When I first started writing this article I was wondering what Nintendo was doing wrong, why hadn’t they given the Wii the upgrades it needs? With sales steadily declining, and Kinect grabbing lots of attention, how could they expect to stay on top with a console that doesn’t even have HD? And so I started looking deeper, and after some research I came to a somewhat startling realization. Nintendo was doing everything right.
History has shown that Nintendo doesn’t get concerned when the world starts to question their relevance, and wonder if they will be able to compete with the innovations of the competition. And they have good reason not to be, because they always have something else up their sleeve, something unexpected. While the competition focuses on making somewhat trivial, and design heavy improvements to hardware they already produce, Nintendo is always working on The Next Big Thing.
When the PS3 Slim came out in 2009 it boosted having double the storage, free online gaming, and a more affordable price point. But did it really change the way you game? Not at all. Now think about when the latest version of the Xbox 360 was launched in 2010, anything significantly new there? The only would be game changer launched by Nintendo’s competition has been Kinect, an Xbox accessory launched in 2010. Kinect’s stated purpose was to allow for a controller free gaming experience, something that sounds innovative. But was it really? It seems that the Kinect’s real purpose was to entice non-gamers to play by simplifying controls and using movement, something that Nintendo did four years earlier. This is not to say that Kinect hasn’t been successful. Given that Microsoft has sold 10 million Kinect sensors and has been awarded a Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in a 60-day period, it is clear that Kinect has changed the Xbox 360 experience for the better. But this still comes four years after the Nintendo changed the way the world views home consoles, and paved the way for a family gaming experience. In reality it took Nintendo’s competition four years to come up with a product that could compete in the family segment of the home console market.
Given the technological advances made in the years since the Wii first launched, people have started to wonder, is it time for an upgrade of the Wii? After all it isn’t available in HD, doesn’t play DVDs, and hasn’t had any significant development since its launch. The truth is that in comparison to what the competition offers as far as storage, graphics, and range of use, the Wii does need an upgrade. But I doubt that we will see it. Part of Nintendo’s business strategy is that they don’t get bogged down with small technical upgrades. It’s a somewhat risky strategy that, at times, leaves some customers feeling left out. But this is also the brilliance of it. By not getting lost in the smaller details that primarily appeal to technology savvy gamers, they allow themselves to focus on creating a device that will open the door to a whole new market of customers. In 2010 Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America stated, “I think a hallmark of Nintendo is that we are constantly trying to innovate, I think we would have been embarrassed to do what our competitors are currently doing.” This is fundamental reason why Nintendo is so good at what they do, and also the simple explanation for why you won’t be viewing your Wii in HD.
So for all of you out there thinking the Wii needs an upgrade, have a little faith. Nintendo hasn’t forgotten about you, they’re just focusing on making sure their next hardware launch blows your mind just as much as the Wii did four years ago. On that note, it is rumored that Nintendo will reveal their new home console system at E3 in June of this year, and the Nintendo 3DS goes on sale March 27th with features such as glasses-free 3D graphics, and a 3D Depth Slider that allows the user to adjust the depth of stereoscopy to suit their preferences.