Nintendo’s Secret Strategy: Games
of the big three console manufacturers, sony, microsoft and nintendo, it’s nintendo’s vision for the future that is the most interesting and innovative from a business strategy perspective. peter moore recently noted that nintendo is evolving into less and less of a competitor to sony and microsoft every day. i was actually was thinking that too, peter.
microsoft and sony are both trying the ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ approach to game consoles. they are using games to stage a beachhead assault in the living room war. they want to be the center of your entertainment experience.
nintendo, however, really is just about making games.
the revolution promises to be less flash, and more substance. they are leaning heavily on their longtime reputation of brilliant game design execution. well. that, and they have a few tricks up their sleeve too.
the big one is that fancy controller. i have to admit i was skeptical about the dual screen approach when they first announced the nintendo ds. i’ve since come around tho. nintendo’s strong first party games really helped push that out to get it adopted. if there’s one thing nintendo is really good at, it’s first party games with mass appeal.
i suspect they’re going to do the same thing with that ‘remote’ controller. some strong first party support and some innovative non-fishing titles will really help to cement it into the marketplace. the one little niggling i still have, tho, is their reliance on this mysterious casual gamer who is too afraid of a controller to pick one up? no one under 40 that i know (and, that makes up myself and most of my friends…. wow, i feel old.) is afraid of a playstation or xbox controller. (that gamecube controller is a universal steaming pile, however. everyone should be afraid of it.)
however, where i’m just so excited i could pee is getting the 50+ crowd into console gaming. aside from that crazy ‘hardcore grandma,’ most of the, ahem… ‘older’ crowd is fairly video game console phobic. growing the audience is always a good thing. that, and maybe they’ll start playing halo so i can stop getting pwned by 12-year-olds and start getting whacked by 62-year-olds.
personally, i’m just excited to use the controller as a ‘lazy man’ approach. i’m lazy like that, tho.
the second console strategy
another key differentiator is nintendo’s crazy low price points. they really stuck out in the last generation as being the low cost alternative to the other two. this time around, i think that’ll be more exaggerated.
in the last generation, they essentially had harware similar to the ps2 and xbox in terms of raw technology. this time around, they are actually pretty far behind on the technology curve. they are REALLY leaving out the optional stuff. that’s going to save them huge dollars in pricing their machine.
i’m thinking about $150 will just own the low cost market.
they will be a second console for everyone. with a super low pricepoint and great first party games, there’s really no reason why people wouldn’t buy a revolution the second year along with their ps3 or xbox 360.
with that strategy, they are going to push a crap-ton more units than either microsoft or sony. their revenue won’t be as great, of course, but unit sales should lead this next generation of consoles.
the next disney?
finally, nintendo has a huge investment in ip. they own some of the most recognized and leveragable characters in the world. their intellectual property looks more like a disney portfolio than a sony portfolio. that’s been one of their key pillars in staying relevant throughout their gaming history.
is it just sequelitis? maybe zelda. sort of.
not really, tho, i guess. take mario for example. he’s been in platform games, racing games, sports games. hell. all kinds of stuff. donkey kong is the same way. even zelda to a lesser extent.
team ninja is really the only other company to really push that kind of “multi-genre with the same ip” gaming concept successfully. and, they are coming to the revolution now? (hmmm. suspicious….)
i’m thinking nintendo is turning more into the next generation’s (as in children, not consoles) disney — putting all of their eggs into the content basket while still throwing out a few innovative and interesting concepts on gameplay to go with it. just to keep things fresh. then, they just wrap it up in some solid, yet fun, gameplay mechanics.
they’ve certainly said it’s all about the games and not technology enough, huh? hmm. maybe it’s not a secret?