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How Can Nintendo Recover? 559

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 @11:03PM (#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.

    • 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.

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

        by luther349 ( 645380 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:04AM (#46021227)
        the lose is from the wii-u collecting dust in the stores. the 3ds still has strong sales.
        • Re:Erm, the 3DS (Score:4, Informative)

          by ArbitraryName ( 3391191 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:39AM (#46021473)
        • 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).
        • the lose is from the wii-u collecting dust in the stores. the 3ds still has strong sales.

          Exactly!, except it's not the stores where they are collecting dust causing the problem, but the warehouses and shipping containers. Nintendo needs to have a fire sale to generate cash flow to build something that will sell. Even unloading them at cost would be better than sitting in storage. I wonder if SteamOS can be ported to run on a Wii U?

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

        by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:30AM (#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.

    • yeo that's why 3ds has gotten some huge games this year normally only on there consoles.
  • Personally? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bananaquackmoo ( 1204116 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:07PM (#46020851)
    I'd enable Mario on a smartphone.
  • 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.

    • 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 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 SocietyoftheFist ( 316444 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:24AM (#46021369)

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

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:21PM (#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.
      • by aaronjp ( 51549 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:47PM (#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.

        • by ekimd ( 968058 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:04AM (#46021223)
          Mod parent up. This is exactly why I haven't bought a Wii U. I just want a Wii HD.
        • 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 Fjandr ( 66656 )

          Honestly, I us the Wii more as a platform to watch movies than anything else. It's actually my most-used console, but I don't use it for gaming. At all.

          If it had better development support, had a web browser that worked (come on Opera, really? You could've done so much better), and supported user-made applications without the need to essentially jailbreak it that would be excellent.

          If they made something other than FPS games for consoles (yes, I know they do; that's called hyperbole) I might be interested i

    • gotta agree the wii-u is overpriced for being a updated wii with a tablet controller. they so need to make a cheaper wii-u with a normal controller.nobody likes the tablets bad battery life and utter hugeness.
    • 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 []

      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.
    • Mod parent up a million. Everybody I know just wanted an updated Wii that could play the newest games and compete with the PS3 and XBox 360 at a cheaper price point.

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

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

  • Mushrooms! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If Nintendo want to get bigger they should eat some of those red and white mushrooms!

  • Minecraft on iPads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:17PM (#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.

    • If I wanted to start coding for Nintendo.... how would I do it

      The official word is on and, but I've been repeatedly told that you should first make and self-publish three successful games for Windows, iOS, or Android before companies like Nintendo will even give you the time of day. That's what Robert Pelloni found out when he wanted to start a home-based business to develop and sell his RPG Bob's Game for DS.

      • by hibiki_r ( 649814 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:05AM (#46021605)

        Apparently Nintendo has been opening up to indies quite a bit: For instance, the requirement for an actual commercial address is gone. However, you'd have to be mad to make the WiiU your main platform, if just because as an indie, you will not get enough exposure to warrant the gamble. That's why everyone and their mother tries to develop for PC: If you get on Steam, you will get plenty of visibility.

    • Nintendo is also locked itself out of the hardcore market

      In all seriousness, the adult gaming market is an area that hasn't received a lot of attention. But this wouldn't mesh well with Nintendo's family friendly vision.

  • by TheloniousToady ( 3343045 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:19PM (#46020947)


  • 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.
    • Who modded ^^^^ that up and why? The quick decline of Nintendo isn't related to price, the business model has been made obsolete.

      Cutting price won't save Nintendo any more than Blackberry or Windows Phone cutting price would help in those markets.

      A console requires a child to plug it into a television, but if a kid has a tablet he/she can play it in his room and it can travel in the car and the child will have complete freedom, which both the child and the parents like.

      It isn't a pricing issue or an iss
      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        I disagree. My son wants a Wii-U. I'm just not prepared to spend $300 on a system with a questionable future when we currently have thousands of video games at home already. At $150, I would just get one. Same as I did with the Ouya.
  • They need to pull out all the stops and embrace all the platforms they can (Android, iOS, DS, Wii) and create a unified multiplayer gaming ecosystem that is kid friendly / safe, the core of which would be built on their game franchises (Mario, Zelda, etc). Imagine firing up Mario Kart on Android and racing against players on Wii U or iOS. One of the goals is to keep from losing 100% of their revenue when a customer migrates from a DS to an Android or iOS device. If they can offer the same games, and prob

    • One of the goals is to keep from losing 100% of their revenue when a customer migrates from a DS to an Android or iOS device. If [Nintendo] can offer the same games, and probably more importantly, the same profile / avatar / achievements, on other open platforms, at a good price, then the younger crowd (and the parents that control access and the cash flow) would be inclined to stick with Nintendo.

      Good luck controlling Smash Bros. on a touch screen and not losing to every single 3DS player.

  • Wait until apple offers a buyout. They have clearly been interested in gaming for years and have the cash to allow developers to keep working while the total fail that is wii u fades into memory. Nintendo just completely missed the mark. They had college students on the internet working on controller-less games that used the wii and instead of embracing the idea they let Microsoft hire these students to create the kinect and wasted their energy on a fat ugly tablet that is limited in function. If they were
  • Marketing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xacid ( 560407 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:24PM (#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.

    • yea i saw the ads oh the wii-u has another mario game in hd its a upgrade and you know the casual gamer like i have beat the last 5 Mario games the original wii has even my dad bought a wii and shows no interest in wii-u
  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:28PM (#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.
  • by mattmarlowe ( 694498 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:28PM (#46021011) Homepage

    I'm a casual gamer 'dad' interested in fitness with several home schooled kids. I'd expect my family to be the ideal target demographic for the WII U - and indeed, we purchased one since the playstation/xbox were essentially banned - we don't want to feed FPS and junk games to our kids.

    Still, what does WII offer us in terms of quality games?
    - Wii Fit Plus (just a modest bump over the older wii fit, should have been better).
    - Wii Sports Club - OK, took forever for them to release it, some of the sports (e.g. bowling) do not simulate as well as they should. The best game seems to be golf...but come on, it isn't that much better than the old wii sports game.
    - Legend of Zelda - Finally released, kids are interested in it...we'll see.
    - Mario, not interested
    - Not much else...

    So, basically, the WII U is a decent platform hampered by a lack of quality games for its target market, and the few good games took forever to be released...

    I might feel better if I knew Nintendo worked well with third parties and was planning to release a large set of good games over the next year....but I think Zelda and Wii Sports Club have been taking nearly all their resources and it doesn't seem like the relations with third party devs are that good at the moment...

    • What's a junk game? Apparently Mario games are junk? Even the ones that are high budget and highly reviewed? There is a BIG difference between "Mario And Sonic At The Olympics" and "Super Mario 3D World".

      Anyway, I don't know how many dozens of games i would need to list for you to convince you the Wii U has "quality games", but I can list like 8 off the top of my head, and I wouldn't consider any of them 'junk'. And if you need more than 8 games for your kids, in addition to whatever they play on PC, t

  • Pretty much a Playstation phone, but not retarded. Let's say....slide-down joypad, 1080p 3D screen, the latest quad core ARM64, etc. I can see them fucking this up really badly by attempting to include DRM. I honestly think that's their only holdup: they can't port their software portfolio AND have the stranglehold on publishing like their current business model dictates. (Remember, the money off of console sales doesn't come from consoles (except for the rare exception like the Wii) but from licensing
  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:30PM (#46021041)
    Dr. Mario Vs. Proctologist Simulator 2013
    It's a winner no matter which way you look up it.
  • iOS has a custom controller API now.

    Nintendo could thrive by turning an iPhone/Touch into a game-boy like device with kick-ass controls, and software tailored to work with their own controllers.

    It would let Nintendo focus on what they do best, control hardware and games. It would keep them in hardware which is what I think a lot of gamers would love to see, and it would bring in a ton of revenue.

    Add in a rechargeable battery into the controller that keeps the device topped up and you have a device that eve

  • Bad marketing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:38PM (#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.

    • I was just thinking that. I have no idea what the Wii U is. For the last console launch, it was obvious, and everyone knew it was the small, cartoony, gimmicky one with the motion controls.
      Ultimately, those controls fell short of even conservative estimates of usefulness, but at least the general public knew what Nintendo was offering.
      I have no idea how the Wii U is different from the Wii, or why I would want one.

      But to be fair, I do not know much about the PS4 or Xbox One, but then I do not have to. Obviou

  • Nintendo should make an Android powered smartphone focused on gaming, meaning with controls for gaming. Who wants to carry an extra gaming device when your smartphone gives you access to millions of great games.

  • 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 )
    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 Sandman1971 ( 516283 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:03AM (#46021217) Homepage Journal

    It's time that Nintendo start porting their properties to other consoles. I'd love to play the next Super Mario game on my Xbox One. I'd love to play Mario Kart on my PS4. Don't even license out the games, create/produce them the same way you've been doing for years, but just start porting them to other platforms and get out of the console business.

  • Well, one thing that I always felt was missing from Nintendo's disc-based consoles is the ability to play DVDs and/or Blu-rays. I mean, it doesn't make much sense to buy a device you can put a disc into that can only be used to interact with a VERY limited number of discs.

    They could also release apps for Android/iOS to allow phones and tablets to be used as a controller of some sort, or at the very least to interact with the consoles.

    A whole other direction could be to let go of the hardware market; they do

  • Stop making the same Mario game over and over and over and over..... Make some new games.
  • "How can Nintendo Recover?" Build a better, more innovative, more powerful, open, cheaper and socially acceptable platform that will allow all humans to benefit. Not just gamers. CEOs, people in third world countries. They need to build the iPhone of game consoles.
  • by OhANameWhatName ( 2688401 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:32AM (#46021413)
    My parents are playing games on iPads, my brothers in law, my sisters, niece .. the market is exploding because people aren't having to buy custom hardware.

    The Nintendo name stll has a whole shedload of trust and their game designers are really very good at innovating. Quit worrying about canabilizing hardware sales and start focussing on software sales. The hardware ship has long since sailed and Nintendo missed the boat.

    Failing to accept that reality and trying to push hardware will only lead them down the monopolistic failure route of Kodak. Too little, too late.
  • I was considering wanting a wii u for christmas (to replace my stolen wii), but in the end I asked (and got) a second hand wii - seems new wii's are really hard to come by these days.
    The tablety thing really doesn't do anything for me; I guess in a few years I may consider getting a wii u, it also depends how easy it is to hack and install the homebrew channel equivalent and run all my existing wii games off a USB hard drive.
  • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:49AM (#46021829) Homepage

    The answer is adult content.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @03:16AM (#46022117) Journal

    Nintendo has a kill app waiting to be made and it's called Pokemon MMORPG.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.