Nintendo is a name as synonymous with staying power as it is with uniqueness. It has always tried to do things a little outside of the box. Sometimes they do well, sometimes they do not. There is one thing that perpetually remains the truth despite it all, Nintendo has been around for a very long time.
This is an excellent achievement to have under your belt, especially in industries like technology and video games. The landscape is constantly changing and evolution is ever necessary to remain relevant and prosperous. For a company like Nintendo to have fared the stormy seas as long as they have is a marvel.
As one of the oldest competitors on the block though, Nintendo has at times struggled with the times. Like the vampire Armand in Anne Rice's novels, Nintendo needs someone to teach them the ways of the present, to help them survive. Nintendo may have done just that and found a younger, more “hip” vampire to teach them the ways of the world. Lately there have been little indicators here and there that the company is finally “getting with it.” It's no longer tone deaf anymore.
One of the most obvious recent developments that seems to prove this point is the inclusion of online multiplayer on the Nintendo Switch console. I can think back to watching my dad play Diablo online with his brother halfway across the country when I was a kid. When I was a kid. Now in my mid-to-late twenties, Nintendo is finally trying to join the mainstream with the Switch. The online service will be pay to use, which is of course industry standard with services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus. So there's nothing new there. But of course having the option in the first place is a novel experience with Nintendo right now. Hopefully it will keep this online inclusion on the Switch on their future consoles as well.
A much simpler factor that shows Nintendo moving slowly into the future is the lack of game manuals in their most recent releases. On the Wii U, players could still access digital manuals through the system. Now on the Switch, it appears that even these digital manuals have gone bye bye. With systems like Steam in place for most gamers, access to manuals is really a thing of the past. They're generally not necessary, especially if the game explains its mechanics well within the title (which frankly you should, most importantly if you have unique mechanics). Nintendo ix-naying these manuals is another sign that they're realizing how the modern gamer operates.
The last point I'd like to mention is a touchy one, and that’s the inclusion of third party games on the Switch. There have been many revelations that the Switch is difficult to develop for, and it's not nearly as powerful as its competitors. So in many ways, third party games are still a very minor part of the system. However, the fact that Nintendo has realized they need to include other developers is a sign of hope. More mature games, in fact. What if we saw an Overwatch or GTA on the Switch? We already know the company is talking to Bethesda about Skyrim. Think about what it would be like to see a title with Mass Effect: Andromeda's maturity on the console. Rather than focusing entirely on in-house title development, Nintendo is holding out an olive branch. This inclusion on Switch will hopefully blossom on future Nintendo consoles.
As I've discussed, Nintendo is a marvel in the video game industry. They've been around for what equates to forever in technology terms, which is quite a feat. While they've stumbled at times like an elderly man trying determinedly to get his feet to cooperate with him, they are making strides. Nintendo's including things like online multiplayer and third party games, and removing the game manual option shows they are starting to understand. The modern gamer is different than they were at Nintendo's inception, and they know that. Now they just have to continue to learn what we want, and how to give it to us.
Image Credit: Sam Macaroni