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Nintendoom: Part 1: Re-shaping the console

It's a new year, and time for a new blog, so let’s get right into it. Nintendoom. “Is this the end of Nintendo”, “Is this the end of Handhelds”, we've heard all this before, but looking at the state of the Wii U, and it's understandable why this topic comes up. The Wii U is currently performing worse than the GameCube which is considered a failure sales-wise amongst the gaming community, especially in comparison to the numerous consoles from the big 3 throughout the decades (yes gaming can now use decades, you should feel old....very old). Sales weren't as widely known and spread back in the PS2/Xbox/GC/DC era, until consoles literally left the market (Dreamcast), and currently the Wii U is struggling to stay ahead of the PS3 (a console going on 9 years old). Having a console tank is a sad thing to see, and for many of today’s gamers the Wii U is the first console they’ll see struggle.

But who's to blame for this. Nintendo? Developers? Gamers? The result of Nintendo's current situation is a combination of all 3. Ultimately the blame is solely on Nintendo. Simply put Nintendo, doesn't understand the contemporary core gamer, and as a result, they also don't understand 3rd party developers which is the main reason the Wii U has failed thus far. Nintendo use to be the platform for young gamers to get their first taste of video games, providing them and the industry with a new market of gamers each generation. But now, gaming is everywhere. Kids with access to tablets and cell phones now have access to games many of which are free, and the need for Nintendo has taken a nosedive for that audience. Quality can easily be argued in favor of Nintendo, but 10 year olds and younger aren’t masters of determining quality, and price reigns supreme when it comes to the non-gaming parent’s wallet.

That leaves Nintendo servicing only loyalist, families who know about Nintendo’s E for Everyone quality, and fans who at one point grew up with Nintendo which as proven by the Wii U sales is a niche audience. The problem is Nintendo has done little to nothing to grow with the times, but rely on gimmicks hoping they catch on. This has alienated one of their potential biggest audiences, old-time fans, who have moved on to PlayStation / Xbox consoles, or PC gaming in an effort to obtain a blue ocean strategy and reach all audiences. A dangerous strategy that worked for the Wii, but doomed the Wii U.

The one gold star of Nintendo’s hardware has always been their Handhelds, but once again cell phones and tablets have become the go to devices for many children. These devices not only offer gaming, but full multimedia functionality rivaling that of the more expensive consoles, and for those who take their mobile gaming seriously 4G connections for constant internet access, vastly superior hardware specs., and in some cases HDMI for gaming sessions on your HDTV. Together this has caused Nintendo’s once powerful Handheld brand is starting to feel a small shift in lower sales for the very first time.

So how do they fix their situation. Many core gamers are going to flat-out disagree with what I have to say, but in order for Nintendo to thrive in gaming once again they need to either (A.) go completely casual or (B.) accept a buyout.

.......... ^_^ .......... ^_^ .......... -_- .......... (º-º) *evil glare

Now that I've given you a chance to put your pitchforks away, I want to say at heart, even I wouldn't want this, and by “going completely casual" I don’t mean making casual games, just making entry level hardware. Going full on casual for the first time is how the Wii became the huge success that it was. Wii also burned a lot of gamers, and while the Wii U IMO rectified many of the issues gamers had with the original Wii. The problem remains that Nintendo's focus on quality (which I completely applaud them for) leaves them with huge gaps in game releases without the support of 3rd party developers. With games being harder and more costly to develop, it would be best for Nintendo to focus less on high end hardware, and focus on capable hardware instead.

Still, I know this is going to send many gamers into an uproar, who believe under powered hardware is to blame for Nintendo’s current position; however, Nintendo’s chances of succeeding are far better with a lower price console than they are competing with the Sony and Microsoft in a technology battle they’re going to lose. None of Nintendo games aim for a real world look; therefore, there’s no need to have the greatest hardware squeezed into the console at a $400 - $500 price. On top of that Sony and MS already have the core market, and consumers faced with the option of buying a $400 PS5, a $400 XB4, and a $400 Nintendo console would be the final nail in the coffin for Nintendo’s console business. The entry and low-end console space has no competition except for the older consoles and android based gaming devices. This is a market Nintendo actually has a chance in, and at a reasonable price ($199 - $249) a market they’ve proven they can do well in. A consumer faced with the decision between a $400 PS, $400 Xbox, and $200 Nintendo console would choose their main gaming platform first, but at that price the Nintendo console increases it’s chances of becoming a must-buy for the “old fan audience” we discussed earlier.

Performance wise a $200 console at best would be on par with the predecessors of the competition, in this case equivalent to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or slightly better. It’s not what the majority of core gamers will be looking for when it comes to having the best console hardware, but it’s acceptable and offers enough power for Nintendo to show evolution.

As far as their Handheld goes, there’s not really much Nintendo can do to fix the situation. The good news is their Handhelds are still extremely strong sellers. The magic price point for their Handhelds seems to be $150, and as long as they stay within that range sales should remain strong for at least another generation. Also, fortunately for Nintendo mobile technology is in a rapid growth period, allowing their next Handheld to benefit from a large performance boost, without a significant rise in production cost.

Nintendoom: Part 2: Buyout / Merger

Wii U could very well be a GameCube 2.0, the only thing it has going for it is the fact that the Wii U still has room for several price drops.

GameCube vs Wii U JP sales

Great Art-style is timeless and doesn't need the best hardware

Price can do wonders for your console ask Wii $249, and XBO $349

Valenka3146d ago

It sounds to me that this blog is as dated as Nintendo's statistics on video gaming. You're comparing the Wii U, an eighth generation console, to the PlayStation 3 (seventh generation) and the GameCube (sixth generation) but not out for effect, but for the foundation of your argument. Nintendo's Wii U is considered a current generation (eighth) console, on the same platform as the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Comparing the Wii U to those two should be the foundation of your argument, with comparing the Wii U's poor performance to the GameCube and PlayStation 3 for an additional comparison effect.

Handhelds are dated. It was a mainstream thing about seven or eight years ago and slowly began to dissipate as time went on. The "new" handhelds are current generation iPods, smart phones and tablets, accessing video games on the Apple Store and Android Market, opposed to picking up a copy of...Kim Possible or Nintendogs, for example, on the Nintendo DS. Most of the games that kids want to play these days are either free or usually under $5, while handheld games can run you as high as what, $30?

Nintendo is primarily to blame for their own failure, indeed. Nintendo has this dated mindset on the gaming community that they're the leading subsidiary for family video game entertainment. Well, look at it statistically. How many families play video games together? How many people actually own a Nintendo product? If one owns a Nintendo product, how many games do they have for it? My guess, probably not many. I, personally, have countless video games for my consoles individually, nevermind altogether. For the Nintendo Wii that's collecting dust in my living room: three games.

Nintendo has become the company that releases a brief trend. When the Wii first came out, everyone thought it was cool. It was different, mainstream and the only thing it really had going for it was the motion thing. It wasn't long before the people who flocked to Nintendo over the Wii slowly began to lose interest and go back to Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo is kind of like that kid on the playground who tries to get everyone's attention with something that's kind of cool, but has no lasting appeal so everyone continues their focus on the two popular kids (Microsoft and Sony, in this case.)

Nintendo is primarily known for "family games," but occasionally have something T or even M rated, which is a huge shock for a company who seems to think the highest ESRB rating is E10. You could probably ask a general gamer to name three games on the Wii U that isn't family oriented and I could almost guarantee they'd tell you: ZombiU, Watch Dogs and probably Call of Duty Ghosts.

I could sit here with a grocery list of reasons why Nintendo is the least preferred out of the three.

But I'm struggling to understand your blog here. You start off by stating questions "we've all heard before," but take no mission to answer them. Your blog is basically a halfway decent introduction, rather brief analysis of performance and a three paragraph dedication to discussing mobile phones and tablets having taken over the handheld market.

I feel like there's more to the blog that didn't make it into the submission. I read the entire thing twice and at the end just found myself saying, "Yes...and...?"

ABizzel13146d ago

Thanks for reading, and commenting and you really posted a lot....which I love. But this is a 3 part blog, which is why there's a lot left unanswered.

Here's part 2

I'm tweaking, and proofreading part 3 as we speak.....type?

As far as sales go, I agree I should have added PS4 and XBO for reference, but since we're on n4g there's little need to discuss the PS4 and XBO because we know their outselling the Wii U and embarrassingly with less time on the market. I think I'll go back and add a line or two just to make the comparison complete.

The PS3 was only mentioned, because it's on it's 9th year of sales, and should by all means be on the dying end of sales, and here it is beating the Wii U for multiple months, and nearly tying with the Wii U (a current console) in sales. That's horrible.

Current sales trends also put the Wii U in the realm of selling as bad as GameCube, but again the Wii U still has multiple price drops in it's favor, to somewhat prevent that or at least stop it from being worse than the GC.

I completely agree with the handheld part, and so do most parents. Why buy a $150 handheld with $30+ games, when you can buy a great $199 tablet with hundreds of free games and apps for your kids, and have superior hardware as well. It's a major factor in why the Vita is in it's situation.

Finally the point of the blog boils down to this, Nintendo has to do something drastically different with their consoles or risk going the route of Sega in the console business starting with their 7th console. Then their next problems hits when handhelds eventually die out as cell phones and tablets take over (likely to happen the generation after their 7th console). If those two things happen Nintendo will be out of the hardware business for good, and drops down to nothing but a 3rd party game developer if their pride doesn't stop them from shutting down completely.

The point of the blog is how to stop that from happening, and showing the weak points of the company, and what needs to be changed.

Blacklash933145d ago (Edited 3145d ago )

You hit the nail on the head in regards to Nintendo's family focus. Not many families play videogames together, and when they do it probably tends to be seldom. More often than not, families buy 'family-friendly' videogames and consoles and handhelds for the kids to use on their own. Nintendo's ideas about the market are incorrect, and aren't as attractive as what phones, tablets, and apps offer.

Unfortunately, a lot of Nintendo's "brief trend[s]" is what sets them up for longer-term failure. The Wii and Wii U are neat ideas, but ultimately developers and consumers would rather develop and play games with traditional hardware controls and more impressive specs. This is a major reason why Nintendo doesn't attract 3rd parties, losing a lot of appeal for their home console platforms.

One thing I will give Nintendo credit for is the standout durability of its handhelds. Although their appeal is diminishing with the entire traditional handheld gaming market, they are surviving the best. I'd probably attribute that to its low cost-friendly specs, the established legacy of Nintendo's previous handheld systems, and (relatively) strong 1st-party support. Developers like that the 3DS is cheaper for AAA handheld development as an increasingly less profitable market, and consumers like that the 3DS is cheaper to buy and has a decently sizable library of critically-acclaimed games and beloved IPs.

ABizzel13145d ago

Thanks for the read, this is a 4 part blog, so check the other sections out.

My 3DS and Wii U haven't been touched in a while so I sat down last week to play them, and there was this huge disconnect after spending the prior week playing nothing but PS4 and XBO.

I thought I had grown out of Nintendo, but I was still enjoying the games. And I just realized it's Nintendo not me. I'd rather be playing these games on my PS4 / XBO in party chat with my friends, or online with friends, and the majority of Wii U games simply can't do that.

I loved handhelds at one point as well, but I'm much more a console / PC gamer and like taking the day off and playing on my 50", and there are only a few franchises I even bother with on Handheld.

I feel I'm in the group of "old fan audience" that I was talking about. People who grew up on Nintendo consoles, but made the switch to something else. We still enjoy Nintendo games, and want to see them succeed, but it's like going from a BMW to an escort hardware and services wise, and if they're not going to compete on that level then they have to offer their product at a much lower price so that when we go looking for a 2nd and potential 3rd console it's a non-factor to drop $200 on the Nintendo console and not feel bad about having 10 games on it.

Nintendo has to make their handhelds simply because they're the most popular hardware they have, but $30 - $40 handheld games just aren't going to be habit anymore, when mobile games have come a long way and many are Free - $10.

The rest of the blog details how they can change and develop growth in all areas of their business, before we see Nintendo become the next Sega.

Concertoine3146d ago (Edited 3146d ago )

I definitely don't see a buyout ever even coming close to happening in the near future. They are a massive company, and i can't even think of any bigger corporations that could really benefit from having them. They certainly wouldn't buy them as a hardware manufacturer...

I think their best course of action is to merge their markets. That is, combine the handheld and console into one. There's obviously fake specs and rumors floating around about a "Fusion" console, but i still think the idea is good.

Their biggest problem is having a steady stream of software for both of their platforms at once. Developing on similar hardware, having games that can use the power of the console versus the power in the controller/handheld, would hasten that problem. If they have the handheld as a controller, that would also let them bring back the gamepad-like features, which would be good if they ACTUALLY advertise them. The most important thing they need is a solid first year. This was instrumental in the Dreamcast's early success, which also served as a comeback from a commercial failure.

A vita-level handheld that works as a controller for the console, which is roughly PS4-level in hardware for 400-450 dollars would be solid IF they advertise the value of that. Maybe a minor loss there.

I'm jumping the gun here, but i think innovation and creativity will play a more important role in the next gen, both in hardware and software. We are starting to hit a graphical wall, and when we hit it new ideas, art style and originality will be more important to getting consumer attention.

ABizzel13146d ago


There's a part 2 with the link at the bottom regarding the two potential buyout options, check it out and tell me what you think.

You know I've campaigned the fusion device for a long time, but I don't think a $400 Nintendo platform would sell well at all, in fact I think it'll easily be the worse selling Nintendo device of all time (well maybe not Virtual boy bad). Unfortunately I think most core gamers have moved on to PlayStation and Xbox, and the majority of Nintendo fans are fine with their handhelds. However, I don't think the majority of Nintendo fans are fine with buying a $400 handheld no matter what the specs are.

Nintendo fans don't mind playing on a 3DS, which is practically a GameCube performance wise, so top of the line specs. aren' t important to the majority of them.

I posted a video of the NVIDIA shield tablet not too long ago about what the N-Fusion should be like, and to me that's everything the N-Fusions needs to be, and that's currently a $299 tablet, made by NVIDIA who is the chip manufacturer of the device, and that GPU has a max of 326 GFLOPS at a clock rate of 850 MHz (basically not handheld safe, unless you wear oven mitts). Realistically it's around 200 GFLOPS, which is just below PS3 level. Having PS4 quality in a handheld within the next 5 years is going to be a struggle, mainly because of heat and battery life, having it at an affordable price 3DS, DS, GBA etc... fans are use to isn't going to happen.

That' pretty much why I limited the price of the hardware to $249 for the console, and $149 for the handheld. That's their mass appeal price.

And at $149 they should be able to get similar performance to the NVIDIA shield in 1 - 2 years time.

Unfortunately the N-Fusion isn't going to happen, or at least it won't be a handheld that does it all, because based on what AMD had to say Nintendo's pretty much making 2 platforms again.

As for the last part of your comment it's something I've said for the longest as well, and can't wait for it to happen, and next-gen will definitely be it. When graphics it a threshold, creativity and gameplay will have to be the new selling point for all games.

Gaming is moving to 4k resolutions and just rendering at that resolution takes a lot of GPU power, and the consoles won't be able to push both big graphics improvements and 4k resolutions, and I'm expected 6 - 10 TFLOPS for the PS5 and XB4. This is one of the benefits Nintendo can get from their lesser 2 TFLOP hardware I purposed. Staying with 1080p means they can still get the same games will lower graphic settings, and lower resolutions.

Which means it all boils down to gameplay.

wonderfulmonkeyman3144d ago (Edited 3144d ago )

I disagree with what you said here:

" Ultimately the blame is solely on Nintendo. Simply put Nintendo, doesn't understand the contemporary core gamer, and as a result, they also don't understand 3rd party developers which is the main reason the Wii U has failed thus far."

To say this, is the exact same thing as saying "Nintendo was solely responsible for the development, delivery, and execution of all third party multiplats that hit the system, and it's entirely Nintendo's fault that those games, and by extension third parties, failed to sell well on the Wii U."

Do yourself a favor and look back at the first year of the Wii U.
It had multiplats left and right from third parties.

But guess what?

CoD: Ghosts and Black Ops 2.
Wii U: One extra map a year after release and nothing else.

Everywhere else: Tons of maps, season packs, advertisement, prompt patch services.

Sniper Elite V2.
Wii U: No multiplayer mode, and no ongoing patch support.

Everywhere else: Full ongoing patch support and online multiplayer.

Watch Dogs.
Wii U: A year late, after the insulting line from the devs "If you really want it that bad then you'll wait for it". No "Bad Blood" DLC, which was the best of the bunch.

Everywhere else: Simultaneous release with all the DLC.

Seeing a pattern here yet?

Not even third party lovers/apologists from OTHER SYSTEMS wanted to buy multiplats on Wii U, much less Wii U owners.

You have to wake up on this one, dude; The fault of the system's failure is not solely on Nintendo, when third parties did more to ruin the system's rep with third party loving gamers than Nintendo has in the past 3 generations by releasing half-done shovelware as their opening salvo to a whole new console's worth of gamers.

Third parties aren't selling on the Wii U because 99% OF THEIR GAMES WERE SHIT POOR EFFORTS.
The fact that no one jumped to the Wii U for them, and that Nintendo gamers didn't buy them, is all the evidence you should need to conclude that Nintendo is not the one at fault for the third parties not selling on the Wii U.
Third parties dug a grave and dragged the Wii U's reputation with third party loving core gamers in right behind them, before climbing back out, burying the Wii U's reputation, spitting on the grave and skipping their merry way back to Sony, Microsoft, and all the sheep that make even their worst efforts sell decently.

randomass1713143d ago

I agree somewhat here. I am firm believer that a publisher has a responsibility to making and marketing their games the right way on all platforms. Ubisoft does a terrible job with PC games so they are also at fault if they make a bad Wii U game. I think many people who own Wii Us are like me and own a console from Sony or Microsoft so there is very little incentive to own those games on Wii U when they don't have as much content and support. IMO Nintendo is at fault for their poor Wii U marketing in the first year or two but not so for third parties. Those games are not their responsibility.

wonderfulmonkeyman3143d ago

Yeah, the marketing and the fact that Nintendo didn't have more first party games ready at the start, that's all on them.
I can totally agree with that.
Which makes it all the more ironic that there's a recent report from Nintendo stating that they need to re-evaluate their marketing efforts.XD


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Tapani4h ago(Edited 4h ago)

I was initially interested in this as it looked externally closer to Diablo 2 than 3, but it does seem like the game is not a great single player action rpg I was hoping for. If you take all the press and whatnot hype out of it, is this really any good, for example compared to Diablo 2 or Grim Dawn? The latter has not been as addictive and interesting for me as Diablo 2, but maybe it will get better as I progress. I'm looking for a 100% single-player side of this.

Daver4h ago(Edited 4h ago)

I got the sorcerer to 82 and I thought it would be good similar to diablo 2 but the thing is it is boring. All the dungeons feel the same, the loot is uninteresting you find unique, you pick it up and you continue without looking at it because you know its probably bad and not very different from what you have. You never feel powerful unless you make The Build everyone is using on internet

Plague-Doctor2725m ago(Edited 25m ago)

The campaign is fine but the end game is pretty terrible, boring, repetitive, and unrewarding.

The game has lost an absurd 99.3%+ of its player base once the seasonal content started

It didnt scratch the D2 itch for me at all

esherwood2m ago

Definitely more like 3 which sucks. With level scaling and everyone having the same loot it all literally feels the same. Also the good uniques are impossible to get and the ones that do drop are horrible so bis is ancients which drop all the time. Just thinking of combing through 200 of them after a couple dungeon for one that’s slightly better sounds like torture at this point

Azurite4h ago

The Steam reviews will be interesting.

Knightofelemia3h ago

I thought it was all ready out on Steam when the game came out.

Tacoboto17m ago

Call of Duty MW2 was day and date I believe, but this (like OW2) had a staggered release.

Personally if I bought it for PC I'd only do so through Steam; I can hope though if the Activision merger goes through that they'll convert digital Xbox purchases to Xbox Play Anywhere.

slate913h ago

Here comes the review bombing

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