The Story So Far

Nintendo’s beginnings date back to the year 1889 when Fusajiro Yamauchi began manufacturing playing cards in Japan. Innovation, value, and quality became an early focus of Nintendo, and its founding members were always looking for ways to lead the market in these regards. As Nintendo found early success in the playing card industry, they began to push for a better product.

In 1953, Nintendo was the first company in Japan to mass-produce plastic playing cards successfully, and as a result, the company grew at a much faster rate. Ten years later, in 1963, Nintendo began to produce and sell games in addition to playing cards, and the Nintendo we know today began to take a more familiar shape. In the 1970’s, Nintendo entered the videogame market and quickly rose to a position where they dominated the market thanks to a technologically superior product, great marketing, and their continued tradition of innovation and value. Nintendo’s dominance continued until the mid to late 1990’s when Sony toppled the former king of videogame consoles with its PlayStation console. Ever since that moment, Nintendo has been scrambling to catch up to Sony in the console race, and just recently has had to battle with Microsoft’s Xbox console for market share as well.

Here is a list of important dates that chronicles Nintendo’s console history since the NES was released in the United States.

  • 1985 – Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is released in the United States. The NES features superior graphics and sound than the competition
  • 1989 – GameBoy (GB) handheld system is released. GB is the world’s first handheld with changeable game cartridges
  • 1991 – The Super NES is released in the United States. The SNES hardware features superior graphics and sound than the competition
  • 1996 – The Nintendo 64 (N64) is released in the United States. The N64 is the world’s first true 64-bit console making it the most powerful console in history
  • 1998 – The GameBoy Color is released in the United States
  • 2001 – The GameBoy Advance (GBA) is released in the United States. The GBA is the world’s most advanced handheld machine to date
  • 2001 – The GameCube (GCN) launches in the United States. The GCN outperforms the PlayStation 2 and is capable of progressive scan display and online play
  • 2003 – The GameBoy Advance SP (GBA SP) is released in the United States. The GBA SP is the world’s longest lasting handheld with a rechargeable battery
  • 2004 – The Nintendo DS is released in the United States. Featuring dual screens, touch input, microphone input, and Wi-Fi support, the DS is a gamer’s dream
  • 2005 – First official details of the Nintendo Revolution are made known to the public

The preceding timeline illustrates Nintendo’s commitment to value, technology and innovation in pretty much equal proportions. Never in Nintendo’s history have they launched a product that has been noticeably inferior to the competition, but recent announcements coming from Nintendo have long time fans of the company worried.

With the next-generation of consoles appearing soon, everybody is checking out the features of what Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have to offer. Leading up to E3 2005, Nintendo maintained that the Nintendo Revolution would support high-definition displays, and so did Sony and Microsoft. In fact, by E3 2005 Sony and Microsoft had made it clear that developers would be required to implement high-definition resolutions into each software application developed for their respective next-gen consoles.

In the post-E3 storm of hype and PR releases, Nintendo did the unexpected, and to some the unforgivable: Nintendo announced that high-definition resolution support would NOT be a feature of the upcoming Revolution console. Nintendo has stated that high-definition support is being nixed from the Revolution in favor of streamlining the development process of software and more budget-friendly hardware. For the first time in Nintendo’s history they have chosen to forgo technology advances to focus almost exclusively on innovation and value. If the Nintendo Revolution is going to be Nintendo’s flagship console for the next 4-5 years, it’s clear that they’ll be behind the technological curve by many years.