Atari Founder Warns Nintendo May be on The Way Out

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I'm not sure Nintendo can last, unless they're making a ton of new fans regularly. Because a fan base can only stick around so-long before falling to such things as 'time' and 'death', so unless they're making themselves relevant to the new generations they'll kick the bucket.

Gearhead mk2:
No offence, but I'm not gonna trust the word of a guy who's company's last big contribution to gaming was ET.

Atari published The Witcher games.

I mean, I get the point you were trying to go for, but, you know.

Phrozenflame500:
Nintendo won't die unless they stage a mass IP suicide with all their first-party titles.

To be fair, the Wii U has been on the market for almost a year and still hasn't seen a really strong first-party backing from Nintendo yet, which is probably one of the biggest contributing factors to its low sales numbers.

I'm sure they're going to be getting that backing out there soon, but they've essentially squandered the head-start they had on Sony and Microsoft, so it's not all too far-fetched to believe that they may, in fact, become "irrelevant" (which is not the same thing as going out of business). Hell, a lot of gamers would already claim Nintendo as irrelevant since at least the days of the Gamecube.

There are two points of failure of the Wii U. The first, and largest, is simply the analysts (both inside and outside Nintendo) who used the Wii numbers as a benchmark for sales of the Wii U. The Wii was a perfect storm of cost, a new and innovative interface that allowed non-gamers to get into the hobby easily, and a killer launch title in Wii Bowling that allowed those non-gamers to succeed just as well as their gaming friends and relatives who showed them the console.

But if you look at the Wii U's *actual* sales numbers and compare it to any other console except the Wii, they're doing not badly at all given how long they've been out. Admittedly, it is starting to slip as of late, and that's because of the second point of failure. Nintendo's almost complete *waste* of a year of head start time, putting out nothing of significance. Some of which I attribute to EA's backstab but most of which lies firmly on Nintendo.

Both of these situations will be remedied in the coming year when we see the sales figures of the new Microsoft and Sony consoles. While it looks like their initial rush may be decent, I expect drop off after that to be fast and hard. That lack of back-compatibility is going to hurt them in picking up new players, and hurt them equally as much in trying to keep the folks who need to trade in their old console to get the new one. Those sales figures are going to make people realize that their projections for the Wii U were simply never realistic.

As long as there are people that come out of E3 saying things like, "Wii Fit trainer in new Smash Bros. was the best thing I saw!1!11!" Nintendo will be around for the foreseeable future... I'm no Nintendo fanatic, far from it... but even I'm getting a bit tired of the doomsaying. It's ceased to be entertaining to me. Nintendo doesn't do well outside its own IP's... this is starting to be the trend. As long as they 1)focus on their IP's and don't pull an Other M on the rest of their titles and 2)continue to make what amount to Mario and Zelda machines, they'll be fine.

Nah, just nah. Considering the 3DS alone is at the moment the most successful game system at the moment, and has pretty much already won dedicated gaming handheld market. The Wii U has a huge uphill battle, that is true. However, even if the Wii U fails Nintendo would not be any where close to failing.

I've heard this guy is has been down on Nintendo for years whenever asked about the games industry, he clearly is still sour that Atari went the way of the dinosaurs while Nintendo is still going strong.

Atari's ending isn't nearly the same thing as what Nintendo is experiencing right now. There's a lot of fallout from the earthquakes that may be working against them. Recovery is a bitch, especially from an earthquake powerful enough to have shifted quite a few things geographically. But I do feel the WiiU hasn't died yet. PsX was nearly ready to tank at one point in its lifetime then with the advent of a few choice games it became a powerhouse for Sony. The first 2 years weren't too good for it.
WiiU has time, besides that Atari had painted themselves into a corner releasing crap no one wanted multiple times.
Give it a few years.

Doom972:
They can always make more Mario, Zelda and Metroid games for the WiiU to compensate for the losses. As long as they keep making them, the fans will keep buying them. Nintendo's efforts to sell the WiiU to a wider audience isn't going well, but the fanatical devotion some gamers have for it ensures that they'll still be here for a while.

EDIT: Ninjas everywhere.

Yeah but that fanbase can not be milked forever, they start dying of old age soon.

Who would have thought that company whose business decisions and PR work been so pristine as they have been lately would get into problems.

gmaverick019:

WeepingAngels:

gmaverick019:

oh i know, believe me i'm not an mmo person, complete opposite to be certain, i was just stating that pokemon is a bit different compared to skyrim or kotor, those were EXTREME single player based games in every sense of the word, while pokemon has always had the concept of trading and battling with friends via cable or online, and all you have to do is check out a few pokemon threads to see how insanely similar/crazy the meta-gamers are compared to some mmo'ers. (not to mention how many times nintendo has had to shut down pokemon mmo's that were made by fans, they'd gain insane popularity and nintendo would QQ about it hard)

also, age of empires mmo was awful, just an awful game that destroyed a great franchise..i still remember my playthroughs of II and III being glorious.

Age of Empires Online was awful because they took the franchise from being an RTS franchise to a quest based MMO. Those changes were made because it was an MMO and at first it didn't even contain Skirmish mode.

I imagine a Pokemon MMO would make the same mistakes. After all, if they kept the same gameplay with the optional online matches, then it would be no different than a standard Pokemon game.

yeah it was definitely a bad combination, and they did it in a horribly lacking way.

as i mentioned, this has been tried plenty of times before, and nintendo force chokes every dev that tries to do it, but it has been proven to work and plenty of people were interested in it/playing them when they were out for their brief time.

here is a youtube video to show one of the many off:

listen, i don't want to play a pokemon mmo, and it is quite clear that you don't want one either, but there is evidence of it working before gamefreak even touches the damn games, so quite clearly there is a market for it.

Based on the video you posted it seems that it would be a bit too clustered for my taste. Also, it was popular before they were shut down, yes. However, if an MMO is to be successful and not end up as a loss people need to stay interested in it for the product needs to continuously bring in money to pay for the servers. Since the Unofficial Pokemon MMO's always get shut down relatively quickly after they become popular there is no telling how long it would have remained popular. Also, I can say for certain that if they had to pay for access to that game that a fair amount of players would no longer play since it would no longer be free.

I say Nintendo should make a successor to the N64 without any gimmicks. Just a nice powerful console like they used to make with the launch titles being a pokemon MMO and a next gen Metroid as an answer to Microsofts Halo and Sony's Killzone.

If this guy is talking about Nintendo in the long run, then he's got a point. The way Nintendo has been doing things can't keep going on for another 2 console generations. The same could be said about the Xbox brand at this point as well.

Brotha Desmond:

gmaverick019:

WeepingAngels:

Age of Empires Online was awful because they took the franchise from being an RTS franchise to a quest based MMO. Those changes were made because it was an MMO and at first it didn't even contain Skirmish mode.

I imagine a Pokemon MMO would make the same mistakes. After all, if they kept the same gameplay with the optional online matches, then it would be no different than a standard Pokemon game.

yeah it was definitely a bad combination, and they did it in a horribly lacking way.

as i mentioned, this has been tried plenty of times before, and nintendo force chokes every dev that tries to do it, but it has been proven to work and plenty of people were interested in it/playing them when they were out for their brief time.

here is a youtube video to show one of the many off:

listen, i don't want to play a pokemon mmo, and it is quite clear that you don't want one either, but there is evidence of it working before gamefreak even touches the damn games, so quite clearly there is a market for it.

Based on the video you posted it seems that it would be a bit too clustered for my taste. Also, it was popular before they were shut down, yes. However, if an MMO is to be successful and not end up as a loss people need to stay interested in it for the product needs to continuously bring in money to pay for the servers. Since the Unofficial Pokemon MMO's always get shut down relatively quickly after they become popular there is no telling how long it would have remained popular. Also, I can say for certain that if they had to pay for access to that game that a fair amount of players would no longer play since it would no longer be free.

yes, it was clustered, and i am not trying to argue for mmo's, as mentioned in one of my original posts, i can't stand mmo's for the most part, i was just merely mentioning there has been pokemon mmo's up and running and that there were communities for it, that's all. I'm not trying to argue for them, and i'm not going to keep answering these goal post moving replies, i have no interest in a pokemon mmo so you guys are talking to a brick wall here.

Saucycarpdog:
I say Nintendo should make a successor to the N64 without any gimmicks. Just a nice powerful console like they used to make with the launch titles being a pokemon MMO and a next gen Metroid as an answer to Microsofts Halo and Sony's Killzone.

Wasn't that the Gamecube? And look what happened with that

I'll say the same about every other piece of doomsaying, sexism arguments, comments about the state of the industry, or predicting how games are going to evolve made by developers/publishers etc.

Who gives a flying fuck about what these people say?

They're individuals, single people, and yet we seem to give their opinions each their own private article. What, does working in the industry long enough give you the power of clairvoyance? How come I haven't seen a single "Important games person x was right about y" during the 4 years I've been on the Escapist? It seems that every day there's a new "This person says this about this currently hot topic" article that seems to be worthy of my attention, yet rarely they are.

Hey Atari, let go of episode 2 of Blade Kitten you jerks.

SinisterGehe:

Doom972:
They can always make more Mario, Zelda and Metroid games for the WiiU to compensate for the losses. As long as they keep making them, the fans will keep buying them. Nintendo's efforts to sell the WiiU to a wider audience isn't going well, but the fanatical devotion some gamers have for it ensures that they'll still be here for a while.

EDIT: Ninjas everywhere.

Yeah but that fanbase can not be milked forever, they start dying of old age soon.

Who would have thought that company whose business decisions and PR work been so pristine as they have been lately would get into problems.

I know, I didn't say that it'll last forever, I'm just saying that it won't be so quick.
My guess is as good as anyone's, but I think that they'll end up like Sega, rather than Atari.

You know, normally I'd scoff at this, but considering Nintendo's recent performance I now think he could be right.

WeepingAngels:

ron1n:
Wii U Pokemon MMO. That is all.

That's all? Let them just stop development on everything else and make an MMO from a single player franchise. Tell me, how often does it work out when publishers turn a single player franchise into an MMO?

Well, this is Nintendo we're talking about here, and they have the Midas golden touch. Their forays into every genre turns into an outstanding success, which then likely becomes another Nintendo franchise. They did this with JRPGs, several times. Fire Emblem, Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario, and Pokemon. They did this with the Fighting game franchise when they produced Super Smash Bros. They have two popular racing game franchises, Mario Kart and F-Zero. They produced their own RTS franchise with Pikman. They have their own 3D Space Combat games with the Star Fox series. Amazingly, even Nintendo's foray into the FPS genre (Metroid Prime) was awesome and very popular. Given Nintendo's history, I predict that Pokemon MMO will become the Nintendoland version of WoW.

I hope it goes well. Maybe they could end up making a Mystery Dungeon version some time as well.

Stuff I expect:
Magicarp trolls
The Bunary gang
All the canon characters running around
Repels going up in price
More legendarys being used than regulars.
Everyone wants a Miltonic.
Lag, lots and lots of lag.

canadamus_prime:
You know, normally I'd scoff at this, but considering Nintendo's recent performance I now think he could be right.

And if by "performance" you mean that the 3DS has been outselling both the PS3 and Xbox 360 for a while now and there are plenty of system sellers on the way to the Wii U, then they're going to be fine.

I'm more scoffing at the fact that people want Nintendo to die, or almost worse, go multiplatform. People that say that make no sense, they want to play Nintendo's games, just not on a console with the word Nintendo on it. Why should Nintendo step down, they were there before PlayStation and Xbox!

People must realise that Nintendo made billions of yen off of the DS and Wii, so it's not that they're saying Nintendo is going down, they just want to see them bite the dust so that they can continue to not play their games.

guruofreason:

WeepingAngels:

ron1n:
Wii U Pokemon MMO. That is all.

That's all? Let them just stop development on everything else and make an MMO from a single player franchise. Tell me, how often does it work out when publishers turn a single player franchise into an MMO?

Well, this is Nintendo we're talking about here, and they have the Midas golden touch. Their forays into every genre turns into an outstanding success, which then likely becomes another Nintendo franchise. They did this with JRPGs, several times. Fire Emblem, Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario, and Pokemon. They did this with the Fighting game franchise when they produced Super Smash Bros. They have two popular racing game franchises, Mario Kart and F-Zero. They produced their own RTS franchise with Pikman. They have their own 3D Space Combat games with the Star Fox series. Amazingly, even Nintendo's foray into the FPS genre (Metroid Prime) was awesome and very popular. Given Nintendo's history, I predict that Pokemon MMO will become the Nintendoland version of WoW.

The success of WoW will never be duplicated again. Super Mario RPG was made by Square. The rest of your post is accurate though.

It's impossible to even begin to compare the two companies. One existed in a Wild West of video gaming where copyrights barely existed when they even could, and systems were ridiculously expensive. In fact, Nintendo beat them with the same chintzy crap that it gets mocked for now- weird gimmicks and a strong and severely milked IP.

All that said, it's not impossible in the slightest for Nintendo to fail because they just didn't evolve properly. That's the downside of their model- changing constantly can be very risky.

gmaverick019:

Brotha Desmond:

gmaverick019:

yeah it was definitely a bad combination, and they did it in a horribly lacking way.

as i mentioned, this has been tried plenty of times before, and nintendo force chokes every dev that tries to do it, but it has been proven to work and plenty of people were interested in it/playing them when they were out for their brief time.

here is a youtube video to show one of the many off:

listen, i don't want to play a pokemon mmo, and it is quite clear that you don't want one either, but there is evidence of it working before gamefreak even touches the damn games, so quite clearly there is a market for it.

Based on the video you posted it seems that it would be a bit too clustered for my taste. Also, it was popular before they were shut down, yes. However, if an MMO is to be successful and not end up as a loss people need to stay interested in it for the product needs to continuously bring in money to pay for the servers. Since the Unofficial Pokemon MMO's always get shut down relatively quickly after they become popular there is no telling how long it would have remained popular. Also, I can say for certain that if they had to pay for access to that game that a fair amount of players would no longer play since it would no longer be free.

yes, it was clustered, and i am not trying to argue for mmo's, as mentioned in one of my original posts, i can't stand mmo's for the most part, i was just merely mentioning there has been pokemon mmo's up and running and that there were communities for it, that's all. I'm not trying to argue for them, and i'm not going to keep answering these goal post moving replies, i have no interest in a pokemon mmo so you guys are talking to a brick wall here.

Sorry, I only meant to have the sentence about the video directed at you, and the rest aimed at the general reader. I need to work on my writing to help make it more obvious.

Ghostface2206:

canadamus_prime:
You know, normally I'd scoff at this, but considering Nintendo's recent performance I now think he could be right.

And if by "performance" you mean that the 3DS has been outselling both the PS3 and Xbox 360 for a while now and there are plenty of system sellers on the way to the Wii U, then they're going to be fine.

I'm more scoffing at the fact that people want Nintendo to die, or almost worse, go multiplatform. People that say that make no sense, they want to play Nintendo's games, just not on a console with the word Nintendo on it. Why should Nintendo step down, they were there before PlayStation and Xbox!

People must realise that Nintendo made billions of yen off of the DS and Wii, so it's not that they're saying Nintendo is going down, they just want to see them bite the dust so that they can continue to not play their games.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see Nintendo fail. Nintendo was a part of my childhood, the last thing I want is to see them fail. However I have not been too impressed with them lately, what with that whole thing regarding the Let's Play videos and whatever as well as the floundering Wii U, and their unwillingness to take their IPs in new and interesting directions.
Sure the 3DS is keeping the company afloat now, but how long can it continue to do so when the Wii U is weighing it down.

If that does happen, Nintendo can just open up their own version of Chuck-E-Cheese.
There. Problem solved.

rhizhim:

klaynexas3:
Atari had a few more failing consoles than just one, so to compare Nintendo's first failing.....

image

its easy to forget..

Well, had you not cut off my quote so early you would have seen that I had said "within the past two decades." I didn't forget, it's just one failure two decades ago would hardly send the company spiraling into decay.

WeepingAngels:

It's sad that you resort to making this Atari vs Nintendo. BTW, Wii U isn't Nintendo's first failing console, that would be the N64 followed by the Gamecube. The Wii U is just the worst failing console.

I might also mention that Mario, Zelda and Pokemon didn't help sell the N64 or the Gamecube and it's annoying to see everyone say that those franchises will forever keep them afloat.

It's hardly an "A vs. B" scenario. I was comparing them, but I guess that automatically means I'm pitting them two against each other. Considering it's a company talking about another company, especially when one company is making comparison about themselves and the other company, drawing other comparisons or showing the whole picture is hardly making it Atari vs Nintendo. So don't put words in my mouth.

And yes, while the N64 and the Gamecube didn't do well they were hardly massive failures that would cause a company's downfall. And I'll admit Mario and Zelda won't keep the company afloat as a console manufacturer, but it's handheld department can and will at least for the time being. And one last thing, of course Pokemon didn't sell the N64 or the Gamecube, it's hard to for a series to sell a system when its main line of games are on a completely different system. I guess you could also saying Halo isn't selling any Playstations, it makes about as much sense.

Bleidd Whitefalcon:

Saucycarpdog:
I say Nintendo should make a successor to the N64 without any gimmicks. Just a nice powerful console like they used to make with the launch titles being a pokemon MMO and a next gen Metroid as an answer to Microsofts Halo and Sony's Killzone.

Wasn't that the Gamecube? And look what happened with that

The marketing was terrible for the gamecube and it was competing with the new xbox and PS2 at the time. Like I said, but you have seemed to ignore, launch it with a pokemon mmo and a next gen Metroid and throw in a Zelda game for good measure and fans will come flocking. Not to mention a console like this would be much easier to get stuff like call of duty or assassins creed plus other third party games on it. They could price it much lower than the xbox one or PS4, as most Nintendo consoles are usually cheaper.

Sounds like a good comeback for Nintendo if you ask me.

the wii sold a ton also last gen, but then nintendo, glutted the games with garbage, assuring that out of all the consoles, wii gathered the most dust out of all 3 in peoples homes.

Treating your customers like fools is what ruined atari finally, the whole taking us for granted and putting out upgrades and hardware that was expensive as hell and dropping support soon after, the 64 bit carts, sega cd, so on. The sega genesis was the best console until the playstation 2 came out, and sega managed to trash its reputation with its fans by crapping all over them.

Nintendo has been headed down that path, taking its fans for granted, if they continue to do that put out too much garbage and not enough quality titles, they could find themselves abandoned by those fans the same way sega did.

Phrozenflame500:
Nintendo won't die unless they stage a mass IP suicide with all their first-party titles.

As long as Mario and Link still sell, Nintendo will still exist.

That was on my mind the whole time I was reading the article. That, and the fact that I've been hating all the recent 1st party titles lately...

I don't think Bushnell is entirely incorrect here. When we talk about Nintendo we often fail to realize that Nintendo is effectively 2 properties. Their IP library and software company. And their dedicated hardware. It's the hardware side that is in deep trouble in the near future. And the trouble is rather irrelevant to their cash reserves or how good their games are, or even micro analyzing why the WiiU is a failure. The problem is the core markets in both of their hardware areas are narrowing and evolving. The paradigm is shifting out from under their hardware business.

Nintendo has long sought the more price conscious consumer. And this has served them well. But they are rapidly reaching a point where the performance and function of their dedicated lower cost devices is being matched or competed with by standard consumer smart devices. IPhones and tablets. Smart TV's etc. the next gen Samsung smartphone will have graphics and gaming performance that is the equivalent of a PS3 or a WiiU. Think about what that does to the consumer equation? At that point gaming tech can easily be bundled into the TV itself. It quickly erodes Nintendo's ability to out develop or keep up with the hardware platforms. Already consumers see the WiiU controller and think "but I already have an iPad?". The convergence of smart tech will rapidly leave Nintendo out in the cold in this regard. Heck right now the 3ds is their license to print money. But how well will a next gen handheld do when it is quickly outclassed by rapidly evolving phones and wrist devices and tablets etc. linked devices that the consumer can shift between at will?

Nintendo's path to continued profit lies almost exclusively in their software. And that will eventually require putting their software on other platforms. Their best hope would be to reach some sort of licensing deal with Apple or Samsung, and insure that it is their tech or heir desired specs that sits in new TV's, tablets and smart devices. Nintendo hardware division s not in a position to go into full blown consumer electronics. But that is where Mario and Zelda etc will need to go to survive and thrive in the near future. There is just no way around it.

Sizzle Montyjing:
I'm not sure Nintendo can last, unless they're making a ton of new fans regularly. Because a fan base can only stick around so-long before falling to such things as 'time' and 'death', so unless they're making themselves relevant to the new generations they'll kick the bucket.

I believe that renewable fanbase are children. That is the same fanbase they have catered to since their inception, and they are the only game company to cater to said demographic since Microsoft and Sony for the most part seem to ignore their existence on a daily basis.

cerebus23:
the wii sold a ton also last gen, but then nintendo, glutted the games with garbage, assuring that out of all the consoles, wii gathered the most dust out of all 3 in peoples homes.

Treating your customers like fools is what ruined atari finally, the whole taking us for granted and putting out upgrades and hardware that was expensive as hell and dropping support soon after, the 64 bit carts, sega cd, so on. The sega genesis was the best console until the playstation 2 came out, and sega managed to trash its reputation with its fans by crapping all over them.

Nintendo has been headed down that path, taking its fans for granted, if they continue to do that put out too much garbage and not enough quality titles, they could find themselves abandoned by those fans the same way sega did.

Nintendo themselves have put out a lot of quality titles on the Wii U and the average consumer were able to discern shovel ware garbage from Cold Stone from a solid Nintendo title.

However most Wii's were owned by old people and non gaming audiences.
If they only care about Wii Fit, then obviously they aren't going to buy any more games. Nor are they going to bother getting the heavily advertised Nintendo games the company offers.

Gearhead mk2:
No offence, but I'm not gonna trust the word of a guy who's company's last big contribution to gaming was ET.

This man was not involved in that, and ET turned out the way it did because it was terribly rushed, there was a very good programmer behind it that had done a ton of other good Atari games, he was dedicated to the point of eccentricity. His name's Howard Scott Warshaw, by the way.

On topic, I'd be glad to see if Nintendo went handheld only, seeing as their handhelds are starting to get good enough to support their console games, to the extent that sometimes they make two different version, such as for Monster Hunter on the 3DS/WiiU. But they won't be going any time soon.

Ah, who better to warn about the road to irrelevance than a guy who's travelled the length of it, arrived at the end, and set up a nice cabin there?

Nintendo will be fine.

Sure the Wii U isn't a rip roaring success, but all companies have their bad moments. They still have the more successful hand held console and a huge fan base for a lot of their first party franchises.
All they really have to do to become more relevant to the 'hardcore' crowd is reboot some of their abandoned franchises and create a few new IPs.
All they really have to do to attract more 'casual' gamers is to not give their consoles confusing names; WiiU, 2DS etc.

Also Atarti's downfall came from successive failures such as the 5200, 7800, Lynx and Jaguar (everything that wasn't the 2600).
The only thing Nintendo have made that bombed anywhere near as hard as those consoles was the Virtual Boy.

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