Nintendo admits it’s in trouble

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Nintendo is not in the best position right now, thanks to its Wii U and to a lesser extent, its 3DS not quite igniting the gaming world.  Though it hasn’t quite made the loss analysts expected, it’s still not riding a wave of cash all the way to bank as it did earlier this generation with the Wii. Nintendo knows it’s in trouble – but is confident it can pick itself up.

“Currently, the overseas sales of Nintendo 3DS are still at a stage where the changes in the market are starting to emerge”, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said in an address. “We are aiming to make the momentum of Nintendo 3DS in the overseas markets more visible before summer this year. 

The 3DS is going to be home to an incredible lineup of great games, including a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, on top of already available ones like Luigi’s Mansion 2.

The bigger problem is the Wii U, which Nintendo admits having trouble marketing. The biggest problem? That damned name. The “Wii” name has become synonymous – at least amongst the hardcore gaming crowd – with shovelware, kiddie junk, so many gamers are giving it a wide berth. Worse is that because of the name, many believe it to be an add on to the Wii instead of a brand new console.

"We have not been able to solidly communicate the product value of Wii U to our consumers yet, which has been a grand challenge for us," he said.

"Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii. We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product."

The other big issue is the stark lack of great games, whether first or third party. There’s a handful of genuinely incredible gaming experiences to be had, but it’s just not enough at the moment.

"Wii U might still have no such captivating game title as Wii Sports for Wii, with which people immediately comprehended its product value, but it surely has a lot of factors appreciated by users," he said. "We would like to take time to work thoroughly for its penetration, by making various efforts to have many people understand its product value as well as enriching the software lineup.

"Wii U has lost momentum due to the release pace of first-party titles which has not lived up to consumers’ expectations. Starting with Pikmin 3 scheduled for release in the upcoming July, however, we will intensively launch our key titles to give sales momentum to the platform.

With Nintendo bowing out of the big E3 keynote this year, you might imagine that the company won’t have much to show – but Iwata’s pretty confident they’ll have something of worth to show off in their smaller presentations at this year’s expo.

"As a decisive factor in buying a console is that you cannot play a much-anticipated title without the hardware, we will do our best to have you feel from this summer to the end of this year that there are plenty of great games for Wii U.

"We have many titles whose release dates are yet to be announced. At E3, we will disclose more specific information about the titles for the rest of this year and early next year."

What do you think? Can the big N claw its way back to market dominance? Or is the company on its way to becoming another SEGA? I’ve learned to never discount Nintendo – so I’m…not quite confident, but pretty hopeful that the company can turn it around.

Last Updated: April 25, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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