We’ve all heard this before, haven’t we? For a long as I’ve been a gamer, each new console generation was greeted with at lest one guy saying “Nintendo should stop making consoles and just make games”. Over the years this outcry has only gotten louder. When the Wii was released, with it’s dated graphics and radically different control scheme at lest half the conversations I heard revolved around how this was a bad move. But in the end this didn’t effect Nintendo, as the Wii went on to sell over 100 million units, smashing sales records and becoming a world wide phenomenon. But six years, in 2012, the Wii U launched and today the system is still suffering from poor sales. And now the cries of “the Wii sucks” have turned into smug “we told you so”s.
But the one thing no one is arguing over is that Nintendo’s ability to make great games. The newest entries of Smash Bros, Mario Kart and Super Mario Bros still metacritic in the 80’s to 90’s and their new IP Splatoon has received rave reviews so far. Knowing this, the question has to be asked: Should Nintendo just make games and abandon console development?
There are those that seem to think so. I found articles from Kotaku, What Culture and Forbes that all argue along those lines. To some extent it’s hard to disagree. Long time games who are use to buying a new console every few years may find it harder and harder to spend $300 on a system when you know you’re only going to use it to play the new Mario, Zelda and Smash Bros. But what if you could play a few rounds of Mario Kart then switch to Bloodborne without having to turn one console off and another on? I can’t say I don’t understand the appeal of that.
But here is the thing people to often forget: Nintendo is the last real game company. Playstation and Xbox are both minor parts of Sony and Microsoft. The very second video games become unprofitable neither of these companies would think twice about axing there game divisions. And could you blame them? Sony makes Movies, Music and TV’s and Microsoft is still making computer hardware and software. If video games go the way of the Dinosaurs both these companies will be fine. Nintendo, on the other hand, needs video games to be a thing in order to live on. Unless they hit the next pop culture sweet spot before gaming collapses like they did when they got into game development, they’ll die when gaming dose. Microsoft and Sony both have money on the table, but Nintendo are gambling with their livelihoods that gaming will keep being bankable. This means that Nintendo want to keep gaming alive as much as gamer do. If the gaming industry were about to crash like it did in the 80’s, Nintendo are the only ones who have to fight back against it. Sony and Microsoft could just cut there losses and call it a day, and then there’s no more Playstation, no more Xbox and most game developers would lose their jobs as most big 3rd party developers only work on those two systems.
So no, I don’t think Nintendo should stop making consoles and, to be honest, I’m getting a bit sick of hear people say they should. We need some one with skin in the game. We need some one to need us, and Nintendo id the only game company where that holds true. Yes, their hardwear isn’t the best and a bit gimmicky at times. And yes, Nintendo have pulled a lot of stupid stunts for awhile now (artificial amiibo shortages and the crap they pulled with youtubers comes to mind), but as the gaming community stands right now, we are much better off with Nintendo here, making their Wii’s and Wii U’s than if they weren’t.