Nintendo. That one word will conjure up a vast array of images and conceptions in the minds of gamers. Older fans will think of the NES and SNES, kids form the 90s will think of the N64 and others will think f the GameCube and Wii. In terms of games a large list of quality and innovating games with some memorable heroes and heroines, as well as some awesome villains, will also spring to mind and all of this will underpinned by near constant innovation and success. But, with the success of the Wii, Nintendo have created a bit of an identity crisis for themselves.
They are still industry innovators but many now perceive them to be a company that caters towards casual gamers, indeed some even believe that their core franchises such as Mario and Zelda are aimed specifically at casual gamers. Of course with the 3DS and later with the Wii U they are desperately trying to rectify this, but is it too late?
Fans of the Wii might shy away from the Wii U because of its attempt to win back the hardcore gamers that the Wii lost and many who drifted away from Nintendo with the release of the Wii might have their doubts when Nintendo promises to bring some hardcore games. Both positions would be perfectly justified and it's because of that that Nintendo will have to work very hard to ensure a good mix of both casual and hardcore games upon the consoles launch and in the aftermath of the launch in order to establish an identity as a company that caters to both casual and hardcore audiences.
Of course the damage could be more severe than it seems, it could take more than one new generation of consoles for the perception of Nintendo as a causal game provider to change. Indeed your average person/non-gamer will conclude that they are about casual games based on their adverts, and these images may be too entrenched to change with the release of a few hardcore games.
Ultimately only time will tell how Nintendo's future will play out but it certainly seems as though, with the Wii U and 3DS, they seem set to re-establish their identity and move themselves, and the industry, forward into the next generation.