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This comes after revisions to its sales and profit through March 2014

Nintendo's new year hasn't been too forgiving, as the company was forced to revise its sales and profit expectations through March. With hard times ahead, the company is realizing that it needs to hop on the mobile bandwagon if it wants to stay alive.
 
According to Bloomberg, Nintendo is considering a new business structure that includes launching games on smart devices such as tablets and smartphones.
 
“We are thinking about a new business structure,” said Satoru Iwata, Nintendo CEO. “Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.”
 
This could be a good move for Nintendo, considering hardcore console gamers tend to stick with Sony's PlayStation or Microsoft's Xbox consoles while more casual gamers have flocked to mobile devices -- not to mention that almost everyone now carries at least a smartphone on their person. 
 
Nintendo has also been pretty stubborn about offering its characters to online mobile games, which the company could profit off of. 
 
But times are getting tight for Nintendo, and it's realizing that if it doesn't make some big changes, it'll sink.
 
Earlier this month, a statement from Nintendo announced that its anticipated Wii U units sold from April 2013 to March 2014 was changed from a previous 9 million to just 2.8 million. This represents a staggering 69 percent drop. 
 
Wii U software doesn't look any better, with sales expectations falling from a previously reported 38 million to just 19 million. 
 
The company also had to revise 3DS sales expectations, dropping from 18 million to just 13.5 million units sold. As for the original Wiis, Nintendo is cutting their sales expectations from a previous 2 million to 1.2 million. 
 
With so many sales revisions, Nintendo is also decreasing its financial forecast, which includes a loss of 25 billion yen ($240 million USD) -- down from a previously reported 55 billion yen profit. 
 
Iwata said the company was unable to take advantage of the weaker yen. Nintendo decreased its planned dividend for the fiscal year from 260 yen to 100 yen. Nintendo revised its foreign-exchange predictions from 90 yen to the dollar to 100 yen, and from 120 yen per euro to 140 yen.

Source: Bloomberg



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It will be over
By Motoman on 1/20/2014 9:09:47 PM , Rating: -1
If Nintendo starts offering it's iconic games/characters on other platforms, it will become Sega. Which is to say, a pallid, dim shadow of what once was a great empire - and for all intents and purposes, be walking dead. Like Sega is now.

If you've been paying attention, I was thoroughly impressed by the Wii. Nintendo blew Sony and MS out of the water in that generation. But the Wii is the Wii U's worst enemy...Wii hit market saturation, and there's not any compelling reason for those consumers to buy a new console. There's nothing they want to do that the Wii doesn't already do.

Personal game devices like the 3DS have all but been supplanted by gaming on smartphones. Nintendo can't do anything about that...the simple fact of the matter is that these days it makes no sense to carry around a Gameboy-thing *and* a smartphone, which can do mobile gaming anyway. Not to mention take care of your mobile music needs (why carry an iPod) as well as basic online tasks.

So the Wii started and ended the casual gaming console market. The mobile handheld market is all but done thanks to the smartphone. So where does that leave Nintendo?

Well...if Nintendo wants to remain relevant as a console maker - the one thing that has defined the company since the start - they have to do one of two things:
1. Find some magic bullet to sell a new round of Wii tech to the casual console consumer.
2. Abandon the casual market and dive back into the "hardcore" gamer market and try to compete with Sony and MS.

#1 seems essentially impossible to me. Maybe I'm not imaginative enough, but I can't really think of anything they could get a new Wii console to do that would compel the existing Wii customer base to want to upgrade.

#2 doesn't seem much better. Nintendo diverged wildly out of this market after the Gamecube - which was a long time ago. The XBox and PS are in mortal combat in this market, with massive amounts of marketshare split between the two of them...a massive consumer base of gamers who don't have any recollection of a time when Nintendo was a top-tier gaming console for "real" video gamers.

And that's a hell of a market to compete in, even for MS and Sony...whose consoles traditionally sell at a loss, whereas Nintendo makes a profit on Wiis. You have to get a big attach rate to start making money...and when you're starting from scratch trying to compete in that market, you'd probably have to blow several billion dollars to even give yourself a chance of getting to the black.

Making a bet like that is very high-risk...and failure means the company is bankrupt. Maybe Nintendo has something up their sleeve to make a go at #1 that I can't think of...

...so OK, maybe releasing Mario games on Android will make them some money. I'm sure it would be profitable. And maybe they could release their properties on XBone and PS4 too...and make money. But I can't shake the feeling that the moment that happens, Nintendo is over as a console maker. All of that is gone...no more hardware. Everything gets canned except a (relatively) small number of developers, and Nintendo just shacks up with Sega and Atari in a crackhouse on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.




RE: It will be over
By amanojaku on 1/20/2014 9:45:16 PM , Rating: 4
I have to disagree with a few statements. First of all, claiming that the Wii U doesn't do anything the Wii didn't due is unfair. The Xbox One and the PS4 don't bring anything new to the table that the Xbox 360 and PS3 couldn't do, other than performance enhancements. Don't talk about software; you can write that for the 360 and PS3.

The Wii didn't start or end the casual gaming market. That market existed before the Wii, and arguably started with arcade consoles in the 70s, which ended in a few minutes so that you had to put in another quarter. The first home video games, ported from arcades, were completed in less than 10 minutes. Pitfall was notable for taking up to 20 minutes, starting the trend towards longer games. It's actually the hardcore market that's new. The Wii didn't end the casual market, either. Instead, it's shifted towards mobile devices, since you can take the games anywhere.

And if you thinks it's a bad idea to port Mario and other classics to Android, iOS, Windows, and even desktop PCs, then you're being shortsighted. Nintendo is selling less of everything, because everything is dependent upon falling hardware sales. It's like Microsoft trying to sell Office licenses for a declining PC base and refusing to port Office to Android and iOS. There are already concerns that Office revenue is being impacted by a lack of mobile offerings, and games are even more susceptible to this.

I agree that Nintendo needs to make a go at the hardcore market if it wants to continue with consoles. And the Wii U isn't a bad step in that direction. It will be easier making a replacement for that than replacing the Xbox One r PS4, giving Nintendo an opportunity to address the shortcomings of its competitors (e.g. not truly HD and no 4K support). Nintendo also needs to simplify its SDK. From what I remember, the hardware is only part of the problem. It is more difficult to program games for the Wii U than for the One and the PS4. This is why there aren't any decent games for the Wii and Wii U.


RE: It will be over
By Motoman on 1/20/2014 9:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have to disagree with a few statements. First of all, claiming that the Wii U doesn't do anything the Wii didn't due is unfair.


I didn't say the Wii U doesn't do anything the Wii didn't do. I'm saying it offers no compelling reason for the Wii owner to upgrade. Which, frankly, is evident in it's lack of sales.

quote:
The Wii didn't start or end the casual gaming market. That market existed before the Wii, and arguably started with arcade consoles in the 70s...


No, the Wii was utterly new and different. In a market dominated in an established norm for what a console was, and who owned one, the Wii showed up and was wildly off-center from the MS and Sony consoles, and sold to people who never had the slightest interest in participating in the very mature console market before.

And now that the Wii created and saturated that market, and apparently satisfied it...it's over.

quote:
And if you thinks it's a bad idea to port Mario and other classics to Android, iOS, Windows, and even desktop PCs, then you're being shortsighted...


I noted that it would be profitable. And I'm sure that Nintendo could ride along on it's games for, well, maybe ever. Like Sega. And Atari. The point I made is that what remains won't be Nintendo anymore. Just like Sega isn't Sega anymore, and Atari isn't Atari anymore.

I actually don't think Nintendo should try to re-enter the hardcore market. I think they'd blow all the money they have left and fail.

I'm not even saying I have an answer. I guess that probably all I'm saying is that it really sucks to be Nintendo right about now. They're all but f%cked.


RE: It will be over
By barleyguy on 1/21/2014 2:07:59 AM , Rating: 4
Oh, yeah, they are f*cked. At their current burn rate they can only survive another 38 years.

I agree that Nintendo needs to make some adjustments, but you need to consider that have over $9 billion in cash on their balance sheet. A $240 million loss is less than 3% of their nest egg.


RE: It will be over
By Motoman on 1/21/2014 12:56:46 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
but you need to consider that have over $9 billion in cash on their balance sheet.


If you'll notice, I mentioned that they'd have to burn billions of dollars to try to even start to compete with MS and Sony for the hardcore console market...

How many billions you ask? Well, apparently MS is losing about $2 billion on XBox per year:

http://www.destructoid.com/analyst-microsoft-losin...

...and this is during the time when MS owns a massive chunk of the very-mature hardcore console market. Nintendo would basically be starting from zero.

...so how long do you reckon that $9 billion would last them?


RE: It will be over
By nikon133 on 1/21/2014 3:02:50 PM , Rating: 2
Does this $2 billion a year considers only consoles themselves, or is everything else included in the picture - MS's piece of games sales, Xbox Live subscription, renting/streaming media..?


RE: It will be over
By Motoman on 1/21/2014 3:48:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"If we start with the overall traditional [Entertainment and Devices Division] business that actually loses money before corporate allocations and back out the nearly $2 billion 95 percent gross margin Android phone royalties, we conclude that Xbox platform plus Windows phone and Skype lose about $2.5 billion per year, and we estimate that the Xbox platform may account for roughly $2 billion of this," Sherlund said. "This is contrary to conventional wisdom, we think investors do not realize how extensive the operating costs are for this business and it is concealed by the hugely profitable Android royalties."


MS reports all their "entertainment and devices" as a single number...which is probably a deft move on their part, as this Nomura analyst has looked behind the curtain and figures that after you take out the wildly profitable Android licensing revenue (which is essentially pure profit), the rest of the stack (XBox, Skype, and Windows Phone) are losing about $2.5B.

The analyst, Rick Sherlund, is a former Goldman-Sachs player and is the head of US Technology Equity Research for Nomura Holdings now. Which is to say, not just some crackpot.

So, while I don't have access to his complete report to see exactly how he came to his decisions, it's rather obvious that the guy has the credentials to back up his assertion. Which is that, as a whole, the XBox platform as a whole is losing about $2B a year for Microsoft.


RE: It will be over
By someguy123 on 1/21/2014 8:42:43 PM , Rating: 2
That is not the "necessary" cost of competition. That is microsoft's own cost of competition. They always pour obscene amounts of money into projects thanks to their losses being offset by windows/office/android license fees.

Notice that it cost them 100 million dollars to design a controller that is almost identical to the 360 controller. They clearly do not have proper oversight.


RE: It will be over
By Da W on 1/21/2014 8:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
NINTENDO CAN KEEP MAKING NINTENDO CONSOLES.

They survived the N64 and the Gamecube. They've been around for more than a century. They can roll around just with their Mario and pokemon derivative products. Fuck just make a pokemon game like Skylander and they will drown in cash.

Their mistake this time was to make an underpowered machine in order to keep it small and silent, and they lost all third party developpers. Sure this company can be bone head.

Imagine the Wii-U with a PS4 heart, keep the Wii-U gamepad, Wii-motes, classic controller (nobody's talking about this one) and Nintendo's exclusive lineup: Microsoft and Sony wouldn't stand a chance. Now that Wii-U is clinicly dead and Xbone/PS4 are in their infancy, who's to say Nintendo can't come back with more powerful (x86) hardware in 2 years?


RE: It will be over
By troysavary on 1/21/2014 9:50:31 AM , Rating: 2
It's not really underpowered. It is a huge step up from the Wii, which was pretty much a Gamecube internally. The WiiU is more powerful than the Xbox 360 and the PS3, and third party devs managed just fine on those systems. Nintendo didn't want a system as expensive as the new gen of Sony and MS consoles.

It is missing some of the iconic games that sold systems in the past for Nintendo. Not sure why they launched with no Smash Bro or MarioKart near ready for release. But they do have games that keep my kids amused, and that is why we bought it. Nintendoland offers them way more than Shooter of the Month 37 would. When I want more "serious" gaming, I have the PC.


RE: It will be over
By Da W on 1/21/2014 11:30:33 AM , Rating: 2
I have both Marios and love it.

But it seems Mario ain't selling consoles anymore. CoD does. Battlefield 4 does.

Mario/Zelda/Pokemon would make the difference if the Wii-U had all the same third party games that XB1/PS4 have.

But Nintendo arrived with an underpowered PowerPC CPU, a decent GPU (AMD 4850 class) angainst both octo-core x86 Jaguar CPU and AMD 7850 class GPU. Now you're a game developper, where will you spend your ressources? I would do XB1, PS4 and a port to PC using over 80% of the same code, and the hell with nintendo. Now, i do like the gamepad, but hey, can't have everything.


RE: It will be over
By nikon133 on 1/21/2014 3:11:14 PM , Rating: 2
But it is.

Hardware is fine for next version of Mario & Co., but with gaming (in general) moving toward more interactive, dynamic-context online games (and MMOs), system with 1GB of RAM to share between CPU and GPU, and extremely limited dynamic storage is severely handicapped.


RE: It will be over
By inperfectdarkness on 1/21/2014 12:48:51 AM , Rating: 1
The last time Nintendo "sold out" we got those god-awful dreamcast Zelda games. No thanks. And the mobile market doesn't hold the answer. Smartphone gamers want cheap $1 thrills. They do not want to shell out $30 for something quality.

I believe there is still a mobile market--although it has shrunk. Parents will still be buying handhelds for their young children...and it's to that market that Nintendo should largely focus on for mobile gaming.

In both the mobile and home console markets, Nintendo can't provide what Nintendo is best renown for...if it can't dictate the hardware (namely peripherals and interfaces). Even trying to market a $50 game on PS or Xbox that requires a proprietary controller (at extra cost) is not going to be a successful business model; and even if Nintendo was able to sell it, it is likely that those interface devices would be poorly implemented into the console itself.

It's a crying shame that the entirety of the market seems to be preoccupied in a dick-measuring contest between PS4 and Xbone, rather than asking the most important question--which of the 3 consoles offers the most POTENTIAL for innovation and gaming progress--the 2 PC clones, or the "underpowered" (not really) standalone?

Tell me again how your gaming enjoyment is somehow hampered by the WiiU's supposed inability to natively render in 1080p?


RE: It will be over
By astralsolace on 1/21/2014 11:00:50 AM , Rating: 2
Except nobody's suggesting that they sell or license out their properties. Only that they develop games for other hardware manufacturers' consoles.

Nobody wants to pay $250 for a Nintendo machine just to play Nintendo's first-party games, and then go back to their PS4/XB1 to play multiplatform games. A lot of us have been doing just that over Nintendo's last few generations, except there are even fewer first-party games out for Wii U than there were for Gamecube and Wii now.


RE: It will be over
By inperfectdarkness on 1/22/2014 5:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
Except that I don't go back to PS or Xbox when I want to play "multiplatform" games. I either fire up steam, or I shrug and walk away.

And why develop for other consoles? Why water-down their offerings so they'll fit in the unimaginative, uninnovative molds that PS and Xbox have?


"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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