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CNN: Nintendo's ideas are warped and counterintuitive

1:15 PM on 05.07.2013 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

Mainstream outlet tackles "Nintendo's big problem"

CNNMoney has published an analysis of Nintendo's current situation, and like a certain other pundit, it doesn't paint a very pretty picture. In an article titled, "Nintendo's Big Problem," the financial outlet says the company's employing good ideas in bad ways. 

"For all its magnificent games and past successes, Nintendo has always been a little tone deaf when it comes to detecting and embracing new gaming trends," writes Adrian Covert. "That brashness is finally catching up with the legendary video game company.

"The company sold only 3.45 million of the Wii U video game consoles during the first quarter, badly missing its own target of 4 million. The hand-held 3DS gaming device has also been a disappointment outside of Japan."

Nintendo recently announced plans to enter the world of microtransactions and subscription-based games, but Covert claims this will only serve to exacerbate the company's failures.

"As secondary concepts these are fine, but if Nintendo thinks this is what gamers really want from a modern console, it has lost touch with reality.

"For decades now, it has been this type of thinking that has plagued Nintendo: The company is cognizant of the latest trends and shifts in gaming, but it chooses to disregard them in the name of simplicity, or family-friendly gaming. Instead, Nintendo frequently opts to develop its own warped, counterintuitive take on the latest trends."

The CNN writer admitted that Nintendo's "warped" behavior can lead to success, like we saw with the Wii. The Wii U, however, is being regarded as an example of its tactics going horribly wrong, with "sluggish" sales putting it in a bad place. 

"The Wii U was Nintendo's attempt to expand on its innovative gameplay ideas," continues Covert. "But the impact hasn't been nearly the same as the Wii. Some new Wii U features, like the touchscreen-equipped controller feel convoluted, and less innovative compared to technologies like Microsoft's Kinect camera.

"Nintendo games that actually take proper advantage of the motion gaming tech aren't coming from third-party developers, and Nintendo's own titles -- which are excellent more often than not -- aren't coming anytime soon."

Nintendo was also criticized for ignoring the smartphone market, and refusing to release would "likely be instant top sellers" for mobile devices. 

"It's understandable that Nintendo wouldn't want to release some of its newer games on a competing mobile platform, for fear of cannibalization, but looking at the success that companies like Square Enix have had reissuing its Final Fantasy titles on the iPhone, what real harm is there in offering games like Super Mario Brothers? Nobody is going to buy a Nintendo 3DS just to download that from the eStore."

Many Nintendo fans argue it's still early days for the Wii U, and those judging it harshly are being too rash. Others would say that, with several months at retail and Satoru Iwata having to explain miscalculated financial results to investors, it's fair to say the console's disappointed. 

Whatever opinion you hold, I think we can all agree that articles like this won't be making Iwata sit any more comfortably in his new American chair



Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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