Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 8, 2014

Steve Jobs explains why Nintendo’s current strategy sucks

Nintendo won’t listen to the flight of Wii fans running from their system (such as myself) or from the terrible market performance. However, Nintendo might listen to Steve Jobs.

On May 16, 1997, Steve Jobs was asked in a Question and Answer briefing about Apple’s differentiation strategy, i.e. ‘Think Different’. Jobs explains that Apple was so arrogant that it thought it could be proprietary about everything including networking which Apple missed the boat on. So while Apple takes on networking, it will do so to the standard established by others. Apple doesn’t have to invent everything. It only has to invent 10-30% to be better. What is important, Steve Jobs says, is not that Apple is ‘different’ but that Apple is thought of as ‘better’.

Nintendo is like the Apple who kept going the wrong way. Like Apple, Nintendo missed the boat on Internet networking. Instead of accepting the standard established by others, Nintendo stubbornly is saying that such a standard doesn’t exist and that they will come up with something ‘different’. Nintendo hardware’s problem is not that it is ‘technically below’ because every game console is ‘technically below’ (including the PS4 and Xbone) but that Nintendo hardware is proprietary to the extreme. Nintendo may be willing to admit that there are smart people who don’t work at Nintendo, but they appear unwilling to admit that there are smart people who don’t work at Nintendo who don’t live in Japan.

During the Wii craze of 2006-2009, the Wii was not thought of as ‘different’ as it was thought of as ‘better’ than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Nintendo’s Board of Directors need to see this. It starts at 9 minutes and 25 seconds which leads up to Jobs’s full answer.


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