Malik  (7/07/04)

Nintendo's Iwata Shares Some Thoughts on Online had an interesting article that summarizes what I've been feeling for a long time...sadly, I think Satoru Iwata may be looking a little too far off into the future this time.

Mr. Iwata told a group of the Japanese press that online is not a strong selling point for games in the current market.  He used this fact of his to re-assure the press why Nintendo pretty much screwed (my wording) all of the saps who paid for the GCN Internet adapter.  Pretty much, Iwata said that Nintendo will not focus on online at the given time since it is not a good selling point for games.  Specifically, Iwata said that the main reasons that gamers don't have a strong need for online games is that geeks don't want to pay for monthly fees (about time someone said that...someone who matters), and that connecting to the Internet is a hassle for some gamers.

Unfortunately, I think this is a bad move, once again, for Nintendo.  While it is true that games that are entirely online tend to have a major struggle to win a good market share, there is more to online games than this.  One of the good selling points of XBox titles have been the online abilities with primarily offline games.  A great example is the downloadable content for games like KOTOR and the ability to compare your records with other gamers' record on Burnout 2.  Sadly, until Nintendo can see the light that online can exist in mainly offline games, the people who were dumb enough to buy the GCN online adapter will continue to have a good reason to hold a grudge.  At least Iwata did say there are some interesting, from his point of view, features to online gaming...

At the same time, he called the PSP and PSX "entertainment goods" rather than gaming machines, in an obvious jab at Sony's ability to over-complicate what should be simple consoles (my interpretation).  Iwata also made a hint that a possible merger or stronger collaboration with Bandai could be in the works for Nintendo.  At least this shows that Nintendo hasn't lost all their focus as a gaming company.

I just hope Iwata's views on online gaming are not too long ranged as to hurt the company in the long run.  While Nintendo has been making mistakes left and right in the last couple of years, they have a good chance to turn things around and become a gaming leader like they were in the 80's and early 90's...assuming they don't go belly up in the process.