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 Jul 22, 2004 - 01:36 PM - by Michael
* Gamespy on Nintendo and Innovation

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Gamespy's "Case File" series hits again today with File #24: Nintendo's Innovative Strategy: Just What Dr. Mario Ordered?

Their thoughts? That Nintendo's new strategy of accepting that graphics have (their theory) hit the point where improved graphics power in consoles gives diminishing returns, and focusing instead on new ways of playing, is a good thing.

One side argues that it's a good thing - it's Nintendo doing what they've done best, carving out a niche, and allowing Nintendo and Sony to beat each other up while staying out of the fray. In some ways, this is similar to the Apple approach that has been rather successful (at least in making $$$) in recent years; accept that they're not #1 any more, but come out with must-have products for the partisans, and have enough broader appeal items like the iPod that you make a profit.

The other side argues that it's a bad move - it's in no way going to endear Nintendo to third party developers. True enough, but Nintendo already sort of did that with the N64 (going cartridge and not disc hurt them severely because the N64 had such limited storage space) and hasn't rebounded well with the Gamecube.

Really, the best argument for Nintendo sticking with their innovation side is the Gameboy. They've had tremendous success with what at the time was an iffy product, yet the Gameboy, its followups (Color, Advance, and SP), and innovative games and gameplay options for it have continued to bring in steady streams of revenue, and there's no shortage of third parties writing games for it.

I'd say, go for it Nintendo - just don't rely only one product when you're innovating. After all, having the Gameboy around was the only thing that saved you when the N64 and Virtual Boy both flopped so miserably.

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