Nintendo Will Continue to Falter Without New IP’s
According to a Geekwire study of 2012 Q4 sales, worldwide sales of Sony and Microsoft consoles each outsold Nintendo. Nintendo was not only a full 1 million unit sales behind Sony, they were behind in the holiday season when they had just launched a new console. Make sure that you remember that these are worldwide sales, obviously including markets like Japan, where Nintendo usually dominates. Unit sales for Microsoft and PlayStation may not be the biggest indicator of success this late into the current console generation but this is uniquely disconcerting for Nintendo. The Wii U was a brand new console at the time and all they could hope for were unit sales. So the question is why, why, why does Nintendo continue to trail in the market? We have two big reasons.
1) Their games are all ancient
I feel the leading factor is the lack of innovative or unique titles. Nintendo is already sort of lagging behind in the cross-platform realm, not getting popular titles that are on both PS3 and 360 like Tomb Raider and the Bioshock series, and have been forced to rely on their own titles. And that well of games is starting to run a little dry, too. Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Donkey Kong are all stagnating series that have ties with Nintendo from the 80’s, but thatâ€™s about the only reason Nintendo can give us to justify buying their upwards of $300 console. Nintendo seems widely dependent on in house development. Other consoles have a serious advantage with the influx of 3rd party developer content, and Nintendo canâ€™t keep up if all they have is another game where Mario plays tennis.
There have been over fifty Mario games, upwards of 16 Zelda games and at least 20 Donkey Kong games, so it would be easy to say that Nintendo comes back to these titles when they need a boost. They rely on these titles. Some of Sonyâ€™s best-selling series, like God of War and Uncharted, are relatively recent titles, with no ties as far back as even 2004. I think itâ€™s fair to say that new, fresh titles are driving sales and Nintendo insists that a new Mario is what consumers want. Thatâ€™s not to say that four quality titles from beloved franchises aren’t important and worth a purchase, but you have to couple the trusted franchises with new, quality IP’s if you want to compete.
2) They continue to be gimmicky
If there is one thing that the hardcore gamer crowd hates, itâ€™s gimmicks, which is too bad because that seems to be one thing that Nintendo loves. Â We didn’t want our Kinect to always be on so we can switch between the new season of Glee and our latest ass-kicking session on Halo 4. We donâ€™t want the new WiiU screen device that lets me play as the guy that watches everyone else have fun. We want to be confident that we are buying a top-of-the-line gaming system with cutting edged hardware, a consistent and strong upcoming catalog of games and from a company whose policies we trust. The WiiU is falling short on all of these. Â They were very proud of entering into the cross platform world with third party launch titles like Batman: Arkham City. But the game was about a month behind launch date and the only significant advantage to buying it on your new $300 console was that there were was a new sonar mode. There needs to be a greater focus on providing a unique and intuitive reason to purchase the few cross-platform games Nintendo has, on the WiiU.
Then what should Nintendo do? There are a few good signs coming from the WiiU, but if they continue this trend it’ll be up to Sony and Microsoft to keep the home console market alive. Nintendo hasn’t done much to make genuine appeals to the hardcore gamers. They release titles like Wii sports resort and Wii Fit, ports of older games like Call of Duty, and none of the same caliber AAA titles like uncharted and halo. Â Nintendo needs to provide greater support for third party developers and indie developers in order to compete with the other consoles. They also should refrain from spending thirty minutes of their E3 stage time on some new snowboarding peripheral that doesn’t work.