Because I suspect it will be an issue, let me preface this before I begin in earnest. Yes, Nintendo is an excellent publisher. They make quite a lot of great games. They've done a lot to advance the industry over the years. I'm not attacking Nintendo fans or Nintendo itself with this post.
But seriously, can we admit that maybe they're not as important as some make them out to be?
Let me break things down a bit, starting with three assertions I often see here and elsewhere.
1. Nintendo, as a company, is indispensable to the industry. This is not to say that they aren't important, or that they don't play an important role in the industry. But let's be practical here; 30+ years of gaming history isn't going to burst into flame if they were to go bankrupt, and the industry isn't going to collectively roll over and die because they aren't there. Again, they play an important role, but there are a lot of lean and hungry companies with the potential to fill the gap.
2. Nintendo is the only company that's being innovative. In terms of hardware, they definitely pushed touch and motion control to mainstream acceptance, but they've also been stubbornly resistant to other trends in the industry that have drastically changed the hardware side of things. Some may dispute that these are positive changes, but it's hard to deny how transformative they've been. In terms of games, no. They will often push boundaries, but usually within very limited. Evolution, not revolution, and sometimes not even that. And some of their more innovative gameplay tweaks haven't always been very positive either.
3. Nintendo makes the best games, period. I can only imagine that the ones pushing this idea either have very narrow interests or very little exposure. Nintendo makes fun, highly polished games, but they aren't the only ones, and many of those other fun, highly polished games have the depth and maturity (actually maturity, not M-rated, etc..) that Nintendo games often lack. I'm not saying that Nintendo needs depth and maturity, there's nothing wrong with what they make, but the lack of these does not make their games any better either. And maybe, every once in a while, when the moon is full, and the stars are aligned, they put out a mediocre title, or even a flat-out bad game.
Am I saying the industry wouldn't be a darker, lesser place if Nintendo hadn't gotten into it? Probably not. Am I saying that the industry wouldn't be a darker, lesser place if Nintendo went bankrupt tomorrow? Probably not. But it distrubs me how many people seem to latch onto Nintendo and only Nintendo, and pretend the rest of the industry doesn't exist.
They aren't the company that all publishers should aspire to be. They aren't some bastion of quality and creativity not seen anywhere else. They're one company, among many, better than some, lesser than others, and people really need to stop putting them on a pedastal.
I believe in honesty, civility, generosity, practicality, and impartiality.