2004 – Nintendo Is Doomed

2004, Nintendo is struggling with the GameCube and losing the support of third parties. Game Boy Advance is doing well but the future is in doubt as the threat of a competent Sony handheld looms. After a kiddy Zelda game (that will never get a remake) gamers were desperately clinging to the hope of a proper “realistic” Zelda. A poor marketing campaign for Super Mario Sunshine didn’t help matters, where are the traditional Mario games? The future of the system was dependent on instant megaton announcements that didn’t happen, and Resident Evil 4 which was no longer an exclusive game. E3 2004 changed everything, with the introduction of a new system and a new attitude.

Reggie-Nintendo-DS1

Nintendo DS was unveiled and Reggie’s confidence and the promise of a new Metroid title brought excitement to the terminally-hip crowd. However, as the dust settled, sites began taking the mickey out of Nintendo and this was the predicted downfall of the company as the unstoppable Sony showed off their new handheld, the PSP. Comparisons were inevitable and many people thought Sony would carry PS2′s success into the handheld arena. Here’s an article from IGN from just before DS and PSP launched, very clearly stating their mindset. It’s the best article I could find because they are trying to be open-minded, but it’s almost eerie how wrong they were. Here’s some quotes that highlight the apathy of DS’s unveiling.

“With the Nintendo DS, I can smell something good in the kitchen, but with the PlayStation Portable, I can taste it. This is the portable system that gamers have been waiting all along for, ever since the PlayStation burst on the scene and pushed the business to where it is now. The console biz is reaching a saturation point, and PSP would be a great overflow for talented works to get their due. DS will be quite cool and quite different, but Nintendo’s approach just doesn’t seem to have the oomph to push it gamers to it, whereas Sony is sitting at the wheel of a bulldozer.”

“I think Sony will support it a lot longer than Nintendo will support the DS and have a much stronger second generation of software than the DS’s second and third combined. “

“I pick the PSP simply because I know what I’m gonna get from it. I’m not expecting a gameplay revolution, but I already know it’s just gonna be a pocket PS2. The DS is still a mystery to me. Do I want dual screens? Are the games using touch screen something that I’m personally going to enjoy? I don’t know.”

“Two screens is nifty but I’m more excited about the possibility of listening to some tunes or watching a movie on my gaming device.”

There was some curiosity towards DS’s approach, but nobody had any confidence in it, and the idea of a touch screen and two screens was alien at the time. The only people with any confidence in it seem to be Nintendo and a few appropriately adjusted gamers. As a result, every single one of them predicted PSP would get stronger support.

“– Craig: PSP. More companies are comfortable jumping onto the PSP because it’s not such a drastically different portable system.
– Nix: PSP.Nintendo is the big guy on Nintendo’s systems, and that’s left a lot of third parties out in the cold. Sony gave them a warm home on PS and PS2, and they look to be doing the same on PSP.
– Jeremy: PSP. This is a question? Sony has the biggest third party lineup in the world and with a strong commitment already by companies like EA and Activision, it’s gonna be tough.
– Hilary: PSP. Sony brings the third party like no one else. Nintendo’s strength will remain it’s first-party titles, but having full support from EA and Konami is going to do wonders for the PSP.
– David: PSP. This is an easy one. Nintendo continues to alienate itself in terms of 3rd party games. This suits some people just fine, but not me.”

You’re right David, that was a very easy one. But you all fucked it up.

“DS may run out of steam after Christmas.”

This was one thing they got right, because DS did run out of steam after Christmas, 2012.

This continued for several months after the DS launched, with the head Nintendo editor Matt Casamassina writing articles about how great the PSP is, and fabricating rumours that DS was buried and Nintendo was already working on a new handheld called “Game Boy Evolution”, and some kind of Portable GameCube that never existed. Even Nintendo fansites had to deal with people like this.

“Doesn’t matter what Nintendo’s doing to innovate. People want PS2 graphics. Said and done.”

It was even worse on forums where people weren’t held back by the need to be professional. (quotes taken from the excellent article linked above)

“Put the PSP next to the DS in the eyes of a customer and you can bury the DS the next day. The DS started very well, but so did the Dreamcast. The DS, IMHO, was a knee jerk reaction to the PSP and is sloppy all the way down the board. The launch titles between the two systems are night and day. The DS couldn’t even sell 1-1 software to hardware. The PSP is over a generation ahead in terms of technology and is going to wipe the floor with the DS. I completely respect Nintendo as a software company, but as far as hardware is concerned, they are a sheep lost in the woods, and Sony is coming home to grandma’s house (how’s that for mixed literary allusions? ) The DS will sell decently for 6-12 months, but it’s so far behind the PSP, customers are going to jump ship.”

“The PSP will indeed slaughter all competition.”

“PSP vs DS is gonna become the NEW analogy of choice for demonstrating Nintendo incompetence.”

So what happened, how did Nintendo turn it around? How did the lonely DS become such a star? There was no big overnight announcement, no acquisitions and no dramatic change in business strategy. The answer was simply new software, and the slightly redesigned DS Lite. I still remember the first week Brain Training came out, I laughed with fellow Pietriot Deguello at its ridiculously long Japanese title (Tohoku University Future Technology Research Center Professor and Supervisor Ryuta Kawashima’s Train Your Brain DS Training For Adults), and we were very impressed that it sold 43,000 in it’s first week. Then it just kept selling. Every week. It stayed in the top 10 for YEARS and has now sold 19 million worldwide. Nintendogs, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing all jumped aboard the success train as word spread and people were simply having a lot of fun with their DS’s. It was obvious all these people hadn’t read IGN’s articles about the PSP, or they would have known better.

Fast forward a decade to 2014! Let’s take a look at all the systems on the market today!

Wii U
wiiuscreenexample

PS4


ps4_vita1

Xbox One
Xbox_One_SmartGlass_Star_Trek-578-80
3DS

3ds

Vita

vitatouch
Every Smartphone Ever

smartjenny

What do all of these have in common? Every single machine has either a touch screen or second screen feature. Every. Single. One. Some of the functions are crappy and tacked-on, but they exist and all are advertised to sell each system. Nintendo didn’t invent the ability to touch a screen or look at two things, but they were BRAVE enough to introduce an idea that people thought was dumb and ride out all the negative press.

“Do I want dual screens? Are the games using touch screen something that I’m personally going to enjoy? I don’t know.”

Hopefully the industry has cleared this up for you now, timid IGN writer. This risky gimmick is now a standard feature across the entire tech industry. What does this mean for Wii U in 2014? Absolutely nothing. It does mean that the hype, doom & gloom, expert analysis (from the biggest gaming websites) and forum trolling can all amount to nothing in the face of a new idea and a good time. Now let’s all play some games and forget about where the industry is headed, because we have no fucking clue.

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23 Responses to 2004 – Nintendo Is Doomed

  1. donzaloog says:

    Excellent article. Nintendo struck gold with DS and Wii. And I believe they have barely begun to show us what Wii U can do. The console had a slow start because 3rd parties abandoned Wii U the moment they realized it wasn’t going to sell eleventy billion units out of the gate. Left it high and dry. They had almost a full year with no Nintendo games to compete with and they did absolutely nothing with it.

    I have found that people are more interested in complaining about games rather than playing them. Me? I’m neck deep in Xenoblade and looking to get some more awesome games soon. There’s just not enough time in the day for all the games I want to play.

    • eaglebob345 says:

      I don’t know why third parties want to leave us Nintendo fans behind. We may have high standards, but that should not deter them, unless they believe their games to be of an inferior quality than we are used to.

      I just started playing Xenoblade Chronicles again, after quitting because I sucked at the controls. This game is actually quite awesome, and it is making me more excited for when X comes out.

      • donzaloog says:

        3rd parties are lazy. They just want to do quick and easy ports and never put any real effort into learning new hardware.

        Xenoblade is so awesome. This game is the biggest JRPG I’ve ever played. The world is gigantic and the story is engaging. I love the battle system and the music. I can’t wait to see what direction they’re going with for X.

        You can tell from the way Satoru Iwata talks about Tetsuya Takahashi and his team from Monolith Soft that he has utmost respect for them. And they deserve it after creating this masterpiece on the so-called underpowered Wii.

      • Matto says:

        We are such terrifying creatures to behold.

  2. eaglebob345 says:

    That was a great article. I stopped following mainstream sites like IGN and Gamspot when I realized that all they did wa try to stoke the flames of a made up fanboy war and to throw unwarranted, unneeded, biased hatred at Nintendo and their fans. I play games for fun not for the most advanced piece of hardware on the market. It is for that reason that I chose the 3DS over the Vita (and because I have an intense addiction to Pokemon, Monster Hunter, and Kingdom Hearts). It is also the reason I will be getting a Wii U before I even consider getting a PS4.

    I went off on a tangent there, so back on topic: These biased game media sites and intellectually challenged fans and followers of these sites need to wake up. Even if Nintendo ever decided that home consoles were a lost cause, and I wouldn’t blame them as that concept has been beaten to death with the enormous bags of money Sony and Microsoft throw around to turd party companies (like EA), they would come back ten fold with the juggernauts they call handhelds.

    Even though any company in Sony’s or Microsoft’s position would have made the decision to cut their gaming divisions yet, after they wasted all of that money throwing it around last generation, they both pressed on in hopes of making back that money by siphoning it out of their loyal fanbases. If any company is to drop out of making consoles, it would probably be Sony (I actually hope they do if their condition gets worse because they make some quality products, they just waste too much money on the PlayStation brand). Sony and Microsoft think throwing around money will solve all of their problems, but only Microsoft can afford it.

    Bottom line, Nintendo knows how to build a prosperous gaming company. They had their issues back in the nineties with third party companies over control of quality, and for good reason too especially seeing all of these clones of Call of Duty flying around everywhere, and they are trying their darndest to accommodate third parties now, with everything other than enormous bags of money (which is all they want anymore, which saddens me). These money hungry companies are destroying the industry, and I am ready for Nintendo to strike back an reclaim what was theirs since they breathed ne life into the industry.

    Nintendo isn’t going anywhere just yet, but I can’t say the same about Sony or Microsoft (Microsoft in the video games industry and Sony as a whole).

  3. A.G. says:

    Excellent points all around. Shared on my Facebook page — wish I wrote this.

  4. averagejosh says:

    Articles like this are why I’m so glad I stumbled upon this blog. Great job!

  5. quixoticsomnia says:

    Just here to say I got all my complaining out of me already but I’m always up for an interesting read. Yeah, I left all the other sites years ago. I flutter around from time to time just to keep up on news (why is there no site where I can just find information on official announcements that aren’t also flooded with biased and factually incorrect opinion pieces or rumor mongering?… sorry… complaining.) but this is the only place I’ve posted in a while.

    I tried one of my other sites out a few weeks ago after about a year on hiatus. We’ll call it “NintendoPlanetDigest” to protect the not so innocent… Worse than I remember.

    Anyway, I can see myself hanging around here… for a while anyway.

    *maniacal laugh*

    • donzaloog says:

      Try Playeressence.com for you gaming news. It reports on all of the big three, leaning towards Nintendo but doesn’t slander the other two.

      • wished that was true. I like Francis but the 5-6 drones that worship Nintendo are quick to jump down your throat if you dont fall inline with everything Francis or nintendo do

    • UncleBob says:

      Official announcements and nothing more?

      http://press.nintendo.com/loginSplash.jsp

      Should be every Nintendo fan’s homepage. :D

    • quixoticsomnia says:

      @donzaloog

      Yeah, I ran across PlayerEssence recently and I’ve mostly been following it. Right now it’s the first site I check. I’m still in worry mode though. Too many other sites I used to follow have jumped on the Hatetendo bandwagon. I mean, if you have a companie’s name directly in your URL I would expect your site to be focused on and even biased toward that company. Apparently most sites seem to think that putting Nintendo in their name is some sort of high concept irony humor.

      @Unclebob

      Now that’s a useful link. Thanks a lot for that.

  6. AWESOME! Simply awesome! Ds, Wii, 3ds everyone of em was “doomed” and look at them now! Go away haters and trolls and suck on that awesome article!

  7. I remember the summer after the DS launched, I was in a Gamestop looking at some DS games, and the clerk decided for whatever reason to rag on the handheld, telling me that he heard it was about to be discontinued and the PSP offered a FAR better experience. Needless to say, I did not buy anything from that store that day.

    • quixoticsomnia says:

      Most store clerks are retarded. I was in a Toys R’ Us once and the guy in the games section was telling people how Sega and Microsoft were teaming up. How they had teamed up on the Dreamcast and now they were releasing the XBox together and that Sega was going to be making games exclusively for it.

      Who gives these people their information? I mean, the guy had to be a gaming fan since he knew some of the players and some of the events that had taken place in the industry (such as how MS was involved with the Dreamcast, however only in a very minor roll) but I just don’t understand how you can end up with such terribly wrong information. It’s like he had gleaned everything that knew from leaning over the back of his seat at a restaurant and eavesdropping on the people sitting behind him.

      In the immortal words of Lewis Black: “If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.”

  8. jmcbride005 says:

    Great article! Stumbled upon this website from another forum where Nintendo trolling is getting out of hand. This site is fresh breath of air. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  9. Mongoose says:

    Ooh this issue. In a case where gaming journalism blatantly left objectivity at the door and started to pick winners…

    I’ll admit when I saw the demo for Death Jr, on PSP, I was impressed. What didn’t impress me was the case of dead pixels, design flaw which Ken Kutaragi proudly considered it a ‘feature’ and lack of follow up content after launch.

    To say that that journos were completely submerged after the ‘blue ocean tsunami’ would be an understatement.

    What I’m surprised is that no one bought the website nintendoomed.com years ago, and started to post every single piece of negative news pointing to Nintendo’s demise. C’mon trolls, what are you waiting for?

    • quixoticsomnia says:

      @Mongoose

      “What I’m surprised is that no one bought the website nintendoomed.com years ago, and started to post every single piece of negative news pointing to Nintendo’s demise. C’mon trolls, what are you waiting for?”

      Why would anyone even have to? All of the big sites already do and even most of the smaller enthusiast sites are following suit. It’s nearly impossible to find a site focused on gaming, even with the word Nintendo right in their name, that isn’t already doing just that.

      Really, if you want to have fun with it, someone should buy the domain and post nothing but super positive Nintendo news. Now that would be an amazing troll.

  10. Matto says:

    I would totally do that if I have awesome computer knowledge, but I don’t.

    Too busy wondering if UbiSoft is going to cancel Watch_Dogs for WiiU or not. Not that I truly care since UbiSoft is fucking scum of the Earth now.

    • Grubdog says:

      Why are UbiSoft “fucking scum of the Earth” exactly? I don’t care about their games but they’re probably the best supporter of Wii U. The hate needs to calm down it’s toxic.

      • Matto says:

        Sorry Grub, just in a bad mood. But their most creative developer (Montpeller) is being brushed aside for triple A-1000 person developed games.

        I don’t trust Ubi’s support especially when they pulled the “not selling well enough” card with the 3DS. Then again, they never really made great handheld games in the first place…

  11. I remember reading these articles on IGN in 2004. I thought it was a joke then, and you just used it to wipe the floor with their supposed expert opinions. My question to the editor of this article is simple: do you think IGN took money from Sony for their opinions to be so unanimously biased? I mean it almost seems impossible that so-called analysts can be proven to be 100% wrong in 10 years’ time. Yet here is the proof. Nintendo makes amazing games and that’s all that matters. I truly believe that had Capcom, Konami, Square, Namco, etc. had not decided to move ship and make game for Sony consoles that their IPs would be fully synonymous with Nintendo IPs and their games would sell Mario-like numbers in the same way Kirby enjoys success. They made what seemed like an economically smooth short-term investment with Sony but now it seems like none of those companies are looking well (Sony included) in the long-term.

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