Nintendo is Lost Right Now

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Nintendo released their earnings report, and things aren’t looking so hot.  The Wii U didn’t sell nearly (even close) to as many units as they projected, and even after lowering their expectations they failed to meet the new numbers.  Ouch.

We are Nintendo fans.  I think they are one of the better video game companies out there, and have been since I can remember.  For as long as I’ve played video games (since 1990) they’ve been making games I love.  There was a time when not a month would go by without there being a new beloved Nintendo title on the market pulling in fans.  Something is starting to change.  There are fewer and fewer first party titles.  Hardware is releasing without support.  THe company as a whole is putting off this sense that they have no idea where they are going, how they are going to go there, or why.

I think this can all be fixed.  Here’s what I would do.

nintendo-first-partyRelease more -NEW- FIRST PARTY titles

Seriously.  Wii U came out November 2012 and we still don’t have a new Zelda to play.  Smash Bros is still not out yet, and the Mario games we’re seeing are starting to be formulaic.   If I were Nintendo I would create a very clear roadmap of when to expect the major franchise releases.  They don’t want to dilute the brands at all by over-releasing titles, but people have to know that there is at least a plan.   The Wii U can’t be a device that just plays older Nintendo games, even though they are awesome.

alpha-sappireMake a Pokemon game for the Wii U

This one seems obvious to me.  The latest installment of Pokemon introduced a ‘3D’ world on the Nintendo 3DS.  Nintendo would be crazy not to capitalize on a fully-realized Pokemon game for their console.  Pokemon sells hardware.  Use that to your advantage!  Yes, Nintendo only owns a third of Pokemon, but money changes minds.

Oh, and while I’m talking about Pokemon did you hear about the Sapphire and Ruby re-remakes?

Integrate your handhelds into your console market


The Wii U and the 3DS are both great consoles.  Individually they are already neat devices, but I want to see more interaction between the two.  I think Sony is on to something with the Vita and how well it interacts with the PS4.  I’d like to see the 3DS play games with the Wii U, and even take control or act as a companion device.

Stop being… weird

Lately Nintendo has taken  this… weird ‘oddball’ style.  The last two Nintendo Directs have shown that whoever has taken over for their marketing thinks all Nintendo fans are 32 year-old stoners.  Being weird once or twice is okay, but making it part of your brand isn’t.  Be yourself.  Be that youthful company who mastered the art of creating franchises appealing to and entertaining for all ages.

Marketing Nintendo games should be the easiest thing on the planet.  Focus on the dang games!

  • “Stop being… weird”

    Admittedly I am not a Nintendo or handheld guy so I don’t know much of what is going on in this genre. What are some of the weird things they have done from your point of view?

  • After purchasing a Wii U this past month, I agree with this wholeheartedly, Keen! It was a bit of an impulse buy to prepare for Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros, but I went onto Amazon searching for games and found… virtually nothing! I thought the same exact thing about the release date of this console and even had to Wikipedia it just to double check when it came out!

    Between Kirby, Zelda, Samus, Pokemon, and Fire Emblem they should have this system in the bag! Originally, I felt like I took a chance purchasing a 3DS, but it’s now one of my most-played systems. I thought maybe I was just underestimating the Wii U as well, but it feels like they’re lagging behind. What do you think is making them drag their heels? Does it just take too much time/effort/money to make a decent game that utilizes the Wii U hardware? Are they neck deep in ideas to sort out and lacking the programming staff to pump these games out?

  • There’s a rumor out there that the Japanese game developers underestimated what it would take to make hd games. I don’t know if that’s true or not but there has to be a reason for them to be 18 months into this with only a couple 1st party games.

  • “Oh, and while I’m talking about Pokemon did you hear about the Sapphire and Ruby re-remakes?”

    Oh yes. Given how much I enjoyed the HeartGold and SoulSilver remakes, I am really looking forward to those.

  • I still think the main cause of Nintendo’s downfall over the past decade was due to them not taking the console wars seriously after the Nintendo/Sega feud. Instead of directly competing with Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo instead decided to do their own thing and choose gimmicks over power. In turn they boxed themselves out of the third party market and sort of sealed their own fate. The only way they can come out of this rut is by directly competing with the current generation consoles on a power level so third party developers can release their games on Nintendo’s platform, period.

    Also their marketing team does some really weird things that has most people just mind boggled. For example the Virtual Console market. Nintendo seems to think we want to play black and white gameboy games on our systems. Where the F are all the SNES games people actually want to play. How about how NES remix was literally just released out of the blue with zero marketing. Why don’t they have cross buy for their systems. There’s just some bad decisions being made that any person with a brain can clearly see.

  • As an 80’s kid growing up part of the Nintendo generation, i have fond memories. Unfortunately Nintendo is still trying to live off that nostalgia instead of doing something new and interesting.

    The last Nintendo system i owned was an SNES almost 20 years ago now and the last console in general was my PS2. I guess I’ve just moved on from them.

  • I agree. I impulse bought a Wii-U Simply to play MH3U online with people, and while I did get my money’s worth (around 600 hours in the game on the Wii-U), it is still the ONLY game I own on the Wii-U. I will end up buying Smash and Mario Kart, but other than that I have not noticed anything for the Wii-U I want to buy. Where is the Kirby Game? Fire Emblem? Pokemon? Etc. I would buy a Fire Emblem game immediately… it’s my most played on my 3DS by far.

    The sad thing is… there aren’t a lot of titles I want for the Xbox One or PS4 either, but there are still more than the Wii-U and I feel the library for those 2 consoles is sorely lacking still, but they have been out half the time and still have a better library overall.

  • @Sikk: Agreed. They most definitely went off on a different direction. I think coming back is going to be costly for them, but doable. Imagine a system equal in power to the PS4 but with Nintendo’s first-party franchises.

    @Ald: That’s kinda the weird part to me — if they were living off Nostalgia they’d take advantage of making newer and better versions of the franchises people will buy simply because they carry the name Mario, Zelda, Smash, Metroid, Donkey Kong, etc. Instead we’re seeing weird 3rd party near-shovelware titles and a focus on the virtual console. In all actuality they are dying because they are ignoring the nostalgia that they could almost abuse.

  • I’m just ready for consoles to die and get rid of exclusives! I love the analogy of “what if you bought a TV that couldn’t watch Fox or CBS, but the other brand of tv couldn’t watch NBC and ABC”

    I would probably play a few of Nintendo’s games if I didn’t have to own their hardware.

  • As an 80ties kid my first console was an 8bit nintendo entertainment system.
    I was aboard since the nes and snes time and then went to the ps one side and never looked back.

    After the hype I bought a Wii just to buy and play perfectly emulated old school games.
    Even got a 3ds that I plan to sale now.

    My interest in Nintendo right now is below freezing temperature.
    They should cater to more people, especially people above the age of 12.
    You know what I mean the same market sony and xbox embraced. (and pc)

    Oh and stop building gimmicks.

  • I love the analogy of “what if you bought a TV that couldn’t watch Fox or CBS, but the other brand of tv couldn’t watch NBC and ABC”

    The concept already exists with “smart” TVs where individual manufacturers already have exclusive deals with internet content providers via apps.

    We bought a Samsung big screen last year naively thinking we could watch the same internet TV programs we were following on our computer only to find certain channels were restricted to certain manufacturers.

  • Release more games, and use the gamepad in unique and fun ways. The gamepad’s functionality in Mario Kart 8 is a total failure and seems like an admission that the entire hook of the console was a mistake.

  • They need to pull a Sega and just dip out of the console wars. Even better, make their games PS4 exclusive!

    There top selling games were two marios and nintendo land. Thats all they have really, mario, metroid, kirby, and zelda. All solid franchises but I think they will go the route of call of duty and become yearly releases just because thats all they can make money off of.

  • I think Wii U will be nintendos last system… They will slowly become a software only company like sega

    We will see Zelda, Mario, etc on the PS5 and Xbox 4

  • My one big disappointment in the Wii-U is no Fire Emblem game. I know it’s 3rd party but damn… can you imagine what you could do with the game-pad in a Fire Emblem type game, I just think it would be really cool.

  • @Keen:

    I am not sure what I just watched or who exactly the product in marketed for. It looks like an article on the latest Japanese video game enhancements, only written by the Onion staffers.

  • Hi ya Keen =)

    I think its simple Nintendo is out dated and there titles people never heard of or don’t care enough to purchase the same titles again.

    I never played any Nintendo games they all look really really boring and silly and ment for children.
    Most gamers today are ages from 18-50s
    That’s why Nintendo is losing sells they are hanging on too there outdated titles like games like maro or Zelda those are out dated titles and I think not enough people like them.

    I think there a lot of people like me probble that started playing games after high school so after games started out and we never heard of these games and when we see them where like umm no thanks.

    So Nintendo dosnt appeal to young adults and adults Nintendo was popular when only kids play games now that people are grown up and play games more then kids, Nintendo is too childish to make good sells.

    I feel the market for games is going to be like the next TV kinda for entertainment and Nintendo is too outdated and childish and will some day have to sell there company or maybe there titles or just make titles for pc or other consoles or maybe Ipad I don’t no.

    Please currect me if i’m wrong about any of this after all I honestly don’t no enough about Nintendo or any console I started playing games when I was 19 so about 2009 ish and my first games where on pc was sims 3 wow and oblivion and currently and only playing right now TESO.