It?s funny how much Nintendo has changed in the last decade. For the first time in its history, Nintendo was no longer the market leader as the Sony Playstation had broken onto the scene and easily ran away with the lion?s share of the console market. The Playstation 2 was beginning to pick up where its predecessor left off, and Nintendo was itself readying its own answer in the Gamecube.
On the handheld side, the Game Boy Color was king, but beginning to show its age. Seeing this, Nintendo was preparing to launch the Game Boy Advance in the summer of 2001. Right from the start, the GBA was an overwhelming success and would go on to sell upwards of 80 million units.
Flash-forward to the present, and Nintendo?s position is drastically different. Anyone who woud say that the Wii is a failure is joking themselves. At the time of this writing, the Wii has sold 87 million units worldwide, easily outpacing it?s nearest competitor by over 30 million units. The newly launched 3DS has had a slow start, which can mainly be attributed to a lack of must-have titles that showcase the uniqueness of the console.
If what Satoru Iwata has been saying as of late is true, Nintendo has learned from the mistakes of the past and are ready to make amends with Wii U. Here are a few excerpts from Nintendo?s latest investors conference:
At the times the Nintendo DS and the Wii were released, we could not make the software publishers appreciate our systems highly and count on them. At the time, Nintendo was driven to the edge of the ring.
Software publishers put some effort into creating some titles, but the sales did not reach their expectations on the Wii, which made them think that they could not have high expectations for business on the Wii.
Because of this, when Nintendo failed to seamlessly provide software, there were no other titles to fill up the gaps.
What we are aiming for with the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U is, platforms which have much more software and a wider variety of software than the former Nintendo DS or Wii.
[Nintendo is] prepared to invest in order to make this a reality.
Nintendo?s approach to Wii U does seem to indicate a change in the way they are conducting business with 3rd parties. More developers have dev kits this time around compared to Wii, and Nintendo seems to be more than willing to work with anyone wanting to take a risk on Wii U.
Times may be tough at the moment for Wii owners because of a lack of future titles, but Wii has an outstanding back catalog of games. There are plenty of titles to tide us over until Wii U, and at the very least until Skyward Sword. Here?s hoping Wii U doesn?t suffer from the same ?games drought? that Wii is currently in.
What do you think? Has Nintendo lost touch with it?s user base, or will the world once again be rocked by another Nintendo console?