#nintendo 2ds

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!

Darrell Etherington seems to really like the Nintendo 2DS overall, but:

Does that mean they 2DS screens are great? No, and the low resolution relative to today’s modern smartphones and tablets is really beginning to show. Plus, that bottom touchscreen is still resistive, which means that even though it’s tempting to want to tap buttons with your fingers, especially in settings menus, you’ll still need to break out that stylus to get good, consistent results in terms of registering taps.

Both of those things sound inexcusable to me nearly seven years after the capacitive-touch iPhone was unveiled and well over three years since the first retina iPhone launched.

Oh boy. Things seem to be unraveling quickly over at Nintendo now.

There are a lot of arguments as to why this will sell well with young children — and it certainly might. But this is a slippery slope for Nintendo. I view this as the equivalent of Apple releasing a special, unsubsidized, cheap (really cheap, not just lower-cost) version of the iPhone (co-produced by Fisher Price, perhaps?) at $49. They could sell a bajillion of them, but at what actual cost to the company?

When you cede the high ground, it’s hard to take it back. This is a short-term play by a normally long-term company. That’s what worries me.