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Nintendo Co., Ltd. Nintend Kabushiki gaisha) is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics company located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel. Nintendo is the world's largest gaming company by revenue.
Nintendo developed into a video game company, becoming the most influential in the industry, and Japan's third most valuable listed company, with a market value of over US$ 85 billion. Nintendo of America is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team.
The name Nintendo can be roughly translated from Japanese to English as "leave luck to heaven". As of October 18, 2010, Nintendo has sold over 565 million hardware units and 3.4 billion software units.
Nintendo was founded as a card company in late 1889, originally named Nintendo Koppai. Based in Kyoto, Japan, the business produced and marketed a playing card game called Hanafuda. The handmade cards soon became popular, and Yamauchi hired assistants to mass produce cards to satisfy demand. Nintendo continues to manufacture playing cards in Japan and organizes its own contract bridge tournament called the "Nintendo Cup".
In 1956, Hiroshi Yamauchi (grandson of Fusajiro Yamauchi) visited the U.S. to talk with the United States Playing Card Company, the dominant playing card manufacturer there. He found that the world's biggest company in his business was only using a small office. This was a turning point when Yamauchi realized the limitations of the playing card business. He then gained access to Disney's characters and put them on the playing cards to drive sales.
In 1963, Yamauchi renamed Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd. to Nintendo Co., Ltd. The company then began to experiment in other areas of business using newly injected capital. During this period of time between 1963 and 1968, Nintendo set up a taxi company, a love hotel chain, a TV network, a food company (selling instant rice, similar to instant noodles) and several other things. All of these ventures eventually failed, and after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, playing card sales dropped, and Nintendo's stock price plummeted to 60.
In 1966, Nintendo moved into the Japanese toy industry with the Ultra Hand, an extendable arm developed by its maintenance engineer Gunpei Yokoi in his free time. Yokoi was moved from maintenance to the new "Nintendo Games" department as a product developer. Nintendo continued to produce popular toys, including the Ultra Machine, Love Tester and the Kousenjuu series of light gun games. Despite some successful products, Nintendo struggled to meet the fast development and manufacturing turnaround required in the toy market, and fell behind the well-established companies such as Bandai and Tomy.
In 1973, its focus shifted to family entertainment venues with the Laser Clay Shooting System, using the same light gun technology used in Nintendo's Kousenjuu series of toys, and set up in abandoned bowling alleys. Following some success, Nintendo developed several more light gun machines (such as the light gun shooter game Wild Gunman) for the emerging arcade scene. While the Laser Clay Shooting System ranges had to be shut down following excessive costs, Nintendo had found a new market.
Nintendo's first venture into the video-gaming industry was securing rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey video game console in Japan in 1974. Nintendo began to produce its own hardware in 1977, with the Color TV Game home video game consoles. Four versions of these consoles were produced, each including variations of a single game (for example, Color TV Game 6 featured six versions of Light Tennis).
A student product developer named Shigeru Miyamoto was hired by Nintendo at this time. He worked for Yokoi, and one of his first tasks was to design the casing for several of the Color TV Game consoles. Miyamoto went on to create, direct and produce some of Nintendo's most famous video games and become one of the most recognizable figures in the video game industry.
In 1975, Nintendo moved into the video arcade game industry with EVR Race, designed by their first game designer, Genyo Takeda, and several more titles followed. Nintendo had some small success with this venture, but the release of Donkey Kong in 1981, designed by Miyamoto, changed Nintendo's fortunes dramatically. The success of the game and many licensing opportunities (such as ports on the Atari 2600, Intellivision and ColecoVision) gave Nintendo a huge boost in profit.
In 1980, Nintendo launched Game & Watcha handheld video game series developed by Yokoi where each game was played on a separate deviceto worldwide success. In 1983, Nintendo launched the Family Computer (commonly shortened "Famicom"), known outside Japan as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), home video game console in Japan, alongside ports of its most popular arcade titles. In 1985, the NES launched in North America, and was accompanied by Super Mario Bros., one of the best-selling video games of all time.
After the success of the Game & Watch, Yokoi developed the Game Boy handheld game console in 1989. The Game Boy, the best-selling handheld of all time, remained dominant for more than a decade. Incremental updates in the Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light and Game Boy Color over the next decade did little to change the original formula.
The Nintendo Entertainment System was superseded by the Super Famicom, known outside Japan as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). This was Nintendo's console of the 16-bit 4th generation, following the Famicom of the 8-bit 3rd generation, whose main rival was the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. A console war between Sega and Nintendo ensued. Although relatively late to market, the SNES considerably outsold the Mega Drive/Genesis.
Aiming to produce an affordable virtual reality console, Gunpei Yokoi designed the Virtual Boy, a table-mounted semi-portable console featuring stereoscopic graphics. Users view games through a binocular eyepiece and control games using a gamepad. Critics were generally disappointed with the quality of the games and graphics, and complained of gameplay-induced headaches. The system sold poorly and was quietly discontinued. Amid the system's failure, Yokoi retired from Nintendo.
Its market share slipping to Sega and new rival Sony, Nintendo utilized a $185 million marketing campaign, centered around the "Play It Loud" slogan, to revitalize its brand. The company's next home console, the Nintendo 64, was released in 1996 and features 3D graphics capabilities and built-in multiplayer for up to four players. The system's controller introduced the analog stick. Nintendo later introduced the Rumble Pak, an accessory for the Nintendo 64 controller that produced force feedback with compatible games. It was the first such device to come to market for home console gaming and eventually became an industry standard.
The Nintendo GameCube followed in 2001 and was the first Nintendo console to utilize optical disc storage instead of cartridges. The console was profitable, but sales paled in comparison with the rival PlayStation 2.
A major update to its handheld line, Game Boy Advance, featuring improved technical specifications similar to those of the SNES. A first update improved lighting, while a later iteration brought a smaller form factor. Although originally advertised as an alternative to the Game Boy Advance, the Nintendo DS replaced the Game Boy line sometime after its initial release in 2004. It was distinctive for its dual screens and a microphone, as well as a touch-sensitive lower screen. The Nintendo DS Lite brought a smaller form factor. The Nintendo DSi featured larger screens and two cameras, and was followed by a larger version.
The successor to the Nintendo DS line, the Nintendo 3DS, uses the process of autostereoscopy to produce a stereoscopic three-dimensional effect without glasses. The console got off to a slow start, initially missing many key features that were promised before the system launched. Partially as a result of slow sales, Nintendo stock declined in value. Subsequent price cuts and game releases renewed investor confidence in the company.
Nintendo's most recent home console, the Wii, uses motion sensing controllers and has on-board online functionality used for services such as Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and Internet Channel (in contrast to GameCube's limited functionality on select games with an additional modem accessory). Nintendo's upcoming home console, the Wii U, will feature a touch screen controller.
Nintendo of America has engaged in several high-profile marketing campaigns to define and position its brand. One of its earliest and most enduring slogans was "Now you're playing with power!", used first to promote its Nintendo Entertainment System. It modified the slogan to include "SUPER power" for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and "PORTABLE power" for the Game Boy. Its 1994 "Play It Loud!" campaign played upon teenage rebellion and fostered an edgy reputation. During the GameCube era, the "Who Are You?" suggested a link between the games we play and the people we are. The company promoted its Nintendo DS handheld with the tagline "Touching is Good."
Nintendo Co., Ltd. oversees the company's global operations and manages Japanese operations specifically. The company's two major subsidiaries, Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe, manage operations in North America and Europe respectively. Nintendo Co., Ltd. (NCL) was originally based in Kyoto. It then moved to a new office in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, which is now its research and development building. Since 2000, the company has been based in Minami-ku, Kyoto.
Nintendo of America, Incorporated (NOA), its U.S. division, is based in Redmond, Washington. Originally the NOA headquarters handled sales, marketing, and advertising. However, the office in Redwood City, California now directs those functions. The company maintains distribution centers in Atlanta, Georgia (Nintendo Atlanta) and North Bend, Washington (Nintendo North Bend). The 380,000-square-foot (35,000 m) Nintendo North Bend facility processes more than 20,000 orders a day to Nintendo customers, which include retail stores that sell Nintendo products and consumers who order their video games and associated components online. Nintendo of America's Canadian branch, Nintendo of Canada, Ltd. (NOCL), is based in Vancouver, BC, with its distribution center in Toronto, Ontario.
Nintendo of Europe (NOE) was established in June 1990. The company handles operations in Europe and South Africa. The subsidiary is based in Groostheim, close to Frankfurt, Germany. Nintendo of Europe's United Kingdom branch handles operations in that country and in Ireland from its headquarters in Windsor, Berkshire.
Nintendo Australia Pty Ltd (NAL) is based in Melbourne, Victoria. It handles the distribution, sales and marketing of Nintendo products in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania (Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Vanuatu). It also manufactures some Wii games locally.
Nintendo of the Philippines, Incorporated (NOP), is the Philippine division, based in Cagayan de Oroy. It has distribution centers in Davao City, Davao del Sur (Nintendo Cagayan de Oro) and (Nintendo Davao) and Manila, Philippines (Nintendo ng Pilipinas) in 2012 (coming soon).
iQue, Ltd., a Chinese joint venture between its founder, Wei Yen, and Nintendo, manufactures and distributes official Nintendo consoles and games for the mainland Chinese market, under the iQue brand. The product lineup for the Chinese market is considerably different from that for other markets. For example, Nintendo's only console in China is the iQue Player, a modified version of the Nintendo 64. The company has not released its more modern GameCube or Wii to the market.
Nintendo established Nintendo of Korea (NoK) on July 7, 2006.
Since the 1980s, Nintendo has built up a large group of development partners, through publishing agreements or collaboration.
Nintendo, particularly Nintendo of America, is known for a "no tolerance" stance for emulation of its video games and consoles, stating that it is the single largest threat to the intellectual rights of video game developers. Nintendo claims that copyright-like rights in mask works protect its games from the exceptions that United States copyright law otherwise provides for personal backup copies. Nintendo uses the claim that emulators running on personal computers have no use other than to play pirated video games, though a use that doesn't involve intellectual property in this way is seen in the development and testing of independently produced "homebrew" software on Nintendo's platforms. It is also claimed that Nintendo's claims contradict copyright laws, mainly that ROM image copiers are illegal (they are legal if used to dump unprotected ROM images on to a user's computer for personal use, per 17 U.S.C. 117(a)(1) and foreign counterparts) and that emulators are illegal (if they do not use copyrighted BIOS, or use other methods to run the game, they are legal; see Console emulator for further information about the legality of emulators). However, Nintendo remains the only modern console manufacturer that has not sued an emulator manufacturer. Emulators have been used by Nintendo and licensed third party companies as a means to re-release older games (e.g. Virtual Console).
For many years, Nintendo had a policy of strict content guidelines for video games published on its consoles. Although Nintendo of Japan allowed graphic violence in its video games, nudity and sexuality were strictly prohibited. Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi believed that if the company allowed the licensing of pornographic games, the company's image would be forever tarnished. Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe went further in that games released for Nintendo consoles could not feature nudity, sexuality, profanity (including racism, sexism or slurs), blood, graphic or domestic violence, drugs, political messages or religious symbols (with the exception of widely unpracticed religions, such as the Greek Pantheon). The Japanese parent company was concerned that it may be viewed as a "Japanese Invasion" by forcing Japanese community standards on North American and European children. Despite the strict guidelines, some exceptions have occurred: Bionic Commando (though swastikas were eliminated in the US version), Smash TV and Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode contained human violence, the latter also containing implied sexuality and tobacco use; River City Ransom and Taboo: The Sixth Sense contained nudity, and the latter also contained religious images, as did Castlevania II and III.
A known side effect of this policy was the Sega Genesis version of Mortal Kombat selling over double the number of the Super NES version, mainly because Nintendo had forced publisher Acclaim to recolor the red blood to look like white sweat and replace some of the more gory graphics in its release of the game, making it non-violent. By contrast, Sega allowed blood and gore to remain in the Genesis version (though a code was required to unlock the gore). Nintendo allowed the Super NES version of Mortal Kombat II to ship uncensored the following year with a content warning on the packaging.
In 1994 and 2003, when the ESRB and PEGI (respectively) video game ratings systems were introduced, Nintendo chose to abolish most of these policies in favor of consumers making their own choices about the content of the games they played. Today, changes to the content of games are done primarily by the game's developer or, occasionally, at the request of Nintendo. The only clear-set rule is that ESRB AO-rated games will not be licensed on Nintendo consoles in North America, a practice which is also enforced by Sony and Microsoft, its two greatest competitors in the present market. Nintendo has since allowed several mature-content games to be published on its consoles, including: Perfect Dark, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Doom and Doom 64, BMX XXX, the Resident Evil series, killer7, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, BloodRayne, Geist and Dementium: The Ward. Certain games have continued to be modified, however. For example, Konami was forced to remove all references to cigarettes in the 2000 Game Boy Color game Metal Gear Solid (although the previous NES version of Metal Gear and the subsequent GameCube game Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes both included such references, as did Wii title MadWorld), and maiming and blood were removed from the Nintendo 64 port of Cruis'n USA. Another example is in the Game Boy Advance game Mega Man Zero 3, in which one of the bosses, called Hellbat Schilt in the Japanese and European releases, was renamed Devilbat Schilt in the North American localization. In North America releases of the Mega Man Zero games, enemies and bosses killed with a saber attack would not gush blood as they did in the Japanese versions. However, the release of the Wii has been accompanied by a number of even more controversial mature titles, such as Manhunt 2, No More Heroes, The House of the Dead: Overkill and MadWorld, the latter three of which are published exclusively for the console. The Nintendo DS also has violent games, such as Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Dementium: The Ward, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Resident Evil: Deadly Silence.
Nintendo of America also had guidelines before 1993 that had to be followed by its licensees to make games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, in addition to the above content guidelines:. Guidelines were enforced through the 10NES lockout chip.
The last rule was circumvented in a number of ways; for example, Konami, wanting to produce more games for Nintendo's consoles, formed Ultra Games and later Palcom to produce more games as a technically different publisher. This disadvantaged smaller or emerging companies, as they could not afford to start additional companies. In another side effect, Square Co. (now Square Enix) executives have suggested that the price of publishing games on the Nintendo 64 along with the degree of censorship and control that Nintendo enforced over its games, most notably Final Fantasy VI, were factors in switching its focus towards Sony's PlayStation console.
The gold starburst seal was first used by Nintendo of America, and later Nintendo of Europe. It is displayed on any game, system, or accessory licensed for use on one of its video game consoles, denoting the game has been properly licensed by Nintendo. The seal is also displayed on any Nintendo-licensed merchandise, such as trading cards and apparel.
In NTSC regions, this seal is an elliptical starburst titled "Official Nintendo Seal". Originally, for NTSC countries, the seal was a large, black and gold circular starburst. The seal read as follows: "This seal is your assurance that NINTENDO has approved and guaranteed the quality of this product." This seal was later altered in 1988: "approved and guaranteed" was changed to "evaluated and approved". In 1989, the seal became gold and white, as it currently appears, with a shortened phrase, "Official Nintendo Seal of Quality". It was changed in 2003 to read "Official Nintendo Seal".
In PAL regions, the seal is a circular starburst titled, "Original Nintendo Seal of Quality". Text near the seal in the Australian Wii manual states:
This seal is your assurance that Nintendo has reviewed this product and that it has met our standards for excellence in workmanship, reliability and entertainment value. Always look for this seal when buying games and accessories to ensure complete compatibility with your Nintendo product.
Greenpeace's October 2010 "Guide to Greener Electronics" report ranks Nintendo last on a list of electronics manufacturers, with the same score (1.8 out of 10) as in the previous version of the guide (May 2010). The report cites increasing carbon dioxide emissions (failed to be reduced per target) and a lack of waste management. Limited praise focuses on satisfactory energy efficiency of the DSi and 3DS AC adapter, the reduction of PVC usage in wiring (and new chemical regulations) and the disclosure of carbon dioxide emissions.
In the January 2010 version of the ranking, Nintendo scored 1.9 points, at which, three days later, Nintendo issued a response that addressed primary concerns, highlighting a policy to indicate the materials used in each product, which makes end-of-life recycling of products easier.
Nintendo has produced a number of gaming systems, many with different iterations.
:: Wikipedia Article Nintendo ::
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