This week saw a major announcement about the future of Nintendo and it has me more than a little concerned.
On Tuesday Nintendo announced a partnership with DeNA (a company that develops mobile games) which will see the big N enter the arena of mobile and smart device gaming. While many people have been asking for this for quite a while, and the reaction from the stock market sees this as a smart financial decision for a company in the throws of financial turmoil, I as a gamer feel like this signals a fundamental shift that I’m not too cool with.
Nintendo has always been a company that marches to the beat of it’s own drum. When gaming went to optical disks, Nintendo said ‘Screw you, keep blowing those cartridges‘. When gaming went online, Nintendo said ‘How about Street Pass? That’s almost as good‘! Maybe I’m not painting the rosiest of pictures. But my point is that we now know Nintendo is backed into such a tight corner that they’re giving in. That kind of sucks.
While Nintendo’s own decision making has put it in the position that it finds itself today (at the bottom of the gaming market), they’ve at least always retained their identity. While it’s been a long time since they’ve been number one, Nintendo has consistently pushed forward some of the most innovative games and hardware in the industry. I can’t help but feel that this new turn of events is just Nintendo giving up the fight.
The partnership with DeNa means we’ll be playing some version of Mario or Zelda on our iPhones. But I have to ask, has anyone played an iPhone game that carries a fraction of the depth or fun of a Nintendo game on any platform? Do we really want to play a Mario game where you have to get your 1-Up mushrooms through micro transactions? Or a Zelda themed Temple Run? How about Angry Birds Kirby edition? I hate to piss on anyone’s parade, but I’m worried that’s what we’re headed towards.
Take one look at DeNa’s website and you’ll see such amazing looking titles as “Cupcake Carnival”, “World of Thingies” and “Paper Toss”, which is actually a game about throwing paper into the garbage. Yep. A fucking game about throwing away trash.
Now I know I’m being harsh here. But it just makes me feel sad knowing that this is where Nintendo is headed. It feels like such a sellout. A company that has always maintained such integrity and stood tall and proud to be who they are is being reduced to doing what they think have to do just keep them around a little bit longer. Nintendo has become a broke college girl that strips for tuition money.
The only bit of light at the end of the tunnel was the announcement that Nintendo is indeed working on a new console platform that is currently code-named ‘NX’. But even this seems like a red flag that Nintendo is ready to abandon the WiiU and is looking to play catch-up with the big boys.
Nintendo, I hope that you can figure all of this out. I hope that this partnership gets you back on track so that you can really focus on what matters the most. Making me a new Animal Crossing.