The video games world has always been fiercely competitive. In fact, thanks to competing
interests from rival developers and manufacturers, the rate of evolution and innovation has been marked over the last few decades. Indeed, as one company creates a new game or product, others quickly follow, and the end result is a never-ending cycle of growth and
development. As well as giving consumers new and improved ways to play over the years,
these rivalries have created an industry that’s now worth more than US$100 billion.
Deals Aren’t Uncommon, but For Nintendo they Are
As outlined in Newzoo’s report, video games have generated $108.9 billion in 2017, which is more than at any time in their history. However, while the current dynamic has clearly been beneficial, the times are a changing. Thanks to a December 2017 announcement by Nintendo, the days of neatly segmented products could be over. As detailed in the press release, Nintendo has made a selection of now discontinued Wii games available for the Nvidia Shield set-top box in China.
Now, it’s important to note that crossover games aren’t necessarily a new thing in the gaming world. For example, Activision’s Call of Duty was first released for Microsoft’s Windows platform back in 2003, before later releases were made available on the Xbox, PlayStation and Wii. However, to understand the reason Nintendo’s announcement is significant, you need to scroll back through the history of video gaming. When you look at Nintendo’s evolution, you’ll note that the early eighties were the start of the gaming industry’s “golden age” and the company’s main rival was Sega. Both based in Japan, the two companies were hugely competitive with neither willing to give an inch. When Nintendo was pushing Super Mario, Sega was responding with Sonic the Hedgehog and vice versa.
New Attitude May Lead to New Developments
Because of this, Nintendo became overly protective of its main titles and that started its “no sharing” policy. Since then, Nintendo has been reluctant to license its games to any other platform. Yes, a few games, such as Super Mario Run, have been developed in collaboration for mobile platforms, but that’s about it – and this release came quite late too, compared to other video game developers: in 2016. Now, however, the likes of Super Mario Bros Wii are being tweaked and made available for Nvidia Shield owners in China. On its own, this may only be a single deal. However, it could be the sign of things to come. Indeed, if a company like Nintendo is willing to change its stance, then maybe other brands will as well.
Now, what these crossovers would be isn’t obvious at this point, but collaborations are always fun. What if Sonic and Mario were to meet once again? How about a joint virtual reality venture between Nintendo and Microsoft and its HoloLens hardware? While it’s easy to get carried away and dream on, Nintendo’s news is certainly a potential turning point for the video games industry. For players, that can only be a good thing and something that may lead to some of the most interesting innovations we’ve seen for a long time.