Nintendo’s admirable sales performance in December, spearheaded by the 3DS, was still not enough to prevent a steep drop in stocks after the company announced negative revisions to the Wii U and 3DS sales projections.
Wii U sales up to Mar. 31, 2014 are projected to reach 2.8 million, a massive drop from 9 million. Not even the Nintendo 3DS could escape the dark cloud hovering over the company, as the successful handheld console is projected to fall from 18 million in sales, to 13.5 during the same time period.
Perhaps it wasn’t solely the shares of the long-time video game giant that caused investors to panic, but maybe the revised business plan Nintendo President Satoru Iwate – who will not resign as Nintendo’s top executive – revealed today that would include a heavier focus on smartphones. This is a bold move to make, especially since Nintendo has been hanging on to its first-party software so tightly over the past few years, even Donkey Kong would’ve had trouble breaking its grip. Now all of a sudden, the possibility of looking over someone’s shoulder on the bus and seeing Mario jumping around on their smartphone isn’t so far-fetched.
Iwata however, has ensured us it’s not going to that simple, and said that offering third-party devices their first-party content would negatively impact the company’s ability to sell its own hardware, a problem Nintendo is having already. The solution doesn’t simply rely on incorporating smart phones to their new business plan. There is plenty of room for their console to grow and expand. This leap was last made with the Wii, and its revolutionary motion-controls. The console didn’t have to completely rely on its first-party games like Mario and Zelda to succeed. The Wii U, despite some fun games and a giant controller, simply fizzled out due to a lack of innovation, and has for the longest time relied on its savior, Mario, to keep it from evaporating all together.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how much longer the 3DS can dominate the market, and whether or not Nintendo will shake things up in a way that will actually yield positive results.