Discrimination: Is Nintendo Still a Game Company?
April 23, 2009 | 11:51 AM PST
by: Eric Frederiksen
Here I was, all ready to write you this nice post about how few top-selling games are Japanese anymore. I was going to mention how well the third Yakuza (Ryu ga Gotoku) is selling in Japan, despite being little more than a blip on the radar over here. Not to mention how the prime franchises over here are Madden, Grand Theft Auto, Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, while Japanese charts are populated with Monster Hunter, Pokemon, and Dragon Quest.
Then Nintendo had to go and take up half the top 10 with all their first-party titles in both markets.
The question everyone seems to be asking is: should we even include Nintendo in these conversations anymore? They seem to put out just enough gamers' games to keep the game company title -- most of which are rehashes of already established franchises -- while the games that obtain the real cultural icon status are no longer mascot games like Mario and Zelda, but rather Wii Play, Wii Sports, and Wii Fit.
Now, I'll make this clear: I may not be a big fan of the Wii, but I'm certainly not bashing Nintendo or their console. I think they make a lot of neat products and I'm glad Miyamoto-san is happy again.
I just don't think they can be included in a conversation about games the way they once were. They're a separate entity. They of course venture into the games space occasionally and don't stop others from doing so, sometimes to great effect (To wit: Boom Blox, Mad World). Most of what Nintendo creates though would fall more under the "Toys" category; simple gadgets that have a sort of set of activities with them, but no sort of narrative or specific end goal.
So with that in mind, why talk about the Wii in the same breath as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3? I think it muddles things and forces a sort of "But then Nintendo..." after each sentence. So, how to handle it? Do we refer to the 360 and PS3 as "hardcore platforms," or the Wii as a "casual" or "mainstream" platform? Or do we just keep calling them all video games?
What do you think?
So...what do you think? Do you think that Nintendo has surpassed the need of being called a video game company, or should they still retain the lowly title with the other consoles? Discuss.