Nintendo has made a shift from talking about hardware and software (integrated hardware and software!) to now implying that Nintendo revolves around Intellectual Property (or IP).
Our overall mission is to make consumers smile through our intellectual property. There are four key pillars underneath that mission. One is our dedicated video game business. The second is mobile. The third is licensed merchandise, and the fourth is other entertainment best shown today by our partnership with Universal Studios. All of those we’re going to leverage to drive appeal for the IP. And as we do that, we’re going to monetize those in a variety of different ways. We believe that as a wide swath of consumers have an experience with Fire Emblem on mobile for example, that it’s going to lead them to purchase the full Fire Emblem experience that today is on our handheld. That’s the proposition and we think it’s a very sound strategy.
Fils-Aime isn’t specifically saying feeder into the console. What he is saying is that the IP is the ‘god’ and there are four ‘altars’ to have an experience with ‘god’ of IP: the console, the mobile, the merchandise (toys and stuff), and events (the theme park stuff).
Let’s go back to 1985.
In 1985, Mario took over video games. How did Mario become so big? How did the Mario IP get ‘experienced’?
It was through the game Super Mario Brothers. The game’s music, enemies, and whimsical world was an intense experience back then. But no one wanted to leave the game. The game multiplied its experience through TV (Super Mario Super Show), books, comics, magazines (Nintendo Power), clothing, and various other items.
There was no talk of ‘IP’ back then. Mario and Super Mario Brothers could not be separated. It was all about the game.
Super Mario Brothers was a fantastic game that established an ‘IP’ that could make many other games. But this is what Nintendo has forgotten. Super Mario Brothers had so much gravity BECAUSE it carved out the Mushroom Kingdom. Super Mario Brothers 2 also carved out Dream World which was a major impact. Super Mario Brothers 3, again, expanded on this world. So did Super Mario World.
Mario 64 only expanded with Peach’s castle and did not do too much more.
Super Mario Sunshine abandoned Mushroom Kingdom altogether which is why no one wanted to play it.
My point is that in analyzing why the classic Mario games made so much impact was because they carved out that universe. You went to the next world to see what new stuff Nintendo cooked up for us.
Nintendo doesn’t understand this. This is why, aside from NSMB DS and Wii, the later Mario games have not done well or had as much impact. It is because there is no new expansion of the Mario mythos. It is the same old shit being spoon-fed to us again.
Mario games are adventure games. In adventure games, you have to have an adventure and go somewhere. If Mario was Alice in Wonderland, then it would be as if Alice keeps revisiting the same Wonderland but in different ways (Wonderland in 3d, Wonderland without gravity, etc). Nintendo either needs to expand Mushroom Kingdom or have Mario go somewhere else (like Subcon).
I do not believe the IP can be separated from the game. The IP and the game are INTEGRATED. The game experience is the IP experience. If this were not the case, then we would have video game IPs become successful movies, soap operas, cars, houses, foods, or whatever. That isn’t the case.
When a good book is made into a movie, it often goes wrong. But directors have learned that the movie must stand on its own. You cannot just slap the IP onto a movie and be done with it. And just the opposite way, the novelization of a movie has the author integrate the IP in his or her own way within the book.
After Super Mario World, the Mario IP was in freefall. Zelda’s IP was strongest with Ocarina of Time because Ocarina of Time is the strongest Zelda game made (best selling). Metroid’s IP is strongest with Metroid and Super Metroid because those are the best selling Metroids.
Nintendo made a huge mistake of thinking 2d Mario was nothing but ‘good level design’. This implies there is no adventure, just ‘level designs’ like we are playing puzzles. But everyone plays Mario games as a journey.
Imagine if Star Trek thought it would make itself more popular by creating mobile Star Trek apps and Universal Studios theatrical rides. This would alert more people to Star Trek, sure, but it wouldn’t give a Star Trek experience. The Star Trek IP is intertwined within the television shows. Star Trek IS the television show. If you do not watch it, you have nothing.
The IP is the game. You cannot separate them.
Generation 7 Reggie: “Nintendo is about one thing: games. Games. Games. Games.”
Generation 9 Reggie: ‘Nintendo is about one thing: IPs. IPs. IPs. IPs.”
With this mentality, Generation 9 will not go well for Nintendo.
They’ve experimented with Mario Kart, which could be fun for younger consumer tier within the eSports area. So we’ve got the content to leverage into this area. It’s something that we’ve continued to look at, and it’s something that we believe can be a great way to reach out to our consumers.
Then why not make a F-Zero for E-Sports for the older racers? Derp derp derp.
Nintendo also has a monopoly on the E-Sports of classic games since Konami and Capcom have gone retard.
Why not do competition of classic games?
I’ll tell you why. It would remind gamers that Mario games are not just about ‘level design’, that Zelda games are not about ‘puzzles’, and that Metroid games are not about ‘maternal instincts’.
When Nintendo asks, “What is the Zelda IP?” they eventually discovered that the Zelda IP was *gasp* the Zelda video games. “Hey, that original Legend of Zelda with its open world, maybe we should do that.” And then Nintendo seems surprised that people are excited for Breath of the Wild.
Nintendo doesn’t want gamers anymore. Nintendo wants ‘fans’ who consume Nintendo IP (whatever that means). Nintendo’s plan will not work because all Nintendo fans are gamers, though not all gamers are Nintendo fans.
I understand the plan to tap every revenue stream that Nintendo’s IPs make, but there is something more going on here. Nintendo actually believes it is an IP company and not a game company. The lesson will be very painful for Nintendo.