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Sony "Needs" Nintendo To Create A New Generation Of Customers

Jonathan Lester
Nintendo, Sony, Wii U

Sony "Needs" Nintendo To Create A New Generation Of Customers

But Should They Stick To What They Know?

Sony and Nintendo, sitting in a tree. C-O-E-X-I-S-T-I-N-G. SCE boss Shuhei Yoshida was recently goaded into commenting on their erstwhile rival's recent performance, wherein he revealed that they're not really competition at all. Rather, they're just bringing up the next generation of loyal Sony consumers.

“When you look at the situation around Nintendo that way, do you characterize Nintendo as our competition? I think in the bigger scale of things happening in the industry or tech or people’s lives, how they play games on what device, and how they start to learn to play games, I think Nintendo and us are pretty much in the same group," Yoshida told IGN's Greg Miller during a video interview.

“We need Nintendo to be very successful to help induct as many consumers who like to play games with controllers, right? I have two Wii Us. I play Wii U games with my daughters, because they make pretty fun family friendly games.”

A backhanded compliment if I ever saw one. Yoshida suggests that Nintendo's consoles serve to introduce younger or more inexperienced gamers to the medium, whereupon they're likely to graduate to Sony or Microsoft consoles. Preferably the former as far as Yoshida's concerned. The phrase "who like to play with controllers" is suggestive, playing down the GamePad and other motion control methods.

Arguably the Wii U is less effective than the Wii at attracting a wide casual audience - not least because of its confused attempt to appeal to more hardened gamers, but without the third-party support to back it up. Yoshida weighed in on the subject, suggesting that they should stick to what they know. “I think success or making mistakes depends on how you set your goal," he said. "I don’t know what was Nintendo’s goal when they launched Wii U. To me, it was a bit confusing because what they do really well was create some very safe environment for anyone, especially children to enjoy games like induct those people who have never played games ever to become gamers. And they always do very well.

“To me, what they have made with Wii U was continuing what they were doing well. But the messaging when they were saying ‘we are for core gamers’ was a bit confusing. But this year I think they slightly changed their messaging, and it seems to me like they are coming back to where they are focused.”

The Wii and DS were unquestionably pivotal in bringing videogames into the living room, and opening up the hobby to a wider audience - making it more legitimate and ubiquitous in the process. The Wii U has sadly struggled to match its predecessor in terms of sales and appeal, but now that Nintendo have slashed the Wii U's price point and beefed up the software lineup, we're likely to see an upswing over the coming months.

Indeed, I wonder whether the Wii U will become a niche hardcore console for gamers who actually crave colourful yet tightly-designed games rather than the usual slew of triple-A shooters.

Is it churlish of Sony to suggest that Nintendo basically just provide a training suite to "induct" new gamers into the hobby? Or are they right on the money? Are you a "core" Wii U gamer, or did you move to other consoles after finding your feet on Nintendo consoles? Let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Add a comment5 comments
MattGardner  Nov. 13, 2013 at 13:23

It's a comment of privilege from a spokesperson for the company who spanked Nintendo into (relative) obscurity with the PS1/PS2. But he's right, they're not exactly the competition Sony needs to be worried about right now.

Late  Nov. 13, 2013 at 15:40

Quite a condescending assessment of Nintendo, really.

I understand the appeal of having lots of kids playing with Leapfrog/Innotab stuff, progressing to Nintendo, and later moving up to Sony/Microsoft - but Sony are writing off three quarters (rough guess) of Nintendo's customers there. Yes they appeal to kids. But they appeal to a lot more people, too.
And just because the Wii and the Wii U were mainly taken up by the non-hardcore gamers doesn't mean that's Nintendo's aim, short-term or long-. I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping Nintendo blow us all away with a fantastic machine in a few years' time. Something that will have the hardcore gamers drooling.

Realhoneyman  Nov. 14, 2013 at 19:48

Speaking personally I do feel that Nintendo's consoles and handhelds have acted as a platform to shifting over to SONY's offerings from the last couple of generations due to more mature experiences being offered.

I still enjoy the pure fun that some of the best titles bring via Nintendo's 3DS and the Wii but I totally expect to cater for the younger demographic with the occasional gem released (a la RE4, Bayonetta 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles).

A future where both companies are healthily competing with one another in the market is a future I want to see.

Anarchist  Nov. 14, 2013 at 23:51

I would take a 3ds over a vita any day.

Yoshida is doing an amazing job of making himself sound like more and more of an arrogant **** every single day. Personally, Sony should get rid of him. He is dragging them through mud.

parabolica  Nov. 15, 2013 at 12:50

Anyone over the age of 20 and brought up with video games tends to name at least one Nintendo 64 game in their all time favorites. I believe the SNES and N64 are also the most popular consoles to emulate on modern hardware.
To think, Nintendo were disappointed with the take up of the N64 and have since failed to capitalize on the success of the Wii. Nintendo need new ideas, they need a new Rare studio and Sony could certainly use some of the magic Nintendo had in the old days.
IMO Sony and Microsoft haven't done a lot to improve the initial magic and excitement of owning a new console. They are also not making very much money in their games divisions.

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