Poor old Nintendo’s had a bit of a kicking of late. No one outside of the usual hardcore, buy-everything-it-makes fan base is overly impressed by Wii U, with the tablet-based home system suffering from poor sales and a feeling of being surrounded by an aura of impending doom since PS4 and Xbox One arrived.
But that’s OK, there’s a plan. Self-effacing Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata launched a multi-pronged resuscitation scheme last week, packed with numerous ideas for reviving Wii U and steering Nintendo as a whole into a rosier future.
The ideas were many. Licensing out Nintendo characters, creating apps and perhaps even simple games for smartphones, a new, mysterious, health-based hardware platform and more were mentioned by Iwata, who, if nothing else, proved that he does at least have plenty of ideas that are more substantial than his usual trick of telling everyone to wait for a new Mario Kart and Zelda.
But, seeing as everyone on the internet’s been coming up with Nintendo rescue plans and ideas of their own for years, many of Iwata’s concepts were quickly written off by the online commenting masses.
He’s mad, they say. Nintendo’s already dead, they say. Mario’s going to be on your iPhone next month, they say and hope…
Over on The Verge, which coined the superb term "Iwatacare" to describe Nintendo’s vague health hardware ambitions, people were ambivalent about the plans, to say the least. Reader Sooper_verge12 offered: "Nintendo doesn’t seem to get it. It’s like they’re doing the opposite in hopes to be cool, but essentially puts them on an island of ineptitude. They’ve officially jumped the shark."
Hmm, Mario and the Island of Ineptitude with a shark-jumping motion-controlled mini game? Sounds great. Put that on your ideas list, Mr Iwata.
Reader Tjwb84 then took the opportunity to vent his pent-up Nintendo rage, expressing how he’s fallen out of love with the gaming giant, saying: "When I turn on my Wii, I don’t know what the hell I’m looking at – some kind of really low-res, cheap OS running on plastic, cheap-to-make yet indestructible medical devices in a children’s hospital?"
If you hate it so much, stop turning it on all the time and looking at it. Donate it to you local kids’ hospital. Or are you secretly still in love with Nintendo and hoping for a new Metroid like everyone else?
Semianonymous is on Iwata’s side, though, warning naysayers to pay attention to Nintendo’s history and never to write it off. "Remember the Wii?" he asks. "Remember how everyone made fun of motion control right up until their favourite console got it? Remember how it was in millions of non-gamer homes? Remember how the Wii found applications in places like hospitals, gyms and senior centres? That’s where the money is."
Le’ money, le’ problems
Less money will be heading to Nintendo’s executives, though, with boss Iwata and several high-profile development staff – including living legend Shigeru Miyamoto – accepting pay cuts after Nintendo’s latest set of poor financial figures and sales data.
Eurogamer reader Dizzy summarised the stance nicely, pointing out that this was: "The Japanese way… if this was in Europe or the US, they would leave and take a 100 million dollar bonus with them."
Then they’d pop up six months later at a Microsoft studio, selling Super Barrio and The Legend of Xeldor.
Sonic and Mario at the Landfill Site
Over on Polygon, Nintendo enthusiasts were glad Iwata nixed the idea of releasing Triple-A Nintendo franchises on other hardware formats. Reader Nael M pointed out how a similar transition didn’t exactly work well for Sega, saying: "Look at how many Sega franchises got shelved over the past decade-plus since they gave up on being a first party – despite many gamers saying back in 2001 that those franchises would sell gangbusters on non-Sega platforms and make Sega unstoppable as a software-only company. That’s the likely fate of every non-Mario, non-Pokemon, non-Zelda Nintendo franchise if the company goes third party."
ClanCrusher would rather play Zelda on a DualShock 4, though, saying, rather furiously, that a cross-platform hardware transition would mean Nintendo would have to: "…put aside all of their stupid motion gimmicks and their desperate burning need to justify their hardware by shoving it in your face at every single opportunity and focus instead on making a good game."
Over on Wired, the health-tech angle was equally aggressively mocked by reader Btau, who seems to think it’s a stupid entrance into a crowded market, saying: "There are thousands of health, fitness, tracking and social apps for every tablet and every smartphone alive, as well as all the gadgets to go along with it. The fact that they are ‘developing hardware’ for this is just reinventing the wheel."
In the same thread we also find this week’s comedic high point, which came from JoeBob89, who gifted the world: "Mario isa desperate, he needa to feeda family! Pleasa buy a WiiU! Mario’s kidsa go hungry!"
- You need more Inflame in your life. And here’s where you can get it.