Question for Video Game experts: How did Nintendo fall behind?

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User Info: pringles448

pringles448
5 days ago#1
This is not one of those Nintendo vs Sony vs Microsoft topics so please don't interpret it as such. I'm just honestly curious about what happened to the company. Back in the 80s after NES, Nintendo completely dominated and ruled the gaming world. They were more dominant in the video game industry than Wal-mart is when it comes to retailers. Then SNES came out and their dominance just increased. Pretty much the only video game company that most general people even knew about was Nintendo. Sega tried to compete but went to get completely curbstomped.

So in terms of revenue and market share, how in the hell did they fall so fast in the past few decades and how did Sony overtake them so drastically? Nintendo has fallen so badly that they aren't even among the top 5 video game publishing companies anymore and its marketshare is multiple times less than Sony. Nintendo had all the advantages and they pretty much held a monopoly on the console gaming world. It's supposed to be impossible for another company to overtake you when you have those advantages. No fast food restaurant will ever surpass McDonalds, no wrestling company will ever overtake WWE, no retailer will ever overtake Wal-mart, etc.

User Info: T0ffee

T0ffee
5 days ago#2
Because Japan
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User Info: pringles448

pringles448
5 days ago#3
T0ffee posted...
Because Japan


Elaborate please. Sony is also a Japanese company.

User Info: TheSlinja

TheSlinja
5 days ago#4
problem is you are comparing this totally wrong, MCD can prepare the same big macs for 20 years and make bank, the games industry has to keep making all new products in order to thrive, in a risky enviroment like this its not hard to see how companies can throw huge success away, its happened many many times and will continue to happen in this industry
Sony has played it safe this last decade to get where they are today, nintendo takes great risks which leads to amazing highs (wii) and amazing lows (wiiu). of course anyone would tell you the safe giys win out in the end, its all about a fine balance of safe, stable ideas and new system selling ideas, ninty banks on the ladder and sony makes a better balance of the 2
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User Info: jamieyello3

jamieyello3
5 days ago#5
Nintendo went wrong with their own general incompetence.

Nintendo failed with the N64 because they had tiny storage. They learned nothing and did the same with the GameCube.

They hit an unfilled cliche with the Wii and tried to do it again with the Wii U, but people had moved on to smartphones. The Wii U wasn't really cool enough to get people excited.

The Switch is Nintendo taking everything and putting it together.

I don't believe the Wii U failed because of lack of ips. I believe it was just a poor idea and people weren't excited for it. The Wii U had Smash, it never sold like the Switch.

User Info: _AdjI_

_AdjI_
5 days ago#6
Mostly, they got cocky. They were used to being dominant in the NES/SNES era because Sega wasn't a big enough competitor to win over third party developers, so they treated those partners as though being able to develop for Nintendo was a privilege. When the N64/PS1 era rolled around, Nintendo went with cartridges that were harder and more expensive to develop for, while Sony went with much less restrictive hardware, in addition to taking the reverse attitude of valuing third parties' contributions to their system's success. It meant a whole lot of developers jumped ship and started developing for PS1, especially when the PS1 managed a solid install base because of its technical superiority. The next generation, the PS2 got a head start on the generation to capitalize on that lead, plus the GC still was trickier to code for because of the non-standard discs, so Sony held on to the lead.

Nintendo struck gold with the Wii by tapping into a massive new audience, but that surge didn't last because their decision to do something different still dissuaded third parties from supporting them. The attitude of "we're doing something different, so you guys should adapt to us" really doesn't fly when there are viable alternatives to developing for Nintendo, and as such, the Wii's support fizzled out as soon as shovelware minigame compilations stopped selling. And then the WiiU was a marketing disaster, with very poor promotion all around and an attempt to cash in on brand recognition that just confused people into thinking it was still the Wii.

I don't actually think Nintendo's approach is as wrong these days as it was in the N64/GC era, particularly where pretty much everything's multiplat and available on PC and therefore traditional consoles are pointless. There's a fine line, however, between "we're doing something different, so you guys should adapt to us" and "we're doing something different to give you guys an excellent creative opportunity, and we'll support and encourage you as you explore your options in that regard." They do seem to have eased off on the "it's a privilege to develop for us" attitude, but it's still a trap they should be working to avoid.
(edited 5 days ago)

User Info: Zeus

Zeus
5 days ago#7
Fallen behind in what way? If you mean total market share, there's not much they could do. Yes, they *could* have kept Sony out of the market for a little while but sooner or later somebody else would get into it, even if Sony didn't fly solo. They basically ran the market back when they had virtually no competition but, when others started to get into the market, they lost market share. As for total base, keep in mind that gaming as a whole was expanding heavily up until around the ps2/xbox/gc age and then the number of traditional gamers hasn't grown as rapidly since then.

pringles448 posted...
Then SNES came out and their dominance just increased.


Well, no, because Sega gave them actual competition in terms of market share. Their base might have still been expanding as new gamers the market, but their market position was shared. The NES days was when the industry had basically bankrupted itself and the NES was more or less the only serious console.

When Sony came onto the market, they got their system out well ahead of the N64 and they weren't nearly as stringent when it came to whose games could go on their system. The use of CDs was also cheaper and the technology that they used was supposedly easier to develop for. Plus Sony had a major advantage over every other competitor since it was a heavily moneyed company with deep pockets which had made that money from *outside* gaming.

pringles448 posted...
Nintendo has fallen so badly that they aren't even among the top 5 video game publishing companies anymore


You're reading more into that than you should, considering that back when Nintendo was topping the charts it was first as a hardware company. They made tons of money off licensing rather than just publishing.

pringles448 posted...
It's supposed to be impossible for another company to overtake you when you have those advantages.


It's literally never been impossible to overtake a company in the lead. Keep in mind that other companies had massive advantages before Nintendo came along.

pringles448 posted...
No fast food restaurant will ever surpass McDonalds, no wrestling company will ever overtake WWE, no retailer will ever overtake Wal-mart, etc.


First off, all of those claims are completely ridiculous unless you have a time machine and have seen the future (especially in the case of the WWE which is largely driven by Vince's genius and, once he's out of the equation, the company's future may not be as guaranteed. Other companies have survived multiple changes in leadership.). More importantly, EACH of those companies wasn't at the top of their respective game at one point. At one point, they were also the challenger.

jamieyello3 posted...
Nintendo failed with the N64 because they had tiny storage. They learned nothing and did the same with the GameCube.


Not really an issue for the most part. And, in the case of the GC, it *did* have the same storage capability as other consoles because it could have gone multi-disc as well. More importantly, there's nothing inherently inferior when it comes to cartridges other than the expense.
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User Info: photographboy

photographboy
5 days ago#8
I think _AdjI_ has pretty much hit the nail on the head. The only other thing to talk about is Nintendo's handheld line, which dominated from the GameBoy right up to the DS. Then smart phones happened with tons of cheap/free games and essentially whittled support for 3DS down to a more hardcore audience.

The 3DS still sold very well (mainly thanks to Pokemon), but Nintendo's days of mobile dominance might also be over, hence their decision to unify console and mobile with the Switch (it was also to avoid having to support two platforms with games which is trickier now that games require so much work and resource to complete). It will be interesting to see what the future holds, so far the Switch seems to be doing very well...

User Info: VeeVees

VeeVees
5 days ago#9
ps1 and 2 were just that good
Rudy sucks

User Info: Foppe

Foppe
5 days ago#10
Sony joined at the right time with the right product and the right marketing.
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