We all grew up on Nintendo. Games like Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon introduced us to video games. The legendary Japanese toy company brought the gaming industry back to life after The Video Game Crash of 1983. The NES and SNES were successful. The N64 housed some of the greatest games of all-time but ultimately lost to the PlayStation. The GameCube has its defenders but it lost to the PS2. The Wii was a cultural phenomenon and is one of the highest-selling consoles ever. Nintendo has evolved along with the gaming industry while continuing to re-introduce the world to their amazing line-up of characters.
In 2016, Nintendo is in an interesting place. The Wii U has been a failure, having only sold 12 million units since its release in 2012, and the 3DS has been successful, but not nearly as popular as its predecessor, the DS. They have a new console on the horizon that they’ve been timid to introduce.
Despite struggling in the handheld and home console market, where they typically thrive, they’ve found success recently with Pokemon GO! The augmented reality, free-to-play game has tapped into nostalgia while created a unique experience for Pokemon fans.
Over the past weekend, I’ve watched 20-somethings engage with Pokemon is a way I never thought would happen. Nintendo’s stock rose $7.5 Billion dollars with the success of the game. Adults are walking entire blocks to find and catch Pokemon I haven’t heard about in 10 years. When I was young I was obsessed with Pokemon the way many kids were. I watched the anime, I collected the card and I played the GameBoy adaptation. Between Pokemon Red and Silver I must’ve played over 300 hours of Pokemon in my lifetime. So I don’t think I need to play this game. I am interested in how popular this game has been so far. I’m even more interested to see how long this interest lasts. Nintendo has hooked users with nostalgia but can they keep fans engaged? We know most iOS and Android games don’t stay popular very long. Candy Crush, Words With Friends, Angry Birds are just a few examples of games that caught a wave and lost it quickly.We’ll see if people are still catching Pokemon in a few weeks.
This is the start of Nintendo’s big push in the mobile gaming market. They will bring some of their most popular characters to iPhone and Android users in the next few years as the mobile gaming market eats away at traditional handheld gaming. Let’s see what they produce next.