With more and more criticism of Nintendo’s sales figures flooding in every day, the company are reportedly set to turn things around by making a move to mobile.
The past fortnight at Nintendo HQ must have been an arduous one. After revealing that their latest console, the Nintendo Wii U, had sold just 2.8 million consoles in 2013, missing its sales target by an embarrassing 6.2 million units (Nintendo’s chart topping handheld, the 3DS, didn’t fare much better against their lofty expectations), it seems as if every critic from every blog has been quick to get their pot-shots in, offering ‘I told you so’ jests and plenty of advice in the written form. Amongst calls that Nintendo CEO, Saturo Iwata, needs to step down, as well as suggestions that Nintendo should cut their losses with the ‘hopeless’ Wii U and start work on another game box, one thing that has remained present throughout it is that many are calling for Nintendo to make use of smartphones and now, with a new report, it seems like the Japanese company are looking to heed that advice.
What this report, from respected Japanese newspaper Nikkei, does not say is that Nintendo are making a full jump to smartphones and that the joysticks and Wii Reomtes that you waved about in the original Wii’s heyday are going to be replaced entirely with the unsightly smudges of touchscreens. However, what Nikkei does say is that Nintendo will be bringing ‘free mini games’ to smartphones, making it sound like the famous hardware and software maker are planning on dangling a snack in our faces, hopping that we’ll bite and be forced to buy a Wii U in order to get a real taste. The report also states that Nintendo will be looking to bring Mario, Princess Peach and co. to smartphones before the year is out, and my own presumption is that this will be in Autumn at the latest, ahead of the Holiday buying rush.
Also important to note is the Japanese that Nikkei used in the report. Translated, it specifically says ‘free mini-games’ and not ‘demo’, so while it may sound a lot like a demo to us, what Nintendo in fact may be trying to do is rekindle people’s love of their games and attract new fans to their beloved series, in a sort of ‘if you liked this mini game then you’ll love this full priced title!’ sort of way, especially as the free mini-games are also said to include plenty of info (including release date and pricing) about the full priced games that they’ve have teased. What a mini-game release would also do is keep in line (for the most part) with Nintendo’s much talked about mantra that Nintendo games stay on Nintendo consoles, meaning that even if you download all of those free mini-games, you’ll never get a real experience of a Nintendo game until you fork out the cash and buy one – along with one of their consoles – for real, which seems like a pretty smart way of increasing profits to me.
Nintendo are rumoured to announce their full plans this week, so we’ll keep you posted once we know more.