Is Nintendo The Canary In Gaming's Coal Mine?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Is Nintendo The Canary In Gaming's Coal Mine?

While Nintendo's fortunes of late haven't exactly been good, the idea that the company's woes might be reflective of the wider industry's woes haven't much been considered lately. But the head of PlayStation in the United Kingdom, Fergal Gara, recently took an interview and noted that, indeed, Nintendo's troubles may well mean troubles for the broader industry before too much longer has passed.

Gara noted that Nintendo's losses in the market may well be detrimental to the market as a whole. Why? Because, according to Gara, Nintendo does a fine job of serving the younger consumer group, while the PlayStation and Xbox lines—not to mention the PC gaming market—doesn't quite do so well on that front. Gara in turn believes that the market will suffer for want of Nintendo, unless the other companies in the market can do a better job of offering the “more family-friendly, more casual experiences” that that segment of the market would like to see.

On a certain level, that makes sense. Not immediately, of course; Nintendo could drop out of the market tomorrow and it wouldn't really hurt the rest of the field. But Gara is showing some impressive insight, looking at not the market today, but rather the market of 10 to 20 years from now. Without the casual stuff, the family-friendly stuff, the stuff that's basically for kids, it slims the chances that kids will get interested in gaming at all. We can't expect kids to turn 17—or maybe a bit younger in some cases—and ask for a copy of “Call of Duty Whatever Number It Is We're On By Now”. No, the kids need to get a start somewhere, and Nintendo is often sufficiently accessible to be that start point.

How many gamers out there cut their teeth on something with a plumber involved? Plenty, really...so try to imagine the gaming market today had none of those gamers ever got a start with Mario and all those great iconic Nintendo figures? Tough to imagine, I know, but there it is. Gara may well have just spelled out a disaster in the making for Microsoft and Sony alike. Today's gamers may not be gamers much longer; even a gamer in his forties today may have only another 40 years to live, potentially less, so once the current crop of gamers falters as must happen in life, where will be the next generation of soldiers to take up the banner and fight the Helghast or the Locust or just each other?

Indeed, developing that next generation is going to be extremely important to gamers today, to help ensure that new crops of games emerge even we're old and grey. I don't know about you, but I mean to be playing Fallout and Elder Scrolls well into my eighties, but to do that, we're all going to have to help a kid get started. So reach out to your local gamer...and game companies, you'll have to follow along too. We'll help. Will you?
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