When Fusajiro Yamauchi founded the Nintendo Playing Card Company in 1889, he could hardly have imagined the success that was to come, nor how incredibly sophisticated games would become in the next century.
Early on, the Nintendo company tried a range of different ventures, from producing instant rice to running a ‘love hotel', but it was not until they ventured into the burgeoning arcade and video-game industry in the 70s that the company really took off. Today, it is Japan's third most valuable listed company, worth over $85 billion USD.
Any child of the 80s or 90s will have fond memories of the handheld Game Boy, an entertainment device that was as revolutionary in the early 90s as the iPod and iPhone have been in the ‘00s. And the SNES, or Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the N64 and the Game Cube were ground-breaking consoles that brought video-game classics such as Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and GoldenEye 007 to a generation of children and adults.
Nintendo's real game-changer, though, came in 2006, with the release of the Nintendo Wii. Prior to the release of the Wii, video-games were exclusively controlled through handsets or joysticks, with the subsequent variety of games (combat, sports, driving and fantasy) appealing mainly to a young male – and sometimes female – audience.
The Wii, though, opened up a whole new area, with motion-sensor technology. Holding the Wii remote, players can control the movements of their on-screen avatar, opening up a whole new range of gaming possibilities – from tennis and golf to dancing - and bringing physical movement into the video-game industry.
Suddenly video-gaming was for everyone. Freed of the need to learn how to use a complex controller, and with a broader range of games on offer, everyone could appreciate the joys of playing ten pin bowling or archery in the comfort of your living room.
And now, Nintendo is once again poised to change the video-game industry. Its updated handheld console the Nintendo DS is about to launch the concept of 3D gaming without the need for special glasses, with the new Nintendo 3DS console.
The 3DS uses a technique called "autostereoscopy" to produce 3D effects while playing games on the handheld console. Launched in March 2010 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the 3DS was acclaimed by gaming aficionados for bringing revolutionary 3D technology to the portable entertainment market.
The 3DS was only released in March 2011 in the US, Europe and Australia, but already has a host of 3D games available, including such classic series as Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Assassin's Creed, Resident Evil, Street Fighter and Mario Kart, and will also be backwards-compatible with Nintendo DS games (although these, naturally, won't be 3D). The consensus amongst video-game fanboys (and girls) is that, with the 3DS, Nintendo has once again launched the development of the next generation of video-games.
Isla Campbell writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.