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The History of Nintendo

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Two fans are seen enjoying a game together.

Two fans are seen enjoying a game together.

Photo by iMorpheus, published on December 10, 2007, Some rights reserved, license link: http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e , original link to work: http://bit.ly/2hoDcan

Photo by iMorpheus, published on December 10, 2007, Some rights reserved, license link: http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e , original link to work: http://bit.ly/2hoDcan

Two fans are seen enjoying a game together.

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Nintendo was established in 1889 and is the world’s oldest video-game company. The company was originally named “Nintendo Koppai” and was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi.  It started off producing cards called Hanafuda Cards, but took on the pivotal endeavor into the video-game industry in the 1960’s.  However the journey into the video-game industry was a history of ups and downs.

Nintendo found success in its handmade standard 52 card playing cards.  The company was passed down to the founder’s grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi, and Yamuachi was the first to manufacture plastic playing cards in Japan, largely expanding the Nintendo industry.

Yamauchi started to envision greater things for his company.  He visited America and obtained the license to print Disney characters on his cards.  This proved to be extremely profitable as Nintendo reached a younger audience which the card industry has never done before.

However, the saturated card industry proved to be both limiting and inadequate for the ambitious Hiroshi.  The company hired Gunpei Yokoi, a new maintenance engineer, and he was the key to their transition into the video game industry.  Yokoi developed a mechanical toy hand that Hiroshi took an interest in.  The “Ultra Hand” proved to be a big hit as it was mass produced and widely distributed throughout Japan.  This was around the time Nintendo started to look into the gaming industry, and they first obtained the rights to sell the world’s first gaming console, the “Magnavox Odyssey“.

Their success with the Odyssey paved a way for Nintendo’s own development of a game console.  In 1975, the “EVR Race” was developed, followed by the birth of a classic, “Donkey Kong“.  It was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and the game was a hit world wide.

Nintendo continued to amaze the world with new consoles like the “FamiCom“, or the revamped model of it, the “NES“.  This new gaming console reinvigorated the gaming industry in the US and was widely distributed in Japan.  The NES was so memorable because of the games that were released along with the system.  “Super Mario Bros” promoted the NES and helped Nintendo dominate the generation of 8-bit consoles.  Nintendo then produced a string of consoles including “Gameboy“, “Nintendo 64“, “GameCube” and even more games including but not limited to, “Super Mario World“, “Super Smash Bros. Melee“, “The Legend of Zelda“, “Super Mario 64“, “Star Fox 64“, and “Mortal Kombat“.  However these consoles faltered in compare to its competition, the Playstation and the Xbox.

There was a resurgence in Nintendo after it created a revolutionary gaming console that would be enough to compete with these high end consoles.  The “Wii” was created about 2 years after the Xbox 360 was released and less than a year after the Playstation 3.  It was a motion based console that introduced a different aspect to gaming.  It introduced casual gamers and focused more on family activities and couch gaming with friends. Although Nintendo’s other consoles have fallen short of their expectations, the Wii was a huge hit in the US.

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After a survey was taken at Lambert High School, data showed that 85% of the sample of students have owned a Wii, showing the popularity of this gaming console.

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But instead of keeping up with their competitors, Nintendo took step back with the introduction of the Wii U.  Another survey at Lambert shows that only 6% of the sample of students have owned a Wii U, showing the statistical failure of the Wii U.  The Wii U has sold around 89 million consoles less than the original Wii and it is evident that Nintendo was doing something wrong.

Nintendo failed to expand their markets and did not listen to their dying audience.  While the mobile gaming industry started to expand (now approximated at about 33.6 billion dollars), Nintendo stubbornly refused to take part in this booming future.

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Currently, the sample taken at Lambert High School shows that 81% of the students currently have a mobile game on their mobile device, and it shows just how big the industry is.

After losing about $216 million just this year (which is larger than last years losses), Nintendo finally gave into the market and released its first mobile game called Miitomo, which was successful at first, but its quick failure verified that people only played Miitomo because of the Nintendo Brand.  However, Nintendo quickly overcame its shortcomings with the highly anticipated “Pokémon Go“.  Pokémon Go is banned in Iran and the game is not even released in more countries due to their restrictions.  But even then, peaking at about 20 million daily users in August, Pokémon Go was hugely successful.  It has racked about 500 million downloads so far and its estimated revenue to this day is around 600 million dollars.

Nintendo stays relevant with its venture into the mobile gaming industry and continues to work towards innovative products.  The latest project that Nintendo has undertaken is the Nintendo Switch.

But what is the Switch?

It is a modular gaming console that can switch between a handheld tablet like gaming device to a normal living room gaming console, hence the name Nintendo Switch.  Not only are they attempting a concept that has never been created before, Nintendo is listening to their fans again and including more mature games that are targeted towards older teens and adults; this is confirmed by its trailer which does not feature a single child at all and instead displays adults enjoying a competitive game of what seems to be “NBA 2K“, and a lone adult immersed in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild“.  “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim“, A game that has never has never appeared on any Nintendo device, has also been released which greatly added to the overall excitement in the media for this device.  However polls at Lambert High School show otherwise.d

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The Nintendo switch was announced in October, but even in December the survey taken at Lambert High School shows that there is a large amount of students that do not know about this new console.  50% of students have never heard about the Switch, while 44% of the students have heard of it but will not buy the Switch, and the small 6% of students will actually buy the Switch.

Nintendo continues to create innovative products that generate a small stir in the media, however with the greatly expanding gaming industry, Nintendo fails to stay competitive.  With competitors like the PC, Xbox One, PS4, mobile games, and virtual reality, Nintendo offers the same games year after year and only recently Nintendo has moved away from its staple games, but still falls behind in specs and does not offer anything better than its competition–just something different.

 

 

 

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The History of Nintendo