This is essentially a Part 2 post in follow-up to Hold On, Easy With the S.O.S.’s and Smoke Signals… so if you have not yet read that one, be sure to follow the link.
There has been a constant barrage of assaults against Nintendo for quite some time now. Whether it’s patent trolls trying their best to lay claim to what the company has done, or the all-out negative campaign against the Wii U, or even the continued (and surprising) amount of negativity toward the Nintendo 3DS. There is a prevailing sense of someone trying to take the company down bit by bit.
Now before you call me a conspiracy nut, hear me out for a bit while I state what I’ve observed.
Just over the past few weeks, we have heard about two separate instances of Nintendo being sued in patent cases, both of which Nintendo won. The first was dismissed on July 9, 2015 and the second on August 4, 2015. Now, these are only the two latest occurrences, but far from the first or only. That is, of course, something that comes about with greater profile, but still it seems to go on quite a lot with very little result…at least for the individuals suing Nintendo.
There have also been the seemingly non-stop doom-sayers’ chants coming from the bleachers. You have the people who have “analyzed” that the company should leave the hardware market in lieu of going strictly for software sales. Do you remember the number of articles that let it be known that the Nintendo 3DS was a failure when it launched. And even after the adjustments that were made, many of those nay-sayers have done all that they can to hold strong to their initial assessments of the device. What you are left with after that is:
“It’s a bust!”
“But it’s selling well, now…”
“Who cares, it’s still a flop, nobody wants it, the Vita is gonna kill it!”
“It has sold more than 10..20..30 million units, and it’s even extremely well in Japan, as well…”
“That doesn’t matter, cause the Japanese market is all about the handheld market…and that’s Nintendo’s home market, anyway.”
“Well, what about the fact that it’s the highest-selling gaming device this generation in all regions…and what happened to the Vita killing it? Sony’s virtually pulled the plug on that thing already.”
“Yeah, well…the handheld market is dead. Smartphones have killed it, and the 3DS isn’t going to keep selling like that, anyway.”
…and on and on it goes.
If for some reason, you think I am exaggerating, take a look at the following from a little over a year ago:
Of course, Nintendo’s portable console business cannot survive the incredible pace of hardware changes and hundreds of thousands of games launched annually in the smartphone industry. But the company is probably only realizing it now.
The massive success of the 3DS blinded Nintendo during the fiscal years of 2010 and 2011, just when the company should have made a radical strategic change and fully embraced the mobile app market. During that golden year, annual sales of 3DS exploded from 3.6 million to 13.5 million.
(Author’s note: The Nintendo 3DS sold nearly 9 million more units since that was written.)
That is the type of posturing that makes people hold on to their previous statements in spite of any change in the environment. People makes statements and declarations, and no matter what, once they have voiced what they emotionally feel (regardless of fact), they are hard-pressed to state anything to the contrary.
On the other hand there are still people who really understand what the word “dedicated” means, and what it truly means to gaming. Nintendo has always been a company focused on creating dedicated hardware for their software to be played on since the very beginning. When the NES was created, there was not another controller like its game pad. When the Game Boy was created, there was nothing else out there like it. You can go on and on in that vein, and make note of every single piece of hardware they brought to the market. Understanding that, why would anyone believe that Nintendo should be running out to pull a complete 180-degree shift in how they have always done things?
Here is what I mean. For every person who wants gimmicks from their hardware in order to keep them interested in touching the system. Things like, “make it play DVDs or Blu-Rays” or “lemme stream directly to Twitch” or “why won’t it let me stream music?” are all gimmicks. Heaven forbid my video game system’s core function is the major selling point of the system. Turns out I’m not the only person who feels this way, either:
…they only have one purpose, but they do it really well. When I want to read, I don’t want to be distracted, and a multipurpose smartphone or tablet has too many temptations.
It turns out the same is true for video games.
With the continued growth of mobile games, many have predicted the eventual death of dedicated handheld gaming devices. And in some ways it’s already happening: the 3DS isn’t the dominant force it used to be, while the Vita is essentially on life support, with few notable games on the horizon. Why would anyone want to play a $40 game on a device that can only play video games, when you can grab a free game on your phone and also watch Netflix and read comic books? It’s for the same reason I’m glad that the web browser on my Kindle is terrible: with a dedicated handheld, I can actually focus on only one thing.
None of us knows how particular markets will be in the future, but one thing is for certain, the Nintendo 3DS is not dead. In fact, the company recently launched an updated iteration in the New Nintendo 3DS (and XL) with better features in order to extend the life span of the device a bit more, and it is still selling very well in all markets. It almost makes you wonder what people get out of “predicting” doom and gloom for Nintendo. I honestly have no clue, but one thing I do know is the 3DS line is not finished, and Nintendo as a whole is certainly nowhere near finished. I am not naive enough to think this blog post will make ANYONE refrain from writing that next “doom” article, so please don’t be fooled into thinking it, either. I will, however, say be mindful of how you allow other people’s issues to affect you. There are but two things you can control in life, that’s your attitude and your activity. Whatever comes your way, whether good or bad (which is determined by how you perceive it to be) can only affect you in the way you allow it to. If it’s bad, what do you do about it? If it’s good, what do you do about it? See what I mean?
Anyway, I hope for those who read this entire post, it was enlightening and may even help you. If not so much, please allow me to make it up to you later.
As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!