Back during the Yamauchi administration, Nintendo had 4 primary development studios, R&D1, R&D2, R&D3, and R&D4, later renamed EAD. Yamauchi encouraged the departments to compete to make the best games. during the Arcade and NES days, you saw each of the R&D departments make their own games. But with the rising popularity of Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, the Shigeru Miyamoto-led R&D4 became Nintendo's new star studio, and in the SNES era, was renamed EAD. R&D1 had retreated to the Game Boy, and R&D2 & 3's output diminished to near non-existence. By the N64, EAD had gained far more power and influence over Nintendo than any other division of the company. R&D3 switched exclusively to hardware development and was renamed IRD. R&D1 spun off their hardware team into RED and went mostly radio silent until the GBA, and R&D2 became a porting house.
When the N64 lost Nintendo's grip on third party support, the now infamous Nintendo software droughts began to kick in, and the N64 spent months each year without a single release. It was largely up to EAD and Nintendo's new partner Rareware, to carry the N64. When Satoru Iwata took over as Nintendo president, it made little sense to continue the old R&D structure considering how bloated EAD had become, thus the old R&D departments were dismantled, EAD was re-tooled into multiple sub-departments, and a new division, SPD was created as a counterpart.
This leads me to the question, had Nintendo been over-relying on EAD during the SNES and Nintendo 64 eras? EAD is a legendary developer and made arguably some of the most important games of all time. But I felt other departments at Nintendo should've gotten better treatment. Instead, Nintendo let Miyamoto and his pals overpower the other talent at the company. In the case of the N64, can you imagine how much better and more consistent Nintendo's output would've been if the other R&D studios were given more staff and bigger budgets? R&D1 in particular, could've certainly held their own against EAD had they been given proper 3D knowledge. R&D2 could've done some interesting stuff as well, and R&D3 would've still made games. Instead of allowing their teams to experiment equally and actually compete with each-other, Nintendo instead just let EAD control all their software, and in a way, I felt Nintendo's output by the N64 era became too homogenized for its own good. If Nintendo had given their in-house developers more freedom during this time, we could've had a cooler, bolder, and more diverse Nintendo than the diet Disney we ended up getting.
With EAD no more, and Shinya Takahashi now the head of the newly merged EPD, I feel like we starting to see the return of the more diverse libraries from Nintendo's different teams. They have a lot of talent at their disposal and it'd be nice to see different kinds of games and aesthetics from them.