Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why is Nintendo the only company that understands handheld games?” Good question. (OK, it’s a little “game geek” but again it beats answering questions about assorted, odd intimate acts. Seriously? We thought “The Fire Island” was a fictitious location in a video game, mmmkay?)
As gaming geeks already know, Sony’s recent attempt at handheld console games—the Play Station Vita—will not have a follow-up. In other words, the product bombed. Nintendo is still king of mobile gaming. In fact, reports indicate that the Nintendo 3DS, which has sold more than 50 million units is already close to being one of “the top ten best-selling games platforms of all time.”
So why is Nintendo the only company that understands handheld games? Nintendo goes beyond the basics. They know what they’re doing and they keep doing it regardless of the competition. From what yours truly recalls of his kids’ early video games Nintendo also knows how to make fun games that are just “cute” enough to market.
Don’t believe the guy with the funny hat and the Mario mustache? Our guest speaker Keith Stuart of The Guardian can confirm it all.
He reports that “doing its own thing is something Nintendo has always understood, and why it has utterly dominated the handheld gaming sector.” He adds: “Nintendo – or more specifically legendary industrial designer Gunpei Yokoi – that realized form factor, price, battery life and cuteness were going to be the defining features of a successful product. “
Nintendo has been doing the fun, cute game thing for years, too. Stuart agrees. He recalls: “Nintendo knew almost instinctively that we would think of miniature games as endearing. There is just something about the reduced form factor that allows us to enjoy child-like experiences without feeling self-conscious. We . . . want small things to be cute – and Nintendo gets that.”
The key is more than making a mobile game that has decent battery life, is comparatively inexpensive and holds up to use. Those are the basics. As silly as it sounds to some, Nintendo never stopped doing fun and cute.
Stuart concludes: “The GameBoy, the DS and the 3DS haven’t just dominated this sector because they got the basics right – battery life, cost and sturdiness – they dominated because Nintendo understands that small things are cute and that cuteness pervades the whole experience.
Why is Nintendo the only company that understands handheld games? Now you know.
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