I was just reading a Spy/CounterSpy article on GameSpy regarding "Nintendo’s Innovative Strategy". While I think the article fairly accurately sums up Nintendo’s predicament I also noticed that, like most articles discussing Nintendo, they completely fail to point out that for all Nintendo’s talk about ‘Revolution’ and re-inventing gameplay it hasn’t actually done much of it lately and in my opinion isn’t likely to do much of it in the future. Except for a few unique and compelling titles, such as Pikmin and Animal Crossing, the GameCube line up has been almost entirely stocked with re-hashes of old, and somewhat tired, core Nintendo franchises.
As far as I am concerned the whole GBA/GameCube connection business is a complete and total gimmic that hasn’t had a compelling title developed for it yet. Also, multiplayer handheld gaming is hardly a new idea. The Atari Lynx’s ComLynx cable let you play linked games with up to 18 other people in 1989.
Of all the companies developing games, I think the one that has done the most innovative things and has actually expanded the boundries of "gameplay" has been Sony’s London Studio. London Studio developed both the Eye Toy and Singstar concepts. Both of these games broke more ground than any current generation Nintendo title I’ve seen.
Admittedly both Singstar and Eye Toy are not for everyone. Most "hard core" games probably look down on them with derision. But the girls love ’em as do more casual gamers and it is both of these markets that the Games Industry needs to expand into if it is to continue to expand at its current rate.
So for all my love of Nintendo kit I think they should probably pull a Sega, get out of the console hardware business, and just make software. It is what they do best anyway.