Nintendo, the Wii U and what lies ahead

Yesterday, Nintendo held a financial results meeting to address the company’s future strategies after a hard year. Even though sales projections of the Wii U went from 9 million to 2.8million, president Satoru Iwata took the stage and assured everyone that Nintendo, having learned from their past mistakes, still had a future in hardware.

Wii U

Iwata said the Wii U remains at the center of Nintendo’s strategy despite the sluggish sales and stated that focusing on the Gamepad’s unique abilities and developing games especially for the device will better serve the console. Mario Kart 8, to be released in May, was stated as an example of such a game. 

Iwata also had a few announcements. He mentioned two new features to be included in a future system update: a quick start menu for the Gamepad that will quickly load a recently played game, bypassing the console’s start menu, and certain DS games will be playable on the device via the Virtual Console service. 

It’s no secret that the Wii U’s software library is quite small, too small to support such a console. Veteran Nintendo game creator Shigeru Miyamoto attributed this to technological leap between from the Wii to the Wii U and said that the company worked on making it easier for game developers.

Mobile and beyond.

Nintendo plans to expand the Nintendo Network ID, currently limited to the 3DS and the Wii U, to smart devices.  It’s essentially an “on-demand” service that is said to last beyond the lifespan of any Nintendo system. The company is also planning to license character rights to external partners. These measures are to expand their consumer base beyond the video game platform. However, Nintendo games will not be heading to mobile or third party platforms, they are keeping those to themselves for now. 

Thoughts

I’ve had my Wii U since its launch and I must admit it’s not been used much. My friends and I played a few party games, I plowed through most of Rayman Legends and played a few Wii titles but for the most part, it’s been collecting dust. I think Nintendo has yet to address the fact that there are not enough exclusive titles to support the console. Super Mario 3D World is a fun game but it doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that Super Mario Galaxy had. Galaxy made you want to go out and buy a Wii to play this game, but Super Mario 3D World, not so much. When your producing a console at a loss to compete with high performing consoles like the PS4 and the Xbox One, you’d think they’d have a few aces up their sleeves, like a Metroid or a The Legend of Zelda title…

I’m still confidant Nintendo will recover, even if the Wii U might not.  The PS4’s and Xbox One’s current game line-up are still on the small side giving Nintendo the chance to bulk up on major releases. They also have the 3DS, which is a great hand held console with a wide software library, from new titles like Pokémon X/Y and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Two Worlds to great retro titles.  

We’ll see what they have in store for E3 and if it can breathe life into the Wii U.

 

If you want to read the full transcript of the presentation, visiti http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/library/events/140130/index.html

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