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Nintendo shares plunge following meager Wii U sales
Nintendo shares plunge following meager Wii U sales
January 20, 2014 | By Mike Rose

January 20, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Last Friday, Nintendo admitted that it now projects losses for the current fiscal year, due to poor Wii U console sales. Unsurprisingly, the company's shares have plunged since then.

As reported by the BBC, Nintendo's share price dropped by 18 percent as Monday trading drew to a close, falling as low as 11,935 yen ($114.65) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

To put this into perspective, when Nintendo's share price fell to its lowest in six years back in 2011 as a result of the Nintendo 3DS price slash, that "lowest" was 12,290 yen ($158.57).

The company's shares continued to fall at that point, although they've since been gradually clawing their way back up again, reaching 15,580 yen ($149.66) earlier this month. Of course, this latest news has now seen them come crashing down again.

As a result of this latest fiscal warning, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata admitted that the Japanese company is considering how it could potentially embrace the mobile market.

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Boris Sanchez
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Could it be possible that Nintendo redesign the WiiU control to a simpler one and relaunch the system at a lower price now that some titles are coming?

Phil Maxey
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Apple have the Ipod Touch and the iPhone, no reason why Nintendo can't have the 3DS and a phone version of the 3DS, and then branch from that into a Nintendo tablet that you can also plug into the TV (therefore knocking all the micro-consoles out in one go).

Buy Oculus Rift, it becomes the new Nintendo Console, and it launches with Mario Kart VR.

Well we can dream.

John Mascarenas
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I think a Nintendo phone is highly unlikely. The smartphone market is so saturated. Sony already tested those waters with the Xperia Play and it failed miserably. I am thinking maybe they might produce an Iphone peripheral ie. a controller attachment.

Kale Menges
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I'd keep the 3DS as is, euthanize the Wii U, and build a Nintendo tablet/phablet that would be a dedicated mobile gaming platform but also feature things like television connectivity. I think a Nintendo tablet was perhaps what people had first hoped for when they first saw the Wii U controller, but such misconception was only indicative of the system's completely confused marketing and entertainment niche.

Although I still say just build an official NES/SNES virtual console platform app/portal that could be sold for iOS and Android and sell me classics for $0.99 a pop.

John Mascarenas
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A tablet that comes with a chromecast like dongle could be cool. However, I can't see Nintendo selling their old games at 0.99. Apple and Google would take their share and leave not a whole lot for Nintendo. I have considered maybe getting into the microconsole business may be a viable option. They could control the platform, take a cut from 3rd parties, and flood it with their back catalog for cheap. If they sold it for like $99 and really made it easy for indie and mobile devs to bring their games to the platforms it just may work.

Doug Poston
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I like your idea but, instead of euthanizing the WiiU, build it into the tablet. Then bundle it with a "Chromecast" transmitter that plugs into your TV.

The WiiU tablet already allows you to play without the TV, this would allow you to do it anywhere (not just 50 feet from your TV).

Sadly, this idea probably wouldn't work because of power issues.

SD Marlow
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While most tech companies are thinking about and already working on what will come about a year or more away, Nintendo just comes out and says they will start thinking about this new fangled tablet thing. I don't think they have the time/vision to create something innovative nor do they have some cool new IP ready for release. Satoru leaving/being replaced is the only thing that can stop or slow the decline in stock value right now.

Bob Johnson
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My shares already fell 18% on Friday. The stock traded on Friday in US markets. Tokyo markets were closed when the announcement was made I guess.

Eric Harris
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I'm going to call it for Nintendo. The day they get into the mobile market, is the day they end as a company. I hope he is just saying that to appease the stock holders, who have so much money that they let their toddlers play mobile F2P, and then get shocked that the have a bill for thousands of dollars in game content. Please Nintendo don't go Zynga on us.

Matthew Mouras
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I don't think there's any risk of Nintendo "going Zynga".

I think the bigger risk is that they learn the wrong lesson from this. They won't think that they need the many features consumers have come to expect from a console including a unified account system, achievements, strong 3rd party lineup, large HDD, and frequent and deep digital sales. They will think that they just didn't create the innovative and inexpensive to produce hardware that will bring them success. In my opinion, that's the wrong take-away from disappointing Wii U sales.

Mike Griffin
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It's ironic how much the name -- and associated marketing -- is to blame.

In their arrogance, post-amazing success with Wii, they erroneously presumed that the Wii name carried so much leverage that consumers would instantly "get" the "second generation Wii" concept.

NOBODY got it.

Had they called the system the Nintendo Revolution, or the Nintendo Ultimate, etc., and combined that with marketing the console as an all-new Nintendo release, it would have made an enormous difference -- irrespective of available software around launch.

Nintendo tanked itself from the get-go with a really poorly communicated feature-set and -- for the average consumer -- a really confusing name. Nobody understood what the hell it was, or why they needed one.

It's been a struggle ever since.

At this point, in the short term, opening the Wii U to ALL second screen mobile devices (allowing them to ship a very low cost, Gamepad-less SKU) might be a small step in a better direction. It compromises some of the Gamepad's functionality and awesome tech, but fundamentally it's the direction they were aiming for with the Wii U's second screen design.

Merc Hoffner
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I'll agree that the message wasn't nearly as clear and coherent as it should have been, but you must be joking if you're seriously suggesting that it would be good marketing sense to flat out drop one of the most powerful brands ever built for the sake of self-differentiation. Should "Ghost Busters 2" have been called "Slime Crew"? Should Star Trek: Voyager have been called "Far End of the Galaxy"? (or Lost in Space?). Would we accuse Sony, the primogenitor of the convention to reuse console names, of being 'arrogant' and self important? Well, we might, but it was good business sense as the PS2 is the most successful console in history. The "U" may be pointless, but surely so was "Wii" in the first place. It was silly, it was stupid, it was meaningless, and it was Nintendo sticking two fingers up and saying 'it doesn't even matter what we call it'. But, it was playful, it was unforgettable, and it worked.

Bob Johnson
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I think it is a legitimate question as to whether or not Nintendo should have used the Wii brand to represent a console that didn't include a Wiimote or a new version of a wiimote. Wii U is almost a different product. Wii meant get up off the couch. Wii U is supposed to mean sit on the couch and play games on a core game controller with a built-in screen.

Wii launched with Miis. Wii U launched with Nintendo's franchise characters.

Bob Allen
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Skipped the Wii and the 3DS (a first for a Nintendo handheld). I refuse to buy a 3DS until they put that second analog stick on the unit. There'e a big gaping blank spot on the 3DSXL for it to sit there properly- not hanging off like a cancerous growth. Nintendo can make it a requirement that all 3DS games not require the second analog stick the same way titles can't require 3D (so all games still work on the 2DS). It's only pride keeping them from putting that second stick on the base unit (and getting me to buy one).

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Nintendo Shares lost 6% on that day. Their share plunged to 18% but then climbed 12%

I think Nintendo just needs to harness the abilities of thing they created. A tablet gyroscopic controller device that allows interaction between it and a HD TV for HD gaming. The fact that it doesn't do any one thing to optimal performance is the disappointment many seem to have with the concept of the design. We know PS4 was design to do graphics to its optimal performance. We know Xbox One was designed to be a media delivery device for the living room. We don't know what the Wii U is because It can be a lot of things but is currently none of those things at it's optimal.

I think Nintendo can offer more through online via the eShop and the MiiVerse. They just need to be more like something we use and less like a step back from something we have at our convenience. MiiVerse needs video options for the user. MiiVerse needs to support user that want to create communities, even if they charge them a small fee monthly for doing so. The Gamepad needs to make use of that camera and mic that is built into it. The NFC needs to be used more for micro transactions, the apps need to work at better than good performance. The games from Nintendo development need to use 95 percent of the game pad an MiiVerse options, and lastly MiiVerse and eShop need to be tablet and smartphone apps ASAP.

Bob Johnson
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Good point. They have alot of stuff packed in that is creative, but most of these extra features leaves you wanting.

Miiverse seems cool, but for anyone other than my 7 yr old it is just this cute creative idea they will never use.

The browser on the system is decent, but again ultimately annoying enough to not stop using as a regular browsing device. Part of it is the resistive screen. Part of it the browser.

The eShop has improved, but it takes awhile to load and has enough annoying aspects to it, like the way screen shots are handled or clicking lots of prompts or just pressing on that touchscreen or the delay in switching between certain aspects of it.

Notifications are cool and yet still, for whatever reason, take eons to load and they are just text messages. It is hard to believe the loading of Notifications was even slower when the system launched.

The Gamepad is cool, but at the same time I rarely see my kids just pick up the Gamepad and play on just its screen if someone else is on the tv. I had expected this off-tv feature to be a hit. But I guess with other tvs in the house and other devices they just don't pickup the Gamepad and play.

And I can only guess once you get used to a big screen then playing on the little screen isn't the same. OR that they don't want to go look for headphones for the GAmepad if someone else is on the tv. Cross-sound is a problem. And they can't just take the Gamepad to a different room. Its range is pretty much the same room only.

They do seem to enjoy using it for local multiplayer games and splitscreen play.

TVii is a cool idea, but in my house it ultimately isn't used at all. The big problem for me is I don't have a traditional cable box. I have a wmc pc with a cablecard. IT does use a remote control. But I can't configure the Gamepad to control my setup. The other annoying thing is they map the essentials of your tv remote control to the Gamepad remote control, and no more. In my case I could also use the up/down arrows at the very least because otherwise I have to press the input key 8 times and pause for a second each time in order to switch inputs on my tv back to the input to watch tv.

If I had an up arrow it would be 2 key presses. It is annoying enough so that no one with a setup like mine is going to use it. And, btw, I can't just press the input key 8 times quickly. IT takes the tv awhile to cycle through some of the inputs before the input key can be pressed again.

Plus the TVii interface is a bit wonky. Pressing/scrolling on the resistive touchscreen sucks. And it also doesn't tie into your DVR which is how I watch most of my tv nowadays. So again it ultimately isn't used at all in my household. They did enough to justify the back of the box bullet list, but ultimately it isn't a winning feature.

Bob Johnson
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Wii U already lost the "primary" console war before it launched. Not enough horsepower and lack of western AAA games were problems before it launched.

And thus what was needed in order for it to sell was for it to be a Wii-Sports-sized hit. But it wasn't one. And isn't one.

And so I think consumers were and still are lost as to why they needed/need one and what exactly the Wii U even was.

The Wii U's extra features like the internet browser on the GAmepad or TVii feature aren't good enough to help sell the system.

No one knows exactly what the Gamepad is.

And then the Wii U lineup was ports of 360/PS3 games, NSMB and Nintendoland which I don't think people understood either.

When it came down to it, what was there really new for the consumer at launch? What was supposed to sell the system? The answer was Nintendoland.

Sure NSMB is decent enough, but not something that is going to get people out of bed to spend $350 that already had a Wii and NSMB. They probably figured they already have NSMB anyway.

So the only reason to spend $350 on a Wii U was Nintendoland and no one really knew wtf it was. And ultimately Nintendoland was really geared towards younger kids and parents that like to play some games with their kids. Anyone 13-35 wasn't going to be interested. Nintendoland was a series of smaller cartoony mini-games. And some of the key features of Nintendoland that showed off the Gamepad required at least 3 players. Not to mention that those extra players each needed their own wiimote (sold separately.)

WiiSports had a much broader appeal and didn't require more than 1 person to show off the system. On top of it some of the games in Nintendoland, while very well done and good fun, were glorified iOS games. Not a selling point for a $350 console no matter how well done and fun that Donkey Kong cart/track/tilting/banana splat game is.

Combine that with confusion over using the Wii name to sell the console even though it had little left over from the Wii era in the box. The console didn't include a wiimote. And there was no get off the couch WiiSports or WiiFit or WiiPlay type of game. All of a sudden the Wii name was used to sell old school Nintendo franchise character creativity.

This is why the system has had abysmal sales.