Nobody has been as important and instrumental to the development and evolution of video games as a medium as Nintendo. Not only did Nintendo save the ailing console gaming industry back in the 1980s, it also defined, and redefined, multiple gaming paradigms, with its hardware and its software. Video games, and video game consoles and handhelds, exist the way they do today because of Nintendo.
This is something that just about everybody realizes and recognizes, including the competition. For instance, take former Sony executive Jack Tretton. In an interview with IGN, Tretton admitted that the industry owed itself to Nintendo and Nintendo’s constant drive to push boundaries, while also acknowledging how flat footed everybody as caught by the success of the Wii.
“I think this industry wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Nintendo,” he said. “So everybody respects the fact that they had such a hand in building this great industry that we’ve all been able to work in, but from generation to generation, you never knew what you would get with Nintendo. You just knew that you couldn’t could them out. And I think everyone discounted the Wii initially, and it really took the world by storm. I’d say there were a lot more people in the surprise camp then there were in the ‘I told you so’ camp. Maybe a few people at Nintendo, but the vast majority were skeptical when that came out.”
Of course, now, Nintendo finds itself in a similar position- the Wii U was a dismal flop, the NX promises to be something altogether new, and people aren’t quite sure if Nintendo will be able to gain any measure of success with it. Whether or not history repeats itself with the NX for Nintendo is something that remains to be seen- but Tretton is right about one thing, you can never count Nintendo out.