I’m probably what you’d call A Nintendo fan. Here in South Africa, those are rare – and it’s largely because for a long time, Nintendo wasn’t really a presence here. Yes, the Nintendo Entertainment System officially launched here, but it was too late in its life cycle to make a dent, and was also exclusive to a single retailer.
There were about a million Hong Kong pirate Famicom systems and games available, but they did little to make “Nintendo” a household name. The Gameboy also saw an official release, but the systems that followed didn’t. There was no Super Nintendo available in South Africa, and the N64 was absent too. On top of that, the Gamecube’s local distribution was terribly mismanaged.
It meant that gaming mindshare in the 16-bit era belonged almost exclusively to the SEGA Mega Drive (Genesis to our American chums), while the excitement over 3D gaming was almost exclusively help by the PlayStation brand (something that largely continues to this day).
For years now, we Nintendo fans have been hearing about how the company is doomed. The poor reception of the Gamecube was meant to signal the long-standing platform holder’s imminent collapse. The DS was poised to be a silly gimmick, before it ended up becoming one of the most popular handhelds of all time; a similar situation to what happened with the Wii.
The Wii U has, without question, been a bit of a failure. It may host some of the very best iterations of Nintendo’s franchises, but the lack of third party support has killed it. Nintendo’s upcoming NX then, seems like a last, desperate breath; a hope that the company can regain a foothold with more than just a vocal, fervent and loyal fanbase and once again grapple for that mindshare.
The other great hopes is that the company’s new push in to smartphone games actually delivers worthwhile games. We know that we’re getting smartphone versions of Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing, but I really think it’ll take a lot of Mario Magic to get the general smartphone gamer really invested.
The NX and these smartphone games can’t come soon enough. According to its most recent financial results, Nintendo’s profits have dropped by a staggering 61%. Though very nearly on track with company projections, net profit for the fiscal year ending on March 31 was ¥16,505 million ($149 million USD), down from the ¥41, 843 million a year earlier. That’s from a net sales of ¥505,459 million.
To put that in to a little perspective, Sony’s financial results show a total income of ¥1,479,775 million Yen. Of that total, ¥529,318 Million was just from the PSN (presumably sales and subscriptions). That means that yes, Sony’s PlayStation Network alone generated more income than the entirety of Nintendo as a company did in in the financial year (via Twitter).
For a Nintendo fan, that’s worrying – and more solid information on the NX can’t come soon enough. Still, you should never count Nintendo out.
Last Updated: April 28, 2016