|Nintendo Company Limited|
|Founded||23rd September 1889|
|Key People (choice)|
|Sector||Video and computer games|
Nintendo is one of the biggest producer of video games and toys in the world. The name “Nintendo” stands for high quality and innovative products. The dominating position of Nintendo on the market, with the NES and SNES, was critizised for a long time due to Nintendo’s practices of licensing.
The company was founded on 23rd September 1889. The first products were traditional Japanese playing cards. After the sale of Japanese cards had decreased, Nintendo licensed Disney figures, to print them on playing cards. Next to that Nintendo tried for a short time to produce instant rice and to found a taxi company. In the 60s, Nintendo expanded their product range with further toys.
In 1977 Nintendo expanded its product range by LCD games, the „Game & Watch“ series. The success was so bug, that Nintendo sold 60 of these LCD games on the market. From 1979 Nintendo expanded also into the video games market and produced arcade machines and Pong Clones.
With the success of the Atari 2600, Nintendo published the Famicom in Japan in 1984, a games console with cartridges. In Europe and the USA this console was released under the name NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). Nintendo offered this console to Atari for sale in the USA. With the video game crash, Atari refused decidedly and Nintendo decided to release the NES on its own in 1985. After some difficulties at the start, the NES advanced to be the leading video game console and made Nintendo the world’s largest provider of video games. The worldwide market share with the NES was about 90%.
Nintendo introduced some innovations, as e.g. the gamepad with 2 function buttons, which were later taken over by all other producers. Also the Atari 7800 adopted this concept of operation.
Regarding also the software, Nintendo was very innovative. The Super Mario games were due to their amplitude seen as pathbreaking. Before that, there were only seldom games that had a similar complexity.
The Gameboy is a portable video game console and with its followers Gameboy Pocket, Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advanced or Gameboy Advanced SP the most successful video game console of all times. It was released in 1989 and could conquer the markets very quickly due to its comparatively low price. The competitors’ products as the Sega Game Gear and the Atari Lynx offered coloured games, but were far more expensive.
In 1990, Nintendo released the SNES. With the SNES, Nintendo could affirm its market leadership. Only in the USA had Nintendo to accept for a short time, that Sega – Nintendo’s main competitor at that time - became market leader with the Mega Drive. Here, Nintendo also introduced some innovation. The gamepad now had 4 function buttons and two back buttons. This concept has now been adopted by all the producers.
The N64 was introduced by Nintendo in Europe in 1997. In contrast to the competitors, Nintendo abstained from using the CD-ROM format and stuck to cartridges. After the introduction on the market, the shares of Nintendo climbed to a record level at that time and the shares of the competitors dropped, but Nintendo could not affirm the market leadership with the N64. Furthermore, the N64 had further disadvantages, such as an external memory expansion, which needed to be bought extra, whereby the N64 was not very popular with many players. Also the fact that Nintendo always bet on family-friendly entertainment and the N64 was correspondingly seen as a toy for children, was for many players a reason to switch to the „cooler” competitors.
The concept of the controls with many functional buttons and back buttons was continued by Nintendo. Next to the gamepad, which can be used in two different ways, Nintendo introduced the 3D Stick. This small joystick on the pad was adopted by all competitors until now.
Mario64 is seen as a milestone of computer games. It was the first 3D console game, where the player had the complete elbowroom in the world of the game.
In 2002, Nintendo released the Gamecube. The success didn’t meet the expectations. Also concerning innovations, Nintendo needed to go one down. One rather tried to draw level with the competitors.
The Nintendo DS
In 2005 Nintendo released another handheld. Originally supposed to be a series parallel to the Gameboy Advanced, the DS was so successful, that it finally replaced the Gameboy.
The great strength of the DS is its concept of controls. The DS has two screens, of which one can be used with a pen.
In 2007 Nintendo released the Wii. The Wii has a completely new concept for the controls, which differs from any concept that has been on the market so far. The pad is not used with the thumb and the fingers, but as an item. If you play a tennis game, the Wii Pad is the bat with which you imitate the movement of a tennis player.
With the Wii, Nintendo is again on the road to success.
Nintendo produced several games series for its own hardware. For many Nintendo fans are these games a must. As with the quality of Nintendo’s hardware, Nintendo also attaches importance to the quality of its own games.
Nintendo produced several toys. The most famous franchise is the Pokemon franchise. The games series and video games products also form a symbioses at Nintendo. One can buy several video games of the Pokemon series for the current consoles.
Games library (excerpt)