Nintendo is one of the biggest names in the gaming industry, dating back to 1889 when they released their first product, handmade Hanafuda playing cards. Since then, the corporation has went on to become a multinational videogame company. But while everyone loves the family-friendly games produced Nintendo produces, there is another side of the company not known to the general public.
Nintendo is famous for releasing their games only on their own consoles such as the Nintendo Switch Lite but the company extends its authority much further than that. From shutting down fan tournaments to making older game versions obsolete, Nintendo has rubbed many users the wrong way.
We’ll be explaining all this and more in detail so you know exactly what you are getting into when you buy a Nintendo game or console. Stick around to find out the whole story.
Nintendo’s Rise in Popularity
Nintendo started out in 1889 as a small company making handmade play cards. Almost 90 years later, they went on a larger scale and introduced a new subsidiary called Nintendo for America Inc. (NOA). This led to the introduction an entirely separate line of projects such as the Nintendo Gaming Watch and games to accompany it.
Around a year later, Nintendo launched the coin-operated game Donkey Kong into the market. From 1981 to 2023, Donkey Kong has remained a top-tier game with many having nostalgic memories attached to it. Back then though, it was renowned as the best-selling coin-operated game and gradually shot Nintendo into the big leagues.
With time, Nintendo increased its product range to include gaming consoles and a new variety of games, the very first being the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Mario Bros. respectively. Constantly improving and adding new content to their games, they have now solidified their position as one of the top-sellers in the gaming industry, rivaled only by a few such as Sony.
Is Nintendo Still Great Today?
But even after all these years, the thrill people experience while playing Nintendo games has not died down. Some reasons people, especially the older generation prefer this company to others, is due to their family-friendly and child-friendly game content.
Nintendo regularly introduces new games to the market but rarely do they have scenes that are not suitable for children. This reassures parents that the chances of buying a game that their child should not be playing is very slim.
Another factor contributing to Nintendo’s ongoing success is the ability to play anywhere, on any device. While you cannot take your entire PC or PlayStation console around, Nintendo games can be played anywhere on their portable handheld device. If you are at home and want the big screen experience, you can always connect to a monitor or TV to enhance your gaming experience.
These are just some of the reasons Nintendo still has some of the highest sales in games today but not all of them. If you ever browse through the Nintendo Library, you’ll see every type of game meaning the majority of the player base is bound to find one they like.
On top of that, their exclusivity plays a major role in their success. You won’t find any Nintendo game on another console officially but that is where a lot of people became cross with the gaming giant. So let’s find out what people don’t like about the company that makes some of the most casual and interactive games out there.
Reasons Why People Dislike Nintendo
There is no doubt Nintendo makes amazing games that are fun and stress-free and that’s what gaming companies are all about. But with any type of game, there are always players who wish to exceed the game’s boundaries and try out different things.
However, unlike many other companies, Nintendo does not tolerate this and is quick to shutdown anything created or hosted without Nintendo’s official consent.
Most companies would love for YouTubers or Twitch streamers to review their product without any incentive. Not Nintendo though.
YouTubers often complain of Nintendo’s extremely strict policies about making content using their products. This is because Nintendo does not allow any content creator to use a product that comes under Nintendo’s copyright laws, in their video/stream.
If they find out a content creator has done this, they go as far as to hire lawyers and sue the creator after warning them to take the content down and not repeat it again.
While people understand that a company that owns the original content has every right to stop it from being replicated or used elsewhere, Nintendo has definitely left the world baffled with its strictness regarding copyright laws.
Fan mods is another topic of debate amongst the Nintendo gaming community. Everyone knows that Nintendo’s games are extremely enjoyable for people of all ages. While no one disputes that, many avid gamers realize that games can be upgraded a bit by introducing different types of mods. This can be seen in games such as Minecraft and Stardew Valley.
However, Nintendo does not allow this on any game that is owned by them such as Super Smash Bros. or The Legend of Zelda. Mods might be considered as slight adjustments and improvements to the game but it is still a grey area considering that nothing is officiated by the company itself.
This definitely becomes a problem though because at times, mods are quality of life changes that players need to fully enjoy the game. An example of Nintendo’s ‘Pokémon Scarlet‘ and ‘Violet‘ can be taken. The games are very fun to play in essence but due to low frame rates and technical glitches, the user experience is hindered.
Even though fans can develop mods to fix these critical issues quit easily, the debate of whether making these mods public is a good idea, is on-going.
Once every game hits a certain threshold and has an established player base, many users try to organize local (or even national-level) tournaments in order to see more player engagement. These tournaments are done with or without the official consent of the company but mostly companies will partner up with the hosts to give players more incentive.
Nintendo has a different stance. Except for events organized by Nintendo themselves, they do not allow anyone else to host tournaments using their copyrighted products. The scale or type of tournament does not matter, they will issue a cease-and-desist letter to anyone trying to host an event of this type.
This was seen very recently when organizers of the Smash World Tour announced they would have to cancel both the upcoming tournament and the 2023 Smash World Tour due to Nintendo demanding they shut it down.
This third-party event was reportedly one of the largest fight competition scenes in the eSports industry. They claimed to have around 6,400 live-events worldwide in 2022, with over 325,000 in-person entries.
After many back-and-forth statements from both parties, the SWT team and Nintendo, it was decided that neither events would be able to take place.
This news was made even worse by the announcement of Nintendo’s own ‘Panda Cup’, in which they had partnered with eSports brand Panda. This was a direct statement to everyone that Nintendo would only allow tournaments officiated and hosted by them to proceed.
Fan Art & Merchandise
Nintendo prides itself on being child-friendly and has won the hearts of the younger generation all over the world. This is a sad depiction of the company themselves though as they do not allow anyone to sell any fan art or merchandise without the entirety of profits going back to the company.
Since Nintendo is a Japanese-based gaming company, many argue that the chances of them getting more exposure through fan art would be very high. But regardless of this, Nintendo chooses not to extend legal rights to any third-party dealer of merchandise and is quick to send ‘cease-and-desist’ letters to anyone found doing so.
Limited-Edition Video Games
This is a sour spot for almost every video game fanatic out there. Many of Nintendo’s video games are released as ‘limited-edition‘ meaning once we are past that period of time, Nintendo stops manufacturing and releasing more copies of that game.
This was seen very clearly in the case of Super Mario 3D All Stars, a game Nintendo warned users would not be on the Switch eShop after 6 months of the announcement. While many hoped this would not be the case and Nintendo would make an exception for this game, they followed through on their announcement and removed Super Mario 3D All Stars from the Switch eShop.
Many customers complain of the company being anti-consumer due to these policies and it is a major point of contention between consumers and Nintendo. Some might agree that keeping games as limited editions will increase their sales but taking it off the shelves permanently might be a step too far.
Pricing & Lack of Sales
Games are bought entirely for entertainment purposes. This means many buyers wait years for a game to go on sale just so they can experience what it’s all about. Nintendo fans might not feel the same way though as Nintendo rarely puts games on sale.
Now no one is suggesting that Nintendo puts all their games on sale as that would obviously depreciate their value, and since these games are their intellectual property, they have a right to price it as they wish. But as a gaming company, many wonder if Nintendo hears or rewards their fans’ loyalty at all.
Customers often expect for major releases especially, such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, to go on sale considering they are very old games. In comparison, other games like God of War on the PlayStation 4 that were released around the same date are priced significantly lower, GoW being only $20.
Even when Nintendo does put games on sale, it is a very selective collection. The prices might be slashed by 35% at most, with 50% being a rare occurrence.
There is no doubt that with the speed consoles and games are getting updated, many older games get outdated really fast. They will cease to work on newer consoles and sometimes face so much lag on older consoles that it is just not worth playing. For this reason, many games are emulated on to newer consoles.
Once again, Nintendo takes a very different stance, forbidding any game from being emulated, regardless of how expensive you bought it. This may infuriate some customers as games they bought a few years ago can become discontinued and worthless at some point. On top of that, if you want to play that game again on a newer console, you must buy it again to see proper compatibility.
This dissuades many users from buying Nintendo games, knowing they will become obsolete in the future. On the other hand, many Nintendo fans may argue that it is completely fine as Nintendo owns the copyrights.
Nintendo may have a plethora of issues regarding legal policies and infringement laws but there is no doubt that it is still going strong to this day. Most people do not care about replicating or adjusting the games but these points may really stick to those that do, especially content creators. However, whether or not you want to go ahead with Nintendo is a personal choice as their exclusivity means there’s nowhere else you’ll be awarded the same experience.