Sony vs Microsoft has become the main battleground for the next-gen consoles. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have set an epic stage for this all out war, and no prisoners will be taken alive. This is the console generation to end them all!
But what about Nintendo? Once a powerhouse of its own, the legendary company and the Wii U are barely mentioned in passing when discussing the future of this console cycle.
Has Nintendo lived out its purpose and is doomed to go the way of the dodo? Not so, says Sony Worldwide President Shuhei Yoshida in an interview with IGN. Nintendo is competition, but they are also necessary to train the gamers of tomorrow. Then they can grow up and buy a big boy machine like a PlayStation 4.
“When you look at the situation around Nintendo that way, do you characterize Nintendo as our competition? I think in the bigger scale of things happening in the industry or tech or people’s lives, how they play games on what device, and how they start to learn to play games, I think Nintendo and us are pretty much in the same group.”
The “Nintendo is kiddy” argument has been played out on Internet forums since the Internet first came to be, but there is no getting around that that family friendly image and its established lore and characters are keeping it afloat in these rough times. Yoshida explains how this is necessary for the gaming industry, especially for its controller innovation.
“We need Nintendo to be very successful to help induct as many consumers who like to play games with controllers, right? I have two Wii Us. I play Wii U games with my daughters, because they make pretty fun family friendly games.”
Yoshida believes that Nintendo missed the ball when launching the Wii U because it aimed its message at core gamers a little too much rather than focus on that family image they are best known for. He says though that Nintendo has changed its message well enough to recover from a disappointing year.
“To me, what they have made with Wii U was continuing what they were doing well. But the messaging when they were saying ‘we are for core gamers’ was a bit confusing. But this year I think they slightly changed their messaging, and it seems to me like they are coming back to where they are focused.”
Nintendo has always been family friendly in the Americas, and it remains debatable where they stand on the casual/hardcore boundaries created today. We grew up with Nintendo and because it’s been around forever, we assume that they are a “core” company. However, many fans see the Wii, Wii U, and changing attitude of its franchises as a downward trend for children, putting its core credentials under a microscope.
Just remember it is not Nintendo who has changed, but rather it is us. When Nintendo tries to break from its image and aims to please the hardcore crowd, things often go bad. Nintendo just doesn’t get it.
The Legend of Zelda is good just because it is naturally good, and Nintendo knows how to make them. Forcing it to be something it’s not destroys its purpose.
I agree with Yoshida. Nintendo has refocused, put more emphasis on the franchises we expect to see, and has come back around to family fun entertainment. Should these games deliver, the Wii U could be making a comeback in 2014. I don’t believe it deserves to be placed in the same brackets as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but rather its own little category simply because it’s Nintendo.
That’s the way it’s always been.