The History of Nintendo v Sony

Pre 2000’s

It’s no secret that Nintendo has had a long and strained relationship with Sony since the beginning of the video game boom.

The fierce rivalry between the two Japanese companies started in 1991 at a time when both companies were working on a games console, ingeniously named the Nintendo Play Station.  Out of the public spotlight, the relationship between the companies was strained.

Nintendo feared that Playstation would use the opportunity and piggyback off Nintendo’s brand to enter the gaming market for themselves.

The day after Sony announced the partnership, Nintendo announced that it had broken the contract with Sony and instead chose to work with Philips, Sony’s Dutch rival.

This public humiliation angered Sony and its President Norio Ohga, which led to the creation of the Sony Computer Entertainment division. Eventually, in December 1994, Sony released the very first PlayStation, which quickly stole the top stop in the gaming world and sold over 100 million consoles before it was discontinued.

Over the years, Sony has pushed itself as the king of gaming, with Nintendo playing catch up ever since.

 

Turning The Tides

Not much changed in the Sony vs Nintendo saga over the next 15 years. Sony continued to perfect the PlayStation and remained a dominant player in the market with the release of the PS2 in 2000, PS3 in 2006 and the PS4 in 2013.

In honesty, the Nintendo vs Sony story is somewhat of a David vs Goliath tale. Sony is a massive international corporation that does everything from manufacturing electronics like cameras, TVs, computers and mobiles to developing digital products like movies, games and editing software.

Nintendo on the other hand exclusively caters to the gaming market, providing a selection of consoles as well as video game franchises.

It’s no surprise then that the size difference between both companies is reflected in the numbers. Nintendo’s 2018 revenue topped out at approximately $10billion, whereas Sony pulled in a whopping $80 billion, 25% of which came from their game division alone.

This is the exact reason why Nintendo’s stock price is so interesting to many investors and fans. How can the stock price of a company that makes a fraction of the revenue compete?

Nevertheless, there has been a number of times when Nintendo’s stock price has not only competed but surpassed that of Sony’s.

2007/2008 saw Nintendo’s stock price skyrocket to a whopping $80 billion, surpassing Sony’s market value. This was because of the massive popularity of the Wii and Nintendo’s video game franchises such as Mario Kart and Wii Sports. However, by 2013 the value of the company has dropped significantly to less than $15 billion.

It wasn’t until June 2016 that Nintendo made the headlines again for a surge in its stock price. The announcement of their new Pokemon Go game compatible with Andriod and IOS caused their stock price to surge.

Once again, the comeback kid has surpassed the market value of Sony. As a result of their Pokemon Go mobile game, Nintendo managed to spend most of the following year with a higher stock value than their rival.

The Battle of the Consoles

 

The Battle for 2018

2018 was an interesting, and massively profitable, year for both companies.

While no new consoles hit the shelves in 2018, it didn’t stop fans from spending their hard-earned cash.

The release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017 had created huge waves in the gaming world. Global media coverage and popularity amongst celebrities like Kendal and Kylie Jenner saw the console sold out in almost every shop or online store.

Because it became virtually impossible to buy a Switch in 2017, Nintendo continued to benefit from global demand and sales throughout the 2018 financial year. The popularity of the Switch was also helped by a flurry of exclusive releases such as Octopath Traveler, Pokémon Let’s Go, Super Smash Bros.

Sony was also pretty happy with how 2018 played out. Sure, we didn’t get to see a new Playstation release, but just like Nintendo, the company treated its fans to a great selection of games exclusively released for PS4.

Amongst the exclusive releases, the announcement of Gods of War and the new Marvel Spider-Man games created the biggest buzz for the company.

 

2020 and Beyond

While 2020 has been a confusing and troubling time for most of us, the sales of video games and their consoles have been booming.

The long-awaited release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch in March 2020 was a massive success. Partly due to the social restrictions imposed as a result of the global pandemic, the new Animal Crossing became the first console-based game to reach 5 million downloads in a single month.

But if there is one event in 2020 that is to get gamers the world over twitching in their seats, it is the scheduled release of the PS5. The highly anticipated console is slated for release on the 12th of November and will undoubtedly see Sony dominate gaming sealed in Q4.

 

The Verdict

If one thing is for certain, it’s that the rivalry between Sony and Nintendo is unlikely to end any time soon. 

While their rivalry might be driven by a personal vendetta that started over 30 years ago, but the fierce competition and the drive to beat their counterpart has allowed both companies to develop some truly groundbreaking games and consoles. 

Competition is healthy no matter what industry it’s in, and the competition between Sony and Nintendo has undoubtedly only benefited gamers around the world. Perhaps the gaming industry needs more rivalries to help drive innovations?