Nintendo

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Template:Infobox Company Nintendo (Japanese: 任天堂; Template:Nasdaq, Template:Tyo) is a Japanese company originally founded in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce handmade hanafuda cards, for use in a Japanese playing card game of the same name. In the mid-twentieth century, the company tried several small niche businesses, such as a love hotel and a taxi company. Over the years, it became a video game company, one of the most powerful in the industry. Aside from video games, Nintendo is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, a Major League Baseball team. Nintendo has also purchased majority ownership of Gyration, a company specializing in gyros and motion sensors, for assistance in designing the controller of the Nintendo Revolution.

Nintendo is the longest running company in the history of the video game console market and historically the most influential and best known console manufacturer. They began in the Japanese market in 1983, the North American market in 1985, and the European market in 1986. Over time Nintendo has manufactured five TV consoles — the Famicom/NES, the Super Famicom/Super NES, the Nintendo 64, and the present GameCube and the upcoming Nintendo Revolution — and many different handheld portables, including seven versions of their popular Game Boy, the Game & Watch, the Virtual Boy, the Pokémon Mini, and the Nintendo DS. They have also published over 250 games, developing at least 180 of them, and have sold over 2,000 million games worldwide.

History

Main article: History of computer and video games

1889–1968

Nintendo started as a small Japanese business by Fusajiro Yamauchi in 1889 as Nintendo Koppai. The name, "Ninten" roughly translates as "leave luck to heaven" or "in heaven's hands". Based in Kyoto, Japan, the business produced and marketed a playing card game called Hanafuda. The cards, which were all handmade, soon began to gain popularity and Yamauchi had to hire assistants to mass produce cards to keep up with the high demand.

In 1929, Yamauchi retired from the company and allowed his son-in-law, Sekiryo Yamauchi, to take over the company as president. In 1933 Sekiryo Yamauchi established a joint venture with another company and thus renamed the company Yamauchi Nintendo & Co. In 1947 Sekiryo established the company Marufuku Co. Ltd to distribute the Hanafuda cards, as well as several other brands of cards that had been introduced by Nintendo.

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the grandson of Sekiryo Yamauchi, took office as the president of Nintendo during the year of 1949. He renamed Yamauchi Nintendo & Co. Nintendo Playing Card Company, Ltd., and, in 1951 he renamed their distribution company, Marufuku Co. Ltd., to Nintendo Karuta Co. Ltd.

In 1959, Nintendo struck a deal with Disney to have them allow Nintendo to use Disney's characters on Nintendo's playing cards. The deal was a success and sold at least 600,000 cards in a single year.

Following this, in 1963, Nintendo Playing Card Company Ltd. was renamed Nintendo Co. Ltd. by Hiroshi and Nintendo began to experiment in other areas of business. During the period of time between 1963 and 1968, Nintendo founded a taxi company and a "love hotel", as well as producing toys, games and several other things (including a vacuum cleaner). Both the taxi company and love hotel ended in failure and were eventually closed.

1969–1980

In 1969 Nintendo established a games division within their company. In the following years, Nintendo produced several successful toys and games, the most notable being their beam guns and Ultra Hand, an arm expansion toy. Most of these inventions were the ideas of a new Nintendo employee, Gunpei Yokoi.

In 1973 Nintendo expanded on their light gun idea with the introduction of The Laser Clay Shooting System, which used solar cells to simulate clay pigeon shooting. The Laser Clay Shooting System was another huge success. In 1974 the same idea was reused with the introduction of Wild Gunman, which was a laser gun game where a player would attempt to draw a light gun and shoot at an image of a gunman before the gunman "shot back". Wild Gunman was exported to the USA and Europe.

During 1975 Yamauchi began doing research into a new American trend in which one could connect a device to a television in order to play simple games, called video games. Other companies, such as Atari, had had some success in this field and Hiroshi decided it would be a good business venture for Nintendo to delve into. In the same year, he negotiated a deal with Magnavox to allow Nintendo to produce and sell the Magnavox Odyssey, a simple video game console. Since Nintendo didn't have the necessary equipment to manufacture these machines, they created a pact with Mitsubishi, who would manufacture them.

With Nintendo's new relationship with Mitsubishi, in 1977 the two companies released their joint effort video game machine, the Color TV Game 6, which allowed players to play six different very simple versions of tennis, which sold millions of units. 1977 is also the year Shigeru Miyamoto joined Nintendo, working as an art designer for arcade games.

Soon, Nintendo released several other successful home video game consoles, including an advanced version of the Color TV Game 6, called the Color TV Game 15, a racing game, and another game called Kusure, or Blockbuster.

In 1979 Nintendo began design work for what was to be their first handheld game console, the Game & Watch, which was another idea of Gunpei Yokoi. It was released in 1980, which is also the year that Nintendo announced the addition of a new wholly owned subsidiary, located in New York, named Nintendo of America. The Game & Watch was very successful.

1981–1982

File:Donkey Kong arcade.PNG
Donkey Kong starred a carpenter named Jumpman, who eventually went on to star in widely popular games of his own, although he is now known as Mario.

Also in 1980, Nintendo began the production of arcade games. These arcade games were mostly shoot-'em-ups sometimes using Nintendo's light gun, going under names such as Hellfire or Sheriff. However, this direction changed when Shigeru Miyamoto was given the task of repurposing hardware left over after the commercial failure of the arcade alien shoot-'em-up Radar Scope. Mr. Miyamoto went in a completely different direction and began work on Donkey Kong, with the help of Yokoi, which was an arcade game starring the attempts of a carpenter trying to rescue his girlfriend from an ape. Although originally frowned upon by fellow Nintendo workers, the release of Donkey Kong was a huge success and the game sold over 65,000 units, making it the most popular arcade game of the year.

During the same year, Nintendo, probably inspired by the success of Atari and several other companies, set to work on a new, more advanced multicartridge video game console. They knew that in order for the system to be successful, since other companies had already released multicartridge systems, that their console would have to be better than the rest, and still carry a feasible price.

In 1982 Nintendo released their sequel to Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. as an arcade game. Although not selling as many units as the original Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. still sold well, selling around 35,000 units. This was also the year they established Nintendo of America Inc. in Redmond, Washington and merged the New York subsidiary into it.

1983–1989

In July 1983, Nintendo released their Famicom (Family Computer) system in Japan, which was their first attempt at a cartridge-based video game console. The system was very successful, selling over 500,000 units within two months. The console was also technically superior and inexpensive when compared to its competitors, priced at about $100 USD. However, after a few months of the consoles selling well, Nintendo received complaints that some Famicom consoles would freeze when the player attempted to play certain games. The fault was found in a malfunctioning chip and Nintendo decided to recall all Famicon units currently on store shelves, which cost them almost half a million dollars USD.

It was also in 1983 that Nintendo planned to release the Famicom in the USA. In the USA, however, the video game market had almost completely died out due to the large amount of low quality games. Nintendo decided that to avoid this, they would only allow games that received their "Seal of Quality" to be sold for the Famicom, using a 10NES lockout system to prevent unlicensed games.

File:Famicom.jpg
The Nintendo Famicom, released in 1983, received a warm welcome from the Japanese economy.

By 1984 the Famicom had proven to be a huge continued success in Japan. However, Nintendo also encountered a problem with the sudden popularity of the Famicom — they did not have the resources to manufacture games at the same pace they were selling them. To combat this, Yamauchi decided to divide his employees into three groups, the groups being Research & Development 1 (R&D 1), Research & Development 2 (R&D 2) and Research & Development 3 (R&D 3). R&D 1 was headed by Gunpei Yokoi, R&D 2 was headed by Masayuki Uemura, and R&D 3 was headed by Takeda Genyo. Using these groups, Yamauchi hoped Nintendo would produce a low amount of high quality games rather than a high amount of average quality games.

In 1985 Nintendo announced they were going to release the Famicom worldwide – except under a different name – the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) – and with a different design. In order to ensure the localization of the highest quality games by third-party developers, Nintendo of America limited the number of game titles third-party developers could release in a single year to five. Konami, the first third-party company that was allowed to make cartridges for the Famicom, later challenged this rule by creating a spinoff company, Ultra Games, to release additional games in a single year, although other manufactures followed the same tactic as Konami. In this year, Super Mario Bros. was also released for the Famicom in Japan and became a large success.

They soon began shipping the Nintendo Entertainment System to North America in 1986, along with 15 games, sold separately, and in the U.S. and Canada, it outsold its competitors on a ten to one scale. This was also the year that Metroid (Japan) and Super Mario Bros. 2 (the Japanese version) were released.

In 1988, Nintendo of America unveiled Nintendo Power, a monthly news and strategy magazine from Nintendo that served to advertise new games. The first issue published was July/August edition, which spotlighted the NES game Super Mario Bros. 2. Nintendo Power is still being published today with it's two-hundreth issue coming in Feb. '06.

In 1989, 100 years after the company was started, Nintendo released the Game Boy, along with the accompanying game Tetris (widely considered one of the greatest games of all time). The Game Boy sold extremely well, eventually becoming the best selling video game console of all time, a record it holds to this day. Later, Super Mario Land was also released for the Game Boy, which sold 14 million copies worldwide. 1989 was also the year that Nintendo announced a sequel to their popular video game console, the Famicom, to be called the Super Famicom.

By the end of the 1980s the courts found Nintendo guilty of anti-trust activities because it had abused its relationship with third party developers and created a monopoly in the gaming industry by not allowing developers to make games for any other platforms. They changed this rule during the Super NES era, allowing Sega to start a massive console war against Nintendo with the Sega Genesis and Game Gear. This would occur once more in 1996, when Sony released the Playstation.

1990–1995

The Super Famicom was released in Japan on November 21st, 1990. The system's launch was widely successful, and the Super Famicom was sold out across Japan within three days. In August 1991, the Super Famicom was launched in the U.S. under the name "the Super Nintendo Entertainment System" (SNES). The SNES was released in Europe in 1992.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System followed in the steps of its predecessor, sporting a relatively low price and somewhat high technical specifications for its era. The controller of the SNES had also improved over that of the NES, as it now had rounded edges and several new buttons.

In Japan, the Super Famicom easily took control of the gaming market. Despite a slow start, the SNES in North America eventually overtook its competition, the Sega Genesis, thanks to franchise titles such as Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Street Fighter 2, and the Final Fantasy series. In the U.S., the Genesis barely outsold the SNES, however total worldwide sales of the SNES were higher than the Genesis.

1992 was the year in which Gunpei Yokoi and the rest of R&D 1 began planning on a new virtual reality console to be called the Virtual Boy. Hiroshi Yamauchi also bought shares of the Seattle Mariners in 1992.

In 1993 Nintendo announced plans to develop a new 64-bit console codenamed Project Reality, that would be capable of rendering fully 3D environments and characters. In 1994, Nintendo also claimed that Project Reality would be renamed Ultra 64 in the US. The Ultra 64 moniker was unveiled in arcades on the Nintendo branded fighting game "Killer Instinct" and the racing game "Cruisin' USA". "Killer Instinct" was later released on the SNES. Soon after, Nintendo realised the mistake they had made in choosing a name for their new console that the Konami corporation owned the rights to. Specifically, only Konami would have the rights to release games for the new system called Ultra Football, Ultra Tennis, etc. So, in 1995 Nintendo changed the final name of the system to the Nintendo 64, and announced that it would be released in 1996. They later showed previews of the system and several games, including Super Mario 64, to the media and public.

1995 is also the year that Nintendo purchased part of Rareware, a choice that would prove to be a wise investment.

File:Virtual Boy kit.jpg
Nintendo released the Virtual Boy to much hype and fanfare in 1995. It was, however, unsuccessful.

In the mid-90s Nintendo of America eased up on its stringent policies on blood and violence. After Sega created the Mega CD (Sega CD in North America) add on for its 16-bit machine, Nintendo initially contracted with Sony to develop an add-on CD-ROM drive for the SNES, but then they had second thoughts: afraid that Sony will get all the profit from the CD-ROM media, and also surprised at the failure of Sega's Mega CD, Nintendo terminated the contract and went with Philips. Nintendo announced their alliance with Philips at the same conference that Sony announced their CD-ROM drive. Nothing happened about the add-on drive in regard to the SNES, but Sony took the time and research and began to spin it off into a new product, the PlayStation.

In 1995 Nintendo released the Virtual Boy in Japan. The console sold poorly, but Nintendo still said they had hope for it and continued to release several other games and attempted a release in the U.S., which was another disaster.

Also in 1995, Nintendo found themselves in a competitive situation. Competitor Sega introduced their 32-bit Saturn, while newcomer Sony introduced the 32-bit PlayStation. Sony's fierce marketing campaigns ensued, and it started to cut into Nintendo and Sega's market share.

1996–2001

On June 23 1996, the Nintendo 64 (N64) was released in Japan and became a huge hit, selling over 500,000 units on the first day of its release. Nintendo released an add-on to the Nintendo 64 in Japan, titled the Nintendo 64DD, on December 1 1999. On September 29 1996, Nintendo released the Nintendo 64 in the U.S. and Canada, and it too was a success.

Nintendo followed with the release of the Game Boy Pocket, a smaller version of the original Game Boy. About a week after the release of the Game Boy Pocket, Gunpei Yokoi resigned from his position at Nintendo. Gunpei Yokoi helped in the creation of a competitor system named the Wonderswan, utilizing the skills he gained in the creation of the Game Boy.

In 1997, Pocket Monsters (known as "Pokémon" in the North America and Europe) was released in Japan to a huge following. The Pokémon franchise was proving so popular that for a brief time, Nintendo took back their place as the supreme power in the games industry. October 13 1998 was the day that Game Boy Color was released in Japan, with releases in North America and Europe a month later. Days before Game Boy Color was released in Japan, Gunpei Yokoi - the original creator of Game Boy - died tragically in a car accident at the age of 57.

Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance in Japan on March 21 2001. This was followed by the North American launch on June 11 and the European launch on June 22. Nintendo released their GameCube home video game console on September 14 2001 in Japan. It was released in North America on November 18th of 2001, and on May 5 2002 in Europe.

2002–present

File:Iwata-satoru.jpg
Satoru Iwata is the current president of Nintendo

In 2002, Hiroshi Yamauchi stepped down as the president of Nintendo and named Satoru Iwata his successor. Also, Nintendo and Chinese-American scientist Dr. Wei Yen co-founded iQue, a company that manufactures and distributes official Nintendo consoles and games for the mainland Chinese market, under the iQue brand.

In May 2004, Nintendo announced plans to release a new brand of handheld, unrelated to the Game Boy — featuring two screens, one of which was touch-sensitive. The Nintendo DS, released on November 21, received over three million pre-orders. In addition to the touch screen, the DS can also create three-dimensional graphics, capable of somewhat surpassing those of the Nintendo 64, although it does not include hardware support for texture smoothing which results in more pixellated graphics than on the Nintendo 64.

President Satoru Iwata merged all of Nintendo's software designers under the EAD division, this was done to allocate more resources to Shigeru Miyamoto. As of 2005 Nintendo's internal development divisions are comprised of four groups (read Nintendo development divisions for more information).

  • Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development
  • Nintendo Integrated Research & Development
  • Nintendo Software Production & Development
  • Nintendo Technology & Development

On May 14 2005, Nintendo started up its first retail store in Rockefeller Center in New York City, called Nintendo World. It is two stories tall, and contains many kiosks of GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS games. There are also display cases filled with things from Nintendo's past, including Hanafuda playing cards, Nintendo's first product. They celebrated the grand opening with a block party in Rockefeller Plaza. They plan to open the same store in other major U.S cities, those announced are Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, and Philadelphia. Potential cities are San Francisco, St. Louis, Buffalo, and Chicago.

Nintendo 64

Main article: Nintendo 64

In September 1996, Nintendo introduced their third console, the Nintendo 64 (N64), which featured vastly improved three dimensional graphics and a new analog stick. Nintendo chose to remain with the cartridge medium, a surprising move, especially considering their competition's choice of emerging CD-ROM storage mediums. This may have affected the amount of games published on the Nintendo 64; CD-ROMs are cheaper to produce than cartridges, meaning cheaper costs for the third party publishers — since Nintendo did not choose to use CD-ROMs, publishers would be more swayed to publish for Sony's PlayStation, which did use CD-ROMs. This was also rumored to be the impetus for Squaresoft (now Square Enix) stopping development of any further games for Nintendo, including their well-known Final Fantasy series, and moving over to the Sony PlayStation, and later the PlayStation 2.

Nintendo used the code names Project Reality and Ultra 64 prior to the systems actual release, and these names are still used by some people. Nintendo also touted new "innovative" and "groundbreaking" elements of the Nintendo 64 — such as its four controller ports, an analog stick, 64-bit processor, and online capabilites. The online capabilities never came out in the rest of the world, but did well in Japan. The expansion for online would have plugged into the Ext. port on the bottom.

The first 3D Mario game was introduced on the N64 as Super Mario 64, which has been the archetype for almost all 3D console games to this day. Other popular games were GoldenEye 007, which ushered in a new era for console first-person shooter games, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; widely considered one of the best games of all time. This system's games are also significant as it was here that the power of the second-party was first recognised: Rareware produced several of their most lauded games for this console (including the aforementioned GoldenEye, and also Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie.)

Nintendo GameCube

Main article: Nintendo GameCube

The Nintendo GameCube is Nintendo's fourth generation console and their first disc-based console; it was released in Japan on September 14, 2001, the U.S. on November 18, 2001, in Europe on May 3, 2002, and in Australia on May 17, 2002. The European launch boasted 20 titles at launch, which included Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Wave Race: Blue Storm, Luigi's Mansion, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and International Superstars Soccer 2.

Nintendo continued many of their popular franchises on the system, including Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid, and Super Smash Bros.. The Nintendo GameCube is also responsible for several new franchises, including Pikmin, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, the Viewtiful Joe series, and P.N.03. The GameCube also revived the Metroid series with the release of Metroid Prime and its direct sequel, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes; although the games are no longer in the same style as the older Metroid games with the introduction of three dimensional graphics and a first-person shooter style. Nintendo had also gained exclusivity rights for the Resident Evil series and Capcom has released several GameCube-only Resident Evil titles, including Resident Evil 4 which is critically acclaimed to be the best in the series. Eventually Capcom backed out and allowed the Resident Evil titles to be released on the PS2 system, including the once Gamecube exclusive Resident Evil 4. The Gamecube also saw the return of Square Enix, the home of the flagship Final Fantasy series, as they released another Final Fantasy spinoff called Crystal Chronicles for the now DVD-ROM functional GameCube as well as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the Game Boy Advance.

Despite this, the GameCube is currently in last place in Australia, falling behind both Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's Xbox [1]. However, in the console wars, it is in firm second place in Japan; while battling with the Xbox for second place in the American and European markets. In terms of hardware sales, the GameCube is in a close second place, ahead of Microsoft's machine by a small margin. Commentators have noted that whilst both Sony and Microsoft are losing money from every console they sell, Nintendo makes a profit from every GameCube sold. As of June 2005, the Nintendo GameCube has shipped 18.76 million worldwide.

Nintendo "Revolution"

Main article: Nintendo Revolution

As with other console manufacturers in the industry, Nintendo is currently developing a new game console, codenamed "Revolution", that is expected to be released in 2006. With Revolution, Nintendo has made their plans clear that they hope to change the way we watch and play video games by taking gaming into a new direction instead of merely upgrading hardware for the benefit of graphics.

The console is Nintendo's sleekest and smallest yet, about the size of three DVD cases stacked on top of each other; however, Nintendo has stated that the unveiled system is a prototype and the final product may be even smaller. The revolutionary aspect of the system comes from its unconventional controller, which in its basic form is shaped like a television remote control and includes a number of features, most notably, the direct pointing device which allows the system to understand six directions of movement (up, down, left, right, in, and out)and it can sense the angle of the controler. The controller additionally features a port located on the bottom which several accessories may use. So far Nintendo has shown an analog stick (called "nunchuck" by NCL president Iwata during the TGS keynote) that can connect to that port and can be used concurrently with the main controller.

Thus far, it has been confirmed that the Revolution will be able to play NES, SNES, and N64 games, which will be downloadable for a fee through the Internet via Nintendo's online service, which will also offer downloadable demos for Revolution and the Nintendo DS. As well, it will also be backward compatible with GameCube discs, and will boast a "docking station" for GameCube accessories. The option to play DVDs on the console is also to be included with the purchase of an announced add-on.

Handheld consoles

Game Boy

Main articles/the Nintendo handheld console lineage:

Introduced in 1989, and continuing strong today, were Nintendo's portable Game Boy systems. With several evolutions, including Pocket, Light, Color, Advance, Advance SP, and Micro versions, the Game Boy is the single most successful, and oldest portable video game platform still in production. The Game Boy has been known for putting over a dozen other portable systems out of business (including Nintendo's other attempts such as the Virtual Boy). Due to low battery consumption, durability, and a library of over a thousand games, the Game Boy has been on the top of the portable console food chain since its inception and made Nintendo the domineer of the handheld console market.

Slowing sales of the Game Boy were remedied by the introduction of the Pokémon game, which started a phenomenon of top selling video games, movies, merchandise, and TV shows. The Pokémon phenomena helped and continue to help rocket Game Boy sales all around the world.

Nintendo DS

Main article: Nintendo DS

Nintendo released their Nintendo DS (Dual Screen or Developer's System) handheld game console first in the United States on November 21 2004, then in Japan on December 2 2004 and later on March 11 2005 in Europe. In the U.S., shipments of the DS reached 500,000 within the first week, and in Japan, the figures were even more impressive, reaching the same figure within four days of its launch. It has also proven to be the fastest-selling console in European history, having sold over 1 million units in six months (250,000 of those units in Great Britain alone).

The Nintendo DS features two backlit LCD screens, the bottom of which is touch sensitive, which can create a unique style of gameplay (see Kirby: Canvas Curse or WarioWare: Touched!). It also features a built in microphone and the ability to connect up to 16 Nintendo DS systems together wirelessly via Wi-Fi for multiplayer gaming. It can also play software designed originally for the Game Boy Advance, but without multiplayer abilities, as the Nintendo DS lacks a wired extension port.

Nintendo has officially stated that the DS in the name can stand for two different things; Developer's System to their developers, or Dual Screen to their consumers. The most popular usage is Dual Screen.

At the Game Developers Conference, Nintendo announced that they would be launching an online service for the Nintendo DS, allowing multiplayer gaming over the Internet. The online service will be very different from competitors for it will be free to consumers who already have an internet connection at home or know of a wi-fi hotspot. As of October 18th, 2005, Nintendo has partnered up with Wayport to bring free Wi-Fi access to Nintendo DS owners. As of November 14th in America, November 25th in Great Britain and on December 28th in Dublin, the launch of their Nintendo DS Internet gaming service, over 6,000 McDonald's Restaurants nationwide will become free Wi-Fi hot-spots. Nintendo UK also announced plans for over 7500 British Wi-Fi hotspots, including McDonald's restaurants, football stadiums, hotels, motorway service stations, railway stations, student unions, airports, and libraries.

Other hardware

  • Game & Watch
  • Super Game Boy – Adapter for playing Game Boy games on the Super NES.
  • Virtual Boy – The Virtual Boy used a red monochrome 3D virtual reality like system. Fewer than two dozen games were released for it in the United States.
  • Nintendo 64DD – Only released in Japan, this add-on system's games are on re-writeable magnetic disks. Games released include a paint and 3D construction package, F-Zero X Expansion Kit, for creating new F-Zero X tracks and a few others. A complete commercial failure, many speculated that Nintendo released it only to save face after promoting it pre-emptively for years.
  • Pokémon Mini – Unveiled in London at Christmas 2000, the Pokémon mini was Nintendo's cheapest console ever produced; with games costing £10 ($15) each, and the system costing £30 ($45). This remains the smallest games console ever made. Sales of this system were rather poor, but it is not a flop because Nintendo did make a profit on every game and system sold.
  • Triforce – An arcade system based on Nintendo GameCube hardware, developed in partnership with Sega and Namco.
  • Game Boy Player – An adapter for playing Game Boy games on the GameCube.
  • iQue Player – A version of the Nintendo 64, with double the clock speed and downloadable games, released only in the Chinese market.

Policies

Emulation

Nintendo is known for a "no tolerance" stance against emulation of its video games and consoles. It claims that mask work copyright protects its games from the exceptions that United States copyright law otherwise provides for backup copies. Nintendo uses the claim that emulators running on personal computers have no use other than to play pirated video games, contested by some who say these emulators have been used to develop and test independently produced "homebrew" software on Nintendo's platforms, and that Nintendo's efforts fudge the truth about copyright laws, mainly that ROM copiers are illegal [they really are legal if used to dump un-DRM'd roms on to your computer for personal use], and that emulators are illegal [If they do not use copyrighted BIOS, or use other methods to run the game, they are legal].

The revival of the NES and SNES through emulation has gradually settled down, and NES and SNES ROMs are actually getting easier to find. A common justification pirates try to make is that they believe [the pirated games] will never see the light of day again and because the titles are no longer on sale, no damage is done to the company. However, Nintendo's opposition remains, due largely to its tendency to re-release old games within new ones, as with Animal Crossing, Metroid Prime, and The Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition, as well as with the re-release of many older games for the Game Boy Advance Classic NES Series. The enhanced remake idea sometimes, but not always, curbs the need for emulation of NES quality games on the Nintendo GameCube. Recently Nintendo has announced that their upcoming Nintendo Revolution console will be backwards compatible, allowing users to play Gamecube games by inserting the game discs. The system will also allow for the downloading of NES, SNES and N64 games onto the console over the Internet, with them being playable on the console which may actually be achieved through emulation. With this new feature, coined the "virtual console" by the company's president, Nintendo may be able to reduce the illegal ROM downloading and open up a new revenue stream, although success is still unknown.

Censorship

For many years, Nintendo of America had a policy of strict censorship for video games published on its systems. In 1994, when the ESRB video game ratings system was introduced, Nintendo chose to abolish most of these policies in favor of gamers making their own choices about the content of the games they played. When this policy was still in effect, religious symbols, appearance of excessive blood or gore, nudity, sexuality, or smoking was all removed from licensed games. This zero tolerance policy was praised and championed by U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, but others criticized the policy, claiming that gamers should be allowed to choose the content they want to see. Today, changes to the content of games are done primarily by the game's developer. Nintendo has since allowed several mature-content games to be published on its systems, including (but not limited to): Perfect Dark, Duke Nukem 3D (as Duke Nukem 64) Conker's Bad Fur Day, BMX XXX, Resident Evil 4, True Crime: Streets of L.A., and Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, and Geist, all prime examples of Nintendo lessening their practices. These games are all rated "M" (for mature), as are their counterparts for Sony's and Microsoft's systems. Interestingly enough, the Playstation 2 version of BMX XXX had censored breasts in it, while Nintendo left it alone.

One known side effect of this policy was the Sega Genesis version of Mortal Kombat selling over double the number of the Nintendo's Super NES version, mainly due to the fact that Nintendo had forced Acclaim to recolor the red blood to look like white sweat and replace some of the more gory attacks in their release of the game, unlike Sega, which allowed the selling points of blood and gore to remain in the Genesis version. (Nintendo allowed the Super NES version Mortal Kombat II to ship uncensored the following year.) Also, Square executives have suggested that the price of publishing games on the Nintendo 64 along with the degree of censorship and control Nintendo enforced over their games -- most notably Final Fantasy VI -- were factors in moving their games to Sony's PlayStation console.

Although Nintendo had begun lessening their censorship of console games with the 1994 introduction of the ESRB, portable games continued to be censored for some time. For example, Konami was forced to remove all references to cigarettes in the 2000 Game Boy Color game Metal Gear Solid. Another example is the Game Boy version of Mortal Kombat II, which contains no blood whatsoever and has extremely toned down fatalities (though it is unknown if this was at Nintendo's demand). However, Mature-rated Game Boy Advance games such as 2003's Max Payne and 2004's Grand Theft Auto Advance suggest that Nintendo is no longer interested in censoring the games that appear on its systems, console or portable.

Nintendo's censorship policies have created a view of Nintendo as a "kiddy company", which was taken advantage of by their competitors. In recent years, Nintendo has done much to shed this reputation and has begun to create more mature games such as Geist. The original Super Smash Brothers on the Nintendo 64 was rated E by the ESRB, while its GameCube sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee was rated T. The Metroid Prime games and the new Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess have been notably more adult oriented.

Public relations

For years and to today, Nintendo has been regarded as a secretive company by the press. Rarely does Nintendo confirm or deny rumors. Nintendo is known as one of the top companies for customer service, however.

In this vein, Nintendo is known as the rulers of unveiling things at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles every year. The Nintendo DS was first revealed here, and many online sources rely on E3 to come around for Nintendo to launch news about new systems. However, at this year's Expo, Nintendo released very few technical details about their upcoming console, the Nintendo Revolution. The Nintendo Revolution controller, which had been shrouded in secrecy, was revealed on September 16, 2005 at the Tokyo Game Show (TGS).

Nintendo of America uses an outside firm, Golin Harris, to handle much of its public relations. Beth Llewelyn is the in-house senior director of public relations at Nintendo of America. Tom Harlin is Nintendo of America's manager of public relations. Nintendo of Europe also uses an outside firm, Cake Media, to handle much of its public relations.

Community

From 1995 to 1997, Nintendo's American community was hosted by AOL and called the Loudhouse. In 1997, the company paid for a very small BBS and Message Center hosted on their own servers. Starting in 2001, the online community was effectively shut down until around 2002, at which point NSider chat was reopened to subscribers of Nintendo Power. In April of 2003, Nintendo bought a Lithium Technologies license and moved the community to the Hyrule Town Square on Lithium servers. In November 2003, the full Nintendo NSider Forums opened. Still hosted by Lithium, this update came with a new look, new ranks, and integration with My Nintendo.

People

See also Nintendo people

Notable software and franchises

Related article: Franchises established on Nintendo systems

Divisions

First-party

Main article: Nintendo development divisions

Second-party

Arcade games released by Nintendo

Anime

On November 2004, Hiroshi Yamauchi announced that Nintendo would start making anime. Its first project is an adaption of the Hyakunin Isshu poem.

Nintendo offices and locations

Nintendo Co., Ltd (NCL), the main branch of the company, is based in Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Nintendo of America (NOA), its American division, is based in Redmond, Washington with a distribution center in Atlanta, Georgia. Nintendo of Canada, Ltd. (NOCL) is a based in Richmond, British Columbia, with it's own distribution centre in Toronto, Ontario. Nintendo of Australia, its Australian division, is based in Scoresby, Melbourne, Victoria, and Nintendo Europe, the European division, is based in Großostheim, Germany. Nintendo has also founded iQue, Ltd. in Suzhou, China, a company that sells Nintendo products only in mainland China.

See also

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References

External links

Official sites


Articles

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