How Nintendo’s stayed the most innovative tech company of our time

For good and for bad, the video games industry is obsessed with novelty. New consoles, new technologies and, of course, new games are what drive headlines. So it’s easy to overlook one of gaming’s oldest companies and underestimate the sheer scale of its success.

Nintendo is an entertainment company, of course, but it is also a tech company – and surely one of the most successful tech companies around, both in its longevity and cultural impact, if not its absolute market value. Yet it has never behaved much like a tech company. The tech industry likes continuous disruption and unstoppable growth, whereas Nintendo likes experimenting with relatively modest hardware to get the most possible fun out of it.

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IanTH85d ago (Edited 85d ago )

I do generally like Nintendo, but sometimes it almost feels as if I do in spite of their "innovation", rather than because of it.

Wii had motion controls, which infested so many games with poorly thought out implementations where a button would do better what a waggle was now doing. For core gamers, we had a lot to dig through & kind of wait for the tidal wave of shovelware to subside to get our solid experiences. And even then, Nintendo didn't do much with motion control after Wii Sports. Many of its best games had minimal motion controls, or allowed you to bypass it with a more standard control scheme.

Wii U had the interesting Pad, but did nothing with it - it was its primary gimmick, and even when Miamoto was tasked with making it provide value, failed to do so. Mario Maker was the closest they got. Later they even removed basic, but useful, low-frills features like map & inventory management from BotW on Wii U to make it match the Switch. Again, its best games were able to be played entirely with standard controls.

The Switch has been the more solid console, but it has definitely not gone 6 years unscathed while attached to mobile hardware. The IR cam has gone completely unused, and I feel HD rumble never really lived up to its potential. They made a few truly excellent games to start the generation, and then went back to making tons of regular ol' Nintendo games. For my tastes, this is the least appealing generation of games they've made overall. THOUGH it stands in stark contrast to Odyssey & BotW, two of the games I've enjoyed the most from them in a long time. Both full of a good mix of innovation & fun iteration. But most of the other games they've made this generation have felt more formulaic, and lacking in innovation. Lots of full priced Wii U ports and 2D side scrollers haven't helped (again, for my tastes & as a Wii U owner where ports had no value).

Now, many games are "guilty" of iteration over innovation, so to speak, so I'm not singling them out. But it does feel weird, from my experience, to hear something about how they've been the most innovative. I won't discount that's true for others, but it doesn't really match up with my experience at least. I mean no disrespect to those that love what Big N has been doing, and I'm certain many will disagree, it's just what I've felt.

Silver_ShadoWolf84d ago

This has to be written by a fan boy.

lellkay84d ago (Edited 84d ago )

I like the bit where they innovate and have simple basic voice chat like systems from multiple generations ago.

oh wait.

Don't worry though, we got an entire generation of wacky motion controls and shovelware and also one where our controller was a tablet for absolutely no reason to. Super innovative for the gameplay experiance.