with a single game was called the Magnavox Odyssey back in 1974. And in 1981 they made the arcade game called Donkey Kong, which became a smash hit; and it was the birthing place of a certain Italian plumber named Mario, who would later elevate the company to the status of a global mega-corporation.

In 1983, they launched the legendary NES - the Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom. That console was the gateway for classics such as Mario Bros, Zelda, Mega Man and Castlevania to come forth into the world. And 8 years later in 1991 they launched the SNES - aka the Super Nintendo. The SNES's best selling game was Super Mario World, selling over 20 million copies world wide. And the Street Fighter II legendary game line was also starting to emerge at this time, translating from an arcade phenomenon to a highly addictive SNES home game in 1992.

The exciting Nintendo 64 and the Game Cube consoles followed in 1996 and 2001 respectively. And between those two time periods, one of their most notorious rivals, the Play Station 2, was already breaking into the scene [as of 1999]. And in the handheld category, the Gameboy [with its strange blue-green-and-white screen] came out in 1990. And its two successors, the Gameboy Color and the Gameboy Advance followed in 1998 and 2001 respectively.
BTW, this article is quite lengthy... So you'll have to click "Read More" to see the rest of the pics....

Now lets fast-forward the clock about a decade and arrive at the year 2010. By this time, the revolutionary Nintendo Wii has already been produced, a system that caused a lot of people to get off the couch and "shake their butts" in front of a flat screen. And the Nintendo DS was already about 5 years old at this time.
In 2010, using the month of March as a benchmark, Nintendo had a profit of about 2.45 billion US Dollars. But in 2011, Nintendos net profits dropped about 66% [that's more than half] and they had a profit of 946 million US dollars. They've already started dropping the price of their Nintendo 3DS machines back in August of 2011 and that doesn't seem to be helping them sell more units at all. In fact as of January 2012, Nintendo 3DS has a new official warning released by the Japanese firm, stating that kids below 6 years of age should NOT play with their handheld platform, while adults are advised to take "periodic breaks" so that their eyes will not suffer stressful harm.

The external Web article that talks about that issue is over HERE. And retail market forecasts are pointing out that Nintendo is destined to have more losses in the near future, despite their forthcoming home entertainment system called the Nintendo Wii U that will debut in December 2012.

I decided to take a look at the other side of the coin and noted that buyers and fans are often the best critics. And amidst the comments listed below one of the articles that I researched, someone said he had an 11-year-old son who had no interest in Nintendo games... and as a father who played their original NES and SNES, neither did he. He stated that the game manufacturer ought to remember that their original hardcore fans have all grown up... and thus the myriad of childish games that have been the focus of the Nintendo design teams are truly a wasted effort. In fact, this guy claimed that when he plugged his son's Nintendo DS into a big screen, the magnified graphics looked like garbage, and even the games from the SNES looked better in his opinion. Yet he echoed the fact that the childish games were still one of his greatest turn-offs from the modern Nintendo products.

That is a rather interesting confession; because the other big boys on the block, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's XBOX 360, are producing a lot of mature games like Modern Warfare, and Mass Effect. From, the Top-3 games of 2011 for the XBOX 360 were: Gears of War 3, Dead Space 2 and LA Noir. And for the PS3, the Top-3 games of 2011 were: Batman Arkam City, Rage, and The Last Guardian.

Clearly from the short lists above, the level of the video game maturity is obvious. And the top selling games from both consoles involve violence and intense action.
I will not say that all of Nintendo's financial problems will disappear overnight if they start producing more violent video games.... but what the hell happened to addictive games starring Zelda and Mega Man? What about an F-Zero game that is actually worth playing, per graphics and game dynamics? [Back in 2011, Need For Speed: The Run, Forza Motorsport 4 and Driver: San Fransisco showed gamers what racing games should actually look and feel like]. It seems like Nintendo fell into a comfort zone over the years, and the danger of that mentality is that the company will inadvertently turn into a dinosaur, one who is too lazy and reluctant to evolve with changing times. Mega Man X with his complete armor upgrades is on the left, while the classic blue-bomber who ruled the NES console is on the right side.

And here is the link to the trailer for a futuristic racer game called Wipeout2048, which looks better than any of the F-Zero games ever created --> HERE

BTW, as of 2011, Mega Man has been cancelled; Capcom has no more plans to utilize the character in creating any new games, leaving Mega Man video game in the gaming graveyard that holds Ms. Morrigan Aensland and the Darkstalkers game. And for those who don't know who Morrigan is, I've assembled a few sexy pinups and cosplay pics of her from around the Web:



In the Darkstalkers game / anime series, Morrigan is a succubus designed with large breasts, sexy hips and long legs; thus she is actually a female demon. According to folklore, succubus demons tend to appear in dreams as sexy women, who seduce men and have sex with them while they are asleep. Morrigan does often make cameos in the Marvel vs. Capcom & also the Capcom vs. SNK gaming series, but there are no plans by Capcom to give her a solo game any time soon.

Now lets get back to the topic of the toppling corporate giants that refuse to evolve with changing times and market trends. Another example of this lack of evolution can be seen in the financial and production records of KODAK. That company is about 131 years old and they are now filling for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, as of January 2012. I'm sure that while you were growing up in the 80s [and even in the mid-90s] you once bought a "disposable camera with Kodak film inside it", which you joyfully utilized to capture your Spring Break / Disney World / Mardi Gras / Bachelor Party / Freaknik Escapades [ATL in the house] / and Hot Date memories.

But are you aware that Kodak was the firm that created the digital camera?? And now they're broke?? Well, in 2011 the company realized that no magical event was going to redeem them from their maelstrom of dismay, which was apparently drawing them into a deep whirlpool of debt. Last year, Kodak listed $5.1 billion in assets and $6.75 billion in debt. So clearly the books aren't balancing. But how does a firm that holds a host of ingenious patents go broke? And how is it that they created the digital camera technology that we use today, and yet the #1 selling digi-cameras in the world are not from the Kodak brand? [BTW, Game footage from Gears Of  War 3 is shown on the left. And the blog article with the cool real-life GOW3 Trike is over HERE]

It seems rather obvious that when a company becomes too complacent then it will face immense financial woes in the future. I read another article that talked about the company called Research In Motion (RIM), the firm that created the BlackBerry phones; and the report on Yahoo! news indicated that they'd lost over 50 billion US Dollars in revenue over the past 3 years - due to another company called Apple, who created smartphones with addictive touchscreens. RIM later decided to compete with the Apple iPad by making the smaller Blackberry Playbook, with a touchscreen. Bad move; Apple crushed them easily and now the two co-founders of RIM are stepping down, handing the firm's control over to another guy, a much younger operator. Back in the summer of 2008, the Blackberry Thunder with its touchscreen was released at some tech-expos, in order to compete withe the IPhone; but that concept appears to have never taken root in the hearts of consumers. It was followed by the Blackberry Storm in 2009, and that also didn't blow away the competition.


[Shown above from left to right: The Blackberry Bold 9650, the Pearl 3G, The Thunder, The Storm and the futuristic Empathy - which may be launched in 2012 / 2013]

EDIT: the last image shown on the right is the new Blackberry Z10 Smartphone, released in January 2013. And as of February 2013, the blackberry Z10 price has been hiked above the price of the Iphone5 in the UK.

 - Now let's return to the previous discussion -

In business, evolution is nothing to be afraid of. And keeping an eye upon the audience and their growing tastes is something that large firms need to always consider. There used to be a Japanese firm back in the 80s and 90s that made typewriters and sewing machines. They are called Brother Industries. And that firm is still doing profitable business today, making all-in-one printers and other large machines for office use. Perhaps the guys at Nintendo need to evolve as well, and make games that will attract not just kids, but the mature gamers as well, who are now focused on playing warfare games on the XBOX Live and Playstation Network virtual fields.

Check out more cool Capcom VS Marvel 3 posters over HERE

And more posters / artwork from the DSNG Sci fi Series is over HERE