It might be time to call in a code 5150, ‘cause the folks at Nintendo are talkin’ crazy again!
Some folks ‘round these parts are convinced I possess some deep-rooted hatred for Nintendo. While my opinions regarding Nintendo’s direction may seem particularly pointed and critical, it’s because I hate to see a company I care so much about stray from the path (eventually ending up in a ditch). I’d like to think of it as tough love more than anything else, as I’m legitimately worried about Nintendo’s future.
Unfortunately, I’m seemingly alone in my trepidation. After Nintendo was forced to take a long hard look at the abysmal hardware sales of the Wii U last March during their financial sales report, I was sure a wakeup call like this would result in a much-needed course correction. However, a recent interview from President Satoru Iwata with Asian Review outlet Nikkei has revealed quite the opposite outcome. If I didn’t know better, I’d say his stay-the-course comments show him to be completely oblivious to their current predicament and just how deep the hole has become. “I believe the Wii U business still has considerable room for growth, as a number of software titles that are compatible with the console are slated for release in 2015. The way Japanese gamers enjoy video games is different from their counterparts in the West. More and more Japanese gamers play on smartphones and 3DS hand-held devices. On the other hand, a majority of gamers in Europe and the US still connect their consoles to TVs and play them on a bigger screen. In the global video game market, game titles for consoles are still dominant, and that market is much larger.” Iwata said as he contrasted the habits of East vs. West.
What he would suggest next took my mental state from one of shock and awe to utter confusion (lined with a slight tinge of rage). Instead of focusing on the decisions which led their hardware division into utter ruin in the first place, their plan is to double-down and expand the Mii feature as a saving grace. Yes you read that correctly. Nintendo is placing all their Wii U eggs into the Mii basket in hopes it will act as a magic bullet which will cure all wounds!
Iwata continues by insisting he has opposed making smartphone and tablet versions of Nintendo titles in the past, but that pricing for this content is “…falling quickly. I am still wary of the category. We intend to develop products that will allow customers to identify with Nintendo products…some Nintendo game consoles incorporate Mii, which creates a digital avatar to represent players. It would be fun for players to use their Mii characters as icons on social media. We are currently developing an application that will allow users to do that. The app will be announced around the time our full-year results are released.”
Ladies and gentleman, I’m a patient man, but I just don’t think I can wait any longer for the right call to be made. Nintendo needed to fix their market strategy, like, yesterday, yet they seem oblivious to just how dire their straits have become. I equate them to the guy on the Titanic who refused to abandon ship simply because he thinks taking on a little water probably won’t hurt anything. The highly praised launch of the “New 3DS XL” proves they have a bright future in the portable arena, perhaps even in smartphone gaming at some point. I’m afraid the time may have finally come where we decide to drag the Wii U out behind the barn so it can be put out of its misery for good.
We may just be prolonging the inevitable evolution in Nintendo’s business model instead of nurturing it along. Trust me, readers, they’ll be better off for it in the end.