Nintendo Co., Ltd. (任天堂株式会社, Nintendō Kabushiki gaisha) is a multinational video game corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Today it is one of the most influential video game companies in the industry, and it is Japan's third most valuable listed company, with a market value of over US$85 billion. Nintendo is the fifth largest software company in the world, and as of October 2, 2008, Nintendo has sold over 470 million hardware units and 2.7 billion software units worldwide.
Pre video game history (1889-1969) Edit
Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi as Nintendo Koppai (任天堂骨牌), the company (whose name means "Leave luck to Heaven") developed from humble origins - producing handmade hanafuda cards. Over the years prior to 1963, the company pursued a great variety of small niche businesses such as taxicab rentals, love hotel rentals, TV station networking, and food company management before settling into a full-time manufacturer of children's toys and games.
With talented engineering staff such as Gunpey Yokoi (designer of the Ultra Hand) at the fore, it was not long before the company changed its name to simply Nintendo, and began to put all of its efforts into the burgeoning field of electronic children's games. Initially Nintendo had only minor successes with electronic games such as the Ultra Machine, the Love Tester, the Kousenjuu series of light gun games, and the Laser Clay Shooting System, and they failed to make much of an impact on the markets, however this relative anonymity was not to last for much longer. Starting with the development of Color TV Game Machine (a joint project with Mitsubishi Electric), in the early 1970s, Nintendo embarked on the development of a series of interactive electronic video game product lines that would provide the groundwork essential to their emergence as a major player into the field of video gaming in the mid 1980s.
Early video games (1970s - 1989) Edit
From the Color TV Game line of dedicated consoles, to the line of arcade systems (beginning with the 1975 release of EVR Race) that they would become known for, to the development of Yokoi's pet project, the Game & Watch line of dedicated hand-helds, Nintendo evolved as a video game company such that by the time the 8-bit Family Computer (popularly known as the Famicom) was released into the unstable and unwelcoming climate of July 1983, it was prepared to come to terms with the realization of its vision and to capitalize on it as the smash success of the unassuming red and white home console system singlehandedly revitalized the struggling post-crash industry in the blink of an eye.
With the huge success of the Famicom, Nintendo enjoyed several years of near monopoly over the field of video gaming as other competitors scrambled to enter (or in some cases re-enter) the business. As other companies finally began to pose a degree of competition to Nintendo, various techniques were employed to keep the Famicom running.
Adopting Yokoi's philosophy of "Lateral Thinking of Withered Technology" (枯れた技術の水平思考, Kareta Gijutsu no Suihei Shikou) numerous peripherals were released including several light-guns, the power glove, a Robotic Operating Buddy (R.O.B. Unit), and exclusively to Japan a Famicom Disc System that employed rewritable diskette technology.
Nintendo goes 16-bit (1990 - 2000) Edit
- Main article: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Eventually, pressure from competitors reached a high-tide mark as consoles like the TurboGrafx-16 and most notably the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis began to bring gamers into the exciting world of 16-bit music and graphics. On 21 November 1990, the Super Famicom was released in Japan to kick off the first wave of what would become a higher- and higher-stakes game of "capture the marketshare" dubbed by the industry as the "Console Wars." The console soon found its way overseas. With its success mirroring the success of the Famicom, Nintendo eventually emerged as the clear victor of the Console Wars, the SNES ultimately selling 49.10 million consoles, around 20 million more than the Mega Drive.
Carrying Yokoi's Kareta Gijutsu theory yet further, Nintendo again released a variety of expansion units and peripherals (in continuance of the Famicom business model) as the SNES began to age. Peripherals of note included the SNES Mouse, the barcode-scanning Barcode Battler II Interface, the Twin Famicom (a joint project with Sharp Corporation that joined the Famicom and Super Famicom into a single unit), and finally in 1995, the Satellaview.
The Satellaview Edit
- Main article: Satellaview
- This section requires expansion.
64 Bits and beyond (2000 - present) Edit
As the working relationship between Nintendo and St.GIGA broke down and the Satellaview faded from the public imagination into relative obscurity, Nintendo went several more generations of successful home consoles. The Nintendo 64, released in June 1996, was noted for its 3D graphics capabilities as well as for introducing the analog stick and built-in 4-player multiplayer. It also introduced the haptic force-feedback unit known as the Rumble Pak, a feature that has since become an industry standard. Attempts were made toward the end of its life cycle to reproduce a system similar to the SNEs' broadcast network in the form of the Nintendo 64DD peripheral's 1999 RANDnetDD (considered by some a spiritual successor to the Satellaview).
The Nintendo GameCube followed in September 2001, becoming the first Nintendo console to use optical disc storage instead of ROM cartridges. The most recent home console, the Wii (November 2006), employs motion sensitive gyroscope-based controllers and has online functionality via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Virtual Console, and WiiWare.
Offices and locationsEdit
Nintendo Company, Limited (NCL) is based in Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Its research and development building is located in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Nintendo's American branch is located in Redmond, Washington. It has distribution centers in Atlanta, Georgia (Nintendo Atlanta) and North Bend, Washington (Nintendo North Bend). Nintendo of Canada, Limited (NOCL) is based in Richmond, British Columbia, and its distribution center is in Toronto, Ontario. Nintendo Australia Pty Ltd (NAL) is based in Melbourne, Victoria, and it handles distribution, sales, and marketing for Nintendo throughout Australia and New Zealand. Nintendo of Europe is based in Großostheim, Germany (established in 1990). iQue, Ltd., a Chinese-market joint venture with Nintendo, manufactures and distributes official Nintendo consoles and games for the mainland China under the iQue brand. Nintendo also established Nintendo of Korea (NoK) on July 7, 2006.
- Main article: Super Nintendo Entertainment System#Emulation
Nintendo is renowned within the video game industry for its firm "no tolerance" stance against the emulation of its video games and consoles. It has stated in public announcements that emulation is the single largest threat to the intellectual rights of video game developers. Nintendo has claimed that copyright-like rights in photolighography-rendered integrated circuit "mask works" protect its games from the exceptions that United States copyright law otherwise provides for the backing up of copies. Nintendo has adopted the argument that emulators running on personal computers have no use other than to play pirated video games, despite the claims of independent developers who note that these emulators have been used to develop and test independently produced "homebrew" software on Nintendo's platforms, and that Nintendo's claims conflict fundamentally with the public policy principles that underlie copyright protection in the first place. American emulation users have also stuck by the claim that Nintendo's policies contradict US copyright laws insofar as they claim ROM image copiers to be illegal and that emulators are illegal. As harsh and uncompromising as this stance is, however, Nintendo remains the only modern console manufacturer that has not sued an emulator manufacturer. In fact, emulators have been used by Nintendo and licensed third party companies as a means to re-release older games.
- This section requires expansion
- ↑ Reuters: Nintendo sets $85 bln high score, thanks to Wii, Nintendo DS. Reuters. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- ↑ Software Top 100, Edition 2009. Top 100 Research Foundation. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
- ↑ Nintendo's holiday 2008: Wii Speak Channel, Club Nintendo, more surprises. Nintendo. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
- ↑ Company History. Nintendo. Retrieved 2006-07-29.
- ↑ Touch! Generations. Touch Generations. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- ↑ Company History. Nintendo. Retrieved 2006-06-04.
- ↑ Nintendo History Lesson: The Lucky Birth. N-Sider. Retrieved 2006-06-04.
- ↑ This philosophy is explained in detail in Yokoi's book, Game House (横井軍平ゲーム館). Essentially, "withered technology" in the context uemployed by Yokoi refers to a mature technology that is cheap and well-understood. "Lateral thinking" refers to the search for radical new ways of using such technology. Yokoi's basic belief was that toys and games do not necessarily require cutting edge technology to be successful; novel and fun gameplay are essential to the success of a product, and in many ways they are the more important factor contributing to eventual sales. Yokoi believed that the expensive emphasis on cutting-edge technology can get in the way of developing a new product.
- ↑ Kent, Steven L. The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. Prima Publishing : Roseville, California. 2001. p. 431. ISBN: 0-7615-3643-4. "Sonic was an immediate hit, and many consumers who had been loyally waiting for Super NES to arrive now decided to purchase Genesis.… The fiercest competition in the history of video games was about to begin."
- ↑ Consolidated Sales Transition by Region. Nintendo. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- ↑ Buchanan, Levi. IGN: Happy Birthday, Rumble Pak. IGN. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- ↑ Nintendo - Corporate Information - Company History. Nintendo. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- ↑ Controllers at Nintendo :: Wii :: What Is Wii?. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
- ↑ Wii + Internet at Nintendo :: Wii. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
- ↑ Corporate - Nintendo. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- ↑ Nintendo - Corporate Information - Legal Information (Copyrights, Emulators, ROMs, etc.). Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- ↑ They actually are legal if used to dump unprotected ROM images on to a user's computer for personal use, per 17 U.S.C. §117(a)(1) and equivalent foreign provisions)
- ↑ If they do not use copyrighted BIOS, or use other high-level emulation methods to run the game, they are legal