Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nintendo - Where Do We Go?

So if you haven’t already heard, Nintendo isn’t giving a keynote speech this year at E3. Which is crazy, I know. It’s almost expected that the big 3, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, will always have an opening speech to kick off the event. They’ll be attending, but not a speech headline, which is weird. I’m wondering if the E3 staff will try to fill the void or keep it empty. For the past few years the companies have been pushing their speeches earlier and earlier, sometimes 2-3 days before E3 begins. So they might be thrilled that Nintendo isn’t going to eat up more resources.

And with the recent change in leadership, so-to-speak, Satoru Iwata, the President of Nintendo, will also be taking the role of CEO at Nintendo America, we have to wonder where the company is going. Sales of the Wii-U and 3DS are not going as well as planned. Iwata recently outlined in broad strokes their battle plan for the upcoming year.

“Currently, the overseas sales of Nintendo 3DS are still at a stage where the changes in the market are starting to emerge.”

"We have not been able to solidly communicate the product value of Wii U to our consumers yet, which has been a grand challenge for us. Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii. We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product.”

We won’t argue with that. You came out last E3 stating it wasn’t a system, but it wasn’t a peripheral for the Wii. So…what the crap Nintendo? How are we suppose to support a system that isn’t a system without giving us an idea of what it is? 

There is also a lack of content. But that always seems to be an issue with Nintendo when they first release a system. We’ll see the first party content crop up by the summer, with Pikmin 3 in June/July. What is out there now are re-releases of pre-existing products. Nothing too new has caught people’s attention. And for the 3DS, it wouldn’t be selling right now if it weren’t for Fire Emblem and Pokemon. It’s as simple as that.

It’s hard to say for certain where Nintendo is going. A company that is stuck in the past on its traditions, and at the same time that’s what keeps us coming back to support them. This is the perfect time for Nintendo to move forward and embrace technology (with mobile platforms, social networking, etc.) while sticking to their legacy. It’s possible to merge the two and have a cohesive, and improved, Nintendo. The problem that I’m seeing is Nintendo will alienate gamers if they don’t incorporate with today’s constantly moving world, and turn-off their fans if they fully embrace the change. They need to find a balance: that’s a huge undertaking and I wish them luck.


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