Before I attract unwarranted amounts of flaming, (which I probably will anyway), let me preface my remarks by saying this: Nintendo has been a huge part of my life. I've played Nintendo games throughout my entire existence, and many of my best memories will always be found next to a Nintendo controller. But, with all that aside, let me say this...
During the NES, SNES, N64, and even Gamecube years, Nintendo was at the peak of popularity, recognition, and innovation. Everyone played Nintendo, everyone loved Nintendo, and Nintendo deserved it, because it was making truly stellar, amazing games, on platforms that people actually wanted to play.
What I see now, is the decline of that greatness. I think it all really began with the Gamecube. Now don't get me wrong, the Gamecube is perhaps my favorite console of all time, but the Gamecube put Nintendo in a very bad position. It didn't sell well, and the childish image it portrayed was not up to snuff with the more realistic, mature image and games that the Xbox and Playstation 2 provided.
So Nintendo decided they would go back to the drawing board. Gone were the days of competing with its rivals on the basis of technical prowess. No, Nintendo wanted to reinvent the wheel. So, they came up with the DS and the Wii, namely. What this decision did, was take Nintendo from being a main competitor in the hardcore gaming market, and make it the poster boy for the childish and "family oriented" image it had constructed over the previous years.
Now, fast forward a few years, and we're at the WiiU and 3DS. Does anyone see something going on here? It's called...
At this point, Nintendo has snookered itself. On the one hand, the last few generations of consoles have given Nintendo the kid-friendly image, but now, with the WiiU and 3DS, Nintendo is trying, desperately, to reclaim some of the hardcore market. The problem? They're now trying to appeal hardcore gamers with devices that no hardcore gamer really wants to play.
The WiiU, signals to me, the end of an era. It signals the point at which where a company like Nintendo has run out of ideas, has lost its focus, and doesn't know which way to turn. The WiiU is barely even a console in the conventional sense. It's a mish-mash of ideas and poor marketing strategies that simply don't make a whole.
The Xbox and Playstation know their crowd. There are adult gamers who want the ability to play the latest and greatest titles and still be able to browse the internet and watch Netflix when their done. This idea of the "all in one entertainment system", is what companies like Sony and Microsoft strive for, but my question is, what does Nintendo strive for? If they wanted to be hardcore, they'd promote a hardcore image, use a regular controller (or at least, recognizably normal), and make hardcore games. If they wanted to be family oriented, they'd make family oriented games and promote a kid-friendly image. But at this point, they are expressing odd mixes of the two. The family-oriented controller and aesthetics, with the hardcore games, with the family oriented features, with the hardcore price. It just, doesn't, make, sense.
My question to you, is where do you see Nintendo going? Am I wrong? Do they know the direction they are taking things? Or are they simply running around, chasing their own tail, trying to figure out where to go? To me, I feel as though Nintendo has lost its magic, and even though it may still make some excellent titles and have good ideas, the combination of those efforts leaves a sour taste in my mouth, and doesn't give me much hope for their future.
PS: I know, people have been claiming the end of Nintendo since the 90's, but really, the "Wii U"? The Wii, freaking, U? Sigh.