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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Does Nintendo suck at making "Core gamer" consoles?

Although the Wii was a massive success, some Nintendo fans loyal to systems like the Nintendo GameCube were turned off by the emphasis on family fun time and motion controls against the more "Hardcore" focus of those systems, as well as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with many arguing that Nintendo "should make a hardcore system for hardcore mature gamers like myself". I mean the Wii U was supposed to be that glorious return to "core gaming" But thinking about it, has Nintendo ever made a successful "core gamer-oriented" console?

For all its faults, the GameCube was essentially, what everybody wanted. A traditional, no-nonsense powerful game console without any significant controller gimmicks or multi-media fluff aimed at hardcore Nintendo fans, with literally every core Nintendo franchise fans could ask for being released. Yet it lost to a DVD Player and a simplified PC.

And I talked before about how the Wii U was when Nintendo was trying to "win back the hardcore gamer" with a focus on third party multi-platform titles, online connectivity, and complex games using the Wii U GamePad. You even had Iwata saying stuff like how the Wii wasn't able to meet the needs of serious gamers and shit. And I argued that was one of the things that doomed the console, not just because they were never going to win that audience over with a device like that, but also because Nintendo has just never been good at making a console primarily focused on the "Hardcore gamer", because the two times they did that resulted in failure.

Nintendo's biggest success have always been the ones where they played to their strengths of being the "Everyman's" game system for young and old. The NES and SNES in Japan were literally called the "Family Computer" and were focused on entertaining people of all ages and gaming skill levels. The Game Boy line, The Nintendo DS, Wii, and the Nintendo Switch.

The funny thing about the Switch is that, if you actually try to use it as a pure, no-nonsense home console for hardcore gaming (Keeping it permanently docked, using only the Pro Controller)... It kinda sucks, especially if you own other systems. Its woefully under-powered compared to the other consoles, it's online service is still mediocre, you still miss out on all the biggest AAA third party games, and when you do get them, they're heavily compressed miracle ports or cloud versions. It just becomes a lame Xbox One knock-off at that point. The Switch only becomes a good system when you actually use it as intended (Playing un-docked frequently, detaching the Joy-Con for multiplayer or motion controls, etc.)

Yet apparently, some people prefer that shit, which is why you see some people argue that the Switch is some kind of return to "hardcore" Nintendo, yet the console's two best selling games are Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Animal Crossing New Horizons. The two most casual and newbie friendly franchises in existence. Don't get me wrong, I adore the GameCube, but it's one of Nintendo's least successful consoles for a reason. It was a hardcore Nintendo system, for hardcore Nintendo fans, and look how well that turned out.

I understand the Wii may have leaned too heavily into motion control and family/social gaming for some gamers' liking, but given that the Switch has also succeeded with those two aspects as a focus, and the Nintendo consoles that were aimed primarily at the "Core Gamer" both flopped, that tells me that Nintendo's strength isn't "core gaming".

Last edited by TheMisterManGuy - on 18 December 2023

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There is no such thing. The dumbass label was created by insecure dumbasses.

But I will humor the thread a tiny bit. As someone with a PS5. A decent gaming laptop. Many consoles and games range from the 80s,90s,00s,10s and now. Has gamed since the mid-80s. A large collection. Currently, The Switch is the best modern console in my eyes. It's the most fun I have had with a system in 20 years.

Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

Leynos said:

There is no such thing. The dumbass label was created by insecure dumbasses.

Funny thing is, this whole sentiment started because of Nintendo's infamous E3 08, when all they had to show that year WAS non-gamer/newbie software. The media and Nintendo diehards ripped them to shreds for that conference, and the Wii had a difficult time recovering from that perception. But at least Satoru Iwata admitted that presentation went too far in that direction and tried to course correct in later years of the Wii.

Yet, Microsoft spends five years in a row trying to shove Kinect down everybody's throat with the Xbox 360 and initially, the Xbox One, with almost nothing for "core gamers", and the general media response was more or less "eh.. its whatevs." 

It was always pretty unfair that Nintendo got so much shit for one bad year in 2008, yet Microsoft's Kinect fetish did far more lasting damage than that, and people weren't nearly as harsh.

Nintendo makes great hardware, just not high end hardware. I'm fine with that.


Vengeance 32 gb

RTX 4090 Ventus 3x E OC

Switch OLED

It depends what a core gamer is if you like descent home console hardware and want big aaa games then yes it pretty weak.

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Nintendo focusing on mobile hardware has been it's biggest success in the gaming market.

I consider myself a "mature" core gamer who loves a good AAA FPS game... Or jump into an Real Time Strategy like Company of Heroes or a Turn Based Strategy like Civilization... But also throw myself into Dragon Age or Final Fantasy for that RPG/JRPG fix.

But I also gravitate back towards Nintendo's mobile console for my Zelda fix.

Every platform has it's strengths and weaknesses, Nintendo currently is playing to it's mobile console strengths where it was always a leader.
For all intents they have exited the fixed home console market, which always saw less and less sales with each successive home console release until the Wii came along that had that casual audience appeal, but that was likely a 1-time only deal.

So... Does Nintendo suck at making Core gamer consoles? No. Their consoles have always had an appeal, with some of the best games of that generation with solid hardware up until the Gamecube.

NES: Super Mario Bros. 3, Kirby Adventure.
SNES: Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid.
N64: Goldeneye, Perfect Dark.
Gamecube: Metroid Prime, Twilight Princess.

Every Nintendo console brought something new to the gaming world with it's titles with impressive visuals for the time. Sad they gave that race up, but I am enjoying their portable console focus this generation.

--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

I dont know about too far back, but Nintendo has never tailored to the core market lol. Core market here meaning being able to play uptodate AAA games that appeal to a large mass of people (Elden Ring, CoD, Baldurs Gate3, GTA6)

Nintendo fanboys will never admit it, but it all comes to margins. Nintendo likes to make a good 100-150 bucks per console sold; at a price point of around $300 so they can move many units. That formula just does not work with good hardware, so they give you downgraded hardware since they can count on their core fan base to support them and their own development studios to make games that are not graphically intensive.

That's not really why the exited the traditional home console market. It's cause n64 and gamecube failed miserably and they had to rethink there strategy too many mistakes were made.

if you mean games like gta 6, battlefield, baldurs gate, elden ring. Yes, Nintendo is extremely weak in this aspect. 90% of people who buy a Nintendo console today are to play their first party games

jvmkdg said:

if you mean games like gta 6, battlefield, baldurs gate, elden ring. Yes, Nintendo is extremely weak in this aspect. 90% of people who buy a Nintendo console today are to play their first party games

That's what I'm saying. The Switch isn't pretending to be some "core gamer destination" like the Wii U was. It's just a good solid entry level console for newbies and casual gamers with enough appeal for core gamers as a complimentary device to something like a PlayStation 5 or PC.

Though to be clear, the Switch actually has a lot of third party support even if they're not the biggest AAA releases.