Japanese Newspaper: Nintendo Cursed by Mario

Illustration for article titled Japanese Newspaper: Nintendo Cursed by emMario/em
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Nintendo is expected to show a consolidated loss for 2011. Thanks to the doom and gloom climate, its stock recently dipped below the ¥10,000 (US$127) per share mark for the first time in over 7 years. The cause of this overall loss can be attributed in part to the poor sales performance of the 3DS. The fact that Nintendo was forced to drop the price of the 3DS, thus forcing them to take a loss for every unit sold certainly didn't help any.

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No one can doubt that Nintendo has come a long way from the modest little card company in 1889 to the game giant it is now. In 1985, Nintendo released Super Mario Brothers and cemented themselves as THE game company for years to come and making Mario the most famous video game icon in the world. But is there such a thing as too much Mario?

But now, financial experts argue that Nintendo's reliance on the Italian plumber is preventing their growth in the new digital age. According to Japan's Sankei News, "As the game market evolves, Nintendo seems unable to move beyond creating games that rely on the image of Mario..." and that this "Curse of Mario" has hampered Nintendo's ability to adapt their business model to the newer market of DLC and smaller indie games. Could it be that Mario's economic life-span is coming to an end?

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Perhaps it's time Nintendo gave the prolific little plumber a rest from his kart and various suits. Then again, according to a report by Famitsu, Nintendo managed to pull in the majority of sales shares (23.6%) for January of 2012, so maybe too much Mario isn't such a bad thing after all... Still, it's comforting to know that Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto is focusing on making new games and training fresh blood.

スーパーマリオも寄る年波に勝てず 任天堂、初の営業赤字へ [MSN産経ニュース]]

(Top photo: Casey Rodgers / AP Images for Nintendo of America)

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DISCUSSION

Nintendo is paying the price of relying on gimmicks to move hardware. They wanted to be different to get non-gamers to game and they succeeded. That being said all those grannies that bought Wiis to play Wii Bowling they didn't buy a lot of software and certainly not any of the more hardcore games, so it was double-edged sword. The result of this being that most of the Wii and DS games released were nothing but shovelware that tried to appeal to these non-gamers.

I wish Nintendo would stop relying on gimmicks, particularly those of the dual screen variety (which the DS, 3DS and Wii U fall into). I think the quality of first party games dropped on the Wii because instead of focusing on making a great game by innovating on the gameplay side the developers had to focus on how to make a game that works with the current gimmick. Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 were great but they would have been better with a standard controller. Twilight Princess became much more enjoyable to me once I switched to the Gamecube version.

I know the Gamecube wasn't a hit for Nintendo but to me it was the last great Nintendo system. I know a lot of people don't like Super Mario Sunshine but to me it was an amazingly innovative game that really captivated me. F-Zero GX is still my favorite racing game ever. Nintendo was trying new things like Starfox Adventures, Pikmin, Animal Crossing. The fact that they had competitive hardware means 3rd parties made games for it and we got gems like Viewtiful Joe, Killer 7, Ikaruga, Tales of Symphonia, Resident Evil 4 and Okami. And let's not forget Soul Calibur II which thanks to Link sold best on the Gamecube; I mean everybody I know that had all 3 systems got the cube version. It just seemed like a great time to be a Nintendo fan.