Nintendo Is Growing Up: What Does It Mean?

There were plenty of surprises from Nintendo this year at E3, the biggest one of all being the unveiling of Project Café, now named the Wii U. What shocked me even more than this new system, however, was the library of games for it. 

Of course, it was peppered with the usual Nintendo fair; Zelda, Mario, and all of our favorite first-party franchises were there and looking better than ever. However, titles such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Online and Ninja Gaiden 3 were also announced for the Wii U. While some of the previous entries in the Wii’s library weren’t totally family-friendly, this marks the first time that we’ve ever seen really hardcore, adult-themed games on a modern Nintendo console, and both the media and gamers alike have taken notice.

This got me thinking. Why would Nintendo make this decision, and what does it say about the company and the direction it’s headed in? The short answer: They’re finally moving forward.

A big complaint that gamers have been voicing in the past few years is that Nintendo seems to be gearing itself more towards young children and casual gamers than anything else. This left a lot of hardcore gamers in the dust, feeling as if Nintendo had just about forgotten them. Many also argued that alienating adult gamers was a sure-fire way to tank the company, especially in these fragile economic times. However, Nintendo used E3 this year to prove that they haven’t forgotten us, and that both they and their systems are growing up.

The obvious benefit to this move for Nintendo is that they can open themselves to a larger audience, who are both older and most likely have more money to spend. The downside, of course, is that they could possibly garner criticism from parents and the media about putting adult content on a line of systems that has largely been known as something that is safe for the whole family. Nintendo will, of course, follow all laws and regulations to make it obvious which of their titles have mature content, but that won’t stop people from complaining (it never does). Regardless, any cries of negativity will probably be deadened by the piles of money Nintendo will be swimming in thanks to the Wii U.

This also poses another question: How did this family friendly system attract mature titles? That answer seems apparent to me: it’s the technology. There are a ton of new gaming possibilities that the Wii U and its touch-screen sporting controller present, and it is to be expected that any gaming company would want to explore what they could do with it. If Nintendo is willing to allow a little blood and violence on their console, why not use it to reach more consumers? Nintendo seems finally open to exploring new ways to reach gamers, and in my opinion, it’s going to pay off, big time.

Now, don’t misunderstand me when I say ‘finally ready to explore’. Nintendo has changed gaming with their technology more than once, and has more than proven that they are always experimenting with how to step up their products. However, I always found their game libraries to be a bit stagnant and repetitive. In contrast to that, it looks like the Wii U will be a breath of fresh air in this regard, and I for one am excited to see where it leads.

So yes, my personal opinion on all of this is that Nintendo is growing, as is their fanbase. The direction their heading in is an exciting one, and only time will tell how successful it is.

What do you guys think of the Wii U and the direction Nintendo is taking with their game library? Blog about it yourself and share, or leave a comment!

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