I’m not going to lie, seeing Nintendo floundering as they have recently makes me sad. This is a company that was a part of so many of our childhoods that just can’t seem to figure out how to pull themselves together. Bloomberg is reporting that Nintendo has posted an even greater 4th quarter loss than analysts forecast, even after slashing expectations significantly.
The world’s largest maker of video-game machines had a net loss of 33.4 billion yen ($329 million) in the three months ended March, compared with the 27.9 billion-yen loss analysts had estimated. Nintendo’s Germany-traded shares dropped.
Nintendo has a history of making forecasts and cutting them later. The company forecast in October operating profit of 100 billion yen for the year ended March, which it later revised downward to a 35 billion yen loss. The company in January lowered its annual sales forecast to 2.8 million Wii U units from 9 million and cut in half its projection for Wii U game sales.
Bloomberg points to an increase in gaming on mobile phones, though I’d be more inclined to blame a distinct lack of 1st party titles for their systems. In several gaming circles that I’ve frequented over the better part of the last 10-15 years, most everybody had a Nintendo console – myself included. Most may not have claimed that Nintendo was their primary console, but most everybody had one due to the stellar quality of Nintendo’s 1st party games.
3rd party developers have long-since abandoned Nintendo’s generally under-powered hardware in favor of the behemoth gaming machines created by Microsoft and Sony. In order for Nintendo to begin trending back upwards, they really need to start releasing more 1st party games. These titles are almost always system-sellers.
We may see Nintendo get a shot in the arm with the upcoming release of Mario Kart 8, and a new Super Smash Bros game later this year, but to really capitalize they’ll need to do better. I don’t need to see an annual Mario Kart release as we seem to see with some other game franchises, but I’d also prefer to wait less than 4-5 years for a new Metroid, for example.
I truly hope Nintendo can figure this out, as gaming just wouldn’t be the same without them.