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Not-so Super Mario – crisis at Nintendo?

Nintendo’s stock plummeted 18% overnight as their forecast was slashed from a 55bn yen (£322m) profit to a 25bn yen (£146m) loss. Citing the failure of the WiiU and lack of game sales, the company now faces a huge uphill battle to salvage anything from this catastrophic situation.

MarioNSMBWii

Being such a prestigious and globally renowned company this will shock many, although the reasons for this failure are abundantly clear.

Nearly every gamer will have had some kind of experience with Nintendo games and consoles. Mario is a worldwide cultural icon decades after his game was released; although herein lies the problem,
Nintendo’s business model is stuck in the past. The widespread rejection of novelty devices like the Kinect and Playstation Move should be enough proof to show that gamers aren’t interested in this kind of gameplay.

The astounding success of their competitors – which don’t base their games around motion control – should also be a clear warning to Nintendo, who seem fixated on creating gimmicky consoles which are fun for a couple of hours but ultimately prove unviable for the vast majority of gamers.

Nintendo attempted to provide a different kind of controller which could revolutionise the way we played games, but unfortunately they ended up trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.

They repeated the same mistakes with the WiiU, providing the clunky tablet-controller which didn’t improve the experience.

Software also seems to be a problem for Nintendo. Universal accounts still don’t exist, which means that online purchases are tied to consoles instead, so if consoles break and aren’t repaired, that’s all the purchases gone forever.

It is quite incredulous to think that this is still the case in 2014, when universal accounts are the norm on every other system for this exact reason.

Another issue is the games. Nintendo release constant iterations of previous successful titles, almost every year there are new Pokemon, Zelda and Mario games, and it has been this way for far too long.

These still make for good games, but a new IP would be a refreshing change and might even see the creation of something as successful as these classic franchises.

Nintendo have also taken a draconian stance on online uploads of their gameplay; actively discouraging the free publicity it provides and alienating those who simply wish to share their experience.

Even things as simple as their naming choices are strange and confusing. Take for example the Wii and the WiiU. Many people still don’t realise these are two completely separate machines, with the name implying that the WiiU is some kind of add-on.

There is no one simple solution to this problem and a massive overhaul is needed for Nintendo to salvage this position and restore themselves to former glory. Instead of trying, and failing, for pariah status, maybe analysing why the Xbox One and PS4 have achieved such eminence, and taking some hints, might give them the same success.

28/01/2014

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samemsley



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