If you’ve been paying attention to the monthly sales reports from research firm NPD, you know that Nintendo is having some trouble. The game company, which not long ago dominated the gaming space, is now an after-thought for many consumers. And in turn, the company’s financial performance is slipping.
For its part, Nintendo has kept a brave face, saying that it believes good times are ahead. The company points to increased interest in the 3DS, solid titles launching for that platform, and next year’s launch of the Wii U to make its case.
But those of us who have been watching Nintendo over the last year or so know better: the company is in deep trouble, and its prospects for future success in the game business are not nearly as great as the company would have you believe.
Simply put, times are tough at Nintendo.
But is there a quick fix in sight? Some might say that the Wii U is that fix, but I just don’t see it. As far as we can tell so far, the Wii U looks to be a fine competitor to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. But how will it hold up against the successors to those devices? If I had to guess, not all that well.
I’m also suspect of claims that the 3DS will eventually take off and help bolster Nintendo’s earnings. Unfortunately for Nintendo, 3D just isn’t all that appealing to many consumers right now. What’s more, the 3DS’ 3D effect, while interesting for a while, tends to get old before long and the novelty of the device starts to wear off.
So, that leaves us with software. There’s no debating that Nintendo has the best software library in the world. With Mario, Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and so many other franchises, the games themselves could be Nintendo’s ticket to future success. The only issue is, Nintendo seems to be running out of really neat ideas.
Is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 3D really the best the company can do? Sure, it’s a classic, but is it really something that the vast majority of consumers — including those who currently don’t own a 3DS — really want? I don’t think so.
Although Nintendo fans might disagree with this sentiment, I’m starting to think that the game company’s software is becoming overused. It’s time for something fresh — and unexpected.
Alas, I don’t necessarily believe that there is a quick fix to Nintendo’s problems. The company has too many problems — and too many competitive threats — for it to quickly turn things around. At this point, I think Nintendo will need to spend more than a year trying to fix its ailing business before it can even come close to matching its former place of glory.
The Wii was a wildly popular device for years, and the DS was a portable success, but looking ahead, I just don’t think there’s is much to be excited about with Nintendo’s business.
Don Reisinger is a technology and video game columnist. You can see what he's up to each day on Twitter by following him @donreisinger.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SlashGear