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Nintendo the Apple of Games?

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kylo4

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This idea has been floating in my head for awhile. I've really started to believe that Nintendo is the equivalent of Apple in the game world.

The reason I say this has to do with several things: Aesthetics, innovation, and features.

Just like when you saw the iPod Nano or the iPod Shuffle 2G, laying eyes on a DS Lite, Wii or Gamecube has that same sort of feeling. The Gamecube is in the shape of a cube that has the fan built in a non-intrusive and non-loud way.It looks very sleek and portable for such a system. The Wii looks incredibly thin and is about the size of two-three DVD cases stacked. Unlike Xbox 360 or PS3, unlike the iPod compared to the Zune or Archos for Apple.

The next is features. Apple loves ease of use and accessibility with their products. They will leave out features that other players have to make them easy. Using the Shuffle as a reference of how basic a player can get but still be great, just like iPod left out FM radio or voice recording, the Wii left out DVD playback and major online features that the other systems have. Throughout this, due to its innovation (ala iPhone or iPod touch) the system has sold and continues to sell incredibly well. The Wii also does not have next gen hardware specs like the 360 or PS3, but focusses on what matters most: The games.

Apple always focusses on the ease of use through their music with things like iTunes or the clickwheel. Nintendo also doesn't throw in all of the bells and whistles and goes for the great games like Zelda, Mario etc that do nothing to showcase power but are just gaming at its core: fun.

The second point is the brand model, innovation and aesthetics. Nintendo is pushing the envelope with how to experience games as evidenced by the DS's touch screen and the Wii's motion sensing Wiimote controls. These are things that haven't been done to this scale before and they are paying off. Just like Apple made a phone based purely on touch, Nintendo took a huge risk and made a system based on the same technology, and a major system release based on motion sensing technology. What they've done is completely different from the competition, just like Apple.

Nintendo places strong holds on other companies developing titles for their systems. They cut most of the ultra violent games, the first party titles sell more than anything else, and they have a loyal fanbase that usually buy only Nintendo made games or Nintendo systems and nothing else, similar to how Mac users stick to Apple products. They have a lot of brand loyalty. They also differentiate and have a refined product line with no product confusion. They are distinct. The ease of use enthused in their products and their appeal to mass market (especially the Wii) is undeniable. Miyamota is a perfectionist just like Jobs, and wants the products to be nothing but the highest quality standards. Unlike the other systems, Nintendo makes a profit on the consoles sold.

Lastly, (at least in the portable market) they always release a revamped version or hardware differentiation every year and a half or so. Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Micro etc. Similar to increased capacity in the iPod models or different aesthetics. The Wii aesthetics or DS are very sleek looking, very little visible screws, quiet, compact, and sacrifice bulkier parts for form factor, also like Apple. The Gamecube stood out visually from the PS2 and Xbox, and so does the glossy white Wii or DS Lite.

So, as this has been on my mind for quite some time, I wanted to know what some other users here thought of this, since it might evoke some good discussion.
 
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Adam

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Aesthetics: I look at the screen while playing consoles.

Innovation: Wiimote is innovative compared to using a 20 year old control device, but definitely nothing special in terms of innovating - it's just using what's already been done and putting a nintendo logo on it.

Features: XB360/PS3 trounce the Wii in this regard.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Nintendo fan and have been for many many years, but it really hurts when comparing to a company like Apple. Who have lost the focus of what they were all about. Nintendo are doing so slowly, but at least there remains some of what they started as.
 

Starvsnr

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I always thought it would be great if you could plug your iPod into a gaming counsel and use it in the game your playing. You know, like picking plays in Madden. That would be freaking awesome.
 

Derek McNelly

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kylo4 said:
This idea has been floating in my head for awhile. I've really started to believe that Nintendo is the equivalent of Apple in the game world.

The reason I say this has to do with several things: Aesthetics, innovation, and features.

Just like when you saw the iPod Nano or the iPod Shuffle 2G, laying eyes on a DS Lite, Wii or Gamecube has that same sort of feeling. The Gamecube is in the shape of a cube that has the fan built in a non-intrusive and non-loud way.It looks very sleek and portable for such a system. The Wii looks incredibly thin and is about the size of two-three DVD cases stacked. Unlike Xbox 360 or PS3, unlike the iPod compared to the Zune or Archos for Apple.
Nintendo knows how to make a beautiful system. The Gamecube was kind of annoying (top loading in a slot loading generation), but regardless, it turned heads. I was envious of my friends that had them, but there were better games on the PS2, and frankly, the PS2 was equally well designed. The PS2 was one of the best looking pieces of gaming hardware I've ever seen.

Sony knows how to design a beautiful piece of hardware. They have a very specific design aesthetic in mind, and with the exception of their computers (I'm sorry, but the Vaio, while better looking than any Dell I've ever seen, they're pretty ugly computers. Best looking PC machines would have to be Lenovo/IBM in my opinion), they have yet to make an ugly piece of electronics. If you took a Sony CD player from 1988 and a Blu-ray player from 2008, they're going to fit in together as if they were bought at the same time.

Sony's consumer electronics have the Apple-esque "Simple is better" aesthetic to them, and they have for years and years.

But Nintendo hardware is more reminiscent of Apple's more radical creations (Gamecube - G4 Cube, anyone?), and even their less radical (Wii - Mac Mini; DS Lite - iPod), but many of their consoles lack the Apple-esque design characteristics (N64 was ugly as sin, as was the original SNES, and don't get me started on the original DS.)

That said, in the design department, Sony is more like Apple than Nintendo

kylo4 said:
The next is features. Apple loves ease of use and accessibility with their products. They will leave out features that other players have to make them easy. Using the Shuffle as a reference of how basic a player can get but still be great, just like iPod left out FM radio or voice recording, the Wii left out DVD playback and major online features that the other systems have. Throughout this, due to its innovation (ala iPhone or iPod touch) the system has sold and continues to sell incredibly well. The Wii also does not have next gen hardware specs like the 360 or PS3, but focusses on what matters most: The games.

Apple always focusses on the ease of use through their music with things like iTunes or the clickwheel. Nintendo also doesn't throw in all of the bells and whistles and goes for the great games like Zelda, Mario etc that do nothing to showcase power but are just gaming at its core: fun.
I have to say that this is actually a flaw on Nintendo's part, and very unlike Apple. The Wii lacks any sort of integration that the iPod has, and aside from the Wii Store, there's really no content delivery system there.

You'll find that most Wii owners are either casual gamers, or they have another system (360 or PS3) to supplement the Wii. The Wii is popular, yes, that can't be denied, but you'll find that in a hardcore gamer's setup, they will most likely have a 360 or PS3, and either of those systems has probably logged more playtime than the Wii.

As far as games go, I know quite a few Wii owners that have had Wii Sports in the drive since day 1, and haven't bought a game since. The games for the Wii have been lackluster so far, and third party games are atrocious. There were a few gems (Zelda, Super Mario Galaxy, and Brawl looks to be interesting), but overall, it's got a pretty weak library. (Sounds kinda familiar, eh? N64? Gamecube?)

kylo4 said:
The second point is the brand model, innovation and aesthetics. Nintendo is pushing the envelope with how to experience games as evidenced by the DS's touch screen and the Wii's motion sensing Wiimote controls. These are things that haven't been done to this scale before and they are paying off. Just like Apple made a phone based purely on touch, Nintendo took a huge risk and made a system based on the same technology, and a major system release based on motion sensing technology. What they've done is completely different from the competition, just like Apple.

Nintendo places strong holds on other companies developing titles for their systems. They cut most of the ultra violent games, the first party titles sell more than anything else, and they have a loyal fanbase that usually buy only Nintendo made games or Nintendo systems and nothing else, similar to how Mac users stick to Apple products. They have a lot of brand loyalty. They also differentiate and have a refined product line with no product confusion. They are distinct. The ease of use enthused in their products and their appeal to mass market (especially the Wii) is undeniable. Miyamota is a perfectionist just like Jobs, and wants the products to be nothing but the highest quality standards. Unlike the other systems, Nintendo makes a profit on the consoles sold.
This is probably the only statement that I 100% agree with. I have more than one friend with a Nintendo tattoo of some sort (My friend Joe has a NES controller and my friend Matt has Mario), and I know that Nintendo evokes an almost fanboy group mentality, much like the Apple brand does.

Content control over quality control seems to be the problem that Nintendo has, but that's always the case. They have a legacy brand to protect, and as such, they focus on keeping the clean, family fun image.

kylo4 said:
Lastly, (at least in the portable market) they always release a revamped version or hardware differentiation every year and a half or so. Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Micro etc. Similar to increased capacity in the iPod models or different aesthetics. The Wii aesthetics or DS are very sleek looking, very little visible screws, quiet, compact, and sacrifice bulkier parts for form factor, also like Apple. The Gamecube stood out visually from the PS2 and Xbox, and so does the glossy white Wii or DS Lite.
While you're right about hardware updates, I disagree about the aesthetic comment. Look at the original DS, N64, SNES. They were not pretty consoles. They looked clunky, and were quite big.

The Gamecube and the Wii were improvements, as was the DS Lite, but Nintendo doesn't really have a consistent design aesthetic.

Just my two cents.
 

JMG

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Apple is Apple and Nintendo is Nintendo. They are as similar as they are different.

"consistent design aesthetic" is a bunch of hot air. Design aesthetic changes all the time. Look at the first ipods compared to todays. They have the same basic principle of clean design, but the aesthetic itself evolves. If it doesn't then it just gets old. There is no such thing. If Nintendo had a consistent design aesthetic than the wii would be as ugly as the N64 was. Is that progress?

More than a few people here on ilounge have stated that certain things like a metal ipod video were not part of the apple aesthetic and should be kept to the Nano line. They were proven wrong when apple released the ipod classic. Well, maybe not so much wrong, but misguided. The "Apple aesthetic" and the "Nintendo aesthetic" and the consistency thereof is not limited to any solid and predictable ideal. It evolves and changes, sometimes out of a change in taste, necessity, or whimsy. The change to the metal faced ipod classic was a necessity because of all the complaints about the cheap plastic they used. So be careful of what you define as the "apple aesthetic" or how consistent it should be. In the end, the apple aesthetic is whatever apple decides to do, not some set ideal that exists somewhere in the meta-physical.

lets not forget that apple isn't the same company from back in the day. They aren't the underdogs. They are not the "little guys" fighting the suits like in the 1984 commercial. They essentially are suits now. Sure, they have a strong marketing and image force that convincingly portrays themselves as innovation "rebels" and journeymen into the future unknown frontiers of technology (hence names like "Safari, Leopard, Tiger" exotic and exploratory names), which may or may not be true. What separates the explorer from the conqueror is motivation. An explorer ventures out for the sake of satisfyign their own curiosity. A conqueror seeks fame, fortune and spoils. Don't kid yourself, money, and getting more of yours, is what motivates apple. They do it so well, you do it gladly just to be a part of this technological journey with a very well funded tour guide.
 
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eqblues

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I clearly remember reading an iLounge article when the Wii came out, that said the same exact thing. They called the Wii: "the console Apple would make if Apple was making gaming consoles". So this is hardly a new association/comparison. That said, this thread's posts are way too long for me to bother reading them, so I have nothing more to add. :)
 
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pohatu771

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Starvsnr said:
I always thought it would be great if you could plug your iPod into a gaming counsel and use it in the game your playing. You know, like picking plays in Madden. That would be freaking awesome.
Nintendo had Game Boy Advance/GameCube link cables, and used it for just that sort of thing.

When the announced it, they actually mentioned football games as an example.
 

JMG

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Starvsnr said:
I always thought it would be great if you could plug your iPod into a gaming counsel and use it in the game your playing. You know, like picking plays in Madden. That would be freaking awesome.
why not just plug it into a stereo and play the stereo while your playing madden?
 

ThisisCraigP

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never thought about Nintendo being the Apple of Games. It does make sense.
 

iPodLover93

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I would agree that Nintendo is the Apple of games. It makes sense. I love the Apple and Nintendo brand!
 

jwc110869

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I'll go one farther. I am willing to predict an eventual partnering of Apple and Nintendo in the not too distant future. A future sucessor to the current Wii, with special Apple TV functionality, and special Mac networking capabilities, and maybe throw in some new .mac features, and this would most definately help both companies reach more potential customers, and unify a home network.

I currently see a major disadvantage with Nintendo, and thats no affiliation to a computing platform. Microsoft is Microsoft, Sony has several computer lines, and Nintendo is out there alone.
 

Adam

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jwc110869 said:
I'll go one farther. I am willing to predict an eventual partnering of Apple and Nintendo in the not too distant future. A future sucessor to the current Wii, with special Apple TV functionality, and special Mac networking capabilities, and maybe throw in some new .mac features, and this would most definately help both companies reach more potential customers, and unify a home network.

I currently see a major disadvantage with Nintendo, and thats no affiliation to a computing platform. Microsoft is Microsoft, Sony has several computer lines, and Nintendo is out there alone.
I hope not. They're about games, not computer platforms. If the next Nitendo console has anything to do with tv functionality - I'll eat my hat. Twice.
 
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