Here in Brazil, Nintendo never was king. In the 8/16-bit era, Sega ruled without many challengers. Because of that, I do not have the found, nostalgic memories of playing the NES/SNES. Because I have no nostalgia for Nintendo, I find it weird to see people saying how Nintendo ‘abandoned’ them with the Wii and will ‘conquer’ them back with Café.
Nintendo never wanted ‘us’ in the first place. By us, I am talking about the 15-35 years old demographic. Nintendo always wanted the families, the mom-dad-two-kids combo to buy their machines and games. If you remember, the NES and SNES were called FamiCom in Japan. FamiCom means Family Computer and shows from the start who Nintendo really wanted to buy their machines.
‘But ManWithNoName, how about all cool games we played in the NES/SNES?’, you may ask. Look at Nintendo games for a moment. Mario, Zelda, Kirby, Donkey Kong, StarFox
. All of them are family friend, with cartoon like violence at best. No blood, the story is very basic and the characters are all black and white. Even Metroid
, the most mature game Nintendo made, was a rated Teen experience. I am not saying they are not great games, because they are, but they are not aimed at the mature audiences.
All of them could appear in a Disney movie.
The NES and SNES had mature games and mature gamers because the third parties invested in them, if not by anything else, because they had no other option to go with. The NES basically had a monopoly on consoles at its time and the sheer number on the SNES had most developers making games for the console. But Nintendo never wanted them. Get the Mortal Kombat
SNES version and its lack of Fatalities and blood as an example.
Hardware wise, this is also a reflex on Nintendo target audience. The 64 had four controllers, one for mom, one for dad, two for the kids. You can change mom and dad for grandma/grandpa. The four controllers also appear in the GameCube, and the lack of DVD abilities, basically any on-line system, reflects the Nintendo philosophy pretty well. The Wii is just Nintendo dreams becoming reality, with a console where the mature audience has few to no space at all.
It does looks like a lunch box. A children lunch box.
But of course, business is business, and Nintendo knows the family market will go for the next shiny, non-Nintendo, gadget without thinking twice. We can complain at fanboys, but have millions of them helps boost business and launching new hardware with the certain that you will sell. Nintendo knows that the Wii audience would not buy just a Wii2 and know is desperate to regain that mature gamer who now play a 360 or PS3.
But here where they have a big problem. Who would leave the 360 and buy the Café, if their GamerScore, achievements and Friends list is left behind? The same goes for the PS3. Even if Modern Warfare 3
launches in the Café and it is a superior version of the game, nobody will abandon their community to play it there. I would not buy a superior BattleField 3
in Café if it means no Trophies and no friends there.
Nintendo will hardly convince the ‘core’ gamers to buy their Windows 7 box shaped console and leave behind their ‘old’ consoles. Most of them will just wait to see what Microsoft and Sony are doing with their next consoles before jumping to Nintendo.
Nintendo always wanted them to play. We are just collateral effect.
Nintendo is left with new gamers, but again, who will spend more money, as Café will likely be more expensive than the current options at launch if people in the 15-35 years old demographic are likely to buy what their friends are already playing? That is a hard sell to Nintendo.
That leaves with the most interesting part of Café, the controller, to show us any reason to jump ships. But I will talk more about that tomorrow.