It's been bantered around quite a bit lately, about just what Nintendo “should do.” It's faced with impressive losses, and losing a lot of ground in the newest round of the console wars, thanks to increasing competition from rivals Microsoft and Sony. But what exactly Nintendo “should do” in terms of gaining that ground back and making up some losses is unclear to most everyone, though everyone has a least a few ideas. Including a few from yours truly, which this piece will go after.
I've heard a lot about Nintendo leasing out its characters, and that's not a bad idea. Mario on the Xbox One wouldn't be such a bad thing, nor any of Nintendo's other amazing IP. There's a lot going on there, and Nintendo has characters and to spare. Opening up the floodgates would garner interest on other systems, and likely wouldn't dilute Nintendo's own sales too much. Better, Nintendo could split the difference, offering some experiences as exclusives in much the same way that Nintendo's rivals the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One already do. That allows Nintendo to diversify its revenue streams by taking advantage of markets that it wouldn't have ordinarily.
But where Nintendo isn't taking advantage—and where it really could be—isn't in current releases, but in its enormous roster of past games. Consider this: why is the only place to get hands on older Nintendo games through Nintendo's own shop? Speaking here as a largely Xbox-based gamer, I'd love to see a copy of “River City Ransom” or “Zombies Ate My Neighbors” or even “Kid Icarus” make the jump to the Xbox 360 or the Xbox One. I enjoyed “Super Mario Sunshine” back in the days when it came out, so why not port that one out to another platform?
See, what a lot of people haven't seemed to note—at least not in the notes I've encountered so far—is that Nintendo's library of intellectual property doesn't just stop at the modern era. Nintendo's systems, and games accordingly, go back to the eighties and even a little beyond. Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, even the Wii itself; there are thousands of games here, and putting these titles on the Xbox Live Arcade system as well as PlayStation's equivalent could mean some substantial extra dollars in Nintendo's coffers, all the while reaching a market that it might not ordinarily reach. That's a move that would likely give Nintendo a real leg up. Better yet, it's recurring income; when the next generation of consoles arrives, Nintendo can repeat the measure and get more income in, the kind of thing that could keep Nintendo carrying on for some time to come.
Nintendo's present may not be looking all that great, but with a little change in the way it does business, it stands to make some real inroads and give it a chance to hold on through an uncertain future.