A lot of digital ink is being spilled on the problems that are plaguing Twitter. There are concerns about Twitter's stalled user growth and whether the company can bring in more revenue. Similar concerns have been expressed about Nintendo, the iconic game maker. But what does a videogame maker have in common with a social network? The answer is plenty.Even though Twitter and Nintendo hail from different industries, both are struggling with the same challenge: Attracting new users without losing the core customer base. This year marks an important time for both Twitter and Nintendo. Both companies have to find a way to remind consumers why they should fit its products into their increasingly crowded lives. Here's a quick look at the approach each company is taking.
Nintendo has a long history of creating great games, but new games aren't enough to alter the company's downward trajectory. Bigger changes are needed if the company hopes to recapture its hold on the consumer imagination and boost revenue dollars. To that end, the game maker has been positioning itself to transform the customer experience.
In 2015, Nintendo executives said the company would do something they had said it would never do: create games for smartphones. The company could no longer afford to ignore the rise in mobile device usage and so it announced a partnership with Japanese mobile gaming firm DeNA to develop mobile games.
And in a nod towards its base of console players, Nintendo said it will also introduce a new gaming platform called NX that is different from its earlier consoles. The company has offered few details about its new products, but Nintendo's stock jumped at the news.
Twitter's 140-character platform was considered revolutionary not too long ago but it's since been overtaken by a slew of other social media and messaging platforms.
Twitter is well aware that it needs to make improvements to its product. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said that he wants to make Twitter "far more approachable than it has been in the past," reports Re/Code.
The company has tried a number of different tactics to make its platform more user friendly. In October last year, Twitter introduced Moments, which aggregates the day's most talked-about stories in a separate tab. It works without having to follow anyone. Moments could potentially attract new users by making it easier to use Twitter without having to figure out its unique lingo and settings. Twitter also introduced a "while you were away" feature that resurfaces tweets that its algorithm thinks would interest individual users based on past their past behavior.
Dorsey has even floated the possibility of allowing tweets of up to 10,000 characters. Many of these new features are helpful, but Twitter has to be careful not to lose the aspects that users like about its platform. For example, Twitter's brevity has many advantages and opening up posts to 10,000 characters could make the experience worse instead of better.
Time is of the essence for both companies to show solid improvements. Nintendo has already pushed back the highly anticipated release of a new Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U and it's not clear if NX will be out in time for the 2016 holiday season. And Twitter continues to lose money each quarter. Twitter and Nintendo both have a shot at successful turnaround stories, but the longer it takes, the less likely it'll happen.