I know I’ve said this before, but it’s official now: the time has come for Nintendo, at long last, to kill the Wii U and move into other areas in which it might be able to actually grow its business.
Nintendo earlier this week announced that it’s been forced to slash its Wii U sales expectations by millions of units, saying that it felt the heat from a wide range of players in the market, including Sony and Microsoft. The company also didn’t seem to believe that the world wouldn’t care about the Wii U. Oh, how wrong Nintendo was.
Of course, if you’ve been watching Nintendo for the last couple of years, you’d know that the company is getting awfully good at being wrong. After the Wii’s breakout success carried the day in the last generation, Nintendo didn’t quite seem to realize that towards the tail-end of that period, its sales were on the decline and it didn’t have a compelling reason to give to customers why they should still buy its hardware.
Always the positive flock, Nintendo fans around the globe said that it was simply because Nintendo had sold so many Wiis already. Surely when the Wii U launches, they said, everything will go back to normal.
But those of us who were analyzing the market saw things differently. We saw that Nintendo was stubbornly sticking to casual gaming, and we realized that those casual gamers were going to the smartphone or tablet to get their playing on. We also saw that Nintendo didn’t quite acknowledge or accept that. To Nintendo, it seemed, it was still 1999. And there was no such thing as smartphone gaming.
Finally, after being forced to take such a huge cut to its forecasts, Nintendo seems to be coming around. In fact, the company said that it will evaluate whether it should consider jumping into the smartphone arena with its casual games because, well, that’s where all of the gamers are. It’s also Nintendo’s best chance of succeeding in the marketplace.
I know I’m being extremely critical of Nintendo and its decision-making, but part of my venom is the result of frustration. I’m an old-time gamer that wants to see the old companies do well. I didn’t want to see SEGA get out of the hardware business and I don’t want to see Nintendo go down the tubes (ha… get it?). I’ve waited for years for Nintendo to wake up and realize that the gaming industry is changing. Unfortunately, the company has come to the brink of failure before it’s finally realized that.
The Wii U is a flop. Period. And it’s time for Nintendo to kill it and determine its next move. Maybe the company should offer another, higher-end console to hard-core gamers. Maybe Nintendo should get out of the console business altogether. Heck, maybe Nintendo should just become another Rovio and make games for its franchises on different consoles.
But whatever Nintendo decides to do, it needs to start first with ditching the Wii U, shedding itself of old thinking, and move on. After all, that’s what its customers have already done.