Do you remember when the Xbox 360 and the PS3 first came out? I sure do. I was first among the people in line waiting to get them. At first, I was a 360 supporter and it took me a few years to come around to the PS3, but, now, after everything is said and done, I have come to appreciate both as amazing gaming systems.
Regardless of my personal feelings, however, these were undeniable state of the art gaming systems of the day and they proved as such through their sales, but the innovation behind both platforms really was much more evolved than their predecessors the Xbox and the PS2. Better graphics, bigger hard drives, more expansive game play, these are all things you should expect with a new console. Nothing about them was revolutionary.
Out of this wave of consoles, the only company to really think outside of the box was Nintendo, and they did so in a big way. With the release of its Wii gaming system, Nintendo anticipated a complete shift in gaming that wouldn’t really catch on for a number of years.
The Wii was a quick hit and millions of people bought them. They are really great for family and party gaming, but they were not able to produce much staying power. People at first loved the idea of the Wii, but the whole concept never really caught on. Maybe this is because the technology wasn’t quite there yet or maybe it was because no platforms wanted to hassle with the release of a Wii game, but the Wii wasn’t able to produce the same kind of growth in gaming that the Xbox and Playstation both had with their static sales and with the growth of online gaming.
Another thing that Nintendo, apparently, did not correctly anticipate was how easy it would be for both Microsoft and Sony to adapt their existing consoling to match the Wii’s unique gaming experience. Granted, it did take both companies a few years to develop the technology and get it released and widely in consumer use, but they did it—and with minimal effort. Microsoft now has its Connect system and Sony has the Playstation eye.
And the biggest problem with Nintendo is that their platform is now rendered useless. The other game systems can now play traditional games and games that feature movement and real life physics.
This is a classic example of an early innovator not taking into account many other market variables and losing their competitive edge—even while being the innovators themselves. In effect, Nintendo introduced people to a new wave of gaming that Sony and Microsoft was able to pick up on and make into a better overall platform. The gaming market functions the same as any other market.
Now Nintendo has largely been relegated to handheld gaming, which is but a fraction of the total gaming market and may never reach the same threshold. Time will only tell what is in Nintendo’s future, but hopefully they will reenter the gaming scene sometime; the N64 was incredible!