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Five Announcements Nintendo Should Make Right Now


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#1 Juddy

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 09:29

As expected, yesterday Nintendo’s stock plunged by 18% after the news that they were cutting their Wii U and 3DS forecasts by huge margins as the fiscal year draws to a close in a few months. I wrote about how their own warped perception of their success is almost more dangerous to the company than the actual numbers, and they need a reality check to get back on track. This has to be it.

 

And as much as I love discussing grand theories about what Nintendo needs to do to turn things around, they’re not always practical. As much as we would like them too, Nintendo isn’t going to announce a “Super Wii” project this morning, a new console to compete with the Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4. Nor, as per my suggestion, are we going to hear they’re ceasing production of the Wii U and starting to make software for competitor systems. Perhaps someday, but not today, and not tomorrow for either of these ideas.

 

So, what can they announce right now that will have an impact on investors and make fans think that they’ve at least learned something in this mess? Here are a few ideas.

 

Iwata Out
 

I really don’t need to write an entire essay on why this needs to happen, because VG247′s Matt Martin has done it for me. The long and short of it is that this missed prediction lands squarely on Iwata. He had time and time again to revise the 9 million forecast for Wii U sales, but waited until three months before the deadline to admit it was off by more than 300%, and really only 2.8M Wii Us will be sold (hopefully, at this rate). The same goes for the 3DS forecast, which even as the system sells well, was still off by 5 million or so. This is inexcusable, as is pretty much everything that’s happened with the Wii U’s marketing and development since its inception, all under Iwata’s watch. But the missed forecast is probably his most egregious offense, and it’s dangerously close to almost misleading investors. Nintendo needs new leadership for a lot of reasons, and I think it’s Iwata’s time to step down.

 

Account Fixes

 

Though Nintendo has promised that unified accounts are coming down the road to link 3DS and Wii U purchases, many of their most devoted fans are starting to become skeptical of the company because of how poorly they manage their digital sales. Something as simple as a software glitch or a hardware failure forces players to rebuy games they’ve already bought, as Nintendo simply doesn’t seem to care the games were already purchased once. If you say, lose your entire 3DS by accident, you wouldn’t just lose your save games, you’d lose your entire game library, and would have to repurchase everything unless you successfully barter with Nintendo for a refund credit. Imagine if your iPad or Kindle broke and your had to repurchase all of your apps or ebooks. Sounds silly, but that’s the world Nintendo is living in right now, and it’s unacceptable.

 
Back Catalog Unleashed
 
This may sound like the most ambitious project on the list, but Nintendo could at least announce they’re working on such an idea. If emulator makers can do it in their spare time, Nintendo should be able to replicate the process as an actual company with actual R&D funding. For as much as Nintendo likes remaking the same eight series over and over, they have been astonishingly stubborn when it comes to making their full back catalog of old games available for download. Not to say they need to make their own iOS or Android emulator app, but at the very least, they need to have such a thing for their own hardware, the Wii U and 3DS. There are so many more games out there they could bring out of retirement, and they simply choose not to most of the time. For their non-first party titles, it would require a bit of negotiation, but a full emulator-ish back catalog for NES, SNES, N64 and even Gamecube would go a long way to giving their hardware something their competition doesn’t have. Problem is, even someone like Sony is starting to work on something like that with the ambitious PlayStation Now, and Nintendo doesn’t want to be beaten to the punch.
 
Firm Release Dates
 
Here are all the great Wii U games coming out in the future: Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, Yarn Yoshi, Super Smash Bros. Wii U, Hyrule Warriors, X, Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei.
 
Here are all the release dates for each of those games:  (…)
 
For as much as Nintendo fans love to point out all the potentially great games that are coming for the system, that’s not terribly helpful when there’s no telling if an anticipated game is coming out in two months or two years. I realize Nintendo doesn’t want to commit to a release date and then miss it, as that would only make their situation worse, but to have that level of AAA games in the pipeline with not a single release date among them is wrong, and they need to start doing better than doling out a new Super Smash Bros. combatant as an announcement every few weeks.
 
Price Drop Ahead
 
It’s becoming clear that the Wii U is going to have to get so cheap with games so good, players simply can’t afford not to own one. Cutting from $350 to $300 was a good start, but the ideal price range is going to be around $200-$250 at the very least, that much is clear. I don’t know if I can agree that cutting out the gamepad entirely is the correct way to get to that point. Without the gamepad, the Wii U is simply a last-generation console that plays new Nintendo games, and almost nothing else. Nintendo has to find a way to get costs down without sacrificing the originality of the gamepad. In a related note, they also need to find better ways to prove the gamepad is a worthwhile innovation, which hasn’t really happened yet. But most importantly, there has to be another price cut, and Nintendo needs to let everyone know that it’s at least on the horizon.
 
I want Nintendo to succeed, but they need to make some big changes quickly. Here’s to hoping this was the wake up call they needed.
 

 




#2 +Chicane-UK

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 09:35

They certainly need to do something. I don't follow gaming very closely these days to be honest, but was a Nintendo 'guy' back in the days of the SNES and the MegaDrive / Genesis. It just amazes me that a company as well loved as Nintendo, with arguably the most well known video game character of all time (Mario) and various other well loved franchises like Zelda can just continue to make bad decisions and seemingly be behind and out of touch with what the other big players are doing.

 

It smacks of needing a serious shake-up in senior management somewhere. 



#3 Blackhearted

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 17:48

Here's one thing i don't get. If nitnendo makes a mistake and things don't go as well as they planned(like with the wii u), everyone calls for iwata's head. Meanwhile, Sony's vita has been failing so much harder than the wii u has yet i don't think i've seen any articles anywhere saying we should throw the leadership of sony off a cliff without even thinking twice about it. Why is this kind of thing only targeted nintendo and the person who brought two of the most successful gaming devices to the market(ds and wii) and who was able to actually turn their current handheld around and make it successful?



#4 Andrew G.

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:01

Here's one thing i don't get. If nitnendo makes a mistake and things don't go as well as they planned(like with the wii u), everyone calls for iwata's head. Meanwhile, Sony's vita has been failing so much harder than the wii u has yet i don't think i've seen any articles anywhere saying we should throw the leadership of sony off a cliff without even thinking twice about it. Why is this kind of thing only targeted nintendo and the person who brought two of the most successful gaming devices to the market(ds and wii) and who was able to actually turn their current handheld around and make it successful?

 

While I agree with the sentiment, I believe Sony have restructured themselves a lot during the development of the PS4. IIRC, the Vita was under SCEJ leadership, whereas the PS4 was by SCEE, specifically Mark Cerny.

 

Not to mention that Kutaragi was sacked from his position of leadership at the launch of the PS3, which Kaz Hirai took over. So Sony have definitely made improvements, but it has been the PS4 which is finally turning the tide for them (so far).



#5 George P

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:04

Sony changed its CEO already iirc, besides Sony being so big it's more than just the PlayStation business, Nintendo only has gaming, they don't make TVs, phones, PCs and so on. When one of your two main lines of products is doing so bad then you have a problem.  Also while people talk about the big cutback on Wii U sales from 8million to 2.8 million iirc, Nintendo also cut it's expected 3DS sales to, so both lines are doing worse than they expected. You also then have to take into account that 3rd party support is drying up, as good as Nintendo first party is it's not enough IMO to keep them going for long.



#6 Enron

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:17

Does Nintendo make money off their hardware sales at all?



#7 Brian M.

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:20

I have a Wii U - and I love it, and I will admit that I'm a complete Nintendo fanboy too, but even through my rose tinted specs I can see that it's a mess. It launched with inadequate games, and a stupidly bad online system.

It needs more first party games. They can probably do without dropping the price - just bundle the new Mario game and Mario Kart (if it ever gets here). I think people will happily pay £199 for a 32GB Wii U with 2 great games.

Also - Nintendo's online accounts are a mess. I bought some Virtual Console stuff ages ago on my Wii, and I gave up trying to transfer them to Wii mode on the Wii U. I also accidentally lost one of the games I downloaded to the 3DS - and couldn't ever find how to re-download this. What's needed is a single account, where you can login, add shared funds, and more importantly, have a list of previous purchases that you can re-download. I really don't know why it's been several years after the mess that was the Wii E-Store and we still don't have this.

One more thing - the UI. It's been more than a year now, and it's still painfully slow and clumsy. I get they wanted to keep the Wii feel - but it seriously needs an overhaul. It feels like a crappy Flash player app from the early 2000s!

#8 Andrew G.

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:22

Does Nintendo make money off their hardware sales at all?

 

The Wii U is sold at a loss but is profitable with 1 game sale. That was the official response at launch, it may well have climed due to the poor sales.

 

Not sure about the 3DS.



#9 Nogib

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:31

Dear god do they definitely need to do the account fix.  NNID only works on the system it was created on.  Who at Nintendo thought that was a good idea???



#10 Blackhearted

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:49

I have a Wii U - and I love it, and I will admit that I'm a complete Nintendo fanboy too, but even through my rose tinted specs I can see that it's a mess. It launched with inadequate games, and a stupidly bad online system.

It needs more first party games. They can probably do without dropping the price - just bundle the new Mario game and Mario Kart (if it ever gets here). I think people will happily pay £199 for a 32GB Wii U with 2 great games.

Also - Nintendo's online accounts are a mess. I bought some Virtual Console stuff ages ago on my Wii, and I gave up trying to transfer them to Wii mode on the Wii U. I also accidentally lost one of the games I downloaded to the 3DS - and couldn't ever find how to re-download this. What's needed is a single account, where you can login, add shared funds, and more importantly, have a list of previous purchases that you can re-download. I really don't know why it's been several years after the mess that was the Wii E-Store and we still don't have this.

One more thing - the UI. It's been more than a year now, and it's still painfully slow and clumsy. I get they wanted to keep the Wii feel - but it seriously needs an overhaul. It feels like a crappy Flash player app from the early 2000s!

 

There is one on the 3ds. If you go into the options menu in the eshop there should be something to click that says "your downloads". Hit that and you'll see all your past downloads and can redownload them.



#11 Brian M.

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:52

There is one on the 3ds. If you go into the options menu in the eshop there should be something to click that says "your downloads". Hit that and you'll see all your past downloads and can redownload them.


On my 3DS that list is empty (even though I have downloaded games still on the console) :(

#12 Blackhearted

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 18:54

On my 3DS that list is empty (even though I have downloaded games still on the console) :(

 

That's strange. Everything i've ever downloaded is in my list.



#13 Davo

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 19:08

Always with the Nintendo doom & gloom. The truth is that Nintendo will be fine. Their current home console is a mess in general, regardless of how it compares to the rest of the industry. It's immensely fun but it's overpriced for what it offers, even at this point. It should have come out just as the Wii was getting stale.

 

However at the end of the day, it's Nintendo. The N64 used an obsolete storage method for games and arguably had some of the best games ever made. The Wii was severly underpowered in comparison to the XBox 360 and PS3, and took them both to church.  All they have to do is *mention* that a new Mario Kart is coming some day and you get the fiends itching. If they ever dropped a Pokemon adventure game in 3D on a home console in the vein of Super Mario 64, they'd effectively shut the game down.

 

It's for those reasons that I never doubt them. It's also for those reasons why I'd never want them to go third party. You think their IPs are played out now? Ask Sega how Sonic's image is doing these days.



#14 LaP

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 19:22

Nintendo should announce a merge with Valve. That would shake the gaming industry a lot XD

#15 Rudy

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 19:23

It's actually a good list. I thought for sure it would include silly things like "Makes games for mobile devices", that would pretty much kill off Nintendo's strongest suit the 3DS





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