I didn’t really intend this to become a Nintendo themed month, but seeing how just about everyone in the video game world now has to put in their two cents, I might as well.
It all started when Nintendo announced it was lowering it’s sales projections for the year, from 9 million Wii U units and 15 million 3DS units sold, to 2.5 and 13 respectively. This forced even President Iwata to admit there was a problem and Nintendo would have to restructure to accommodate these new numbers. Naturally, everyone on the internet has their own ideas what this means for Nintendo’s future, which is what I intend to go over here.
Here are the 4 things being said about Nintendo right now!
–Nintendo will drop hardware support and become a 3rd party software publisher instead.
Nintendo knows exactly how successful this move would be. After all, Sega did this and look at them now — needing Nintendo to front the money to publish the next installment of their most successful series in two decades, Bayonetta.
It’s unfair to judge how well Nintendo would do as a third party publisher if only one company in gaming history had done it; good thing there’s more than one example. Atari, makers of the Atari 2600, were tossed between various owners before filing for bankruptcy last year. Thus, we have two examples of former video game hardware manufacturers that went into software publishing, and are still struggling financially.
Switching gears to only developing software may improve Nintendo’s position in the short term, but as the evidence thus far shows, it is not a good solution for the longevity of the company.
-Nintendo will start making games for mobile.
This was rumored by some news sources, but was shot down by Iwata soon after. Of course any Mario fan would love to have a copy of Super Mario Brothers on their iphone or android device, but Nintendo moving to that platform is a slippery slope.
Let’s take an example. Let’s say EA decided to be crazy one day and said, “We’ll publish Dragon Age: Origins again, and we’ll put it on our Origin shop and make it available on Steam as well.” If that happened, how many people would purchase the game off of Origin? Practically noone, as Steam is the more widely used PC gaming platform right now.
What’s that have to do with Nintendo? Nintendo is still selling their old games on the E-Shop. Should they put those games up on the App Store, they would be effectively abandoning their own digital platform — a platform that supports the hardware they’re trying to sell. Much like the previous situation, this would be a short-term revenue solution, but provides virtually no long-term benefits.
-Nintendo will make a new console.
Nintendonews.com (not an official Nintendo site) recently posted a scoop that Nintendo had another console in the works. While the source of the information on this is suspect, I have no doubts Nintendo is working on the next console. Why?
While the Xbox One was still an up-and-comer, Microsoft reps made assertions that the new console could be a viable platform for the next 10 years. While it’s true that Microsoft could simply be exaggerating, it’s hard to ignore that the video game world just came out of the longest gaming generation to date. If Microsoft is even remotely accurate, they will be settling in for a long hardware cycle about now.
Nintendo never made any claim that the Wii U was going to be the system to last until 2020 and beyond. If we’re presuming about a 5 year console cycle for the Wii U, then it only has about 3 years left. So, I do believe Nintendo should be cooking up something in their research and development department by now for a potential launch in 2017.
This doesn’t mean nintendonews is accurate, however. If the specs they posted are in fact true, I anticipate they will change drastically between now and launch. If Nintendo is a hardware sales company as much as it claims to be, then it makes sense their hardware workers are moving on to the next task by now.
-Nintendo is going to go bankrupt.
It’s great to see so many people concerned for Nintendo and their well-being, especially after so many other companies struggled recently. Some seem to forget, however, that the original Wii was the best selling console of last generation. Meanwhile, the 3DS finally found it’s footing and is out-selling it’s competitor the PS Vita by a wide margin. Nintendo still has a slew of quality titles in production for the Wii U coming as well, so sales are likely to improve, not get worse anytime soon.
Nintendo has weathered the storm before, and will do so again. The next console will come. In the meantime, Nintendo needs to concentrate on building a better marketing strategy, and keeping enough quality titles coming to keep it’s customers happy.
Above is an opinion of the author. Facts presented are backed by research found at gamesindustry.biz, nintendonews.com, joystiq.com, prnewswire.com, polygon.com, and wikipedia.org. Author does not own Nintendo or any Nintendo properties mentioned in this article, and does not own a Wii U either.