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Why I’d like to see Nintendo become a third party only games maker in terms of TV consoles

First of all, Nintendo’s position as maker of handheld machines has been relatively stable. My post is not in reference to handheld buyers at all. My post is to argue that Nintendo need no longer spend money on making the major TV consoles.

The history of Nintendo as a major console maker (NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Wii, WiiU) has, original Wii aside, been one of diminishing sales.

The NES sold approx 61 million.
The SNES , 49 million. (20% less than NES)
The N64, 32 million (35% less than SNES)
The Gamecube, 21 million (35% less than N64)
The Wii, 101 million
The WiiU, 6 million so far. (13.65- 16.8 million consoles maximum to be sold?)

I’m not in the business of analysing how many were sold during the ‘launch period’ as opposed to later on. But if we imagine that the original Wii was an anomaly in the general trend, and if we imagine that the WiiU ends up selling between 20-35% less than the Gamecube did, then the WiiU might sell 13.65- 16.8 million consoles if allowed to be sold for the usual 5-6 year period.
Of course , if the Wii is discontinued after a lesser period e.g. 4 years, it might get closer to Dreamcast-like sales of 10 million. Yet the Dreamcast would have achieved those sales in less than half the time that the WiiU did (and following far fewer sales of its previous console, the Saturn, which got 9.5 million sales).

Or are there many dozens of millions of people, not big videogame players traditionally, just waiting for the right price to upgrade from owning a Wii to a WiiU? Past history suggests that it would very unlikely that so many would be holding out on the grounds of cost. Have many more bought one second hand? Or are they playing mobile phone games instead?

So what could have caused Nintendo’s sales to potentially diminish each generation?

NES- SNES. Not a massive drop in sales but a recognition that the Megadrive was seen as better competition against the SNES than the Master System was against the NES. Even though Nintendo won both battles, Sega sold more Megadrives in the UK. In some places, Sega had become cooler than Nintendo. Plus better home computers such as the Commodore Amiga meant than some didn’t need a console at all to have the smoothest graphics.

SNES-N64. The Playstation 1 was the major competition. Plus the N64 was significantly more expensive than the PS1 and the PS1 had different kinds of franchises – fewer toy-town like ones. Crash Bandicoot, for instance, was like being reintroduced to Sonic again.

N64-Gamecube. The Playstation 2 was the major competition. The Gamecube was so reasonably priced that it might have sold more if it wasn’t for the fact that , at that very time, having your first DVD player in your bedroom courtesy of you console, was a nice extra. Plus Nintendo were sometimes still convincing as innovators and sometimes not. They still had far more sequels to N64 games than they did new franchises of their own. And even Resident Evil 4 , regarded so highly as an action game of its time (e.g. boss battles) at least, sold fewer than 2 million copies on Gamecube. The ‘mature-rated game’ buyers frequently had PS2 and Xboxes.

Gamecube-Wii. There was obviously a huge increase in sales here. But I am speculating that, like me, those Gamecube owners who did not upgrade to a Wii here would have included those who had once looked to Nintendo for subtle forms of technological innovation, who tended to support the sales underdog (such as the Dreamcast) and who liked a feeling of overall quality. The Wii was physically so low key, its controller plasticky feeling, its Miis so child’s drawing-like ‘meh’ arguably. And its games- pretending to cook? Who was conceiving these games? Fisher Price? Rare were now working with Microsoft. And not being in HD might have been the final nail for these people. If Nintendo had launched what became the WiiU INSTEAD of the original Wii, I think that sales of their current console would be greater.

Nintendo, feeling a bit burnt saleswise from the N64 and Gamecube compared to the generations before, took the path of least profit harm. They brought along close to 100 million new followers, people who didn’t care for HD or whether their games looked like NES era ones.

Wii-WiiU. And then many of the 100 million saw such similar games on mobile phones and probably moved on to playing those instead if they were not a bit bored of gaming altogether. The WiiU’s handheld controller was not necessary for them as a point of interest if they were already using a DS or a mobile phone and is a distraction to some.

The solution

Nintendo arguably make strange decisions like not putting Luigis Mansion 2 on WiiU where it might have attracted back some of the old Gamecube core.
Their franchises often look the same – same graphics style. They clearly love this like Disney loves Mickey Mouse. Yet even Disney doesn’t have Mickey Mouse in most of its entertainment. I suggest that people do like Nintendo games, however conservative those games might stay, but they don’t like Nintendo consoles enough to pay several hundred pounds for one.

I suggest that Nintendo spend the rest of this generation releasing their games on PS4 and Xbox One. But I also suggest that Nintendo retain the control of when those games are available on those consoles so that it does not jeapordise Nintendo coming back as a major console maker at some point in the future if they so wish. In other words I suggest that they sell their games by long term rental. They could do this as a one off subscription if they wish. Why not call it ‘Nintendoland’ after the game. So you pay a big one off fee and you get access to a certain number of Nintendo games for a very long period of time. Or you pay a smaller fee to rent one game for the same period of time. No doubt they would like to sell some of their very old games if this is a model they chose to adopt. However I’d most be hoping to play their newer games.

So it’s not quite ‘doing a Sega’. Nintendo would still be making their handheld consoles.
Hopefully Sony and.or Microsoft might even pay Nintendo for the privilege of having their games on their console, plus allowing Nintendo to set the price that buyers are charged.
And there would come a time when the subscriptions would come to an end Nintendo might decide to make them non-renewable. So they then have a generation of PS4 and Xbox One owners who either once owned a Nintendo console or have never owned one who are now familiar with Nintendo games again and want to keep playing them.
The ball is then back in Nintendo’s court as to whether they wish to release a new console – perhaps even with another party’s help.

Sales suggest that people have a very conservative idea about Nintendo, that things don't really ever change enough for their consoles to be quite worth the money that they ask for them. It's like the opposite of the Dreamcast effect (where Sega was perceived as becoming a niche company, Nintendo are regarded as lazily popular) yet with the same sales woe.

I think that the only time that many people want to see that same old line up of all the Nintendo characters looking so pleased with themselves is if it's in the exotic company on PS4 and Xbox One. Nintendo are becoming like the equivalent of a smiley face sticker- you'd only get the console if you were a kid. Don't get me wrong - ZombiU looks lovely. But am I necessarily going to sacrifice playing The Order 1886 to play it? Even though they're in the same kind of genre, no I'm not, not at the high price that the WiiU is. And all the third party games in the world won't be worth imagining that many people would prefer never to have a PS4 or Xbox One this gen. You have to lower your price- get rid of that handheld screen to do so if you have to. Or go third party on a download rental basis.

Whatever you do, there is something inherently conservative about what you do as a major console maker that doesn't appeal to enough people who, appealed to in the right way, could have remained loyalists like even Sega (cool, cool Sega) enjoyed.

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KonsoruMasuta2807d ago (Edited 2807d ago )

This whole thing is BS. It's all based on how core Nintendo fans YOU think owned the Wii. You pulled the magical 15 million number out of nowhere.

Picnic2807d ago (Edited 2807d ago )

But it's not all based on that whimsical guess but on the general 20 to 35 percent diminishing.

KonsoruMasuta2807d ago (Edited 2807d ago )

But that 20 to 35 % decrease was inconsistent, looking at the Wii's numbers. So you can't really come to a logical conclusion that the core audience would have followed the pattern, as the pattern was unpredictable.

According to you, the Wii should have sold less than the GameCube.

You also never mentioned the Nintendo Color TV. The Nintendo Color TV, Nintendo's first console, sold less than the NES (The NES was Nintendo's second console).

Picnic2806d ago (Edited 2806d ago )

I already said that the Wii was an anomaly (for a long standing console maker), a once in a lifetime huge increase in sales from a previous console version.

Think of it like a meteor that crashes out of nowhere. And then the landscape is rebuilt more or less as it was before. The Wii buyers have evaporated elsewhere or, more likely, nowhere at all except mobile phones or not gaming at all like they previously did.

Chrischi19882806d ago

Something happens 2 times and it becomes fact forever, something happens once and it is just a one time miracle... But that the Xbox360 is basically the same thing, a one time mircale, that is something, nobody ever mentions...

NihonjinChick2806d ago (Edited 2806d ago )

I notice you avoided the addressing his Color TV Game argument.

There actually was a sales increase. Why isn't the difference between the ColorTV and the NES represented in your data?

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2806d ago
Picnic2104d ago

Care to admit that WiiU sales are in line with what I predicted? Would have been higher up my range if they'd been able to release Zelda WiiU sooner and if they'd had more frequent console price cuts on the black 32mb version. I feel that my conclusion that they should go 3rd party was too rash though because I hadn't bet on Nintendo keeping the console RRP so high. As a result, the NX's RRP might look value by comparison plus, just like the PS4, the NX can get healthy sales from gamers who never owned their previous console (for downloadable WiiU titles).

Activemessiah2807d ago

You having a laugh aren't ya...

The 10th Rider2807d ago

Because if Nintendo went third party suddenly everyone who doesn't usually buy their games would magically buy them...

Not to mention that the games would take a hit on quality because they're no longer developing on technology they know inside and out.

MEsoJD2806d ago

I don't agree with sentiment. I for one haven't bought a WiiU because of the hardware. I really do value their software, but I'm not willing at the moment to get another an underpowered box for a few games/exclusives. Also many devs have praised the One and PS4 for their ease of use to develop for and power. When you have that power, devs can stop focusing on the many tricks applied in the past. I don't think the quality in Nintendo's games would diminish.

Chrischi19882806d ago

It would, because what he meant is not power, but the use of their unique hardware. Like with the Wii, Zelda Skyward Sword or Wii Sports or Wii Fit. All successful, all based around their unique hardware.

uth112806d ago

I agree. I have an original Wii, (plus several GBAs/DSxl/3ds in my household). Even with our Nintendo background, Nintendo couldn't sell us on the Wii U. Why?

1. Price, only $100 less than PS4 for much less power, and..
2. Don't want an orphaned console. Felt like the Wii was always passed over for great games that other platforms got, and that sold the most of any last gen! How much worse was it going to be owning a Wii U that wasn't selling? I know that's a catch-22 statement.

But if some of those Nintendo games, esp Super Mario 3d world showed up on a PS4, I'd definately buy it.

MEsoJD2806d ago

@chrischi1988

I'm in the crowd that doesn't take well to hardware gimmicks. The motion in a game skyward sword added very little in my play throug and honestly would have wished I had traditional controls the moment my signal bugged out. I don't think Nintendo needs to rest on such things to make their ips standout. I also think the selling/marketing to the casual was a bad move in the long run because I think the Wii U is feeling some of the reprocussions... The Wii is already dead while the PS3 and 360 still sell and have healthy software support. Third party's had even less trust and the casual didn't take to the gamepad like the Wii's motion. Really I think Nintendo needs to make the gamepad optional and sell the WiiU at a price consumers can't ignore with a big exclusive. What I really want to see from Nintendo are big changes that show that they have long term in mind with their products.

Picnic2806d ago

That might have actually been true about the N64 and the Gamecube. I reckon that the relatively blocky visuals of the N64 forced both Nintendo and Rare to think in some very abstract ways in terms of level design to make the most of it. And the Gamecube did have a graphical elegance that was arguably not so present on its competitors.
But now Nintendo's hardware is so far behind that it's hard to admire any perceived elegance when some of the basics expected with the superior engines is lacking.

BenqMagician2807d ago

Well with success of there handhelds why can't they sell a powerful handheld that u can play the games on tv(it would be a hybrid of handheld/console).

MacDonagh2807d ago

I don't even know where to start with this. You come out with gobbledegook math without even taking into account the different trends that occurred during the times when the consoles released. The NES for instance released in a time where the only clear rivals to Nintendo was the home computer market of Commodore 64 and the rest of the personal computer market. Nintendo were the only horse in town for the longest time until the Sega Mega Drive decided to make it's appearance and Nintendo had to upgrade.

The sales of the SNES is lower because of the increased competition from other video game manufacturers trying to latch onto Nintendo's coattails which dovetailed into the N64 sales which are lower because of the prohibitive cost of the console, games and the 3rd parties abandoning ship. The Gamecube sales are lower again because the gaming consumer had changed and the 3rd parties again refused to support the Gamecube while the Wii was a success because it got families and children interested in gaming.

The Wii U isn't selling because gamers have absolutely no idea what it means to be a gamer anymore. Gamers today have absolutely no idea what they want and are now only obsessed with screen resolution interested with "cutting edge graphics" but without any real evolution in terms of gameplay. The example of the Super Mario games show how different styles of gameplay can enhance and introduce new ideas that haven't been previously explored as the evolution from Super Mario 64 to 3D Land shows how self-evident this home truth really is.

I could really go on but I'll just leave it at that. Enjoy the Order 1866 which will no doubt turn out to be another generic, pointless shooter with shiny graphics with little actual game innovation.

Shadowsteal2807d ago

The thing is, Most Hardcore gamers got over Mario when they were 15. Everyone from 15+ is playing games like Bioshock, Call of Duty, GTA, Assassin's Creed, etc. It's not about graphics, nobody wants Mario anymore(Besides Smash and Kart). Beyond the nostolgics that is. And honestly, LittlebigPlanet innovated where Mario couldn't in 30 years. I mean for god sakes what was the innovation from New Super Mario Bros., New Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. U, etc.? 30 years of Mario and they couldn't give us map makers. The innovation Super Mario 3d land did over Mario 64 was bite sized levels. And World just slapped cat powers and a larger levels. So much for innovation. Nintendo haven't innovated for a while now.

KonsoruMasuta2807d ago (Edited 2807d ago )

You're assuming that people automatically give up on Mario when they turn 15+ and they suddenly only play M rated games. That's a wrong and horrible assumption. That's almost as bad as the drivel in this blog.

Also, I think you're forgetting games like Mario Galaxy and Paper Mario, which have definitely changed the basic format.

Also, saying "every one 15+ is playing games like BioShock, Call of Duty, GTA, Assassin's Creed" is a pretty stupid assumption. Am I supposed to believe that you have personally interviewed everyone 15+ and asked them what they were playing, or did you pull that out of nowhere? Do you have any scientific data that suggest that people 15+ only play M rated games? I'm curious. How did you come to such a conclusion? Are you a psychic?

MacDonagh2806d ago (Edited 2806d ago )

@Shadowsteal "Everyone from 15+ is playing games like Bioshock, Call of Duty, GTA, Assassin's Creed, etc. It's not about graphics, nobody wants Mario anymore(Besides Smash and Kart). Beyond the nostolgics that is. And honestly, LittlebigPlanet innovated where Mario couldn't in 30 years."

Bioshock, Call of Duty, Ass Creed are laughable excuses for franchises. Bioshock is completely overrated and doesn't deserve half of the acclaim that it got while Call of Duty is played by Dudebros and children with poor parental supervision. It also baffles me that Ass Creed got so many sequels considering how utterly mediocre the actual story is. You may be correct about this certain class of people not wanting Mario anymore but they also have a complete lack of taste and are far more dangerous than the "casual" audience will ever be. By the way; there is no such thing as a "hardcore" game. There are only good games and bad games.

LBP having a mapmaker makes me sad. Users having to create interesting levels due to a lack of content in the main game is so very sad. Most can only rip off pre-existing ideas like Mario or Pacman or Slender. Not that I don't fault the level of commitment that it takes to make some really impressive levels or explore new ideas but no-one cares about LBP in the same way that people care about Mario. That really frustrates me with Sony because they had a potential Mario rival in their hands and they squandered it by continually pumping the games out without allowing any breathing space. If they did something with the Sackboy character and did something with that videogame facebook thing they talked about by having avatars as sackboys; people would love it. That game franchise needs way better marketing.

"I mean for god sakes what was the innovation from New Super Mario Bros., New Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. U, etc.? 30 years of Mario and they couldn't give us map makers."

New Super Mario Bros for the DS was the first time that Nintendo went back to the 2D style since Super Mario 2: 6 Golden Coins and that was released back in 92 for the Game Boy. Since the 2D style hadn't been done in about 14 years; I guess they decided that they could explore different ideas in a 2D environment. Besides, a mapmaker isn't necessary for a game like Super Mario Wii because there is enough content in those games to keep people occupied.

"The innovation Super Mario 3d land did over Mario 64 was bite sized levels. And World just slapped cat powers and a larger levels. So much for innovation. Nintendo haven't innovated for a while now."

Have you played it? Nah. You probably didn't because if you did; you would've been able to appreciate the compelling level-design and the amount of heart that it takes to make such a game that plays to the strengths of it's console. You can't fake it like Sony tried to do with Knack.

Picnic2806d ago (Edited 2806d ago )

Your post basically attacks people for not liking Nintendo's style of games quite enough for them to want to lay down several hundred pounds for the privilege. At least in comparison to spending their money elsewhere. But there's no use criticising gamers. A fair few million of gamers have taste- they loved Bioshock or The Last of Us for instance. And it was arguably the people WITHOUT taste who made the original Wii such a hit anyway.

But do you consider that the tackiness of some of the original Wii's line up (plus no longer having Rare) will have put some people off Nintendo for life- regardless of the other qualities of the WiiU?

Chrischi19882806d ago

Exaclty and that is why Mario Galaxy sold many millions and Mario Kart Wii is third place of most sold games OF ALL TIME. You guys make stuff up, just to be against Nintendo, we understand, you dont like their games, ok, but then, how the hell is going third party changing any of that? You guys complain about how the games suck and nobody wants them, but at the same time going third party is the solution? All I get from this is, that you guys make biased assumptions, never really comparing to the other brands, but always hating on Nintendo for some stupid reason, like the article from today, where somebody tried to make Mario Kart 8 a racist game^^

MacDonagh2806d ago

"Your post basically attacks people for not liking Nintendo's style of games quite enough for them to want to lay down several hundred pounds for the privilege. At least in comparison to spending their money elsewhere."

Thank you for clearing that up. I was wondering to myself in what planet or parallel universe does someone live where a console, never mind a Nintendo console, would cost that much. However, I sincerely doubt that anyone would spend that much money on a console unless they are particularly committed gamers who are loose with their money and buy games at full price without looking for deals.

"But there's no use criticising gamers. A fair few million of gamers have taste- they loved Bioshock or The Last of Us for instance. And it was arguably the people WITHOUT taste who made the original Wii such a hit anyway."

People who bought the Wii consoles bought them for their families. Nintendo should be praised for actually trying to reach out and find a new audience after their older audience deserted them during the Gamecube's days. I'm sure that some of the people who experienced the Wii became gamers because of it and that has to be appreciated.

I also don't rate Bioshock or The Last of Us very highly either. The Last of Us is hardly worth the praise that it got either because the story which is apparently "revolutionary" in gameplay narrative is in actuality nothing more than a zombie movie with barely any gameplay. I also didn't like Bioshock because it felt like a significant downgrade from the SystemShock series which was more interesting gameplay wise and plot wise. Not that Bioshcok's plots are particularly terrible but people give it far too much credit than it deserves.

"But do you consider that the tackiness of some of the original Wii's line up (plus no longer having Rare) will have put some people off Nintendo for life- regardless of the other qualities of the WiiU?"

I recall a time when everybody believed that the Wii would be a colossal failure and Nintendo would become a software company. I missed the boat on the Wii because I couldn't even find one for months on end and my interest diminished after I got a 360 and later on a PS3. Launch titles are launch titles and nobody can deny the fact that the Wii did have it's fair share of shovelware but you know what? So did the 360 and the PS3. Those consoles both had terrible games and to pretend otherwise is preposterous. I consider the last generation as the worst generation for video gaming on consoles because of how incredibly lazy and greedy certain companies were at making games. I went into last-gen with high hopes that gaming would reach new heights but it didn't turn out that way. I watched with horror when I saw how the games that I grew up and loved became shadows of their former selves and now I've turned full circle. I now play games on PC and the Wii U and I've been exploring the Wii library and found to my surprise how many great games are on that console.

But whatever. That's just me.

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