In its semi-annual financial results briefing, Nintendo revealed plans for shoring up the creaky 3DS and launching the Wii U next year.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told investors he feels “greatly accountable” for Nintendo’s below-forceast half-year results, and put poor results down to a loss of “momentum” due to “completion delays” on first-party titles.
He also confirmed that Nintendo had learned “a bitter lesson” from 3DS’s failings and would do everything possible to secure a more successful launch for Wii U next year. The final format of the hardware is scheduled to appear at E3 2012, he said.
Iwata also noted the 3DS’s below-expectation software sales and cited upcoming launches and the July price cut as possible solutions.
In addition to first-party franchise titles, which Iwata explained the company is deliberately messaging to woo back core gamers, Nintendo is working on “new genres of software” in order to attract non-gamers to the 3DS. Iwata nodded towards Brain Training and Wii Fit, arguably the killer apps of the DS and Wii respectively, as examples of the kind of move Nintendo expects to make.
Noting the higher Internet connection rate of the 3DS compared to other Nintendo consoles, Iwata said Nintendo aims to “accelerate” its digital business.
The eShop is to be overhauled, will several new features including DLC, better backend support for demos which will supplement the store’s review system, sleep mode downloads, and a web interface for access from other devices such as smartphones and PC.
“At the beginning, you will not be able to directly purchase software from your PC or smartphone,” said Iwata. “Instead, you will need to take a photo of a QR code at the Nintendo eShop by using the camera of your Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo 3DS will then open that specific page of the Nintendo eShop. That function is already included in the upcoming system update for the Nintendo 3DS.
“In the future, we will make it so that you will be able to purchase software by using your PC or smartphone.”
Returning to the problem of selling the 3DS hardware, Iwata said the console is soon to reach high enough market penetration to benefit from word-of-mouth, accelerating sales. Iwata glossed briefly over the 3DS’ failed marketing, which notoriously failed to communicate its technical leap over the DS.