Some good follow-up thoughts by Marco Arment on my thoughts about Nintendo.
Arment is of course right that Nintendo wants to remain in the hardware business because when things are going well, it’s a much better business to be in. But things aren’t going well. And I’m not sure they ever will again for Nintendo, sadly. As Arment notes, the Wii turned out to be a fad.
The Wii U is just a very strange product. Nintendo’s can’t compete with Microsoft and Sony on high-end gaming hardware. And they can’t compete with Apple on touchscreen-based gaming. So they seemingly did a half-assed job on both.
While the Wii was a fad, it worked very well for a time because it was different. It forced the competitors to come to them. Nintendo no longer had to chase down the big guys in battles they couldn’t win (see: above). That’s the only way Nintendo stays alive. They need to truly innovate in videogame hardware.
Like Arment, I’m worried that instead they’ll go down the Sega road and just pump out cheap versions of their great old franchises to anyone who will take them. That’s why I’d love to see Apple step in and buy Nintendo, and let them operate as the independent iOS gaming wing of the company. If Apple wants to move hardware, it’s hard to imagine a better way than having exclusives on all of the Nintendo titles going forward (as well as the back catalog).
It should be like Pixar within Disney. Remember, Pixar started out trying to make hardware as well.