Nintendo recently announced a partnership with Universal Studios to create theme park attractions based off of their iconic characters and games. Following in the steps of other successful partnerships for Universal that produced environments such as Springfield themes from The Simpsons and the upcoming Potter Land from the Harry Potter franchise, this new agreement has many Nintendo fans rife with anticipation.
The excitement for a Nintendo-based theme park is certainly justified. Nintendo has been notoriously protective of their IP’s, often resisting trends in favor of staying the course. They repeatedly emphasized that they were not going to bring their games to mobile devices for years, a decision which they’ve recently reversed their position on. They declined to produce higher quality figures for many of their best franchises, but in the fall of 2014 they began releasing their now wildly successful amiibo line of characters, a decision which helped them stay in the black despite abysmal Wii U sales.
These changes signify that Nintendo is starting to ask themselves the difficult questions about how to succeed in a modern environment, and it’s refreshing to see steps in the right direction. Yes, Nintendo has a ways to go – they still don’t offer cross-buy options like major competitor Sony (PS4/Vita), and their online options could at this point be described as archaic at best – but if the Nintendo and Universal partnership is any indication, it appears there is hope on the horizon. This partnership with Universal is an important step in returning back to relevancy with the younger market, many of which are currently consuming mobile games as their primary gaming experience and thus not developing the affinity for Nintendo’s brand held by so many of their loyal customers, this author included. As a 32-year old Nintendo kid with 25 years of developing a passion for their iconic characters, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.