“Nintendo had you by the balls, and they knew it.”
According to an interview with Blake J. Harris, author of the new Console Wars book that is also being made into a film, in the June 2014 edition of Game Informer, Nintendo was able to dictate third-party publishers because the alternative – SEGA – wasn’t viable. As a result, the attitude by third parties towards the company was less than positive.
“Nintendo did not do themselves any favors in terms of how they treated retailers and third-party licensees,” Harris said. “The licensees had very strict agreements with Nintendo. At first, they could only make five games a year and Nintendo had the right to approve all those games. If they wanted to take several months to review a game, they did. To put it bluntly, a lot of the third parties and retailers I spoke to all said a similar version of “Nintendo had you by the balls, and they knew it.””
What’s also interesting is that late Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi reportedly only visited Nintendo of America twice.
“One interesting thing was that when you hear of someone like him running the company, you imagine all sorts of interesting run-ins with him,” Harris explained when asked whether he felt Mr. Yamauchi was a man to be feared.“But, as far as I can tell, he only visited Nintendo of America twice during the entire time. So, everything I heard about him was very much second hand, except for Howard Lincoln, who did have a close relationship with him. Howard had great things to say about him. That said, everyone who had great things to say about him definitely confirmed that dictatorial nature that we’ve heard about and that level of fear and intimidation that he seemed to travel with wherever he went.”
You can read more about Harris’ research in the latest edition of Game Informer.