Nintendo has added a new member to its team, a man who held a leading position at Disney’s video game department. Are you asking, “So what?” right now. You should be. Companies hire new people all the time, but what’s interesting about this situation is what Duncan Orrell-Jones is expected to bring to the table. He will be heading up the “development and evolution” of Nintendo’s digital strategy.
Let’s be honest. Nintendo thrived when video games were all about popping in a cartridge and getting immersed into a solitary experience. It blew away the competition. And it still does thrive in that space. The only problem is that gaming is becoming less and less about that. It’s now going online, it’s becoming social, and gamers demand instant access to new content – they’re even willing to pay for it. But Nintendo is not on their level. There is no Nintendo parallel to the PlayStation Network.
The Wii U will be Nintendo’s big chance to show that it has learned over the last five years about just how much the industry has shifted. It needs to have an extremely robust system of digital connectivity and distribution. We haven’t seen any evidence that it will meet that requirement, but hopefully it will be able to. The console’s Miiverse online social platform may be what it needs to compete against things like Xbox Live. For now, though, Nintendo isn’t saying much.