It’s been pretty easy to pile on the Nintendo criticism as of late, especially after they announced that their expected sales of the Wii U would not be reached. Truthfully, Nintendo is in no real financial trouble like most doomsayers would lead you to believe. There are plenty of ways that Nintendo could pull themselves out of this rut they are in. There is one however that seems to make a lot of sense. Why not introduce a whole new generation of gamers to the large library of classics that Nintendo has in their back pocket by adding a virtual console to Android and IOS devices?
That may sound blasphemous to some but Nintendo is the one company creative enough to make it work. The first thing that Nintendo’s higher ups will tell you is that software sells consoles not the other way around. So, the goal should be to get as many people to play your games as possible.
The biggest Nintendo loyalists are now in their mid-twenties to early thirties. Young kids are no more interested in playing Angry Birds on their iPads than on dedicated handhelds. You put the virtual console on IOS and Android and once again get the opportunity to captivate youth’s imagination. It should be about gaining more followers that never cared about the Marios and the Zeldas. Show them what they are missing out on while still making boat loads of money.
The argument against this is that Nintendo would be hurting the Nintendo 3DS/ Wii U by undermining one of the one of the handheld/consoles main appeals. This is where I adamantly disagree. No one that wanted a Wii U/ 3DS wanted it just to play old games. So, it should not diminish their interest from that aspect. Conversely those people that wanted to play these old classic games would not purchase a $200-300 console just to do so.
The point is to get people into the ecosystem. The best way Nintendo can do that is to put out a legitimate emulator. Nintendo could add some extra incentives to purchase the games on the 3DS or Wii U, maybe even create a cross-buy program like the one in the Playstation ecosystem.
The other argument is that no one wants to play classics without physical buttons. To this I say, people already do! There are a bunch of emulators on Android that thousands of people download and use. Put out a legitimate Nintendo branded emulator and watch that number skyrocket. Then people that enjoy the classics will want to play the newest games that are only available on the Wii U and 3DS.
Nintendo marches to the beat of their own drums but this could be a huge opportunity that they are missing out on. It is not about making a quick buck, it’s about bridging generations by introducing more people to the great rich history of Nintendo.