Nintendo: 'If We Stay In One Place, We Will Become Outdated'

Despite the success of the 3DS, Nintendo still managed to trundle towards its third straight annual operating loss. Sales of the Wii U in overseas markets appear to be the culprit and Nintendo President Satoru Iwata is bearing the brunt of this news. "If we stay in one place," he said, "we will become outdated."

Nintendo had initially estimated it would sell 9 million units of the Wii U in the year to march, but has subsequently slashed that forecast to 2.8 million — a sizeable readjustment. Satoru Iwata in response stated that he had misread the market. Nintendo needs to change, he informed investors, and propose something that "surprises" customers.

The Wii U has struggled since launch, but in the wake of a year of quality releases from Nintendo, it's struggling to reverse the tide and its share price is falling. The 'Nintendo is doomed' narrative is moving from the forums to investing circles, with many asking if Nintendo should be experimenting with different models such as free-to-play or mobile gaming. Iwata seemed to suggest that Nintendo may be on the brink of some sort of change within its model — Iwata is said to be considering a "new business structure" but neglected to mention what the structure would look like.

Iwata is said to be taking a pay cut in response to Nintendo's issues, but won't be stepping down as the company's President.

Nintendo Sees Loss on Dismal Wii U Sales [WSJ]


Comments

    The success of the most recent Zelda game might shed some light on Nintendo realising that they don't always have to hold our hand.

    That, and killing friendcodes.

    Nintendo has had a massive opportunity sitting on their doorsteps for a while now, and only if it is done right, does it have the potential to be a game changer.

    Pokemon MMO.

      I can't even comprehend how much money they'd make if they could successfully pull that off.

      I just don't think Nintendo have it in them. Not just their woeful inexperience with all things online, but their design process doesn't seem to lend itself to a constantly updated and evolving MMO.

        Do MMO's really make all that much money though? I imagine that even if they sold as many copies as they did for XY a lot of the profits would be offset by things like server costs, further maintenance costs for updates, new content, etc.

          Subscriptions are supposed to cover these things and some.

      It's always the elephant in the room, isn't it? Something that seems so obvious and it would not take much to be amazing and likely one of the biggest MMO's ever. Pokemon consistently sells about 20 million for each pair of games. I would be very surprised if they couldn’t surpass this and hold on to a large chunk of them for at least a year and probably a quarter or more for several years.
      Yet Nintendo keep ignoring it. I wonder why.

        Would a Pokemon target market really be up for subscriptions or microtransactions?

          I started playing pokemon back in the days of red and blue and I would bet that I am not alone, I reckon the average age of pokemon fans (as much as we don't like to admit it) is around mid to late 20s who probably have the wherewithal (I so rarely get a chance to use that word) to maintain a poke-mmo subscription. It would likely be successful if they launched it.

            Started with Red/Blue when I was 8-9? I don't remember, I was in grade school. Now 27 own all the main series games, and some of the off series. Even when I played through X/Y and got bored of the new pokemon not being gengar, I still know that I will buy and play through the next. Will probably always love the games and while I steer away from MMO I would without question buy/subscribe to pokemon mmo. It'd have to be SO terrible for me not to.

          I don't know, but probably. The average age of pokemon players is likely rising.

          Either that or they end up going the Skylander toy route or charging microtransactions for certain items. They'll still be rolling in that moolah.

            They tried Skylanders with the Wii-U Pokemon Rumble game. It didn't work (probably also aided by the fact the game was not very good).

        I think it'd be killing the franchise to make it a MMO. Those 20 million sales per game vanish because you can't really release both the game and the MMO. MMOs aren't satisfying long term. You end up drip feeding players over years instead of offering substantial packages every year which leads to boredom and MMO fatigue. You end up focusing on trying to keep the players you have by forcing them to commit to continuing playing, then when they finally leave they never come back because they feel like they've played it before.
        Suddenly instead of making a box that has something for everybody you've got to make a gym sized patch every month that has something for everybody or else large chunks of your player base feels left out. You leave people out and they'll go play something else, and again you struggle to get them back. You've got to continuously make content that satisfies both casual players and the IV bred, beneficial nature, EV trained, perfectly structured team players.

        The way it works now is much better. X & Y are a Pokemon MMO ARG, and the Poke Bank/potential to patch the games should open up the side games to play a much more important/interesting role in supporting the main series. You can do that with a MMO, but the playerbase will get upset because they feel they're being forced into buying additional content.

          Yeah, pretty sure WoW means we'll never see another Warcraft RTS game. It basically killed that version of the franchise dead.

            Eh, I wouldn't go that far. Blizzard has always been strong about resisting the urge to make a sequel when they feel that they don't need to, because they don't think it needs to be made, or because of demand.

            Starcraft 2 came out, and they didn't convert Diablo into an MMORPG. Warcraft 4 is probably on the table, but they won't mention anything about it until they feel that they are ready to announce it and that they want to deliver it.

            Or do you want another Ghosts?

              *cries*
              Starcraft Ghost needed to exist! Nova! Nooooovaaaaaaa

              You are a horrible person for ever bringing up Ghost. -1 internets from you.

              *Sobs in the corner*

    Brilliant, Mark.

    No scorn, no cow-towing, straight-up and to the point.

    This is the single most informative and concise thing I've read on this subject since it broke.

    That's all, just wanted to say cheers.

      Thanks man. Was going for that. Nice that someone noticed!

    Nintendo wants to "surprise" its customers? That's all we ever ask for!
    Don't get me wrong, New Mario U, Pikmin, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart, Smash Bros... They're all great. And I'll be first in line to buy them. But there's nothing NEW here. Like, NOTHING. They're just like upscaled add-ons to games from years ago.
    Surprise us, Nintendo. Please, for the love of Yamauchi, SURPRISE US!!

      I remember when Nintendo surprised us with the Metroid Prime series.

      ...then they gave the series to Team Ninja where they did nothing but throw in assets from Super Metroid.

      Hyrule Warriors wasn't a surprise? Wonderful 101 wasn't a surprise? Bayonetta 2 exclusive to the Wii U wasn't a surprise?

      Also there are currently four new IP's being worked on by senior Nintendo staff, one of which Miyamoto is making and he will be announcing his new game sometime this year.

      Last edited 20/01/14 3:51 pm

        None of those games are massive software sellers. Sure their trying something 'new' but it's not fresh. Miyamoto's game may be but that should sell on reputation alone. They need to address the lack of 3rd party games. It's frustrating that I have to turn off my Nintendo console n turn on another to play games like dark souls, gta5, any relevant sports game, gt5, these games are forever linked to PlayStation minus the sports games n gta. Nintendo games alone are not enough for the average gamer.

        Also steam has done a wonderful job of holding the indie market, where are you Nintendo? There's plenty of titles that look like snes games perfect for the e shop.

        Oh, I'd imagine the 3ds gets a massive library due to a relatively low cost. Ever since the gba took off their handhelds have had a better library than their console brethren.

        So many things I can go on about

    New business structure? They'll probably look at what the big players are doing these days and come to the conclusion that what they really need is a whole shitload of microtransactions in all their games going forward.

    We will be a success again... Eventually... *bows* Please Understand.

    Its really easy Nintendo.....
    Create a 'next gen' console

    *cough*a new first party IP*cough*

      *cough*full selection old first party launch game
      would also probably have done the trick

    Nintendo is pretty bad at learning from its mistakes, the vagueness of what iwata is saying doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

    Last edited 20/01/14 3:13 pm

      I suspect that's because while they've come to the realization that they have to change, they probably haven't yet come up with a solid plan for what that change will look like.

        I suspect the're not even sure what needs to change.

        Last edited 20/01/14 4:08 pm

    Here's your to-do list, Nintendo:

    1/ Get a proper, functioning, unified account system. Not this NNID shit that does absolutely nothing.
    2/ Region locking. Just don't. This does not benefit anyone, anywhere, ever, and never will.
    3/ Get more of your back catalog (SNES, NES,GC, GBA) onto VC, for WiiU and 3DS. Seriously. You are sitting on an actual, virtual gold mine, yet you just don't release most of it. Majority of the gaming world would throw an entire monthly paycheck at you for some of these games, yet you don't release them.
    4/ Do whatever it takes to get 3rd party titles on your systems. Most of us have plain had enough of more fucking Mario and Zelda, and did so a very, very long time ago. Some of us haven't, but you need more than those that haven't to remain profitable and relevant.
    5/ Whilst doing all of the above things, make sure you still partially remain the stubborn, backwards Nintendo we've always known, because it keeps you different to Xbox and Playstation. Continue marching to your own beat, just not at the expense of common fucking sense, which feels like what you're doing now.

    Last edited 20/01/14 3:26 pm

      Couldn't agree more. I've been optimistic about Nintendo's strategy at every turn but based on those recent sales figures and hearing Iwata finally say they need to "change" I'm a little panicked about what they'll do next. I still see them as being financially secure for a while yet but with a drastically changing console landscape they really need some big ideas for their platform, not just games. Seeing SteamOS on the horizon just makes me even more nervous for them.

        I honestly wouldn't perceive Steam Boxes and SteamOS as a threat. They're still PC gaming, and separate to consoles, in my eyes.

        Nintendo, from what I understand has an incredible amount of money behind them, which is how they've weathered major fuck ups in the past, and they'll do so again. The issue is that people are just getting tired of their shenanigans. They make some really stupid decisions in the past, and I don't think they've truly had to wear the consequences before.

        The biggest one was sticking to cartridges with the N64 when everyone else was going CD. Sure, cartridges have basically zero load time, but absolutely bugger all storage - hence them losing people like Squaresoft to Playstation, who were embracing CD, and the room to make amazing cutscenes, soundtracks, and the like. Yet they survived, and even evolved into the Nintendo we know today - not competing directly with Xbox and PS, and carving their own niche out. The Gamecube was that first step on Nintendo really just 'doing their own thing'.

        It's not enough anymore though. The 3DS isn't enough. They really need to listen to the consumers and make some much needed changes. I honestly thought the WiiU was a stepping stone to them doing such things. Sure, it was dated by hardware standards, but could house stuff like ME3, Darksiders II, and Arkham City. I honestly thought this was Nintendo trying to finally become relevant again. But then the WiiU just turned out to be another Nintendo exclusive console. Also plagued with a lack of account system and some multiplayer stuff.

        I have two 3DSes and love them to bits. I grew up with Nintendo in the 80's and 90's, and was pure Nintendo until Sony seduced me as a teenager with the PSX and stuff like FFVII and MGS. I want them to do well. I want them to stick around.

        At least Iwata acknowledging there's an issue is a pretty big step. It's not like them. Normally Nintendo just soldier on, and act like nothing's wrong. Just remains to be seen what they plan on doing to fix it.

      If 4 happens 1 will follow. Agree with you tho. Frustrating to watch each Nintendo gen unfold. They also need to at least have hardware that makes porting games easy or at least make the specs able to run next gen games with minimal effort. I don't care if it's the weakest of the three cos no console with ever match a dedicated pc game for graphical fidelity

    Nintendo needs to go back to its routes and start bringing Jrpg's back to the western world as another article on here said why not go into one of the following and or many others

    Mana Series ( with an actual story line none of this world of mana stuff)
    Chrono
    Perhaps support the tactics kick starter

    They need to focus on hardcore nintendo games of old rather than trying to be the family friendly platform.

    "If We Stay In One Place, >Wii< Will Become Outdated" Fixed that.

    Money-making brainstorming:

    1) Pokemon MMO. Like... duh.

    2) Competitive hardware that isn't the Fisher Price console - if not possible, then at LEAST competitive pricing. Really can't have it both ways.

    3) Get over the fear of letting people talk to each other online. There's no excuse for the tortured abomination that is Nintendo's fumbling attempts to make use of the Internet while also being terrified of it and keeping it at arm's length.

    4) Not only acknowledge that competitors exist, but examine what they're doing and steal the good bits. And this does include the online capabilities.

    5) Make ALL the SNES back-catalogue available for purchase, download, and emulation. Instant $$$$. Consider converting/creating HD remake/ports of the most popular 3DS games for use with the WiiU.

    6) Court 3rd-party developers, especially indies. Get HD ports of already-released smash-hit 3rd-party titles - even from other platforms.

    7) Less ridiculous console naming.

      8) Release a 3DS adapter for the Wii U. They're made for each other yet nobody at Nintendo seems to want to respond to the 'the touch screen is a stupid gimmick!' complaints with 'remember when you said that about the Nintendo DS before you played it?'.

      9) Release the Gen III Pokemon GBA games with one way Poke Transporter compatibility. No need for FR/LG/R/S/E remakes, just make it so that the Poke Transporter app can read GBA Virtual Console save files the same way HG/SS/D/P/Pl could read them from the cart slot.

      10) Release some smaller, cheaper/free, first party Wii U titles. When you get a Wii U out of the box you need to feel like there is stuff to explore. A half dozen slightly bigger than a tech demo apps would do.

      11) Not to dwell on Pokemon, but why the hell is YouTube on the Wii U but Pokemon TV isn't on the Wii U or the 3DS? Same for Pokemon TCG Online. I can understand putting it on the PC, but exclusively PC?

      12) Battalion Wars need a Wii U sequel. The controls are back where they need to be and the touch screen would actually be helpful as opposed to BWii's bastardised Wii remote controls.

      Addendum to #5, actually price those old games competitively. Nintendo has a vastly overinflated opinion of what their outdated games are worth. It's what, $10-15 for a N64 game on the eShop? The prices they charge for those games are insane.

        Oh, yeah. Let's not see a repeat of the squenix attitude toward mobile games.

    Get second / third party games like MGS 5, GTA, Uncharted, etc. Then ill consider buying a Nintendo system again..

    Last edited 20/01/14 7:20 pm

    "If We Stay In One Place, We Will Become Outdated"
    Ha Ha Ha Ha!
    Took ya long enough!

    Some sage like advice there from Iwata.

    Pokemon MMO = print money
    3DS/Wii U Hyrbrid which can be both mobile and stream to TV = Print money
    An online system that works = a good start.

    Didn't touch it after i got burnt with the Wii.

    I guess they overestimated the market to forget.

    Being 'different' is what got them nto this pickle. WHat they need is a machine with specs to keep up with the competition and an SDK that would allow games like CoD, BF, to be ported easily.

    I remember growing up you either had a SNES or a MegaDrive, but not both (unles you were that punk-ass rich kid who had a pool and a house with aircon), whereas these days having a nintendo usually is usually just a gimmick toy you buy cos you have some spare cash but don't intend to play too much.

      These days having a Nintendo is usually because you are a fan. Look how many they have sold.

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