If you were to ask a person who knew nothing at all about video games, the most likely response would be that he/she would mention Mario. Nintendo's history is unparalleled. They are the longest running console manufacturer in the history of gaming, but recently they have encountered a more than slight amount of turmoil in regards to their home consoles.
Without the multiple iterations of the Gameboy and the Nintendo DS/3DS, it would be safe to say that Nintendo would have became strictly a software developer probably around the first few years of the 20th century.
In America, Nintendo's home consoles, for the most part, have been less than stellar in terms of sales. The NES and SNES sold well, but was followed up with the Nintendo 64 and then the Gamecube.
During that time frame, Sega dropped out of the console market, incapable of competing with Sony or Nintendo. The Playstation One was much more successful than the Nintendo 64.
Microsoft entered the game shortly after with the Xbox just as Sony came out with the Playstation Two. But Nintendo continued their trend of "not competing" with other console developers by releasing another awkward system, The Gamecube.
Their handhelds continued to save them, as third-party developers grew more and more weary of developing for the less powerful consoles that Nintendo kept churning out. Nintendo's first party games have always been excellent, but their dedication to bringing third-party developers on board has never been a focus.
In 2006, Nintendo released its most successful console of all time: The revolutionary device called the Nintendo Wii. Boasting motion controls, and an interactive experience that was totally new to home console gaming, the Wii flew off of shelves. The Wii kept Nintendo alive, but Microsoft had already released a much more graphically-enhanced system a year prior: The Xbox 360, and Sony followed up with their even more powerful third iteration of the Playstation console line.
Nintendo continued to thrive through handheld and Wii sales, but something was still missing. And then arguably the worst part of Nintendo history occurred at the end of 2012: The release of the Wii U. Was it a handheld? An add on to the Wii? Most consumers were not aware that this was Nintendo's new console. A system that carried only a slight graphical upgrade from Sony and Microsoft's systems that were six to seven years older than the Wii U.
Today, The Xbox One and Playstation Four deliver movie like visuals while the Wii U has a library of games worth playing that can be counted on one hand over a year and a half after its release, there has been little for consumers to get excited about or even understand when it comes to the Wii U.
So will Nintendo follow Sega? The short answer is no. Nintendo is likely and rumored to be developing a brand new console that will try and match up to its competitors. Because that is how Nintendo has to look at Sony and Microsoft now: competitors.
The handheld market will likely always belong to Nintendo and could keep them afloat for a few more system failures, but consumers and developers want more from Nintendo on the console end. They are treading on thin ice, but as stated before, Nintendo is the staple of the gaming industry, if any company can make a comeback, Nintendo is at the top of the list.