The state of portable gaming

Right now, portable gaming is in a pretty strange place, because for once, Nintendo’s not winning the handheld war. Since the Game Boy came out, Nintendo’s portable consoles have always destroyed the competition in terms of sales. Well, except for the Virtual Boy, but that’s not so much a game system as a way to rapidly develop eye cancer. But the point is, Nintendo’s losing. Why is this? Is Pokemon not as appealing to children anymore? No, that’s not it. Everyone loves to catch ’em all. Are people tired of Mario? One could say that, but then you turn around and look at sales figures for Wii games and see that outside of games that are called “Wii blank” or have the word “Dance” in the title, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is by far the highest selling game. So why is Nintendo’s wallet hurting? Simple: Apple.

If you live in America, I want to dare you to go to any middle school or high school and try to go an entire day without hearing the words iPod, iPhone, or iPad. You pretty much can’t. Go to a college and walk into any lecture hall, and try to not see a Macbook. You can’t, because Apple are geniuses of marketing. The biggest flaw that Nintendo made with the 3DS, besides having any good launch games, is that you can’t show its biggest feature on TV. Whether it’s one of the iconic ads for the original iPod with the white iPod and headphones, shown below, or one of the newer commercials for the iPod touch that shows kids playing games and sending iMessages to each other, by looking at an advertisement for an Apple product, you can tell that Apple’s PR people know what they’re doing. By making the iDevices seem trendy and hip, it makes teenagers want to buy them. And what does Nintendo show on TV? They have commercials of fat Italian plumbers jumping through a fantasy land in which you can ride dinosaurs and you have to look down a pipe before you stick your hand into it for fear of being eaten by a plant. Sure, you can say “Only on Nintendo 3DS” as much as you want on TV, but a money-strapped teenager would much rather spend their money on a device that they can listen to music, play games on, take pictures with, and send messages to their friends with than play a game of Pokemon, and if Apple can not only market that device, but get it into the hands of all of a teenager’s friends, it’s “Game Over” for Nintendo. See what I did there? I said Game Over. You know, like in the Marios. You get it? Huh? Get it? Never mind……

Iconic iPod ad, with white headphones

iPod. Killing Nintendo?

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