Nintendo is something like modern gaming’s grandfather. You might not understand what he’s doing or why he’s doing it but you can rest assured that he does. Of course, that does come with the occasional clumsiness and tripping and falling over, but years of strong business practice have kept him going since 1889. The last Nintendo console that has ever had better specs than the other consoles on the market at the time was the Super Nintendo. But what about today? Why do Nintendo consoles consistently underperform when compared to Sony & Microsoft's consoles and their specs? It all links back to Nintendo’s core philosophy; Being all about fun.
Nintendo has always had a knack for putting smiles on peoples’ faces, from Kirby to Mario, to The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo has always known how to convey fun through a video game but what has this got to do with their consoles? In an interview with the main faces of the Switch, Shinya Takahashi, and Yoshiaki Koizumi last year by The Telegraph, Takahashi says;
“I think Nintendo will always put our top priority to satisfy the needs of our gaming audiences. Particularly with Nintendo Switch, one of the things we did was we looked back and saw how people interacted with previous hardware systems and we tried to find ways to improve on that experience. With the Switch, we’ve found a way to address their needs in all of the different ways they are going to play with the system. That will continue to be our top priority rather than a dedicated focus on power.”
From what he's saying here it’s clear that Nintendo is ignoring the vocal minority complaining about their hardware for a broader focus on their target market, and it works. Just look at the sales of the Switch. In the US it’s become the fastest selling console of all time in 10 months, and over in Japan, it’s the same story. So now we understand that Nintendo doesn’t need to from a business standpoint or from a philosophical standpoint. If the fans show them that these things don’t matter, that’s what they’ll believe, and even when they don’t they pull through anyway. Nintendo makes mistakes like every other company, but unlike other companies, they don’t over-react and stifle creativity, they do what they think is right, and fix it when they’re wrong.
I’ll leave you with a quote from gaming legend Shigeru Miyamoto that melts my heart. This quote comes shortly after the press viewing of his Pikmin short films and is paraphrased in an article from the Telegraph. ‘Afterwards, the assembled critics and journalists give the film a warm round of applause, but for Miyamoto, who takes to the stage, it’s clear that something is missing. “You were all very quiet,” he says. “I was hoping to hear more laughter.” Then his eyes scan the crowd, sitting with notebooks on laps, and he smiles to himself, having identified the problem. “Perhaps we needed more children here,” he says.’