Industry legend Bing Gordon sees a very Sega-shaped future for Nintendo.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, the former chief creative office and all round EA executive powerhouse predicted a grim future for Nintendo despite its hardware successes in recent generations.
“I think Nintendo’s already on track to become primarily a software company,” Gordon said.
“We saw that with Sega back in the day; Sega made some missteps and became primarily a software company.”
Gordon said Nintendo “hasn’t really made missteps” and is better off than Sega was in terms of talent and leadership, but said it’s coming under pressure from external factors.
“Apple’s most directly competitive with Nintendo. So far, when [Nintendo designer Shigeru] Miyamoto makes a perfect game, in his career he makes games worth $200 – it’s worth buying a system for,” he said.
“I think the handheld is going to be under a lot of pressure. I can imagine a day when Nintendo wonders – and maybe it’s generational change – when Nintendo wonders if they ought to take some of their best games and make them apps.”
If Nintendo were to start pushing content to Apple devices, the result would be “stunning”, Gordon said.
“Neither Apple or Nintendo – both those companies like control – is likely to want a partnership, but a partnership would be stunningly cool,” he said.
“I think if you’re Nintendo, as long as Miyamoto’s coming to work, you can sustain a proprietary platform. He’s that good.”
Miyamoto is behind many of Nintendo’s top properties – Mario, Donkey Kong and Nintendogs, to name just a small selection – and is 59 years old. Rumours of his retirement send shareholders running.