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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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  • Erm, the 3DS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:03PM (#46020819)

    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.

  • Personally? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:07PM (#46020851)
    I'd enable Mario on a smartphone.
  • Living in the 80s (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:16PM (#46020923)

    Stop making shitty games based off of 80s IP.

  • Minecraft on iPads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:17PM (#46020929)

    Where I once saw kids play Mario on a Nintendo DS, today I see kids play Minecraft of iPads.

    Apple crushed Nintendo by creating iOS devices and opening up it's platform to indie devs for a minimal fee. If I wanted to start coding for Nintendo.... how would I do it, and how much would I have to pay in licensing? I have no idea, and I wouldn't know where to look.
    It would seem easier to go for the tablet ecosystem that most people have and is more easily accessible. I think not only did Apple destroy the Nintendo casual market with iOS devices, but also through leeching potential developers.

    Also, if I were Nintendo, I would be grovelling to get Mojang to port Minecraft over (Mojang says that they're "too busy"). So far..... nothing... and it's so stupid as to why not because the game is really something Nintendo should have been able to create, and it's a perfect fit for the system. It's just a shame too that with all Nintendo's game dev talent, this something as much fun hasn't eventuated from them, and it's been Mario after Zelda after Donkey Kong.

    Nintendo is also locked itself out of the hardcore market for this gen too. So unless they want to make a Super-Duper Nintendo like in the 16-bit war days and compete again, they're going to lose gamers there.

    All Nintendo has left is good game devs and some great IP.... and perhaps more trust with parents than the Apple kids-ingame-payments-debarcle has done to Apple's platform.

  • 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.

    Nintendo's problem is that this isn't Nintendo's market anymore; it has become the App Store and Google Play market. The big advantage of a 2DS/3DS over an iPod touch or iPad mini is that iPod touch and iPad mini ship with only the positional control (a multitouch screen), not directional or discrete trigger controls (the Circle Pad, Control Pad, and buttons). And not everyone wants to buy a $40 Bluetooth controller that clamps onto a tablet just to play a $10 or cheaper game.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:19PM (#46020953) Homepage

    Disagree. There are far too many permutations of phones out there. Also, they've branded themselves as family entertainment. They still need a console platform for the TV as the family room is the venue of choice. AppleTV is such a platform. Question is, can the licensing cost to Apple more than make up for not having to develop and manufacture a console of their own?

  • by Nemyst (1383049) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:21PM (#46020957) Homepage
    It's not just that. They made this rather unique hardware but don't seem to know what to do with it. Asymmetrical play and remote play are all nice and well, but they're not system sellers and they're not the primary use of the console. The Wii could be played alone, in a group, with newbies or advanced users. The WiiU's touch pad needs a certain learning period, it's heavy and cumbersome, and all of that for what? Usually to show a map. It's the new waggle, except with even less interaction.

    Nintendo chased the fickle casual market, thinking that they'd behave like their previous market (the more hardcore Nintendo veterans) and would follow their brand wherever they went. They didn't.
  • Marketing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xacid (560407) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:24PM (#46020983) Journal

    Marketing is where they failed horribly with the Wii U. I wasn't even entirely clear on if the Wii U was a brand new system or some new add-on up until recently. The idea of *why* anyone needs this in their home is being entirely ignored it seems. I love the Nintendo brand and I'd hate to see them go the way of Sega. However....that time seems to be quickly approaching.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:28PM (#46021009)
    Phones/Tablets right now don't have a standardized controller. I know it is a stretch for Nintendo to make a classic controller like XBox or PS has, but if they did make controllers for tablets/phones, they could then make a series of games for Android/iOS. Then phones would have a standardized controller for other people to develop on too.

    Most Nintendo game IP doesn't need expensive hardware to run, so cell phone/tablets is fine to go to. Phones/tablets can even be plugged into televisions to work like a console. The only thing missing is a standard controller. I haven't got a Nintendo since the SNES mostly because I find the controllers strange. Stop treating the game hardware like a toy in itself, go standard hardware minimum requirements and make your games good.

    Now not everyone will be carrying a phone/controller around outside, but for the home, it is doable. If you work on manufacturing, you can get your controllers cheap. Then you're just selling people games.
  • Re:Ask Sega (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:36PM (#46021069)

    "did great for them" really?

    Look at Sega games in the Dramcast era and look at them now. Getting out of the hardware business killed Sega. Nintendo needs to hang in there. :(

  • Bad marketing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aussersterne (212916) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:38PM (#46021075) Homepage

    Didn't even realize that Wii U was substantively different from Wii. In fact, based on this story and the context here, still can't tell.

    What would have been wrong with "Wii 2" which offers a much clearer indication that it's a next generation console? (If, in fact, it is a next generation console.)

    First thing that comes to my mind with "Wii U" is that it's the educational version of the Wii.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:43PM (#46021097)

    Just an iOS slave, shackled to Apple like Zynga is to Facebook?

    If Nintendo does exit the hardware business, they need to start working on multiple platforms, iOS is just one. Android has a large marketshare.

    However, the reason Nintendo stays in business is their hardware. If they don't have the user lock in to their consoles, they will disappear, since they would have to compete with EA, Ubisoft, and others... on their turf.

  • Sega's mistake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:45PM (#46021119)

    Sega's mistake was not having good hardware, it was having too much hardware. They were told that the Genesis was great, a few years later it was the Sega CD, then almost immediately after that was 32X, then almost immediately it was the Dreamcast. Customers who liked Sega had the original Genesis (not talking Master SYstem), but then two quick updates then a new console. Frankly, Sega broke the bank on the DreamCast by asking their customers to buy too much too fast. Too much hardware. That is a good reason for the Big N to stick with the U for a while, develop it, make it cheaper than the PS4 and the XBox One, still get 1080p @ 60fps, release some exclusives, wait several years in order not to burnout their core client base like Sega did. They can't bail on the U for financial reasons and for the games already in the pipe, and they can't make a U2 because it will burn current customers. Once Mario Kart, Zelda, Smash Bro, etc come out, it will be comfortable again... you doubters and haters

  • by aaronjp (51549) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:47PM (#46021127)

    Customers wanted and expected what they had in the old Wii with 1280p HD and a boost in processing power and got the Wii U.

    Nintendo totally ignored the social aspect they created with the Wii. They went from a system where it was cheap enough to buy 4 controllers; so 4 people could play at a time to a system where it's just too expensive to have multiple players. Potential customers look at the Wii U as if it's essentially an expensive one player system, and just decide to keep playing the old Wii. In other words, they made a system that no one was asking for and even worse no one wanted in the Wii U.

    IMO, if Nintendo wants to recover make a Wii HD.

  • Re:Erm, the 3DS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:56PM (#46021161)

    You can't declare a console a successful console a flop so you can preserve the integrity of your argument.

  • Re:Erm, the 3DS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:14PM (#46021315)

    Nintendo's consoles may have been a "flop" according to you, but remember that historically they were all sold at a profit from the get-go (with the exception of the WiiU of course). So if remaining profitable is a "flop" then I guess you are right.

    One of big-N's problems is that it's becoming too difficult for them to keep their consoles cheap and yet continue to sell at a profit.

  • by SocietyoftheFist (316444) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:24PM (#46021369)

    I like playing on my big screen with my kids, our handheld devices don't facilitate family interaction. Nintendo effed up.

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

    by icebike (68054) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:30PM (#46021401)

    Well the 3DS and 2DS are new enough that their sales figures probably aren't included in the quarter being reported, but their development costs probably are included.

    Grandkids got these for Christmas, and I was amazed at how quickly they had found all the cool features of these gaming devices. Soon the gaming was secondary to all the other things they do. They are making movies on them, recording sound, distorting images, and putting snapshots of their friends into the games as characters.

    Game play is but one aspect of these devices. You can pass some games and game tools to there players as you pass them on the street, (creepy) and if you visit some place those other friends have been (McDonalds for instance). Very Amazing little devices.

    These are totally new devices with quite a bit more included besides simple game play.

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

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:59AM (#46021863)

    Any smartphone has a WiFi connection these days. If you have a WiFi network you can do LAN multiplayer easily.

  • Re:Erm, the 3DS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:03AM (#46021891)

    But the smartphone is a miserable gaming platform.

  • Er, Pokemon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HalAtWork (926717) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @02:49AM (#46022215)
    Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, Excite Truck, Mario, Kid Icarus, Dr. Luigi, etc are not Japan-themed, and the only series that looks like anime is Fire Emblem and Pokemon, but the market seems to love those, especially Pokemon, and it has an actual anime attached to it! I think your theory is more than a little off.
  • by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @03:53AM (#46022401) Homepage Journal

    The PS4 can't even play DVD's & CD's...Xbox was *nearly* required a persistent internet connection to play any game

    Nintendo has plenty of room to improve the hardware department. Sony & M$ have given themselves over to the 'feature bottleneck' revenue plan and their designs reek of user manipulation at every turn.

    Nintendo has always been better than that.

    Some other points:

    > It's not a single-console world. Most casual gamers have two consoles now. Nintendo doesn't have to destroy the competition completely to be a success

    > Nintendo has revolutionized gaming with its hardware before & is wililng to take risks and innovate.

    > Nintendo needs to embrace indie gamers: go Valve. If nintendo started its own version of valve, and let indie game makers use their SDK to make games downloadable for Nintendo hardware it would flatten the whole industry in less than a year and have the other companies on their heels

    Nintendo can definitely rule the gaming world once more.

  • by Agent0013 (828350) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:31AM (#46024301) Journal
    I don't really understand these two complaints. The Wii U lets you use the original Wiimote controllers for almost every game that has come out for it. So not only can you buy 4 cheap controllers, you probably already have them if you had a Wii before. And in addition to that, it boots into the original Wii so it is just a Wii HD, if that is what you want.
  • Re:Erm, the 3DS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:55AM (#46026385)

    I was dismissive of the Wii-U at first. I thought it was a bone-headed move.

    The truth is, a year later I looked at the system again. I looked at the games that have come out, and there were a lot of interesting games!

    I decided to buy one last month, and gimmick or not, it is a seriously fun console. I much prefer to play my Wii U than my friend's PS4. It's not even just the 1st party titles either.

    I feel like Wii U is a disaster not because it isn't a fun game system with fun games, but because of cynical, close-minded, jaded gamers who think they are too cool to play on a console that they believe is a kiddie console.

    I still have my doubts about whether the extra tablet/screen was necessary, but it has added a lot to some games.

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