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Nintendo in the Firing Line

Nintendo in the Firing Line

Fri 06 Dec 2013 8:00am GMT / 3:00am EST / 12:00am PST
Business

As PS4 and XB1 enjoy successful launches, comparisons with Wii U look stark - but Nintendo has a track record of confounding the doomsayers

With the PS4 and Xbox One now both launched in North America and Europe, and solid sales reported by both camps, we can expect something of a change in the whole narrative around games consoles. Certainly, there's going to be the usual tit-for-tat that we expect from a console war, with Microsoft in particular having much to prove in this round of the battle, but one thing that is likely to quieten down is the "consoles are doomed" line of argument - which has been heavily promoted over the past few years by people whose core point may have carried some validity, but who vastly overstated their position because they failed to understand the difference between an entire sector in decline, and a simple slowdown at the end of an exceptionally long hardware cycle.

Of course, the arguments that game consoles are ultimately doomed won't go away - but as 2014 progresses and Sony and Microsoft's devices rack up impressive installed bases of consumers paying high prices for game software, it's going to be pretty hard to defend a position that decries the console market as being on course for economic oblivion. Not to worry, though - the hand-waving prophets of doom aren't going anywhere. They've got a new target - or rather, they've brought back an old target and pinned it back over their rhetorical dartboards. Nintendo's back in the line of fire.

"let's face it, launching Super Mario 3D World against the arrival of the PS4 wasn't bold and brazen, it was myopic and dumb, as a worrying number of the company's decisions in recent years have been"

Yes, no sooner had PS4 hopped off the shelves into the welcoming arms of early adopters than Nintendo's rough time with the Wii U was being lamented by supposedly concerned individuals who could scarcely contain their glee. The next-gen systems, barely a week old, are already exceeding the Wii U's installed base. In the UK, much-derided PS4 launch title Knack outsold the critically acclaimed Super Mario 3D World. Publications around the world - even outside the specialist games press - rushed to publish their musings on Nintendo's future, or lack of same, and the seemingly inevitable demise of the ill-fated Wii U.

I'm no apologist for Nintendo - let's face it, launching Super Mario 3D World against the arrival of the PS4 wasn't bold and brazen, it was myopic and dumb, as a worrying number of the company's decisions in recent years have been - but I do try to put their actions and results into a meaningful context and understand them on their own terms. As I've argued before, Nintendo is a rather different kettle of fish to its rivals. It has no designs on owning the living room or dominating your media experiences. It relies remarkably little on third-party games, tending to work closely with partners on a small number of key third-party titles while largely focusing on first-party software.

As a consequence of these things, Nintendo can continue to act and think like a toy company - a huge installed base is desirable, of course, because it makes the firm more profitable, but a smaller yet still profitable installed base is also fine. If Microsoft fails to get Xbox One into a huge number of households, it'll be a major problem, since part of the reason for the system's existence is to extend Microsoft's dominance in the living room; if Sony can't sell tens of millions of PS4 units pretty rapidly, that'll also be a problem, since Sony (like Microsoft) relies heavily on third-party publishers supporting its console, and they won't develop games for a system without a large addressable market. Yet Nintendo cares little about either of those factors, and could be reasonably satisfied with a "third-place finish" that still makes a handsome profit for the firm.

This is not to say that the Wii U isn't in trouble - it is. The console is still spreading red ink on Nintendo's financials, although assessments of the current situation do need to take into account the remarkable success of the 3DS, which continues to ramp up an impressive installed base thanks to the launch of several huge software titles in the past few months, and should end 2013 on a very high note indeed. One successful product covering for the losses of another product isn't an ideal situation by any means, though, and Nintendo will need to take stock of its situation at some point - but not for a while.

Right now, it's the least successful home console the company has ever launched, but sales are still comparable with the GameCube, a system which eventually limped home to about 25 million sales but continued to be supported pretty robustly by first-party software (and even some third-party classics) right through to the bitter end. Like the Wii U, the Cube also found itself marketed alongside a much more successful handheld - the GBA - and there's even an argument that Nintendo is being consistent in its priorities, with the GBA getting the lion's share of attention in software development terms while the Cube struggled through its early years, similar to the situation now with the Wii U and the 3DS.

In short, we've been here before - or at least, in a very similar place to here - and the notion of Nintendo abandoning ship and letting a home console die off prematurely, as Sega did with the late lamented Dreamcast, simply didn't arise. With Nintendo still incredibly cash-rich, expert at wringing profit from its systems (Wii U probably won't spew red ink for long, even if sales remain slow) and selling 3DS systems and software at a rate of knots, there's little reason to believe that the Wii U faces a Dreamcast-like fate. More likely is that the system will continue to get several major first-party releases every year, bolstered by a stream of third-party games that will improve as the installed base inches towards respectability; then the company will move to launch a replacement console after four or five years, while Microsoft and Sony seek to eke out seven or eight years from their new systems. Not a long and prosperous life for a system, but by no means an ignominious end either, and enough to ensure that Wii U owners don't feel betrayed by Nintendo and wary about buying another new console from the firm.

"It's terribly sad, I think, that people who describe themselves as gamers or who work within or around the games business would take such pleasure in imagining the downfall of a company whose products are so squarely focused on the experience and joy of games"

As for Mario and Knack, I wouldn't lose any sleep over those figures. They make for a great headline in the short term (as did the fact that Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns outsold Mario in Japan during the week when both games launched - a blindingly obvious outcome given the relative installed bases of PS2 and Wii U) but the comparison is apples and oranges. Knack is an apparently rather underwhelming launch title for a new system (I say apparently, as I've only played a brief but rather enjoyable demo, PS4 still being some months off over here); Super Mario 3D World is one of the most critically acclaimed games of the year and, in common with Nintendo's key titles in all systems, will enjoy significant long-tail sales for months and perhaps even years. Come back in three months time and see how sales compare - even given the enormous gulf that will have opened up between PS4 sales and Wii U sales in that time, SM3DW's sales will be impressive by any standards.

It's perhaps odd for me, whose personal tastes veered towards Xbox 360 in the past generation and PS2 in the generation previous, to find myself going to bat for Nintendo - although I do now own a 3DS, and enjoy it hugely - but the motivation I genuinely cannot fathom is that which drives the company's gleeful critics, who seem to dance around with thinly veiled joy at the prospect of this long-standing, hugely creative and entirely game-focused company being in dire straits. To its critics, Nintendo's extraordinary track record of innovation and creativity within the context of its core franchises means nothing, and "ugh, Mario again!" is a rallying cry as commonplace as it is devoid of any meaning or substance.

It's terribly sad, I think, that people who describe themselves as gamers or who work within or around the games business would take such pleasure in imagining the downfall of a company whose products are so squarely focused on the experience and joy of games - even to the extent where they will distort reality and wilfully forget history in order to "prove" the accuracy of their claims. Nintendo and its consoles aren't in the dominant position they enjoyed a few years ago, but they've been here before and they aren't going anywhere; why that fact seems to distress some people so much, I will never quite understand.

52 Comments

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

208 1,137 5.5
Popular Comment
"Never write Nintendo off" should be one of the gaming industry's commandments. DS stood no chance against the PSP in the eyes of many and Wii was silly and underpowered. It wasn't even HD!! We all know how that ended up.

My theory is that Wii U is a part of the "Nintendo cycle", when one console sucks, while the following one succeeds. Nintendo 64 was great (not so much in sales, but it's influence on the industry was astounding), Gamecube was pretty "meh", Wii as a "wiinner"... and Wii U follows the pattern. So, I fully expect Nintendo to come back, guns blazing, with their next device.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Jason Avent VP, Studio Head, NaturalMotion

143 177 1.2
Popular Comment
Why is there no online-enabled, beautiful looking Pokemon game that ties in with 3DS so you can take your pokemon on the move but see them fight in HD and explore a zelda-like world with them. Pokemon has so much social resonance with people in their teens and twenties. It's basically star-wars for that generation of kids.

Why when they took half of the audience in the last generation isn't there an amazing new Zelda, Wave Race, Metroid etc on sale already? They have the money and the expertise.

Why is there not better integration and cross promotion between 3DS and Wii-U?

Where are the products to serve the audience that Nintendo captivated with Wii-Sports?

The Japanese are known for playing the long strategic game. Perhaps the Wii-U is just a filler product and the next one will amaze and delight us all. Maybe that's what they're investing in. Because it sure doesn't seem like the Wii-U is where their development money is being spent.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 497 1.1
Popular Comment
"In short, we've been here before - or at least, in a very similar place to here - and the notion of Nintendo abandoning ship and letting a home console die off prematurely, as Sega did with the late lamented Dreamcast, simply didn't arise."

This is exactly the point I would make. Even if Wii U never improves, Nintendo will ride it out until 2016 or so, and push out a new box. They need to get the price down further, sort out their marketing and online (there's some progress but not enough), and really make sure people know about the software coming next year. Donkey Kong, Smash and Mario Kart are good blockbusters to have, so long as Nintendo get them out quickly and shout about them. Complemented by smaller, high quality titles like Yarn Yoshi, X, Bayonetta 2 and Fire Emblem v Shin Megami Tensei, there's content that will keep software sales ticking over at least. Announce another big title at VGX on Saturday, combine it with the back catalogue of quality titles, and Wii U looks like a quality proposition, even if its appeal is limited.

Wii U might become or even be irrelevant, but Nintendo won't be. So long as they retain the quality and reputation of their software brands, they'll be able to take another crack at it. Focus on improving Wii U while it is on the market, and make decisions that give your next home console a better chance. Invest more in software development studios and expansion. Invest in specific partnership deals with third parties. Continue working with indies. Rectify the anachronistic parts of your online services and improve Virtual Console. Nintendo can survive the loss of the Wii brand, they can't survive the loss of Zelda or Mario.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

114 202 1.8
Purely from a personal POV, my anecdotal experience of WiiU at the moment is that loads of people are buying one. I know 6 or 7 people who have bought one with Mario 3D Land this last week or so. I know a lot less people who have bought a next gen console, tbh. It's all about the games, and quality-wise Nintendo first party titles are still in a class of their own.

Also - "Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns ... PS2" - Seeing this all over at the moment, we're all still stuck in the last gen, like those first few days of the new year when we keep putting last year on the date! :)

Posted:A year ago

#4
where is the Next Gen Zelda!!!

Posted:A year ago

#5

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

956 185 0.2
Second that Chee! Need me some Hero of Time!

Posted:A year ago

#6

Tom Keresztes Programmer

700 354 0.5
Look at the bottom line. Was Nintendo losing money or making a profit in the last 3 years? There is a reason that Nintendo is about 20 places before Sony on Forbes's 500 list, as in the normal world, companies are valuable when they are consistently making a profit over a longer period and have considerable cash reserves.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

343 809 2.4
@Jason Avent: I can think of a couple of reasons they don't do the Pokemon to end all Pokemons. I wouldn't be surprised if it was formal policy that every canonical Pokemon game has to offer the whole experience with no greater than two purchases (the game and a handheld to play it on), with no external requirements (e.g. a net connection or a credit card). They can tinker with more specialist franchises but Pokemon is the on-ramp - it still needs to be able to be sold to kids.

The other reason is that a lot of people would probably never need to buy another game. ;)

The Wii-U really feels like an attempt to extend the life of the Wii brand and make a grab for low-risk third party support (a very un-Nintendo strategy), which has misfired. The cautious first party lineup makes me think they haven't bet the farm on it being a success. I think it'll limp along like the N64 did in its latter years, or we'll see a new, radically different bit of kit (whether it be a console or a handheld) well within the current generation.

Posted:A year ago

#8
Yawn. Two new consoles just launched. They were always going to sell out for the first couple of months - and to make things worse, its Xmas.

What a convenient time to compare sales, especially in a weak territory (UK) for Nintendo.
Lets give this 6 months, and see how all 3 consoles are doing around June-July 2014.

If nothing else, they have managed to build up WiiU sales in Japan: 5-6 weeks ago, sales reached around 3-5k/week. They are now up to around 30k/week, WiiU hardware is now in #2nd place (behind the 3DS XL).

The only real issue Nintendo have with the WiiU is 3rd-party support: once 3rd-parties drop support for the PS3/360 (which admittedly may be 1-2 years off, if not more) - its going to be an extreme uphill battle if it becomes "Nintendo SW releases on the WiiU" vs "Everyone elses releases on the PS4/XBone".

Personally, I want to see some interesting hardware developments on the WiiU: release a digital-only bundle (no drive). Release a "classic" bundle, without a GamePad (and drop the price by $100 or so). Sell the GamePad separately.

If nothing else, this is a good learning experience for Nintendo developers in-house: first time they have supported multi-core - and first time they have used shaders.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
Its hypocritical nonsense really why Nintendo gets beaten up when they have the number 1 global system and that is 3ds.

Even if you go on Neogaf you wont find a brain amoung the users when it comes to Nintendo.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Steve Goldman on 6th December 2013 12:47pm

Posted:A year ago

#10

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
I think that Nintendo will make their own smartphone and tablet, with their own OS. Better optimised for gaming than Android & iOS.
This will eventually replace the DS.

They will struggle through with the WiiU, re-engineering it to be much cheaper to make and sell.

Also possibly they will make a TV dongle style console running the same games as the phone and tablet.

They have loads of money to do this and it is their best way to adapt their properties to the realities of the market.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
Popular Comment
I dont even see a 1% chance of those things happening

Posted:A year ago

#12
Popular Comment
Bruce, I really don't think Nintendo would make their own smartphone or tablet.
Smartphone and tablet games will never completely usurp console/dedicated handhelds, because the overall experience is usually inferior for a number of reasons. I'll give a 3 of the most obvious
1. Your fingers and thumbs get in the way of the screen (admittedly this isn't always a problem)
2. Because the screen and the tilt sensors are the only input mechanism, control options are greatly reduced.
3. Differing specs of phone mean that apps perform differently between devices.
Now imagine playing a Mario game on a smartphone or tablet. It would be so far away from the super tactile, responsive, deep, consistent experience that you currently get, that Nintendo would just never do what you're suggesting.
If gaming as we know it all migrated to smartphones and/or tablets then I would look for another hobby.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Well Nintendo should do something soon, they are starting to come off to me as arrogant, and that has never helped a company. I find when companies listen to their consumers, it bolds well for them. Like SONY with the PS4 and EA/Bioware with Mass Effect 3. In fact MICROSOFT listened to all the backlash following the announcements made for XB1 and they scrambled to make changes. I cant say it didnt do good for them.

Nintendo obviosly has a plan, so Im waiting patiently to see what they are going to do. But for the moment Im left empty handed and its starting to feel like a long time. I want to see more regarding monolith softs "X" and fire emblem for wiiU yet they remain silent. Persona Q was announced for 3DS yet things are pretty much mum about it. They should get platinum to make Vanquish 2.

If they release a new Zelda I hope they do more with the series instead of just better graphics. Im really tired of walking through empty fields, id like to seemore wild life and ambient physics and more changes in weather conditions and each change bringing about differant things. And he has a bow for cryin out loud. Why cant he hunt for food, gather pelts and items and have the ability to sell or craft items with them.... for example. Towns should also be fild with more people and differant things happening at differant times.

They only recently merged the 3DS and WiiU eshop accounts. I havent tried it, but it was stupid from the get go to have them seperate.

Finally I also think it was dumb for them to get rid of the expansion ports found on the NES,SNES, N64 and GC.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 6th December 2013 2:38pm

Posted:A year ago

#14

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Dominic Clarke

I said:
make their own smartphone and tablet, with their own OS. Better optimised for gaming than Android & iOS.
Which makes everything you said utterly irrelevant.
I wish people would read what I write, not what they think I write.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Charlie McFadden Programmer

10 14 1.4
Yes bruce, if only they had some sort of portable device that had touch controls, an online store to download titles, their own OS, and hardware suited for gaming, so that people who wanted a deeper gaming experience on the go could have one.

Hmm...

Posted:A year ago

#16
@Bruce But what would that smartphone actually be? Something similar to the 3DS but with phone capabilities? So then they'd be in direct competition with Android and iOS? - I don't think that's the kind of competition they'd want to be up against.
Likewise with the tablet, why bother going into the fight against iPad and Android tablets? Especially if it's their own OS...
Smartphone gaming and tablet gaming is very popular, I agree with you on that. But it's popular because the hardware is ubiquitous and useful in it's own right, not because the gaming experience is better than traditional gaming.
Sorry if you think I misrepresented what you said.

Posted:A year ago

#17

Olorunsegun Adewumi Writer/Blogger

4 5 1.3
I think there are as many critics of Nintendo as there are apologists. Nintendo made, and continues to make a cornucopia of bad decisions, even during the success of the Wii. I think their brand name was incredibly damaged by the Wii, too many people bought the Wii and then left it gathering dust. But Nintendo has a bank account that would make most any company salivate. They can afford to take the hits now, for future profits.


As to whether or not they should have launched Mario now the answer has to be yes. Nintendo has only to be loyal to Nintendo fans, who are as rabid as they come. Keep the Nintendo gamers happy and the rest shall follow.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
@Christian Keichel

When you look at Nintendos 2013 E3 presentation, you can see why I feel the way i do. And I love Nintendo. But I think when I have a point when I say "empty handed". With the wiiU they have consistantly underwhelmed. Of those games you mentioned which ones are fighting games? RPG's? Stratagy RPG's? Action Games? And which ones are actually new expiriences, that CANT be found on the original Wii or previouse systems? Finally were are all the new IP? or what about revive old IPs that we havent seen in a long time, like Kid Icarus, Starfox or F-zero.

That list you provided is fine, "IF" your looking foward to those games.... But Im still waiting for Mario Kart 8, "X", Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros. and probably some new IP.... And Nintendo has been pretty mum concerning all of them. While wonderful 101 is a pretty good game, its not a killer app for me.

Of the list you mentioned I only really care about 4 games, Windwaker being a game Ive already played and Super Luigi WiiU and 3D world being much of what I already expirienced on 3DS. Wii sport club is going to be a downloadable remastered edition of the existing wii game, with the same graphics and added online gameplay at least thats what I heard. They are games I want but they dont really offer anything new to the table. And while I plan to get a WiiU at some point there still isnt a game that will make me buy one right now. However "X" can change that.

Regarding nintendo's IP... if its good, more of the same isnt really bad. And thats what im getting from Nintendo.

And after a year I feel they should have more in there line up of games than they do now. Im ok with waiting for a new Zelda, but were is a new starfox, F-zero or console kid Icarus? Its been over a year now. They currently have nice offering, like I said most are more of the same, which is OK.. BUT... I also love RPG's, action games, fighting games, stratagy games and were are those?

There is the promise of games Im looking foward to, but Im still waiting.... and there is little information on release dates. By the looks of it, Ill be waiting for a while longer. At this point the WiiU should be picking up with software releases like the 3DS. But its not and unless they move more WiiU hardware units, it doesnt look like it will be that way.

Posted:A year ago

#19

Felix Leyendecker Senior 3D Artist, Crytek

184 204 1.1
I don't know why nobody makes a proper gaming phone with buttons and decent power.
The level of performance will soon be high enough that you can do all the computing you'll ever need, and can go for 3-4 years without upgrading. Handhelds usually last for about 3-5 hours when playing. Phones are actually running out of steam sooner when you play.

The thing is that it would either have to be a new hardware platform (3DS 2 or something) or bit-compatible with the current 3DS. Nintendo would never make an open platform with new hardware each year and constantly evolving spec.
Even asking that regular android games would run on this hypothetical platform might be a bit of a stretch.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Craig Page Programmer

390 233 0.6
@Bruce, I'd love to see a Nintendo phone!

@Dominic, that's exactly what they could do. A 3DS with phone capabilities, except they wouldn't have to compete with Android, they could BE Android. That would give their phone all of the "killer apps" from Android, but they could customize/bastardize the OS so it will be able to play their games, and other Android phones won't be able to.

All they really have to do is time it correctly, so they can release a powerful enough phone at the right price. Maybe that's in a year or less? Already the "budget" phones coming out have reasonable specs, like a big screen, dual cores, and enough ram. In a year those components will be even cheaper.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

312 412 1.3
too many people bought the Wii and then left it gathering dust
This keeps getting cited, but does anyone have any evidence for that? If it's just based on the tie ratio, that was about the same as the ps3.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance

213 529 2.5
"too many people bought the Wii and then left it gathering dust"

Why would Nintendo care about that? They made money on the console alone, remember?

I am actually surprised they went with a console as expensive to make as the Wii U at all. I mean, Nintendo consoles are known for relying on first-party games - software sales haven't been the strong point of a Nintendo console for some time. So selling a console at a loss makes far less sense for Nintendo than it does for, say, Microsoft or Sony.

I agree that one should never write off Nintendo, but if they have a "plan," as so many claim, I have yet to see it. A lot of people still don't understand that the Wii U is a new console and not a Wii add-on, so clearly "accurate messaging" was not part of the plan.

Posted:A year ago

#23

matthew bennion Web Development

34 33 1.0
People fail to understand Nintendo's core market read the news today the wiiU is top of most parents Christmas lists for their kids. I'd wait for a post Christmas look at the market!

Posted:A year ago

#24

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
Smart phone games are garbage plain and simple. Nintendo would not stoop so low as to do that.

The 3ds is the TOP system in the market today and that wont change, and Wii U is selling more than PS4 right now.

Will WIi U be first? no

But Nintendo was the top Publisher this year and top hardware maker.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

52 81 1.6
@Dominic

if you ask Bruce, he would suggest Sony and Microsoft make smartphones and tablet as well, oh wait they already did, scratch that.

He would probably say Valve should make SteamOS for smartphones and tablet, that sounds just about right

@Bruce

High End Feature Phone that has exclusive Final Fantasy games developed for them has been quite prominent in Japan way before iOS and Android smartphones did in the States, and yet Nintendo did not make software for those phones nor roll out one of their own, I doubt the current smartphones are going to change their mind.

Posted:A year ago

#26

Nick Parker Consultant

306 186 0.6
Not sure where Wii U is selling more than PS4 right now but I'd like to know please. In UK, Wii U sales are less than 10k a week and that's after arrival of Super Mario 3D World. Where's the marketing blitz Nintendo?

Posted:A year ago

#27

Craig Page Programmer

390 233 0.6
@Nick, Wii U is outselling the PS4 in Japan right now. Because the PS4 won't go on sale there until February 22, 2014. According to The Google anyway...

Posted:A year ago

#28

Nick Parker Consultant

306 186 0.6
I sound like a kid but that doesn't count Craig ;)

Posted:A year ago

#29

Curtis Turner Game Developer - Monsters of War

5 2 0.4
Adding texting and calling to your computer(Console - Wii U) or your mini-computer(Cell - 2/3DS) sounds like an absolute ton of work and a ton of money for a feature that is being replaced by the wireless Internet. Not to mention they make devices for children and up.

I think the only reason they would ever do a touchscreen device only is if it fits inside a gamepad. As for releasing their old games on Windows Phone, Android, iPhone, whatever, why would they even do that? News flash, they have a mobile device... It's called the 2/3DS and it dominates... Who's really got the market share? Google? Apple? Microsoft? Nintendo? These so called news sites just never even include Nintendo into the mobile pictures they make... Rather lacking in the real statistics.

Nintendo will continue to pump out computers(consoles and cells). I think the next generation they do so will be much more connected than all their previous generations. The console and cell will communicate a lot easier.

Also, there's a reason Nintendo doesn't sell many consoles. Four people only need one of them!

Posted:A year ago

#30

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,196 1,176 0.5
I'm gathering that Nintendo is taking plenty of notes on what's going right and what's going wrong this time, but they're also probably going to definitely keep the Wii U alive as long as possible, as it's foolish to dump the hardware and move on before developers can push it as far as i can go. That said, as I've noted before, they need to think a bit more like a mercenary and less like a kindly grandpa when it comes to launch and launch window titles.

Posted:A year ago

#31

Kevin Patterson musician

187 103 0.6
"but the motivation I genuinely cannot fathom is that which drives the company's gleeful critics, who seem to dance around with thinly veiled joy at the prospect of this long-standing, hugely creative and entirely game-focused company being in dire straits"

I don't get that either, never have, but then again I don't get fanboyism really.
I think some of us though miss the days of the SNES/N64 when Nintendo made powerful consoles for their time. To some graphics don't matter, but from the sales of the Xbox One and PS4 there still seems to be a large group that do think like that. I would love Nintendo to release a Powerhouse machine again.

Posted:A year ago

#32

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Steve Goldman

I love your analysis, keep at it.
Smart phone games are garbage plain and simple. Nintendo would not stoop so low as to do that.
The 3ds is the TOP system in the market today and that wont change, and Wii U is selling more than PS4 right now.

Posted:A year ago

#33

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,184 1,268 1.1
Look at Nintendo's artstyle and art direction. That is not something which changes overnight. This is not a company whose developers think about the Mario game for next generation Nintendo hardware to be released in 2018 and say "I wish we had more realistic mustache hair physics on that plumber dude". In the same way, they do not look at the gaming market and say "dude, look at WoW, let's make a Zelda MMO".

That goes not to say, Nintendo is risk adverse. Quite the opposite, their craziness has a cooldown, but when it hits, it hits hard.

Just a few items that sounded insane:
Powerglove, 3D Shutter glasses for the NES (Famicon 3D), Virtual Boy, The R.O.B, SNES Satellite Modem, ASCII Keyboard controller for the Gamecube.

But for every piece of insane hardware which failed, there was insane hardware which became a success. Sure, if you are a gaming locust type of company, you'd go elsewhere at the moment. But in terms of making their money back on weird crazy hardware and still earn the profits to go on, Nintendo is still head of the class. If there is one company I to expect to say that their next mobile gaming device was just a controller and they have placed laser beamers in every corner of Japan, so you can play on the sides of buildings and on the street pavement, it's N.

Posted:A year ago

#34

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,184 1,268 1.1
Hyped up stuff which core gamers think of as crap is still money in the bank in the case of Wii waggle games. But remember, if you now imitate an angry chimpanzee shaking the bars of his cage while giving off ape noises, you can still qualify for a limited edition code allowing you to buy the upcoming DLC one day early and be part of the Xbox One Zoo channel on Youtube.

Posted:A year ago

#35

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,184 1,268 1.1
@Andrea

but failure in this context meaning failure to entertain somebody who grew up on Nintendo games of a certain type from which the new games are a deviation from. There seems to be a certain jealousy when a different group of players is entertained by the product of a company. A product the jealous party expected to be entertained by, but is not. It's what fuels the whole "casual" argument, it's what conjured up anger when Microsoft positioned itself among a TV audience, it is what happens when a franchise with a fanbase dabbles in f2p.

Posted:A year ago

#36

Paul Jace Merchandiser

953 1,447 1.5
I don't think Nintendo ever left the line of fire. It's just that Microsoft has inexplicably taken the brunt of console criticism for the past several months, even after all the reversals. And despite that criticism(and much to the chagrin of all their haters) the system has sold wonderfully so far. The same can't be said for the Wii U. Even comparing their respective launches, I can't find an XBO on store shelves anywhere two weeks after launch but there was never a time during the launch of the Wii U(over here on the east coast) that I couldn't find atleast the white basic system on store shelves. So Nintendo's system not selling just gives it's critics more ammo.

I've said all along that Nintendo deserves the benefit of the doubt until they atleast get thru their second holiday season, which is now. Once sales figures for this holiday season come full circle next February/March we will have a much better picture of where the Wii U stands compared to both next gen systems(XBO, PS4) and last gen systems(360, PS3, Wii). Hopefully the Wii U manages to outsell one of those five atleast once from November-January. If not then they probably do need to start worrying alittle bit.

Posted:A year ago

#37

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,021 1,470 1.4
@ Paul Actually Xbox One stayed in stock on Amazon for more than 8 hours on Thursday. Anyone who'd even made the attempt to look for them or had them on their Amazon email alerts had every chance to buy them, but it still took more than 8 hours to sell out. That's not a good sign at all.

As for the Wii U, it will easily outsell the Wii. I would actually say it has at least some chance of outselling the Xbox One, and it should outsell the Vita.

Posted:A year ago

#38

Luke Kemp Editor, Critical Gamer

7 12 1.7
@Felix Somebody did make a "proper" gaming phone. It was called the N-Gage and it died on its arse. Not because it was before its time, but because it's publishers who see the future of core gaming on mobile - not consumers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Luke Kemp on 7th December 2013 2:29pm

Posted:A year ago

#39

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,184 1,268 1.1
@Luke
N-Gage was only "proper" if you allow nostalgia to compensate for screen size, resolution, frames per second of most games, average graphics and gameplay quality and, last but not least, controller input quality. The thing was rather tiny in anything but a small child's hand's and you had to remove the battery to change games. The types of games being sold were somewhat strange for mobile and seemed to be selected based on what looks good in an ad. But hey, Call of Duty, right? That is how you always wanted to play that game sitting at home.

Posted:A year ago

#40

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
@Bruce Everiss

Its not Analysis, just fact.

Posted:A year ago

#41

Tom Keresztes Programmer

700 354 0.5
N-Gage was only "proper" if you allow nostalgia to compensate for screen size, resolution
The N-Gage simply did not have the hardware of a games machine. I was an S60 based phone, 100 MHz Arm without floating point unit, and no graphics acceleration of any sort (not even a 2d blitter). The speed difference was not enough to compensate the difference between the Advance and the N-Gage.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Keresztes on 7th December 2013 11:08pm

Posted:A year ago

#42

Luke Kemp Editor, Critical Gamer

7 12 1.7
@Klaus
You're absolutely right, the N-Gage had design problems I shouldn't have so readily dismissed. Nonetheless I think my point stands, partly because - as you imply - there are franchises and genres that can never, ever work properly on mobile. The
industry needs to admit it has to factor consumer desires into its business plan. I remember a big conference declaring the inevitability of a digital-only future being held during the final death throes of the PSPGo...

To get back on track, Nintendo just does what the hell it wants - and that's a good thing. It saddens me to see the Wii U struggling because personally, it gets a hell of a lot more use than my 360. It even avoids the annoyances of its competitors; no DRM, no subscription for online play, no camera, full backwards compatibility...

It's all very well publishers with dollar signs running through their veins saying Nintendo should go multiformat but if they did, their games would never be as good again. They dance to nobody's tune but their own, and long may that continue I say.

Posted:A year ago

#43

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,217 1,050 0.9
Personally, I want to see some interesting hardware developments on the WiiU: release a digital-only bundle (no drive). Release a "classic" bundle, without a GamePad (and drop the price by $100 or so). Sell the GamePad separately.
I'd love to see a digital only WiiU. Small, micro-console-like think with plenty of storage and expandable options as with the existing device. I wouldn't like to see them drop the WiiU gamepad however. I think that's too damaging for the unique selling point of the hardware.

I believe Nintendo can bring the price down further and continue to beat their rivals on price through the generation by a big margin, even with the controller which itself won't hold its manufacturing cost. By now, I think they should have further reduced the RRP. Its easy to get a WiiU for 50 lower at 199 in the UK at least.
If nothing else, this is a good learning experience for Nintendo developers in-house: first time they have supported multi-core - and first time they have used shaders.
Definitely and there's a lot more I'd like to see from them on WiiU. Regardless of the gap between this system and its rivals. its quite exciting to think of the possibilities on the WiiU for Nintendo games now they have entered the shader era. Just with an update to lighting and textures, Wind Waker HD looks remarkable, a new Zelda, a new Metroid (and already Mario) will be really breath-taking experiences.

Posted:A year ago

#44

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Before the launch of N-Gage I spent a day in Espoo with a director of Nokia. Gently explaining to him why it wouldn't work.
I still have a pre production prototype.
However it led to the formation of companies like Red Lynx. Which in turn led to Rovio, Supercell etc.

Posted:A year ago

#45

Paul Jace Merchandiser

953 1,447 1.5
@Nicholas
but it still took more than 8 hours to sell out. That's not a good sign at all.
It's not a good sign that a new $500 next gen console took 8+ hours to sell out at the worlds's largest online retailer, even thought it still sold out within the first 24 there and pretty much everywhere else? If thats the case then you must think the Wii U's sales numbers during launch and beyond are a sign of the apocalypse because that system didn't sell out in 8 minutes, 8 hours, 8 days, 8 months and will more than likely be discontinued before it reaches 8 years so you can check that box off too.

Posted:A year ago

#46

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,196 1,176 0.5
Um. As an ACTUAL owner of a N-Gage QD (the redesigned model that you don't need to take the battery out to change the games). I'll gently point out some actual facts over the specs and numbers tossed around above:

As noted, Red Lynx not only got their big break on the system, they made what's STILL two of the best tactical WWII games on ANY platform (Pathway to Glory and Pathway to Glory: Isuka Islands). If they were on any other platform at that time or even today, they'd be seen as innovative and probably rake in a few awards. They also did High Seize, a sort of Advance Wars/Pirates hybrid which was pretty fun. I wish they'd stop the Trials games for a bit and get those out for mobile so more would play them and see what the fuss was about. Feel free to look up old reviews - I recall scores being pretty high back then.

While there WERE indeed "bad" games on the system, the number of decent to great ones are worth looking at/into.
Bugbear's Glimmerati, X-Men Legends II (the first was OK, the second is better), Gameloft's second Splinter Cell, Rifts: Promise of Power (probably the best overall game on the handheld), that Warhammer game I forget the full title of, Colin MacRae Rally, the surprisingly fluid fighter, ONE, Mile High Pinball and a few other games I don't recall off the top of my head because I'm away from my home library.

Call of Duty and other FPS games weren't the best on the platform (that's for sure), but I know at last one Ghost Recon game was fun for what it was, that Elder Scrolls game, Shadowkey was OK (stupid random frame drops and insane last boss that followed you around as it tried to kill you even to different floors in that final dungeon aside!), Ashen was a funky Quake swipe and so forth and so on.

Play enough games and you learn to respect the work that goes into them even (and especially) on hardware that's "not" supposed to do them, I say...

Posted:A year ago

#47

Matt Walker Production Coordinator, Capcom

41 23 0.6
@Nich

Usually I can see where you're coming from, but -
As for the Wii U, it will easily outsell the Wii.
I'd love to find out what you're basing this on. Wii was a mass market phenomenon. What evidence do you have that Wii U will beat it over its lifetime? Unless you were implying that it will sell more than Wii this fiscal?

If you could elaborate on your reasoning for this too, even better:
I would actually say it has at least some chance of outselling the Xbox On
Cheers man.

Posted:A year ago

#48
Nintendos dream cast ?

Posted:A year ago

#49

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Yeah from the looks of it, it seems like the dreamcast all over again. However, im hoping they can get out of this and thrive in someway and not end up like the dreamcast. I cant imagine the game industry without Nintendo. "X", Bayonetta 2, Shin Megai Tensei X Fire Emblem are just a few games they have that Im really dying to play. I really hope the WiiU can enjoy the consistant game releases the 3DS is enjoying now. As i think the second screen can add alot to gaming, being an RPG and Stratagy RPG game fan. I just imagine the posibilities the second screen can add to those types of games, and I really dont see why developers arent experimenting more with it.

Nintendo's console since its tech specs are differant, is the perfect place to try new ideas from scratch. They have to be smaller games, since the WiiU hasnt shifted as many units as the other consoles, but nonetheless you can make smaller games with low risk to the company if they bomb and if they are succesful it can grow and even make its way to other platforms. The WiiU provides an excellent enviroment to try new things.

Posted:A year ago

#50

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 497 1.1
@ Rick

Wii U might sell as few units as DreamCast, but it won't be the console that pushes Nintendo out of hardware production or out of business. Sega had a track record of failed hardware systems and add-ons and only one majorly successful system. Master System, Saturn, DreamCast, Game Gear, Nomad, Mega CD and 32X all sold 10 million units or less, and the rapid roll-out of hardware post Genesis/Mega Drive badly damaged consumer confidence in Sega. Combined with the financial beating Sega took as they reeled from one piece of hardware to another, DreamCast had to catch on in a big way, or Sega's hardware production business would become nonviable, as it did.

Comparatively, Nintendo only have the Virtual Boy as a failed platform, and even GameCube found an audience twice as big as Saturn or DreamCast. Importantly, Nintendo shifted large amounts of first party software on GC, and this will be important in the coming years on Wii U. Even with a DreamCast sales rate and install base, Nintendo have an enormous amount of cash in the bank, a profitable and successful handheld business (3DS is the top selling system globally over the last two years, and that should continue next year despite the early success of PS4), and an increasingly profitable online business.

Wii U, even if the situation improves and it sells comparably to the GameCube or N64, necessitates a change of direction from Nintendo, but it certainly won't push them out of the hardware business or the industry in general.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 10th December 2013 2:12pm

Posted:A year ago

#51

Richard Vaught Studying B.A. in Game Design, University of Advancing Technology

37 66 1.8
I am still not sure why people insist on comparing Nintendo with the likes of Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's Xbox franchises. The culture and goals of Nintendo are vastly different than that of Sony or Microsoft. (This was mentioned in the op just before he went on to compare apples to avocados). In my household, we have 5 adults, and 6 kids(Don't ask). The children focus more on the DS and the Wii U, the adults on PS3 and PC, and occasionally someone will switch on the Xbox if there is an exclusive title we want to play. There is no real comparison though. The Wii U is by far my favorite console as a parent, delivering titles that my kids can play without taking over the television, and the PC is my favorite as a gamer. PS3 gets more action out of netflix than it does games, largely because the vast majority of PS3 titles are simply not suitable to be played around children. The few titles that we do play regularly are the music titles such as Rocksmith. Nintendo, at least in my house, is exactly where it wants to be and at a price point that I, as a parent, can afford to indulge in. You can bet the next gen consoles from PS and Xbox won't be making it into my living room for at least another year, possibly two, because they simply do not offer anything I am interested in.

**Edit** And need I mention that Nintendo has been the only truly innovative hardware manufacture for the last couple of console generations?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Richard Vaught on 24th January 2014 5:06am

Posted:10 months ago

#52

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