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Ex-EA Legend: Nintendo 'On Track To Become A Software Company'

Jonathan Lester
Nintendo, Sega

Ex-EA Legend: Nintendo 'On Track To Become A Software Company'

"We Saw That With SEGA Back In The Day"

Having worked for ten years as EA's Chief Creative Officer before accepting board positions at Ngmoco and Zynga, Bing Gordon knows a thing or two about videogames. Which is potentially bad news for Nintendo, since he reckons that they're headed the way of SEGA: software developers without a console to call their own.

That said, the results could be "stunningly cool" for all concerned.

“I think Nintendo’s already on track to become primarily a software company,” Gordon told Gamesindustry. “We saw that with Sega back in the day; Sega made some missteps and became primarily a software company.”

In contrast with SEGA, Gordon believes that Nintendo haven't actually made any major "missteps," but external factors like the rise of Apple devices and mobile gaming are putting pressure on the traditional company. Rather than butting heads, the ex-EA man is convinved that a partnership of sorts could be "stunningly cool," and benefit everyone - gamers included.

"Apple’s most directly competitive with Nintendo," Gordon explained. "So far, when Miyamoto makes a perfect game, in his career he makes games worth $200 – it’s worth buying a system for. I think the handheld is going to be under a lot of pressure. I can imagine a day when Nintendo wonders – and maybe it’s generational change – when Nintendo wonders if they ought to take some of their best games and make them apps.”

“Neither Apple or Nintendo – both those companies like control – is likely to want a partnership, but a partnership would be stunningly cool. I think if you’re Nintendo, as long as Miyamoto’s coming to work, you can sustain a proprietary platform. He’s that good," Gordon concluded.

Nintendo's newest console, the Wii U, is slated to launch in time for Christmas - and the proof will be in the playing. With mobile and tablet gaming on the rise, could you see a software-only future for Nintendo, dear reader?

Add a comment2 comments
RiKx  Jul. 24, 2012 at 10:30

Gordon believes that Nintendo haven't actually made any major "missteps,"
Then I don't believe he does no a thing or two. Nintendo IGNORES the internet. There are numerous others but I think that one alone is an argument settler.

Late  Jul. 24, 2012 at 10:40

I've been saying the same thing for a while, now - and I don't like it.
Nintendo's hardware policy of prioritising innovation and low cost over raw power has been fantastic for the industry as a whole, but may well prove unsustainable.

It's great that they've brought console gaming to lots of households that wouldn't ordinarily be interested; and it's great that they go in new directions (motion control, touchscreen integration into tv gaming). But the company's consoles have become something of a laughing stock amongst proper gamers. Their last machine was woefully underpowered coupled with a hardware structure that I'm told made porting from other consoles particularly difficult (I put my hands up, I know little about that), and it's graphics were standard def just as everyone went high def. It's next console looks set to follow suit, being (arguably) more powerful than the generation it's replacing but less powerful than the peers that are likely to appear within a year or two.
I bought into the wii hype. I'm not alone in that. The machine was immense fun for a while. But that's so incredibly short lived - with the machine (and it's plethora of peripherals) gathering dust ever since.

Their software on the other hand stands up fine against most other publishers. Most of the wii's games were shovelware, but the first party Nintendo games were generally of a much higher standard (and the Super Mario Galaxy games in particular were superb).
So perhaps their focus should shift fully away from hardware and into software.
I do worry, though, that without Nintendo's hardware innovations we might see successive generations of consoles from other companies being more powerful versions of their old machines with nothing really new or exciting...


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