Monday, 20 January 2014

I just made this post as a comment on another website on an article about Nintendo's current market situation. The site asked what we thought of Nintendo, and what they could do to appeal to us, as consumers, right now. I thought I'd share my thoughts here and see what you thought about the current standings of the company.

I don't personally have a problem with my Wii U or 3DS, but I get the issues other people have with them. With the 3DS, I think the problem is obvious, they're competing in a world where I can download a mobile game to my phone at any point for free, or $1. For a decent gameplay experience, I'm tossing down $5. I don't like touch screen games nearly as much as a full gaming experience on a 3DS, but you can't argue that for most people, Angry Birds is all they need. Setting selling goals as high as they did isn't going to work, and it shows as 3DS was the top selling system and still didn't meet sales goals. Nintendo could counter this a bit by dropping the price of Virtual Console games a bit, $3 instead of $5 for NES, etc. and adding cross-platform play. If I have to chose whether to buy a VC game on 3DS or Wii U, I'm choosing one or the other, not both. They're not making any more money off of me, and frankly if I can't decide which system to get it on, oftentimes I just wait, then forget about it, and move on. If it was cross-platform, maybe with an option to buy the game through my phone so it's waiting for me at home (because connecting my 3DS to wireless networks is a pain) I'd make many more impulse buys just for nostalgia, which is the whole selling point of VC.

For Wii U, as much as I love it, it's underwhelming to the vast majority of people. For casual gamers, the Wii is still fine, and it's been said before, but the name Wii U is confusing. A coworker of mine has two little boys. For Christmas she got them new games for their Wii, and iPad minis. When I mentioned some games for Wii U she had no idea what I was talking about, and said she would have jumped on a new system for her boys if she had have known. The marketing for the system is terrible, and a company with resources like Nintendo should know that spending a few million on marketing is better than taking a $240 million loss.

The final point I want to bring up with Wii U is it's still overpriced. Even with a $50 price drop, when you compare it to PS4 especially, you get a much more powerful system with a MUCH larger hard drive for $100 more. Touch screen controller aside, that's too much. The controller is cool, I love off-TV play, I'm sold, awesome sauce!, but most people are not buying a HD game console so they can look down at a map in their hands. Throw in the extra $100 for a hard drive if you want to download any games at all, and you suddenly have a console that can't even play DVDs, looks slightly better than last gen, and has dumbed down third party games, when they come to the system at all, at the same price as the most powerful effing system on the market. I've been loving AC4 on my Wii U, COD was great albeit with much fewer people online, but I really have to make a conscious decision to get these games as support for the Wii U, and onc eI grab a PS4 or Xbox One, it's going to be tougher to justify supporting 3rd party on Nintendo's platform. Nintendo has to drop the price another $50 at least. Suddenly you'd have a system that's worth getting as a secondary system compared to the others. That was a selling point last gen, and I think it's an easy fix this time around. Nintendo is probably too proud to say it, but if media outlets suddenly started saying "you can get a Wii U and a PS4 for a little more than an Xbox One!" guess what people are going to start doing. That's the reason I got a 360 and a Wii last gen instead of as PS3. A price drop around the time that Mario Kart and Smash come out would, I believe, sell a very decent amount of systems, and Nintendo might have to be willing to take a bit more of a hit on units sold so they can make up the difference in the long term. 

So, what do you think? Do you agree that Nintendo can still recover with the Wii U, like it did when the 3DS had a rocky start, or do you think they're just out of touch, and consoles in general will start to see a steady decline in favour of PC or mobile gaming? With PS4 and Xbox One already basically just PCs, Steam Boxes on the horizon, and mobile making a dent across the entire industry, how do you feel about the current state of gaming?