Founded 1889
Headquarters Kyoto, Japan
Industry Console Manufacturer, Publisher, Developer
Employment 5,000

Nintendo is a Japanese manufacturer of video game systems and a publisher and developer of video games. They are widely considered the leader of their field, due to the relative success of their products, particularly their handheld gaming machines.

History Edit

Early History Edit

Nintendo Former Headquarters

Nintendo's former Headquarters.

Nintendo was founded in 1889 as a card company. Nintendo would venture into several businesses over the greater part of a century before focusing on video games starting around 1974, when the company gained the rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey in Japan. Nintendo soon began producing their own hardware and software, and by the early 80's, had a small library of hits including Donkey Kong and some very talented employees, including Gunpei Yokoi and Shigeru Miyamoto. In 1980, Nintendo released the first in the Game & Watch series of single-game handhelds, and in 1983, they released the Famicom, which would be known as the Nintendo Entertainment System in other territories.

Ohga Shrugs and the Fourth Generation Edit

After Nintendo released their next console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1990, they discussed making a CD-ROM attachment for the console with the help of Sony. However, Nintendo backed out of the deal at last minute, leaving Sony embarrassed. To this day, Sony has animosity towards Nintendo, but never responded with any legal or business actions.

Although they released their fourth generation system late, with the American release of the SNES only coming on August 23, 1991, Nintendo ended the fourth generation well ahead of its chief rival, Sega. However, Nintendo had lost a lot of ground in the West to their new arch-rival. Their handheld the Game Boy, on the other hand, dominated its respective market, crushing the Sega GameGear and Atari Lynx, despite its monochrome screen.

The Fifth Generation Edit

Nintendo spoke about entering the fifth generation as early as 1993, with talk about a system that could render 3D environments and characters. Their new console, then named the "Ultra 64," was displayed to the public as early as 1994. However, the Nintendo 64 would not go on the market until mid-1996, well after the Saturn did.

This generation, Nintendo lost yet more ground to Sega. The Nintendo 64's rejection of optical media drove many third parties to the Saturn, which used CD-ROMs. The main exceptions were companies such as Square and Enix, which released their popular Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games exclusively on Nintendo systems.

The Game Boy, meanwhile, enjoyed a long life, thanks to multiple updatess. These updates included 1998's Game Boy Color, which added color support to the hardware in addition to other technical improvements. This allowed for the creation of more direct ports of NES games, including the original Super Mario Bros and Final Fantasy games.

The biggest new franchise of the generation for Nintendo was definitely Pokemon, a series of role-playing games originating on the Game Boy. Within a few years, Pokemon was one of Nintendo's leading franchises, with only Mario being comparable. Pokemon remains one of Nintendo's most notable franchises to this day.

Sixth Generation Edit

The sixth generation was something of a bottom point for Nintendo. Sega's console, the Dreamcast, sold within a couple million units of the GameCube, despite the latter being a more advanced system with far better third party support than the Nintendo 64 did. This was due to a combination of the Dreamcast's online functionality, which gave it a major feature advantage, and superior support from companies such as Konami and most Western publishers. That said, the loss of market-share was due to the growth of the market, as opposed to the GameCube losing territory controlled by the Nintendo 64.

Meanwhile, the Game Boy Advance continued Nintendo's virtual handheld monopoly. The best-selling games on the platform were Pokemon titles, mostly followed by various ports, remakes, and licensed games.

Seventh Generation Edit

The generation starting in 2006 would be a golden age for Nintendo. The Revolution system, aided by its online infrastructure, strong support from Nintendo and third parties, and increased sales outside of traditional markets, would become the best selling game console of all time, at points out-selling the competing Sega Pluto by over two to one. This resulted in the game console market growing by about 40% generation over generation, with much of the growth occurring in Europe.

The Game Boy Nitro was an even bigger success story, outselling the Pluto and Revolution combined. In total, about 190 million units of hardware were sold worldwide. The games responsible for this success ranged from the regular hits like Pokemon generations 4 and 5, entirely new series such as Nintendogs and Brain Age 2, growing series such as Mario Kart and Animal Crossing, console immigrants such as Dragon Quest 9, ports and remakes like Super Mario 64 Deluxe, and rebooted series such as New Super Mario Bros.

Recent Events Edit

Nintendo's latest handheld, the Game Boy 3DS, was released in late 2011 worldwide. Despite competition from Mobile Devices, it seems to be selling at least as well as the Game Boy Advance.

Nintendo released their sixth console, the Stream, in late 2012, which is competing with the Sega Eclipse.

Software Studios Edit

Nintendo has a large number of studios creating games exclusively for their hardware, both first and second party.

Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development
Other 1st Party Studios
Affiliated Studios
  • AlphaDream - Mario & Luigi
  • Ambrella - Pokemon spinoffs
  • Creatures - Pokemon spinoffs
  • Game Freak - Pokemon
  • Genius Sonority - Pokemon spinoffs
  • Good-Feel - Various 2D Platformers
  • Hudson Soft - Bomberman and Party games
  • Left Field Productions - Excite Racers
  • Sora - Various