I’ve been a lifelong Nintendo fan. As a young boy, I received the original NES for Christmas and have been hooked ever since. I’ve owned and sold and bought again every Nintendo console there was. I’m currently re-buying them all again as I find the older systems at great prices and rebuilding my library of games.
I’ve never questioned Nintendo and have trusted their ability to stick with their vision and have followed the crowd in buying their products. Case in point, I’m one of the few that pre ordered the Wii U as soon as it was announced. I wasn’t totally sold on the giant game pad or the other features that were displayed at the unveiling, but I trusted their ideas and waited for the product to be released.
I’m a proud owner of the Wii U and LOVE IT! However, the Wii U has not fared well in sales and the forecast isn’t looking great. Their predictions for sales fell far short again this past quarter and I am hoping they can pull the system upright and begin climbing once again. Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Wii U come out this year which I hope will increase sales and give that extra push Nintendo currently needs.
Unfortunately, I fear that Nintendo is having an identity crisis and this is not good news. They tried to compete with Microsoft and Sony by adding more third party titles carrying an “M” rating to the system hoping they would appeal to the hardcore gamer crowds that thrive on the other systems. This didn’t work and now they are struggling to keep their heads above water .
The 3DS is still going strong and after a slow start is leading the way in the handheld industry (although the Vita is rising quickly) and has kept Nintendo in the game somewhat.
Rumor was that Nintendo was going to announce a new Next Gen system at E3 and that had me rolling my eyes and smacking my forehead. We don’t need another system launching right after we threw down major dough for the Wii U. Thankfully the rumor was smothered out quickly and Nintendo has stated they have no intention of doing so.
With all that in mind, here are a few things that I believe Nintendo should do in moving forward:
Stay True to who Nintendo is….
Nintendo is at it’s best when it is being Nintendo. They have always been the oddball company that tries new things with their systems. Sometimes it works and sometimes it bombs. The Wii had runaway success, but the Wii U is struggling. Nintendo has got to rely on the games that we have always loved to pull itself up. The games that have always carried it contain the characters we first started out with such as Mario and crew, Zelda, the Pokemon series, Donkey Kong, and others.
They need to get more titles out with those series in mind. This is where their fan base remains and to keep the natives happy. Nintendo needs to go back to who they were instead of trying to keep up with Sony and Microsoft.
They are the most family friendly system of the three major consoles and they need to stick with some new first party titles that continue this reputation. This is Nintendo’s foundation and they need to keep building on it. Nintendo has tried to keep up with the big boys and they are failing. We need Nintendo to quit worrying about the others and just build a better Nintendo structure with a larger game library for the Wii U and more content that is original, unique, creative and exclusive to the Wii U. I’m crossing my fingers we will hear some of those announcements at E3!
Lower the cost of the Wii U…
They have already cut prices once, but they will need to do so again to stay relevant. I know this is going to keep them in the red financially but in the long run it could help with sales to keep Nintendo relevant to the gaming community. With Microsoft recently announcing the XBOX ONE cutting strings with the Kinect and lowering the prices to $399, this is going to increase the sales of the system. Nintendo needs to follow suit and hope that the market can absorb the financial loss by increasing unit sales. I paid a lot of money for my Wii U and only want to see it succeed. The cost is still too high and numbers don’t lie. People aren’t willing to dish out money for the Wii U when they can get a PS4 or XBOX ONE for close to the same cost. Lowering the cost around the same time as releasing some big name titles and hope to see sales soar!
Integrate the 3DS with the Wii U
This only makes sense. While the game pad was supposed to have this function, the 3DS would be a much better solution as a controller. Plus, you can make games that could interact between both systems, playing on the Wii U but continuing on the 3DS. I recently read an article on GameRant that announces Nintendo entering the NFP arena using Nintendo licensed characters in the same way that the Skylanders and Disney Infinity games have.
One of the key distinctions is that you could use the characters on the Wii U or connect it to the 3DS. This is brilliant and makes more sense as to why Nintendo rejecting partnering with an exclusive deal with Skylanders. I hope to see more of this type of thinking in utilizing the two systems together in the same way that Sony is utilizing the Vita with the PS4. This gives me hope that Nintendo is not giving up on the Wii U but dreaming up creative ways to make the system better.
Take advantage of the Game Pad
The one glaring difference between the Wii U and other next gen consoles is the game pad. Nintendo needs to utilize this equipment more effective in the release of new games. Only a few titles truly utilized the gamepad during game play to add to the experience. Most games only offered the ability to switch from playing on the flat screen to the game pad for convenience. This is the elephant in the room concerning the Wii U. The game pad was that one thing that was supposed to be a game changer but so far it has been a major letdown. I really enjoy the game pad and have used it more than I thought I would, but it needs some software to prove it was worth the gamble and so far nothing has given us that special connection to it.
Nintendo needs New Leadership
This is a tough one to put out there but sometimes new leadership can bring some fresh ideas and a path to the future. President Satoru Iwata is a genius. There is no doubt about that, but I am concerned that he has run the gamut of his success the last 14 years. He was a master programmer coming out with games like Animal Crossing, Mario and the Legend of Zelda and garnered fame by his being a major part of the success of the Wii, but I’m afraid of the direction he is taking the company.
Instead of participating in major events like E3, he has chosen to isolate Nintendo to their Nintendo Direct events which aren’t bad, but it leaves out the majority of gamers he is trying to woo with the Wii U. Those Microsoft and Sony announcements are huge and Nintendo has once again decided not to be a major player at the event. Why? Further isolation will not help the cause, and honestly the last few Nintendo Direct videos have been really strange and far out there. Then there was his recent apology for not including same gender relationships in Tomodachi Life for the 3DS. This disappoints me greatly as Nintendo has stayed out of controversial areas and just made great games, but like much of our modern culture Nintendo is caving to political correctness.
Iwata has done great good for Nintendo but I do believe they need to seek new leadership. His recent appointment last year as CEO of Nintendo America is also concerning as I am not sure he understands the American marketplace. Nintendo has never done as well outside of Japan, but it has never done as poorly either. Sometimes doing the right thing means getting out of the way.
These are just a few things that I propose Nintendo should do if they want to get out of the current nosedive they are in. We will see in the remaining months of 2014 if Nintendo can pull it off or not. As a Nintendo fan boy it doesn’t really matter to me. I’ll stay loyal, but I would really like to see the Wii U succeed and continue to grow.