Recently, Nintendo unveiled their
Nintendo Creator Program for YouTube.
Previously, if you uploaded game
footage from a Nintendo game,
it would usually be copyright claimed by Nintendo.
Technically, they have every legal right
to do this, but many people wonder…
Most other game companies allow you to use their game footage and see it as free advertising.
With the Nintendo Creator Program,
Nintendo hopes to share the advertising revenue
with the content creator.
Extending an olive branch, if you will.
However, the rules and regulations of
the program have caused more frustration,
and many people think the whole program is one
of the biggest mistakes Nintendo has ever made.
Now, is it a mistake?
I think so. But their BIGGEST mistake? Hardly.
I love Nintendo. It’s my favorite
video game company ever,
but even I’ll admit that they have
made some mistakes in the past.
So I thought, today, let’s look at the top three
biggest mistakes Nintendo has ever made.
What is the Virtual Boy?
Is it a toy? A video game console?
Well, Nintendo wasn’t really sure.
Nintendo treated the system as
the successor to the Game Boy
and hoped that it would revolutionize the
video game world with its 3D technology.
Instead, the Virtual Boy was a complete disaster.
It had ugly colors, tons of health warnings…
and a steep price tag.
Only 22 games were ever made for the Virtual Boy
and Nintendo spent a ton of money developing
the system and marketing it to the public.
It was discontinued in less than a year
and is one of the worst-selling
video game consoles of all time.
While that alone is embarrassing enough,
the biggest loss was its creator, Gunpei Yokoi.
There aren’t any concrete details,
but it’s widely believed that the
relationship between Nintendo and Yokoi
was strained after the failure of the Virtual Boy.
He quietly left Nintendo after 31 years of service.
Yokoi was a Nintendo legend,
having previously developed the
Game & Watch and the Game Boy.
Just a year after leaving, he died in a car accident.
It’s fair to wonder what Yokoi
may have come up with next,
had he stayed on with Nintendo.
This was a tough inclusion, as I love the
Nintendo 64 and its library of games,
But Nintendo’s decision to stick with
cartridges was not good for business
and ultimately hurt the company in the long run.
Nintendo’s mindset was that cartridges
would lower the cost of the Nintendo 64,
eliminate load times and reduce pirating.
Developers felt different.
Making a game on the Nintendo 64 would be a gamble.
Each cartridge cost them $10 to produce
and had to be purchased through Nintendo.
If the game didn’t sell well,
they could potentially lose money.
CD based games, on the other hand,
cost less than a dollar to produce
and didn’t have to be purchased
through any specific company.
CDs could also hold a lot more
data and allowed developers
to implement full-motion video and digitized audio.
Nintendo didn’t budge.
Their plan backfired.
Nintendo’s relationship with third-
party developers was already shaky
following strict rules and regulations
on the Nintendo and Super Nintendo.
But this was the final straw.
Many third-party developers
switched to the Sony PlayStation.
The most famous: Squaresoft.
The company moved
Final Fantasy VII to the PlayStation,
where it became a huge success
and reinvigorated the RPG genre in North America.
Besides that, Nintendo 64 games were sometimes
TWICE as expensive as PlayStation games.
For the first time ever, Nintendo did not
have the best-selling home console.
The Sony PlayStation sold over 100 million units…
while the Nintendo 64 sold about 32 million units.
The effects of this decision can still be seen today,
as third-party support on current Nintendo consoles
is lacking compared to others.
Oddly enough, the PlayStation is
involved in another Nintendo mistake.
And probably their biggest.
In 1988, Nintendo and Sony announced a joint
venture to develop CD-ROM technology for games,
as well as an audio chip for their next console.
They eventually worked out a plan to develop a game
system that would play Super Nintendo cartridges
and CD-ROM games, dubbed “The Play Station.”
But as the system was getting
closer to being announced,
Nintendo grew paranoid.
Sony would have complete control
over all of the CD-based games,
including licensing and manufacturing.
They feared Sony would use the console
to force it’s way into the video game industry.
Nintendo secretly made a deal with Sony’s rival, Philips,
to develop a CD-based add-on for the Super Nintendo.
Nintendo would retain all the rights
to the games, and in exchange,
they would allow Philips to use Nintendo
franchises on their own console, the CD-i.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991,
Sony announced their plans for the PlayStation.
The very next day, Nintendo
threw a wrench into those plans
and announced they were working
on a CD-based add-on with Philips!
Nintendo completely humiliated Sony.
In response, they formed Sony Computer Entertainment
and began plans to release the
PlayStation as their own console.
They removed the Super Nintendo cart reader,
and the space in the name,
and released the Sony PlayStation a few years later.
As for Nintendo, the CD-based add-on
for the Super Nintendo was scrapped.
But Philips was still able to use
Nintendo characters for their CD-i games.
They were embarrassingly bad
and Nintendo refuses to
acknowledge their existence today.
Essentially, Nintendo’s debacle with Sony
created their most dominant rival, the PlayStation,
which makes it the biggest
mistake Nintendo has ever made.
For more information on the Virtual Boy,
I actually did a full video on it, so you
can check that out by clicking right here.
As for the Nintendo PlayStation,
there’s a lot more to talk about,
so we’ll save that for another time.
I’m sure you have a differing opinion
on Nintendo’s biggest mistakes,
so if you do, leave your top
three in the comments below.
That’s all for this episode of Gaming Historian.
Thanks for watching!