Is Nintendo Making a Huge Mistake?
Nintendo

In a recent financial result meeting, Nintendo outlined their strategy for making a comeback after the sad flop of the Wii U. As was expected, most of the speculation that had been flying recklessly around the internet was wrong. Nintendo isn’t dropping out of the console market. They aren’t making another Wii console. They aren’t abandoning the Wii U. Heck, even the reasonable speculation was off point. The Wii U won’t be receiving a price drop, for example, nor will they be dropping the GamePad. So what will Nintendo be doing to bounce back after this near fifteen million dollar loss?

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First of all, Nintendo will begin licensing its characters to other companies. This means that you may see Mario in a crossover fighting game other than Smash Bros. sometime soon. They made it clear that they will not only be licensing their characters to video game companies. Any company is up for grabs, so that means you may see Link selling pizza or Samus talking on a smart phone in ads in the future. What they will not do, however, is let their games release on other platforms. So the dream of seeing Mario do his thing on the PlayStation is still just a dream.

Nintendo will also be extending its services into the “quality of life” business. They are planning to produce health monitoring systems, much like the oft made fun of Wii Vitality Sensor. However, they made it clear that these systems will be non-wearable. It is unclear as to whether or not these quality of life products will factor into Nintendo’s games.

Nintendo also commented on how they will be changing the way they approach retaining their market base. Currently, Nintendo uses a “device based” strategy. The Wii fan base was filled with Wii fans, not necessarily Nintendo fans. DS users are fans of the DS, not necessarily the Nintendo products on the DS. As a result, every time Nintendo releases a new console they never retain their full market base, as users look at it as purchasing a whole new device detached from the old device.

In short, users aren’t purchasing a Wii U because it means they basically have to give up everything they purchased on their Wii, especially in the digital sphere. Nintendo is going to change that by creating a “virtual platform.” They will use the Nintendo Network ID to link consoles up in digital space, allowing the same ID with the same games to exist throughout multiple console and handheld generations. In short, they are finally creating a sane user account system.

Nintendo

Nintendo is also going to look into changing their pricing scheme. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo tended to sell their consoles as a decently high markup and would then price their games at $30 for a handheld title or $50 for a console title. Now, they are looking into promotions that would lower the price, a lot like Steam Sales. Not only would Nintendo allow the price points of their software titles to be flexible, they would provide discounts for loyal customers who purchase a lot of software on Nintendo platforms.

Finally, we have the news that everyone has been waiting for. What will Nintendo do about the mobile market? Many people thought that Nintendo would end up going hardcore into mobile platform titles, but this simply isn’t the case. Nintendo will still be focusing their software development efforts on the Wii U and the 3DS. What they will do, however, is produce a number of apps that will connect to the 3DS and Wii U via mobile platform. These apps will allow users to access things like Miiverse and the eShop while on the go. According to Iwata, the new mobile software development team is working “without restrictions” so they could make mobile games if they wanted to, but it’s just not in Nintendo’s plans.

In short, Nintendo is really just bringing their practices in line with what Sony and Microsoft are already doing. Will this save Nintendo? Will they still have to lean on console exclusives? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Angelo M. D'Argenio
Angelo M. D'Argenio

Senior Contributing Writer
Date: 01/31/2014

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