Does anyone else think that Nintendo should stop making consoles? Am I alone on this one?
I accept that this might be seen as a strange argument to make, seeing as Nintendo only recently hit the one million sales mark for its new “Switch” console in Japan. But after four generations and counting of putting out comparatively weaker hardware in comparison to its rivals, I really am just sick of Nintendo’s constant forays into the console market.
What originally got me thinking in this fashion was when I heard that the Switch would be enjoying a release of FIFA 18 but that the game would be significantly “trimmed down” so that the console could handle it. I can’t explain why, seeing as this should have been no surprise to me or anyone else, but this really infuriated me.
I’m a huge fan of Nintendo’s first party content, and I loved both Splatoon and Super Mario 3D World games on the Wii U, but their constant butchering of multiplat releases really agitates my onions. I suppose the big reason for this is that it kicks a lot of video game enthusiasts in the balls by essentially forcing them to have to buy at least two consoles every console generation, and despite what my diamond encrusted toilet seat would suggest, most of us aren’t made of money.
Despite big Nintendo fans rolling their eyes at this notion, there are a lot of people who won’t be prepared to put up with crippled multiplats, no matter how good Super Mario Odyssey is. What Nintendo’s constant scrimping on the quality of hardware does is push these people into a corner where they either need two consoles, or they simply don’t play these games.
None of this would be an issue if Nintendo made consoles on par with Sony and Microsoft. I think I’ve gone on record numerous times now that if Nintendo would just make a console as powerful as the other two, I’d buy that and only that. Since the days of the N64, I’ve been stuck in an ongoing cycle of picking up one of the Sony or Microsoft consoles (depending on which one in either generation I like the look of most) and then picking up the Nintendo console towards the tail end of the console generation, when it’s considerably cheaper, so that I can play the first party Nintendo content I like the look of.
As someone who grew up in the fourth generation of consoles, I was used to Nintendo always having the best ports. Some may argue this point, of course, but to me the Super Nintendo almost always trumped the Mega Drive when it came to a third party release. Both Street Fighter II and ISS Deluxe were better on the SNES than the Mega Drive equivalent, in my opinion, and Street Fighter in particular was a big release for the period.
But since the fourth gen, Nintendo have just been making mistake after mistake with their hardware. With the N64 it was the fact it used cartridges over CDs, meaning epic releases like Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid just couldn’t be ported to the console. Don’t get me wrong, not every multiplat was worse on the N64 than on the PlayStation or Saturn (and I’ll be looking at a game next week that was definitely better on the N64), and the console did an admirable job of recreating a nearly perfect version of Resident Evil 2, but on the whole, third party releases almost always looked and played worse on the N64.
With the GameCube, Nintendo finally switched to discs, but they were smaller mini-discs, meaning that once again multiports just couldn’t match up to their Sony and Microsoft relatives.
And with the Wii, Wii U and Switch, Nintendo have gone for gimmicks and underpowered hardware, basically admitting that they can’t and don’t plan to compete with the other consoles. Sick of having their hands burned in the fifth and sixth gens, Nintendo have decided to essentially surrender and go for the casual market. It worked with the Wii, big time in fact, and they’ve been trying to recreate that financial success ever since, even if the Wii itself was a pretty awful machine when given any real scrutiny.
And during that time, Nintendo have made some brilliant games, games that I’ve really enjoyed when I’ve finally had the chance to play them. So, my question is this: If Nintendo can still make great games but seem thoroughly unprepared and uninterested in actually trying to compete in the console war™, why don’t they just make games instead?
Rather than shoving another console onto the market, one that seems to live in its own little backwater where success or failure is almost left up to chance, it would make so much more sense to me for Nintendo to just make handheld devices, release games and make toys. These are all things that Nintendo are great at, and surely they could still be a hugely successful company if this was their primary output? In fact, you could make an argument that not having to faff around with the costs of making more hardware would make the company even more profitable on the whole!
Instead of having to buy a whole other console just for the Splatoon, Zelda and Mario series, consumers could purchase either of the Microsoft or Sony consoles secure in the knowledge that they could still get their Goomba hopping kicks without having to shell out for an inferior rig of hardware just to play it.
It would also open up these popular Nintendo series to even more potential fans, due to the large number of people who own Sony and Microsoft machines. Nintendo could even bring their Nintendo Store to the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live and make even more money selling emulated Nintendo games on the other two consoles.
I know this opinion won’t be universally popular, but I’m sure others feel as equally peeved as me that for two decades now Nintendo have been essentially forcing us to pay a “Mario Tax” in a gaming industry that is already over-saturated. I think it’s time for Nintendo to either start making consoles which are actually on par with their rivals, or they need to stop wasting our time and just make those games we love so much available on other platforms.
Until either of those scenarios come to pass; however, I guess I’ll just have to fish a Switch out of a bargain bin in 2-3 years’ time.
Next week I’ll be writing one more Nintendo-themed article before taking a break from Ninty for a bit. I’ll see you all then as we take a journey into the shadows.
Thanks for reading
Until next time;
The Urban Dictionary defines “The Fitzgerald Scale” as “A scale used to measure the awkwardness of a situation. The Fitzgerald Scale is divided into ten subunits, called ‘Geralds’. Each Gerald is in turn divided into ten Subgeralds, which gives 100 possible levels of awkwardness. One Gerald is a commonly awkward level, where a ten Gerald situation would be a scarring event.”
Man, the atmosphere of that party was off the Fitzgerald Scale when we decided to leave