Nintendo Company, Limited (任天堂株式会社, Nintendō Kabushiki gaisha) is a Japanese multinational corporation originally founded on September 23, 1889 in Kyoto, Japan by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce handmade hanafuda cards. In the mid-twentieth century, the company tried several small niche businesses, such as a love hotel and a taxi company. Over the years, it became a video game company, growing into one of the most powerful in the industry. Aside from video games, Nintendo is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, a Major League Baseball team in Seattle, Washington, and the partial owner of the Atlanta Hawks, a National Basketball Association team in Atlanta, Georgia. As of June 30, 2007, Nintendo has sold over 453 million hardware units, and nearly 2.2 billion software units worldwide.
Nintendo was originally a card company from 1889 until 1956. From 1956 to 1975, Nintendo changed its product. During the period of time between 1963 and 1968, Nintendo set up a taxi company, a "love hotel" chain, a TV network, a food company, and several other things, including a toy remote controlled vacuum cleaner called Chiritory which was later seen as a two-player game in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!.
In debt, Nintendo struggled to survive in the Japanese toy industry; it was still small at this point, and dominated by already well established companies. Because of the generally short product life cycle of toys, the company always had to come up with a new product. This was the beginning of a major new era for Nintendo.
In 1970, Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president of Nintendo, was observing a Nintendo hanafuda factory. He noticed an extending arm, which was made by one of their maintenance engineers, Gunpei Yokoi, for his own amusement. Yamauchi ordered Yokoi to develop it as a product for the Christmas rush. The Ultra Hand was a huge success, selling approximately 1.2 million units, causing Yokoi to be moved from maintenance duty to product development.
The 1970s also saw the hiring of Shigeru Miyamoto, currently one of the most influential people in the video game industry.
Nintendo eventually saw how popular video games were and decided to create them. During the late 1970's and 1980's, Nintendo began to make arcade games and eventually game systems. Once their systems gained much popularity, Nintendo then began to make handheld systems, making the company even more popular. Nintendo continued producing updates of these two concepts, leading it to become one of the world's most recognized video-game manufacturers.
Offices and locations
Nintendo Company, Limited (NCL), the main branch of the company, is based in Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Nintendo of America (NOA), its American division, is based in Redmond, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, Washington. It has distribution centers in Atlanta, Georgia, and North Bend, Washington. Nintendo of Canada, Ltd. (NOCL) is based in Richmond, British Columbia, with its own distribution centre in Toronto, Ontario. Nintendo of Australia, its Australian division, is based in Melbourne, Victoria, and Nintendo Europe, the European division, is based in Großostheim, Germany, though Nintendo UK & Ireland is based in Windsor, Berkshire, UK. iQue, Ltd., a Chinese joint venture with its founder, Doctor Wei Yen, and Nintendo, manufactures and distributes official Nintendo consoles and games for the mainland Chinese market, under the iQue brand. Nintendo also opened Nintendo of Korea (NoK) on July 7, 2006, based in Seoul, South Korea.
Development of Super Smash Bros.
The original of the Smash series began life as a prototype created by Masahiro Sakurai and Satoru Iwata in their spare time titled Dragon King: The Fighting Game, and originally featured no pre-existing Nintendo characters. However, Sakurai hit on the idea of including fighters from different Nintendo franchises in order to provide 'atmosphere' which he felt was necessary for a home console fighting game, and his idea was approved by HAL Laboratories. The game had a small budget and little promotion, and was originally a Japan-only release, but its huge success saw the game released worldwide.
HAL Laboratory (a second party developer for Nintendo) developed Super Smash Bros. Melee, with Masahiro Sakurai as the head of production. The game was one of the first games released on the Nintendo GameCube and highlighted the advancement in graphics from the Nintendo 64.
Nintendo presented the game at the E3 event of 2001 as a playable demonstration. The next major exposition of the game came in Spaceworld 2001 in August, in which Nintendo displayed a playable demo that had updated upon the previous demo displayed in E3. Nintendo offered a playable tournament of the games for fans in which a GameCube and Super Smash Bros. Melee were prizes for the winner.
At the pre-E3 2005 press conference, the president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, announced the next installment of Super Smash Bros. was not only already in development for their next gaming console, but would hopefully be a launch title with Wi-Fi compatibility for online play. Shortly after the announcement, Masahiro Sakurai, a former employee of HAL Laboratories was called up and offered a position as the game's director. The game was released in Japan on January 31, 2008, and in North America on March 9 and in Europe on June 27.