During the GameCube era, Nintendo of Japan became confused by North Americas obsession with violence, epic cinematic stories, and photo realistic graphics. Games such as Halo 2″ (sold 8 million units) and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (sold 17.33 million units) were stealing attention away from Nintendos first party GameCube software.
In meetings it was clear [Nintendo of Japan] could not understand why the brand had fallen so far here in North America or comprehend why the mature titles, and more powerful consoles, were so successful. Nintendo represented fun, in the purest sense of the word, they always have. When you play Nintendo games you laugh, you yell, you smile, and you jump around. You have FUN. Someone, sadly I forget who, would later quote in one of those meetings that Consumers dont want fun anymore; they just want to kill people in HD. It was actually kind of true, and with the cultural differences between Japan and the US, it was easy to understand the confusion, said Mercury in 2011.
Mercury says Nintendo of America wasnt confused by the cultural differences like Nintendo of Japan was.
The problem, though, was that Nintendo of America wasnt confused by the situation at all, they understood those cultural differences quite well, but even if they could defy the marching orders from Nintendo of Japan, Im not sure they even would have. Gaming was growing up. This is when things started to get real ugly for a while inside those hallowed walls, he says. Nintendo of America [NoA] is not, by any means or methods, Nintendo of Japan [NoJ]. NoA is like the misfit child send off to the strange land full of strange people. Well, at least it was back then, Im not sure if things have changed now.
No one I talked to at Nintendo could understand why the company was struggling, why the whole brand was in danger of collapsing much like Sega before them. But were Nintendo. I cant even recall how many times I heard that as a catch-all excuse. says Mercury. No one, not a single soul, could believe that Nintendo was capable of being unseated as Number 1, even while it was happening right in front of them.
By this point, there was no love for the Nintendo faithful or even gamers in general. They were regarded as spoiled, fickle, rebellious, nerds. They would be told what was cool and like it. I got to hear about how Geist was going to be the next Halo Killer.
At the time, Nintendo believed Geist a first person shooter published by Nintendo would be GameCubes Halo Killer. And everyone inside the meeting reassured Reggie that Geist would become a huge hit with the older hardcore gamers who loved Halo.
And then at the end [of the presentation], Reggie looked around the table and basically said Look, dont bullshit me. How do you guys really think this thing is going to hold up? No one said a word for a minute
Mercury then made another recommendation to Fils-Aime: The other game we should really be focusing on is Resident Evil 4. This game is going to sell consoles. Period.
Reggie was surprised at the idea of giving a bigger push to a third party title.
Pride turned to arrogance. Ugly arrogance. Nintendo started to develop contempt for the gaming community. They felt as if they were being betrayed by the gamers they created. The marketing teams started to look at gamer focused strategies with ire and spite. says Mercury. The hardcore Nintendo audience was equally cast aside. Why bother? Theyre going to buy anything we put out anyway.
Source:Not Enough Shaders
A really cool piece written by Emily Rogers for Not Enough Shaders, I copied a lot of quotes so I'm sorry but there is a lot more at the link including a one to one interview at the end.
A good look at Nintendo back during the GameCube era. I guess its nice to look back on history and see what went wrong. I guess we could also draw parallels to Nintendo of today with the Wii U.
I hope the thread is kept clean and everyone has fun discussing this topic!