Is Nintendo Niche?

Bill Gates, referring to next generation consoles said in an interview that “Nintendo is more likely to be a niche player this time around.” Well, we’ll just have to wait and see but how important is a high market share for the Revolution anyway? Obviously Nintendo, like any company, wants it and they seem to be holding their own in the portable market. But Nintendo knows how to turn a profit. While that’s what it’s all about, market share can definitely secure future profits in a competitive world.

In all honesty, I hope Nintendo can gain a high market share in the next console race, solely to secure a long future in developing consoles. Other than that, as long as they keep bringing the heat with arguably the best games available, I could care less if they’re niche or not.

Penny for your thoughts?

[Source: Cubed3]


  1. I honestly don’t think they’re even going for a big market share. I think they want the bottom end of the market and kids, thereby creating lifelong Nintendo fans in the decades to come.

  2. Well actually, Bill said this before the controller was unveiled… Also he is the compitition, what do you expect?

    I think that he is wrong anyway and Iwata responded to the comment by stating that he thinks its the other way around… saying that Sony and Microsoft are simply narrowing the market (more and more hardcore) wile Nintendo is going for a more main stream audience.

  3. Extremely niche. That’s why it’s cool with some ppl to where those Know Your Roots shirts and NES controller belt buckles. You don’t see PS logo buckles on anyone.

    Nintendo is definitely going for more marketshare, way more marketshare than Sony or MS. It’s just a cleverly hidden fact.

  4. ‘core gamer’ is a niche

  5. What everybody overlooks in this is the fact that Nintenod is the only company with a solid strategy inplace for China. Largest consumer market in the world anyone?

  6. If anything, Nintendo seems to want to further expand the market instead of letting it grow stale like Sony and MS are doing. Instead of going just for kids, they’re really going to push for the whole family this time, especially older possible gamers who have a lot more cash to spend than a whiny annoying 12-year old on Live.

    Maybe it’ll be “niche” in the already existing market, but if Nintendo pushes the Revolution properly and manages to deliver the goods, we’ll see how “niche” it is.

  7. Hi, thanks for picking up my subject material and sourcing me – appreciated :o)

    As I stated the entire game plan of the Revolution is to not be a niche player. I found it really ironic that only weeks after Iwata-san talked of expanding the market (at the GDC) Gates went ahead and surmised that Nintendo were likely to become niche player.

    Unfortunately a good percentage of the gaming community seems to have adopted this concept.

    I do agree with blake that it really doesn’t matter that badly, the GameCube was quite a niche system and hosted some mighty fine games. I just hope Nintendo can shore up some of the leakage holes that have plaged the home consoles, and a nice bit of growth wouldn’t go a miss!

    Anyway, if you all took time to read my article, many thanks. Feel free to register with us and drop me a comment!

    Barry Lewis.

  8. Iwata is right. Micro$oft and $ony are narrowing the market. Most people who think they are hardcore are only playing FPS, sport games, fighting and racing games. There is a larger spectrum than that and Nintendo is striving to satisfy that market.

    I consider myself a gamer and I don’t dabble in any of the genres above. I like a variety and I really feel that right now, the NDS is satisfying that need. I am planning to import more games since Japan seems to get the more “quirky” games in comparison to the american market.

    If Nintendo’s “niche” is to satisfy the many aspects of the gamer, then maybe these other corporations should take note because they might learn something (especially since M$ has lost $4 billion in 4 years with their system). It’s not just the graphics; they have to remember the gameplay and story!!

  9. From a gamer’s standpoint it shouldn’t matter if our purchases are considered niche or mainstream. They make a good product and we buy it. What we may be overlooking is that Nintendo defines the market, just as it did when it resurected video gaming in 1983 with the Famicom, gave birth to portable gaming in 1989 with the patriachal Gameboy and not to mention it’s slew of industry advancements (3d, rumble pack, analogue control, cross pad, wireless . . . etc.) Nintendo has lost some monetary ground to those who would stand on it’s creative shoulders, but in essence it’s doing what it’s always done; creating it’s own market. Call it niche . . . i don’t care as long as it’s Nintendo, it will be in my home.

  10. My mom would agree with you completely, Jirkstore. She has been a Nintendophile since the NES and her ORIGINAL Gameboy! Although our first console was a Colecovision, she will not stray from Nintendo.

    We got her to try the PS2 once and her review was yuck! lol Don’t get me wrong, she plays 3rd party games but if it is not released for her GCN or GBASP (or her future NDS) – she could care less.

  11. Nintendo’s fanbase is much smaller than that of who’s popular now and most of us are diehard N-fans. That’s what makes em niche. Cause they’re going against the grain and the relatively small number of fans stick with them all the way.

    I think that, with Revolution, we’re gonna see all the newcomers and returners that get one try to be assimilated into the whole Old School Nintendo vibe. So it’ll be a mass market, super successful device, but it’ll still have that niche appeal.

  12. well, nintendo is as niche as apple is on the computer business. The main problem for consoles this generation is Sony had a winner with their Ps2, which they overhyped since day one. Now they even show videos of what it can do, but since they show no games the gamers are still in doubt about it. This is going to hurt PS3 sales, since alot of people are jumping right now toward the xbox. And Nintendo focusing on a “second console” campaign can get away from all this trouble. Sony is going to be the biggest loser this time. They will continue to sell the most consoles but their market share will take a big fall. Look at the PSP, this is the biggest sign that no hardware can take the whole market alone. It needs games. Remember how the DS had no games and very little hardware sales? now it got games and large sales. That might happen with the PSP, but the with way Sony is marketing it (1.MOVIES! 2.MUSIC! oh, and…) developers are reluctant to invest on it. Let alone they are not able to produce UMDs which sound like Sony isn’t trusting their software partners of a leak.

    Somehow I still believe the whole industry is still niche. It showed it could become mainstream during the late 90’s when the Playstation rule the Earth, but not anymore.

  13. In my opinion, Nintendo can be in 3rd place again. They did make A LOT of profit. It’s profit, not market share that counts.

    They could lose this coming generation, and start up another 2 before going “out of business.”

  14. “They did make A LOT of profit. It’s profit, not market share that counts.”

    They both count. If marketshare shrinks, profit cannot be sustained.

  15. Um yes I believe that in the next round of OS wars Microsoft and it’s
    “More Colorfull Than Thou” Windows Vista will be a niche player…
    With all the pretty colors they are obviously targeting the 8-12 year
    old audience *and* with the whats-a-keyboard attitude they also have
    a stronghold on the incompetent market.

    The coming generation will see Mac OS x86 and GNU/Linux fighting for
    market leadership with Microsoft being a niche player.

  16. “They both count. If marketshare shrinks, profit cannot be sustained.”

    Rollin, Nintendo had more marketshare with the N64, then LOST marketshare with the GC, and still sustained great profit.

    Therefore, you’re wrong.

  17. “well, nintendo is as niche as apple is on the computer business.”

    Are you joking? Apple has like 1% of the home computer market. Nintendo has way more than that in the videogame market (not to mention that despite the weak lackluster efforts of the “All-in-one” overpriced gadget known as the PSP, the Game Boy and Nintendo DS still have a firm grip on the handheld market).

    And as others have pointed out, GC may be behind Xbox in the US, but at least Nintendo profits from every GC sold. Every Xbox sold is another hole in Microsoft’s pockets. We should be thanking people for buying Xboxes and putting Microsoft’s console gaming venture in the red.

  18. “Rollin, Nintendo had more marketshare with the N64, then LOST marketshare with the GC, and still sustained great profit.

    Therefore, you’re wrong.”

    (…We’re doin THIS now?)

    Alright, show me some numbers to prove it, but that doesn’t even matter. My point was that shrinking marketshare is worse than shrinking profits. That’s because eventually the smarketshare will get so small that profits take a dive as well. This generation it wasn’t so much Nintendo losing marketshare as it was the market getting larger, therefore their percentage getting smaller. Additionaly, the Cube is better designed to make profits than the N64 was. The difference between PSP development and GameCube development is only a few thousand dollars.

  19. Well, you might consider Apple 1%, which actually is 3% low but consider this:
    Sun 2%
    Apple 3%
    Toshiba 2%
    Sony VAIO 4%
    HP 5%
    IBM/Lenovo 7%
    Dell %11
    Others 77%

    Now everywhere I look Apple is in the 5 Hardware sellers, but hey also are in the Top 5 software sellers out of what, 1 million developers? Apple is selling this thing IPOD which make tons of money almost as a 25% of their revenue, and everywhere I look I see an Ipod, So they must be making some money in a whole as a company.

    Apple is as niche as Sony Vaio. a niche market is something that sells very low not the last place in a Big market. In that case Daimler-Benz is a niche car Company, but in real terms their sub-division Smart is.

  20. A niche market might be those people who are into Katamari Damacy, which sells good, but not in the numbers of Zelda or Resident Evil or GTA which make millions. And yet, it still is big enough that they get a sequel.

  21. Funny how RE4, being on the GameCube, was automatically a niche success. A sleeper. Just for being on the Cube. Crazy how that works.

  22. Profits should be more important to most campanies than market share, because you could always be making losses, but you can’t really make negative sales. If you get the balance outta hand then you can end up selling a whole load a loss, which is far less sustainable then poor but profitable sales. This only doesn’t apply if you’re among the richest companies in the world, such as Microsoft, where lossing money to dominate markets can make sense, but only because you can sustain it.

    Funny thing is, despite spending $4 billion, this gen’s Xbox is doing equally as poorly sales wise as GC in the face of PS2’s 90 million.

    It’s funny too for Gates to proclaim this when 360 clearly looks to be the least progressive console beyond its predecessor this coming gen, concentrating apparently just as much on the hardcore gamer. The only obvious marketing difference that might genuinely attract new people is the innovation of white colouring.

    I’d actually go as far as to say that the 360 will offer the least improvement to a predecessor machine in console gaming history, in both features sets and cpu+graphics. This is actually the first new generation where people are genuinely questioning the need for the next gen en masse. Sony’s at least gonna give people the Blueray drive they were gonna buy anyway, and Nintendo is differentiating from classical gaming. However, I can’t think of anything MS could possibly do to make the whole freaking industry more of a Niche experience

  23. Nah, Atari 5200 would prob be the least progressive.

    Microsoft’s niche are the hardcore gamers. It’s definitely going to shrink at some point, which is why they’re doing the Live Arcade thing for casual gaming with the 360 remote. I think it’s a bit pathetic to focus on the core gamers that much, honestly. It’s like they’re continuing to fight the current gen war.

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