I’m worried about Nintendo. Yes, I know that I’ve told you here on SlashGear that I’m not the biggest fan of the Wii (or Wii U, for that matter) and I’m suspect of the value of Nintendo’s games library, but the company is still important to me.
See, Nintendo was to me, like so, so many others, the company that made us realize how much we loved gaming. We played the first Super Mario and were mesmerized. When The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released, I must have completed it ten times in the first couple weeks. Nintendo and its hardware and its game library all hold a special place in my heart.
That’s why I’m worried. I think there are millions of people across the globe – including many in Japan – that have long-viewed Nintendo as the face of the gaming industry. When Nintendo succeeded, those folks believed that the game industry was doing just fine. And when Nintendo wasn’t doing so well, they questioned the value of status quo in the industry.
When the Wii was flying high, there was a palpable sense that the games industry, despite some softening during the economic downturn, would be just fine. But now that the Wii U is turning out to be a bit of a loser, the beating drum of doubt over the traditional industry’s ability to hang tough against Microsoft and Sony is growing louder. The world is changing, they say, and traditional game companies are in trouble.
So, I need to pose a question: if Nintendo fails, will the traditional game industry go with it?
I can appreciate that Sony and Microsoft are trying to appeal to a different market segment with their products, which lends them to not worry so much that Nintendo is in trouble, but there’s something to be said for determining how the Mario maker’s decline is impacting the industry.
Unfortunately, I can see a scenario play out in which Nintendo starts to go into decline and the next thing you know, all hell breaks loose. A major game console maker has gone into a death spiral, the headlines would read, and now, like a domino effect, Microsoft, Sony, and major game developers are going down the tubes with it.
But perhaps I’m placing too much importance on Nintendo. Sure, the game company is huge and was always important, but perhaps it’s not what it used to be. Nintendo might be the world’s biggest console maker right now, but it might soon give way to Microsoft and Sony. More importantly, it could give way to companies like Valve and Apple.
The traditional game industry could very well be in a state of flux. Nintendo, its spiritual leader, seems to be falling to its knees. And unless it can be brought back up and returned to its former place of glory, I can’t help but wonder if new companies or mobile gaming in general might just put the final nail in its coffin.
I guess we just have to wait and see what happens.