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Gaming Thread, Nintendo posts full year loss - Blames Wii U in Fun Stuff; It seems that Nintendo are now beginning to feel the effect of the Wii U's drag on their profits: BBC ...
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    Nintendo posts full year loss - Blames Wii U

    It seems that Nintendo are now beginning to feel the effect of the Wii U's drag on their profits: BBC News - Nintendo posts full year loss after weak Wii U sales
    Interstingly it also mentions poor sales of the 3DS which many in the industry were hoping would shore Nintend up for a bit.

    Most telling is this comment in the article:

    The firm initially forecast nine million units would be sold over the year to 31 March 2014. In fact it sold just 2.72 million machines despite cutting the price of the console.That brings total sales since launch to 6.17 million Wii Us.
    By contrast, Sony sold more than seven million PlayStation 4s and Microsoft shipped more than five million Xbox Ones - both within five months of their launches.
    Interstingly Nintendo hopes to boost its Wii U sales by the roll out of bigger titles. I have to think there is a chicken and egg situation developing now and with many hard core gamers currently only being able to invest in one next-gen console (XB1 - PS4) the Wii U will still be overlooked for some time to come I suspect. Besides, a point that I, amongst others, have made about game development for the Wii U is that what company would develop for a console with minimum market share?
    Lack of games has been the death knell for many consoles in the past, and with possibly only Nintendo and a few other houses developing for it the lack of variety will soon take it's toll.
    The article also shows that Nintendo is not short of a penny or two to tide itself over, but if you are not selling anything that doesn't really mean much.
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 8th May 2014 at 08:10 AM.

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    I cant help but think their heading fast towards a "Dead Company Walking" scenario when it comes to hardware, just like Sega did which is a real shame, as they have been quite innovative over the years, everything before Gamecube was fairly decent (Personally I think Gamecube was the "Saturn" of the company, it was no great success compared to the N64 or SNES before it, it had games, but was completely overshadowed and blown out of the water by Sony and MS at the time)

    They also have an image problem, their the child in a room of grown ups these days I think, their reliance on "Cutesy/Kidsy" branded games like the Mario/Pokemon/Skylanders franchises are offputting as a serious gaming machine to a lot of people(I get their appealing though to a different market), add in the lack of "Multiplayability" that you get with PCs/Other consoles and its not looking good at all for them.

    The only other thing I never quite understood with them was why they bothered with the 3DS given it caused a lot of problems with Eye Strain and Motion Sickness and massive negative publicity because of that, similar to MS and the whole Metro interface, even with people saying its a bad thing, ploughing ahead with a release instead of reworking it can be very damaging in the finances its proven.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Interstingly Nintendo hopes to boost its Wii U sales by the roll out of bigger titles.
    Yeah I read that article and went to have a look to see what's coming up: a new Mario Kart for Wii U and remakes/remixes of two old Pokemon games for 3DS.

    Apparently, they're banking on Mario Kart boosting Wii U sales. I'm sorry Nintendo, but I think the days when people would go out and buy a console for a Mario Kart game have long gone. I've always loved Mario Kart games but let's face it, they've barely changed in terms of gameplay since the original on SNES and even graphically they haven't come that far since the N64. No, I don't think there will be many people rushing out to buy a Wii U for this, certainly not enough to turn around the Wii U's fortunes.

    As for the Pokemon remakes, well, it's just another Pokemon game... only it's even less "new" as it's based on an older title and having recently started playing the latest (X/Y), there's very little new since the very first Pokemon games anyway.

    Nintendo has been an absolute powerhouse for decades now but it feels like at some point around the Wii era they said "that's it, we have the winning formula, let's stick to it!" Unfortunately, the world has grown tired of Nintendo's formula and it doesn't feel like they've caught on yet.

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    CAM
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    Nintendo have sadly pushed themselves into irrelevance under Iwata's reign and many fans are calling for his resignation. Quite a few want Reggie to be CEO because he actually has a sense of charm and amusement surrounding him, probably the only reason they haven't completely tanked in the west, but there is zero chance of a non-Japanese person taking the lead of a national icon that is over a hundred years old. Nintendo do have the money to make these mistakes though, they have more cash then any of their competitors stashed away for a rainy day. They aren't going anywhere and in a better position then Sony or Microsoft believe it or not!

    Their biggest problem is the incessant rehashing of old titles. Yes they try to add something new each time, more then can be said about the likes of Activision and CoD, but people need something new. The Wii U's release plan is a load of hyped first party titles spread thin over the year whilst relying on old games to keep the console afloat via eShop. We are talking NES titles at a fiver a pop, that isn't what we buy new consoles for. And that is all there is coming out filling in a massive games drought.

    Their handling of the Wii U has been pathetic at best and even the columnists at Wii U Daily have been turning against the company as they are forced to post either gloomy outlooks for the Wii U or fill gaps with 3DS news just to brighten the place up.

    EDIT - Oh and don't forget about an irrelevant and ancient Miiverse even though it is new, crap online system, killing Smash Bros U out of the stable with the 3DS release first...
    Last edited by CAM; 8th May 2014 at 08:10 AM.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    yes, Nintendo has a lot of cash reserves, but if no one is buying your products it means zilch, and the longer they leave it the less relevance they will have and with China liftign it's console ban they could lose a massive amont of future market share.
    The Wii genration grew up and all they had to offer the next was another Wii. Who thought that was a good idea?

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    Well my question maybe the answer to why they haven't sold many;
    "What is a Wii U?"

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I think Nintendo are in an all round difficult position and have a bit of an identity problem. They've never really been the "hardcore gamers console". The closest they ever really got to that was the N64. I think their quality control and licensing terms tend to alienate third party devs. Their business model pretty much has revolved around the cutsy graphics "my first console" for 5-13 year olds and mobile gaming. The Wii was the very pinacle of this and attracted a lot of casual gamers.

    The problem for Nintendo is they can't compete head on with Sony or Microsoft. Android and iOS has all but taken over the mobile market. Casual gamers have moved on to Facebook. The Wii-U isn't exactly being priced or marketed as a "my first console" product.

    I'm not sure were Nintendo can go from here.

    I've said before their biggest asset is their IP, and they can work closer with Sega and their IP. They don't need the most powerful console on the planet. Even the Wii-U can be a success for them. Drop the silly overpriced, oversized touchscreen gamepad. Open up the Virtual Console to the entirety of Nintendo and Sega's back catalogues. Get some new Nintendo and Sega first party exclusives. Be the only place you can (officially) experience this. Maybe they can turn it around?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    Nintendo have sadly pushed themselves into irrelevance under Iwata's reign and many fans are calling for his resignation. Quite a few want Reggie to be CEO because he actually has a sense of charm and amusement surrounding him, probably the only reason they haven't completely tanked in the west, but there is zero chance of a non-Japanese person taking the lead of a national icon that is over a hundred years old. Nintendo do have the money to make these mistakes though, they have more cash then any of their competitors stashed away for a rainy day. They aren't going anywhere and in a better position then Sony or Microsoft believe it or not!
    Bang on. There's no way Nintendo will hire a foreign CEO, they're far too proud for that (it's not just Nintendo, that's Japanese business culture and understandable). The way things are going for Nintendo, I think they have one more console left in them; if that takes off, they'll continue in videogames but if it flops I think there's a good chance they'll refocus elsewhere (the medical industry by the sounds of things) and license their IP to third parties to keep that door ajar. I know they have enough money to probably have 2 or 3 more consoles flop but I don't think they'll risk squandering it all if they have another bad egg. The same thing happened (thank $deity!) in the 70's, up until that point they had been playing card manufacturers but when that started to go south, that's when they ventured in to videogames.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    Their biggest problem is the incessant rehashing of old titles. Yes they try to add something new each time, more then can be said about the likes of Activision and CoD, but people need something new. The Wii U's release plan is a load of hyped first party titles spread thin over the year whilst relying on old games to keep the console afloat via eShop. We are talking NES titles at a fiver a pop, that isn't what we buy new consoles for. And that is all there is coming out filling in a massive games drought.
    Again, totally agree. What Activision has that Nintendo doesn't (for now!) is a captive audience. They hit gold with CoD:MW and have been riding it's coat tails ever since, fortunately for them CoD has become such a huge franchise that teenage lads will rush out in droves to get the latest version. The other advantage Activision has is it's only producing software - when CoD starts to become unprofitable, they just move on to some other franchise. They don't have consoles to sell and they're not reliant on the sales of any particular console to sell software - so long as they develop for the market leaders, there'll always be people to buy their games.

    Nintendo have boxed themselves in to a tricky situation. On the one hand, they don't want to develop for third party platforms, instead choosing to make their catalog exclusive to their consoles. This made sense for a long time - if you wanted to play Nintendo franchise games, well then you better buy a Nintendo! The problem is, those franchises have become stale. Yeah they try to make changes with each new version but quite often it's not enough, although I would make Super Mario an exception to this; they have done some really great things with those games. Mario Kart is Mario Kart, you know exactly what you're going to get before you put it in the machine. Pokemon, well, as much as I'm enjoying the new one, I doubt I'd have stuck with it if I'd continued playing after Red/Blue, X/Y is almost identical in every way and that's quite sad really. As for NES/GB games, £5+ is an absolute joke and an insult to long time fans; Nintendo have made their fortune on these games, to eek out every last penny they can from the fans who have remained loyal all these years is, frankly, disgusting.

    To compound this problem even further, they're historically strict with third party software on their consoles. Back in the heady days of the NES/SNES they could get away with this as they were so huge everyone wanted a piece of the action. In this age of abundant indie games, free-to-play models and 90% of titles being developed cross-platform, they've cut themselves out of a lot of hugely profitable deals.

    TL;DR: IMO, Nintendo need to do three things:
    1) swallow their pride a little and encourage third party and indie devs over to their side
    2) take on objective look at their key franchises and honestly decide whether they have anywhere new to go with them, otherwise it's time to put them on the back-burner for a while
    3) develop a completely new franchise that frees them from the constraints of fan's expectations

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    CAM
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    ^Nintendo's 'next gen' tablet/console hybrid that was unveiled too early and given too little support to be a success. Think Wii 2.

    Nintendo have the financial space for another shot at the console market but they need to be careful. Everything they have invested so far in the Wii U will be scrapped, they will garner a reputation for having dropped the console early to the annoyance of fans who move elsewhere and they risk becoming the bad guy. They are already in hot water with fans, publishers, sales, execs, activists, you name it. But whatever they do next will require them to catch up fast with the competition and bring their product on par with the XB1 and PS4 (which in themselves are struggling), something the Wii U cannot do in it's current state.

    And to do that in any company requires new leadership. Iwata must go.

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    Mario Kart 8 will have a positive impact, I have no doubt. I bought a Wii purely for that version, and will be tempted to get a Wii U for it. There's still a drought of titles that I'm really impressed with though, and there's no doubt that they held the console specs back a touch too far (obviously price/heat/size etc would have increased as a result) meaning that third-party publishers weren't willing to hobble their games to run on it. Didn't even need an x86 CPU, but perhaps would have been wise.

    Perhaps they could do with actually running some form of advertising campaign, and making sure that high street shops actually sell their consoles and games.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    I think the Wii U could be potentially saved by the indie community. Seriously! The AAA game studios have all pretty much been churning out the same tired crap for years now, whereas the indie scene has rocketed in popularity due in no small part to the fact that they innovate.

    A huge problem the Wii U is having is finding it's identity. From what I have seen (which admittedly isn't a lot, I only know one person IRL who owns a Wii U) the tablet/pad is totally wasted. Nothing has been done to justify the added expense that thing adds to the console, and the fact that you can only hook one up to the Wii U at a time (last I checked anyway) is beyond a joke - did Nintendo miss the fact that people love to play games together? Hell, the Wii was pretty awful without friends!

    If Nintendo open up the console to indie devs, just think of the weird and wonderful things they'll try doing with that thing. They won't all be a success and some will lack some polish, but they will almost certainly end up with a few truly innovative titles that aren't possible to create on any other platform - they'll have titles that make you want to own a Wii U.
    Last edited by LosOjos; 8th May 2014 at 09:04 AM.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    The problem with the indie community is that they represent the polar opposite of Nintendo's locked in licencing model. Sony have pretty much beaten both MS and Nintendo to the punch in embracing indie developers. And besides, Amazon Fire does it better - a problem even Sony are going to face. Sure Ouya wasn't an outright success, but iOS and Android still dominate. Fire TV seems to be winning hearts and minds, an updated Apple TV can't be far off. It's hard to see how embracing indie will do do much to turn around Nintendo's fortunes.

    What is it? The key to business success - diversification. Nintendo are a single product company being hit from all sides by companies that can do it better, and many with deeper pockets.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    It's hard to see how embracing indie will do do much to turn around Nintendo's fortunes.
    Because Nintendo, since the Wii, have been relying on gimmicks to make them stand out from the crowd. The Wii brought us the first really usable motion controls (offerings such as EyeToy before it were pretty dire), the 3DS gave us a 3D screen we could use without glasses, the Wii U gave us... well, a tablet essentially.

    The way I see indie helping to save the Wii U is that indie devs don't have a huge payroll they need to meet, they don't generally have investors to please, they're usually just a group of people who love games and are happy to take a risk. If it fails, they don't care, they made a game! If it succeeds, it's often because they took some gaming stereotype and flipped it on it's head, or they breathed new life in to an old genre. I really do think fresh minds getting a hold of Nintendo hardware could work wonders for them and some imaginative souls out there may well come up with a justification for these gimmicks and create something that uses them so well, you'll want to know why your PS4/XB1/Vita can't do that.

    Clearly, Nintendo aren't managing on their own!
    Last edited by LosOjos; 8th May 2014 at 09:17 AM.

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    CAM
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    Nintendo are already in the process of opening the Wii U to indie devs. I think you need to have published a game before to get a devkit though.

    As for the tablet, it is capable of supporting up to two according to pre-launch marketing materials but no games currently support more than one tablet because they are very expensive to produce and are not sold separately as a result. If it breaks, you are screwed unless you can use a Pro Controller (which are quite good with a massive battery life!). Personally I think the tablet is a millstone around the console's neck. I rarely use it as I play with the Pro Controller where possible and it sits there draining battery and encouraging poor development. The Amazon streaming app is a prime example of how not to develop for the console as the pad just sits there with the screen on wasting battery and you can't control it with the Pro Controller when it eventually dies.

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    I personally don't think the Wii U (and the 3DS) are savable at this point and they need to start focusing on their next console and handheld. But, before they do, they need to realise that they are at a crossroad and the way they choose to go will define their future in the industry. Personally, I think they have 2 options:

    Option 1: Take on Sony and Microsoft at what they do best. Design a powerful gaming console and bring the gamers the games they want such as CoD, GTA, FIFA etc. With the addition of favourites like Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda and other Nintendo exclusives, they may actually give the "big two" a decent challenge.

    Option 2: Stick to their bread and butter of releasing a lower end console compared to the Playstation and Xbox, but do it cheaper, much cheaper!

    For Nintendo, option 2 seems the most likely. The problem here is that the Wii did well on initial sales, because of it's price. It's innovation on the motion sensor tech did great to aid these sales, but it targeted the very casual gamer. As soon as they got bored of Wii Sports, they didn't really bother going out to buy another set of games and the Wii sat in a corner and got forgotten about. Nintendo took the initial sales as a sign that people wanted another Wii with more features, but that really wasn't the case and the Wii U was far too expensive for what it offered.

    I personally can't see them going down the route of option 1, which is a shame because I think this is what made the N64 popular in that it was a decent enough rival to the PS1. They need to stop trying to over innovate. No one wants Nintendo's take on social networking on the 3DS, for that the majority have Facebook or Twitter. No one wants an expensive handheld gaming device, for that they already have iOS, Android or WP8. If Nintendo aren't gonna take on Sony & Microsoft, the only way forward is going down the route of creating a decent console and a decent handheld (Get rid of all the 3DS business that hurt everyones eyes and bring back the Game Boy!) and selling it at a much cheaper price. Get the Nintendo titles on it that everyone loves and get the indie developers in to help boost the games. It's not the strongest of business plans, but it's the one that Nintendo will most probably go for. Failing that, the only way forward for them really, is down the same route as Sega.

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