Update: Added some more commentary on what other people are saying at the start, and
some more thoughts at the end.
Let’s look at what other people are saying about what Nintendo “must do”. Here’s some IGN bros giving the exact wrong approach to predicting what Nintendo will do next:
Here’s the basic ideas the IGN bros want everybody to believe:
– “Nobody will buy a console just to play Nintendo games, you need major Third Party support.”
What the IGN bro means is that Nintendo needs to win the favor of his personal favorite Western developers or he and his buddies are going to make fun of it on their little dinky podcast. As if Nintendo cares about him. They are permanently finished chasing after the “hardcore” sliver of the pie — they’re more interested in everybody else in the world. When IGN bro points to the ongoing success of “Just Dance” on the original Wii in 2015 as “proof” that Nintendo “needs” outside developers, he reveals how stupid he’s willing to get to stretch his argument. The fact that the Wii is still selling casual games to casual gamers in 2015 because it has a casual install base who doesn’t care about the hardcore hype cycle. They make profit without IGN bros or his favorite Western developers. “Wii Sports” and the Virtual Console were enough to create the most successful console of all time, and IGN bros barely even acknowledge that it existed. Nintendo knows that the Wii is the guiding light, not a failure.
– “They need to come to E3 and make a huge splash to declare themselves the leader of the industry, and invite all developers to come and release their games on the Nintendo NX.”
Why would Nintendo want to be the 3rd best at what other companies are doing when they could be #1 at what they do? They have no competition when they target the casual market and their own fans. Everybody can agree that the Wii U was a failure, but moral of the story is different depending on who you ask. IGN bros obviously think they need to imitate the Xbox, but look at how crappy the Xbox One is doing. They’re losing more money than Nintendo and look like idiots because they tried and failed to be what IGN bros wanted. The economics just don’t make sense to try to steal the lead in the early stages of the PS4’s domination anyway. Nintendo wants to create their own environment away from retards like IGN bros, so average people don’t get scared away by the Mountain Dew sponsorships and Call of Duty knife throwing montages. Nintendo Direct is necessary to avoid these people. If anything, they just need to get smarter people to make the Nintendo Directs.
– “Nintendo’s audience is shrinking, and the other guys are growing. There are only so many gamers. You can split them up however you want, but you need to let them know that when you buy the NX you get Ubisoft’s games…”
There are not a finite amount of gamers: there are only a finite amount of hardcore gamers. There are unlimited casual gamers out there, and the smartest companies are making billions of dollars from them every year. IGN bros ignore the existence of the handheld market where Nintendo is supremely dominant, and they definitely ignore the lessons of the Wii’s “Blue Ocean Strategy”. It’s true that the casual market has no loyalty and therefore didn’t buy the Wii U just the success of the Wii or DS, but Nintendo has learned their lesson. They aren’t going to build on the legacy of the Wii or DS anymore, they’re going to attack the casual market with a fresh strategy.
On a side note, it’s funny to watch IGN bro rant angrily and shout down the timid co-hosts, whose job it is to agree with him even when he’s clearly stupid. I’m surprised they aren’t demanding that Nintendo become the leader of VR headsets too, since “that is the future of gaming” according to the hardcore hype prophets.
What Will Nintendo Do?
FACT: Skylanders has generated over $3 billion since 2011. Disney Infinity and the Nintendo Amiibo are hugely profitable toy lines that integrate into video games, without needing to sell new games every time.
FACT: Shigeryu Miyamoto wants to turn Nintendo into a more Disney-like corporation and use some kind of next-level schemes to expand Nintendo’s marketing to smartphones, merchandise, and theme parks. The idea is to incentivize customers with points, like the Nintendo club, which can be redeemed for games and stuff. The more you become a fanboy and advertise on behalf of Nintendo, the more you get rewarded.
PREDICTION: Nintendo will push the concept of Amiibo (ie. any digitally integrated merchandise, such as toys or cards) to the max with the Nintendo NX. They will create an open world environment that can be expanded infinitely — or a series of open worlds that can each be expanded — and thus shift the focus even further away from third party support and competing with other systems to instead being its own “Nintendo World”. This will harmonize with their mobile apps, unified account system, marketing schemes, and theme parks. Unlocking activities, minigames, and whatever kind of “content” you can imagine by buying more Nintendo toys/shirts/products will replace the hit-and-miss cycle of producing separate games that don’t enhance each other. Think about the WiiU’s “Nintendoland” on steroids.
“Pokemon World” will generate billions of dollars by itself. An open-world Pokemon game with online integration will be enough to win over critics and guarantee high adoption rates. Nintendo will make selective deals with other companies to allow third party integration (such as Pac Man, Mega Man, Ryu, Cloud, Bayonetta, etc. appearing in Smash Bros) and thus curate their own identity instead of relying on wide multiplatform support (although the hardware will be powerful enough to play current gen games too). Nintendo World will become a place where all classic gaming franchises are welcome to be friendly and play together, and Nintendo will slowly start buying up these companies or making special partnerships so that they can truly become like Disney, who now owns Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo has received gigantic offers from Disney to buy them up too, but Nintendo is too proud to accept that, so instead they’ll try to prove that they are as good as Disney and can do the same thing.
What else will they do? Their partnership with DeNA means Nintendo won’t have to handle the online services aspect anymore, which is the key to pushing this new social platform as a user-friendly global service on par with Facebook. They’re already testing the waters with “Miitomo”, which is a casual non-game aimed at mobile phone users to collect as much personal information about them as possible. Nintendo will love to slap a smiling Mii face on everything so that nobody realizes their greedy scheme. Using social media integration and constant “points” pushing, the Nintendo NX will try its best to permeate into every waking moment of your life. Your Pokemon will start suggesting that you check out the new “Splatoon Park” in “Nintendo World”, and give you 70 N-Points for visiting it! You’ll get another 10 N-Points for answering a questionnaire about what you would like to see more of! As long as you stay within the Nintendo ecosystem you’ll be rolling in points!
Here’s an article from Game Informer just yesterday about the way Nintendo is currently handling Amiibo. It’s called “Nintendo’s Scattershot Approach To Amiibo Functionality Breeds Discontent”, which explains itself. Basically it’s a scattershot strategy that leaves people confused. Here’s some excerpts:
Those who are less enthusiastic about Amiibos are lamenting the figures’ continued penetration in Nintendo’s plans. Fans with no interest in picking up the Amiibos feel left out by this rumor, while others are knee-jerking to the point of vowing to never buy Twilight Princess HD for the sole reason of placing content behind an Amiibo.
Even if Nintendo avoids making such major content exclusive to Amiibo owners, the fact that its fan base is split could be a problem going forward. As various downloadable content controversies have previously demonstrated, if Nintendo chooses to deliver on its promise of providing robust and deep experiences locked behind Amiibo ownership, it will face resistance every step of the way, even if those bonus areas are described as falling outside of the original scope of the game. If Nintendo commits to the path of superfluous additions from Amiibos, it runs the risk of cheapening the allure of the figures and curtailing the excitement of the avid collectors.
The way I see it, the current generation Amiibo have become pure testing grounds for different strategies for the upcoming NX. They want to see what people accept. Unlocking DLC in Twilight Princess, changing avatars in Super Mario Maker, and creating training buddies in Smash Bros are all novel gimmicks, but a unified system would be much more appealing. The new generation of NX Amiibo could fix all of that and create a “baseline value” to all Amiibos besides their collector’s appeal.
And let’s not forget the rumored ability to leave your NX idle and online to earn points! This will be a key pillar in reducing operating costs for Nintendo, because their giant online Nintendo World will need a lot of servers and they don’t want to pay for that all by themselves. You’d have a network of local servers wherever people are, like a Torrent service everybody plugs into. Casual people won’t care if the NX becomes a dedicated cloud server when they stop using it, they’ll just be happy to magically receive points when they log in next time!
I can’t believe I didn’t discuss the Miiverse before. It’s an auto-populated social environment built into the main interface of the Wii U. You’re supposed to feel like you’re having “fun” with people even when you’re not playing a game, and being made aware of what people are enjoying so you feel pressured. This is a vision of what Nintendo wants going forward. But they didn’t have DeNA and the online engineers to make it ambitious enough before. Picture yourself walking around a huge amusement park as your Mii while you watch other people run around with their pet Amiibos, interacting with each other there and challenging each other to minigames, etc.
It becomes one huge casual MMO, like what “PlayStation Home” was supposed to be, but horribly failed at. Nintendo could succeed at it if they make it the default environment for the NX.