Nintendo: A Well Known Problem
by John Torres
It has been an interesting ride for Nintendo this year.
The holiday season is around the corner. No sooner had stores removed the last bit of Halloween candy than Christmas trees and Santa Clause lawn ornaments popped up in their place. Yes, folks, it’s time to shop till you drop and whether it’s amazing Black Friday deals or presents to wrap for the holidays–Nintendo couldn’t be happier.
Let’s face it. Nintendo has failed to see that huge “printing money” success that they had grown accustomed to when the Wii was in its early years. In fact, hitting a slump with sales has led to many, many a discussion on what is next for the Big N. What could Nintendo do to avoid losing it all?
So, in light of all of this financial talk–these opinions and predictions calling for Nintendo to “wake-up” and “get it” when it comes to video games and gamers, it’s somewhat refreshing to see that:
“Among all youth [8 to 24], the Nintendo Wii is the 2012 Harris Poll Youth EquiTrend® Video Gaming Platform Brand of the Year, followed by the Sony Playstation 3 and then the Nintendo DS.”
Now, Video Gaming Platform Brand of the Year does not mean BEST VIDEO GAME CONSOLE IN THE WORLD. But, what it does mean, and what Nintendo should take from that polling is that their brand still has enormous clout. It has amazing pull. It is recognized. It is known. In short, when you think video gaming–you are probably thinking Nintendo.
And Nintendo, Nintendo must see this. They must see that there is a delicate balance with brand recognition and product sales. People want to love Nintendo. And, by all the numbers, people do. But, with the recent decline in sales, Nintendo must do what all other great brand names have done when there seems to be a downturn in actual product transactions. Nintendo needs to listen, learn from their competitors, and adapt to be better.
The 3DS and the upcoming WiiU have a lot of gamers, and even some Nintendo loyal questioning if Nintendo is trying too hard to innovate and forgetting how to re-establish their connection with me and you. There isn’t a problem with being different–but there is a problem with being different at the expense of being practical. Again, this is a fine balance. What if Apple gave us the iPad, but not the ability to download third party apps? Nintendo needs to remember that being different will get their name out there–but at this point, it already is.
Gamers are not looking to be wowed every time Nintendo releases a system. It’s nice. But really, we already know who you are, Nintendo. What we need and probably, what we are all desperately hoping for is that you take all of this recognition and take a step back with it. Listen to the Xbox chatter, the PS3 homers, even the Apple app gamers and recognize what makes them each such amazing brands. If imitation is the ultimate form of flattery, it wouldn’t hurt to take a page from some of these industry giants–even if it’s just a wink.