Friday, April 8, 2011

Nintendo Done For?

To say that I'm impressed with my new 3DS is an understatement, and that' even before I've gotten my games from Amazon (I was able to play quite a bit of games at Best Buy and Gamespot).  However, the lack of a blow-out sales figure along the lines of the iPhone is a worrying factor.  Now comes news that PSP has outsold the 3DS in Japan, Nintendo's home turf.

Is Nintendo done for?  My answer is a resounding yes.  

I am not advocating the notion that Nintendo will go the way of Sega, who exited the hardware business to focus on software, but the mobile gaming industry has changed so much that a dedicated gaming machine is simply out of the question.  And Nintendo is pretty conservative and ruled out a Nintendo phone.  Why would you carry around a gaming machine, albeit an excellent one, when most but the hard core gamers can find a major of the titles and types of games on an app store for their iPhone, iPod touch, or Android device?  

Where does Mario and friends go from here?  Well, I hate to use the n-word, you know, niche.  However, Nintendo might become a niche player going forward selling to only the most ardent fans.  

Why did I get the 3DS if this is how I feel?  Well, call it the sentimental side of me. I really wanted to see what I consider to be Nintendo's first Internet and multimedia device can do.  So far, I've been impressed with the specs, the 3D screen (I've yet to deveoped headaches because I don't use it for a long period at a time, no games yet), and it's social features.

And I really want the 3DS to succeed.  

At this time, a lot of functions like the app store and the browser are not available and won't be for another quarter or so, May or June.  And I think that's a mistake but still, at least it's out the door.  And I hope the Mii functions can be expanded further, beyond just Wii.  We'll see if that aspect of my long list of features get fulfilled.  

I hope I'm wrong.  However, I hope I'm wrong.  Should sales continue to disappoint, you'll likely hear analysts clamoring for a price cut.  Nintendo will be stubborn but I think they'll capitulate this time around.  

More than just pricing, it's about the software.  I really want to see some spectacular ones if I'm going to be paying $40 a pop for them.  The 3D games I've played are nice but gimmicky.  

And not just games but the social network that Nintendo has created on the Wii.  Nintendo should embrace it and build on it.  Then it should market it with limited support on other platforms to give users a taste of what they are potentially missing.  Maybe even allow their Mii to automatically link up with their real Facebook account if possible.  

Nintendo is one of the most innovative company in the world.  Conservative yes but when it has something to wow us, it presents it in a big big way.  The 3DS is such a innovation but it comes at a time in a very complex and fast moving mobile gaming market.  I think we are mere scrapping the top of what 3DS do but it will have to move fast.  

Nintendo has said that the iOS devices are its greatest challenge going forward.  For now, I'd worry about the PSP

More at Electronista.

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