No doubt about it, Nintendo is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. It's been a very successful company for decades, and continues to be one of the top in its industry. So why is the WiiU not succeeding as planned?
An interesting article came out this week, outlining the fact that Nintendo may have to stick with software instead of pumping out consoles in the future. But the question remains, what happened to Nintendo? A few factors could be responsible, and we'll take a look at some of them below.
Hardware and Software:
First off, when Nintendo started out, there wasn't a whole lot of competition at the time. The games were groundbreaking, using the best that technology had to offer. At the present, this is debatable. Nintendo, while still pushing out games with seriously good graphics and game play, doesn't necessarily have the best in the business anymore. Microsoft's XBox and Sony's Playstation have long been debated as having the best graphics, and more complexity to their games, while the PC still has the best graphics overall, and sometimes better game play mechanics.
Not only that, but Nintendo's hardware (while still impressive) is also lacking behind its computer counterparts. The WiiU sports an awesome controller with a touchscreen to interact with the console during the selection process and game play. However, XBox 360 has the Kinect, which requires no controllers (although sometimes it's glitchy with its interaction with the player), and Extreme Reality has come out with a full body motion sensor for use with PC and other platforms. The PC in of itself has so many peripherals there's too many to list, a lot of which are surprising in their advanced technology.
The reason that Nintendo lacks in this area is the reason it's almost always been ahead in another: Price. Nintendo has always thought of the customer, and they know that price is a huge deal-breaker when it comes to options in entertainment. But now, things have changed.
Downloadable Indie Games and Free to Play options:
Nintendo isn't the only company being hurt by downloadable indie and free-to-play games. This has been something the console guys have considered a thorn in their side for awhile and has really been an upset in the gaming industry. Unfortunately for those companies, though, both downloadable and free-to-play have a huge following, and it's growing more by the day.
In the past, indie and free-to-play games were lacking most of what the consoles had. There weren't many options, the game play was simplistic as was the art, the story lines weren't fleshed out (if they even existed), and a lot of them just weren't very fun. In short, you got what you paid for.
All that has changed. With free-to-play games such as 'League of Legends', 'Marvel Heroes', 'MechWarrior Online', and more, gamers are left with a plethora of options, fantastic graphics, awesome game play mechanics, and pretty good stories. All for free, unless you want to purchase some extras. Then there's the indie games. Humble Bundle is wildly popular in its "pay what you feel like" purchasing experience. Steam offers tons of indie games, some of which are very well done, and all under what you would pay for a console game. In this regard, the consoles just can't compete.
Why buy a console game for $50 when you can download five games for that price, or just play for free?
Money Problems and Recession:
With the recession, people rearranged their priorities. Entertainment was usually last on the "to-do" list, since the bills had to be paid. And, that's if you weren't out of work in the first place. Prices of games could almost be considered ridiculous at an average of $50-$60 per game, and they're looking to go even higher with this next wave of consoles. With cheaper games and free-to-play options, those without a lot of expendable income can still enjoy themselves.
When Nintendo dropped the price of the 3DS, sales went up. People just weren't sure if the handheld was worth the original price tag. WiiU will most likely experience the same.
So what of XBox and Playstation? Their consoles are suspected to come out in the near future with price tags of around $400 for the basics, while the WiiU is only $300. It's almost ludicrous to not expect the 720 and PS4 to go the same route as the WiiU. And, now you also have to factor in a couple more entrants to the battle of the console wars.
Specifically, the Steam Box. Steam has already been mentioned above as having a large library of downloadable indie games. But, they also have mainstream games to sell as well. With the release of the Steam Box, there will be new competition in the console wars. Now gamers won't have to limit their PC games to the computer. They can take it to the living room. With this addition to the chaos, will we be witness to the downfall of the big three?
We'd like to hear your thoughts. Why do you think WiiU is failing? Do you think a price drop will help Nintendo, or will it just add to its demise? Comment below, and share with your friends!