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8. When Sony appointed Mark Cerny to helm its console production strategy, it recognised that Japanese gaming tastes were increasingly being seen as out of step with global gaming interests, with the mass market opting for a more western-centric approach in terms of its gaming tastes. Looking towards the West for inspiration, and wanting to stay abreast of global gaming conventions, Sony realised that a world leading solution would only be forthcoming from the source of western hegemony. In short, Sony Computer Entertainment sought out advice from eminent figures within the western games community.
Nintendo needs to adopt a similar strategy, and discard its insular approach towards console design, manufacturing and marketing. It needs to hire a few industry savvy advisers (like Mark Cerny) who can advise the company on how it can go forward, and also tailor its console manufacturing strategy to be more in line with market trends. If the market wants powerful hardware, robust online features, and games increasingly tailored for western tastes, then Nintendo needs to act accordingly.
As part of its radical transformation to establish itself as a serious contender in the gaming space, Nintendo also needs to appoint someone who can be in charge of its western division. And like its age old rival Sega before that company went third party, it needs the equivalent of Tom Kalinski – whose aggressive price cuts and marketing tactics were instrumental in turning around Sega’s fortunes, and driving up sales of the Genesis in America, so as to finally steal the market from Nintendo.
Finally, Nintendo needs to appropriate Microsoft’s approach to games development, and set up an American studio that is staffed with the industry’s finest talent. The company also needs to appoint illustrious figures who can tailor the output of the studio so that it meets the needs of the market, and ensures that the games made are of high quality and within budget.
Maybe Nintendo can reach out to charismatic luminaries such as Jason Rubin (formerly of Naughty Dog and THQ), Trip Hawkins as well as John Riccitiello (both formerly of Electronic Arts), and ask the former company heads to ensure the smooth running of its western gaming division. After all, all three figures have enviable track records, are well connected and respected within the industry, and also have ample experience of being in charge of huge budgets and major studios. Indeed, all three are also renowned for being forward thinking visionaries, having a commitment to new ideas and IP, and being able to remain calm and focused during times of extreme turbulence and malaise.
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