Monday, April 6, 2015

What Nintendo's Next Console Needs

After watching ReviewTechUSA's take on the reasons behind the WiiU's failure I felt inspired to discuss what I think the next Nintendo console needs in order to triumph, and regain a viable place amongst new-gen offerings. This will be an opinion piece, but a well thought out opinion piece nonetheless. Feel free to agree, or disagree if you like. That is your right ... First, and foremost I want to stress the fact that graphics matter. They've always mattered, and have been a relevant part to the progression of the at home, or on-the-go gaming experience. Gaming is about innovation, and as such you have to adapt, and evolve to the current industry offerings while moving forward with what your development team has to offer. This includes everything from the before mentioned graphics to the game library, and even the console hardware. I think in these past two generations Nintendo has stumbled quite a bit in those departments ...

While graphics are important so is the hardware that puts out said graphic displays. Nintendo needs to go all out with the "NX" if they hope it impress the gamers, regain the gamers' confidence in the company, and topple the competition that is Sony. There are a handful of ways this can be achieved, but I'll limit my list to the basics, and more unorthodox features that I feel the NX could benefit from. As far as the console itself is concerned don't do the cliche thing, and give a nod to older Nintendo consoles in a physical sort of way. Make the NX a bright, and shining example of what new-generation gaming consoles should be. Make it unique. Heck you could make it the first spherical console, and give it a futuristic yet functional build. Believe it or not, but the physical appearance of a gaming console can attract, or deter potential customers. Do not, for the sake of all things sacred in gaming make it look stupid. Just don't. Make it's appearance a serious statement. The first sight makes for a lasting impression.

Secondly, the additional hardware outside of the console has to function seamlessly, and flawlessly with the games that the console is built to run. By this I mean the controllers, and other peripherals must be a viable answer to a fully functional, and complimentary gaming experience. Don't make some abstract controller, or a controller that you use in a motion oriented (like the Wii) sort of way. Also do not make the controller some obnoxiously large game screen that is so bulky it's awkward. Keep it simple, easy to use, and complimentary. A corded controller will do fine, but the addition of wireless controllers is a must for the new-generation. Definitely take into consideration the fact that not everyone has large hands, and not everyone has small hands.

Thirdly, in regards to hardware the party function is a must in the new-generation. Incorporate wired, and wireless headsets into the equation. Also make a user friendly way to engage the party chat, and make it so that friends can play with friends, or with random people from online without hassle. Do not go cheap on the included headset as that is a good way to turn away a potential buyer. If they are going to have to pay extra to buy a better off brand headset then you are going to lose out on some money. Definitely have a development team work on building an affordable, and durable headset that can last for a long while. I should also mention that pricing is king in this industry. Some hardware, and software developers want to price gouge the gamer with lesser games, or products that are marked up to current economic industry standings. Find a cheap, but efficient way to mass manufacture quality hardware, and software, and be willing to sale your products at a reasonable price. While you won't gain a high profit at launch, I feel that in the long run you'll more than make up for it with many more sales. Longevity is the key goal of a company looking to get big. A quick profit at the expense of quality can hurt you in the long run, and end your business prematurely.

Furthermore you need to bundle the console with all the necessities. This includes the console itself, two controllers, a headset, and all the wiring necessary for hook-up. Also include a new game in the bundle that is attractive to a wider audience. A game that every Nintendo owner wants. Do not package some remake, or less than "Must Have" game, or you will definitely lose sales. I remember when I first got my NES. It was the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt game that made me want to get that console. The software definitely helps to push the sale of the hardware.

One other thing I need to mention in regards to the console, and it's hardware is that it would be wise to provide dual memory options for the console. Make the core unit hold more than enough memory for at least 100 games plus DLC, and updates. Outside of that add a memory card slot/s, or USB slot for an external harddrive. The amount of memory definitely matters in this current generation of gaming consoles, especially with game developers being notorious for releasing large patches, and updates that are mandatory for continuing to play the game. Also absolutely do not force your customer to have to buy only Nintendo hardware. If you intend on allowing memory expansions let third-party companies offer up their products at a lesser price than the official Nintendo products. While you wouldn't gain the entire sale it would make the gamer more willing, and able to spend on the more expensive, and official offerings of Nintendo.

Past the hardware I must address the problem that is software. We all know that Nintendo dropped the ball with the lack of third-party games. Heck, they even hurt themselves by not releasing all of the NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, and Wii libraries to the eShop. They could be raking in the dough just, because gamers are willing to pay for a proper trip back down memory lane. To include previously unreleased Japanese games could rake in even more sales. Definitely right those wrongs, and bring all previous Nintendo game releases to the new console in digital format at an affordable price. Speaking of such games it would not hurt to somehow incorporate a DS multi-slot for playing games from the Gameboy to the current 3DS, especially on the home console unit. Gamers would get a thrill out of being able to play those portable games on an HDTV, especially if it came as an extra option to the console's main disc/cartridge reader. I know Nintendo's Gamecube halfheartedly attempted something similar through a piece of add-on hardware, but to have that as part of the console from the start would attract a sh*t ton of gamers. Also it would cut down on the need for additional memory that is required when buying digital eShop game downloads, especially if the memory card feature I spoke of was utilized.

Along with the old releases must come "New" releases at launch as well. This must include a brand new Nintendo gaming experience that is wholly unforgettable. A Nintendo game with superb replay value. It wouldn't hurt to also let some of the bigger third-party game creators make a few exclusives on the side as well. This would give the gamer a proper selection to choose from while not relying on Nintendo's core developers to produce more games further down the road. Let's face it. Every gamer knows that third-party games matter. They act as a way to get new gaming experiences while waiting on Nintendo's gems to arrive. Whether Nintendo chooses to embrace indies, or games from well known publishers/developers it is imperative that they seek the best of the best out, and impress those said companies with what their new gaming console is capable of. In regards to indies come up with a developer friendly system with which developers can create, and distribute their software with ease. Also do not charge them ridiculous prices for the development service, or developer's unit. Some of the greatest games that I've had the privilege of playing, and reviewing have been budget priced indie games, and I think gamers are warming up to the trend of indies. Don't forsake the up, and coming generation of indie developers as they could one day be your future.

As far as game genres go Nintendo needs to focus on games outside of their core "Nintendo" offerings, as well as the traditional Nintendo games that feature flagship characters that have been with Nintendo from it's start. I feel nothing should be left out. Include RPGs for the niche gamers. Include fighting game exclusives for the growing fighting game community. Even include exclusive FPS titles the likes of which no one has seen, or experienced yet. Definitely do not be afraid to allow mature content. Many of your fans are adults now, and can easily handle some mature game releases. Of course also keep the more kid friendly games that you are known for around as well, and with some parental options in place, but never ever forsake those gamers who helped Nintendo rise to stardom in doing so. The adult gamers that are still very much a part of the gaming marketplace today.

Next up let me talk about the importance of offline, and online functionality. It is absolutely, positively imperative that the game can be a viable console outside of the use of it's online features. Allow the core console to update through the USB drives just in case your online service should cease to exist. Also make it so that all games can be played offline, and online. By this I mean make the console function like an NES would when it is offline. When it's online make the netcode so user friendly, and well constructed that the console is the envy of all current generation offerings. Both Sony, and MS are suffering/struggling greatly in the areas of online gaming at the moment. They are plagued by hackers, and suffer from connectivity issues based on user region, and internet service. Find a way to best the opposition at this, and you could become the number one current-gen console maker in the world.

Lastly the price point for said console, and games have to be on par with today's prices, or a little lower. I think most of Nintendo's success with the 3DS handheld lies with the fact that it is an affordable console with affordable games. That, and the fact that it is functionally sound. In a similar manner making either the new hardware, or the software significantly lower in cost than what the competition's offering could easily sway the balance of the console wars in your favor. If the games cost less, for example gamers could spend more on the hardware that they need, or desire, and vice-versa. It's a smart marketing tactic that can improve upon a company's/console's longevity within the industry. Sometimes sacrifices on the developers behalf must be made to ensure the products survival. It also helps to have a PR who knows what the hell they are doing. Get someone who can tease, and deliver on said teases. A no bullsh*t PR who can handle the press, and distribute promo/review material where it needs to be distributed. This person must also be a gamer from the NES days themselves, not some self-proclaimed wannabe that looks like a fresh pretty face. Seek a down to earth gamer who knows the industry, and how to handle the necessary publicity, and you'll have half the battle won. Marketing, and PR are a very crucial part to a console's success. Trust me on that.

I think I've said all that I wanted to say. Nintendo, you can feel free to take my ideas, and fly with them. I want to see Nintendo to become the king of console gaming again, I honestly do. Nintendo will always, and I mean ALWAYS have a special place in my gaming history. Without them I would not be the gamer, or gaming journalist that I am today. Take us back to that golden era in gaming, Nintendo. I believe in you.

6 comments:

  1. after i pored over this piece i got tempted to make my thoughts known a bit here. from a wiiu fan's perspective ive always wondered why wiiu has much less games to play than ps4. how come games with household names like farcry and gta never come out for wiiu?in my view gaming companies know wiiu games don't pay.given the fact that assassin's creed 4 for wiiu sold less than 5000 copies across the world,it's only natural they don't risk it. and i'm also conscious that wiiu games require extra resources when theyre created because of the wiiu pad that has another screen on it. wiiu is up there with newgen consoles as far as graphics go. bayonetta2's picturesque graphics really impressed me. and peripherals are not ripped off relative to those of ps4 and xbox. amiiboes come on the real cheap(less than 12 bucks each). and they hardly ever sell DLCs,most of them should be included from the getgo. and lastly and most importantly wiiu games are extremely elaborate and fun. i played sonic the hedgehog,bayonetta2,lego undercover cop and rodea on wiiu and i found all of them a great work of piece. for these forementioned reasons i love wiiu by far the best of newgen systems. despite the their amusing content they are seen as a flop sales wise. wiiu rodea only sold less than 2700 in launch day in japan despite the fact the first edition includes the wii rodea. it was utterly discouraging.

    i don't care for digital old games obtained through eshop. i want fine new physical games that's not remakes.when nintendo brought out the toon wind breaker i really got down. my honest sentiments were that they wasted time and resources that could be used for a brand new zelda.

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    1. I'm sure your points are very valid. My opinions came from an outside perspective as I've never owned, or played a WiiU. I've heard good things about them, but with Nintendo not providing fresh new games for the gamer, and ignoring things that could better promote the console sales it's no wonder the console is doing so poorly, and is not making the sales it needs to survive in the industry. If you haven't already heard the news Nintendo has issued a statement that they are working on something new, possibly a new gaming console. My only concerns with this are in regards to those who invested money in the WiiU, and whether or not Nintendo will be able to promote the new console properly. Nintendo, in general has been managing their business poorly. They've gone against Youtubers who want to show of gameplay videos (which in itself could promote sales), and have not listened to their fans cries for new games on the WiiU console. I just hope they get their act together before it's too late. They need to attract mainstream developers, and the audience of gamers which they are slowly, but surely losing.

      Btw, Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it very much. You've been one of the more active participants in the comment section lately.

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  2. thanks for replying. i'm gonna leave a comments whenever i please.

    and i agree to your view. regarding PR,nintendo is really screwed up. this reminds me of the EVO commotion concerning smashbro wiiu. they once gave evo the clearance for the game but somehow they tried to take it back at the last minute. smashbro was played in the end but frankly speaking this ridiculous turmoil led to mistrust to say the least. and i have no idea why they don't approve of players uploading their games on youtube and such. this is totally perplexing. can you come up with any good grounds for that?

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  3. As you said Nintendo's PR have really screwed things up with their poorly made decisions. If they continue to go against the gamer it'll only lead to more mistrust, and loss of faith in the Nintendo name brand, especially when it comes to consoles. They need to get a PR who is on terms with how the gamers feel, and one who can relate to the gamers. Their unwillingness to engage their customers' wants, and needs on a friendly level is definitely what's hurting them. To have a PR who can understand that fact is vital to their future as a gaming console provider.

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  4. im grateful for you to respond quick. and i agree with you the whole way. actually i wanted to hear your view on why nintendo is opposed to gamers uploading their games on utube and shit but it's ok.

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    1. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'm actually not sure why Nintendo would do such a thing other than to make money off of the channels providing Nintendo related content. I know from word of mouth that Youtubers had to sign an agreement with Nintendo, and agree to only show Nintendo related content on their channels before they'd be considered, or approved. The bigger Youtubers usually make money from their videos, and I know from the past that some Youtubers have had to split profits with companies. The same goes for Youtubers wanting to work with Nintendo. Of course Nintendo gets the bigger share of the earnings leaving the Youtber with only a small percentage of income. This not only hurts Nintendo promo material on Youtube, but turns Youtubers away from even discussing Nintendo and their games.

      At the end of the day it all boils down to greed, and stupidity. What Nintendo is doing in regards to Youtube is only serving to hurt their reputation with fans, and gamers. Sure it earns them some extra money on the side, but makes them look like a jerk in doing so. If they continue to alienate the consumers, gamers, and fans they'll be left in the dark within the ongoing console wars. Nintendo needs to wake up from whatever stupor they are currently in, and meet the gamer on mutually beneficial grounds. If they don't Nintendo, and their products might become a history lesson of the past.

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