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How Can Nintendo Recover? 559

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the plundering-the-public-domain-for-desperation-and-profit dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Nintendo's revenue and profits are tumbling faster than Mario into a bottomless pit. Company executives recently suggested the next-generation Wii U console would sell 2.8 million units between April 2013 and March 2014 — significantly below the 9 million units predicted in previous estimates. Contrast that with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, which sold 4.2 million and 3 million units, respectively, in their first six weeks of release. In lowering its hardware and software estimates, Nintendo also expects to take a loss by the end of its fiscal year in March. Nintendo's attempt to carve a niche for itself as an ecosystem for casual gamers has also run into a massive obstacle in the form of smartphones and tablets, which quickly developed into popular gaming platforms. Nintendo is reportedly considering a 'new business model,' according to Bloomberg, with its CEO telling a gathering of reporters in Osaka: 'Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It's not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.' While Nintendo could probably made some good money off legacy gamers by bringing its (much loved) portfolio of older titles to iOS, Android, and other platforms, that move to mobile might further weaken its hardware sales. So what do you think? If you were in charge of Nintendo, how would you turn it around?"
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How Can Nintendo Recover?

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  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:06PM (#46020845) Homepage

    Seriously. Nintendo needs to get out of the hardware business ASAP and start developing for iOS. The next generation of Apple TV will soon be an iOS console complete with game pads. With the iPhone or iPad, you can already do AirPlay mirroring which flings the video/sound to your TV. Effectively, it's a console know. Unless Nintendo gets off its ass, Apple could brand the next AppleTV as the Pippin redux.

  • Re:Erm, the 3DS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:09PM (#46020859) Homepage Journal

    is doing fine.

    Just keep pumping out decent games and don't fuck up the next major console. The 3DS is their lifesaver until the next refresh.

    Is that why they are going to post a loss? A company can't rely on aging products to survive these days, at least not in the technology/entertainment sector. I'm not declaring them dead, but they are hardly doing well.

  • by voss (52565) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:12PM (#46020889)

    Its overpriced. Nintendos market is for those who want a cheap and cheerful video game system for the kids
    not the people who want to pay $60 a game. If they had released something like an updated wii with a regular controller
    for $100 less it would have sold like crazy. Basically their target market wanted an updated WII not the montrosity that
    was the wii U.

  • by Suiggy (1544213) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:16PM (#46020915)

    Seriously Nintendo, upgrade your compilers! We're sick and tired of CodeWarrior.

  • my ideas (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cyberglich (525256) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:19PM (#46020951)
    Short term #1 slash the price of the WII-U down to $149 with a AAA pack-in game. #2 Launch a monthly sub service as a sort of virtual Netflix/game fly You get X game credits depending on price of sub running from 5.99 to 29.99 a month. The credits can be used to rent games from everything that can get licences form and emulate nes all the way to current WII-U titles. nes games being low # creidts and WII-U games being so many that a user needs to be on one of the higher tier plans to get even one. Once you "Rent" the game its your till you release it that unlocks the credits to be used again with say a 1 week min timeframe to keep people from constant cycling and to make the higher tiers worth wild. Nintendo pays the publishers a % of the sub fees depending on how many rentals are active at a time. Nintendo will louse money on hardware but will make it up in sub fees in theory and people will buy disks of WII-U games the want to keep long term (or just buy like current e-store works) Long Term Accelerate work on the next gen. aim for a 4-5 years for now for the next Home console. Work with EA, and other game devs to make a machine they want to work on. The next Xbox PS are 6-7 years away most likely So in 4-5 years would be a great time to keep a jump on the cycle. Aim for 60+FPS and 4k. 4k is showing promise now we already are looking at sub 1 grand 4k tvs now in 4-5 years they should be generally adorable and will make 720p/1080 Xboxone and PS4 look like dog food by then.
  • by Pranadevil2k (687232) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:36PM (#46021071)

    I would argue that Nintendo's problem isn't that its market has moved to mobile, the problem they face is that the market they want and need (console gamers) has moved on without them. I can't think of a single third-party developed game on a Nintendo console that excited me since Capcom put a bunch of Resident Evil games out on the GameCube. Nintendo itself owns a nice catalog of IP but you can only make so many Mario and Zelda games before the golden goose stops laying eggs. They need other developers making new titles, and good ones. They need a 'killer app.' People stopped buying Nintendo consoles for Mario after the GameCube and quit buying them for Zelda after the Wii. Nobody has bought an N console for a third-party game since the '64. Frankly, the last one I owned was a Super and now I play the remakes of the great games of that console on Sony and Microsoft systems, or emulate the originals on my PC or mobile. Nintendo is not Sony or Microsoft; their problems will not go away eventually by propping up their game division losses with profits in other sectors. They need good games or they are done in a few quarters of bad losses.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki&cox,net> on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:49PM (#46021133)

    The fact that a vocal segment of the gaming community believes that the best way to play games are using tools designed to drive spreadsheets and word processors means that maybe the common wisdom isn't so wise.

    Just focus on building something amazing.

    Alan Kay once said, if you're serious about software, you build your own hardware.

    This applies double for gaming.

  • by DogDude (805747) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:52PM (#46021145) Homepage
    I think it's time they dump the whole Japanimation thing. The Japanese-themed content is stale, and a relatively tiny niche of worldwide console players. I think it's time to jettison the whole Japanese-themed content and move towards something a bit more appealing to the world at large. I look at Nintendo, as a lifelong game player, and most of the content doesn't appeal to me at all.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:07AM (#46021249) Journal
    Some people really like the Wii U. Gabe at PA says, the Wii U version is a gift from God. In fact it’s so good that I will probably buy every multiplatform game for the Wii U from now on [penny-arcade.com]

    My guess is most people just don't know what's in the Wii U, why it's worth buying. At least, for myself I wouldn't know why anyone would buy it if Gabe hadn't written about it.
  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:03AM (#46021587)
    And schools are feeding this full-force, many schools are moving away from computers to iPads in the USA (Lucky Apple and schools, because it isn't moving to tablets but specifically iPads).

    Nintendo always had games very well targeted to children.

    The current crop of kiddies see tablets as part of their identity and there isn't any reversing this for Nintendo. It is over for Nintendo.

    The XBox is a different story because it is a "serious" casual gaming machine and not being devoured by such a market change. [But will probably succumb to a future market change, in 3 years or less smartphones will happen to have full-fledged game console capabilities, many efforts underway even 2-3 years back heading that direction particular with Android.]

    In the end, only one device can win and it was always destined to be the smart phone due to portability --- laptop/desktop sales are falling very quickly which is a bit disturbing (Tablets +69%, computers 14% drop in units sold).
  • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:06AM (#46021611) Journal

    I'd go one step farther, and say that what's killing Nintendo is their tight-fisted control over their platform. If Nintendo made it easier and cheaper to develop for their platform, as opposed to (reportedly) charging thousands of dollars for an SDK under NDA, they'd be in much better shape right now.

    All those potential developers who they've turned down over the years have moved on to develop games for iOS and Android, and are now Nintendo's competition. It's what I've been saying for years—the strength of a platform is entirely dependent on the size and vigor of its third-party developer community. If you don't have that, you don't have anything.

  • by tipo159 (1151047) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:09AM (#46021621)

    My two kids asked for a Wii U, so that is what I got them. I don't know what games they are playing, but I see them and the neighborhood kids playing multiplayer games on it all of the time.

    My youngest kid had a DSi and wanted a 3DS XL. Now the older one wants to replace his DSi as well.

    They occasionally take my iOS devices (I have a gaggle for testing apps), but they usually prefer to play with their Nintendo devices.

    Just another data point.

  • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @02:53AM (#46022051)

    Once Xbox came to be, they filled the void once occupied by Nintendo. There isn't room for a 3rd player in the home console field - or at least I don't think Nintendo could even make a dent versus Xbox and Playstation.

    OK but if I wanted to save Nintendo.. (hang on, I have to look up what a WiiU is - omg it looks like total shit)

    I'd go back to the roots. Create games reminiscent of what worked in the 80s and early 90s, but with a little more flashiness and multiplayer. Not everybody wants 3D (personally I was over it after I played super mario 64)

    Nah there has always been a tri force, if you will, of consoles;

    Atari Sega Nintendo
    Nintendo Sega Playstation
    Nintendo Playstation Xbox

    Unfortunately for Nintendo being the lowest profiting of the three and having no other markets to support them unlike Microsoft and Sony and having mobile gaming from android and ios, smart tvs and apple and google tv boxes as competition as well as from the me Steam box, Nintendo looks like it is about to lose its place of dominance.

    We can see that the former consoles manufactures have shrunk to but a former shell of what they used to be Atari is facing bankruptcy, Sega turns out the occasional game for the other three consoles and farms out sonic the hedgehog to pay the bills. Nintendo does not want to turn into Sega and most definitely does not want to become atari. So as I see it they have to option at this point

    Sell out or Buy out.

    They could sell them selves to apple google amazon or microsoft for the ip and maybe they will keep the devs and writters, or they could merge with or buy out valve and support pc gaming.

    As I said in another post higher up

    A Microsoft buyout would bad but at least the game might someday see a official pc port.
    A merger with Valve could be interesting to see and shake everything up for the gaming industry, as long as they kept the game development team separate have Nintendo focus on family gaming and peripherals and Valve on PC and hardcore gaming and co operate together on consoles.
    A Google buyout would be great for mobile and give Google TV some teeth in the gaming market and could quiet possible see a release nintindo apps for other platforms such as windows 8 and iOS like they have for other core customer facing services
    Then there is the Apple buyout where hardware would probably cost more and merge with apple tv and iP(a||o)d for console and mobile gaming respectively, the have similar styling but other than that I don't see it being a great match for costumers & fans especially.
    If they have to sell or merge I would hope for either google or valve buy/merge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:49AM (#46023097)

    I have a PlayStation2. I did not buy a PS3, nor do I intend to buy a PS4, or Microsofts competing products.

    Both companies have been working hard to take all the disadvantages from the PC, and move them to the consoles. Installing games to the hard drive. Copy protection schemes requiring an internet connection, thus ruling out putting it in the living room with the TV. Updates that break things that used to work (Other OS is an example of this).

    I already have PC. My PC has Steam. If I want to play games in my bedroom, that need to be installed and neet an internet connection, I'm not buying a console, I fire up Steam. I bought a console because I wanted a hassle-free experience. Turn on TV, insert disk, play game.

    Only Nintendo still cares for the living room market, the other two are more interested in competing with the PC market.

    For these reasons, my next console may very well be a Wii or Wii-U.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

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