The Reboot Strategy and How It Forged Nintendo’s Resilience

person holding a nintendo controller

Managing multiple projects is a juggling act. There are many factors to consider, such as cost, workforce, and time. A solution to this is employing a management system. One such solution is the ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management. It effectively tracks different active projects and presents all the necessary data to aid you in coming up with strategies for each.

The time may come when a project needs to be shelved. It can be for many reasons, but this does not spell doom for a company. Setbacks are there for you to bounce back from. A shining example of a company that has done this time and time again is Nintendo.

Nintendo is one of the three major players in the home console market, with the others being Sony and Microsoft. While the latter two have been fighting it out with hardware power, Nintendo is taking a different approach and focuses more on the gaming experience. And it has done so for its most successful systems. Let’s take a look at their key successes and from which failures they bounced back.


Nintendo released the GameCube in 2001 and is considered as the last system they released that had power as a focus. At the time, it competed with Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s original Xbox. It was seen as more powerful than the PS2 and was not too far behind Xbox. The GameCube had 22.86 million units sold, which puts them behind Sony and Microsoft. It also sold less than their previous systems.

The Nintendo Wii, released in 2006, enjoyed immense success. It was considerably less powerful than the competition, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. But its motion controls were the main draw. From the start, it was apparent that they want to get more non-gamers to play. It was evident in their ad campaign, which featured a few seniors playing with the system. The Wii’s lifetime sales stand at 101.63 million units.


nintendo switchHot on the heels of the Wii’s success, Nintendo released the Wii U in 2012. It was seen to have poor marketing and brand messaging, with some people not being aware that it was a new system. Some developers also thought the built-in screen on the controller was hard to implement in their games. The Wii U has sold 13.56 million units.

Nintendo’s current system, the Switch, was released in 2017. As of January 4, 2020, its global sales is at 50.4 million units. In terms of power, it is weaker than the PS4 or Xbox One. They again chose to go against the grain by offering a console/handheld hybrid. Not only is it powerful in handheld mode, but Nintendo is also enjoying having no competition in that space now. To further reinforce their position, they released the Switch Lite. It is priced lower and only playable as a portable system.

Game Boy

The Game Boy is Nintendo’s first portable system that featured interchangeable cartridges. This device deserves the last mention because of how many setbacks it has seen. Among these are:

Virtual Boy’s failure – This was a portable that was released in 1995 and was discontinued a year later. Only 770,000 units were sold. That was Nintendo’s worst failure.

Nintendo-Sony’s falling out – Nintendo and Sony were set to collaborate on a compact disc add-on for the Super Famicom/NES. Due to a disagreement on who gets to control the system’s content, Nintendo decided to partner with Philips on a new CD system. That did not come to fruition. Sony chose to own and continue the development of the system, which came to be the PlayStation. It is one of video gaming’s most important moments as it changed the landscape in terms of competition and content.

GameCube’s struggle – The Game Boy line is home to many iterations. There were the more compact Game Boy Pocket and the slight upgrade that is the Game Boy Color. 2001 saw a rare dual-system release from a company, which was the year the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance were released. The GameCube struggled against competition while the Game Boy Advance enjoyed success.

These were some of the biggest challenges Nintendo had to face; Game Boy helped with the load. Here are its success stories:

Pokemon saw its release in Japan in 1996, then in the US in 1998. It is now the world’s biggest media franchise.

Before the release of Game Boy Advance, the Game Boy line enjoyed a long life. It was released in 1989, and its successor, Game Boy Color, was released in 1998.

While the GameCube struggled, the Game Boy Advance became a huge success. It sold 81.51 million units.

The Game Boy line kept things moving along when Nintendo was facing serious challenges and had to cut its losses. It had solidified the company in the dedicated handheld market and may have saved them as we know it.

Some failures are meant to happen to give way to success. It’s exciting to see what move Nintendo does next.

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