It’s pretty clear that Nintendo is far behind the two major competitors when it comes to online gaming and online play. Former Nintendo US President Reginald Fiss Aim talked to the GeekWire podcast on this issue and tried to explain why he believed it was the case. According to Reggie, the company’s US and European branches have called Kyoto-based companies about the growing importance of online gaming and the need to start investing in better infrastructure. He was trying to “educate”. They aren’t there yet, but they’re making more and more progress to do so with the Nintendo Switch platform and Nintendo Switch Online.
“So I’m going to answer the question from two perspectives. First, Nintendo’s business philosophy is to always do different things, innovate in ways to harness the strengths of the company and others. For example, when it comes to multiplayer, Nintendo sits next to someone playing Mario Kart or next to someone playing various games such as Wii Sports. It was very good at what is called “couch play”. That face-to-face multiplayer is really where the company was good, and it’s where it’s focused a tremendous amount.
To do online multiplayer, the company had to think about what really new types of games are and the different types of experiences they need to create to be great in that form of play. And frankly, it took me a while to figure out something that the company believed was radically different and to think about adding value in new ways. I argue that the company’s core success began with the online use of Super Smash Bros., an important franchise for them. This worked very well. It’s an incredibly successful franchise on the market, called Splatoon, which created something between first-person and third-person experiences, rather than a first-person shooter. This is the first part of the answer. Companies are always thinking about ways to enter these markets in different ways and to exert their unique strengths.
The next emphasis is on some of the cultural differences. Culturally, the company didn’t see big opportunities online. The Americas and Europe have always been trying to educate companies in Japan about the value of online play, investing in the online infrastructure needed to make the experience positive. You are absolutely right among the three major hardware competitors in the video gaming space. This is where Microsoft has made a significant investment and has gained a competitive advantage. Even today, we’ll still discuss it in terms of connected gameplay. Encouraging infrastructure development and investment is an area of constant promotion from the western part of the company, and I am confident that the conversation will continue today. “
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