Nintendo held its quarterly financial briefing and, as expected, things aren’t looking too great right now. Wii U sales are terrible, and Nintendo expects to sell less than a million of them next year. 3DS sales are also down compared to the same period last year, but recently they’ve gone up a bit thanks to what’s being called “The Pokemon GO effect.” The strong pre-order numbers for Pokemon Sun & Moon are also being attributed to the success of Pokemon GO .
Of course, headlines are spinning the story accordingly, with Jacky Wong of the Wall Street Journal saying that Pokemon GO proves Nintendo still has a “path to glory” through mobile games. “To the annoyance of investors,” she notes, “Nintendo remains focused on consoles—and in a bad way. It revealed its new Switch console last week, which investors hated. The stock has fallen nearly 10% since the announcement. Going against two established console giants, Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, seems a more foolhardy proposition.” This is something I’ve seen echoed in comments sections and message boards, and I just feel compelled to respond on behalf of all Nintendo fans.
Screw the investors.
Look, I don’t blame the investors and shareholders for expecting more income / dividends. But I also don’t blame Nintendo for taking risks. It’s what keeps this industry exciting and evolving. PlayStation VR excepted, Sony and Microsoft are both going the same direction and doing the same thing. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m tired of the teraflop war. I’ll feel completely hollow inside if the only thing to look forward to in next-gen consoles is marginal-to-moderate leaps in power year after year.
Nintendo always gives us something different to look forward to. Now you can spin that however you want. “It’s stuck on a blue ocean strategy that isn’t working.” “Nintendo has the money to produce powerful hardware, but doesn’t know how.” “Nintendo thinks it always has to have a gimmick.” “Nintendo has to make cheaper hardware to get kids and parents on board.” “Nintendo gon’ Nintendo.” Whatever.
My spin is this: Nintendo is the last bastion of true creativity in this industry. It’s the only company still focused on “fun,” first and foremost. Shaders, resolution, teraflops, safe bets, and hell – maybe even maximizing profits all come after fun for Nintendo. That’s important to me, and it should be important to you, too.
You may think that Nintendo shit the bed with the Wii U, and if all you’re going by is sales, then you’d be right. As an adult gamer, though, and one who also owns a powerful gaming PC and PS4, I love my Wii U. It’s the only console that made me feel like a kid again this gen. I have so many fond memories and hours spent playing Mario Kart 8 , Splatoon , Tokyo Mirage Sessions , Yoshi’s Wooly World , Mario Maker, Pokken Tournament … I wouldn’t give that up for anything.
I’ll support Nintendo and give them my money no matter what they do. Not because I’m a blind fanboy, but because they’ve kept my playful spirit and love for games – pure, fun games – alive since I was a little boy playing on my NES. We need a company like that in this industry; in the console space. If Nintendo went mobile, a huge part of me would die, and I know I’m not unique in that regard. Investors don’t care about any of that. They only care about the bottom line. Do I understand why? Yes. Still – screw ’em.