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Nintendo Q3: Wii U games coming summer or later, 3DS leads Japan

Thursday, 31st January 2013 03:47 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Nintendo’s post-financial release presentation to investors discussed the firm’s strategies for bouncing back from a rough quarter, including more and better Wii U games; another push with the 3DS; and a mysterious effort from Shigeru Miyamoto.

Nintendo Q3 FY13

In a financial release yesterday, Nintendo slashed its sales forecasts.

A number of Nintendo games crossed the 1 million sales milestone in the last three months.

Nintendo hopes to work closely with third-parties moving forward, a break from its historic tendency to leave developers to their own devices. It also hopes to promote use of the game Pad, particularly with regards to asymmetrical gameplay.

The 3DS is very strong in Japan, doing well in Europe, and lagging in the US.

We won’t see an official English translation of the briefing for a few days yet, but Japanese industry analyst David Gibson provided rapid fie updates on Twitter.

Iwata opened the briefing by taking personal responsibility for Nintendo failing to meet its forecasts, before moving on to happier topics.

3DS is performing strongly in Japan, accounting for three of the top five best-selling games; Animal Crossing: New Leaf in particular has been lucrative and out-performed expectations. Nintendo noted increased digital sales with Animal Crossing.

Nintendo has noted increased 3DS uptake by female users compared to when the last Animal Crossing released on DS seven years ago. At launch, the 3DS had a 25% female consumer base but during the week that New Leaf launched it held an even gender split.

Things are less splendid in the US; only two 3DS titles made the top 20 for the quarter. US 3DS sales are now -27% lower than Japanese figures, as opposed to previous quarters in which US sales built on Japan’s by two and a half times.

In Europe, Germany and France are the strongest markets for 3DS hardware and showed year-on-year growth. The UK performed less strongly but 3DS is still tracking ahead of DS.

Iwata blamed the lack of software in international markets for the #DS’s lack of popularity overseas, but said the portable is now Japan’s leading platform.

In general, Nintendo laid claim to a number of best-selling titles in various territories: Five out of ten in the US, ten out of 20 in Germany, and 11 out of 20 in France and Spain.

Iwata said the Wii U has failed to deliver a value proposition to consumers. Nintendo is already selling it below cost and has no plans to lower the price further. The firm plans to work more closely with third-parties in the future rather than simply issue licenses.

The executive said it’s now much easier for Nintendo and third-parties to develop on Wii U and the firm intends to keep improving in this regard. He said that the Wii U’s processor is memory optimised and this means its CPU and GPU stats are less important – but noted that higher-powered competitors are no doubt using similar optimisation techniques.

The Wii U now boasts an online connectivity rate of 74%. Nintendo has initiatives to increase use of the Game Pad. one example is Wii Street U powered by Google, a Japan-only release, which has been delayed to mid-February.

More Wii U software is expected from the middle of the year onwards, with particular reference to Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto will ‘change his gaming style’, apparently, and the famed designer said developers have not yet built much uniqueness into Wii U titles.

Iwata said personally the Wii U has become ‘part of his life’ and that it’s the first time a console has been so central to him. He reiterated his belief that cloud gaming won’t replace unique hardware like the Wii U, but admitted that smartphone gaming is now a serious rival to consoles in terms of quality. He said Nintendo will simply up its game and offer better products in response.

One feature Nintendo intends to capitalise on to do so is asymmetrical gameplay, which will feature in Pikmin 3 but will not be used in every game. Iwata said he feels Nintendo needs to better communicate asymmetrical gameplay.

Moving forward, Iwata said packaged goods won’t go away but digital sales will add to them and are the key to growth. He said Nintendo’s platforms hosted 11 billion sales in nine months. NFC will be a focus for the company in the future, but Nintendo won’t have anything to reveal until the end of the yeas.

Nintendo aims to meet new aggressive Japanese targets thanks to current and upcoming releases Monster Hunter 4, Dragon Quest 7, Animal Crossing and Pokemon X/Y.

Internationally, Fire Emblem, Brain Age, Lego City and Animal Crossing are all expected by mid year, plus ten in-house 3DS titles, which may be eShop offerings and third-party offerings like professor Layton.

“It is my mission to improve and make our platforms solid,” Iwata concluded, saying the Wii U will be driven by increased software sales after northern summer.

Nintendo’s announced release schedule is available in the gallery.

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26 Comments

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  1. Telepathic.Geometry

    Ninty’s working hard to regain investor’s confidence eh…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dragon246

    They are definitely doing good. I just hope vita drops in price sooner than later. Another 5 million year and vita will be in shitload of trouble.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. lexph3re

    As long as Nintendo announces some must haves at e3 I will support their growth.

    @2 I know what would jump Vita sales a lot. Tales of games…. Get Namco to put Tales of Phantasia,Rebirth,Legendia,Vesperia, Hearts, Destiny 1 and 2, and Symphonia on Vita and The price won’t even matter to 90% of the people I know.lol

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dragon246

    @lex,
    Thing is, vita not having games is utter bs. I am heavy vita user and still havent played lbp, disgaea,dokuro, p4g, liberation, most wanted and so on. I really think only a substantial price cut will improve vita sales. Sony is widely expected to turn up a profit this year, so I think they should start pushing vita aggressively soon.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Francis O

    @4 Vita has games but none of the game are widespread system sellers. Sony needs system sellers like Monster Hunter, Animal Crossing, Mario, or something like that.

    Now on topic, Good sales for Nintendo, and things will be getting better. A new Mario in the fall Bayonetta,, Pikmin, The Wonderful 101 will help. Its not a sprint, its a marathon.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. lexph3re

    I know it not having games is BS too. But, the real problem I think is not getting established 3rd party franchisers to bring the nostalgia factor. It’s great it has Strangers Wrath, Jet Set Radio, and Ninja Gaiden Sigmas but that’s not enough of nostalgia.

    GR, UC, AC3, RAG, and Disgaea are wonderful on the device (I know I have all except Disgaea yet) but they are all niche games. They have to bring in the nostalgia. Hell give a portable Xenosaga HD collection and that’s a start for the heavy RPG’er.

    Throw Onimusha 1-dawn of dreams and you have more. Strike a deal with Activision to make a Spyro/crash game. Throw Medieval out there too (Looking at you Polygem)

    Nostalgia is honestly what I think the Vita needs more than a price cut. The Vita is the cheapest handheld on the market for the tech that’s in it. Making it cheaper just leaves me with a cloud of doom lingering

    #6 2 years ago
  7. salarta

    I think that overall, Nintendo needs to do a better job of supporting big name or highly acclaimed games that are exclusive to their console.

    When the PS4 and XBox 720 (or Orbis and Django, or whatever is being used) release, there’s a very good chance that most of the important publishers and developers will go back to making their games primarily for those consoles and ultimately ignore the Wii U because they would have to downgrade graphics and account for the uncommon control scheme. Not to mention that the previous generation kind of defined Sony and Microsoft as the place for more serious games and Nintendo as the place for games that are experimental or low hanging fruit.

    Nintendo was aversive to publishing Xenoblade, Last Story and Pandora’s Tower until Operation Rainfall, and it says a lot of good things that they were willing to listen to fans and consumers and let them get released in the U.S. after all, but games that highly sought really shouldn’t have required a grassroots campaign, especially since Nintendo in Japan were the ones that funded those games in the first place. Even if sales of the games were expected to be low, the buzz about those games fully backed by Nintendo would have improved expectations for the next console. Nintendo lacking confidence in their own products sends the impression to consumers that consumers shouldn’t have confidence in Nintendo’s products either.

    Nintendo trying to get more third party support is the right thing, they absolutely need that now that the novelty factor won’t get people to buy the Wii U (I have family that bought the Wii just about on release that don’t play many games, but they didn’t care one bit about the Wii U). But I think it’s even more important to fully support their exclusives, given the almost guaranteed graphical advantage and huge install base of their competitors. Exclusives such as Bayonetta 2 are where Nintendo will convince people that they will get a meaningful, non-gimmick-based experience that they can’t get a better version of on another console; multiplat games only really help when it means that it’d be a better value prospect in conjunction with exciting exclusives compared to other consoles that may not have similarly exciting exclusives.

    I think Nintendo also suffers a lot from an image problem. It’s largely seen as the “traditional Disney” of video game consoles, like it’s mostly for cutesy and child or family friendly entertainment. All the Mii stuff they do only adds to this image. It’s good for them to build on their strengths, but I also think they really need to find some way of sending the message that the Wii U is inclusive to more mature experiences too. It might help them out to create a brand new IP that’s more adult in nature than the IPs they’re known for.

    tl;dr their greatest hope for success is pulling in and supporting major exclusive titles, because good uniqueness in content is what makes something stand out. I can say that if they had games like Last Story out already for Wii U, I would’ve bought the system by now.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Dragon246

    @lex,
    Spec wise, its the best deal in the market, period. But I have lost hope that even ff10 hd and gta and other big hitters will improve vita sales. Most people are now expecting a price cut, so I don’t think games will help anymore.
    Although it absolutely sucks that nostalgia sells more than great new ip like GR.
    We definitely see a tipping point for vita soon imo. Sony has never let its hardware go down , so I expect vita to rebound. Question is, will it happen sooner or later.

    @Salarta,
    Django? Watched too much of the movie? :P
    I dont think ninty needs to change much image wise. They dont target me as a consumer, but a kid-friendly image is hardly a bad thing imo.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. salarta

    @8: I think Django is the name they’re using for the next XBox, or at least a word similar, I really don’t remember with certainty what the in-development codename for it is since I don’t buy Microsoft consoles. :P

    I’m trying to be a little careful with what I’m saying about Nintendo’s image because I don’t think that coming off as family-friendly or kid-friendly is inherently a bad thing either. The problem is that combined with not having any “mature” IPs to call their own, to the average consumer, Nintendo doesn’t give an impression of a place you can go to play games that are darker in nature. I think Nintendo also maintains this image willingly, since I remember reading an interview where Sakaguchi said they originally wanted Last Story to have a darker tone and Nintendo asked them to make it more light-hearted.

    It’s good to be seen as a kid-friendly console, but it’s not good to look like it’s simultaneously a mature-content-aversive console. Yes, we know much better, we know that the Wii U has games getting on it in the mature category and even the Wii had many, but I don’t think the average consumer knows it. I also think part, but not all, of the undue hostility toward Bayonetta 2 being Wii U exclusive is because of Nintendo’s image of family-friendly wholesomeness being at odds with the mature content expected of Bayonetta. I would never want Nintendo to radically change any of their IPs to be more “mature,” but I think Nintendo may need to create a new one that can be seen in that light to show that the console is open to experiences that are deeper or more mature than what they expect from Mario and Zelda games.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Dragon246

    @9,
    Its Durango.
    I agree. It definitely makes ninty lose a section of crowd, like me. But I also hope they shed that image and embrace all genres and crowds equally. Although I doubt that would happen soon given their 30 year game dev biz model.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. polygem

    “Spec wise, its the best deal in the market, period.”

    but who cares about specs? games, games, games.

    “Although it absolutely sucks that nostalgia sells more than great new ip”

    ‘new’ must not mean new ip. new gameplay ideas are more important. also much more important than tech specs.

    you can use nostalgia and still create absoluteley new stuff…that’s what sony must realize so bad. learn from the mario galaxy, kirby mass attack, spirit tracks games. do that with sly, drake, heck killzone! liberation was a great start in that direction…but please not just some soso card games.

    i too think we’ll see vita picking up some steam again. sony will keep to support it. it also needs a pricecut too.
    say what you want but 3ds is tough competition. it has some awesome games and some really really good ones in the pipeline. great variety too. luigis mansion, fire emblem, castlevania, animal crossing, project x, monster hunter and so on. i mean the lineup is superstrong. it just is. it’s forcing sony to counter with great stuff…that’s a good thing and that stuff will come.

    @lex: yes, please…sir dan: return of the dead….and boom vita will return. nah, probably not a real system seller franchise but such a great ip. it’s insane that sony isn’t using it. or are they cooking something RIGHT NOW?

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Fin

    Tech specs are important. Not because of an arms race or whatever, but because of third party publishers. If you don’t keep up with your competitors (as Nintendo has decided not to do), you create a gap in the market between consoles (Wii v PS3/360, Wii U v NG).
    For Nintendo themselves, this is no issue, as first party games are exclusive. For third parties, they’re not going to bother creating a second version of a game to adapt to Wii U (along with the tablet controller). This means, rather soon after launch of NG consoles, the Wii U will be stuck with current-gen ports (as it is currently). After a few years, these will totally dry up and the Wii U will be left with just first-party, casual and the odd exclusive game.

    And fuckin hell, no, new IP is more important than new ideas. Nintendo is so scared of losing market share if they deviate from their existing back catalogue (I attribute this to the wariness of being a Japanese company), they trot out Mario [insert type of game here] inside of, fuckin’ hell, making a new character or series.

    Oh, and STOP MENTIONING ANIMAL CROSSING AS AN EXCITING NEW GAME. IT’S BEEN THE SAME GAME SINCE 2001.
    You don’t have to jump to Nintendo’s defence and list all the great games for a console every time you post.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Joe Musashi

    Actually, Fin, it looks like he does.

    JM

    #13 2 years ago
  14. mistermogul

    @Fin – I agree. Nintendo need to be a bit more brave on the new IP front. I think that because their development resources are limited and games take more time and effort these days, they simply don’t have the teams to make their well known franchises as well as new IP’s.

    Having said that with the 3DS there has been some awesome new franchises on the eshop… Plus with Iwata promising “ten in-house developed titles will be released for the Nintendo 3DS in the next year” I live in hope that some of these will be new IP’s.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DrDamn

    @Poly
    “‘new’ must not mean new ip. new gameplay ideas are more important. also much more important than tech specs.”

    This is true, but do you think Nintendo shackles the creative side by not diversifying the IP? For example instead of getting their best team to make a new Mario 3D game on WiiU think about what they could do if they were given a free rein. In the same way Sony need to use their existing IP in new ways, Nintendo need to be not so reliant on the comfort of existing IP. It does restrict what they can do.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. G1GAHURTZ

    WOW!

    Iwata admits that WiiU has been a flop, already!???

    Not even meeting forecasts already?? Apologies already!?

    Surely, they must be petrified of what might happen if all that they can show as the future of their console is a handful of last-gen efforts, come E3…

    WiiU may look like a Ford Focus next to a Ferrari and a Lambo…

    #16 2 years ago
  17. mistermogul

    “all that they can show as the future of their console is a handful of last-gen efforts”

    Isn’t Wind Waker the only pre-gen effort?

    #17 2 years ago
  18. monkeygourmet

    I love Nintendos briefings and Nintendo Direct honesty. It’s great!

    Even if things are floundering; Iwata comes out publicly and apologises.

    There seems to be less bullshit and more proactive talk.

    I.e. these are the dangers, here’s how we get around them. Quite refreshing really. The latest Nintendo direct for example (if people watched it all the way through) really took a lot of owners or potential owners problems seriously, then tried to show ways they can improve.

    The third party problem is a factor, although we still haven’t seen final specs yet, and I do believe once people start utilising the Wii U more it will not struggle to much graphically.

    The new consoles aren’t going to be out for a year or so, they will take another year to get upto speed, by then the Wii U will be well in its stride, profitable and probably had a price cut.

    Providing the new consoles launch at £350 – £399 and the Wii U can drop to 199 and having 30 plus exclusives, I think it will make an interesting battle! :)

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Joe Musashi

    Ruh roh

    JM

    #19 2 years ago
  20. monkeygourmet

    @19

    Aww… That would be a shame, I love that guy!!! :)

    #20 2 years ago
  21. G1GAHURTZ

    “We feel greatly accountable for this severe outlook.”

    Uh oh indeed.

    @17:

    Yeah, I meant ‘last gen’ when compared to what Sony and MS will hope to dazzle everybody with.

    By June, even though 720/PS4 aren’t supposedly due until October/November, WiiU will almost certainly have the image of a last gen console.

    @18:

    I.e. these are the dangers, here’s how we get around them. Quite refreshing really.

    You get around them by doing all of the things that Nintendo is NOT doing. Like releasing a next gen console, instead of a current gen console with a controller, which has less overall functionality than a budget smartphone.

    He may be perfectly right in saying that current WiiU owners are happy with what they’ve got, but that means almost nothing if both WiiU owners and Nintendo’s marketing, combined, are desperately struggling to show people what’s so ‘good’ about the console.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. ManuOtaku

    I think the wii third party support was good, of course the big AAA titles were lacking of course for the wii tech issue, but nontheless was decent, better than the gamecube, and it was an improvement, i believe with the wiiU it will share better, as prices of development costs go up, and the state of economy situation will incide in low-mid bugget developers, of course the bigger triple A titles might not arrive, unless the tablet controller will enhace the game dramatically like colonial marines for example, but in the other hand we will see a lot of third party support for low-key titles from small developers, especially from the unity deal.

    For the vita topic i will say it has games, maybe not a killer app, but it has a good amount of good titles, i think the price cut will help, alongside the memory price cut too, and it will do fine, i have not doubt, oh and more dokuro, sound hapes, gravity rush, i mean titles especially made for vita, not console counterparts, at least a healthy balance.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. ManuOtaku

    #21 GIGA for the other two companies to make seem the WiiU irrelevant or not worhty, it will take more than raw power alone, price, offerings, games, services, etc, is not a one thing only is a sum of its parts, like always has been, remember power alone doenst cut it, it helps certainly but it is not the most important thing and neither the only one, also it will depends if they decide to go with another TV upgrade route like last time, that will make them a slow climing again, in the consumer adoption rate, that is.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. monkeygourmet

    @21

    The whole markets changed. By successful business models, Apple always springs to mind.

    Does that mean gamers want to play games on an iPad without physical controls? Of course not, but it does beg the question on how traditional console models will survive.

    The power arguement becomes rather tiresome; PS2 was less powerful, DS, 3DS, Wii; all very successful. All Nintendo can do is keep releasing quality exclusives, maybe drop the price and we’ll see if they get buried when the new consoles come out.

    I don’t know what your looking for as a gamer, but you may be distinctly disappointed by MS and Sony’s new offerings. Mind you, maybe a new Call of Duty will help?

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Joe Musashi

    Looks like confidence has taken a knock.

    JM

    #25 2 years ago
  26. OlderGamer

    “In general, Nintendo laid claim to a number of best-selling titles in various territories: Five out of ten in the US, ten out of 20 in Germany, and 11 out of 20 in France and Spain.”

    And that doesn’t include JPN, where they dominate. Pretty good for an out of touch company pushing outdated hardware, wouldn’t you say? In every biz there are ups and downs. But the goal is, ofc, to make money. Nintendo has always done a pretty good job of that. With, like I said ups and downs.

    What I think some of you should be catching onto here is the lack of a price drop. For Vita and WiiU. It may well signel a pattern for new hardware. What does that mean for the rest of the next gen systems? What will their prices really be? And how much flexabilty will their respective platform holders have to lower the prices?

    What if MS and Sony put out 500usd systems? Too high? What if they don’t sell? Can those prices be lowered? I think most of us have read the GI.biz article on the end of razorblade console launches. Where the idea of selling systems at a sizable loss is over. In todays world there can not be a big loss at launch. So what type of impact will that have, and are we looking at a pattern?

    The three most important things in any new console launch today are:

    Price, games, and price…in that order.

    WiiU is roughly 100usd too high. Vita is roughly 50usd too high(more if you count mem cards). But neither company can do much about it. I think this, more then any other reason, is why the Wii/PS3/XB360 gen cycle lasted so long.

    Price is going to dramaticly effect adoption and sales of any new hardware.

    #26 2 years ago