For a generation of kids, Nintendo was THE name in gaming. Sure, there were other companies with other consoles, but they were decidedly also-rans, soundly whipped in the market by the NES and then the Super Nintendo. But the hardest thing about being at the top of the hill is staying on top.
Slowly but surely, other contenders broke from the pack. As Sega’s brand dimmed, Sony slammed into the market with the Playstation, then Microsoft announced the Xbox. Suddenly the top tier of gaming was a three-brand race. Nintendo chose to go after a younger – and simultaneously older – audience with the Wii. The consoles sold well, but all the best games were being shipped for Playstation and Xbox, leaving Nintendo to create a line of its own games.
Fast forward a decade and things are not looking up for Nintendo. Sure, the Wii was an overall success, and the company has plenty of money in the bank, but the trend in gaming is still pulling away from Nintendo’s primary offerings. But the company is not going down without a fight, continuing to innovate in the hope of gaining ground.
They tried Wii U, and that didn’t fly … now they are going in a new direction, introducing something that has the tech and the gaming world buzzing. The Nintendo Switch is a shift toward individual gaming, rather than the console-based gaming that made the company famous. Rumors are flying hard and fast.
According to various reports, the Switch will allow users to control the device using an attached or detached controller. And Nintendo has upped the ante on its movement sensing tech, released with the original Wii. Rumors say the graphics will fall somewhere between the PS3 and PS4.
The biggest risk Nintendo seems to be taking, though, is in combining both at-home and mobile gaming into a single experience delivery system. This will be a tough place to play in for Nintendo because mobile gamers are already accustomed to playing on their phone or their tablet, and at-home gamers won’t want to give up quality or functionality in order to take their games on the road.
Then again, this is the company that pretty much invented mobile gaming with the granddaddy of them all – the Nintendo Game Boy … so maybe they know something everyone else hasn’t thought of yet.