The king of fast-food. The biggest Japanese video game company. Nintendo and McDonald's have been in cahoots for years.
The recent news that McDonald's is using the Nintendo DS to quickly train new part-time employees is just the latest in a long, long line of Nintendo-McDonald's tie-ups. This collaboration helps McDonald's cuts training time in half. McDonald's will procure 2 Nintendo DS units for each of its 3,700 restaurants in Japan.
Nintendo and McDonald's have been working together since the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Take McKids or the Super Mario Bros. III ad campaigns, for instance. These two are thick as thieves.
Both of them had something that the other wanted and needed: the attention of kids. From the start, it was a win-win relationship. Kids like McDonald's. Kids like Nintendo.
The early efforts, though, got more complex when Nintendo consoles like the Nintendo 64 (later, the GameCube) started appearing in Nintendo playlands. If the playland slide was not enticing enough, the chain could offer video games!
Just as McDonald's got hammered in documentaries like Super Size Me, video games were in flux. Titles like Dance Dance Revolution had been giving gamers workouts for years. McDonald's has made an effort to change its menu by offering healthier meals. But it's still...McDonald's.
The collaboration between Nintendo and McDonald's continued to get increasingly sophisticated. No longer were both content to only offer, say, cheap plastic toys. Instead, Nintendo began offering WiFi so that customers could bring their Nintendo DS consoles to McDonald's and sit there and play Mario Kart. (Hopefully consume more food, too!) As of 2007, twenty-five percent of that WiFi was being sucked up by Nintendo DS handhelds. At the time, McDonald's said the impetus for installing the WiFi was so their employees could use wireless handheld devices for taking orders and tracking inventory.
And while Nintendo was promoting health and fitness with its WiiFit, it continued its relationship with McDonald's. You want to get healthy? Don't eat McDonald's. Ever. Eat vegetables. And fruit. Ironically, in 2008 the UK McDonald's boss blamed video games for obesity!
As a company, McDonald's does a tremendous amount of good via its charity work and whatnot. It also makes deliciously fatty food that, in large amounts, could kill you! Apparently, there are some "healthy" choices at McDonald's — but it's probably not what you'd like you or your kids eating everyday.
Yet, don't expect Nintendo to bail on its relationship with the golden arches anytime soon. Not with all those potential customers at stake. Potential Wii Fit customers, that is.