Nintendo will be forever known as one of the first gaming company success stories. The NES brought us some of the most popular games of all time. To this day people still want to play some of those games even though the technology back then was a far cry from what is available today. That alone should tell you how good they were.
They had competition back in the early days from another good company that put out some good games as well, but Nintendo overall put out the better product. That didn’t last for long though and sadly the company has been at the bottom of the gaming mountain for quite a while now.
They have released several other consoles since the NES but none of them have matched the success of that first release, mainly because there were no breakthrough technology upgrades in them. When the Wii came out it did offer new technology and it was the first console to have any success after three other releases following the NES. The Wii was their top selling console of all time but people quickly became bored with it because there just weren’t any decent games to show off the technology. Sure they had some; there was bowling, golf and tennis that were pretty cool. However, that wasn’t enough to set them apart and keep people playing them. The new hand-held controller led to a lot of broken televisions and that certainly didn’t help their cause.
The Switch is the newest release by the company but early reviews say that it’s not good enough to return them to king of the gaming world. It’s looking to be yet another failure for a company that has given us failure after failure since that first great NES game.
It’s hard to believe that the Wii is more than ten years old now. It seems like just yesterday when it came out with really cool technology that let you control what happened on your screen with your own body movements. The official release date for it though was back on November 19th in 2006.
There was so much hope for what could be with this console but it never happened. The big release was the highlight of the system’s life cycle. A few updates did nothing to further it along and it quickly became boring and stale and then fell out of favor with gamers. The broken televisions that came along with playing the games didn’t help matters.
With 102 million unit sales the numbers were up for the first time in a very long time for the company, but that was only because the Wii was different. That was good enough for sales but not good enough to keep gamers happy when they compared it to other systems.
14. Wii U
The Wii U came out in 2012 and the company has already ceased operations on it. Some considered the Wii to be successful, but the fact that it never got any better and never added any really good games for the console says otherwise.
The Wii U was supposed to be the next generation of Wii but nobody bought it and it didn’t take long for Nintendo to shut it down for good. The Wii sold over 100 million units despite its limitations and the company was hugely disappointed when the Wii U sold less than 15 million consoles. The problem was the marketing for it, nobody knew if it was just a new gamepad or an extension of the original Wii. Obviously the confusion led people to not purchase it.
13. A transformation that did nothing
After such a huge failure with the Wii U, Nintendo promised at the beginning of 2015 that the company would be going through a “transformational” period during the year and consumers and investors alike would see great results. However, 2015 came and went and nothing was really any different.
They brought in some new game releases but they weren’t anything that set the world on fire. The portable 3DS didn’t catch on as they had hoped and when the year was over there was nothing different from 2014. Now in 2017 there still is anything that’s really different. *Raising a glass* Here’s to 2018!
12. Releasing bad product after bad product
If Nintendo thought 2015 was bad, 2016 was even worse. The company saw some of the worst sales the company has ever had and things are not looking to change anytime soon. They are the perfect example of a giant falling from grace. Once boasting THE game console to own, the company has followed the success of the NES (62 million sales) with failure after failure. It’s kind of sad for gamers to see the grandfather of game consoles be so close to death. As previously mentioned, the Wii had initial success with 102 million sales, but people quickly got bored with it. The Wii U sold less than 13 million units. (Numbers are as of March 2016.)
11. Super Mario Run
Super Mario was one of the best games ever created. Who didn’t love taking him through his world and trying to save the Princess? Obviously, compared to games that we play today, it’s a bit primitive now, but when it first came out it was one of the best games ever. It could have evolved with the times and become something even greater as the gaming technology grew, but it never did.
There were several other releases involving him and his friends but the technology never really got any better. When Super Mario Run was released there were high hopes for it. It was just another failure however. Initially it was downloaded 40 million times to phones in the first four days, but then people realized that in order to advance in the game you had to pay ten bucks. That was a quick turnoff and once word got out, the number of downloads slowed down tremendously. We are still waiting for it to come to PlayStation or Xbox but that will probably never happen.
10. They rested on the laurels of previous successes
When the NES was released is quickly became what everyone wanted. It was the top of the line for game playing at the time and there were 62 million units sold. Everyone you knew had an NES and you made them your best friend because the games were great.
When the SNES came out it didn’t have the same success, only selling 49 million units, but it was still a great game console and an upgrade over the previous product. However, it wasn’t enough of an upgrade to keep consumers happy and it showed in the sales numbers.
The N64 showed the continuing downward spiral as only 33 million units were sold and then the GameCube saw only 22 million units sold.
The company was happy with the initial success of the NES and didn’t think it was necessary to try and keep up with other game consoles that were coming out. They kept releasing products that were similar to what had already been released. They quickly learned though that their fans weren’t that loyal when newer, better consoles were released by other companies.
9. The Legend of Zelda
Who didn’t have that giant map spread out across the living room floor when trying to lead Zelda to her destination? The game was as popular as Mario was back then and you were hard pressed to find someone that didn’t play it. However, when updated versions were released they weren’t much more than what had already been released.
Fans of the game were better off just playing the original because spending the money for a newer, hardly changed game just didn’t make sense. Just like with Mario, this is a game that could still be a great seller if they moved it over to the newer technology that we all enjoy today, but they didn’t.
8. Double Dribble
Nintendo had such great possibilities when it was first introduced to the world. Not only did they have some great regular games, but they had the best sports games that had ever been made to that point. Double Dribble was one of those.
The game was a huge hit and basketball fans could not get enough of it. Nintendo could have taken what they created and brought this game all the way up to today’s technology but instead they let others do it and rake in the dollars. I wonder if they ever look at the sales numbers for NBA 2K17. It has to be a sore subject for them.
7. Blades of Steel
Blades of Steel is very similar to Double Dribble in terms of the potential that it had. With a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars this hockey game was the best of the best at the time it was released for the NES. It had everything you could want from a hockey game, up to and including the fighting. Again though, Nintendo didn’t take it to where it could have gone.
It was brought to us again on the Wii system but it wasn’t really any different than it was for the NES. This game alone could have made the Wii stick around with consumers but there was no real attraction to it when PlayStation and Xbox had much better hockey versions out.
6. Tecmo Bowl
In the Nintendo Power magazine issue from September 1997, Tecmo Bowl was voted as the #30 greatest game of all time. Now since it was a Nintendo publication, there was probably a certain amount of bias involved. The fact of the matter however is that the game could be, and should be, ranked much higher.
Even today Tecmo Bowl has a cult following and it was successful even without an NFL license. It was brought back for other Nintendo consoles (Wii, 3DS and Wii U) but it didn’t have the upgrades it needed to be another smash hit. If Nintendo had gone where they could have with this game we may not have ever seen a Madden football game.
The SNES was a much anticipated release following the success of the original NES. It didn’t do all that bad by those times with 49 million units sold but it fell short of offering what the public wanted. The world saw what Nintendo did with the NES and knew that the future was very bright for gaming. It actually was, it just wasn’t going to have Nintendo included in the major players.
So much was expected out of this system but it turned out to be just an expansion on the NES and not the complete upgrade the world expected. For that reason it didn’t sell as well and the company started a decline in sales that would reach levels never expected after the NES was released.
N64 was supposed to be the console that turned things around for Nintendo. With the disappointment that accompanied its previous release (the SNES) they were looking to get back on top of the gaming world. The system only sold 33 million units despite huge marketing campaigns and it turned out to be yet another failure. No matter how hard they tried they just couldn’t capitalize on what they created with the NES. Once again the world was disappointed in the lack of advancements that the company was making.
GameCube was the fourth Nintendo console release and its graphics looked very similar to the very first PlayStation. Unfortunately though, faith in the company at that point had fallen drastically and there were only 22 million units sold. It was the third console release after the NES to have weaker sales than the previously released console.
The company had the opportunity to compete with the other big boys in the field and once again become a major player in the gaming world, but they failed miserably. Everyone kept waiting for Nintendo to come out with the next breakout system but this was just another product that was much worse than it could have been. At this point the company was in serious trouble.
NES was a huge success for the company and the system is still loved by plenty of people around the world. It laid the ground work for the games that we play today. With 62 million sales the NES was what PlayStation and Xbox are now.
Since it was so successful you may wonder why it’s considered a way that Nintendo has failed us. That’s easy; they gave us this great system and then never came out with anything that was more advanced or better. Anything they released after that, for a long time, could only be considered expansions or small upgrades. NES teased the world of what could be coming in the future. Other companies brought it to us while Nintendo sat back and watched them.
The Switch has been out for a little over a month now and early indications say that it’s not the system that will put Nintendo back on top of the gaming world. The system has seen many bug and connectivity issues despite receiving a day one release upgrade. Some people have said that it shows a lot of potential but the lack of games to show it off is a big drawback.
Nintendo is estimating a lifetime sales number for the unit of 101 million based on numbers as of last week. You can believe that those are some very hopeful numbers though. Even if it happens, it may be enough to keep them in business, but it won’t do anything to help them climb the ladder back to the top of the gaming mountain.
Microsoft, Sony and Sega all offered congratulations to Nintendo for the release. You can bet they are all breathing a major sigh of relief that the company has released another console that will keep them on the bottom of the pile.
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