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Nintendo Medicine

Nintendo Could Base Comeback On Improving Peoples' Health 129

Nerval's Lobster writes: "It's no secret that Nintendo faces significant challenges: revenues are down, rival platforms such as Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 are attracting a lot of buzz, and iOS and Android have made significant inroads into mobile gaming. Rather than double down on its core business, however, Nintendo reportedly sees its salvation in new, nongaming segments such as... monitoring your health? 'We have now redefined entertainment to mean making it fun for people to improve the quality of their lives,' Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata told a company strategy meeting, according to The Wall Street Journal. But he refused to part with more detail about Nintendo's plans, except to claim that whatever's in the works isn't a wearable device along the lines of Nike's FuelBand or the FitBit, and it isn't an iteration of the Wii Balance Board, an accessory that measures the user's weight and center of balance while playing games."
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Nintendo Could Base Comeback On Improving Peoples' Health

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Juuuust before they went out of business.

    • Atari also had wireless controllers too, so Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are going out of business because they are use wireless controllers too. (sarcasm)
  • by korbulon ( 2792438 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @06:40AM (#46118413)
    It urges you to go out for a walk and then turns itself off.
    • by rossdee ( 243626 )

      "It urges you to go out for a walk and then turns itself off."

      All it would need is remote control for the weather, (stop snowing or raining, decrease wind velocity to 5 metres/sec and increase temperature to 280K)

      • If you're in a place where 280K would be an increase, I feel quite sorry for you. Maybe if if did interface with a weather service it could prompt you with an occasional "it's nice outside, why not go enjoy it?" when appropriate.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Tells you to get your fat ass off the couch.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @06:54AM (#46118453)

    Nintendo's management seems incapable of admitting that their current situation is the direct result of them seeing if they can make a human ouroboros by shoving their heads so far up their asses they're nibbling on their stomach lining. Their hardware is woefully underpowered, they are not embracing small developers even remotely as well as their competition and no one wants to admit the obvious. They didn't have to release the Wii U when they did. They could easily have afforded to release a new console around last Christmas with similar specs to the XBone PS4. They could have even released one that was a bit weaker, but broke even and gotten third party support by waving most of the licensing costs for the first two years for anyone willing to make a game for their system. Heck they could have create a Nintendo quality Ouya-like system and turned the console market on its head.

    But Nintendo did what Nintendo does. They pretended that their brand is still so strong that they can do what they've always done and ignore the fact that Microsoft opened half of the seals of the video game apocalypse by creating the XBox which is a steady progression from gaming toy to a powerful, dedicated and cheap entertainment PC that is open to developers. The fact that Super Mario World 3D sold so poorly when it came out should have been an indicator to Nintendo that they need to clean house and hire people who seem to actually understand what is going on in the market today. This isn't 1992. Nintendo faces real competition with much stronger backing than Sega ever could have brought to bear.

    • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @07:08AM (#46118477)

      The WiiU's performance has little to do with it launching 18 months before the PS4 and Xbone. They could've launched a system maybe 80% as powerful as either of those using the parts available, as opposed to something that's 120% as powerful as a PS3 or 360. The low performance is a design trade-off that was necessary if they wanted to have that touchscreen controller in the box and a price south of $500. Nintendo did well betting on low prices, new input methods and low performance on the Wii; unfortunately, they bet wrong by attempting to repeat the trick in an era where mobile pricing has put cheap gaming into a "race to the bottom".

      They should've staked out the high end with Sony and MS where mobile is less disruptive, but the WiiU would have been too far along in development by the time that issue became clear. (Sony have recently remarked that they could tell the Vita was going to have problems with mobile well before it launched in 2012, and have had to try to change the console's goals without the opportunity to change actual product.)

      • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @07:54AM (#46118605)

        Still not quite on the money. They fucked up, yes, but it has nothing to do with where they positioned the console on price and performance. Their main issue, which has been an issue for every single Nintendo console since the SNES, is the timing of their first party games, combined with their third party developer support. Nintendo has a history of weak third party releases, with games that aren't quite up to par on their console and general lack of releases, which means they rely heavily on first party development. However, where's the first party support for WiiU? It was there for Wii and heavily pushed consoles out the door, it was there for the 3DS and outright saved the console, and on and on. On WiiU, excluding remakes like Winwaker HD, they're lacking games from many of their major franchises right now, with no release dates in sight. There's no Mario Kart, no (new) Zelda, no new Metroid, no new Donkey Kong, no new Smash Bros., no Pokemon, and I could rattle off many more franchises that just don't have games for the new console, and don't have any announced entries with a release date to fill the void. Nintendo has this terrible habit of releasing a console with weak first party support when that's what sustains their entire business model, and with WiiU, the future doesn't look bright specifically because of their lack of announced titles with release dates.

        Given all this news about Nintendo lately, I bet their stock is tanking. If I knew there was a Pokemon coming in the next year, I'd buy as much stock as I could, because everyone knows that Pokemon alone outright sells consoles.

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          "because everyone knows that Pokemon alone outright sells consoles."

          Does it? To whom? No one over the age of 15 is going to buy a game like that for themselves , its just the kids market and in 2014 thats quite small for consoles. The adults game market is far larger.

          • by Noxal ( 816780 )

            I'm 28 and I own the latest Pokemon. So does my husband and at least 15 of our older-than-21 friends.

          • Evidently don't spend much time around young adults (possibly a good thing?). Nintendo 3DS are a frequent sight around my campus, and they are all running Pokemon. They aren't as common as phones of course, but certainly enough to base a business on.
          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            Does it? To whom? No one over the age of 15 is going to buy a game like that for themselves , its just the kids market and in 2014 thats quite small for consoles. The adults game market is far larger.

            Pokémon is played by a lot of people over 15. I think half the people I see at the local pokemon card tournaments are adults.

            And the kid market is huge - it's just that adults are often instead of getting their kids 3DSes and such, just handing over their phones and running into all sorts of in-app p

          • Pokemon sells consoles to kids, you're right. Other games work better for other demographics - I know I'm more interested in a new Zelda or Smash Bros. game than Pokemon. However, it doesn't really matter who they sell them to if they're selling out thanks to the franchise's latest release. [venturebeat.com] The 3DS experienced a 135% boost in sales in the month following the release of Pokemon [examiner.com], and it's pretty easy to attribute the majority of those extra sales to Pokemon XY when you consider the historical trend of a spike
        • Aren't people tired of the same old games from 1986 by now? Isn't the fact they've been releasing slightly altered versions of the same thing over and over again part of the problem?
          • The targeted demographic is pretty young. They are missing 15-20 years of gaming history. Something from 1986 is still new to them, if it's shiney.

          • by hubie ( 108345 )
            Isn't that what every 1st person shooter is, just a slightly altered version of the same thing?
        • That's a good point - a WiiU without the touchpad controller at a lower price might have been a big seller. Although they'd have to fight uphill against consumer confusion between that and the original Wii.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          They have plenty of 3rd party support in Japan, it's their overseas performance that is suffering.

      • Nintendo did well betting on low prices, new input methods and low performance on the Wii;

        It was the low price that did the trick. "New input methods" work for games designed around them, but most Wii games use of motion controls are limited to making "shake the controller" an extra button, which is simply annoying after the novelty wears off.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      To be fair I think Nintendo could've pulled it off fine with the Wii U, I think they still could. The games they do have on it are actually really good.

      I'd argue the problem is the price point. They were charging £280 for a console underpowered enough to justify only £150 (which is what I got mine for).

      I remember I used to pay £130 or so for a Nintendo console, I know inflation and all that but if they went for the £130 - £150 price point as standa

    • Their hardware is woefully underpowered, ... They could easily have afforded to release a new console around last Christmas with similar specs to the XBone PS4.

      this is nothing new. from the very beginning, nintendo has always gone with slower and inexpensive hardware. how were they so successful? they are marketing geniuses, they have always focused on graphics versus cpu speed and sell their systems for less.

      - They made a ton of money selling Gameboys because they came out with a zillion flavors of it. Gameboy was released later in several different colors.
      Then they came out with Gameboy Pocket. Then Gameboy Color which was a small hardware/software

      • GBC was more than turning the grey into color. It surpassed even the Super Game Boy in total color count (excluding the SGB OBJ mode which almost no games used). It also increased the CPU speed. It certainly wasn't a four-color system unless you were playing legacy GB games.

        NES/SNES weren't really slower than their counterparts. Sure, the number of CPU cycles per second was lower. However, the 6502-based architecture had lower IPC than the Z80 and 68000, and if you analyze that you'll see that the NES/SNES

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The management team took a paycut

      Repeat after me.

      The management team took a paycut.

      I'm pretty fucking sure that if there was ever a way to admint "We messed something up." it's that.

      "Microsoft opened half of the seals of the video game apocalypse by creating the XBox which is a steady progression from gaming toy to a powerful, dedicated and cheap entertainment PC that is open to developers."


      OMG I can't stop crying and laughing at the same time. Oh fuck, I can't believe how much

    • Nintendo has shot for low-price high-value. I am consistently impressed with Nintendo, and unimpressed with Sony and Microsoft catering. Old Sega also was impressive--the DreamCast was fantastic, the games on it were iffy though; third-party vastly outperformed first-party, contrary to Nintendo's habit of releasing impossibly awesome first-party games like Zelda and Metroid.

      Nintendo always had the best controllers. The dog bone on the SNES was slightly more ergonomic than Sega's croissant; the N64 mis

  • They need to take on Nike Fuel, maybe a quadriped version with a VMU style interface that plays classic gameboy games.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... [wikipedia.org]

    When I here the Wii balance board mentioned, that is what I think of.

  • Nintendo seems intent on being dragged kicking and screaming into the modern gaming age. They don't seem to put out any hardware that doesn't produce huge margins (which is why their consoles always seem to trail in technical performance). It feels like the Sega story, Nintendo needs to make sure they don't put out a Dreamcast at the wrong time (and I say this as a Dreamcast lover, still have mine in my office.) I think there's space for three console manufacturers in the market, but at this point they'r
    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      I don't really see a "match Sony on poly-pushing" strategy being a good idea, though. Nintendo's audience has never been people looking for max poly count and photorealistic graphics, and their strong franchises haven't gone in that direction either. They could well lose out anyway, but I don't think the console's CPU or GPU is really their problem.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Kimomaru ( 2579489 )
        Maybe, but I think Nintendo's audience just grew up and wants something more hard core. Kids today are growing up watching their older brothers play Call of Duty. Thirty years ago, that game would be Mario Bros. If a Zelda or Mario game is produced these days, they should be able to stand up next to the biggest games in the market. Nintendo's always had a nice angle in that making cartoony games with less realism didn't require cutting edge hardware, so they were able to get away with putting out cheape
        • by Trepidity ( 597 )

          I guess I have kind of the opposite view; I don't think games like Call of Duty have any real potential for Nintendo. They are never going to be the lead platform for those kinds of games, which is fine, because those are not a huge percentage of the gaming market (and a declining one, with the rise of mobile/tablet games). I think their bigger problem is that tablets are eating the traditional Nintendo segment.

          • Yes, you're probably right. The classic Nintendo audience is moving to mobile game more. And even though I don't play any Nintendo games anymore (except on my Wii vcon), I must confess that I would love to own one myself if they made games for 3DS or WiiU that were appealing to me. They just don't have any games (except the new Zelda on Wii U) that I'm interested in and developers have started leaving it. Very sad. If they make a new console and it stands up well, I'll pick it up.
        • The latest Call of Duty is on the Wii U, though. Feel free to have a Wii U and also play CoD if that's what you want.

          • With that WiiU game pad? No, thank you. Plus, the games don't look as good. Assisin's Creed 4 looks like it's running at 20 fps :(
        • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
          Please don't compare Call of Duty to Mario. Nintendo's first party titles still have a lot of charm and are very attractive to a universal audience (instead of the 14-30 dudebro demographic CoD targets) and the day they start trying to ape the gruff and huff of shit like CoD is the day Nintendo dies for good.

          Their problem is just actually releasing those fucking games. I have a WiiU and the only games I have for the system are Monster Hunter, a 3DS port, the Wind Waker HD version, a Gamecube port, and Mar
          • I hear from quite a few gamers that the overall message that Nintendo conveys about its products are confusing, like you mentioned witht he title Super Mario 3D World (which sounds to me like a 3DS title, just because Nintendo has a tradition of naming games after the consoles they're released on.) There ARE some nice games I wouldn't mind playing.
  • Nintendo's problem is and always has been they put the bare minimum spec hardware in their devices, make a big fanfare of some gimmick, charge an arm and a leg for it and hope they can coast far enough for the next gimmick to show up. It even works on occasion such as with the Wii. The problem is it didn't this time around. Perhaps people are suffering from gimmick fatigure or once bitten twice shy. Just as bad for them is their appalling relationship with 3rd party publishers. Goodwill and faith is non-ex
    • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @03:12PM (#46122297) Journal

      Nintendo's problem is and always has been they put the bare minimum spec hardware in their devices, make a big fanfare of some gimmick, charge an arm and a leg for it and hope they can coast far enough for the next gimmick to show up. ...

      Actually, you are very wrong. Nintendo put out a bunch of successful consoles, without gimmicks for decades. NES, SNES, Gameboy, N64, Gameboy Advance, Gamecube, Nintendo DS. During that time only 1 gimmicky item, the Virtual Boy. I wouldn't call most of those consoles bare minimum hardware specs either.

      The Wii was the first "real" console with a gimmick, the wiimote. And underpowered hardware. And it did well. And Nintendo has been behind the curve since then.

      IMO, Nintendo needs to get back to it's roots. A lot of it's fan base is older now. We don't want to jump around, or wave our arms to play games. We want to use a controller and have fun. We got big TV's that can really support 4 way and 2 way gaming at the same time. So you know, our kids (not that I have any) can play with us, and have fun with us.

      And I'm going to keep saying this, where the fuck is my Pokemon MMORPG? The fact that there hasn't been one only shows how Nintendo doesn't understand the gaming market anymore (IMO).

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        Just one gimmick item eh? What about the NES Zapper, or ROB, or Nintendo Scope, or Rumble Pak, or the Gameboy Camera etc. etc? And while they started off as accessories, in more recent consoles, the gimmick itself has become integral - the stylus / 2nd screen of the DS, the 3D in the 3DS (which most people turn off), the Wii Remote, the remote display of the Wii U. They do coast on gimmicks, increasingly so in recent times.

        As for "back to its roots", the problem is it has never left its roots. Nintendo th

  • by aiadot ( 3055455 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @08:12AM (#46118657)
    and profitable. Nintendo making things like VR based fitness arcade centers or interactive rehabilitation training methods using all their gaming hardware and software expertise is not a difficult thing to imagine. Let alone education. There is so much they could do without being the cheesy shit that are most edutertainment games. If they are willing to take risks and develop their own medical devices they could, but they could also partner with Japanese medical equipment start-ups(or even sony, as they also make medical equipment).

    But ignoring the core problems, in particular with the home console divisions, is far from ideal. If want to ignore their home console problems, might as well go third party.

    One thing that bothers me is that, while the WiiU is not selling well, the 3DS is selling like crazy, including hardware and software. The only reason I can see them not making good money are internal management/administrative problems. Another is thing is that you don't need to have the absolute majority of the market to be profitable. They know that first hand from the N64 and Gamecube eras. Seeing all this negativity and lack of confidence coming from inside the company would be really bad if I were a shareholder. I'm much more bothered by this than the bad revenues.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry Nintendo, that's a miss.

  • by Akratist ( 1080775 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @08:29AM (#46118713)
    When the Wii came out, people who were not typical gamers embraced it because they saw it was a way to have fun and stay active. However, the novelty wore off and most of the people who bought them at that point have not done much with them since. I don't see another round of trying to tap into the same market as going anywhere at all for them, this time around.
  • See today's Kotaku article: http://kotaku.com/nintendo-confirms-it-will-make-stuff-and-maybe-games-1512052047?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Facebook&utm_source=Kotaku_Facebook&utm_medium=Socialflow

    The Wii Balance Board was one of their top sellers, so the health angle makes sense. It's not like they would lack a market for that.

    • by rujasu ( 3450319 )
      Yes, the Balance Board was a top seller. Also, guitar controllers were a top seller for all consoles just before that. Notice how nobody is trying to make music games any more? That fad died years ago, there's no market for it any more. I think the same is true for health/fitness games. Nintendo is going back to a well they dried up some time ago. The people who bought Wii Fit and used it for six months aren't likely to get back on the wagon just because there's a new version with better graphics.
  • Nintendo needs some fresh blood in the upper ranks of management. These guys are still trying to wring more money out of 20-30 year old stories, characters, and technology. The Pokemon-Mario crowd has outgrown Nintendo, and those that are left are insufficient to support an entire gaming platform. I think they're incredibly myopic at this point. It's time to dump the whole Japan-themed everything if they want to continue to be able to sell to the world.
    • by Yosho ( 135835 )

      While Nintendo definitely has problems, you sound like just another person on the internet who has no idea what you're talking about. I mean...

      The Pokemon-Mario crowd has outgrown Nintendo, and those that are left are insufficient to support an entire gaming platform.

      Yes, that's why Pokemon X & Y are the fastest-selling 3DS games ever and have already sold over 11 million worldwide [nintendo-insider.com]. Clearly, Nintendo's problem is they've lost the Pokemon crowd.

      It's time to dump the whole Japan-themed everything if they want to continue to be able to sell to the world.

      "Japan-themed"? Have you even played any of Nintendo's recent games? Pokemon X & Y's setting is modeled after France, you know.

  • ... since the N64 era. The won the lottery with the Wii but the Wii was a one shot deal selling to non-gamers and the Wii U proved that by it's hard failing. Nintendo since the N64 era has been making stupid decisions regarding it's hardware which allowed other companies to come in and take their market share.

  • Nothing has given me a better work out then running on that old NES track matt and the one I own is still function. The best part is, when you get tired or can't run fast enough you get on your knees and start smacking the pad with your hands for that extra boost. It's been 20 years now but I'm sure I'll finally beat cheetah this time!
  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @10:59AM (#46119651)

    I seem to recall a few friends of mine that purchased Wii Fit and that balance board. The balance board was used the day they unwrapped it and now while the wii fit sits in the closet the balance board continues to sit under the TV where it has sat since the day it was unwrapped.

    So now Nintendo's strategy is to push Wii Fit again? Is their market the elderly in retirement homes?

    Well.. i guess their next move is to release yet another version of Mario...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, I picked up the Wii Fit meter and I've lost 8 lbs this month. The fit meter and the software have motivated me to get in my daily quota of activity that I wouldn't have done otherwise.

      The other thing about Nintendo games is that they've always had great gameplay. They are just enjoyable to play. The success you and many other "real" gamers seems to be fps, tessellation, and all that crap that makes little difference if the game isn't fun to play. However, every "must have" game that comes out is t

  • i for one think nintendo is doing fine and once it's first party titles are out will turn around their wii u sales.
    all this talk of making games for mobile would really hurt nintendo in the long run.

    nonetheless, nintendo would be an interesting value acquisition by apple.
    they could release nintendo exclusives into iOS.
    shit, apple could even just sign an exclusivity contract with nintendo and hand them $5B to only release their games on iOS (in addition to their own hardware) for the next 5 yrs.

  • Makes me think of this: http://xkcd.com/189/ [xkcd.com]

    But monitored by some wearable computer(s), I don't know how good current technology would have for accurately sensing and represnting various body types (plenty of critism of BMI for example) but I could see how turning excercise into a sort of game could have a future. If they can, more power to them, obesity has sadly become a significant problem and excercise is a necessary tactic for reducing it.

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