Nintendo is tough.
It has taken a beating from fans, enemies, competitors, and their third party developers. Yet, out favorite console maker, and first party game maker, is fighting on and will continue to do so because they have a passion for the gaming industry that is unmatched by any other. That passion alone will keep their drive alive, and urge them to develop amazing games that we all love and want.
However, there are a few out there that, although they share the gaming passion, would rather see dollar signs before having fun with the games. Sadly, that seems counter intuitive to me, as the fun is what brings the masses to the console, in turn bringing the money. A few of those that seem to be giving up on the console are Target, Best Buy, and Gamestop (It has also been rumored that WalMart is on that list, but I am still looking into it, although Canada is lowering the price to $199 next week), because they are no longer selling the 8GB Basic version of the Wii U. Now, it could be that they are not giving up on the lesser expensive model, and maybe Nintendo is making a stealth move behind the scenes to close out the model to make room for another version this holiday season. Nintendo has been through tough times before, it is part of the business, so I am positive that they have a plan in place to ensure success. (My thoughts on their strategy will appear later)
One thing that Nintendo has in the works to increase revenue, is to allow eShop purchases from PC, Smartphones, and Tablets. This might be a simple plan, but imagine the impact? If you are out with your friends and they are all talking about the newest game, you can pull out your smartphone and purchase it right there, no need to wait until you get home, giving you the opportunity to forget all about it. This plan will increase the impulse buys, no doubt.
”[Users will be able to ] log onto the site and set [purchases] up for download so that once they get home, it’ll be available for them and they can have that at their fingertips whenever they need it.” ~Dan Aldeman
Obviously, there are a ton of other features that Nintendo has in the works, some secret and some are public (Such as various Wii U updates). There are some fantastic game that are scheduled to release, and some that have not yet received release dates (I bet we will hear more about them when the other consoles release). Regardless of what is to come, Nintendo is not clueless, nor are they naive, to their competition. In fact, they are quite the opposite and will be prepared for whatever is thrown their way.
Kit Juckes, global strategist for Société Générale, wrote an open letter to Nintendo with his view on Nintendo, in response to their current financials. One area of focus is the competition of Smartphones and tablets. Nintendo has already stated that they will forgo releasing their IPs on those mobile devices, as it pulls away from the brand value if they do so.
“I have no opinion about Nintendo’s share price. But the Nintendo DS is being beaten into pulp by the fashion for mobile games. The WiiU likewise, and the Wii isn’t competing with Xbox and [PlayStation]. All of this is a shame for those of us who wish our children would stick to cheaper devices. And for those of us who have lost iPads and smartphones to our teens. I approve of Nintendo on grounds of cost, even if it fails on ‘cool’.
The good news is that the yen saves the day!! Profits are up despite falling sales. Dear Mr. Nintendo, please bolster your sales by cutting prices in time for Christmas, and give me some of your weak yen in disinflation, I deserve it! Oh and please use some of your profits to think up other cooler (and cheaper) games that can compete with the leviathans of the mobile gaming and video market. Do I like what the yen has done for the Nikkei? Oh Yes I do! Does Mr. Abe need to keep it up if he wants to avoid wasting the benefit of a weaker currency? Yes he does!”
***Before continuing, please advise that the following is strictly my opinion on the Wii U***
Despite the analyst views, and the doom and gloom of those that mock the Wii U, I feel that Nintendo is in a good place right now. Sure, their financials might say otherwise, but those financials show the past, not the future. Nintendo did not have to be the first to release a next gen console (Despite what some have said, the Wii U IS next gen), but they did so a year earlier than the other two. By doing so, they gave themselves a year to allow users to share their opinions on the console (by users, I mean those that actually own the console and have more than a few minutes of Kiosk gaming experience to base their entire experience on, this also disqualifies those that do not own the system, yet have created an opinion on the console even though they might not have played it yet). During what has passed thus far of that year, Nintendo has given us multiple updates to improve system performance. During that time, we have received a fantastic selection of games to play on the console, including a multitude of eShop and virtual console games that are completely amazing. Sure, we have not received some of the games that we wanted at launch, but so what? We are getting them at a time when Nintendo feels comfortable launching them. Would we rather they launched them at a time the console was glitchy, a time when the game was rushed just to satisfy our hunger for the title, only to be disappointed by the lack of quality? Or, would we rather receive a completed game that exceeds our expectations?
Some have said that we are only being used as guinea pigs to help improve the console. I say, yeah…maybe we are, but does that matter? The Wii U experience was never horrible, but the improvements that it has received have been a great addition to the console. The improvements that are to come will be even better.
In closing, Nintendo did the right thing by releasing the console earlier with a great selection of games, but waiting to release the big titles closer to the launch of the competitors. When the other two launch, Nintendo will have the least inexpensive unit, new releases that are highly anticipated and can battle the other two consoles for sales…even force the decision for those that are on fence about which console to purchase, a system that is not buggy (the other two will just begin to see the bugs in the “real world” gaming environment…not in the controlled environments that they have been tested in), and a console that is ready to compete. Let’s not forget the gamepad. The gamepad, regardless of what some say, is an amazing controller that enhances the experience greatly…so much that the other two are copying it on one way or another. It is extremely comfortable to hold, for all hand sizes (we have five in our household from 12 up, and each of us find it extremely comfortable), easy to use, very responsive, and has NFC built in… and it is included in the box, unlike the other two consoles that will force you to purchase it at an extra cost.
I know that some will disagree with my views, and that is okay because we can all agree to disagree. However, I foresee the Wii U rising to greatness. Maybe not to the pedestal that the Wii did, but it will be successful. The money that it makes in the future, will make up for any shortcomings from the past. Will it surpass sales of the PS4 or Xbox One? Does it really matter? What matters is that Nintendo sticks to their roots, creates quality games (because great games are what makes a console, not the graphics or processors. If that were true, why are the original NES and Super NES still so popular today, as seen by the releases on the virtual console?). In the end, I will always be there for Nintendo, as will I be there for any other console that comes out in the future, be it Xbox One, PS4, the long lasting Neo Geo, etc… I am a gamer, I don’t discriminate against any console, I look at the positives of each, and focus on them instead of the negatives. Since Infendo is a Nintendo Centric site, my focus here is Nintendo and its relevancy in the gaming field.
Share below if you agree, disagree, or maybe you don’t really care. But please, let’s keep the debates civil and mature. When discussing the future of the console, we are all speaking hypothetically, so opinions will vary.