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Why Nintendo Needs New Franchises
A few weeks back, Nintendo3DSDaily, a close affiliate, posted the article Nintendo Doesn't Need New Franchises, It Needs to Use Its Existing Ones. Although some great points were made, I generally disagree. Most of Nintendo's franchises have served their purpose, and a few fresh series would be delightful. Click Read More for my two cents.
The main (and valid) argument that Nin3DS makes is that there are hundreds of Nintendo franchises, and rather than keep creating new ones, Nintendo should revive and continue to produce sequels for the series they've already established. Although the number doesn't stretch to hundreds, but they are indeed plentiful. Check out Nintendo Database for a full list, I'll be referring to it later. The thing is, out of all of 155 of the franchises they own (That's right, I counted), relatively few are fit for a sequel. A large portion were peculiar Japanese exclusives that would have no appeal to a Western audience and likely no longer appeal to an Eastern one. Another chunk of games were small, unsuccessful titles produced by 2nd-party developers that were never popular and hardly remembered. Take Knight Move, for example. It's a small puzzle game that was released twenty-five years ago exclusively in Japan developed by a company that doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. It would be a joke of an online flash game today. This isn't to say this game was a failure, but it certainly isn't a Nintendo franchise and no-one is waiting for a sequel.
A lot of these franchises listed are relatively new as well, take Bonsai Barber for example. It was released in 2009 for WiiWare. The goal of the game is to trim a virtual bonsai shrub as per request. It may have been fitting for it's time, but games of the such have since been moved to the micro transaction smartphone market. There is no longer a demand for such games, and it was never really a series of Nintendo's, but rather a game they licensed. A large number of educational/conventional/not-really-games-in-any-way franchises are also listed. Among the number stands Cooking Navi, Crossword House, and English Training. These games were low-budget gizmos that have long since served their purpose, have found more accessible platforms, and warrant no sequels.
The point is, Nintendo doesn't really have that many franchises. Sure, they've been involved in the development of a vast number of games. However, games'‰ successful franchise with a fanbase. The series that have been successful, have for the most part seen continuous releases. Nintendo has done a reasonably good job at determining what it's customers want and then delivering it. Sure, we'd all like a new installment of Star Fox or F-Zero. Yeah, it's been too long without a solid Metroid release. However, periodical releases in successful franchises and the continual output of fresh new games seems like the best plan of action for this hundred year old company.