From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Nintendo is a video game and video game console company based in Kyoto, Japan, with other divisions in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe. It is well known for such giant franchises as Mario, 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 recognised 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 four TV consoles: the Famicom/NES, the Super Famicom/Super NES, the Nintendo 64, and the Nintendo GameCube, as well as an upcoming TV console, codenamed the Nintendo Revolution. They have also manufactured many handheld portables, including six existing versions of the Game Boy and an upcoming seventh, and the Nintendo DS.
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 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. And 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 Altari 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.
Insipred by Altari and several other companies, Nintendo released their own multicartilage console, the Famicon, in Japan. It became very successful, but soon Nintendo was selling games faster than they were making them. To prevent this, Yamauchi divided his workers into Research & Development 1, 2, and 3 in 1984 in the hopes that Nintendo would still create high-quality games. In 1985, the Famicon 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 also. In 1989 Nintendo released the Game Boy.
In 1990, the Super Famicon was released in Japan and was very successful, and in 1991 was released in the USA 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 ended project and began to develop from them a new product, the PlayStation. In 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy console, which proved to be a disaster. Also, competitors Sega and Sony released their new 32-bit consoles, the Saturn and the PlayStation]], cutting into Nintendo's market share.
In 1996, Nintendo released the instantly popular Nintendo 64 (or N64) console in both Japan and in the USA, as well as the Game Boy Pocket portable. In 1997, the first Pokémon games were released (known as ''Pocket Monsters'' in Japan), the Red and Blue versions, which became hugely popular and spawned the megafranchise as known today. The Nintendo 64 was also released in Europe.
The GameCube home console and Game Boy Advance portable were released in 2001 in Japan and the USA. The year after that, Hiroshi Yamauchi retired as president, placing Satoru Iwata as the new one.
In 2004, the Nintendo DS portable was released. And in 2005, its first retail store, Nintendo World was established in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. In addition at that year's E3, the Nintendo Revolution was officially announced.