Opinion: Nintendo’s Recent Trend Of Conservative Software Development is Holding Them Back

By Michael On 23 Mar, 2014 At 09:32 PM | Categorized As Articles | With 8 Comments

funny nintendo

It’s true, that sometimes your worst enemy is yourself. When I look at the current Nintendo, I can’t help, but think, that what is holding them back from their true potential are actually themselves. Some Nintendo fans might not like what I say, but I say these things because I love Nintendo, and because I love them, I have to be honest about my feelings and thoughts about them.


No one can argue against the fact Nintendo produces 1st class software – as a single gaming entity – no company shares the same pedigree of producing quality games on a consistent and regular basis like Nintendo does. When you have series such as Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros and many more known franchises written in your resume – you know this company is made from the stuff of legends. However, I feel Nintendo has rested on their laurels for far too long because of the smash success of the Wii/DS era – and consequently have grown too dependent on their proven franchises.

nintendo evolution


Ever since the advent of the new generation, starting with the 3DS, I believe Nintendo has been overly conservative with their software development strategy. By that I mean – many the games they have produced during the past 3 years have predominately been new iterations of established Nintendo franchises – with a few exceptions.


Below are the games that have been published by Nintendo since the launch of the 3DS (Wii U & 3DS)

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Nintendo 3DS

  • 2011
    • Nintendogs + Cats: French Bulldog & New FriendsGolden Retriever & New Friends and Toy Poodle & New Friends
    • Pilotwings Resort
    • Steel Diver
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
    • Star Fox 64 3D
    • Pokémon Rumble Blast
    • Super Mario 3D Land
    • Tetris: Axis (Published by Nintendo in North America only)
    • Mario Kart 7
  • 2012
    • Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Published by Nintendo in Japan only)
    • Kid Icarus: Uprising
    • Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
    • Mario Tennis Open
    • New Super Mario Bros. 2
    • Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! (North America and Europe only)
    • Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone!
    • Crosswords Plus (North America only)
    • Style Savvy: Trendsetters
    • Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Published by Nintendo outside of Japan)
    • Paper Mario: Sticker Star
  • 2013
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening
    • Brain Age: Concentration Training
    • Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity
    • Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
    • Animal Crossing: New Leaf
    • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
    • Pokémon X and Y
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
    • Mario Party: Island Tour
    • Inazuma Eleven 3: Lighting Bolt and Bomb Blast (Published by Nintendo in Europe only)
    • Tomodachi Collection: New Life (Japan only)
    • Daigasso! Band Brothers P (Japan only)

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Wii U

  • 2012
    • New Super Mario Bros. U
    • Nintendo Land
    • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
    • Sing Party
  • 2013
    • Lego City Undercover
    • New Super Luigi U
    • Game & Wario
    • Pikmin 3
    • The Wonderful 101
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
    • Wii Party U
    • Wii Fit U
    • Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
    • Super Mario 3D World
    • Sonic Lost World (Published by Nintendo in PAL regions only)
    • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze


  • Announced for 2014
    • Mario Kart 8
    • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
    • Bayonetta 2
    • X
    • Hyrule Warriors

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As demonstrated above – the great majority of games produced and published by Nintendo since the launch of the 3DS have been new installments of proven series. Nintendo does have a strong foundation of IP’s to cater to a loyal fanbase, but regularly depending on sequels is limiting the Big N to a specific audience that simply enjoys Nintendo games – they are preaching to believers as I would like to put it – they need software that communicates to Sony fans, Microsoft Fans and the masses that have no loyalty at all.

nintendo meme


If you look at the smash success of the Wii and DS – Nintendo created a series of new and exciting games that captured the imagination of the consumers. The Nintendo DS was kick-started by the touch generation with games like Brain Age and Nintendogs. Likewise, the Wii fad was the result of the imagination of Nintendo’s vision for motion play. I don’t think we will ever see a launch title with the same ability sell consoles like Wii Sports. Sure, you could merely dismiss these titles as casual affairs – but that would be completely missing the point – Nintendo created something new and exciting the piqued consumers’ interest – a strategy that they have not implemented ever since the launch of the 3DS.


What I am really saying is that Nintendo should return to what they do best – and that is creating  inspired, exciting and quality software. Be that company that brought revolution and innovation – the company that sets industry standards and not one that follows them. I want them to realize their full potential and that isn’t going to happen if they continue their conservative software strategy.

nintendo meme


 Nintendo should take notes on the critical and commercial success of Minecraft. Mojang deserves credit for creating a vast new experience one that hands the players freedom and creativity. Minecraft success was not credited to the company’s reputation or legacy, but how it excited players with a new experience. Back when Nintendo began making video games – their success was not credited to their reputation or legacy because they had none at that time – they built a name for themselves by producing new and exciting software – a trait they have forgotten recently. It is disheartening to watch Nintendo being overly dependant on their legacy – I want them to return to their usual creative self.


It has been a while since Nintendo has genuinely surprised me with a software announcement and it is certainly the time to awaken the inner beast, especially with the Wii U woes troubling them. I want them to be at their very best, to show true grit and guts against adversity. When Nintendo are at their very best they can throw heavy punches even against the mightiest foes. I expect big things from Nintendo at June 10. Bring on E3 2014!



About - Michael is the proud owner and Editor-in-Chief of Mii-gamer.com! He has a Bachelors Degree with First Class Honors ( try to guess his Degree), and has been writing about video games for many years. His favorite Nintendo franchises include the Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon. When Michael is not playing video games – he is usually outdoors riding kangaroo’s, playing cricket or sleeping (or doing all three at the same time).

  • stealth20k

    Nintendo software conservative? In what universe?

    Do you think Colorful, family friendly platformers are safe in the age of open world, realistic shooters?

    Not really.

    Was funding Wonderful 101 conservative?

    • Aiddon

      Well, plus the idea of “creating exciting, original hardware” is not helpful at all. Congrats, you’ve made a blanket statement, so how about you actually say something USEFUL? Why exactly did this mantra of “new stuff!” become prominent? It comes off like a bunch of insecure kids trying to make themselves seem more daring and adventurous than they really are.

      • miigamerz

        Let me pose a couple of questions for you.

        Are you content with Nintendo PRIMARILY making new iterations of proven franchises?

        Do you believe Nintendo are capable of greater things than that what they have given us in the past 3 years? (mind you, I’m not saying that are not making great, they are, that is fact) Or do you believe Nintendo has reached their limits in creativity and ideas?

        Wouldn’t you want two, three and even four more new superlative franchises to join their legendary repertoire of games like Super Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Super Smash Bros?

        Call me an insecure kid, but I honestly believe Nintendo are capable of greater things – and that they are certainly more daring and adventurous than what they have shown us in the past 3 years.

        • Aiddon

          “Are you content with Nintendo PRIMARILY making new iterations of proven franchises?”


          What? You expected me to respond to a loaded question with something else?

          • miigamerz

            There is nothing wrong with your answer – I just wanted to hear your opinion. I I hold the opposite view. I am not content with Nintendo PRIMARILY making new iterations of proven franchises – hence the reason for this opinion piece.

            Furthermore, I don’t appreciate your hostile tone. I get the you don’t agree with me, but I’ve been respectful with my comments. There is no need to be condescending.

          • stealth20k

            Nintendo was number one not only in software sold in 2013, but had the most critically acclaimed games. So the industry does not agree.

  • Chrischi

    The writer says, nintendo grew to dependent on their known franchises, but I actually believe it is the other way around, MS and Sony couldnt depend on their first party alone.

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