For those growing up with a video game control in their hands, Nintendo has been the boldest, groundbreaking innovator of fun. With Nintendo 64, the company established their superior creativity, launching tittles such as Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Mario 64 and Super Smash Bros, guiding many individuals to the title of “hardcore gamers”, who, by adopting this new identity, have learned to expect more flawless products with each new product innovation. Simply put, Nintendo is the true leader of video game entertainment. Those committed to the company experienced rough times throughout the transition to the Game Cube, where, the Playstation 2 began their reign of the “hardcore gamer” market by launching more advanced and graphic-based games such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. Consequently, many gamers surrendered their nostalgic bond with Nintendo and embraced the more aesthetically pleasing competition.
However, today, Nintendo cannot keep up with the demand of Wii consumers. What could have caused such an explosive phenomenon? Has the old audience of “hardcore gamers” been enticed to return to the company? The facts add up to this; Nintendo has now relinquished the “hardcore gamer” sector of the market and pursued a truly neglected market segment; the casual gamer. The casual gamer is not an intense player with just moderate attraction to games and is most likely involved in multiplayer action that does requires as much skills or certainly the same kind of skill as the hardcore players. This allows Nintendo to step back and let both Microsoft and Sony duke out the hardcore game play and graphics war, while it emphasizes on “putting more smiles on more faces,” as Satoru Iwata, head of Nintendo, stated explaining the “new paradigm” of the industry. This is further supported with the release of such games as Wii Music and Wii Sports, which focus on innovation rather than graphics. Not all are as optimistic about this change though; Wii Music and Animal Crossing: City Folk, another upcoming titles exhibited in this year’s E3 conference, are not, in fact, games at all, but a type of community with little entertainment value. Another reason why Nintendo has crushed its former juggernaut competitor, Sony, is due to its resilient focus on the benefits sought by its consumers. The Playstation 3 is undoubtedly the most capable console, utilizing blue ray technology to deliver stunning animation that could put even the Xbox 360 to shame; however, to their financial misfortune they have released, in contrast to both Microsoft and Nintendo, almost no games that will make it worthy of its eyebrow-raising price tag.
Nevertheless, perhaps Sony and Microsoft should not be distraught about the phenomenal success of Nintendo, because the latter is engaging a sector of the population that previously did not indulge in video game entertainment, which, first does not interfere with their target audience, and second may reel in more potential costumers, who by gradual introduction to the gaming community may desire to refine their taste and search for a more professionally executed gaming experience; exactly what Microsoft and Sony have to offer.