Posted on January 20 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
With as much respect for Nintendo management as I can muster, I think Nintendo’s completely blown it with their second generation Wii strategy. I think they have the mentality that to launch a new [console] they have to retire the old, and I think that’s wrong. I think the right strategy would have been to get a second generation Wii out and keep the old Wii at the same time, and have the second generation be the natural progression upgrade model,” he said. “You don’t see Mercedes stopping production of the E-Class because they have a C-Class… So they should let people start with the Wii and graduate to the Wii 2, and have online functionality and Call of Duty multiplayer on there and compete with the 360. Instead, they’re actually conceding that multiplayer market to Xbox 360 and PS3. They’ve always conceded it, but now with Kinect and Move, it’s a lot easier for people to make 360 or PS3 their starter console.
I just think Nintendo’s blown it; I think by the time they launch [their next console] if it’s Christmas 2011, it’s two years too late, and for sure one year too late. So it’s over – I don’t think they can ever recover. Wii sales will continue to decline and I think Wii 2 will not sell well. And third parties aren’t going to support it unless it’s really similar to a 360… and when I say similar, I mean so that it’s easy for them to port games from 360 to Wii 2. If Nintendo advances the technology, and it’s more powerful than a PS3, then no one’s going to support it. That’s a problem, and so they’re really stuck. If they were going to emulate the 360, which is what I thought they’d do, they should have done that in 2009. And if they’re going to advance the tech, then 2011 is really not the right year. They’re really in between right now.
Look I really respect Michael Pachter as an analyst and I think the work he does both for his main line of work at for Game Trailers with Pach Attack and the others shows he is involved in is brilliant. I throughly enjoy his commentary and generally agree with the points he makes. However, I have to say that what he brings up here, setting my fanboyism aside, is absolutely absurd.
For starters, clearly Nintendo never HAD a second generation Wii strategy. Unlike with Sony and Microsoft, each Nintendo console has introduced something new. NES was what got us going, SNES brought better graphics, but more importantly more buttons on the controller. Introducing shoulder buttons and the now classic four button layout. N64 brought us a joystiq and 3 Dimensional graphic capabilities. GCN brought improved graphics as well as introduced a “second” analog stick (the C-Stick). Wii brought slightly improved graphics with motion controls. Point here is that each generation Nintendo continues to find ways to IMPROVE gaming, instead of “adding power” and calling it good. They seem to innovate mostly with “controls”, but it’s innovation for them non the less. There was no plans, the way I see it, for a second generation, more power, console that is the same thing the Wii is with better graphics.
For all of the Wii’s “sales drops”, it still outsold the Xbox 360 in December – which was the 360’s best selling month ever. Sure, the sales are going to continue to decline, but were entering year SIX of the console life. How much longer can a console really continue to sell once your in year six and approaching astronomical numbers in terms of Consoles sold since the PS2? Yes, we are reaching the point where Nintendo can usher in the next generation of consoles due to it aging some, but that doesn’t mean their plan is Wii 2. It could be a completely different system with ideas we have yet to even think of. That is the Nintendo way.
I think if the 3DS and the new system are able to interact together smoothly, you will clearly see more third party support for the next big Nintendo console. I also think Nintendo knows what they are doing – they’ve been at this much longer than anyone else in the industry. Much respect Pachter, but I just can’t see your logic panning out. Of course the next console is going to be graphically superior with HD, it’s just a matter of that not “being enough” to warrant a new console, which is true. Nintendo will introduce one when the time is right and they feel they have the next great innovation, or an improvement on already created aspects that has yet to be seen on consoles.