Have you ever noticed that often the complaint is the only reaction of companies experiencing a crisis? They complain about the market, suppliers, bureaucracy, taxes, some even complain about their customers – “apathetic fools and traitors who do not line up to grab their incredible fantastic wonderful product”. But wonderful for whom.
The crisis in which we find ourselves is the best occasion to look at ourselves, to criticize ourselves, and to restart with new incitement. Complaining and waiting that the worst wanes by itself is not only useless, but it is often fatal. Don’t you believe? And if we told you that one of the most famous brands in the world has built its own fortunes on this capacity of reacting to crises?
The history of Nintendo, the Japanese giant of the video game industry, is nothing but a continuous succession of crises and both intelligent and vehement reactions on which they have built the greatest successes on the Kyoto house.
Want an example? Well, think that in 1983, most of the operators thought that the video game market had literally collapsed. Dead, defunct, kaput. All because the producers of the arcades – the ancient arcade cabinets for game halls – had saturated the market and were there to complain about the bad luck (created by themselves). Nintendo instead had already identified the solution – the domestic market, the so-called home gaming.
In a very short time they launched the NES, the first 8-bit home console, and a game – Super Mario Bros – destined to become a classic. The moral of the story – the console was sold in almost 62 million copies. The best-sold console of its era.
Fortune – skeptics will say. But as poker champions teach, fortune can count in one single hand, but it is in the long run that you see the real skill. So we have to make a leap forward in time and go beyond the splendors of the era of the 16 bits and the wars consoles to get straight in the early 2000s.
Also here, Nintendo is in crisis. The Playstation 2 is definitely putting in a corner the Japanese house and its Gamecube – an obsolete car completely unsuitable to compete with Sony’s spaceship. What does Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo, decide to do? It’s simple: he reduces the Gamecube life cycle from five to three years, identifies casual gamers in the market – a new outer reach to bypass the competition with Playstation, and launches the Wii.
The outcome? A resounding success, a video game that involves users unattainable until then – women, children, and elderly. Would you have bet 10 cents on it at that time? I do not think so.
It’s a short step from the Wii splendor to these days. But, as this story teaches, you should never be too sure of your success. In fact, once again, Nintendo is facing a crisis with no apparent way out. With 36 months of cash balance in red, and of the management still undefined after the untimely death of CEO Iwata, the horizon does not bode well.
But despite the scenario looks gloomy even to the most convinced optimists, Nintendo has just launched a title that seems to have what it takes to become a new great classic in the world of video games. Super Mario Maker in fact, is not only a high-level editor of the Italian most famous plumber in the world. But it is a real social network for fans of this timeless game. Will this title be enough to lift Nintendo from its umpteenth crisis? The posterity will judge. But if we can learn a lesson from the history of the famous Japanese brand, this one is the following – we should exit the crisis by acting, and who hesitates, with a good probability, gets lost.