Time to once again poke the bull, kick a hornet’s nest and wake sleeping dogs --or not let them lie --or some mixed metaphor like that.
It’s been a busy time in the gaming industry over the last few weeks. We’ve seen the launch of two huge console powerhouses in the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, effectively breaking the bottle against the next-gen ship as we watch it set sail. Yeah, that’s right. I’m firmly stating that THIS is the launch of the next-gen. There are some who simply refuse to buy into that fact, stating that Nintendo actually kicked off the next-gen years ago with the launch of the Wii U. To this I say, ha! Not only was the Wii U nowhere near the start of the true next-gen, but Nintendo doesn’t even have a dog in the hunt anymore. That’s right; I’m officially singing Nintendo’s swan song on their behalf as a next-gen competitor.
Now, before you Nintendo fan boys and girls come to my house and burn it down, you might want to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
I know that my opinion only goes so far, so me personally telling you the truth about the lay of the land in the game industry may fall on deaf ears. I’m sure if Chuck Norris were hosting seminars on the proper technique of giving round house kicks to the face, people would listen. So, I’ll point to someone in the game industry with a little more clout (and who shares my opinion) to reinforce the point. That person; former head of THQ and current co-founder of Naughty Dog Studios Jason Rubin. Allow Mr. Rubin to agree with me, in his own words: “Nintendo's irrelevant as a hardware manufacturer in the console business...It is a crime that we do not play those games on the systems that we have (calling for Mario and Zelda to be released on other systems).” In a recent interview, Rubin goes on to cover many areas relating to the current state of Nintendo’s affairs, many of which CheatCC fans will have already read in articles right here on our site. Rubin touches on the lack luster sales of the Wii U (as I have in the past) in order to gauge the temperature of Nintendo’s overall influence in the industry. He also goes on to praise both Miyamoto and Nintendo themselves (calling them a “worldwide treasure”), which is also a sentiment we share. I love Nintendo. The ire I feel towards the company in this moment stems not from a desire to flame and troll needlessly, but what I see as missed opportunities and what might have been. Unfortunately, pondering what “might have been” won’t get this train back on the tracks. Where could Nintendo end up if they don’t do an immediate course correction?
I can point to one company as a shining example; Sega.
If you’re a millennial (meaning you were born anytime during the early 80s) then you’re aware of the grand-daddy of them all when it comes to the console war. Sega Genesis vs. Super Nintendo was the Coke/Pepsi or Tyson/Holyfield of its day. Now, Sega is little more than a company that makes bad 3D Sonic the Hedgehog games. I’d venture to say there were slightly more fans of the Super Nintendo than the Genesis, and even those who may have predicted the SNES would win out. However, could anyone at that time possibly have predicted the fall from grace Sega would experience just 10 short years later? I could also rattle off a dozen other console manufactures that had the gaming world by the proverbial testes at one time or another, yet are now just a distant memory. I realize that Nintendo has a much stronger foundation in the gaming world than most of those other companies, and I’m not saying it wouldn’t take a massive downward spiral for them to finally crash and burn. What I am saying is that it’s not impossible. No company can survive a “stay the course” attitude, when the course they’re on leads them down the wrong path.
As other companies are taking firm steps forward, Nintendo cannot continue to take half steps sideways and expect to compete. I say this as a cautionary tale. Let the examples of the fallen console manufactures before them be their “Ghost of Christmas Future,” showing them what they may become. The Wii U is simply not enough. Not only is it not “next-gen,” I’m officially dubbing it “no-gen.” When people look back on this new generation of consoles, they’ll think of the Xbox One and the PS4. History will show the original Wii was Nintendo’s golden goose of the last gen, thus making the Wii U a bit of an orphan that’s fallen between the generational cracks.
A few more years of Nintendo “bobbing” when they should be “weaving” could result in a 12th round knockout (one from which they may not get up).