Nintendo must adapt or die in changing marketplace

More bad news for Nintendo. After the disappointing flop of its latest console, the Wii U, Nintendo is facing more pressure

More bad news for Nintendo.

After the disappointing flop of its latest console, the Wii U, Nintendo is facing more pressure to get out of the console-making game and stick to the game-making game.

This isn’t the first time that it has been suggested that Nintendo would do better if it stopped building consoles and allowed its characters to be licensed across other platforms.

After Nintendo reported its first ever loss two years ago, the once-powerful video game giant adamantly refused to license its trademark characters like the Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, Link and Kirby and related games for use on other platforms.

However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Nintendo may no longer have a choice. Currently, the company is projecting a loss for the end of the current fiscal year and has cut forecasted sales of the Wii U by more than two-thirds.

Nintendo has certainly come a long way from the small company that printed playing cards. At one time, Nintendo was synonymous with video games and made images like Mario’s red hat and blue suspenders familiar even to those who have never touched a joystick or d-pad in their lives.

However, nothing lasts forever and the abysmal sales (or lack thereof) for the Wii U have proved that Nintendo cannot compete with Sony’s PlayStation line or Microsoft’s Xbox line, the current reigning consoles. If it continues on this path, Nintendo will fade away into history much like Atari before it.

There is one way Nintendo could save itself, though it refuses to do it. That is to get out of making consoles themselves and license games and characters for use on other consoles.

I have no doubt that making Nintendo’s content available on other consoles would preserve the company’s existence. See, Nintendo’s problem is this, their games appeal to too narrow of a market.

Nintendo, throughout its lifetime, has done a fantastic job of creating wildly successful child-friendly games enjoyable for the whole family. When Nintendo released the Wii in 2006, it revolutionized the video-game industry and the living room by creating a console the whole family could enjoy together.

Trouble is, the children in those families grow up and the games don’t grow up with them. So, they turn to Microsoft and Sony’s consoles in order to access a more mature catalogue of video games. Those consoles win-out over Nintendo because they cater to children as well as adult gamers.

But, extremely rare is the gamer who has never played one of Nintendo’s consoles and fond are the memories associated with them. While older gamers may not be devoted enough to buy a console solely dedicated to Nintendo’s characters and games, they certainly would buy those games and enjoy them on other consoles, if only for nostalgia’s sake.

Nintendo should urgently reconsider staying in the console building business and how it licenses its intellectual property. Sega (once Nintendo’s fiercest rival) made the move decades ago and hasn’t released a console since the Dreamcast in 1998. While they may not be as recognizable as they were in the hey-day of the Genesis, they are still alive. Nintendo could go on making great games with their well-known characters that would be enjoyed by children and adults alike, but only on different consoles. Or, it could die.