The world woke up last month to a surprise (albeit heavily rumored) announcement from Nintendo that they would unveil their next home console via a teaser video.
While most of the rumors (and there were hundreds) turned out to be true, the unveiling was more than simply a new hardware announcement; it was a turning point.
Nintendo has always marched to the beat of their own drum. When they were told in the 80’s that no one in America wants video games anymore, they fearlessly put a new console in the hands of everyone and showed them that they do. When Nintendo brought portability to the market some critics laughed because it looked so cheap and graphically inferior to just about everything. No one was laughing when the Game Boy took over the world and sold millions of units. When Nintendo showed off what looked like a TV remote and said that was the controller for their Wii Console, some people said it could be neat but won’t appeal to the masses, Nintendo sold over 100 million consoles. Were there missteps along the way? The Virtual Boy and Wii U have shown that not everything Nintendo builds will sell as well as their top performers. However, that doesn’t mean that they were bad ideas. They were innovative, and that is what Nintendo does; They innovate.
The Nintendo Switch seems like more than just a new console. It appears to signify both a new Nintendo and the Nintendo of old. Nintendo has historically been very secretive but also very transparent in its vision. This was somehow lost with Wii U, supported by Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime in an interview with LaTacera (Use Chrome and hit Translate if needed) Reggie stated “When we launched Wii U, we lost the opportunity to be clear on the concept, to show their abilities and what users could achieve and that hurt us.”
In addition to moving forward with Nintendo Switch, Nintendo is also taking a step back with the release of NES Classic Mini, a miniature version of its debut console Nintendo Entertainment System. The classic console features 30 of Nintendo’s biggest hits as well as the original controller that changed the way games are played. In addition, these controllers can be connected to Wii Remotes for use with Virtual Console titles on its modern Wii and Wii U.
There are many other examples that come to mind including the return of the Game Play Counselor hotline for a limited time, the journey into mobile gaming and many others. Some of these have sent stock prices soaring, others have pulled stock prices down; these moves the company is making are confusing to some stockholders, but one thing is crystal clear: Nintendo is changing and it feels fresh and exciting to me. I’m sure there are millions and millions around the world that feel the same way. Change is never bad. It may seem so in the short-term, but like they say; you have to break some eggs to make a cake.