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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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I love Nintendo

nintendo ds cake

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/rakka/

Reading this report of Nintendo’s record-breaking year of turnover and profits reminded me how much I love Nintendo as a company.

I’ve been a regular, if not fanatical, user of their products for over 15 years. A few years ago, they looked to have lost their way. The Gameboy Advance and Gamecube hadn’t performed too well, and a dominant Sony and emerging Microsoft had already squeezed Sega out of the market. It looked like Nintendo might follow.

What saved them was the qualities I admire most in them; innovation and – above all – enjoyment.

Looking at the most popular games across the Playstation and Xbox (and pc games), you could see the direction in which the market was moving

  • Photo-realistic graphics
  • Immersive gameplay
  • High concept
  • Online
  • Challenging
  • Wide-ranging controls and functionality

These games require incredible amounts of investment – in terms of development costs for the producer and gameplay time for the consumer.

Through the DS and Wii, Nintendo turned this on its head. Their games are

These factors combined can create fanatical devotion that can spread through word of mouth – not only saving marketing budget but also extending the word to the casual gamers.

And so Nintendo created a new market.

My Mother – who only learned to send text messages last year and still can’t email – now has a Wii. Two of the games she plays – Wii Sports and Wii Fit – are pretty much the equivalent of what you get on MiniCip, whereas Wii Fit actually gives some tangible benefit to her.

Games with face-to-face social benefits, games that are primarily fun, and games that lead to benefits or changes to lives as a whole. Is this the direction the industry is going in?

Of course the sandbox style of Grand Theft Auto has proved incredibly popular, but what have been the breakout franchises of the past couple of years? Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

As McCann’s Subodh Deshpande so succinctly put:

Nintendo has succeeded with the DS and Wii because, unlike its competition, it did not view the gaming business through the lens of graphic wizardry but through the eyes of human beings 

sk

Links – 13/03/08

I’ve been feeling under the weather recently. So while I have some ideas for blog posts, I haven’t actually written them yet. Sunday should be the time to rectify that.

I’m going to the MRS Conference on both days next week; please say hello if you will be there too.

Blog related links

Random links

Of these, my top 3 would be Why Indie bands sell out, Individuality within corporate blogs, and Alan Moore primer, with 100 NES games converted to Flash thrown in for a long lunchbreak.

sk