Thursday, May 08, 2014

Console Post: Nintendo (part three)

As it turns out, Nintendo does have a plan.

It may not be the plan that we were hoping for, necessarily, but in a business sense, it's reasonable. Let's take a look:
1. A new console for emerging markets
Not the Wii U, but a lower-cost, unique console for emerging markets (China and India, primarily). Recognition of core Nintendo franchises worldwide is very high, and creating a console that is affordable in two countries with a combined population of 2.58 billion people is a brilliant move.

I think there's only one concern here: everyone in India and China is already playing games on their phones. The console market is wide open, but is the mobile market so entrenched that Nintendo will face strong headwinds? Possibly, but the "Mario experience" is superb, and it's compelling enough that people will want to play. I think this is a big win for Nintendo.

2. Attack of the toys
This is a natural, obviously, to bring the characters of Nintendo's most-beloved franchises into the world of NFC figures (I brought this up a while back, although I can't remember if it was an original thought or something you guys e-mailed me about). Skylanders and Disney Infinity print money, basically, and Mario and the other Nintendo characters have as much name recognition as Disney characters. Apparently, these figures will be compatible across the 3DS, Wii, and Wii U, which is very shrewd: with Wii U sales in the toilet (actually, they're sub-toilet), leveraging more popular hardware to possibly attract new customers for the Wii U is something they desperately need to do.

So instead of finding a way to make Wii U profitable, they're concentrating on a way to be profitable even as the Wii U fails.

That's very, very smart. That gives them time to develop new hardware, instead of rushing something to market that's only half-baked. Plus, with a lower-cost console in emerging markets, Nintendo is broadening their long-term strategy. Maybe the Wii U fiasco has driven home the need to have a more diverse product line.

All in all, in a business sense, this is a very strong response from Nintendo. Does it do anything for us? Well, not really--it's still not attracting any new games to the Wii U, unless you want to spend $300 on various Nintendo figures. What it does, do, though, is make it more likely that Nintendo is going to survive in the long run, and I think we all agree on that being a very good thing.

Links if you want more details:
Nintendo is making a new, cheap console specifically for emerging markets
Nintendo plans new NFC figures and games in a bid to rescue the Wii U

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