Nintendo is an incredible company they essentially invented the modern videogame market, are responsible for the most recognizable figures in gaming, and have always pushed innovation when they could simply rest on their laurels. However, they've also made several huge mistakes, and it's sort've a miracle they're still a company, let alone a successful one. Here are the five biggest mistakes Nintendo ever made.
5. Virtual Boy
The year was 1995 the Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems (SNES) was already 5 years old, and the Nintendo 64 wouldn't be released for another year. Gamers wanted something new something they hadn't experienced before: they wanted to jam their faces into a piece of plastic held up by a thin legs and play games with ugly graphics in nothing but red and black colors. Or, at least, that's what Nintendo thought was the case.
It's hard to tell what Nintendo's intention was with the Virtual Boy at all it couldn't have been to replace the Game Boy, because it wasn't easily portable at all, and required a hard, flat surface for use. It definitely wasn't their idea of a "next gen" console, since it was developed concurrently with the Nintendo 64 (which was released a year later). It was the ugly red-headed (literally) stepchild. And, at some point, Nintendo realized that too. They rushed it to release so they could move all development resources to the upcoming Nintendo 64. The result? Nintendo's first major failure.
How bad did it do? It was only out for a year, and only 22 games were released (and less than 15 were released in North America). After that, it was gone for good. Papa told me he took it to a farm upstate, the same one he took our dog to when he got too old and sick. I bet Rex is jamming his face in it right now.
Fun Fact: The game largely thought to be the worst one for the Virtual Boy was Water World. And when you consider Virtual Boy is Nintendo's worst system that may make Water World for Virtual Boy the worst game in history. Good news, ET for Atari.
4. Keeping The Nintendo 64 Cartridge-Based
The Nintendo 64 was the last major console released that was cartridge-based. There's a reason for that: cartridges can't hold as much data as CDs and they were much, much more expensive to produce. So you end up with crappier-looking games at several times the price. Another dynamite business strategy, Nintendo. Whatever the advantages were, the disadvantages far outweighed them in one game: Final Fantasy VII.
It was originally planned for the Nintendo 64 but Square found the cartridges too constraining for its vision for the game (rendering Cloud's hair alone would have filled up an entire cartridge's memory), and decided to bring it to the Sony PlayStation. To date, Final Fantasy VII has sold over 10,000,000 copies but more importantly, it helped turn the Sony into a serious competitor to Nintendo, as the popular Final Fantasy series stayed Sony-exclusive for another decade. Before, Nintendo's only serious competition was Sega, and their star was fading quickly with their miserable Saturn console (if this list was about Sega's mistakes, we would just link to Sega's Wikipedia page and say "pretty much everything"). Nintendo allowed its dominance to be challenged, and it paid dearly for it.
Well, at least Nintendo learned its lesson and would make sure the next console was disc-based. Surely that would make it a flawless, wild success!
3. Nintendo Gamecube
For the first time in their history, Nintendo had on their hands a third place console (behind Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's XBOX). But what went wrong here? They did the discs! The discs were supposed to fix everything, right? RIGHT?! The first thing Nintendo did wrong was opt for a tinier disc than its competitors (with the hopes of curbing piracy). It didn't help, and it allowed their games less storage, much like its predecessor's cartridge issue. Not only that, but the smaller size precluded the Gamecube from allowing DVD playback, as the Playstation 2 and XBOX had. Nintendo's always been focused on leaving their consoles as game-focused, but it may have been a little foolish to not realize a lot of gamers liked the simplicity of having their console function as a DVD player as well.
But maybe the real problem was what was on those tiny discs: at launch, the "big titles" were Luigi's Mansion, Wave Race: Blue Storm (AKA "Worse Wave Race 64"), and Rogue Squadron 2. Of these, only Rogue Squadron 2 was worth remembering. The bigger issue was that this was Nintendo's first console to launch without a new Mario game (and once the Gamecube's Mario game arrived, Mario Sunshine, reception was mixed). Also, the controller had a unique design. It made more sense than the N64's controller (that required you to have 8 tentacles to properly handle it), but it was still an polarizing choice.
The Gamecube ended up selling about 22 million units. Not bad! Until you consider the Playstation 2 sold an astounding 154 million. So kinda bad.