Nintendo’s Appeal from a Different Perspective

Recently, I spoke about Nintendo having focus, and that focus has been increasingly on young adult women. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: when Nintendo has a solid focus on a specific market, great things usually follow. With all this talk about females playing a larger role in the gaming world – whether characters in a game, the actual gamers, or the game developers – I feel there is another group that isn’t given too much notice. Well, at least within the console gaming community.

I have many friends who are PC gamers. They aren’t the stereotypes that many console gamers think they might be; they don’t “look down” on me because I play on consoles, nor give me a hard time and try to convince me to get into PC gaming instead. They love playing on PC, and they’ll gladly recommend it, but that’s about it. I would, however, ask them their views of console gaming and if they ever played gaming consoles outside of their PC set up. Nearly every one mentioned that the only appealing console to them was Nintendo’s current system [at that time]. After hearing so many similar responses, I decided to finally do a little research with this question in mind: does Nintendo have an largely untapped console market within the PC gaming community?

I started asking 5 questions to various PC gamers, both those I know and those whom I’ve never met before. These were the 5 questions I asked:

1) Are you solely a PC gamer, or do you play via consoles as well?
2) How often (how many hours a week) would you estimate that you play?
3) How long have you been gaming? How long have you been gaming on PC?
4) Do you own any “next gen” consoles? If so, which one(s) and why did you get it/them? If not, do any of them interest you (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U), and why?
5) How would you define what “next gen” means?

I wanted to hear from genuine PC gamers and get their responses. Many of the gamers I spoke to had only started playing on PC within the last 5-6 years, with only a few playing on PC for a longer period of time. Most of those who had been playing PC for longer did not have many newer consoles, if any at all, and hadn’t played on a console for some time. These gamers didn’t care about playing on consoles for two reasons: none of the exclusives were appealing, and any games that were appealing were available on PC. Here are some of the responses for questions 1-3:

Question 1:
(Response 1) – Yes, I am solely a PC gamer. Although, I used to game exclusively on consoles before I made the transition to PC
(Response 2) – I play via consoles and handhelds as well
(Response 3) – I play PS3, Wii, GC, PS2/PS1 & Dreamcast on occasion but my primary means of gaming is PC & handheld (Vita, PSP, 3DS)

Question 2:
(Response 1) – Around 10h/week, split 50% between PC and consoles
(Response 2) – Depends on the time of year, but i usually hover around 5+, definitely more during the summertime, and winter
(Response 3) – It honestly depends on what I have going on. A couple months ago I put in over 96 hours of game time in a week. This week has been unusually busy for me so I’ve only put in about 5 or 6 hours. On an average though, I would say about 25+ hours a week are spent gaming

Question 3:
(Response 1)Gaming since 1989, on PC since 1996
(Response 2) – I’ve been gaming since I was around 5. I’ve done a bit of PC gaming since the late 90s, early 00s but fully absorbed myself  into PC gaming somewhere around 5yrs ago
(Response 3) – I’ve been gaming for nearly as long as I can remember. I played Centipede and the like on my Grandfather’s old IBM

The average weekly play time between all of the gamers who responded was about 15-20 hours, with some as high as 96 hours and some only 5 hours. In addition, only a few (almost exclusively the long time PC gamers) didn’t play on a console each week. In fact, many stated that they split their game time between PC and console about 50% each week. All of these responses seemed to be exactly what all my closer PC friends had told me before; I wasn’t terribly surprised by these statistics. What did somewhat surprise me were the responses to questions 4 and 5. Here are some of them:

Question 4:

(Response 1) – I own a Wii U, nabbed it at launch
(Response 2) – I do not own any current (next) gen consoles. I did buy a Wii U back when they first came out, but I sold it back in September because I didn’t use it anymore. I have no desire to buy any kind of console whether it be an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4. My PC is twice as powerful (if not more) than either console. PC gaming does not require that I pay for online multiplayer, it does not force me pay to use services I already pay for (Netflix, Hulu), I can play at 4k resolution or 1080p at 60fps with EVERY game, and my games cost significantly less than they do on consoles. I can’t remember the last time I actually spent $60, $50, or even $40 on a game. ALTHOUGH, I do own a 3DS. I’m a sucker for mobile Nintendo games. Pokemon, Zelda, Luigi’s Freaking Mansion 2! I waited over 10 years for that sequel. I have never really been one to care about “exclusives”. Yes, I played The Last of Us and I hated it. It bored the crap out of me. Halo is ok, but not great enough to buy a console over. Nintendo exclusives are good, but once you played one, you’ve played them all
(Response 3) – If you want to call the Vita/3DS “next-gen” I own those because I like Zelda and Sony’s indie & exclusive games, but none of the next-gen home consoles. Right now my interest in the WiiU is slightly higher than the PS4 because most of the PS4 games that interest my are also available or will be available on PC. Also the WiiU has a great (of small) line of exclusives and there look to be even more coming in 2015 so that’s probably when I’ll get a WiiU

Question 5:
(Response 1) – For me, machines capable of doing what old consoles couldn’t (possibly not gfx only). New features, and different from PC
(Response 2) – It hardly means anything. It always means what is expected of the “next gen” of consoles/hardware iterations. Since being released PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U are the current gen.  Alas, since they’re still new enough they’re still being touted as “next gen” and being so, are expected to provide an experience above and beyond the “last gen” of consoles, (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3). Oddly enough, they’re all behind what you can do with a PC, with some exceptions
(Response 3) – To me “Next-Gen” implies a significant upgrade in graphical capabilities and mechanical capabilities (the depth & complexity of game mechanics, world generation & AI, optimization of hardware to reduce input lag & load times)

Many of the PC gamers I spoke to weren’t incredibly interested in a PS4 or Xbox One, but if they were interested, they were interested in what Nintendo had to offer, or another company’s handheld (ie- PS Vita). My personal PC friends all have a Wii U, with the exception of 2, but those 2 want to purchase a Wii U when they have the money. Now, there were some not interested in, or had moved on from, a Wii U to go back to PC gaming, but the majority of the answers were positive towards Nintendo’s “latest flop.” It was very easy to see why many of these PC gamers were interested in the Wii U and 3DS…
The view of the term “next gen” was almost unanimous amongst the PC gamers interviewed. It wasn’t necessarily about graphics or power, as PC easily was the top choice for both of those categories. It wasn’t about the online experience, as PC has free online multiplayer capabilities, as well as more diverse content that is patched in regularly. It’s not even exclusives, as many pointed out that PC gaming software is much cheaper than anything found on consoles, and usually has more content than console software. The real draw seemed to be what a console had to offer in how to play a game; does the console/software offer a unique experience that can’t be found on PC?
Nintendo has a possible new market to draw in here. What make the Wii U…well, a Wii U? The GamePad. I’ve said before that if Nintendo can utilize the GamePad it would prove the full worth of its latest home console. The GamePad has potential to offer a very different gaming experience that cannot be found on other gaming systems, and I believe that if they fully utilize it, they will draw even more of the PC gamer crowd (and possibly win over some of the current naysayers). “Next gen” isn’t necessarily about graphics, power, or just being new. It’s about unique gameplay that cannot be found on older systems. With that being said, Nintendo has a real opportunity to capitalize on a market outside of the home console community; this is why I am extremely excited for Miyamoto-San’s latest projects that are GamePad-heavy (though the tech demos weren’t incredibly appealing). Time will tell if the Wii U can promise on unique gameplay via the GamePad; we just have to wait, I suppose.
Are you a PC gamer? Give your input regarding this topic in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Nintendo’s Appeal from a Different Perspective

  1. I am predominately a PC gamer. I play console games sometimes, but more on handheld. Of the big three closed-platform holders, Nintendo is probably the most interesting to me, but not really because of the unique hardware capabilities they give their platforms. It has more to do with the fact that *nobody* really makes the types of games that Nintendo makes. I can find plenty of third-person shooters like Uncharted, or first person-shooters like Halo, and Gran Turismo and Forza sort of cancel each other out. But you really can’t find, for instance, a 3D platformer on the same-level as the 3D Land/World or Galaxy games, a replacement for Smash Bros., a good Animal Crossing clone, an RPG with the magic of Paper Mario, an action-adventure game with the same spirit as Zelda, etc. etc. Even if I sometimes get annoyed by them feeling behind-the-times, I’ve never really lost interest in Nintendo, simply because the games they put out are incredibly unique (not to mention high quality).


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