#nintendo

Kyle Russell:

While it’s nice to see a Nintendo release a faster version of its popular console with better controls, I can’t help be confused by how Nintendo chose to announce it. The New Nintendo 3DS is backwards compatible with older 3DS games, but it will also have its own exclusive titles. Is it supposed to be its own, new device, or not? If it is, I worry that Nintendo is shooting itself in the foot by not coming out with a bigger bang and a new name. This new device is an even smaller incremental jump than from the Wii to the Wii U, and anecdotally, most people I’ve asked over the last few years didn’t realize that those are two different systems.

Everything is just fine at Nintendo. Pay no attention to the weird repackaged half-product releases.

Sam Byford on Nintendo’s latest quarter:

Revenue was ¥74.7 billion ($731 million), an 8.4 percent decrease on the same period last year, for an overall net loss of ¥9.92 billion ($97.1 million). The 3DS handheld continued its decline, selling 820,000 units over the quarter compared to 1.4 million a year ago. Nintendo hasn’t altered its forecast of a ¥40 billion profit for fiscal 2014, and still predicts that it will sell 3.6 million Wii U consoles during the period.

It’s not just that Nintendo keeps losing money, it’s that they keep refusing to own up to the hardships and forecast accurately. Does anyone really believe the company is going to hit those Wii U sales goals?

Or more importantly, the profit goals? I mean, they now have three quarters to earn ¥50 billion because they are already ¥10 billion in the hole for the year…

Eli Hodapp:

As pointed out by A List Daily, in Q1 of 2014, Candy Crush grossed more money than all Nintendo games combined. Sure, that’s easy to rationalize by saying “Well Nintendo didn’t have any big releases and Q4 is where they make all their cash,” but the fact remains, that’s a mind-blowing thing to be able to report. They’re not ahead by a small margin either, King is making 56% more money than Nintendo. King has mentioned in the past that Candy Crush generates 2/3 of their revenue, so, that game alone is beating everything Nintendo did.

Crazy.

Sam Byford:

Nintendo made an annual operating loss for the third consecutive year in 2013, ending up ¥46.4 billion ($457 million) in the red as Wii U sales failed to pick up following the holiday season. The Kyoto company’s net loss was ¥23.2 billion ($228 million). Total Wii U sales now stand at 6.17 million consoles worldwide, meaning that Nintendo sold just 310,000 in the quarter ended March 31st — a 20 percent drop on its performance a year ago.

310,000 for the quarter. Total nightmare.

This is in stark contrast to Sony’s fortunes with the PlayStation 4, which had reached 7 million consoles worldwide as of April 6th; Sony has already overtaken the Wii U despite Nintendo’s year-long head start. The 3DS handheld family sold 590,000 units in Nintendo’s fourth quarter for a life-to-date total of 43.3 million, 2.2 million of which are of the lower-priced 2DS variant.

But, but, but the 2DS was going to be a massive hit! I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about!

Nintendo expects to return to the black in its 2014 fiscal year, forecasting an operating profit of ¥40 billion ($394 million) with 3.6m Wii U and 12m 3DS consoles sold. Shareholders may not take the claim at face value, though — CEO and president Satoru Iwata maintained until January that the company would make ¥100 billion profit in 2013, before backtracking dramatically and predicting a ¥35 billion loss on poor Wii U sales. As it turned out, Iwata underestimated the loss by more than ¥11 billion.

I’m not sure which is crazier: that Nintendo is still giving guidance that everything will soon be fixed — or that they expect everyone to believe their guidance anymore? 

I’m more worried for the company than ever before. Please Nintendo, save yourself!

Natasha Lomas on how the numbers are shaping up so far in the gaming console space:

The thing is neither of these new generation console flagships is selling very well when compared with previous generations of flagship consoles. The console market appears to be shrinking significantly — and that’s evidently having a knock-on impact on games studios and game development.

At this relatively early stage the new generation stacks up as follows: Wii U at 6 million, XB1 at ~4 million and PS4 at 6 million: a total of ~16 million. So only around 244 million to go — just to perform as well as the last generation. But with game budgets increasing a flat console market isn’t a good thing. This new generation needs to be outselling the last, not looking like it’s going to have a really tough time shipping the same.

I hate to say “I told you so” …but, well, I did.

Jon Irwin on the odd Nintendo’s announcements last week:

Their solution? Yet to be fully disclosed. But Iwata dripped tantalizing details that may well flourish into the next unforeseen sensation. In a landscape obsessed with wearable technology, Nintendo hopes to base this new health-centric vision on something called “non-wearables.” The term itself feels like a joke, the nonsensical feint of a sore loser sick of being bullied. Oh you drink water to stay alive? I’ll drink rocks! You breathe oxygen? Ha, I’m going to breathe paint fumes! The future is wearables, you say?… Non-wearables it is! Nintendo, once again, has decided to zag where everyone else thinks it should zig.

Unlike most folks, myself included, he’s bullish. I hope he’s right. I fear he’s not. This sounds like a whole lot of hand-waving to me — and not the Wiimote variety.

Sam Byford on Nintendo’s announcements last week:

If there’s one thing to learn from Satoru Iwata’s 12 years in charge, it’s that you can always count on Nintendo to surprise. At first glance, the company’s much-hyped strategy announcement today was mostly devoid of revelations — yes, Nintendo will develop smartphone apps that may or may not include small games; no, the company won’t be swayed from its conviction that its future lies in creating software for its own hardware, even when that hardware performs as badly as the Wii U has done. But CEO and president Iwata threw a curveball toward the end of his presentation when he announced plans to “take on the challenge of expanding into a new business area.” What followed was an explanation as equally inscrutable in English as it was in Japanese, but it might just be the first hint of Nintendo’s next big thing.

I read through all the coverage of this event and still cannot parse what the hell Nintendo is doing — or planning to do. It sounds like they’re thinking a lot about the connected health space, which is red hot right now and about to get hotter, but not via a wearable piece of technology but rather a “non-wearable”.

Sounds like vapor… ware? We’ll see.

Simpler Games, Simpler Times

Flappy Bird. Flappy. Fucking. Bird.

About a week ago, I was perusing the App Store as I normally do. Much to my surprise, I saw a new king atop the free app charts: Flappy Bird. This was odd to me because I usually feel like I’m paying enough attention to see an app’s rise in one way or another. But not here. The app seemingly rose from 0 to 60 overnight.

Even crazier: the same developer now controls three of the top ten spaces in the App Store with Flappy Bird at number one, Super Ball Juggling at number two, and Shuriken Block at number nine.

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Serkan Toto relaying information from The Nikkei, claiming Nintendo is going to make the following announcements on Thursday:

But Nintendo will not simply put Mario, Pokemon or other games on smartphones. According to the report, Nintendo plans to use Android and/or iOS devices (not confirmed at this point) to market its console games.

To be more concrete, The Nikkei writes that Nintendo wants to use smartphones to expand its potential user base by spreading information about new game releases, i.e. by using video to introduce future titles. (This will probably happen through some kind of official Nintendo app.)

In addition, Nintendo is said to be planning to put so-called “mini games” on smartphones, playable demos of console games – content that can only be purchased in full on Nintendo hardware. The reasoning here is to give smartphone-only players a taste of the experience without making the actual game available on non-Nintendo devices and convert these users into Nintendo customers.

If this is accurate, it will go absolutely nowhere. And it’s actually even more concerning that Nintendo would consider this a “solution”. But it is in line with Nintendo President Satoru Iwata’s previous comments.

I’m not saying Nintendo needs to port all the games to mobile immediately, but there are certainly better ideas out there. This sounds like a lame marketing ploy, nothing more.

[via @viticci]