Nintendo the once famed company that revolutionized mainstream gaming and provided many great gaming memories seems to have fallen by the wayside as of late. 2011 has not been a good year for the Big N. It seems that every choice that is being made ends up being in the entirely wrong direction and further securing themselves in the hole that they themselves have dug. A recent fiscal earnings report shows that Nintendo reported a loss mostly due to the unsuccessful selling of the 3DS, but also is attributed to the strong value of the yen. All hope is not lost for Nintendo so long as the company can look at the bigger picture and start coming up with a whole new concept built from the ground up.
The concept of the Wii was a humongous hit when it was shown off as a new way to play games. When the Wii launched it was almost impossible to find at any retail establishment for a good 2 years. Nintendo had such a great marketing model for their system that they were able to keep a steady demand for it. Nintendo was back on top after the very unsuccessful release of the Gamecube and for quite some time they had the hottest selling item in the gaming world. As time went on I came to a startling realization that the Wii was fun and quirky, but it was starting to lose its appeal to me. Right now the Wii still has the highest worldwide console sales, but I feel most of that has to do with Wii’s great starting success. The starting success that the Wii had has since faded and sales have been steadily declining over the past couple of years.
Nintendo has completely left the hardcore gamer in the dust. All that Nintendo does now is rehash the same first party titles because they can no longer come up with anything original. Occasionally that rehash comes in the form of a retro reboot, borrowing older designs to make more contemporary titles. Nintendo just sticks with this family friendly model and refuses to deviate from that. There is a way to appease both sides of the spectrum, but Nintendo refuses to do so. I want Nintendo to take the gaming industry by the balls and come up with something new and fresh. Focus on new 1st party titles that can reignite the old spark that they once had. It’s so bad to the point where I think of the new Zelda game dropping in a few weeks and I have zero excitement for it. I just find myself saying, “Oh another Zelda game, great.” I have zero plans to pick it up at launch and with titles like Uncharted, Skyrim, and Assassin’s Creed surrounding its release, I have even less of a reason to care. How is that anyway for me, a loyalist of Zelda, to feel about a new Zelda release? This series has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment and ranks as one of my all-time old school favorite gaming franchises, but why do I have this feeling of being disenfranchised?
I will be picking it up……eventually.
So moving into this year Zelda marks the only big title release to drop on the Wii. I find this to be an issue because Nintendo only saw it fit to grace its current generation hardware with one AAA release. They have obviously shifted their priorities elsewhere, mainly the 3DS. Starting off the big thing from Nintendo this year was the 3DS, which with the hype of the new 3D technology was planned to be a big success for Nintendo. I was planning to get one once Zelda came out months after, but found myself questioning my decision to spend the money. The titles just are not there and they still aren’t. The handheld market as a whole isn’t that strong anymore and launching a new system with no titles to drive sales, a promise of a market that wasn’t launched until months after the release of the system, the price drop, and the latest addition of a 2nd joystick just sends a big F U to all the fans and consumers. I have seen some bad new releases, but this one sticks out in my head as one of the worst. Nintendo cannot support themselves in the handheld market with the Playstation Vita on the horizon to compete with and the ever growing mobile market that is already well established.
The 3DS has not shown promise since the moment it was released. The system only being a little over half a year old has really put into perspective that you cannot just come out with a newer version of the same handheld system and have it sell. I still want one myself, but there has been nothing that has made me break down and get it. These days not only does handhelds within the market compete with each other, but it also competes with the smart phone market.
Where’s my Metal Gear Solid 3?!
When the 3DS launched it had no big titles to speak of that made the consumer run out and buy one. The first big hit title that enticed gamers to buy the 3DS was the 3D remake of Zelda: OoT. The virtual console was another big selling point, but because Nintendo rushed the release of the 3DS that function of the 3DS was not seen until June 6th months after the system’s launch. On August 12th Nintendo made the decision to drop the price from $249.99 to $169.99 because of the system’s abysmal launch selling numbers. All these decisions do not instill confidence in the consumer for wanting to purchase the 3DS. The last issue is the 2nd joystick attachment that was recently released in Japan. I feel that that attachment should have been integrated into the original design of the system. This is typical of Nintendo to release an incomplete product as we all know that 2nd joystick will be integrated in a later version of the hardware. The choices surrounding the 3DS are all detrimental to the overall growth of the system. You can’t release a system without any need to have titles and then come out with the e-market that should have been there day one only to have the system dropped $80 in price. Even the “Ambassador’s Program” was still not enough to compensate for those who paid full price at launch. I still plan to get one, but with each big decision that is made about the system I am more inclined to wait longer to see what happens.
The new 3DS: now with more designs that should have already been there.
So let’s talk about the biggest slap in the face to gamers everywhere, the unveiling of Nintendo’s new console the Wii U. This is a console that is designed to graphically compete with the PS3 and 360 and add a whole new dimension to gaming. So let’s take a moment and really analyze this, Nintendo wants to create a new console to compete with consoles that have already existed for 5yrs. Said console manufacturers are now looking to revamp their hardware in the near future to compete with and reduce the recent gap between PC and consoles. It’s going to have this new innovative tablet controller that is going to add a whole new dimension to gaming, but wait I only get to use one of them on my new system? Well as long as they are making good use of it, and can entice me with the created games and concepts they will have in store I can see myself being excited for tablet based controls. However Nintendo walked into E3 with no games to demo at all and are just going off of concept ideas with no titles at all in mind and 3rd party support for games that will already be launched by then. Not to mention the demos showed of those 3rd party games aren’t even from those titles on the Wii U. What a complete disappointment that was. I liked the concept that you may be able to play some games physically on the oversized new controller, but I don’t see why they couldn’t try to increase 3DS sales by finding a way to mix the two together. Such as instead of making a controller to play the game on you can send it to your 3DS to play on instead, keep track of your online name and progress and be able it send it back to the Wii U and stay interconnected. Nintendo did a very good job with combining handhelds and consoles in the past with the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and Gamecube and I feel that this needs to be implemented into Wii U.
Nintendo just seems to be heading in the wrong direction.
Nintendo has been making a lot of poor decisions to try and stay in the game and have failed at every attempt so far this year. Nintendo needs to completely change the rules of the game and find a means of keeping itself afloat. At the current pace that Nintendo is moving at could in time turn them into the new Sega of gaming. What does Nintendo need to do in order to keep up with Microsoft and Sony? What would you like to see more of and what would you like to see less of? What do you agree with and disagree with? Leave all questions, concerns, and insights in the comments below.