It’s hoping to change that with its next-generation system, though, and started down that path by announcing a few details about the ‘Nintendo Network’ late last week
Things haven’t been looking especially rosy for the Wii U over the past few months.
E3 crowds were interested in getting their hands on the company’s next generation console last June, but that’s fairly common for new gaming tech. For the rest of the world, the system didn’t seem to have a real hook they could sink their teeth into.
On Thursday, the company announced a loss of $623 million in the nine months that ended December 31, compared to $639 million in profits a year earlier. And the bad news doesn’t end there.
By the time the year ends, the company expects to post an $837 million loss – a much worse number than the $258 million shortfall it had previously predicted.
It was a rapid fall from the top of the gaming hill for the company, hastened by weak sales of the Wii and DS and the tepid reception to the 3DS. Investors weren’t happy, raising some questions about whether president Satoru Iwata’s job might be at risk.
There’s a hard and fast rule in the gaming world: Never bet against Nintendo. That’s still true, despite the Wii’s ugly tumble from the top and the underwhelming rollout of the 3DS – but if you’re a gambler, this might be the time to hedge those bets.
The Wii U, Nintendo’s own next big wager, is likely still more than a year away from hitting stores, but the number of hurdles it’s going to have to clear in order for it to be a success are growing at an alarming rate.
For the first time since its introduction in 2006, the Wii has gotten a facelift. Rather than being designed to stand vertically, the buttons on the new streamlined system are labeled for horizontal placement. It’s a small shift, but one that will make the system easier to integrate with other audio/visual components, like your cable box and other consoles. It’s also one that comes with a hitch.
Ubisoft’s chairman and CEO Yves Guillemot talks to Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris about his company’s early adoption of the upcoming Nintendo Wii U, and about how the new transition means that Sony and Microsoft need “new machines soon.”
When it comes to early adoption, gamers don’t have anything on Yves Guillemot.
The chairman and CEO of Ubisoft has long taken the approach that as a new gaming system approaches, his company wants to be one of the flag bearers for the launch lineup. It did it with the Xbox 360. It did it with the 3DS. And it’s planning to do it once again when Nintendo’s Wii U hits store shelves next year.
[In an interview with Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris, Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata says his company began thinking about the Wii U right after the Wii’s launch, and outlines the firm’s home console and software pricing strategies.]
Hindsight’s a funny thing.
Given the staggering out-of-the-gate success Nintendo saw with the Wii, you might have expected the company to push back its next generation planning for a year or two to focus on ensuring third-party partners understood how best to succeed on the Wii, ultimately extending its appeal in the market.
Nintendo’s Wii U saw plenty of excitement at E3. Lines at the company’s booth for a few moments of hand-on time were five hours long, as people jockeyed to be among the first to tinker with the next-generation system.
But outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the attitude towards Nintendo’s new machine was decidedly cooler — and in the days following the show, things haven’t warmed up at all.