Everyone who grew up in the 80’s remembers playing the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES. The NES home console or Famicom, as it was called in Japan, introduced us to many memorable characters that are still part of today’s generations. Nintendo introduced us to characters such as Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Zelda, Link, etc. Nintendo’s IP is one of the most recognizable in the video game industry. There is hardly anyone that doesn’t know Super Mario and most have played one of Nintendo’s video games at one point in their lives.
However, Nintendo of America, Nintendo’s North American branch, has not always exploited its IP to its full potential. Some of Nintendo’s most recognizable characters have, for the most part, been limited to the home console video game industry. Nintendo has been highly criticized for refusing to leave its comfort zone and not venture into other industries and markets. Perhaps Nintendo does not want go through another failure. Nintendo sold the movie rights to Super Mario, and in May of 1993, “Super Mario Bros.” opened in theatres across the country. The film proved to be a huge failure and suggested to Nintendo that perhaps beloved video game franchises don’t always have the same success in other industries. Nintendo’s recent actions, however, suggest that maybe the company is ready to finally venture out and maximize the potential of some of its IP.
Nintendo Theme Park at Universal Parks & Resorts
Recently, Nintendo announced that the company has partnered with Universal Resorts to bring a Nintendo-themed park to three Universal theme parks around the globe. The theme park will be named Super Nintendo World and is set to open its doors in time for the 2020 Games in Japan. The area will include restaurants, rides, shops, and will be filled with Nintendo’s iconic characters. It will mark the first time that Nintendo embarks on a project of this magnitude and bring an experience like none other to all Nintendo fans. Nintendo is finally starting to monetize their intellectual property in ways the company had not done before. By licensing the rights of some of its most popular characters, Nintendo has maximized the potential of its trademarks and patents, new and old. This move will open up new streams of revenue that will help the company and potentially introduce their beloved characters to a new audience that has never experienced their home video game consoles.
Nintendo Breaks Into Mobile Market
On December 15, 2016, Nintendo released Super Mario Run for all iOS devices and was released this year on all Android devices. Nintendo decided to bring its most recognizable intellectual property out of home televisions and into mobile phones. The move marked yet another breakthrough for Nintendo. Always considered inferior to their counterparts, Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox, Nintendo realized that it had to stop being simply a home console game publisher and venture out into new areas and markets in order to maximize its revenue and get a leg up on its competition. More games are set to release for mobile devices this year. Similar to its partnership with Universal Resorts, the licensing of their intellectual property for the creation of games for mobile devices has proved to be a positive sign for Nintendo who continues to build momentum as it continues to use its intellectual property for increased monetization.
Is Nintendo Getting Ready to Enter the Virtual Reality Market?
On March 3, 2017, Nintendo finally released its long awaited new home console, the Nintendo Switch. The console has proven to be a huge success selling over 1.5 million consoles in its first two weeks after launch. The system is the first of its kind. The Switch is a home console that also acts as a portable gaming device. Players can enjoy their favorite game on the big screen TV and switch over to a portable device within seconds without having to stop and restart the game. For its new home console, Nintendo filed patent US 2016/0361640 A1, which includes all the innovative elements of its new gaming machine. What is interesting is that in the patent Nintendo is claiming, a new headset is shown with an open slot where the portable console screen can be positioned directly in front of the eyes. Virtual reality functionality is speculated for this embodiment. Virtual Reality has increased popularity and more and more companies are bringing out products that fit consumer needs. Sony’s Playstation VR, Google’s Daydream, the HTC Vive, and the Oculus Rift have all been out in the market for some time. The VR market is just starting to heat up and more companies are bringing out products.
Even though VR might be something new today, Nintendo actually attempted to be the first video game company to bring VR to consumers. Back in 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy. Nintendo tried to give consumers a product where they could immerse themselves into a virtual environment, but the technology at the time just proved to not be sufficient. The Virtual Boy was a huge failure for the company and Nintendo backed off from VR. The information found in this patent, however, indicates that Nintendo might be willing to give VR another shot. Nintendo seems to be hinting that the long awaited Nintendo Switch might also serve as a virtual reality platform. Nintendo has not made a statement about bringing out a VR product, but the information contained in this patent certainly has every single Nintendo fan excited about the possibilities that this new technology might bring. Once again, Nintendo seems to be making another move with its IP that will prove to be monumental for the company and might lift the brand to heights it has not seen for quite some time.
A company’s intellectual property is only as valuable as the company makes it out to be. Nintendo seems to have finally opened their eyes and see the huge potential that its IP has in today’s markets. The diversification of its patents, trademarks, and copyrights into different markets has the potential to boost the company’s brand and recognition past its competitors. Don’t let your company’s IP go to waste and let Bold Patents help you find what your company’s IP full potential really is. Speak with a patent attorney or another intellectual property expert at Bold today!
Author: Amando Ruiz, Patent Attorney