“The biggest threats to Nintendo’s success” isn’t even trying


An IGN editorial made the Digg homepage over the weekend and subsequently has been making the online rounds. The piece examines “the biggest threats to Nintendo’s success in 2009,” but I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed after skimming it. It’s a great topic, but IGN’s reasonings seem irrelevant. Here’s why:

  1. PS3 outsold Wii in Japan last month for the first time. The author calls this “a big deal.” It’s a key moment to watch, for sure, but it won’t be “a big deal” unless it’s the beginning of a trend in consecutive months across multiple territories. Otherwise it’s just a blip on the radar, no? And if I’m not mistaken, the GameCube managed to outsell the PS2 on occasion in Japan, but that didn’t help in the long run.
  2. Yearly video game sales are down 17%. This isn’t a threat to Nintendo’s success, it’s a threat to Nintendo’s revenues. Dominance is still dominance, no matter the size of a market.
  3. A lack of traditional games. Even though I don’t, I can understand how some long-time gamers have felt alienated by Wii; Nintendo has obviously put a lot more time and effort into games like Wii Fit than on Zelda. But Wii became the fastest selling console ever thanks to mainstream audiences which prefer Wii Fit and Mario Kart to Zelda, so I’m not sure how this issue will “threaten” Nintendo’s success. Disgruntle long-time Zelda fans, yes. But I fail to see how it will eat into Nintendo profitability.
  4. Shovelware discourages hardware sales. This statement is short sighted. Shovelware in the presence of very few quality games discourages hardware sales, not the existence of shovelware alone (see: Atari 2600). The Wii has an abnormally high number of cheap games, but when good games can still be found (which they can), bad games can’t hurt you unless you buy them. As sales numbers show, mainstream gamers are buying a lot more Mario Kart than Dance Kitty Dance: Sports Style 2009, so this is a moot point since most consumers aren’t feeling the sting of shovelware.
  5. After last month’s launch of the DSi, the Wii has become yesterday’s news. Were this Wii 2 versus Wii I could understand. But comparing handhelds to consoles seems like apples and oranges. Just grasping here really.
  6. Nintendo’s E3 2009 showing is unclear. Assuming the worst, how will a poor E3 showing threaten Nintendo’s success in 2009? Nintendo sucked up the show last year, with Wii Music as its headliner, and that didn’t stop Nintendo’s continued dominance in 2008. There simply is no correlation here.

Am I wrong?