Things aren’t looking promising for the once king of the video game world. Their new console isn’t quite on par with the PS4 or Xbox One, many of their consumers don’t even realize that the Wii U is actually a new console and they are losing third party support. Does this spell the end of Nintendo or can they pull off some magic?
First thing everyone needs to realize when talking about the end of Nintendo is that Nintendo is still a very profitable company. They bring in about 635.6 billion Yen which is $6.3 Billion and make a profit of 7.2 billion Yen which is $71.6 million. Although these numbers aren’t quite what you want to see it’s far from a failing company. Nintendo has enough money to survive this generation as a complete failure if that were to happen.
Nintendo has been plagued with some poor decisions lately. Calling their new console the Wii U has confused and probably contributed a little to the lack of sales. The idea of banking on the casual gamer to go out and buy a brand new console was also a poor choice.
Nintendo caught lightning in a bottle with the Wii, they dominated this generation in sales, and they are currently over 20 million above the Xbox 360 in total units sold. Everyone and their mom (literally) had a Wii. It was fun and easy to pick up and play, bowling in your living room was a great activity for a party or just hanging with friends. The motion controls captured the world by storm, and the price tag was small enough to grasp almost anyone, but Nintendo should have known that audience wasn’t going to follow them to the next generation.
Ask your parents, who most likely have a Wii, if they are planning on buying a Wii U and their response will most likely be something along the lines of “I already have a Wii”. The gamers that were going to follow Nintendo from this generation to the next are the hardcore gamers, and Nintendo didn’t bank too much into them. Or at least it doesn’t look like they did from the outside.
The games Nintendo have been putting out have not been taken very seriously over the last decade. Don’t get me wrong I love Zelda and Mario as much as everybody, but there aren’t people praising those games like The Last of Us or running to the stores at midnight and taking the week off of work to play like Call of Duty. The Nintendo games have now been categorized as games that you play either with a party, Mario Kart, or games that you play when you don’t want to think and just need some fun, Mario.
The generation of gamers that Nintendo captured with Mario and Zelda are all grown up now. They still have a warm spot in their heart for Nintendo; hell I wanted nothing more than a Wii just so I could play Zelda: Twilight Princess, but the years of watching Nintendo too slow to the uptake have drained on us and our wallets.
Being a gamer is an expensive habit and to shell out $350 for a console that isn’t as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One is a lot to commit to. I look back at this current generation and compare the playing time that I had between my PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii and the Wii ranks last by a large margin. I had some great experiences with the Wii, but not enough to make me want to follow Nintendo blindly into the next generation.
Buying a console at the beginning of a generation is a commitment for most gamers; this is why when gamers debate consoles things tend to get very heated. We feel a connection to that console, it was the one we chose and we have to be right. I spent months deciding if I was going to follow Microsoft or Sony into the next generation because I know that is the choice I will live with for quite some time. Gamers now aren’t as willing to follow Nintendo as willingly as they once were.
Nintendo is in a show-me stage of their life, a place they haven’t been in for quite some time. The trust is gone, but they have plenty of fans that are willing to jump back on their bandwagon if they do show us. All it takes is Nintendo to come out with a new IP or reinvent Zelda to not be the same cookie cutter experience and Nintendo will see gamers return, but until they do that Nintendo will be hurting. Will that spell the end for Nintendo? No but there sure will be some harsh lessons to learn.