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Nintendo will launch new hardware in emerging markets next year
Nintendo will launch new hardware in emerging markets next year
May 8, 2014 | By Mike Rose

May 8, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told Bloomberg that his company plans to launch new video game devices in emerging markets, starting from next year.

These new game machines will be specifically designed for these markets, says Iwata, and will not be released globally. This is instead of selling versions of its existing devices, such as the Wii U and 3DS, in emerging markets.

"We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have," he explained. "The product and price balance must be made from scratch."

One such market will include China, says Iwata, and Nintendo has been studying the new video game regulations regarding entry into China. Microsoft has already made a move on China, announcing the impending launch of the Xbox One in the country.

But Iwata says this approach will not work for Nintendo. Speaking to Reuters, he noted, "It would be difficult to enter those markets if we didn't create something new... For the mass market you need to provide something that most of the middle class can afford."

"We think the Chinese market has a lot of potential... For us, Microsoft's approach wouldn't work."
"We think the Chinese market has a lot of potential, but I don't think the lifting of the ban has solved all of the difficulties in entering it," he added. "We need to study it more. For us, Microsoft's approach wouldn't work."

Iwata also touched on why Nintendo is yet to enter the mobile games market, stating, "The smartphone market is probably more competitive than the console business. We have had a console business for 30 years, and I donít think we can just transfer that over onto a smartphone model."

"Our games such as Mario and Zelda are designed for our game machines so if we transfer them into smartphones as they are, customers wonít be satisfied," he added. "If customers arenít satisfied with the experience, it will decrease the value of our content."

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James Coote
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Be really interesting to see what form factor this takes. Whether it is microconsole-like or a hand-held or what.

Benjamin Quintero
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My bets are on some sort of hand-held device. That would eliminate any kind of concerns over TV capabilities and other components not directly associated to a home console. It sounds like they are targeting a middle to working class type of market and going with a big and bold home console probably won't thrive. I could see a $199 stripped down WiiU with no tablet (and maybe a new name), a way for Nintendo to offload their WiiU parts to China while they focus on a new hardware plan for US, UK, and JP.

E Zachary Knight
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A purely digital handheld could potentially work well. A single screen device or even a DSi would be great. I think that could really open up the market in China. They could even set up kiosks where people could purchase and download games if they don't have an internet connection of their own.

James Coote
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I suspect those who could afford a console (even a cheap one) would have internet in their house anyway. And if it were a handheld, would just have to put 3G in it and away you go.

The question for a handheld is whether consumers would go for a device that is probably more expensive than a phone, yet has fewer games and functionality?

Michael Williams
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Fhew Here I thought they would be dumb enough to discontinue the Wiiu. This is actually pretty smart I think china (don't quote) will need different approach cause they middle class is poorer than most and those rules being enforced.

Alan Barton
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If they want to keep build costs down, its highly likely to be based on Arm ... and if they do that, the cheapest and easiest way to do the OS is to use either Linux or Android ... (they can be up and running very quickly and cheaply) and if they do that, then they are one step away from having their own phone/tablet/microconsole.

For version 1 they wouldn't have to have it like a phone, as it keeps the cost down, but moving on from version 1, in the years to come, it would make a lot of sense to allow their future handheld consoles to also function as a phone. Imagine the connected gameplay that would be possible. Plus the phone shops would then also become sales outlets for their consoles, whilst Nintendo's online store can sell all their games as downloads. (Its also very easy, if they want to design micro-cartridges based on SD cards).

So while this is currently focused on new markets, there is no reason why it can't form the basis for all future hand held devices they produce. It would make a lot of sense to do what Amazon are doing, all within the Nintendo brand.

SD Marlow
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What? They read my comments? Please please please don't just punt and call it Wii TV. Wii Mii is my gift to you. Guess they could go the Apple way and call it Wii C (for China).

This is basically what Sony did by making a PS Vita TV for the local market (dipping their toes rather than going full-force with a Vita Play "remote PS4 unit" that has access to tons of digital content).