In the past, Nintendo liked to pretend that games were in their own little corner of the world, and not a part of anything else. This is a tad ironic since Nintendo’s first console in America was called the Nintendo Entertainment System. Going as far as GameCube, Nintendo believed that people didn’t want a device that would play movies, games, and surf the internet. Nintendo thought that people would only want to play games on a game console, and they were incredibly wrong. People like simplicity. They don’t want to have a console to play games, a Blu-ray or DVD player to play movies, and a special TV that can connect to the internet to watch YouTube movies or stream Netflix. Consumers want one device that can do everything, and Nintendo has finally accepted this, and is implementing this with all of their consoles.
Wii can connect to the internet to stream Netflix and Youtube videos, to view local and national news, and the weather forecast. Unfortunately, Wii cannot play actual DVD movies, but we can easily see how Nintendo is taking a step in the right direction with their home console. Wii isn’t just a gaming device, it is an entertainment device, and people can actually see that now. The same goes for the 3DS and other portable devices.
All of them are part of the same industry, and they are all competing against each other, as Nintendo has acknowledged. Consumers these days don’t want to carry around a device to make calls and another to play games. Many of the games on the iPhone may not have the same quality or length as games on DS or 3DS, but they are cheaper, more convenient and more accessible. They can stop playing a game and answer a call, then watch a movie or start reading a book. Portable devices need to have more than just one function the same way home devices do.
Apple’s iPhone is often touted as Nintendo’s direct competitor, for better or worse.
Sony has quickly accepted this, and we can see their response in the NGP and Xperia play. The Xperia is a Sony Ericsson phone that can download PSOne Classics. While you’re not talking, you could be playing Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon. While the PSOne is dated, there are plenty of great games from that era that are now playable on a phone, giving it a strong case for purchase. As of right now, the NGP won’t function as a true phone, but it does have a Skype function, which you can basically use as a free phone. Even the current PSP had its own line of UMD movies, and the NGP is sure to be able to stream Netflix movies among other things.
With 3DS, we can see that there too, Nintendo is taking steps in the right direction. When 3DS was unveiled at E3 2010, 3D movies were among the first things shown for the system, proving that it was more than just a game device. Netflix for 3DS is going to be launching later this summer, and who knows, maybe 3DS will get its own Skype download too. But this is only a step in the right direction. I think in the future Nintendo will have to partner with multiple companies in order to keep its devices relevant. A stand-alone games console is not going to exist in the future. It needs to be able to make calls, watch movies, surf the internet, and more. Nintendo has finally realized this and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with for 3DS and Project Cafe.