The Recent History of Nintendo
Nintendo has managed to capture a large share of the gaming market ever since it introduced the DS. The company had struggled for years to compete after the original Sony PlayStation knocked it off its perch as the king of the gaming world, but it has now risen back to be competitive. In fact, the Nintendo DS is the most popular handheld gaming system of all time.
Nintendo DS was a Landmark System
The Nintendo DS was released in 2004 and was the lifeboat that saved the company. The year before, Nintendo reported its first financial operating loss in its history. Hiroshi Yamauchi, president of Nintendo, said, "If the DS succeeds, we will rise to heaven, but if it fails we will sink to hell."
Fortunately, the DS succeeded beyond the company's wildest dreams. It was a gaming system designed to attract casual gamers, and the company used that philosophy to engineer its remarkable turnaround. The casual gamers who would not pay hundreds of dollars for a console were attracted to the system's low price and fun gaming experience.
Building on the Success of the DS
After seeing the wild response to the DS, Nintendo used the concept of attracting the casual gamer to create the Nintendo Wii. This console was designed to bring in people who were not attracted to the complex playing experience that consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox offered.
Instead, the Wii bundles came with groundbreaking motion-sensitive controllers that made the gaming experience easy to enjoy. This approach once again worked extremely well. The Wii was a huge hit and sold over 100 million units. This assured that Nintendo would regain its place among the top gaming companies, and it looked into building on this concept to move into the future.
The Nintendo Wii U
When they designed the Wii U, the developers at Nintendo wanted to get the best of both worlds. They wanted to design a console that would appeal to the casual gamers that they had captured, but they also wanted to bring back the hardcore gamers that were turned off by simplicity.
They added a lot of buttons and control schemes to the WiiU to try and bring back the hardcore games. Unfortunately, that approach has failed. The system's more advanced controllers have turned off the casual gamers and they have failed to bring back the hardcore gamers, most likely due to the fact that the system does not match the graphics or processing power of its competitors like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
It remains to be seen how Nintendo will respond. It may be best to go back to the approach that served them well in the past. They should forget about hardcore gamers and make consoles that use hardware and software that will appeal to the casual gamer.