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Nintendo's Next Move: Consolidation

Nintendo's Next Move: Consolidation

Thu 16 Jan 2014 4:06pm GMT / 11:06am EST / 8:06am PST
BusinessHardware

Nintendo's Wii U has been struggling while the 3DS has performed admirably - how can Nintendo build on its strengths?

A lot of virtual ink has been spilled about Nintendo in the last couple years, as the original Wii faded into the annals of history and the Wii U struggled to gain any real traction in its first year. Meanwhile, Nintendo's 3DS (and 2DS) continues to defy conventional wisdom and is selling quite well in an era that screams "smartphones have killed the dedicated handheld." It's amazing what the right price and some amazing software can do.

But the fact of the matter is that Nintendo is failing to keep up with the pace of technology - I'm not only talking about graphical horsepower here - and the company is going to have to think long and hard about its next big move in the games business following 3DS and Wii U. I'm not suggesting, as so many others have ad nauseum, that Nintendo take the Sega route and abandon the hardware business, nor am I pushing them to develop for smartphones and tablets.

But after the Wii U lives out the rest of its GameCube-like days and the 3DS nears the end of its successful lifespan, what's Nintendo to do? Launch yet another console, perhaps this time bringing the processing power up to speed with the competition? No, that would be foolish, and it's clearly not the Nintendo way.

To me, the answer is clear. It's time for some consolidation. Scrap the idea of a traditional console. Engineer a new portable console hybrid that gives players the best of both worlds.

Being in the hardware business is difficult enough these days. New consoles require enormous amounts of R&D, manufacturing and marketing. Rather than push out another Wii (or some new console brand) why not consolidate hardware lines and focus on one, singular product? Leverage the business that has been so kind to you since the days of the first Game Boy and focus on your ultimate strength.

"It's time for Nintendo to really sit down and think about its future. Every successful company must endure transformations"

The difference is that the next portable should be far more versatile. Platform differences in today's market are already blurring. Consoles, microconsoles, PCs, Steam Machines, Smart TVs... it's all blending. What matters most is the games, and Nintendo's first-party efforts have always shined. The key here is to engineer a portable that also effectively functions as a home console when you want that big screen experience. Merge that portable with a compelling, feature-rich network like Xbox Live or Steam, and suddenly Nintendo is dominating living rooms again.

It's clear that add-on controllers for tablets and phones will never catch on to the point that mobile could ever truly work as the centerpiece of the living room. But a dedicated handheld, designed by video game engineers with traditional controls, that can play AAA games when connected to the TV while also offering the typical Nintendo portable experience - how could a gamer pass that up?

What I think needs to happen next is Nintendo must use its more than ample cash on hand to build up a real network, to dive headfirst into the online world and create its own ecosystem (a la Steam) that indies, third parties and of course Nintendo games can thrive in. The world is increasingly digital, the potential of PlayStation Now is evident, and even if the cloud doesn't take off right away, day one digital downloads are commonplace on both new consoles.

To its credit, Nintendo has moved more in the direction of digital releases on both 3DS and Wii U with its eShop and a number of indies have been supportive as well, but Nintendo can and should do a better job in building up its network.

A network-centric all-in-one portable is something Nintendo could easily do. The technology is there, and if the obstacles holding back cloud gaming can be overcome, Nintendo could future-proof this new hybrid console as well.

What the company must do now, however, is get aggressive. Poach the competition. Hire top engineers from Microsoft, Sony, Apple and Google. Build out a best in breed network. Stop being so insular and focus on the needs of markets besides Japan. And for Mario's sake, cater to third-party developers for a change. Sony's developer-centric approach with PS4 is winning people over. And the decision that both Sony and Microsoft made to use a familiar PC-like architecture is easing the transition for developers. Nintendo must learn from this and bring outside development back to its side. Assisting more developers with funding in exchange for timed exclusivity might help this cause.

"It's meaningless for third parties to take risks by developing games for the Wii U," Tokai Tokyo Securities analyst Yusuke Tsunoda told Bloomberg back in December. If Nintendo intends to stay relevant, the company must do everything in its power to avoid associating sentiments like this with its future platforms.

Shigeru Miyamoto is getting closer to retirement everyday. Satoru Iwata's tenure as CEO is already on somewhat shaky ground. It's time for Nintendo to really sit down and think about its future. Every successful company must endure transformations. Nintendo's already undergone a few since its playing card days well over 100 years ago. With a streamlined approach to hardware, a robust network, and a developer-first mindset, Nintendo can successfully navigate the 21st century and hopefully outlive me.

31 Comments

Max Brode Videogame Consultant

11 9 0.8
I’m sorry James, but that doesn’t make any sense to me. As you say yourself, cost to the consumer is a major factor in making a platform viable, and a handheld / big screen hybrid device would demand a smartphone like price point – not something you happily drop on a device whose primary demographic is made up of school children, if the 2DS is a relevant marker.
I fully agree with your assessment of Nintendo’s network situation, however. That needs to be sorted asap, as well as developer support, so third party development becomes less painful.

In regards to hardware, any recent attempts to differentiate through hardware features have not been a success. The Wii U Gamepad didn’t excite anyone, nor does the Kinect 2 make up for the extra $100 you are expected to pay for it over the PS4. What counts are price and a large software library. The former you achieve by sticking to a popular hardware architecture, the latter by making it as easy as possible to port multi-platform titles to your console.
If Nintendo had released a console on par with Sony and Microsoft, it would have retained third party support and would have had a shout to be hardcore gamers’ primary platform. Hardly anyone can withstand the charm of Mario and Zelda, so if we had the power and multi-platform library of a Sony or Microsoft console AND Mario and Zelda on one machine – why consider anything else?

Posted:10 months ago

#1

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 496 1.1
"day one digital downloads are commonplace on both new consoles."

Just as an aside, day one downloads are commonplace on both 3DS and Wii U--are you confirming that, or talking about day one downloads on Sony/Microsoft machines? It didn't seem clear to me.

Agreed that Nintendo need to seriously rethink what their next move is for the long-term, but I'm genuinely not sure what the solution is. I'm sure Nintendo themselves are rethinking what their next move is. They recognised with DS and Wii that simply building ever more powerful entertainment boxes wasn't a viable solution in the long term, yet around 2010 they seem to have shied away from this and even if they didn't keep pace with competitors' more powerful boxes, they certainly moved away from the message of accessibility, affordability, and market expansion that birthed Wii and DS. 3DS and Wii U are both systems born of conservatism creeping back into Nintendo, perhaps because they were taken aback both by the huge success of Wii and DS, but also by the very vocal criticism from many in the industry, and from within their own dedicated fanbase, that they'd made the wrong moves.

"To me, the answer is clear. It's time for some consolidation. Scrap the idea of a traditional console. Engineer a new portable console hybrid that gives players the best of both worlds."

This sounds tempting, and may also already be in the works: Nintendo are already consolidating their separate home console, portable console and networking R&D teams into one combined R&D structure. Perhaps a micro-console that plugs into the TV, incorporating the streaming technology that they nailed with Wii U, that works in tandem, as you said, with a handheld device that can be used on the go. Something sleeker than the gamepad, yet larger than the 3DS, a chunk of on board memory expandable with SD cards, with a very small box for game storage and streaming technology to be housed in connected to the television.

That being said, such a radical move would be out of keeping with Nintendo. It would most likely result in a removal of physical games sales, which Nintendo are least likely of the big three to do. Yet, an increasingly profitable and increasingly large digital business is noted with every release of Nintendo's financials. Is this tempting enough for Nintendo to go all digital? All digital certainly would increase margins on both hardware and software, but again, it just feels too radical for Nintendo.

I'm also wary of inflating the market appeal of a hybrid device. Certainly, I believe that the similarity of Wii U and 3DS's software has disadvantaged Wii U. Both Mario platform games were available on 3DS first, for less money, for example, and I think this negatively impacted their sales potential on Wii U. In general, you buy a Nintendo system for Nintendo games, and 3DS has the broader, better line up compared to Wii U. The technological gulf between handhelds and home consoles is no longer particularly huge, and you can buy broadly similar experiences on 3DS and Wii U--yet 3DS commands the lower entry barrier and greater catalogue, making it more appealing. A similar problem has plagued Vita--it is a fundamentally similar experience to PS3, which has a far greater catalogue of games. So on the surface, a hybridised solution, particularly for Nintendo, could be a winner.

But what of the uniqueness of the software that's helped to sell Nintendo's handheld offerings? Nintendo's handhelds have succeeded because they offer an experience you can't replicate on home consoles, in terms of pick up and play, or on rival portable offerings like smartphones because of the depth of play available. It's a sweetspot for 3DS that isn't going to remain open forever, as their financials will indicate: even for all its success, 3DS will come in below estimations. Does creating a hybrid system enlarge this sweetspot, or does it destory it entirely? Isn't some aspect of the experience, either portable or home, compromised by a hybrid design? Perhaps you can circumvent this by focusing on a range of software. Picross-e for example, is best played on the handheld aspect of this hypothetical machine, but the latest Legend of Zelda is suited to the grandeur of your television experience. Does that risk market confusion? Or does it really create the best of both worlds?

A tempting idea, like I said, but not one without problems. So much of what you advocate is seemingly out of step with Nintendo's core principles, particularly their attachment to the physicality of hardware and software, and the way in which they have largely kept their handheld and home console businesses very separate. The reality of what a games platform is, though, has obviously shifted in recent years. Steam is a closer realisation of the platform of the future than PS4, Xbox One or Wii U. Will Nintendo grasp this, and turn "Nintendo" into a platform in digital space, rather than think of platforms as physical boxes? Ultimately it comes down to the best way for Nintendo to deliver their own IP to the market, so perhaps because of the convenience, lower running costs and higher profit margins, this kind of move might not be too radical for Nintendo afterall. Intriguing times ahead.

Posted:10 months ago

#2

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
So. um... what about all those indie "retro" games that are so popular and (guess what)
failing to keep up with the pace of technology - I'm not only talking about graphical horsepower here
? I'd say more an issue is as you noted, Nintendo not going after indies and more third parties when they were creating the Wii U, asking people to make games for the hardware's specs and giving them some kind of freedom to create exclusive or custom content (that wasn't just slapping Mario and Miis into a game and calling it a day).

Nintendo's other main issue seems to be yes, not keeping up with the Jonses as you noted, but also not realizing how its competition's services work and who's using them. I'd read a few days back somewhere that the company had little to no idea of how PSN, Xbox Live or Steam worked and if true, it shocked me that the blinders were on so tightly that no one bothered to buy and own or have an employee buy and own a different console so they could at least see the ups and downs of each service.

Yeah, yeah, 3DS sells, 3DS sells, 3DS sells. We know that. But as a Wii U owner who wants to see the platform finally get that breakout title that draws in core gamers left and right (Mario World and Wind Waker are indeed great, but they aren't that game for the masses who want something unique and 100% fresh), the "wait for the good games - they're coming!" stuff is getting old. Especially as the months drip by and much of what's shown as upcoming leans mostly towards the throwback update variety.

Granted, Nintendo is also more of a pure gaming console company (despite the popularity of Netflix and other services on the Wii U), so they're doing right by the small and loyal base they currently have. Those users won't mind hanging out in the clubhouse until Daddy N brings home the cool toys. In the meantime, everyone else is busy digging graves or getting ready to operate and replace the kind brain with the mercenary killer app at all costs one. ;^)

I still say proper planning from the minute someone started talking about a new Wii-version would have been better for the company. You can't launch a home console with an innovative feature that others are copying with only a few games that use that feature, not explain it well enough to people (although I saw boundless possibilities with the GamePad from the get-go) and expect the same sort of sales or close to them.

Of course, Nintendo doesn't "need" to sell as many Wii U's as Sony and MS sell of their consoles at all because system wars are total bullshit. They DO need to make that Wii U a better showcase for that second screen and maybe get niche to popular games out that might be older or brand new, but benefit from an HD upgrade and/or draw in gamers who don't go just for the usual yearly franchises and well-intentioned mascot titles.

Posted:10 months ago

#3

Corentin Billemont Game Designer

5 1 0.2
It's a good idea, but the problem with a single hybrid console would be that Nintendo would have no second platform to go to if this fails. It's probably better to continue like that (home console + handheld), but with each platform giving an option to play the other games (like the Gameboy player or some sort of connection to the TV like mobiles can do).
Nothing to say about the rest, their biggest problem isn't really the HD transition now, but really their network and services. Even if they made some efforts lately (they really should keep Miiverse for example), they're way too far behind what is a standard nowadays (real account, real sales, chat with users...).

Posted:10 months ago

#4

Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor

407 205 0.5
That being said, such a radical move would be out of keeping with Nintendo. It would most likely result in a removal of physical games sales, which Nintendo are least likely of the big three to do. Yet, an increasingly profitable and increasingly large digital business is noted with every release of Nintendo's financials. Is this tempting enough for Nintendo to go all digital? All digital certainly would increase margins on both hardware and software, but again, it just feels too radical for Nintendo.
@Daniel - You see, this is an interesting one. Nintendo historically has made the business model for publishers a nightmare by forcing a very large investment into cartridge manufacture, which they control. The print runs are not scalable enough meet the needs of many companies and you get instances where publishers either: 1) Didn't want to risk large amounts of money on printing (Konami's Castlevania games seem to be a good example of this, they do one small print run and then it becomes hard to find a copy) or 2) Can't risk that much money at all, smaller indie devs and pubs.

Posted:10 months ago

#5

Jordan Lund Columnist

39 99 2.5
Popular Comment
If Nintendo wanted to leverage the strength pf the 3DS to improve the Wii U then all they have to do is one thing:

Allow people to play 3DS games on the Wii U. Either through a virtual store or some sort of USB add-on that allows you to connect 3DS games to the Wii U.

Use the main TV screen as the top screen and the tablet as the bottom screen. Done. The millions of 3DS owning kids would be begging their parents for a Wii U to play games on the big screen.

Posted:10 months ago

#6

Axel Cushing Writer / Blogger

107 131 1.2
Like a lot of folks, I was surprised about the lack of awareness within Nintendo of how PSN/Live/Steam worked. I mean, that's just plain stupid, no matter what business you're in.

I think they do need to break out, that they do need to stop looking inward to find the solutions to their problems. There's always going to be a place for Mario, and Link, and Samus in any gamer's library. But they need to improve their systems to make it easier for gamers to build that section of the library. I like SpotPass and StreetPass, and I think those systems should stick around, but they need to be expanded. The EStore is painful to navigate and use, and that does need to be reworked badly. More importantly, they need to loosen control of their players. The tighter they squeeze to hold on, the more customers they're going to lose.

Posted:10 months ago

#7

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,283 2,491 1.1
Popular Comment
Perception is their biggest problem.

For them to be successful again, they need to change the perception of the company and its products in the eyes of both consumers and producers.

If you do not do this, ALL other efforts will result in failure. They do need other efforts but changing perception is paramount.

Posted:10 months ago

#8

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
@Jim... You hit the spot!

-----------------------------------------

Anyway... Just to keep it short cause Im at work, but I dont think consolidation is Nintendo's answer to bieng succesful. i think the more products they have, that can cater to peoples differant needs is the way to go. For example 2DS, 3DS, 3DS XL and its variouse bundles. The WiiU may not be doing well but the low sales of WiiU is being offset by the 3DS. Imagine if they had just one product and that product failed. They would be in a financial jam. But having variouse products make the company versital in its offerings and ability to cater to differant consumer needs. They have leg room.

I would however find a way to consolidate certain funcionalities with the home console and portable consoles. Such as the Eshop. I know they are doing it, but they are not quite there yet and I hate that my account is tied to the hardware, making e have a difficult time if I lose or break them somehow.

Maybe having a 3DS finction as a portable as well as a touchscreen gamepad and the console itself being packed with a pro controller. And for people who own both the home console and portable console, games can have extra features that extend through multiple pieces of hardware. Thing is hardware and software will always be shifting and moving. Like while Im on the go, I can have a DLC download to my WiiU from my 3DS and when I get home its there and ready to play.Or I can access certain lesser game features from console games on my 3DS, like customizing characters and when I get home I can use those optomized characters in my home console game and continue playing. In lots of stratagy and action RPG's I often find myself investing lots of time customizing my characters.

Nintendo also needs to allow virtual console games to be played across both platforms, i really dont have the money to pay for both versions of the same game.

Truely the potential is limitless. I think game developers can do so much through differant devices working together. MAss effect is a game that demands too much attention for me to play on the go and metal gear requires much concentration. Those games arent good for mobile devices, however lets say you make credits in a game like mass effect. You can go to a casino in the 3DS and earn money there and everything you earn can be reflected in the game when you get home. Likewise there are portions in those games on the citidel and aboard the Normandy, that is just talking to characters and shopping. I spend many hours in these portions of the game. Why not spend those parts on the go while waiting for the bus and play the mini games in the casino to earn credits while on the go. I can equip, customize my characters and have them ready to go battle when i get home on the home console. You can upgrade your characters and earn credits on the 3DS and when you get home you can dedicate time to passing the main campaign, story and fighting portions of the game. And some portions of the game dont requir so much graphical power. the parts where you talk to differant characters dont have to have such great graphics on the 3DS, in fact they can be still images with text. And while these portions in the home console version of the game can be played with all their graphical and cinematic glory, those same portions of the game can be played on the 3DS but in a differant manner, maybe still images and readable text, which is more appropriate for a trip though the train or waiting for the bus. The 3DS portions you play would not be a seperate version of the game. Its the console version that has extended features that can be installed on the 3DS.

Really, so much can be done, and it irks me that some things developers are not doing. Can we really fault Nintendo? I think that second screen offers so much potential. Yet I dont see it being use effectivly.

Anyway, my opinion consolidation is not the way to go. Certain features like the Eshop and functionality of one game between platforms is fine. And maybe consolidate funcionalities of the 3DS and WiiU gamepad. I can see a new #DS with dual analog sticks and standard button setup that can also behave as a WiiU game pad.But... Its a very narrow minded approach to Nintendos problem. This mentality of one piece of hardware to rule them all is kinda backwards to me. I like having choices. I like having a dedicated home console with more horsepower where i can enjoy that premium expirience I cant have on a portable device, since I cant carry a 40 inch 4k screen with me. Portables i like to spend time with simpler games that dont require so much concentration or dedicated time. I couldnt play metal gear on a portable device. The stealth, aiming and sneaking behind enemies require more concentration that I dont have while Im moving around. If Im going to spend 8 hours with a game, i like to enjoy it on a big screen. Like wise Id would like to broadcast what im playing on my 3DS to my home console, not exactly play my 3DS games on my WiiU, but it would be fun when playing and have people see what your doing. More of a novelty than necessity, nonethe less a nice feature.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 17th January 2014 2:41pm

Posted:10 months ago

#9

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
@Jim: Agreed and they NEED to start with the games press. The company needs to open up its doors more to us and show us around. I haven't been invited to a Nintendo press event in years and I can't figure out why. I cover their products not as some rabid super fan, but someone who loves all types of games on any console equally. It seems that they focus mostly on Nintendo-focused sites or those who fall over backward each time a new Mario is announced and I don't do that. I did champion the Wii U when i first saw it because I "got" the potential of that Game Pad, but I'm somewhat disappointed that they didn't. Or didn't at least rope in more developers from the start who could take that Game Pad and run with it (I think Ubisoft did the best work on the console with ZombiU as a launch title).

Anyway, they DO need to get 3DS games running on the Wii U at some point, but there will probably be resolution issues with games blown up to HDTV size, I'd imagine. Eh, so many problems, so many things to work out. I wish I could toss all my ideas at someone there for an hour and get some feedback, but that's probably not going to happen any time soon...

Posted:10 months ago

#10

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
Their perception among industry veterans is also something to work on. Publishers could make money on the Wii U if they really tried, but that would mean working with Nintendo. After years of dealing with their terrible support, companies are just ignoring them. No one wants to work for a company that's too cool to help you out a bit, and Nintendo have always been like that. They've burnt all the bridges now (with the possible exception of Ubisoft and Sega, though Ubisoft seems to be backing off of Wii U support and modern Sega games are still terrible).

The main thing about consolidation that I can't believe they didn't try is unshackling the Gamepad from the console. I can buy an Asus Nexus 7 from Wal-Mart for $70 right now that isn't strapped to a box in my house. Why not try to get that into the Gamepad? If I could bring that thing to work or class (maybe by collapsing the thumbsticks) then Nintendo would instantly increase the value proposition on their console.

Posted:10 months ago

#11

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

376 226 0.6
@Greg. I'm suprised you were suprised by that. It's been obvious for over a decade that znintendomismcomoletely clueless about the competition. The fact that they publicly stated that they didn't realize how hard HD development was and so their big titles would be delayed simply confirmed it. Nintendo is behind the times for a reason, they simply do t have the engineering teams to support it, and management is uninterested I. Changing course. They are very very Japanese, and they're not going to pull the plane up until the nose is scraping ground.

@Jim Absolutely correct. Until Nintendo can shed their image as a "baby console" among the general public, things will never change. They seem to know this, which is why they've been chasing M rated titles like COD, but they isn't seem to have any idea why no one is interested in buying them on their platform

@Greg again

Rumor has it that the next Nintendomhandheld is an android based tablet that the 2DS is a test for on the general shape. Unfortunately for them, they'll price it too high, and the kids already have kindle fires and iPads. .

Posted:10 months ago

#12

Cale Barnett Animator

29 31 1.1
Nintendo need to be more committed to their own products. It's as if they are actively doing the bare minimum to make their consoles sell-able. I'm not discounting any of their amazing games here, but hardware-wise they seem to not care about turning each new gimmick into an integral feature anymore.

In previous generations it was Nintendo who made certain hardware or control options the norm, such as analogue sticks and trigger buttons, but more recently they've let the gimmicks remain as gimmicks. The Wii Remote devolved into a waggle stick, the glasses-free 3D is under-utilized (and in serious need of more pixels) and the Wii U GamePad's best feature is off-screen play. Not to mention the Nintendo Network which is still a decade behind in terms of UI design and ease of use, and the Virtual Console which seems to magically reset with each new console.

Their best assets may be their game franchises, but why aren't they putting the same amount of polish and long-term investment into hardware as they are with software?

Posted:10 months ago

#13

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
@Jeff: I think I should have said I'm surprised that even after all these years, they still haven't clued into how important a solid online digital delivery service is combined with retail (where most of their family dollars seem to come from). Nintendo really doesn't surprise me at all when it comes to them setting and following their own paths.

@Cale: to answer your question:
but why aren't they putting the same amount of polish and long-term investment into hardware as they are with software?
it's simple. Nintendo has been doing the less is more thing with hardware since the NES days (although you can argue successfully that some N64 games looked "great" for cartridge titles) and sold millions of units to happy consumers, so why not continue that into this cycle?

I don't fault them for that at all, as graphics are subjective anyway the the original and "ported" games to the Wii U aren't bad looking at all (hell, Criterion's NFS game looks as good as or better than the PC game!). I'd imagine that in the right hands of some creative third-party team, something original (as in not a sequel, but I'll give PlatimumGames a big pass because I love Bayonetta) could indeed be made for the system. But it seems that outside a few brave souls no one wants to make something they're not guaranteed a big return and sales on. Or major "BUY IT!" press. Or a few other things.

That said, I want Watch_Dogs to be as good as the PS3 and 360 versions just so it shuts people up a bit more about the system not being able to keep up (er, with last gen)...

Posted:10 months ago

#14

Techni Myoko Programmer

43 81 1.9
I'd be the first to buy whatever device they make to et us play 3ds games on wii u

Posted:10 months ago

#15

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

376 226 0.6
@Greg

I'd say Watch Dogs's biggest issue is Ubisofts back end. We keep seeing all these delays, and the common thread is that all the games seeing delays are using those servers. WD delayed, The Crew, and now likely The Division.

I'm sure it'll be cool when they're done, but any issues Nintendo has will likely be secondary.

Posted:10 months ago

#16

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
@Jeff: Another reason single player offline can't and shouldn't be ignored. I keep thinking someone needs to figure out how to release a solid SP mode and get the online out only when it's flawless (or less prone to back-end woes), but they'll just keep coming as more games go online that really could do better possibly as co-op or private network experiences among smaller groups with the same connection speeds. Ah well...

Posted:10 months ago

#17

Cale Barnett Animator

29 31 1.1
@Greg
I guess my argument would be that Nintendo shouldn't continue that cycle. Look at the stability of software sales they get from their core franchises, and then look at the drastic decreases and increases in hardware sales between their consoles.
I'm not talking about Nintendo's mantra to use old technology in a new way, I'm talking about their non-committal attitude to making a good and lasting console experience, regardless of their 'old faithful' first-party titles.

Posted:10 months ago

#18

Paul Jace Merchandiser

945 1,433 1.5
James brings up an interesting idea but I'm not so sure how it would work in execution. While I love my 3DS I'm not that terribly interested in playing my 3DS games on my flat screen and I most certainly wouldn't get a Wii U just so I could play 3DS games. But perhaps a hybrid console could work for their next system if they marketed it well, got third party support from the beginning and had atleast one or two features that the competition didn't have. Knowing Nintendo they are probably just going to launch another new system with whatever gimmick they can come up with at the time. It might work(as it did with the Wii) or it might not(as the Wii U hasn't so far). We shall see.

Posted:10 months ago

#19

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

376 226 0.6
Despite what a hardcore subset of enthusiasts think, the number if people actually interested in moving the screen they pkay on is rather small From Super Game Boy, to WiiU, and as Sony seems to know, and the fanboys don't want to hear is actually very small.

Personally, if I were ?Nintendo, I'd support Mira/Chromecast to send the "play" screen to a TV. The hardware is relatively inexpensive. I don't necessarily think it'll get used, but it'll be a bragging gimmick that won't cost them a lot to implement

Posted:10 months ago

#20

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

331 784 2.4
And for Mario's sake, cater to third-party developers for a change.
Surely this is what got the Wii U into this mess in the first place? They should have listened to their 100m+ Wii customers instead of risk averse publishers.

Consolidating on one platform isn't a bad idea at all. It doesn't mean they'd have to have one device, they could have different form factor boxes, as long as they ran the same software and worked from the same network backend. The gap between the WiiU and 3DS seems much narrower than previous generations.

Posted:10 months ago

#21

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

376 226 0.6
The publishers abandoned Wii as well, because only about a fifth of those 100 million actually reliably bought games. And when they dud, it was all first party stuff

Posted:10 months ago

#22

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

309 398 1.3
@Jeff - the wii's tie ratio is about the same as the ps3's - am unsure why people often assume it was so low.

Posted:10 months ago

#23

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 496 1.1
@ Robin

Agreed entirely. Nintendo turned Wii U into a halfway house between what publishers wanted, and what they wanted. They either need to go in one direction or the other, rather than settling for an uneasy compromise.

Posted:10 months ago

#24

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

309 398 1.3
Some consolidation by nintendo seems to be inevitable, and they're already moving that way - 3ds and wiiu have the same networking service and shop, and the wiiu pad shares more than a few features with the ds family.

Not sure they'll merge them entirely though - what works for one won't always work for the other. Same games are only suited to one platform, and even ones that could work for both often benefit from being tuned to handheld versus lounge play.

Might be a good way to get indies on board though - a common lightweight platform supported across whole range; one submission gets you on 3ds and wiiu?

Posted:10 months ago

#25

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 496 1.1
@ James Brightman

Have you seen this?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-17/nintendo-forecasts-net-loss-on-stagnating-sales-of-wii-u-games.html

We most likely won't see anything concrete until at least 2016 in terms of a new platform, due to the time it would take to put everything into place, but a shift in direction and structure is coming.

Posted:10 months ago

#26

James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz

259 457 1.8
Daniel, no I hadn't seen that, thank you. We can certainly use that for a story.

Posted:10 months ago

#27

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
@Neil
The Wii sold most of its software in its first few years. That's the problem.

Posted:10 months ago

#28

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

376 226 0.6
@Daniel. Nintendo made the hardware and showedd it to the publishers. If they made something for them, it would have been a modern console.

Nintendo simply doesn't work that way. They're willing to tweak, and that's about it.

Posted:10 months ago

#29

Jack Pochop Studying Telecommunications, Indiana University

27 16 0.6
A strong online presence is definitely a must, but Nintendo is way past due on engineering connectivity between their devices. Nintendo would do well to create a killer piece of inexpensive hardware like PlayStation Vita TV or Apple TV. These streaming boxes present a huge value to consumers who are already invested in Nintendo's 3DS, and could potentially offer Nintendo themselves a huge profit margin. There's ultimately no reason the company can't conjure up some way of streaming the top portion of the 3DS to the TV.

Posted:10 months ago

#30

Teut Weidemann Consultant Online Games, Ubisoft Germany

51 23 0.5
This article (and many others) show how well European and US writers misunderstand Japanese companies all together. You simply don't get it. They are JAPENESE. 125+ years old. Rich. Driven by their history and Elephant memory. One fail like a WiiU is just a blip on their history. THEY DON'T THINK LIKE U DO.

So they lost this gen. They won last gen. So they win next gen.

Posted:10 months ago

#31

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