By Peter Nowak - Friday, February 1, 2013 - 0 Comments
It’s looking more and more like the Wii U is a flop, with at least one analyst describing it as such after Nintendo revealed disappointing sales numbers this week. The company was hoping to sell 5 million game consoles by March 31, but has now cut that projection to 4 million, with game expectations taking an even bigger downgrade – 16 million rather than 24 million.
The rising tide of mobile games in Asia is one factor for the slower sales. Anecdotally, the fact that it doesn’t really outshine existing competitors in any way is probably another.
Post Arcade had a telling story on Monday about another factor, the waning third-party support for the console. As with the company’s previous two consoles, the GameCube and Wii, support for the Wii U started out strong with its launch in November, but is now starting to lag.
By Chris Sorensen - Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 8:10 AM - 0 Comments
Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are struggling to reinvent video games as touchscreens and tablets take over the living room
Nintendo’s 2006 launch of the Wii console marked a new era for video games. With its innovative motion-sensing controllers, used to mimic the swing of a tennis racquet or golf club, the $250 Wii immediately struck a chord with gamers and non-gamers alike. Amazon sold out of its initial stock of sleek, white Wii consoles in just seven minutes.
The Wii’s unexpected success catapulted third-ranked Nintendo to the top of the video game industry, ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3—both of which are more powerful (and more expensive) machines. More importantly, it suggested a much wider potential market for game consoles beyond basement-dwelling teenagers.
But the renaissance has proved short-lived. Console sales have declined dramatically in recent years as existing systems grow long in the tooth. Nintendo posted a loss of $530 million this year, its first since 1981. And competition from tablets and smartphones, with their cheap, downloadable games, threatens to steal away millions of casual gamers. “Tablets and smartphones are the black hole of the consumer electronics industry right now, sucking the growth out of everything else,” says Kaan Yigit, the president of Toronto’s Solutions Research Group, a consumer research firm. “The growth rates we saw after Wii first came out are but a distant memory.”
By Chris Sorensen - Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
Nintendo new product is causing some skepticism
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata unveiled the hotly anticipated successor to the Wii gaming console last week at the E3 games show in Los Angeles. The Wii U, which won’t go on sale until next year, features a tablet-style controller that lets gamers take the game “off the TV,” and play using both screens or surf the Internet. But while the device got a warm reception from the assembled masses, it didn’t fare so well among investors. Nintendo’s shares fell nearly 10 per cent over the following two days. Analysts said it wasn’t immediately clear how the device worked. Was it just another tablet, or a whole new outlook on gaming, as Iwata promised? It didn’t help that no full-fledged games are yet available to demo the hardware. Of course, the original Wii was met with a similar puzzled response following its initial debut five years ago. Nintendo’s shares later tripled as the console went on to become a bestseller.
By Jason Kirby - Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 10 Comments
To counter the Wii system, Sony launched a rival called Move
It’s rarely a good sign when analysts and bloggers attach the suffix “-like” to your competitor’s product to describe your latest, cutting-edge innovation. But for Sony, which has finally unveiled a motion-sensor controller for its PlayStation 3 video game console—four years and 65 million units after Nintendo’s Wii first hit store shelves—“Wii-like” will have to do.
At a gaming event in San Francisco, Sony officially debuted the Move. Like the Wii, users hold the Sony controller in their hands and as they move, the game responds to their actions. But what sets Move apart is the PlayStation Eye camera, which tracks a glowing ball atop the controller and lets games better track your 3-D movements in space. The controller is due out later this year and will sell for around $100. Early reviews of the Move controller have been mixed. Some bloggers dismissed it as too little, too late, while others found it more refined than the Wii.
Still, for all the time Sony has had to come up with its response, many analysts seemed underwhelmed. Of course, the small matter of the Great Recession might explain why Sony has held off releasing its own motion controller until now—sales of video game consoles and games have been badly battered by the economic downturn.
But Sony has a good reason to get a move on Move. Later this year, Microsoft will begin selling its own much anticipated motion control system, known as Project Natal. It involves no controllers whatsoever. Instead it relies on advanced infrared and motion-sensor technology so that players’ whole bodies become the controller. Microsoft even tapped director Steven Spielberg to unveil the device, prompting much speculation about hybrid movie-video games that star players in their own feature films.
Both the Move and Natal are still several months from launch, but already Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has predicted Microsoft will outsell Sony five to one. Ultimately, Move may end up going nowhere.
By Jason Kirby - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM - 4 Comments
Microsoft exec Don Mattrick may change how the world plays
In 1982, at the age of 17, Don Mattrick created his first video game. What he couldn’t know then was that he was helping lay the foundation of Vancouver’s game industry, and taking a first step toward last week’s appearance on a stage in L.A., shoulder to shoulder with director Steven Spielberg. Mattrick, head of Microsoft’s video game division since 2007, was a featured speaker at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. And what he unveiled promises to revolutionize the way people play video games.
Code-named Project Natal, it uses sophisticated cameras and microphones to translate one’s body movements into action on the screen. No buttons to push. No wireless controller to swing around. If you can walk, jump, swing your arms and talk, you’re ready to play. But if Mattrick’s background is rooted in shoot-’em-ups and racing games, his real ambition is far grander. He’s using the company’s Xbox gaming system to lead Microsoft in a battle for control of your living room.