Nintendo didn’t exactly have a banner year in 2012. After what I consider to be a very successful 2011 what with the launch of a new console and the release of a fantastic Zelda title, 2012 just didn’t live up to expectations, even with the launch of a new console in the Wii U. With that said, the Wii U and 3DS seem to be really hitting their stride, and it seems as if this year could really be a fantastic opportunity for Nintendo to seize the opportunity to gain next-gen market share, and really put a stamp on what they intend to accomplish in the future.
3DS will continue to dominate
If you were to take poll of what gamers thought about the 3DS after its first three months on market, I would bet that many people would wager that the console was doomed. In fact, our own Blake Snow posed the same question on the eve of the 3DS launch. Fast forward two years and the state of the 3DS is more than stable. The console is consistently selling well in all regions, and there are a ton of great games on the horizon.
Nintendo’s only competition in the handheld space at the moment is the Sony and the Playstation Vita. Seeing as how Sony and the Vita have been faltering as of late, the 3DS seems to be sitting pretty in the eyes of gamers. With Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Fire Emblem, and Luigi’s Mansion on the horizon (and much, much, more), it’s looking like it will be a great first quarter for 3DS owners.
As Nintendo usually doesn’t reveal their hand until their projects are nearing completion, I imagine that they have a few game up their sleeve that are either ready for gold status, or close enough to being a finished project that they will have playable builds of them at this year’s E3.
Regardless of what Nintendo does with the platform, I really can’t see them losing much market share to Sony this year, unless the rumored Monster Hunter 4 to Vita comes to fruition. We may forget how critical the Monster Hunter franchise is to success of handhelds in the Japanese market, but if Nintendo can wrap it up to exclusivity on the 3DS/Wii U, I believe it spells game over for the Vita in the land of the rising sun.
Wii U will gain traction, but will underperform in 2013
I am a firm believer that anyone who actually gets the Wii U hardware in their hands will be an instant convert into the Nintendo way of thinking. Full console experience without the need for a television? Yes please. Added Gamepad specific features only possible on Wii U? Sign me up. While developers don’t always have to use all the features of the Wii U’s Gamepad, it certainly is a nice addition, and I would be happy just having the ability to play games directly from the Gamepad without the need of a television.
So far, what Nintendo has announced for release in 2013 is exciting, but my seem to be a bit underwhelming for any but the most loyal fans. No, we are not getting triple AAA multiplatform title like Bioshock 3 or Dead Space 3 in the next couple of months, but upcoming console exclusives like Rayman Legends, Pikmin 3, and The Wonderful 101, won’t exactly set the world on fire, but they will certainly go a long way to keep early adopters such as myself happy in the early parts of the year.
Certainly, Nintendo and their third party partners have some work to do if the Wii U is to maintain its momentum in 2013. With new consoles from Microsoft and Sony on the horizon, it is a very important period for Wii U, and it needs to gain traction in the next couple of months. Does Nintendo have a wild card ready for reveal at this year’s E3? Here’s hoping! In my opinion, unless Smash Bros. and
the new Mario action title are completely revolutionary, the Wii U will struggle to gain massive momentum.
That’s not to say that the console will be a failure, but I’m not sure that Wii U will have the same success that the Wii had early on. With the right third party support, and a regular first party release schedule in 2013, Nintendo could have a juggernaut on their hands. If they manage to handle things as well as they have in recent memory (specifically with the latter years of the Wii), I think Nintendo has a few things to worry about. If they continue to follow the recent trend of being unwilling to bring niche but fan favorite titles to their consoles (see: Xenoblade and The Last Story), I think they will have a few problems to address.
If Nintendo can embrace the fact that they have a loyal fanbase who is willing to spend money on unique experiences not available on other consoles, there is no question that the Wii U could be a huge success. Forget about your loyal fanbase whom has gotten you where you are today, well, good luck attaining success with the fans you are seeking to regain in this generation.
Where do you think Nintendo stands in 2013? Do you think they can hold off the competition and their inevitable console launches?