Calls for Mario on iPhone, iPad increase as Nintendo’s Wii U continues to struggle; Christmas a key test

“This holiday season Nintendo faces a critical test with its Wii U video game console that is pitted against Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One as it seeks to revive flagging sales,” Yuriko Nagano reports for The Associated Press. “Should lackluster sales persist, the company which shot to prominence in the 1980s with Family Computer consoles and Game Boy portables might be forced to reconsider the core of its business strategy.”

“Nintendo’s business, long associated with the hit Super Mario, Donkey Kong and Pokemon games, has been shaken in recent years as more people play games on their smartphone and tablets. So far Nintendo has been steadfast in its refusal to adapt games for those devices,” Nagano reports. “The company reported an 8 billion yen ($81 million) loss for the three months ended Sept. 30. Quarterly Wii U sales nearly doubled to 300,000 units from 160,000 in the previous three months, but cumulative sales remained far short of the company’s goal of 9 million units for the financial year ending March 2014.”

“Since Sept., the Wii U’s recommended retail price has been reduced to $299.99 for the 32-gigabyte model in the U.S. It was $349.99 when it debuted in November last year,” Nagano reports. “Another price cut is a strong possibility for the Wii U if sales stay sluggish, said Sato, the Toyo Securities analyst. Nintendo has 460 billion yen in cash ($4.4 billion) and is prepared to survive a bad sales year or two, he said.”

“Still, some say it’s time for Nintendo to change rather than take comfort in its big cash pile,” Nagano reports. “‘Nintendo should broaden its revenue stream in order to grow,’ said Tomoaki Kawasaki, senior analyst at IwaiCosmo Securities. Nintendo has strong software, with hit titles like Super Mario and Zelda, so it may be prudent to make that content mobile while preserving Nintendo’s style, he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

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13 Comments

  1. No different than the calls for Apple to get out of hardware and license their OS to 3rd parties years ago.

    Nintendo makes the whole widget and some of their great games just will not adapt well to alternate control schemes.

    It would still be nice to see them release some of their older titles for other devices but some things just will not work, which would be most of their recent releases.

    The only thing hurting the Wii U is a lack of software. Great console. The stuff they came up with in Nintendo Land is brilliant and while everyone else is still hashing out the same stuff Nintendo at least is innovating and trying truly new things.

    1. ‘brilliant and while everyone else is still hashing out the same stuff Nintendo at least is innovating’

      Well, Mario and Zelda have been around the block a few times! When it comes to hashing out the same stuff (even the plot, watch out Princess, you’re about to be kidnapped!), surely Nintendo is king?

      Don’t get me wrong, I have most of them and I really hope Santa brings me the new Zelda for 3DS, I LOVE them! But only because they are a brilliant formula, expertly rehashed as if from a sausage factory.

        1. I love my Nintendo Wii. Having said that I use it less and less. I don’t think I’m alone in that. Also if you are game of the year but only have half a million units out there then while it’s a hit its in a very small pond. Nintendo titles on OSX would pump lots of cash into Nintendo. Nintendo titles on iOS would be a game changer for Nintendo. I’m not even talking about their new titles but their classics to test the waters. If successful they can port newer titles.

          1. Totally agree, and hope Nintendo gets friendly with Apple. Both companies have brought us joy and I don’t want to see either decline in any way. It may be time to join forces!

  2. I think Nintendo should look at a two-prong approach:

    1. Release old titles, like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., etc. on iOS. They could even do it in conjunction with a hardware add-on controller to the iPhone/iPod touch so you would have to buy the hardware controller to play the games.

    2. Keep newer games strictly for current consoles/handhelds, so that it would be at least 5-7 years before a game title appears on iOS.

    This would allow old games, which likely don’t sell much anymore, to breathe new life (and new profits) into Nintendo and generate interest in new Nintendo consoles and handhelds. Plus, fans of the old games could get them (for a price) on their iOS devices.

    I think it would be a subtle marketing method to reinvigorate interest in Nintendo’s products.

    Step 3 would be for Nintendo to come out with some compelling new game titles, whether using old characters or creating new ones. If this doesn’t happen, it won’t matter how great the hardware is because no one will buy it.

  3. The Wii U’s sales have actually dramatically increased month-over-month starting in October, when they released a killer game, and actually started advertising the console. It didn’t sell well because Nintendo was really behind releasing games for it, and they literally didn’t advertise at all. This is more than a bit premature.

    That said, Nintendo and Apple are my two favorite tech-related companies, and they share more common ideals than a lot of people might realize. If Nintendo were to leave the hardware business, an exclusive software licensing deal with Apple would be fabulous!

  4. The time when there was a need for Donkey Kong, Super Mario, and Zelda on the iPad/iPhone has passed. Nintendo is fast becoming the next BlackBerry.
    There is still, however, a market for Pokemon.

  5. Super Mario galaxy 1 and 2 did just that breath new life into an old character. I just don’t see the wii u as that great. I had hopes they would do something like the connect for xbox and maybe take it a step further. But the wii u is only great if it’s 1 player otherwise all other players have the same interface and experience as the old wii.

  6. I love Nintendo writers. They make great games with story lines and fun to play. The rest of the systems are all the same. IE: gunsights, and moving video behind the fixed thing. All circa 20 years old. Sure Link was going to have to beat up Ganandorf and find the Master sword, but how he did it was fun to play, wondering what’s next, and squeak through a series of well designed foes. It’s the hardware that is killing Nintendo. They are playing to the small kids while their arm waving jump around junk has driven off the game players who played the game for the game. Not to use some silly trinket that honestly made the game more difficult for their older fans.. 3D is cute, but I have that on my TV set and seldom use it. Handheld toys are fine and easy to program for, but consul gaming from Nintendo is dead because of the consul. I do wish Nintendo would come out with a real consul and games, or let their writers create Zelda, Mario, Starfox, and others. for the PS3/4 .

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