Nintendo

Nintendo
Nintendo Co., Ltd.
Type Kabushiki gaisha
Traded as TYO: 7974
Osaka SE: 7974
OTC Markets GroupNTDOY
FWBNTO
Industry Card games
Video games
Founded September 23, 1889[2]
Headquarters Original office
Kyoto, Japan
International offices:[3]
Redmond, Washington, United States
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Großostheim, Germany
Scoresby, Victoria, Australia
Suzhou, PRC (as iQue, Ltd.)
Seoul, South Korea
Taiwan, ROC (via Nintendo Co., Ltd. and Haku Yu)
Windsor, Berkshire, UK
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Area served Worldwide
Key people Satoru Iwata: President and CEO
Reggie Fils-Aime: President and COO of NOA
Shigeru Miyamoto: Game Designer
Conrad Abbott: President of NOC
Rose Lappin: Managing Director of Nintendo Australia
Gunpei Yokoi (deceased): Creator of Game Boy, Game & Watch and Metroid video game series
Hiroshi Yamauchi: Former President and Chairman
Minoru Arakawa: Former head of NOA
Satoru Shibata: President of NOE
Satoshi Tajiri: Creator of the Pokémon franchise
Products Game Boy line, Color TV Game, NES, SNES, Virtual Boy, Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and various video games
Revenue decrease ¥1 trillion (2011)[4]
Operating income decrease ¥171 billion (2011)[4]
Net income decrease ¥77.6 billion (2011)[4]
Total assets decrease ¥1.6 trillion (2011)[4]
Total equity decrease ¥1.2 trillion (2011)[4]
Employees 4,712 (2011)[5]
Website Nintendo Japan
Nintendo of America
Nintendo of Canada (English)
Nintendo of Europe
Nintendo Australia
Nintendo Taiwan
Nintendo of Korea

Nintendo Co., Ltd. (任天堂株式会社 Nintendō Kabushiki gaisha?) is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889[2] by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards.[6] By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel.[7]

Nintendo developed into a video game company, becoming what is arguably the most influential in the industry, and Japan's third most valuable listed company, with a market value of over US$85 billion.[8] Nintendo of America is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team.[9]

The name Nintendo can be roughly translated from Japanese to English as "leave luck to heaven".[10] As of October 18, 2010, Nintendo has sold over 565 million hardware units and 3.4 billion software units.[11]

Contents

History

Former headquarters plate, from when Nintendo was solely a playing card company

As a card company (1889–1956)

Nintendo was founded as a card company in late 1889, originally named Nintendo Koppai. Based in Kyoto, Japan, the business produced and marketed a playing card game called Hanafuda. The handmade cards soon became popular, and Yamauchi hired assistants to mass produce cards to satisfy demand. Nintendo continues to manufacture playing cards in Japan[12] and organizes its own contract bridge tournament called the "Nintendo Cup".[13]

New ventures (1956–1974)

In 1956, Hiroshi Yamauchi (grandson of Fusajiro Yamauchi) visited the U.S. to talk with the United States Playing Card Company, the dominant playing card manufacturer there. He found that the world's biggest company in his business was only using a small office. This was a turning point when Yamauchi realized the limitations of the playing card business. He then gained access to Disney's characters and put them on the playing cards to drive sales.

The Nintendo Love Tester

In 1963, Yamauchi renamed Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd. to Nintendo Co., Ltd.[14] The company then began to experiment in other areas of business using newly injected capital. During this period of time between 1963 and 1968, Nintendo set up a taxi company, a love hotel chain, a TV network, a food company (selling instant rice, similar to instant noodles) and several other things. All of these ventures eventually failed, and after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, playing card sales dropped, and Nintendo's stock price plummeted to ¥60.

In 1966, Nintendo moved into the Japanese toy industry with the Ultra Hand, an extendable arm developed by its maintenance engineer Gunpei Yokoi in his free time. Yokoi was moved from maintenance to the new "Nintendo Games" department as a product developer. Nintendo continued to produce popular toys, including the Ultra Machine, Love Tester and the Kousenjuu series of light gun games. Despite some successful products, Nintendo struggled to meet the fast development and manufacturing turnaround required in the toy market, and fell behind the well-established companies such as Bandai and Tomy.

In 1973, its focus shifted to family entertainment venues with the Laser Clay Shooting System, using the same light gun technology used in Nintendo's Kousenjuu series of toys, and set up in abandoned bowling alleys. Following some success, Nintendo developed several more light gun machines for the emerging arcade scene. While the Laser Clay Shooting System ranges had to be shut down following excessive costs, Nintendo had found a new market.

Electronic era (since 1974)

Nintendo's first venture into the video-gaming industry was securing rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey video game console in Japan in 1974. Nintendo began to produce its own hardware in 1977, with the Color TV Game home video game consoles. Four versions of these consoles were produced, each including variations of a single game (for example, Color TV Game 6 featured six versions of Light Tennis).

A student product developer named Shigeru Miyamoto was hired by Nintendo at this time.[15] He worked for Yokoi, and one of his first tasks was to design the casing for several of the Color TV Game consoles. Miyamoto went on to create, direct and produce some of Nintendo's most famous video games and become one of the most recognizable figures in the video game industry.[15]

In 1975, Nintendo moved into the video arcade game industry with EVR Race, designed by their first game designer, Genyo Takeda,[16] and several more titles followed. Nintendo had some small success with this venture, but the release of Donkey Kong in 1981, designed by Miyamoto, changed Nintendo's fortunes dramatically. The success of the game and many licensing opportunities (such as ports on the Atari 2600, Intellivision and ColecoVision) gave Nintendo a huge boost in profit.

In 1980, Nintendo launched Game & Watch—a handheld video game series developed by Yokoi where each game was played on a separate device—to worldwide success. In 1983, Nintendo launched the Family Computer (commonly shortened "Famicom"), known outside Japan as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), home video game console in Japan, alongside ports of its most popular arcade titles. In 1985, the NES launched in North America, and was accompanied by Super Mario Bros., currently one of the best-selling video games of all time.[17]

In 1989, Yokoi developed the Game Boy handheld game console.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was superseded by the Super Famicom, known outside Japan as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). This was Nintendo's console of the 16-bit 4th generation, following the Famicom of the 8-bit 3rd generation, whose main rival was the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. A fierce console war between Sega and Nintendo ensued.[18] The SNES eventually sold 49.10 million consoles,[19] around 20 million more than the Mega Drive/Genesis.

During the dominance of the Game Boy line, its creator, Yokoi, designed the Virtual Boy, a table-mounted semi-portable console featuring stereoscopic graphics. Users view games through a binocular eyepiece and control games using a gamepad. Rushed to market in 1995 to compensate for development delays with the upcoming Nintendo 64, the Virtual Boy was a commercial failure due to poor third-party support and a large price point. Amid the systems's failure, Yokoi was asked to leave Nintendo.[20]

The company's next home console, the Nintendo 64, was released in 1996 and features 3D graphics capabilities and built-in multiplayer for up to four players. The system's controller introduced the analog stick. Nintendo later introduced the Rumble Pak, an accessory for the Nintendo 64 controller that produced force feedback with compatible games. It was the first such device to come to market for home console gaming and eventually became an industry standard.[21]

The Nintendo GameCube followed in 2001 and was the first Nintendo console to utilize optical disc storage instead of cartridges.[22] The most recent home console, the Wii, uses motion sensing controllers[23] and has on-board online functionality used for services such as Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and Internet Channel[24] (in contrast to GameCube's limited functionality on select games with an additional modem accessory[25]). The Wii's success, as well as the success of the DS, introduced an expansion of audience to broader and non-traditional demographics, a business model with which Nintendo has had success.[citation needed] Contrarily, the new business model has also resulted in some long-time gamers abandoning the Nintendo console for its competitors.[26]

Nintendo unveiled their newest home console, the Wii U, on June 7, 2011 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.[27]

Handheld console history

The Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo's latest handheld video game system which features autostereoscopic 3D.

After the successful Game & Watch, the handheld development continued with the Game Boy, the Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Color, with the latter two differing in fairly minor aspects. The Game Boy, the best-selling handheld and third best-selling console of all time, continued for more than a decade until the release of the Game Boy Advance, featuring improved technical specifications similar to those of the SNES. The Game Boy Advance SP, a frontlit (backlit in later editions), flip-screen version, introduced a rechargeable, built-in battery, which ended the need for AA batteries in previous consoles. The Game Boy Micro was released in 2005, after the Nintendo DS's release, but did not sell as well as its predecessors.

The Nintendo DS replaced the Game Boy line sometime after its initial release in 2004, originally advertised as an alternative to the Game Boy Advance.[28] It was distinctive because it had two screens and a microphone, in a clamshell design continuing on from the Game Boy Advance SP.

The Nintendo DS Lite, a remake of the DS, improved several features of the original model, including the battery life and screen brightness. It was designed to be sleeker, more beautiful, and more aesthetically pleasing than the original, in order to appeal to a broader audience.[29] On November 1, 2008, Nintendo released, in Japan, the Nintendo DSi, an improved version featuring smaller screens, improved sound quality, an AAC music player and two cameras—one on the outside and one facing the user.[30] It was released in North America, Europe, and Australia at the start of April, 2009. The successor of the DSi, with an expanded screen, is the Nintendo DSi XL, which was released on November 21, 2009 in Japan and the first half of 2010 in other regions.[31]

The successor to the Nintendo DS line, the Nintendo 3DS, uses the process of autostereoscopy to produce a stereoscopic three-dimensional effect (glasses-free) and was released in Japan on February 26, 2011, launched in Europe on March 25, 2011 and North America on March 27, 2011.[32] The console got off to a slow start, initially missing many key features that were promised before the system launched. [33] Nevertheless, the subsequent price cuts, the addition of a second joystick via an adaptor and the increase in third-party support renewed optimism in the system from investors causing Nintendo's shares to rise. [34]

Infrastructure

Key Executives

  • Satoru Iwata, President and Representative Director
  • Yoshihiro Mori, Senior Managing Director, General Manager of Corporate Analysis & Administration Division, and Representative Director
  • Shinji Hatano, Senior Managing Director, General Manager of Licensing Division, and Representative Director
  • Masaharu Matsumoto, Managing Director
  • Shigeru Miyamoto, Senior Managing Director and Representative Director[35]

Offices and locations

Nintendo Co., Ltd. (NCL)[36] is based in Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan (34°58′11.89″N 135°45′22.33″E / 34.9699694°N 135.7562028°E / 34.9699694; 135.7562028). Its pre-2000 office, now its research and development building, is located in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan (34°58′29.00″N 135°46′10.48″E / 34.97472°N 135.7695778°E / 34.97472; 135.7695778). Its original Kyoto headquarters can still be found at (34°59′30.03″N 135°45′58.66″E / 34.991675°N 135.7662944°E / 34.991675; 135.7662944).

Nintendo of America, Incorporated (NOA), its U.S. division, is based in Redmond, Washington. It has distribution centers in Atlanta, Georgia (Nintendo Atlanta) and North Bend, Washington (Nintendo North Bend).

Nintendo of Canada, Ltd. (NOCL) is based in Vancouver, BC, with its distribution center in Toronto, Ontario.

Nintendo Australia Pty Ltd (NAL) is based in Melbourne, Victoria. It handles the distribution, sales and marketing of Nintendo products in Australia and New Zealand. It also manufactures some of the Wii games locally.

Nintendo of Europe (NOE) is based in Großostheim (established in 1990),[37] close to Frankfurt, Germany.

Nintendo UK is based in Windsor, Berkshire.

iQue, Ltd., a Chinese joint venture between its founder, Doctor Wei Yen, and Nintendo, manufactures and distributes official Nintendo consoles and games for the mainland Chinese market, under the iQue brand.

Nintendo also established Nintendo of Korea (NoK) on July 7, 2006.[38]


Software development studios

First-party studios

Second-party studios

Since the 1980s, Nintendo has built up a large group of second-party partners, through publishing agreements or collaboration.

Former affiliates

Policy

Emulation

Nintendo, particularly Nintendo of America, is known for a "no tolerance" stance for emulation of its video games and consoles, stating that it is the single largest threat to the intellectual rights of video game developers.[51] Nintendo claims that copyright-like rights in mask works protect its games from the exceptions that United States copyright law otherwise provides for personal backup copies. Nintendo uses the claim that emulators running on personal computers have no use other than to play pirated video games, though a use that doesn't involve intellectual property in this way is seen in the development and testing of independently produced "homebrew" software on Nintendo's platforms. It is also claimed that Nintendo's claims contradict copyright laws, mainly that ROM image copiers are illegal (they 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 foreign counterparts)[52] and that emulators are illegal (if they do not use copyrighted BIOS, or use other methods to run the game, they are legal; see Console emulator for further information about the legality of emulators). This stance is largely apocryphal, however; Nintendo remains the only modern console manufacturer that has not sued an emulator manufacturer.[citation needed] Emulators have been used by Nintendo and licensed third party companies as a means to re-release older games (e.g. Virtual Console).

Content guidelines

For many years, Nintendo had a policy of strict content guidelines for video games published on its consoles. Although Nintendo of Japan allowed graphic violence in its video games, nudity and sexuality were strictly prohibited. Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi believed that if the company allowed the licensing of pornographic games, the company's image would be forever tarnished.[53] Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe went further in that games released for Nintendo consoles could not feature nudity, sexuality, profanity (including racism, sexism or slurs), blood, graphic or domestic violence, drugs, political messages or religious symbols (with the exception of widely unpracticed religions, such as the Greek Pantheon).[54] The Japanese parent company was concerned that it may be viewed as a "Japanese Invasion" by forcing Japanese community standards on North American and European children. U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman praised this zero tolerance policy, but others criticized the policy, claiming that gamers should be allowed to choose the content they want to see. Despite the strict guidelines, some exceptions have occurred: Bionic Commando (though swastikas were eliminated in the US version), Smash TV and Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode contained human violence, the latter also containing implied sexuality and tobacco use; River City Ransom and Taboo: The Sixth Sense contained nudity, and the latter also contained religious images, as did Castlevania II and III.

A known side effect of this policy was the Sega Genesis version of Mortal Kombat selling over double the number of the Super NES version, mainly because Nintendo had forced publisher Acclaim to recolor the red blood to look like white sweat and replace some of the more gory graphics in its release of the game, making it non-violent.[55] By contrast, Sega allowed blood and gore to remain in the Genesis version (though a code was required to unlock the gore). Nintendo allowed the Super NES version of Mortal Kombat II to ship uncensored the following year with a content warning on the packaging.[56]

In 1994 and 2003, when the ESRB and PEGI (respectively) video game ratings systems were introduced, Nintendo chose to abolish most of these policies in favor of consumers making their own choices about the content of the games they played. Today, changes to the content of games are done primarily by the game's developer or, occasionally, at the request of Nintendo. The only clear-set rule is that ESRB AO-rated games will not be licensed on Nintendo consoles in North America,[57] a practice which is also enforced by Sony and Microsoft, its two greatest competitors in the present market. Nintendo has since allowed several mature-content games to be published on its consoles, including: Perfect Dark, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Doom and Doom 64, BMX XXX, the Resident Evil series, killer7, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, BloodRayne, Geist and Dementium: The Ward. Certain games have continued to be modified, however. For example, Konami was forced to remove all references to cigarettes in the 2000 Game Boy Color game Metal Gear Solid (although the previous NES version of Metal Gear and the subsequent Gamecube game Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes both included such references, as did Wii title MadWorld), and maiming and blood were removed from the Nintendo 64 port of Cruis'n USA.[58] Another example is in the Game Boy Advance game Mega Man Zero 3, in which one of the bosses, called Hellbat Schilt in the Japanese and European releases, was renamed Devilbat Schilt in North America. localization. In North America releases of the Mega Man Zero games, enemies and bosses killed with a saber attack would not gush blood as they did in the Japanese versions. However, the release of the Wii has been accompanied by a number of even more controversial mature titles, such as Manhunt 2, No More Heroes, The House of the Dead: Overkill and MadWorld, the latter three of which are published exclusively for the console. The Nintendo DS also has violent games, such as Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Dementium: The Ward, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Resident Evil: Deadly Silence.

License guidelines

Nintendo of America also had guidelines before 1993 that had to be followed by its licensees to make games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, in addition to the above content guidelines:.[53] Guidelines were enforced through the 10NES lockout chip.

  • Licensees were not permitted to release the same game for a competing console until two years had passed.
  • Nintendo would decide how many cartridges would be supplied to the licensee.
  • Nintendo would decide how much space would be dedicated for articles, advertising, etc. in the Nintendo Power magazine.
  • There was a minimum number of cartridges that had to be ordered by the licensee from Nintendo.
  • There was a yearly limit of five games that a licensee may produce for a Nintendo console.[59] This rule was created to prevent market over-saturation, which had caused the North American video game crash of 1983.

The last rule was circumvented in a number of ways; for example, Konami, wanting to produce more games for Nintendo's consoles, formed Ultra Games and later Palcom to produce more games as a technically different publisher.[53] This disadvantaged smaller or emerging companies, as they could not afford to start additional companies. In another side effect, Square Co. (now Square Enix) executives have suggested that the price of publishing games on the Nintendo 64 along with the degree of censorship and control that Nintendo enforced over its games, most notably Final Fantasy VI, were factors in switching its focus towards Sony's PlayStation console.[citation needed]

Seal of Quality

Official Nintendo Seal in NTSC regions
Nintendo's Official Seal of Quality in PAL regions

The gold starburst seal was first used by Nintendo of America, and later Nintendo of Europe. It is displayed on any game, system, or accessory licensed for use on one of its video game consoles, denoting the game has been properly licensed by Nintendo.[citation needed]

NTSC regions

In NTSC regions, this seal is an elliptical starburst titled "Official Nintendo Seal". Originally, for NTSC countries, the seal was a large, black and gold circular starburst. The seal read as follows: "This seal is your assurance that NINTENDO has approved and guaranteed the quality of this product." This seal was later altered in 1988: "approved and guaranteed" was changed to "evaluated and approved". In 1989, the seal became gold and white, as it currently appears, with a shortened phrase, "Official Nintendo Seal of Quality". It was changed in 2003 to read "Official Nintendo Seal".[1]

PAL regions

In PAL regions, the seal is a circular starburst titled, "Original Nintendo Seal of Quality". Text near the seal in the Australian Wii manual states:

This seal is your assuranace that Nintendo has reviewed this product and that it has met our standards for excellence in workmanship, reliability and entertainment value. Always look for this seal when buying games and accessories to ensure complete compatibility with your Nintendo product.[60]

Environmental record

Greenpeace's October 2010 "Guide to Greener Electronics" report ranks Nintendo last on a list of electronics manufacturers, with the same score (1.8 out of 10) as in the previous version of the guide (May 2010). The report cites increasing carbon dioxide emissions (failed to be reduced per target) and a lack of waste management. Limited praise focuses on satisfactory energy efficiency of the DSi's AC adapter, the reduction of PVC usage in wiring (and new chemical regulations) and the disclosure of carbon dioxide emissions.[61]

In the January 2010 version of the ranking, Nintendo scored 1.4 points, at which, three days later, Nintendo issued a response that addressed primary concerns, highlighting a policy to indicate the materials used in each product, which makes end-of-life recycling of products easier.[62]

See also

Portal icon Nintendo portal
Portal icon Companies portal

Notes

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References

  • Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. Roseville, California: Prima Publishing. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. 

Further reading

  • Sloan, Daniel (2011). Playing to Wiin: Nintendo and the Video Game Industrys Greatest Comeback. Wiley. ISBN 978-0470825129. 

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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