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Nintendo Co., Ltd.
Native name 任天堂株式会社
Type Kabushiki gaisha
Traded as TYO: 7974
Industry Video games, consumer electronics
Founded Kyoto, Japan (September 23, 1889 (1889-09-23))2
Founder(s) Fusajiro Yamauchi
Headquarters Kyoto, Japan3
Area served Worldwide
Key people
Products List of Nintendo franchises
Production output
  • Hardware
    23.73 million (FY 2013)
  • Software
    147.02 million (FY 2013)4
Revenue Decrease ¥635.6 billion (FY 2013)5
Operating income Decrease ¥36.1 billion (FY 2013)5
Profit Increase ¥7.2 billion (FY 2013)5
Total assets Increase ¥1.4 trillion (FY 2013)5
Total equity Decrease ¥1.1 trillion (FY 2013)5
Employees 5,195 internal, 1,988 external (2013)6
Divisions List of Nintendo divisions

Nintendo Co., Ltd. (任天堂株式会社 Nintendō Kabushiki gaisha?) is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Nintendo is the world's largest video game company by revenue.7 Founded on September 23, 18892 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it originally produced handmade hanafuda cards.8 By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as cab services and love hotels.9

Abandoning previous ventures, Nintendo developed into a video game company, becoming one of the most influential in the industry and Japan's third most valuable listed company with a market value of over US$85 billion.10 Nintendo of America is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team.11

The name Nintendo can be roughly translated from Japanese to English as "leave luck to heaven."12 As of December 31, 2013, Nintendo has sold over 669.36 million hardware units and 4.20 billion software units.4


Former headquarters plate, from when Nintendo was solely a playing card company

1889–1956: As a card company

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 Japan13 and organizes its own contract bridge tournament called the "Nintendo Cup."14

1956–1974: New ventures

The Nintendo Love Tester

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.15 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.citation needed 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.

1974–1983: Early electronic era

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.16 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.16

In 1975, Nintendo moved into the video arcade game industry with EVR Race, designed by their first game designer, Genyo Takeda,17 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 and in addition, the game also introduced an early iteration of Mario, known then as Jumpman, the eventual mascot of the company.

In 1980, Nintendo launched Game & Watch—a handheld video game series developed by Yokoi where each game was played on a separate device—to worldwide success.

1983–present: Video games

The logo adopted by Nintendo during the 1980s.

In 1983, Nintendo launched the Family Computer home video game console in Japan (abbreviated "Famicom" and known outside Japan as the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES) 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.18 The Famicom was followed by the Super Famicom in 1990, released outside Japan in 1991 and 1992 as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). This was Nintendo's console of the 16-bit 4th generation, boasting superior graphics, game speed, and sound over the Famicom of the 8-bit 3rd generation, and whose main rival was the Sega Mega Drive (known in North America as Sega Genesis). A console war between Sega and Nintendo ensued during the early 1990s.19 Although relatively late to market, the SNES considerably outsold the Mega Drive.citation needed

In 1989, Nintendo launched the Game Boy, its second handheld system. In 1998 it would be followed by the Game Boy Color.

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.20 The system sold poorly and was quietly discontinued.21 Amid the system's failure, Yokoi retired from Nintendo.22

In 1996 Nintendo released the Nintendo 64. Soon, with its market shares slipping to Sega's Saturn and new rival Sony's PlayStation, Nintendo utilized a $185 million marketing campaign, centered around the "Play it Loud" slogan, to revitalize its brand.23

In 1998, nine years after the Game Boy was launched, the Game Boy Color was released.

In 2001, just three years later, Nintendo pushed out the Game Boy Advance. During 2001 Nintendo also released the GameCube to lukewarm sales, and it ultimately failed to regain the market share lost by the 64.

In 2003, Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance SP, its fourth handheld system.

In 2004, Nintendo released the Nintendo DS, its fourth handheld system. The DS (which stands for Dual Screen) is Nintendo's best selling handheld gaming system, with nearly 154 million devices sold worldwide.24

In 2005, the Game Boy Micro was released, a version of the Game Boy Advance with a smaller form factor.

In 2006 Nintendo released the Wii, the successor to the GameCube, featuring the motion controlled Wii Remote. It also had backwards compatibility with the GameCube. The Wii was the best selling console of the seventh generation, regaining the market share lost by the 64 and GameCube. At this time, Nintendo also released the Nintendo DS lite, the first revision of the DS.

In 2009, Nintendo followed up the success of the DS with the release of the Nintendo DSi

In 2011, Nintendo continued with the DS legacy by releasing the Nintendo 3DS, which featured stereoscopic 3D effects.

In 2012 Nintendo released the Wii U. It sold slower than expected,25 although being the first eighth generation console. By September 2013, however, sales had rebounded.

In 2013, Nintendo hoped to make a cheaper handheld system to appeal to more people by releasing the Nintendo 2DS in 2013. Nintendo also released the Wii Mini, another console redesigned to be cheaper.


Home consoles

The Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo's first major success in the home console market.

Nintendo Entertainment System

The Nintendo Entertainment System home video game console was launched in 1983 in Japan as Family Computer (abbreviated Famicom in Japan and NES in the rest of the world) 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.18

The Famicom was followed by the Super Famicom in 1990, released outside Japan in 1991 and 1992 as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). This was Nintendo's console of the 16-bit generation, boasting superior graphics, game speed, and sound over the Famicom of the 8-bit generation, and whose main rival was the Sega Mega Drive (known in North America as Sega Genesis).

Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 was released in 1996 and features 3D polygon model rendering capabilities and built-in multiplayer for up to four players. The system's controller introduced the analog stick and later introduced the Rumble Pak, an accessory for the controller that produces force feedback with compatible games. Both were the first such features to come to market for home console gaming and eventually became a standard built-in feature for many controllers in the industry.26 Announced before the console's launch, an expansion device called the Nintendo 64DD ("DD" standing for "Disk Drive") utilizing 64 MB magneto-optical disks was developed and in 1999 eventually released to Japan, but its commercial failure there resulted in only nine games being released and precluded further worldwide release.


The GameCube followed in 2001 and was the first Nintendo console to utilize optical disc storage instead of cartridges.27 Though only supported by seven games (three of which only support LAN play), the release of the Broadband Adapter and Modem Adapter peripheral made the GameCube Nintendo's first Internet-enabled console.


The Wii, Nintendo's best selling home video game console.

The Wii was released in 2006 and introduced the Wii Remote—with motion sensing and pointing capabilities28—and on-board 802.11b/g Wi-Fi functionality, used for services such as Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and the Internet Channel.29 Since its release, the Wii has spawned many peripheral devices, including the Wii Balance Board and Motion Plus, and has had several hardware revisions. With the release of the Wii, Nintendo revised the color of its company logo from red to gray.

The Wii U is the successor to the Wii. It features improved, HD graphical capabilities and two new controllers, the Wii U GamePad and the Wii U Pro Controller. The GamePad features a 6.2 inch touch screen, 9-axis of motion sensors, a microphone and a camera. The Pro controller is more of a traditional design. The system, however, still uses the Wii Remote as one of the primary controllers along with the other two. The Wii U launched in two versions, "Basic" and "Premium" ("Deluxe" in North America), with 8GB and 32GB of on-board flash memory respectively.30

Handheld consoles

Game & Watch

Game and Watch was a handheld line produced from 1980 to 1991 by Gunpei Yokoi. It featured a single game and a clock and/or alarm.

Game Boy

After the success of the Game & Watch series, Yokoi developed the Game Boy handheld console, which was released in 1989. Eventually becoming the best-selling handheld of all time, the Game Boy remained dominant for more than a decade, seeing critically and commercially popular games such as Pokémon Yellow released as late as 1998 in Japan and 2000 in Europe. Incremental updates of the Game Boy, including Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light and Game Boy Color, did little to change the original formula, though the latter introduced color graphics to the Game Boy line.

The first major update to its handheld line since 1989, Game Boy Advance features improved technical specifications similar to those of the SNES. The Game Boy Advance SP was the first revision to the GBA line and introduced screen lighting and a clam shell design, while later iteration, the Game Boy Micro, brought a smaller form factor.

Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS Lite is the best-selling handheld console of all time.

Although originally advertised as an alternative to the Game Boy Advance, the Nintendo DS replaced the Game Boy line after its initial release in 2004.31 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 factor32 while the Nintendo DSi features larger screens and two cameras,33 and was followed by an even larger model, the Nintendo DSi XL, with a 90% bigger screen.34

Further expanding the Nintendo DS line, the Nintendo 3DS uses the process of autostereoscopy to produce a stereoscopic three-dimensional effect without glasses.35 Released to major markets during 2011, the 3DS got off to a slow start, initially missing many key features that were promised before the system launched.36 Partially as a result of slow sales, Nintendo stock declined in value. Subsequent price cuts and game releases helped to boost 3DS and 3DS software sales and to renew investor confidence in the company.37 As of August 2013, the 3DS was the best selling console in the United States for four consecutive months.38 The Nintendo 3DS XL was introduced in August 2012 and includes a 90% larger screen, a 4GB SD card and extended battery life. In August 2013, Nintendo announced the Nintendo 2DS, a version of the 3DS without a stereoscopic 3D screen. It has a slate-like design as opposed to the hinged, clamshell design of its DS-line predecessors. The 2DS was released on October 12, 2013 in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, although no Japanese release has been announced.




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 Nintendo 64 era, the slogan was "Get N or get out." 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." For the Wii, they used the "Wii would like to play" slogan to promote the console with the people who tried the games including Super Mario Galaxy and Super Paper Mario. Its successor, the Wii U, uses the slogan "How U will play next."

Board of directors

Nintendo's president since 2002, Satoru Iwata.
  • Satoru Iwata, Global President, Chairman and CEO of Nintendo of America.39
  • Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director, Chief Director of General Development
  • Shigeru Miyamoto, Senior Managing Director, Chief Director of Information Development40
  • Tatsumi Kimishima, Managing Director, Chief Senior Director of Business Administration, Chief Director of General Affairs
  • Kauro Takemura, Chief Director of Human Resources, Director
  • Shigeyuki Takahashi, Director of Finance, Chief Director of Administration, Director
  • Satoshi Yamato, Chief Director of Sales, Director
  • Susumo Tanaka, Chief Director of Operation, Director
  • Shinya Takahashi, Chief Director of Planning and Development, Director of Planning and Development
  • Hirokazu Shinshi, Chief Director of Manufacture, Manager of Production Planning, Director

Other key executives:

International divisions

Nintendo Co., Ltd. (NCL)
The company's headquarters in Kyoto, Japan 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.41 was originally based in Kyoto.a It then moved to a new office in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, which is now its research and development building.b Since 2000, the company has been based in Minami-ku, Kyoto.c42
Nintendo of America (NOA)
Nintendo's North American subsidiary 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 (Nintendo Atlanta) and North Bend, Washington (Nintendo North Bend). The 380,000-square-foot (35,000 m2) 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.43 Nintendo of America's Canadian branch,44 Nintendo of Canada, Ltd. (NOCL), is based in Vancouver, BC, with its distribution center in Toronto, Ontario.
Nintendo of Europe (NOE)
Nintendo's European subsidiary was established in June 1990.45 The company handles operations in Europe and South Africa.45 The subsidiary is based in Großostheim,46 close to Frankfurt, Germany. Nintendo of Europe's United Kingdom branch47 handles operations in that country and in Ireland from its headquarters in Windsor, Berkshire.
Nintendo Australia (NAL)
Nintendo's Australian subsidiary is based in Melbourne, Victoria. It handles the publishing, 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 Australia is also a third-party distributor of some titles from Rising Star Games, Namco Bandai Games Europe, Atlus, The Tetris Company, Sega, Tecmo Koei Games Europe and Capcom Europe.
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, although a version of the Nintendo 3DS XL was released in 2012.
Nintendo of Korea (NOK)
Nintendo's South Korean subsidiary was established on July 7, 2006.48

The Nintendo logo through the years

Research & Development


The Nintendo EAD division develops games for Nintendo's most well known franchises, such as Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda.

Nintendo's internal Research & Development operations are divided into four main division: the Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development (or EAD), the main software development division of Nintendo, which focuses on internal-only video game development; the Nintendo Software Planning & Development (or SPD), which main focus is overseeing second and third-party licensing and development activity; the Nintendo Integrated Research & Development (or IRD), the main hardware development division of Nintendo, which focuses on home and handheld video game console development; and the Nintendo System Development (or SDD), which focuses on developing Nintendo Network services and Software Development Kits (SDK's) for Nintendo consoles and other experimental technology.

The Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development (or EAD) division is the premier development arm at Nintendo. The group is the largest concentration of R&D, housing more than 800 engineers and designers. The division is rather large and currently broken into seven different subdivisions, each led by a designated producer and group manager. The overseeing managers are Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Currently, five divisions are located in the central Kyoto R&D building under the Software Development Department, while two divisions reside in the Tokyo offices under the Tokyo Software Development Department.

The Nintendo Software Planning & Development (or SPD) division is the development group includes several of the original development officers from the old software and hardware development sectors. While the group leaders are decade old veterans, the bulk of the development teams working alongside are mainly younger employees. The division is broken up into two departments; Software Planning & Development Department and Software Design & Development Department.

The Nintendo Integrated Research & Development (or IRD) division is Nintendo's hardware group specialized in all engineering and technological aspects of Nintendo's home console and handheld development. The division also houses industrial designers who design peripherals such as the WaveBird, Wii Zapper, and Wii steering wheel. The group was originally known as Research and Development Department 3 (R&D3),49 with the same primary functions, with the exception that manager Genyo Takeda enjoyed moonlighting by developing console and arcade games. On February 16, 2013, Nintendo IRD was combined with Nintendo Research & Engineering Department (or RED), the former hardware group specialized in all engineering and technological aspects of Nintendo's handheld development.5051

The Nintendo System Development (or SDD) division, which used to be centered in peripheral and software development, is currently a hybrid development group with several distinct duties. The development team originates from Nintendo Research & Development 2 and was mainly responsible for ports and inhouse development for low profile hardware like the Pokémon Mini and the Super Famicom Satellaview service. The department handles most Nintendo Network programming and server maintenance inside Nintendo's in-house projects and throughout various other external Nintendo software in cooperation with Nintendo Network Services. Lastly, the department also cooperates in software development. The group also created mechanical devices and peripherals like the Pokéwalker and Pokémotion. Current general manager, Masaru Shimomura described the group as a small creative unit that has a hardware and a software team working jointly together to create innovative products.52


Although most of the Research & Development is being done in Japan, there are some R&D facilities in the United States and Europe that are focused on developing software and hardware technologies used in Nintendo products. Although they all are subsidiaries of Nintendo (and therefore first party), they are often referred to as external resources when being involved in joint development processes with Nintendo's internal developers by the Japanese personal involved. This can be seen in a variety of "Iwata asks..." interviews.53 Nintendo Software Technology (NST) and Nintendo Technology Development (NTD) are located in Redmond, Washington, USA, while Nintendo European Research & Development (NERD) is located in Paris, France, and Nintendo Network Service Database (NSD) is located in Kyoto, Japan.

Most external first-party software development is being done in Japan, since the only overseas subsidiary is Retro Studios in the United States. Although these studios are all subsidiaries of Nintendo (and therefore first party), they are often referred to as external resources when being involved in joint development processes with Nintendo's internal developers by the Nintendo Software Planning & Development (or SPD) division. 1-UP Studio, Creatures Inc. and Nd Cube are located in Tokyo, Japan, while Monolith Soft has one studio located in Tokyo and another in Kyoto, Japan. Finally, Retro Studios is located in Austin, Texas, USA.


Since the release of the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo has built up a large group of second-party development partners, through publishing agreements and development collaboration. Most of these external Nintendo project are overseen by the Nintendo Software Planning & Development (or SPD) division.



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.54 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 claimedby whom? 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)55 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.56 Emulators have been used by Nintendo and licensed third party companies as a means to re-release older games (e.g. Virtual Console).

Content guidelines

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.57 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).58 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 less violent.59 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.60

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,61 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, the Mortal Kombat series, 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.62 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 and its sequel, Ultimate Mortal Kombat, and Resident Evil: Deadly Silence.

License guidelines

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:.57 Guidelines were enforced through the 10NES lockout chip.

  • Licensees were not permitted to release the same game for a competing console until two years had passed.
  • Nintendo would decide how many cartridges would be supplied to the licensee.
  • Nintendo would decide how much space would be dedicated for articles, advertising, etc. in the Nintendo Power magazine.
  • There was a minimum number of cartridges that had to be ordered by the licensee from Nintendo.
  • There was a yearly limit of five games that a licensee may produce for a Nintendo console.63 This rule was created to prevent market over-saturation, which had contributed to the North American video game crash of 1983.

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.57 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.citation needed

Seal of Quality

The Nintendo Seal of Quaility

Official Nintendo Seal in NTSC regions.
Nintendo's Official Seal of Quality in PAL regions.

The gold sunburst 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 approved by Nintendo. The seal is also displayed on any Nintendo-licensed merchandise, such as trading cards, game guides, or apparel, albeit with the words "Official Nintendo Licensed Product".64

NTSC regions

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."64

The seal currently reads:65

The official seal is your assurance that this product is licensed or manufactured by Nintendo. Always look for this seal when buying video game systems, accessories, games and related products.

PAL regions

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.66

Environmental record

Nintendo has consistently been ranked last in Greenpeace's "Guide to Greener Electronics" due to Nintendo not revealing information.67 Similarly, they are ranked last in the Enough Project's "Conflict Minerals Company Rankings" due to Nintendo refusing to respond to multiple requests for information.68

Like many other electronics companies, Nintendo does offer a take-back recycling program which allows customers to mail in old products they no longer use; Nintendo of America claimed that it took in 548 tons of returned products in 2011, 98% of which was either reused or recycled.69

Video game systems

Nintendo has produced a number of gaming systems, many with different iterations.

Home consoles

List of Nintendo home video game consoles
Home Console Release Sales
Line Family Variation/Add-on Japan North America Europe Australia South Korea
Color TV Game Color TV-Game 6 1977–80d Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased 1977–80citation needed 3 million (as of 1980)70
Color TV-Game 15
Color TV-Game Racing 112
Color TV-Game Block Breaker
Computer TV-Game
Entertainment System
Entertainment System
Nintendo Entertainment System July 15, 1983 October 18, 1985 September 1, 1986e July 1, 1987 October 18, 1985citation needed 61.91 million (as of December 2013)4
Famicom Disk System (add-on) February 21, 1986 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased
Twin Famicom (Famicom + Disk System) July 1, 1986 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased
Famicom Titler 1989 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased
NES-101 December 1, 1993 October 15, 1993 Unreleased Unreleased
Sharp Nintendo Television 1983 1989 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased
Super Nintendo
Entertainment System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System November 21, 1990 August 23, 1991f April 11, 1992 October 12, 1991 December 1990citation needed 49.10 million (as of December 2013)4
Satellaview (add-on) April 23, 1995 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased
SNES-101 March 27, 1998 October 20, 1997
Super Famicom Naizou TV December 5, 1990 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased
Nintendo 64 Nintendo 64 June 23, 1996 September 29, 1996 March 1, 1997 March 1, 1997 March 1, 1997citation needed 32.93 million (as of December 2013)4
Nintendo 64DD (add-on) August 29, 2000 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased
iQue Player Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased November 17, 2003
Nintendo GameCube Nintendo GameCube September 14, 2001 November 18, 2001 71 May 3, 2002 June 19, 2002 June 1, 2001citation needed 21.74 million (as of December 2013)4
Panasonic Q December 13, 2001 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased
Wii Wii Wii December 2, 2006 November 19, 2006 December 8, 2006 December 7, 2006 April 26, 200872 100.90 million (as of December 2013)4
Wii Family Edition Unreleased October 2011 October 2011 October 2011 Unreleased
Wii Mini Unreleased December 7, 2012 March 15, 2013 Unreleased Unreleased
Wii U Wii U December 8, 201273 November 18, 2012 November 30, 2012 November 30, 201274 Unreleased 5.86 million (as of December 2013)4
Wii U Basic (8GB)
Wii U Deluxe/Premium (32GB)

The Nintendo 64DD sold 15,000 units.75

Handheld consoles

List of Nintendo handheld video game consoles
Handheld Console Release Sales
Line Family Variations Japan North America Europe Australia South Korea
Game & Watch Game & Watch Silver See List of Game & Watch games 43.4 million76
Game & Watch Gold
Game & Watch Wide Screen
Game & Watch New Wide Screen
Game & Watch Multi Screen
Game & Watch Tabletop
Game & Watch Panorama
Game & Watch SuperColor
Game & Watch Micro Vs. System
Game & Watch Crystal Screen
Game & Watch Disk Kun
Game & Watch Mini Classics
Game Boy Game Boy Game Boy April 21, 198977 July 31, 198978 September 28, 1990 Unreleased Unreleased 118.69 million (as of December 2013)4
Game Boy Pocket
Game Boy Light
Game Boy Color October 21, 1998 November 18, 1998 November 23, 1998 November 27, 1998 Unreleased
Game Boy Advance Game Boy Advance March 21, 2001 June 11, 2001 June 22, 2001 Unreleased Unreleased 81.51 million (as of December 2013)4
Game Boy Advance SP
Game Boy Micro
Nintendo DS Nintendo DS Nintendo DS December 2, 2004 November 21, 2004 March 11, 2005 February 24, 2005 Unreleased 153.98 million (as of December 2013)4
Nintendo DS Lite March 2, 2006 June 11, 2006 June 23, 2006 June 1, 2006 Unreleased
Nintendo DSi November 1, 2008 April 5, 2009 April 3, 2009 April 2, 2009 April 15, 2010
Nintendo DSi XL November 21, 2009 March 28, 2010 March 5, 2010 April 15, 2010 Unreleased
Nintendo 3DS Nintendo 3DS February 26, 201179 March 27, 201180 March 25, 201181 March 31, 201182 April 28, 201283 42.74 million (as of December 2013)4
Nintendo 3DS XL July 28, 2012 August 19, 2012 July 28, 2012 August 23, 2012 September 20, 2012
Nintendo 2DS Unreleased October 12, 2013 Unreleased

Other consoles

Console Japan North America Europe Australia South Korea China Sales
Nintendo PlayStation (SNES-CD) Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased N/A
Virtual Boy July 21, 1995 August 14, 1995 Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased Unreleased 770,000 (as of 2013)

See also


  1. ^ 34°59′30.03″N 135°45′58.66″E / 34.9916750°N 135.7662944°E / 34.9916750; 135.7662944
  2. ^ 34°58′29.00″N 135°46′10.48″E / 34.9747222°N 135.7695778°E / 34.9747222; 135.7695778
  3. ^ 34°58′11.89″N 135°45′22.33″E / 34.9699694°N 135.7562028°E / 34.9699694; 135.7562028
  4. ^ There were a total of five different consoles in the Color TV Game series which spanned from 1977 to 1980.
  5. ^ For distribution purposes, Europe and Australia were divided into two regions by Nintendo. The first of these regions consisted of France, the Netherlands, West Germany, Norway, Denmark and Sweden and saw the NES released during 1986. The console was released in the second region, consisting of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Italy, as well as Australia and New Zealand, the following year.
  6. ^ According to Stephen Kent's The Ultimate History of Video Games, the official launch date was September 9. Newspaper and magazine articles from late 1991 report that the first shipments were in stores in some regions on August 23, while it arrived in other regions at a later date. Many modern online sources (circa 2005 and later) report August 13.


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Further reading

  • Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. Roseville, California: Prima Publishing. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. 
  • Sloan, Daniel (2011). Playing to Wiin: Nintendo and the Video Game Industrys Greatest Comeback. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-82512-9. 

External links

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