Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Slate

October 23, 2012

Slate: How Nintendo saved itself from irrelevance

(Continued)

Nintendo, meanwhile, countered in 2001 with the Gamecube, a cute little device with a cubical purple exterior. It ran on miniDVD discs. It had no online play. Next to an Xbox, it looked like a lunchbox. Halo, an Xbox exclusive, outsold Nintendo's flagship first-person shooter, Metroid Prime, by a two-to-one margin. The Xbox and Playstation 2 offered immensely popular franchises sorely missing from the Gamecube's offerings, such as Final Fantasy, Gran Turismo and Grand Theft Auto. The Gamecube's most popular game, Super Smash Bros. Melee, sold 7 million. The PlayStation 2's sold 17 million.

By 2006, Nintendo was in last place. While Nintendo sold about 22 million Gamecubes, Microsoft sold about 25 million Xboxes, and Sony sold 150 million Playstation 2s. What's more, Nintendo sold about one-third fewer Gamecubes than it had sold Nintendo 64s.

Nintendo's share of the market seemed likely to shrink again in the next round of consoles. Microsoft and Sony could ultimately do to Nintendo what Nintendo and Sony did to Sega, which once peddled its keystone character, Sonic the Hedgehog, on its own consoles. Nintendo and Sony shouldered it out of the hardware market until it devolved into a mere software company.

Instead, like any smart company that knows it can't keep up with its bigger competitors, Nintendo changed the game. Nintendo came up with the Wii. The console had worse graphics and a slower processor than its rivals, yet it destroyed them in sales, and it drove the company to new heights of popularity, praise and profit.

Reggie Fils-Aime, chief of Nintendo's North American division, articulated Nintendo's new strategy at the 2006 E3 Conference. "It's no longer confined to just the few," he said. "It's about everyone." Those simple words spelled out Nintendo's strategy from that day forward: Get everyone. Get the kids. Get the teen-agers. Get the parents. Get the grandparents. Get boys. Get girls. Nintendo games would not just be the unhealthy addictions of reclusive, pockmarked teen-agers or aimless twentysomethings. Nintendo games would be for everyone.

Text Only
Slate
  • baby-generic.jpg For millennials, out-of-wedlock childbirth is the norm

    This month brings us yet another reminder that, for young Americans, having children outside of marriage is very much "the new normal," as The New York Times once put it.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • May 2014 was the hottest may in recorded history

    According to new data released this week, May 2014 is officially the warmest May in recorded history.
    Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency have tentatively ranked May at the top of historical measurements, though NASA's numbers are preliminary because crucial information is still missing from China.

    June 20, 2014

  • GM recalls soar past 20 million. Why don't consumers care?

    In case you thought there couldn't possibly be another General Motors recall so soon, you're just not thinking big enough. This week, GM said it was recalling 3.36 million more cars. The cause: an ignition switch defect that could result in keys carrying extra weight (read: a keychain) to slip out of position and shut the vehicle off abruptly during "some jarring event."

    June 18, 2014

  • No one is against devoted dads

    Father's Day is Sunday, which means that it's time for pundits and politicians to scold the American public - with special ire reserved for black members of the American public - for our supposed indifference to the wonder and awe of fatherhood.

    June 12, 2014

  • 74129880-graduates.jpg The fate of the overeducated and underemployed

    According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, about 44 percent of young bachelor's degree holders lucky enough to be working are employed in positions that technically don't require their degree. While that number isn't far off from the historical norm — 22-year-olds have always needed a little time to find their professional footing — the fraction stuck scraping bottom in truly low-paying jobs has grown quite a bit since the recession.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Skype's real-time language translator

    This week at Re/Code's Code Conference, Microsoft announced a real-time, multilingual translation beta called Skype Translate. The service can mediate between two video chatterers who speak different languages by providing text and audio translation after each person finishes speaking. Currently the service works for English and German, but Microsoft says it will support other languages soon. The beta will be released later this year.

    May 29, 2014

  • New Orleans does away with traditional public schools

    The second-graders paraded to the Dumpster in the rear parking lot, where they chucked boxes of old work sheets, notebooks and other detritus into the trash, emptying their school for good.

    May 29, 2014

  • Amazon sells steroids and stimulants banned in sports

    I have by no means executed a comprehensive search of wares sold by Amazon directly or through its third-party sellers, but I found other prescription drugs for sale without a prescription, including the antibiotic norfloxacin and the muscle relaxant methocarbamol. Both compounds, like clindamycin, warrant careful oversight to avoid complications or endangering public health, such as by breeding antibiotic resistance.

    May 29, 2014

  • 2010-Winter-Olympic-Games-001.jpg Nobody wants to host the Winter Olympics

    If we end up watching slopestyle from the Central Asia steppes in 2022, it will likely be because it's becoming clear that nobody in Europe wants to host these Olympics anymore. Publics may finally be getting wise to the fact that the long-term economic benefits of hosting mega-events like the Olympics or the World Cup are usually negligible at best.

    May 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman sues a New York Hospital for forcing a C-section. Can doctors do that?

    Though Dray's doctor claims he did not force her to have a C-section, her hospital record included a note signed by the hospital's director of maternal and fetal medicine that said, "I have decided to override her refusal to have a C-section."

    May 21, 2014