Pullquotes: "Nintendo's already on track to become primarily a software company."
Former marketing exec and Electronic Arts COO Bing Gordon dropped by Gamesindustry.biz recently, touching on his estimation on the future success of the major platform holders in the console race, Facebook and the games he currently plays (which given his position on the board at Zynga won't surprise you).
In my opinion the article shows a number of ways in which Zynga clearly perceive Nintendo as their biggest threat ahead of the late 2012 launch of the Wii U.
Bing Gordon: I think Nintendo's already on track to become primarily a software company. We saw that with Sega back in the day; Sega made some missteps and became primarily a software company. Nintendo hasn't really made missteps, Nintendo probably has better creative talent and better leadership now than Sega did. It's got the most robust business model, the best creative talent; Miyamoto's still the best in the business. Apple's most directly competitive with Nintendo. So far, when Miyamoto makes a perfect game, in his career he makes games worth $200 - it's worth buying a system for. I think the handheld is going to be under a lot of pressure. I can imagine a day when Nintendo wonders - and maybe it's generational change - when Nintendo wonders if they ought to take some of their best games and make them apps.
The above quote, in my opinion clearly shows that Zynga see Nintendo as a threat. Currently Nintendo are working to release their sixth home console later this year, and whilst Gordon understands the value Miyamoto brings to the brand he's looking anticipating to a time beyond when the company will suffer without his leadership in games design. At that point he suspects they'll divert their attention to one of the three main, competing mobile ecosystems in iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8. I imagine he feels that even though Nintendo have seen success (following a tepid start) with 3DS, the writing will be on the wall ahead of the next generation of handheld consoles.
"I think if you're Nintendo, as long as Miyamoto's coming to work, you can sustain a proprietary platform. He's that good."
By this logic without Miyamoto, Nintendo cannot make compelling software in order to shift their hardware. Miyamoto has been traditionally important to the success of Nintendo that that shouldn't discount the value of Masahiro Sakurai, Eiji Aonuma and future stars; such as the Retro Studios producer/director of Donkey Kong Country Returns, Bryan Walker. Compared to Nintendo I struggle to remember a single developers name who works at Zynga, who would make me consider investing in a title from the company on the day of release.
"Then for the marketing, it looks like Xbox has a somewhat predictable game plan from here. It looks like Nintendo is going to stay in the toy business for a while. No telling what Sony's gonna try to make happen. I think Apple's pretty predictable right now. I think Amazon is less predictable. I think Android and Sony are even less predictable."
Nintendo are described primarily as a 'toy business', which moves to position them as a non-competitive entry as Zynga would be classed as a software company. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this but given the partnership between Rovio and Nintendo, with Angry Birds leading that particular charge, Zynga will miss out on another route into the living room and one that could eventually cost them valuable player-time should that partnership become a profitable one.
What are your thoughts Polynauts?
Image via Eurogamer