Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, is the acknowledged worldwide leader in the creation of interactive entertainment. To date, Nintendo has sold more than one billion video games worldwide, created such industry icons as Mario and Donkey Kong and launched franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Pok?mon. Nintendo manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home video game systems, including Nintendo GameCube and the Game Boy series - the world's best-selling video game system.
As a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Washington, serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere, where more than 40 percent of American households own a Nintendo game system.
1889 - Fusajiro Yamauchi began manufacturing "Hanafuda," Japanese playing cards in Kyoto.
1902 - Mr. Yamauchi started manufacturing the first playing cards in Japan. Originally for export, the product became popular in Japan as well as abroad.
1929 -In 1929, Yamauchi retired from the company and allowed Sekiryo Yamauchi to take over the company as president.
1933 - Established an unlimited partnership, Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.
1947 - Began a distribution company, Marufuku Co. Ltd. In 1947, Sekiryo established the company Marufuku Company, Ltd., to distribute the Hanafuda cards, as well as several other brands of cards that had been introduced by Nintendo. Sekiryo Yamauchi also had only daughters, so again his son-in-law (Shikanojo Inaba, renamed Shikanojo Yamauchi) was adopted into the family. Shikanojo never became president because he left his family. Subsequently, his son Hiroshi was brought up by his grandparents. Hiroshi later took over the company instead of his father.
1950 - Hiroshi Yamauchi, grandson of the original president, took office as President and absorbed the manufacturing operation of Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.
1951 - Changed the company name from Marufuku Co. Ltd. to Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd.
1952 - Consolidated factories were dispersed in Kyoto.
1953 - Became the first to succeed in manufacturing mass-produced plastic playing cards in Japan.
1956 - In 1956, Hiroshi Yamauchi visited the U.S., to engage in talks with the United States Playing Card Company, the dominant playing card manufacturer in the United States. Yamauchi was shocked to find that the world's biggest company in his business was relegated to using a small office. This was a turning point for Yamauchi, who then realised the limitations of the playing card business.
1959 - Started selling cards printed with Walt Disney characters, opening a new market in children's playing cards. The card department boomed!
1962 - In January, listed stock on the second section of the Osaka Stock Exchange and on the Kyoto Stock Exchange. Yamauchi took Nintendo public, listing the company in Osaka Stock Exchange Second division.
1963 - Changed company name to Nintendo Co. Ltd. and started manufacturing games in addition to playing cards. Also during the period of time between 1963 and 1968, Nintendo set up a taxi company, "love hotel" chain, food company (trying to sell instant rice, similar to instant noodles) and several other things (including a vacuum cleaner, Chiritory, which later appeared as a two-player game in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ in 2003). All these ventures eventually failed, except toymaking, where they had some earlier experience from selling playing cards.
1964 - In 1964, while Japan was experiencing an economic boom due to the Tokyo Olympics, the playing card business reached its saturation point. Japanese households stopped buying playing cards, and the price of Nintendo stock fell from 900 yen to 60 yen.
1965 - In 1965, Nintendo hired Gunpei Yokoi as a maintenance engineer for the assembly line. However, Yokoi soon became famous for much more than his ability to repair conveyor belts.
1969 - Expanded and reinforced the game department; built a production plant in Uji City, a suburb of Kyoto.
1970 - Stock listing was changed to the first section of the Osaka Stock Exchange. Reconstruction and enlargement of corporate headquarters was completed. Started selling the Beam series, employing opto-electronics. Introduced electronic technology into the toy industry for the first time in Japan. Hiroshi Yamauchi was observing a 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 proper product for the Christmas rush. Released as "The Ultra Hand", it would become one of Nintendo's earliest toy blockbusters, selling over a million units. Seeing that Yokoi had promise, Hiroshi Yamauchi pulled him off assembly line work. Yokoi was soon moved from maintenance duty to product development.
1973 - Developed laser clay system to succeed bowling as a major pastime.
1974 - Developed image projection system employing 16mm film projector for amusement arcades. Began exporting them to America and Europe.
1975 - In cooperation with Mitsubishi Electric, developed video game system using electronic video recording (EVR) player. Introduced the microprocessor into the video game system the next year.
1977 - Developed home-use video games in cooperation with Mitsubishi Electric. Nintendo saw the hiring of Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who (along with Yokoi) would become a living legend in the world of gaming and the secret to Nintendo's longevity; his creative vision was instrumental in determining the path Nintendo's future (and indeed, the industry's as a whole) would follow.
1978 - Created and started selling coin-operated video games using microcomputers.
1979 - Started an operations division for coin-operated games.
1980 - Announced a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc. in New York. Started selling "GAME & WATCH" product line.
1981 - Developed and began distribution of the coin-operated video game "Donkey Kong." This video game quickly became the hottest selling individual coin-operated machine in the business.
1982 - Merged New York subsidiary into Nintendo of America Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., with a capital of $600,000.
1983 - Built a new plant in Uji city to increase production capacity and to allow for business expansion. Established Nintendo Entertainment Centres Ltd. in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, to operate a family entertainment center. Raised authorized capital of Nintendo of America Inc. to $10 million. In July, listed stock on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Started selling the home video game console "Family Computer" employing a custom CPU (Custom Processing Unit) and PPU (Picture Processing Unit). In July 1983, Nintendo released their Famicom (Family Computer) system in Japan, which was their first attempt at a cartridge-based video game console. The system was a failure until the release of the game Super Mario Bros., selling over 500,000 units within two months. The console was also a technical insulation and inexpensive when compared to its competitors, priced at about $100 USD. However, after a few months of the consoles selling well, Nintendo received complaints that some Famicom consoles would freeze when the player attempted to play certain games. The fault was found in a malfunctioning chip and Nintendo decided to recall all Famicom units currently on store shelves, which cost them almost half a million USD.
1984 - Developed and started selling the unique 2-screen interactive coin-operated video game "VS. System".
1985 - Started to sell the U.S. version of Family Computer "Nintendo Entertainment System" (NES) in America. The system included R.O.B. - Robotic Operating Buddy - and the games Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. Mario and Luigi became as big a hit as the NES. By 1985, the Famicom had proven to be a huge continued success in Japan. However, Nintendo also encountered a problem with the sudden popularity of the Famicom — they did not have the resources to manufacture games at the same pace they were selling them. To combat this, Yamauchi decided to divide his employees into three groups, the groups being Research & Development 1 (R&D 1), Research & Development 2 (R&D 2) and Research & Development 3 (R&D 3). R&D 1 was headed by Gunpei Yokoi, R&D 2 was headed by Masayuki Uemura, and R&D 3 was headed by Genyo Takeda. Using these groups, Yamauchi hoped Nintendo would produce a small number of high quality games rather than a large number of average quality games. In 1985, Nintendo announced that they were releasing the Famicom worldwide — except under a different name — the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) — and with a different design. They used a trojan-horse tactic to counter the bad view that the media was giving on video games, and released the NES with R.O.B. units that connected to the console and were synchronised to the games. To ensure the localization of the highest-quality games by third-party developers, Nintendo of America limited the number of game titles third-party developers could release in a single year to five. Konami, the first third-party company that was allowed to make cartridges for the Famicom, would later circumvent this rule by creating a spinoff company, Ultra Games, to release additional games in a single year. Other manufacturers soon employed the same tactic. Also in 1985, Super Mario Bros. was released for the Famicom in Japan and became a large success.
1986 - Developed the "Family Computer Disk Drive System" to expand the functions of the Family Computer. Began installation of the "Disk Writer" to rewrite game software. Game Counselors were organized and players from all over the world could call Nintendo for advice on games and strategies.
1987 - Sponsored a Family Computer "Golf Tournament" as a communications test using the public telephone network and Disk Faxes to aid in building a Family Computer network. The NES achieved the status as the #1 selling toy in America and The Legend of Zelda became the first new generation home video game to exceed sales of one million units.
1988 - Nintendo of America Inc. published the first issue of Nintendo Power magazine in July. Researched and developed the Hands Free controller, making the NES accessible to many more Nintendo fans. The game library for the NES grew to 65 titles, helping to broaden the demographics to include more s.
1989 - Released "The Adventure of Link," sequel to the top-selling game "The Legend of Zelda" in the U.S. Started "World of Nintendo" displays in U.S. to help market Nintendo products. Studies show that children are as familiar with "Mario" as they are with Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny! Introduced Game Boy, the first portable, hand-held game system with interchangeable game paks. Nintendo Power magazine became the largest paid-subscription publication in its age category. Nintendo of America unveiled Nintendo Power, a monthly news and strategy magazine from Nintendo that served to advertise new games. The first issue published was the July/August edition, which spotlighted the NES game Super Mario Bros. 2. In 1989, Nintendo (which had seen a large amount of success from the Game & Watch) released the Game Boy (both created by Gunpei Yokoi), along with the accompanying game Tetris. Due to the price, the game and its durability (unlike the prior Microvision from Milton Bradley Company, which was prone to static and screen rot), the Game Boy sold extremely well. It eventually became the best selling portable game system of all time. Later, Super Mario Land was also released for the Game Boy, which sold 14 million copies worldwide. 1989 was also the year that Nintendo announced a sequel to the Famicom, to be called the Super Famicom.
1990 - Nintendo Power Fest featuring the Nintendo World Championships tours the country. Japan enters the 16-bit market by releasing the Super Famicom in the fall. The last major blockbuster game for the NES, Super Mario Bros. 3, was released in early 1990. The game went on to sell over 18 million units. The Super Famicom was released in Japan on November 21, 1990. The system's launch was widely successful, and the Super Famicom was sold out across Japan within three days.
1991 - The 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES), along with "Super Mario World," is released in the U.S.
1992 - The Super NES Super Scope and Mario Paint with the Super NES Mouse Accessory were released. The long-awaited "Zelda" sequel, "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past," arrived for the Super NES. Nintendo of America Inc. developed portable Fun Centers to assist the Starlight Foundation in bringing happiness to hospitalized children by allowing them to enjoy their favorite video games during hospital stays.
1993 - Nintendo announces the advent of the Super FX Chip, breakthrough technology for home video systems. The first game using the Super FX Chip, "Star Fox," is released in April. In 1992, Gunpei Yokoi and the rest of R&D 1 began planning on a new virtual reality console to be called the Virtual Boy. Hiroshi Yamauchi also bought majority shares of the Seattle Mariners in 1992.
1994 - The Super Game Boy accessory was released, expanding the library of games that could now be played on the Super NES! Everyone's favorite e, Samus, returns in another long-awaited sequel, Super Metroid. Nintendo helped pioneer the development and implementation of an industry-wide rating system. This year also saw the introduction of a game that would set a new standard in video game excellence. Using proprietary Advanced Computer ing (ACM) graphics, Donkey Kong Country took the holiday season by storm! Nintendo Gateway projected to reach 40 million travelers.
1995 - Thanks to the outstanding success of Donkey Kong Country, ACM graphics were introduced to the Game Boy system by way of Donkey Kong Land. Along with this great boost to the Game Boy system line, Nintendo also introduced the Play It Loud! series of Game Boy systems. ACM graphics made another appearance on the Super NES with the release of the arcade smash-hit, Killer Instinct. At the same time, Nintendo introduced a 32-bit Virtual Immersion system known as the Virtual Boy. Next, Nintendo responded to the demands of fans with the release of Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2. Nintendo even enhanced the quality of ACM graphics for the upcoming release of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. Cruis'n USA and Killer Instinct available in local arcades. Celebration of the one-billionth game pak being sold.
1996 - Nintendo 64 launches in Japan on June 23. Thousands line up to be the first to experience the world's first true 64-bit home video game system. In early September, Nintendo introduces the Game Boy pocket, a sleeker, 30-percent smaller version of the world's most popular hand-held video game system. On September 29, Nintendo 64 launches in North America. Super Mario 64 is proclaimed by many as "the greatest video game of all time!" For the Super NES we saw the release of the third game in the continuing Donkey Kong series, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble.
1998 - Nintendo introduces Game Boy Color and innovative devices Game Boy Camera and Printer, bringing new life to the longest running hit in the history of interactive entertainment. Pok?mon, a breakthrough game concept for Game Boy, was introduced to the world and generated a nationwide craze to collect 'em all! The most anticipated video game ever, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64 was released, setting new standards and breaking records for pre-sell for any video game to date.
1999 - The success of the Pok?mon franchise expands even further with the release of Pok?mon Pinball, Pok?mon Yellow, and the first Pok?mon title for the Nintendo 64, Pok?mon Snap. Nintendo releases several notable N64 titles including Star Wars: Episode 1: Racer, Mario Golf, Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong 64, Mario Party, and Perfect Dark. At E3, Nintendo announces development plans for a new system, code-named Dolphin, that will utilize an IBM Gekko processor and Matsushita's proprietary optical disk technology.
2000 - Nintendo sells its one hundred millionth Game Boy unit, ending the year with more than 110 million sold. Game Boy is responsible for 47% of all U.S. hardware system sales (an all-time high for a portable device). Pok?mon Stadium is the top-selling console game, followed by The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, both for N64. Pok?mon Gold and Silver for Game Boy Color make their U.S. debut in October, becoming the fastest-selling games of all time by selling a combined 1.4 million copies in one week and 6 million through December.
2001 - Beloved Nintendo characters Mario and Donkey Kong celebrate their 20th anniversaries. Nintendo launches its highly anticipated Game Boy Advance in Japan on March 21. The portable powerhouse debuts in the U.S. on June 11, and sells one million units in six weeks. Following the success of the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo launches the Nintendo GameCube home video game console in Japan on September 14. The U.S. launch on November 18 smashes previous U.S. sales records, becoming the fastest-selling next generation hardware system.
2002 - After 52 years at the helm of Nintendo Co., Ltd., Hiroshi Yamauchi steps down and names Satoru Iwata his successor. Nintendo releases a slew of hot titles for the Nintendo GameCube including Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Party 4, Animal Crossing, Eternal Darkness, and the game that many laud as the greatest title of 2002, Metroid Prime. Nintendo releases their first online game for the Nintendo GameCube, Phantasy Star Online. By the end of 2002, more than 25 million Game Boy Advance units are in homes around the world.
2003 - Nintendo takes an already successful system and makes it better, with the introduction of the Game Boy Advance SP. Its stylish flip-top design and rechargeable battery help it become the must-have system across all age groups. Following up the previous year's critically-acclaimed success of Nintendo GameCube titles, Nintendo launches The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The game's cell-shaded style breaks the mold and is hailed as one of the best Zelda games ever. Giving fans further ways to enjoy their Nintendo products, the release of the Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Player allows gamers to play their Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games on their televisions.
2004 - Nintendo launches the innovative, new, dual screen handled video game system: the Nintendo DS. The Nintendo DS offers touch screen controls, wireless multiplayer, and backwards compatibility with Game Boy Advance games. The demand for the Nintendo DS makes it one of the year's hottest items. Pok?mon FireRed and LeafGreen launch for the Game Boy Advance, continuing the success of the Pok?mon franchise. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes hits the scene for the Nintendo GameCube, and is lauded by critics and fans alike.
2005- President Satoru Iwata merged all of Nintendo's software designers under the EAD division; this was done to allocate more resources to Shigeru Miyamoto. As of 2005 Nintendo's internal development divisions are the following five groups (see Nintendo development divisions for more information): Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development Tokyo Nintendo Integrated Research & Development Nintendo Software Production & Development Nintendo Technology & Development On May 14 2005, Nintendo opened its first retail store accessible to the general public, Nintendo World Store, at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. It consists of two stories, and contains many kiosks of GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS games. There are also display cases filled with things from Nintendo's past, including Hanafuda playing cards, Nintendo's first product. They celebrated the opening with a block party at Rockefeller Plaza. At E3 in May 2005, Nintendo displayed the first prototype for their "next-generation" system, codenamed the Nintendo Revolution (now known as the Wii), its controller revealed at the Tokyo Game Show later that year.
2006- In 2006, Nintendo introduced the Wii and with it several advanced, revolutionary features. Wireless motion-sensitive remote controllers, built-in Wi-Fi capability, and a host of other features have made the Wii the best-selling latest generation console system in the world. November saw a truly special moment in Nintendo's history: the launching of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Nintendo DS owners were treated to this free and easy-to-use wireless service that enabled them to play with other gamers from around the world. The service was so successful that after only two months from launching, over 10 million connections were made by nearly half-a-million unique users! On the GameCube front, the much-anticapted Resident Evil 4 launched first on the Nintendo GameCube, earning "Game of the Year" honors from many publications, and setting a new standard in graphics and game play. After nearly 20 years of providing top-notch game play support, Nintendo transitioned its game play help resources from Game Play Counselors, to exclusively offering help on web sites, through publications, and on our pre-recorded Power Line. An improved Game Boy Advance SP, the sleek new Game Boy micro, and the innovative Nintendo DS kept Nintendo on top of the hand held market.
2007- On September 17, 2007, Nintendo of America closed its official forums, the NSider Forums, indefinitely due to a major overhaul of their site; for months prior, cutbacks in Nintendo of America's online department led to the trimming back of NSider's chat hours and the replacement of their annual Camp Hyrule event — held during August — with a sweepstakes. In the meantime, Nintendo encouraged fans to run their own forums. In response to this, some members of the NSider forums created a couple of online communities, one called NSider2 two days after the clousure, and another one, formed the same day of the clousure, which dissolved into NSF, both of which were intended to replace NSider. Nintendo-Europe's forum section of their site was also officially closed down a week later due to a site revamp, however it had been offline citing "security issues" since June of that year. On December 19 2007, Nintendo opened new technical support forums, but discussion is now limited to technical support. In October 2007, Nintendo Co., Ltd announced Nintendo Australia's new Managing Director, Rose Lappin, who is Nintendo's first Female head of one of its subsidiaries and worked for Nintendo before it started in Australia as Director of Sales and Marketing for Mattel and had that role until she was announced Managing Director.