Thursday, June 09, 2011

Nintendo May Have Made a Big Mistake

Nintendo is headed for trouble. Recently, the Kiyoto gaming giant has made a series of missteps. First, Nintendo released the DSi in April of 2009. Less than a year later came the DSi XL (released in March of 2010). Almost exactly a year later the 3DS was released. In the period of 2 years, Nintendo released 3 handheld systems. For people who upgraded their DS Lites to a DSi, they couldn't be too thrilled about this. Surely, not many of those people will buy a 3DS anytime soon. Nintendo should have skipped the DSi altogether. It was a pointless system, with Nintendo knowing the 3DS was right around the corner.

Speaking of the 3DS, not only did it come out too soon after the DSi, but it came out at a ridiculously high price. Not many DSi owners will fork over $250 for a new system. And it is hard to believe many families who own a Wii and a DS and in many cases, multiple DS systems, would be willing to pay more money for another system. Nintendo has glutted the market for it's own fan base. Between the home console, the handhelds and all the peripherals people have bought for their Wii, I feel the timing is completely wrong for Nintendo to be asking for more money. I have a feeling the 3DS sales will get weaker and weaker with each passing month.

And now, 3 months after the release of the 3DS, Nintendo has shown the world the Wii U. No price was announced, but after seeing it's 6.2" touch screen controller, it looks like the Wii U will be at least $300. By the time the Wii U is released, it will be the most expensive console on the market. There will of course be fantastic first party games. Nintendo never disappoints there. But what about 3rd party games? I have a feeling that despite being the most powerful system on the market, the Wii U will most likely be getting ports of Xbox 360 and PS3 games with some silly touch screen play tacked on. Why will the Wii U be getting ports? The 360 and PS3 will both be cheaper and have a much bigger installed base than the Wii U. Developers will follow the money and create games for the most popular systems. It appears the Wii U may follow in similar footsteps as the Wii as far as developer support. There are a lot of developers showing support now. But it will be difficult for them to create games strictly for the Wii U with it's initially small installed base compared to the other 2 systems.

And then there is the question of the Wii U's controller. First off the size is ridiculous. It is huge. Good luck playing for an hour or more without your hand cramping or getting tired. And you can forget about small children using it. It also seems likely that you will only be able to use 1 touch screen controller per system. Why would any developer waste any time creating a game that uses more than 1 touch screen controller when no one will be able to afford getting a second controller. So this leaves multiplayer games being 1 person using the touch screen controller while everyone else uses the Wii controllers. Obviously, the person using the Wii U controller will have a much different experience than people using the old Wii controllers. Who wants to play a game where 1 person gets to do cool things with the new controller while everyone else is saddled with the old controllers. But maybe once their hands get tired of holding the gigantic controller, they will be glad to pass it off to someone else.

If Nintendo isn't careful, they will alienate their fan base with too many expensive systems. And considering the economy is in terrible shape with no end in sight, I am not sure what they are thinking.