Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some Thoughts on Nintendo's Hard Times

Check it out: Nintendo has lost nearly a billion dollars. Startling, eh? Well, I'm no economist, but I have my theories on what brought them here. Of course there are the exchange rates which probably account for the bulk of it, but I think there's something more pressing.

Nintendo largely abandoned their traditional market with the Wii. It was the first time they'd released a console with indisputably inferior hardware. Sure, long before the N64 had employed inferior cartridges, and the GameCube suffered from a similar small disc size, but with the Wii, there wasn't any real comparison at all. The only improvement were some gimmicky motion controls that no one really wanted.. except their new market. They ate that shit up and Nintendo made billions.

But, one day, Nintendo decides to sell a 3DS, a handheld system. Call me a madman, but I don't see Wii Sports players taking time out of their lunchbreak to play Metroid 3D or whatever. The market that might have bought this system is looking elsewhere because Nintendo they thought Nintendo would probably release (and in fact did release) a bunch of demoesque crap for it. But, lo and behold, their new market didn't come through and buy the system. Imagine that!

So, basically, I think the Wii retroactively bit them in the ass. They made a lot of money, then they lost a lot money. Of course, Nintendo isn't totally to blame. They haven't really dominated the 'hardcore' market since the days of the SNES, and I guess they wanted to look elsewhere. But all they really had to do was release a system comparable to the 360/PS3. That la di da "Nintendo is for children" garble Sega spewed up years ago would have fallen by the wayside if Black Ops had looked better on Wii than it had other consoles.

And what's worse is that we're probably going to see this continue with the Wii-U. My fear is that the casual market will eventually abandon them too, and we'll live in world without games like Mario and Zelda. That would suck.

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