Nintendo (Japanese: 任天堂 Nintendō) is a video game and video game console company based in Kyoto, Japan, with other divisions in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. It is well known for such giant franchises as Mario, The Legend of Zelda and of course, Pokémon. It was founded in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi producing playing cards. Its current president is Satoru Iwata. The longest running and historically most influential video game console company, it is also recognized as one of (if not the) largest producer of video games and has sold more than two billion video games worldwide. Over time, Nintendo has manufactured five home video game consoles: the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Nintendo 64, the Nintendo GameCube, and Wii. They have also manufactured many handheld game systems, including six versions of the Game Boy, the Nintendo DS and the recently-released Nintendo 3DS.
Nintendo Koppai was a small Japanese business founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi, producing handmade cards for Hanafuda, a playing card game. They became popular, and soon the company was mass producing them with additional hired workers. Through the years after that, Yamauchi retired and placed his son-in-law Sekiryo Yamauchi in charge in 1929, who in turn retired in 1949, placing his grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi as president. In a highly successful move, Nintendo made a deal with Disney allowing them to use Disney characters on their cards. The company was merged and renamed several times, emerging in 1963 as Nintendo Co., Ltd.
In 1969, Nintendo established a games division, selling multiple successful toys. In 1975 Yamauchi began research into video games, back then a new American trend. Seeing the success that Atari was receiving, he decided that it was a good venture, and made a deal with Mitsubishi to create and sell video game consoles (designed to play only one game). Until 1982, they sold many consoles, including the first handheld, the highly successful Game & Watch system, as well as arcade games, such as Donkey Kong. It was also at this time that Shigeru Miyamoto, then an art designer for arcade games, joined the company.
Inspired by Atari and several other companies, Nintendo released their own multi-cartridge console, the Famicom, in Japan. It became very successful, and soon Nintendo was selling games faster than they could make them. To ease this problem, Yamauchi divided his workers into Research & Development 1, 2, and 3 in 1984 in the hopes that Nintendo would still be able to create high-quality games while working faster. In 1985, the Famicom was released worldwide under a different name, the Nintendo Entertainment System, or "NES". In this same year, the highly successful Super Mario Bros. was released as well. In 1989 Nintendo released the first Game Boy.
In 1990, the Super Famicom was released in Japan and was extremely successful, and in the next two years was released in the rest of the world as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as the "Super NES" or "SNES". In the mid-1990s, Nintendo contracted with Sony to develop an add-on CD-ROM drive to the Super NES, but terminated the contract. Sony used the research and development of the canceled deal and would eventually release it as the PlayStation. In 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy console, however, this provided to be a disaster for the company, their first ever. Also, competitors Sega and Sony released their new 32-bit consoles, the Saturn and the PlayStation, cutting into Nintendo's market share.
Between 1996 and 1997, Nintendo released the instantly popular Nintendo 64 console worldwide, as well as the Game Boy Pocket. In 1996, the first Pokémon games were released (as Pocket Monsters in Japan), the Red and Green Versions, which became hugely popular and spawned the mega-franchise that is known today.
The GameCube home console and Game Boy Advance were released worldwide in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, the long-time President of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, stepped down from his position, handing it off to Satoru Iwata.
In 2004, the Nintendo DS was released, followed shortly after, in 2005, by the opening of Nintendo's first retail store, Nintendo World in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. In addition, at that year's E3, Wii, then going by its codename of Revolution, was officially announced.
In 2006, the Nintendo DS Lite was introduced, redesigning the original DS much like the Game Boy Advance SP did to the original GBA. Also in 2006, at E3, Nintendo revealed the official name for their Project Revolution, Wii, and released it worldwide at the end of the year.
In 2009, the Nintendo DSi was introduced, redesigning the DS Lite. This new iteration introduced a new OS for the system and included new downloadable software, called DSiWare.
In early 2010 Nintendo released the Nintendo DSi XL.
In 2010, Nintendo announced the Nintendo 3DS, the true successor to the original Nintendo DS, for release in 2011. It is able to produce 3D effects without the need for glasses using a parallax barrier screen.
In 2011, Nintendo announced the Wii U, an HD successor to the Wii that will be released in 2012. The system's controller works as a touchscreen, similarly to the DS & 3DS.
In Summer 2012, Nintendo released a bigger version of the 3DS known as the 3DS XL.
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