Did Nintendo leave the traditional console market?

CastletonSnob

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Would you say that Sony and Microsoft made Nintendo leave the traditional console market and start making handheld/console hybrids?
 

SeymourGore

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It's probably a fair point - I can't help but feel that Nintendo wouldn't have the assets to copy Sony/Microsoft's console hardware approach (ie: high powered systems sold at a loss) and had to adapt their console strategy to survive (which they have found great success with).

Maybe Nintendo does have the assets to compete in the same field as Sony/MS, but when you're making as much money as Nintendo is in a market they basically created/dominate - why bother?
 

Flogger23m

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It's probably a fair point - I can't help but feel that Nintendo wouldn't have the assets to copy Sony/Microsoft's console hardware approach (ie: high powered systems sold at a loss) and had to adapt their console strategy to survive (which they have found great success with).

That is what happened. Nintendo didn't use to cater to a different market. They used to compete with the other major home consoles. Problem started with the GameCube. They went with a unique disc format, while the PS2 and Xbox could double up as a DVD player which helped the PS2 gain sales. The Xbox didn't do that well either, but still outsold the GameCube. The market may simply not have been big enough for three fairly similar home consoles as well.

I believe changing tastes were also something that helped cause the decline for Nintendo home consoles. Games became more mature and people started expecting more from a narrative standpoint. While Nintendo games still sell very well for many reasons I do think in the early 2000s the novelty of narrative driven games made people express a preference for PS/Xbox. Again, at the time, games like Metal Gear, Deus Ex, etc. were coming out which offered something new to gaming. Nintendo games would still sell but unless you were a massive Nintendo fan, there wasn't much of a reason to get a GC. Xbox Live was also superior and made online popular among console gamers.

The Wii rolls around and Nintendo goes the opposite direction. This essentially made them a Nintendo only platform and it does well, but seemingly didn't have much sales outside of the console and Nintendo titles. During this time PS/Xbox online becomes massive. Nintendo missed out on this. They tried to play catch up with the Wii U but it was too little too late, with no real online community to speak of.

The Switch made a lot of sense. It took over their successful mobile gaming market while still catering to those who wanted Nintendo games on a home console. As mentioned Nintendo games aren't narrative driven, cinematic and don't have realistic graphics. Because lets be honest, a realistic looking Mario or Star Fox would be horrific. Kind of like this thing on the left:

fnoJLAJgiPPGybikZTCB5E.jpg


High end graphics just aren't important to Nintendo games. The Switch also is also fairly affordable while offering a superior gaming experience to phones, which were eating into mobile console sales. The Switch would not have seen the success it had if it was mobile online, or home console only. It does so well because it manages to cater to two groups. Nintendo has found their market.

Maybe Nintendo does have the assets to compete in the same field as Sony/MS, but when you're making as much money as Nintendo is in a market they basically created/dominate - why bother?

They might, but again, they found something that works. Nintendo consoles have evolved well with the market and with what people expect of them.
 

bananas1

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Nintendo's consoles lagged behind competitors for a long time. They sell fun primarily over high end hardware that's also capable of fun
 

Armenius

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Nintendo's consoles lagged behind competitors for a long time. They sell fun primarily over high end hardware that's also capable of fun
Nintendo consoles were never lacking in power compared to competitors until the Wii.
 

bigdogchris

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I think the last system Nintendo made in order to 'compete' was the Cube. From the Wii onward, I would agree that they have done their own thing.
 
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I think the last system Nintendo made in order to 'compete' was the Cube. From the Wii onward, I would agree that they have done their own thing.

The GameCube was still quirky, and not just the controller compared to the competition at the time. The N64 was also quirky, and not just the controller.
Nintendo's consoles lagged behind competitors for a long time. They sell fun primarily over high end hardware that's also capable of fun
The NES lacked compared to the master system in some ways and the TG-16 got out the door in that era as well. The SNES was better than the Gensis in most ways, and yet both of them had stronger competitors out and about then including the infamous NeoGeo MVS but it wasn't the only one. Nintendo's hand helds always lagged behind the competitors such as Game Gear, Atari Lynx, PSP, PS Vita and always slaughtered them.
 

Zepher

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It's probably a fair point - I can't help but feel that Nintendo wouldn't have the assets to copy Sony/Microsoft's console hardware approach (ie: high powered systems sold at a loss) and had to adapt their console strategy to survive (which they have found great success with).

Maybe Nintendo does have the assets to compete in the same field as Sony/MS, but when you're making as much money as Nintendo is in a market they basically created/dominate - why bother?
My first time playing Nintendo games was on handhelds in the early 80's.
I never owned one of those handhelds, but a lot of my cousins had different ones and I'd play them when we visited them,

85893--oil-panic.png
 

LukeTbk

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Why are Nintendo's handhelds so much more successful than their home consoles?
Price and type, make it more frequent to sold many to the same family maybe ?

And they seem to have been a clear leader in that market until phones got really good at it at least.
 

funkydmunky

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Nintendo consoles were never lacking in power compared to competitors until the Wii.
Yes but the perceived lack of DVD in that generation gave that impression. Big boy consoles with unhindered violence and gore and the kiddy system. It wasn't deserved except for the DVD element. Such a value add but Nintendo wanted its anti-piracy unique format.
 

bananas1

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Yes but the perceived lack of DVD in that generation gave that impression. Big boy consoles with unhindered violence and gore and the kiddy system. It wasn't deserved except for the DVD element. Such a value add but Nintendo wanted its anti-piracy unique format.
Nintendo was always a games platform above all else. While it had some hardware advantages (and disadvantages) with the N64 and Gamecube, the lack of CD and particularly the DVD were big selling points for the Playstation and Xbox. You could argue the Wii had a hardware disadvantage, but it had a controller advantage...which is also hardware.
 

Nytegard

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That is what happened. Nintendo didn't use to cater to a different market. They used to compete with the other major home consoles. Problem started with the GameCube. They went with a unique disc format, while the PS2 and Xbox could double up as a DVD player which helped the PS2 gain sales. The Xbox didn't do that well either, but still outsold the GameCube. The market may simply not have been big enough for three fairly similar home consoles as well.

I believe changing tastes were also something that helped cause the decline for Nintendo home consoles. Games became more mature and people started expecting more from a narrative standpoint. While Nintendo games still sell very well for many reasons I do think in the early 2000s the novelty of narrative driven games made people express a preference for PS/Xbox. Again, at the time, games like Metal Gear, Deus Ex, etc. were coming out which offered something new to gaming. Nintendo games would still sell but unless you were a massive Nintendo fan, there wasn't much of a reason to get a GC. Xbox Live was also superior and made online popular among console gamers.
Sega capitalized with the Genesis because Nintendo viewed video games as a children's activity. Sega was smart enough to realize that those children would grow up still loving video games, but there was nothing for them. Sony ended up capitalizing even more, realizing that teenagers would become young adults and still love video games. Just because you don't watch Saturday morning cartoons anymore, doesn't mean you've stopped watching Television.

But the problem started with the N64, not the GameCube. Many of us in the west remember it fondly, because many were children when it came out, but all things considered, it was a failure. The system sold half of what the SNES sold, and it was only North America which kept it alive. Nintendo use to own the market, and their hubris lead to their failures of the N64 and GameCube.
Why are Nintendo's handhelds so much more successful than their home consoles?
The console success is really a western thing. Their handheld success is a global thing. For example, the Sony PS4 only sold 9 million units in Japan, but 40 million units in North America and 50 million units in Europe. But if you look at handheld, the Nintendo DS sold 33 million units in Japan.

And that's where Nintendo has been pulling ahead. You can cater to America (or the west), or you can cater to the world. You cater to the world though, and you're going to make more money. And each has different tastes. So what you're going to see on the big consoles is not what you're going to see on Nintendo, as they're targeting different audiences.
 

funkydmunky

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Nintendo was always a games platform above all else. While it had some hardware advantages (and disadvantages) with the N64 and Gamecube, the lack of CD and particularly the DVD were big selling points for the Playstation and Xbox. You could argue the Wii had a hardware disadvantage, but it had a controller advantage...which is also hardware.
Lack of DVD failed the gamecube. I don't have a clue to your lack of point.
 

Youn

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nintendo never seemed to be in the traditional console market, even in the NES/SNES days they seemed willing to take relatively big risks with new design approaches. I would say when the Gameboy came out, they quickly realized "oh wow, this is selling like hotcakes, we better keep trying new shit like this" ofc they've had a fair share of fails along the way, but they seem to know that's the only way to move gaming forward
 

Flogger23m

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Sega capitalized with the Genesis because Nintendo viewed video games as a children's activity. Sega was smart enough to realize that those children would grow up still loving video games, but there was nothing for them. Sony ended up capitalizing even more, realizing that teenagers would become young adults and still love video games. Just because you don't watch Saturday morning cartoons anymore, doesn't mean you've stopped watching Television.

Exactly. Nostalgia still helps them, and there is still a market for family friendly games so it ended up working out well for them. But it is true that Sony took over and aged with gamers.

The console success is really a western thing. Their handheld success is a global thing. For example, the Sony PS4 only sold 9 million units in Japan, but 40 million units in North America and 50 million units in Europe. But if you look at handheld, the Nintendo DS sold 33 million units in Japan.

Kind of. Consoles sell less in Japan because the population is smaller than all of North America or Europe. In the US alone there are over twice as many people. Europe has nearly 5 times as many people. The DS had almost twice as many sales in North America than it did Japan. But yes, the ratios are more in favor of the handheld consoles in Japan. But I wouldn't say home consoles were under performing in Japan. They do well given the population size.
 

LukeTbk

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nintendo never seemed to be in the traditional console market, even in the NES/SNES days they seemed willing to take relatively big risks with new design approaches.
I am not sure about that, for a while in many market an older person would call any game console they saw a Nintendo has the generic term to call a game console, a bit like a Kodak for a camera. That how much of a leader in the traditional console market they were.

A Nintendo 64 was much more of a traditional console than is competition of the time in some aspects (cartridge, target of younger audience) same has the gamecube versus is competition (gaming only vs home entertainment device).
 

Armenius

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Kind of. Consoles sell less in Japan because the population is smaller than all of North America or Europe. In the US alone there are over twice as many people. Europe has nearly 5 times as many people. The DS had almost twice as many sales in North America than it did Japan. But yes, the ratios are more in favor of the handheld consoles in Japan. But I wouldn't say home consoles were under performing in Japan. They do well given the population size.
I recall seeing somewhere that handheld gaming devices outsell traditional consoles in Japan by a factor of 8 to 1. That is what we're talking about, not the pure numbers.
 
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The deal with handhelds is pretty easy to understand and breaks down a few ways.

First in Japan with the long hours away from work and train trips handhelds are a better option. This repeats in other parts of Asia as well. Next it's much easier to sell a unit at a profit. Then it's really easy and cheap to develop games for them so developers love them.

Part of the thing to remember is that huge swaths of the world are not the US or Europe.
 
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