Nintendo: Here Wii Go
While for years Nintendo dominated the market for virtual gaming, a rise in competition presented serious challenges for the company. After struggling for the first five years of the new millennia, Nintendo made an exceptional comeback with its innovative products, the Wii and the DS that shook the market and brought in a completely new set of customers. Their new strategy was so successful it allowed the company to become Japan’s second most valuable business after Toyota (Farhoomand, 2009).
"The game has changed... and the way the game is played has to be changed." - Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Co. Ltd. (Plant, 2011).
The Evolution of the Video Game Industry - The Birth of Gaming
The electronic gaming industry began with a few very basic games in the 1970s. At first, they appeared in the form of coin-operated machines, with games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong before moving to home entertainment with hits like Atari’s Pong (Vaughan-Nicholas, 2009). A major shift in gaming at home came with Nintendo’s release of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985. With the high quality of the NES, Nintendo held a virtual monopoly in the gaming console industry for years until the Sega Genesis launched in 1990. While the Genesis challenged Nintendo for a brief period, but they successfully responded with its superior Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1991 and maintained its position atop the gaming industry.
Resurgence by Disruption - Breaking the Cycle
Since the release of the NES, the gaming industry had been stuck in a cyclical process’ every five or six years a new generation of consoles would emerge to compete with one another. In 2002, however, Nintendo appointed Satoru Iwata as the new CEO. Iwata noticed a shrinking population of gamers in Japan and blamed the high costs to consumers. While monetary price was certainly a factor, Iwata was more concerned with the homing costs associated with the newer systems. While more immersive games with a wider variety of button combinations provided substantial value to the committed gamer, the larger necessary time investment to learn the games was driving away the casual, marginal user (Farhoomand, 2009).
Nintendo therefore sought to be innovative with their next system, the Wii, and reach out to non-gamers. They decided to simplify the gaming experience, so they completely overhauled the way players communicated with the console. Instead of pressing combinations of buttons on controller, players of the Wii communicated with the console through movements of a wireless remote. This adaptation made the systems easy to use, quick to understand, and therefore appropriate for an untapped gaming market’ particularly families looking for an inclusive experience.
In addition to simplifying controls, Nintendo adjusted the nature of their gaming content by focusing more on real life scenarios, with which the average person could relate, as opposed to...