Last week, I woke up and did my usual morning routine: bush my teeth, take a shower, and check my RSS. And much to my surprise, I read an article stating that Nintendo has lost 489 million dollars in the first quarter and projected a profit of 257 million in 2012, one-third of previous estimates. Not only that, but Nintendo’s newest handheld, The 3DS, is seeing a whopping 80 dollar price drop, a few months after its release. What the hell is going on?
The 3DS is mostly to blame. Nintendo was hoping their new handheld will lead them through the year, but the sales were far less than what they expected. As a company who makes a large majority of their profit on hardware, when they’re not selling much of anything, they're hemorrhaging money.
Before The 3DS, Nintendo flooded stores with multiple iterations of the same product like the DS Lite, DSI, and DS XL. Because marketing is focused on children, kids pester their parents about these “new” handhelds. Now, instead of dealing with children, Nintendo had to convince their parents, who (I can imagine) aren’t necessarily thrilled about another expensive piece of plastic. But where The 3DS failed miserably was in the game department, having a very lackluster launch. A Nintendo product without Mario is like golf without Tiger Woods. And like many have talked about before, Nintendo faces a changing market, where adults and children have IPod Touch’s and IPhones.
But I personally think Nintendo could have succeeded. It was the poor games that put the nail in the coffin. If there had been a Mario game or a NEW Zelda game, I think it would have done much better. Let’s face it, first party exclusives and Pokemon is all anyone cares about. But I honestly hope they’ve learn something from this. It takes more than a gimmick to win consumers in 2011. It takes freakin good games!