Nintendo (Japanese: 任天堂 Nintendō) is a video game and video game console company based in Kyoto, Japan, with other divisions in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. The company's name is loosely translated Japanese for "leave luck to Heaven". It is well known for franchises such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon. It was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi in 1889 as a manufacturer of playing cards. Its current president is Satoru Iwata. Not only is Nintendo the longest running and most influential video game console company; it is also one of the largest producer of video games and has sold more than two billion video games worldwide. Over time, Nintendo has manufactured six home video game consoles: the Famicom/NES, the Super Famicom/Super NES, the Nintendo 64, the Nintendo GameCube, the Wii and the Wii U. They have also manufactured many handheld gaming consoles, including the Virtual Boy, six versions of the Game Boy, and four versions of the Nintendo DS.
Nintendo Koppai was a small Japanese business founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi. It produced handmade Hanafuda cards. They became popular, and soon the company was mass producing the cards with additional workers. In the following years, Yamauchi retired and placed his son-in-law, Sekiryo Yamauchi, in charge in 1929; Sekiryo Yamauchi retired in 1949, placing his grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi as president. In a highly successful move, Nintendo made a deal with Disney allowing them to use Disney characters on their cards. The company was merged and renamed several times, emerging in 1963 as Nintendo Co., Ltd.
In 1969, Nintendo established a games division and sold numerous successful toys. In 1975, Yamauchi began research into video games. At the time, video games were a new American trend. Seeing the success that Atari received, he decided that it was a good venture and made a deal with Mitsubishi to manufacture dedicated video game consoles. Nintendo sold many consoles, including the Game & Watch series of handhelds. The company also released arcade games, such as Donkey Kong. It was at this time that Shigeru Miyamoto, then an art designer for arcade games, joined the company.
Inspired by Atari and several other companies, Nintendo released their own cartridge-based console in Japan, the Famicom. It became very successful, and soon Nintendo was selling games faster than they could make them. To ease this problem, Yamauchi divided his workers into Research & Development 1, 2, and 3 in 1984. He hoped that Nintendo would be able to create high-quality games faster. In 1985, the Famicom was released worldwide under a different name, the Nintendo Entertainment System, or "NES". Super Mario Bros. was released that same year. In 1989, Nintendo released the first Game Boy.
In 1990, the Super Famicom was released in Japan. In the next two years, it was released in other parts of the world as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as the "Super NES" or "SNES". In the mid-1990s, Nintendo agreed with Sony to develop an add-on CD-ROM drive to the SNES, but Nintendo terminated the contract. Sony used the research and development from the canceled project to release the PlayStation. In 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy; however, this proved to be a disaster for the company. Competitors Sega and Sony also released their new 32-bit consoles, the Saturn and the PlayStation. This cut into Nintendo's market share.
In 1996 and 1997, Nintendo released the Game Boy Pocket and the Nintendo 64 worldwide. In 1996, the first Pokémon games games were released as Pocket Monsters in Japan. Pokémon Red and Green became very popular and spawned an entire franchise. Today, the franchise includes a TV series and a TCG among other things.
The GameCube and the Game Boy Advance were released worldwide in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, the long-time President of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, stepped down from his position; he handed it off to Satoru Iwata. In 2003, Reggie Fils-Aime was hired as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing in North America. In 2006, he became the Chief Operating Officer. He is the first American to hold this position.
In 2004, the Nintendo DS was released. The following year, Nintendo opened its first retail store, Nintendo World in Rockefeller Plaza, New York City. Furthermore, the Wii, going by its codename of Nintendo Revolution, was officially announced at E3. In 2006, the Nintendo DS Lite was introduced. The Nintendo DS Lite is a redesign of the original Nintendo DS. Nintendo also revealed the official name of the Wii at E3 and released it worldwide at the end of the year.
In 2010, Nintendo announced the successor to the Nintendo DS: the Nintendo 3DS. At E3 that same year, they gave crowd demonstrations of their new handheld console, which could display 3D images without the need of special glasses. It first released in March 2011.
At E3 2011, Nintendo announced the Wii U, the successor to the Wii. It featured an innovative controller, the Wii U GamePad, sporting a 6-inch touchscreen, and the Wii U was Nintendo's first HD console. It was first released in November 2012.
The main offices are in Kyoto, Japan. The American division, Nintendo of America, rests in Redmond, Washington. Richmond, British Columbia hosts Nintendo of Canada. The European offices, Nintendo Europe, are in Großostheim, Germany. Other main offices include China, Korea, and Australia.
Nintendo is the longest running company in the history of the video game console market and historically the most influential and best known console manufacturer. However, they do have business rival in Sony, Microsoft and formerly their biggest rival, Sega (which is now reduced to Third-Party work). Nintendo, as a video game company, began in the Japanese market in 1983, the U.S. market in 1985, and the European market in 1986. Over time Nintendo has manufactured five TV consoles and nine handheld portables. They have also developed, and published well over 300 games, and have sold over 2 billion games worldwide.
Nintendo earned $7.8 billion in 2006, making their Forbes Fortune 500 rank 620. They employ 3,013 people.
- Nintendo of America
- Nintendo of Brasil (as the Nintendo World magazine)
- Nintendo of Canada
- Nintendo of Mexico (as the Club Nintendo magazine)
- Nintendo of Australia
- Nintendo of Hong Kong
- Nintendo of Japan
- Nintendo of Korea
- Nintendo of New Zealand
- Nintendo of Taiwan
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