Things have changed quite a bit in the video game industry over the last thirty years--giants like Atari and Sega are mere shells of their former selves, and tech giants like Sony and Microsoft are the heavy hitters. Meanwhile, Nintendo... abides.
Jude Buffum is a genius.
Through thick and thin, from the soaring heights of the Super NES and DS to the abysmal lows of the Virtual Boy, Nintendo just keeps plugging away at the video game market, still standing by its loyal fans and always reaching out to new audiences. In fact, it seems like no matter what happens in the market, Nintendo will always be there--at least, that's what Oddworld's Lorne Lanning believes.
"I looked at that and I thought, 'How does that whole [Xbox One] team feel, knowing that the guy who led them to that train wreck just jumped out with maybe a $5 million parachute?' That's an issue we don't talk about today, because it's not cool in capitalism to talk about that."
Completely contrasting with that, Lanning then talked about Nintendo's Satoru Iwata, specifically this month-old quote from Iwata when he was asked about laying off employees--it's actually kind of hard to keep a job in game design these days, because studios are being shut down left and right and publishers focus solely on the bottom line. Here's the important part of Iwata's statement:
"If we reduce the number of employees for better short-term financial results, employee morale will decrease. I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the world.
"I also know that some employers publicize their restructuring plan to improve their financial performance by letting a number of their employees go, but at Nintendo, employees make valuable contributions in their respective fields, so I believe that laying off a group of employees will not help to strengthen Nintendo's business in the long run."
Moved by Iwata's resolve, Lanning continued:
"When he said that, in my opinion, he was immortalized in the creative community. I would work with him in a second. When a man in that type of position, in a world where the golden rule is the rule and that's what's expected at public companies, he stood up and said, 'That's not what we're about. We're about building great stuff. We have great people to build great stuff. We're gonna do that.
"When I look at the history of Nintendo, I say, 'Nintendo is going to be here in 100 years.' I have no doubt. I doubt Microsoft will be here in 100 years. I know Zynga won't be here in 100 years."
Damn, Lorne Lanning. I've always respected you for your quality-over-quantity approach to design, and the rich and intricately-built games you've released. Now, I think I like you even more.
I'm talking like Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty wasn't going to be a day-one purchase or something
Truth be told, Nintendo already has been around for 100 years--the company was founded in 1889, originally making hanafuda cards. But I'm with Lanning--the integrity of Nintendo's current leadership and the passion and infectious optimism they have as a company will keep them around for a lot longer. What do you think? Even with the Wii U not selling so well, will Nintendo keep abiding, just like it always has?
Thanks to Devin D. for the tip!