Video: Experts Believed Nintendo Was In Trouble Back In 1990, Too
Posted by Damien McFerran
Some things never change
When you're one of the world's most recognisable brands then it's only natural for people to predict your downfall. That has happened to Nintendo many times in the past, and history is repeating itself as a new console war begins in earnest. Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One launch this Christmas, and these hardware releases — combined with poor sales of the Wii U — have led many experts to predict Nintendo's ultimate failure.
The important thing to remember here is that this dismal prediction has been repeated several times in the past, and Nintendo has always confounded expectations and pulled something out of the bag. If you need any proof check out the video below, unearthed by Howard "Gamemaster" Phillips — who also happens to star in the footage.
In the report — which aired on Good Morning America way back in 1990 — consumer editor Paula Lyons explored the issues facing Nintendo at the start of the '90s. The NES was dominant but global recession was about to hit and the games market was shrinking. To make matters worse, Sega's 16-bit Genesis had hit store shelves, providing the ageing NES with some stiff competition.
As we all know, Nintendo didn't roll over and die thanks to rival firms turning up and stealing its market share. The Genesis was a massive success, but so was the SNES, which had launched in Japan when this report was made but hadn't reached American shores. Another fascinating similarity between now and then is the importance of portable systems; Lyons notes that without a 16-bit console on the shelves, Nintendo was relying on the monochrome Game Boy to bolster sales — something which is equally true of the 3DS today.
It's interesting to see that console wars are just as tight and competitive these days as they were back in 1990 — if not more so.