As far as the current state of the video game market in India is concerned, it’s pretty much a mixed bag. Smartphone gaming is at the top and is the most preferred medium for cheap and easily accessible games right now, with PC gaming at the second place (due to rampant piracy); console gaming comes in a distant third, since it’s the most expensive one out of these three categories. When it comes to consoles though, Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox brand of consoles are pretty popular among teenagers and young adults alike in India. But there is one key player whose influence (unfortunately and surprisingly) is absent from the Indian gaming community: Nintendo.

The Japanese gaming giant is one of the oldest surviving game producers in the industry, and is known for producing gaming’s most popular video game mascot: Mario, and several other equally important game franchises and games such as Duck Hunt, The Legend Of Zelda, Excitebike, Metroid etc; they also single handedly revived the gaming industry after the Video Game Crash of 1985 (caused by the now-defunct Atari) with the top notch gameplay of their games. And even after 30 years (starting with their first console, the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES, in 1985) they are thriving well and still making critically and commercially acclaimed games, despite facing a few bumps along the way, in the past several years.

So now my dear Indian readers, another question arises: If they have such an influence on the industry why aren’t their games and consoles being sold here in India? Why do they not have an official presence? Why do the Indian gamers consider Nintendo a non-factor in the Indian Gaming Culture.

Well for the record, they did have an official presence in India back in the ’80s (Their Game & Watch systems were officially sold at retailers), however due to the flooding of many bootleg consoles in the Indian market which started to prove more popular (and cheaper), they had no choice but to leave. And they haven’t looked back since then.

When the world had NES and SNES, we had the Terminator console.
When the world had NES and SNES, we had the Terminator console.

That is why most of the Indian console gamers are only familiar with PlayStation and Xbox consoles as they both caught the Indian gaming market by storm starting with the PlayStation 1 and Xbox, and reaching soaring heights with their PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 consoles respectively. As a result of that a majority of the Indian gamers missed out on three decades of Nintendo systems and revolutionary games like Super Mario 64, Pokémon Red & Blue and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to newer ones like Super Mario 3D World, Pokémon X/Y and Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Coupled with the fact that India is home to thousands of nostalgic Super Mario and Pokémon fans (thanks to the bootleg consoles which played pirated 8 & 16 bit games, of which the Super Mario games were a part of, and the Japanese anime TV series respectively), Nintendo would have to struggle to not get any sales on their current gen consoles, especially the 3DS, seeing how popular handheld gaming has been in India (despite not having an official presence, Nintendo’s Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance handhelds were somewhat popular too, along with Sony’s PlayStation Portable).

Also thanks to a strong set of intellectual properties (even better than what PlayStation or Xbox have to offer, I’d say) Nintendo would prove worthy competitors to Sony and Microsoft in the Indian community of “console wars”, in which only latter two have been competing till now; plus they do have a cult following for their games in India too and it apparently has grown through the years (the Internet is a powerful enlightenment tool).

So as you can see, Nintendo clearly has an Indian audience who would love to experience their stellar library of games and systems without any hassle (which includes ridiculous pricing of games and consoles with no warranty either, for those wanting to import from North America or Europe), and other platform gamers (PC, PS, Xbox and smartphone) who are unfamiliar with Nintendo can finally get their hands on a Nintendo console to try out the unique games and perhaps eradicate the ignorant mindset they have developed towards Nintendo via rumors and stigma that have been floating around about the family-friendly company all these years. And the unique gaming experience one can get on a Nintendo console is something no other developer can emulate, not even Sony’s or Microsoft’s first party developers.

Mario, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, Link..The list just goes on and on
Mario, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, Link..The list just goes on and on

Time and again Nintendo have proven themselves to be incredibly talented game makers; when the gaming industry was saturated with poor quality games in the ’80s and uninspired, linear, corridor-based shooters and boring open world games in the last and current gen of gaming, Nintendo didn’t hold back and provided fresh and unique gameplay content for gamers through their games and innovative console hardware (be it via the motion controls of the Wii, touch screen of the DS, glasses-free 3D of the 3DS or the amazing Wii U Gamepad).

They never ceased to amaze us gamers; they are gaming pioneers after all.

So let’s try to put in efforts from our side to show Nintendo that they still do have a demand for their games in India, and us fans are more than ready to embrace them with a warm welcome to brighten up the Indian gaming market and community who have fallen prey to generic and cookie-cutter games which emphasize graphics over gameplay and more often than not turned out to be mediocre (and such games are sadly in demand by today’s generation of gamers).

Who knows, Nintendo might just listen to us and release their next-gen console in India (code named ‘NX’, it is set to release worldwide in March 2017), if not the Wii U or 3DS and everyone will be happy.

Well, we can at least hope, can’t we?

32 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article! It’s a shame that Indian gamers are missing out on such amazing experiences…looking forward to more Nintendo articles published on this website. Nintendo does have a fanbase in India though it is very less compared to the PS, Xbox and PC counterparts. I believe at the time the Samurai video game consoles were officially NESes in India.

    • They were weren’t they, I owned a Samurai before I broke it which were followed by a string of Terminator consoles (pictured above). Any gamer in his late 20s would be a Nintendo fan, since he would have grown up playing the Nintendo games.

    • Thank you Paul, glad you liked the article! 🙂
      And of course there’ll be more Nintendo related-stuff on this site in the future! 😀
      Yeah while Nintendo’s fanbase in India is pretty small compared to other platforms, I’d say they’re more loyal than Xbox or PlayStation fans, as those guys tend to get consoles for multiplatform games for the most part and hence they miss out on good games even on their platform of choice (for eg. Ratchet & Clank Future trilogy on PS3 or Bayonetta on 360).
      And bootleg consoles were pretty normal here back in the day lol, even I had one.

      • Yeah, but Samurai was the real deal. If I’m correct, Nintendo released their console under the Samurai brand in India. I remember there were only 3 systems when I was a kid – Samurai, Colombo and Media Little Master. Mitashi and Terminator came out much later and the quality of those systems went down.

      • Nintendo has an opportunity to take the good from bootleg consoles in the 80s/90s. That is that they exposed Indian youth to Nintendo franchises. Something that Nintendo could not do. Maybe they should start looking at that and market Mario + Switch in India. Mario is really famous in India and Nintendo could use it as an advantage and make tons of cash or miss out on tens (even hundreds) of millions of gamers. But for that they need to get their pricing right and their software right. Nintendo to this day has the worst online services of all. You cannot even do a party chat when playing a game. This is really stupid. The PS Vita had this feature since launch in 2011. This is what is stopping me from buying Nintendo. Subpar services and their arrogance towards Non American/Japanese markets. Even EU (where I live now) has to go through this bullshit of overpriced hardware. I had the choice between a PS Vita or a Switch and I chose the Vita due to an existing backlog of cheap games, Sony’s excellent online services and frequent game sales.

      • Each of them, be it PC, Ninty, PlayStation or Xbox have something unique to offer, so saying that is kinda ignorant. And what has violence got to do with the quality of a game? Sure, their games are are tailored to be family-friendly (however, not kid oriented, as most mainstream folk seem to believe), but they do make and support games with a hint of violence or mature themes (Zelda and Metroid are proof of that and so are third party games like The Devil’s Third, Bayonetta 2, Fatal Frame 5)

      • Your rationale is horrendous. Nintendo consoles are packaged for family gaming, the others are not. Hence it lacks the blood, but if you go deeper you’ll see many Nintendo home console games (WIi and WiiU) do have violence.

        • I think he was referring to the outlook of the company. Nintendo have maintained a kid and family friendly image even when their target audience has grown up. Their most popular franchise maybe violent but they are not as gory as say God of War, or even Gears Of War.

          • GoW series and Gears of War series are not targeted at family or kids though unlike Nintendo games. God of War series especially is targeted at M gamers due to nudity and gore. Sony/Microsoft target demography is 18+ not any younger, while they do release family friendly games, they are often rare. Which is why the outlook of the company is different. It’s a terribly made comparison.

      • I would suggest you to stop fanboying over a company that does not give two shits about you or your country, my dude. Also, I can pretty much play all Wii U and previous Nintendo games on my PC via emulators. So what exactly makes the PC “horrible”? If you want to play goreless games, they have them on other platforms as well. Might want to research them before being a Nintendo fanboy on the Internet.

  2. Nice read. Though, I am still finding some Indian official news relating to Nintendo’s presence in India. Only thing I’ve found is a 2014 article about Pokemon fans having trouble in buying the latest game. Link : http://gadgets.ndtv.com/games/features/pokemon-fans-helpless-in-india-as-nintendo-keeps-away-627108

    As for me, I’ve living off emulating old games for Nintendo systems on phone (NES, SNES, GBA, NDS). I was so impressed by the games that I wanted some way to support them, and checked the price for the DS (any model). You know the unfairness when your handheld is priced higher than the PlayStation2 (sigh). THANK GOD FOR THE EMULATORS!

    Also, if you are interested, check out the original Phoenix Wright : Ace Attorney series for DS. You play as a lawyer and solve mysteries. Light hearted, charming writing, extremely fun.

    • Its hard to support especially if you consider the fact that Sony and Microsoft now give away free games each month to their fan base. And they have a more embedded cross play.
      Nintendo has been arrogant and too well set in their ways and that has deterred their presence in India.

  3. Nice read bro. Happy to find a Nintendo fan here. Badly hoping for Nintendo to come with an official presence here. I’m sad of almost everyone I know having grown up with playing super Mario Bros on their fake nes “video game”, but having no idea about the other brilliant genre defining games starring Mario, let alone Nintendo’s other stars.

  4. Dear Nintendo,
    I have heard you’ve a market in China but we from India has only the wildest dreams about you with us included to be in within our home to have sentiments. It’s a big sin isn’t it, Nintendo, to pirate from you. I promise you Nintendo, with the Nintendo NX, I would not pirate a single game. And I promise you, that I’d buy more than a 80 games from you for Nintendo NX. If I am a man, I’d keep to my word. Please have India within the Nintendo NX upcoming project.
    Thanks.

    • To be honest, you’re better of pleading to them on their Facebook or Twitter pages, but even then, its pretty unlikely that they would decide to set up their business in India just out of the blue.

  5. Only one repair station is needed in India in New Delhi for Nintendo. We all can take it to them for repairs. And Nintendo could market it via Amazon.in as how Microsoft is marketing X-box (s) into the Indian Market.

  6. As someone who would love to own a Nintendo system, I will pass unless Nintendo starts treating Indian gamers with some dignity. The best option for Indian gamers is to buy a decent PC/gaming laptop, wait for an emulator and play games on that. Like how I played LoZ:BotW using Wii U’s emulator while enjoying 90% of the 3rd party games out there along with a massive backwards compatibility catalog and other emulators. I am in Europe currently and even here, Nintendo Switch is ridiculous in price. Its 370€ here which when converted to dollars is roughly 425$. That is without any games by the way. I frequently hear how Switch is sold out in US all the time and yet here, I can see them all the time in Gamestop. Which means that most gamers here are (rightly IMO) not buying it. So yea, fuck Nintendo. I would happily buy a Sony console (and I really despise Sony for abandoning the Vita) than buy an overpriced Nintendo console that will not even get 9/10 3rd party games anyways. Nintendo’s 1st party is really amazing but that is not enough to sway me into spending an outrageous amount on their hardware. Oh and by the way, I cannot do voice chat on this overpriced piece of junk without having a complicated setup and buying stupidly expensive peripherals. FOR.VOICE.CHAT! So yea, I’ll stick with the PC where games are cheap, online is free and backwards compatibility is not a “feature” you have to beg for.

    • If any one does a better job of off putting 3rd party than the big N, I have yet to meet them. You are also right about Nintendo not treating their Indian customer right. For example currently there is no digital store for India. I think part of it is the fault of the Indian ‘budget gamer’ but it would be nice if Nintendo showed more interest in a country whose buying powers are rising. Look at Steam, look at PS store, hell look at Xbox Live, all digital stores offering prices in INR, given Nintendo’s resources its not hard to make one. But they do not. Why? We will never know.

      • I don’t think that Indian gamers are not to blame here..even partly. I would blame India if Nintendo had consistent pricing compared to US/Japan. But it is very unrealistic of them to expect us Indians to go out of the way, save money for them, compromise other materialistic things in life and spend it on ridiculously overpriced hardware/software only to find out that Nintendo does not give a crap about us. The onus is on Nintendo to appeal to Indian gamers. Like you said, Sony, Microsoft and Valve realized that and now are reaping benefits. Low revenue per sale but its compensated by high sales volume. I really think Nintendo needs a very rude awakening to get with the times. Their games are really good but damn are they boneheaded in their business ways!

    • Agree for the most part except third party. I’d say they’ve significantly improved on their third party relationships than ever before, but yeah they do need to sort out their online (which frankly they are capable of doing as seen by the normal method of voice chats on DS and Wii U). I really have no idea why they’re ignoring the huge market opportunity here though.

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