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Iwata: 'Bitter lesson' learned from slow 3DS launch
Iwata: 'Bitter lesson' learned from slow 3DS launch
January 27, 2012 | By Kris Graft

January 27, 2012 | By Kris Graft
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More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said in an earnings briefing this week that the botched launch of the 3DS was a learning experience that the company will apply to the upcoming release of the Wii U.

"For the launch of new hardware, it is, of course, regarded as a sort of requisite not to miss the critical year-end sales season," said Iwata.

"The company is aiming to firmly complete the development of the entire [Wii U] system and prepare sufficient software so that the Wii U will be at its best at the time of the launch. Needless to say, we have learned a bitter lesson from the launch of the Nintendo 3DS."

Nintendo's 3DS launched in early 2011 after missing a holiday 2010 launch. Lagging sales of the handheld, originally $250, led the company to issue a 20 percent price cut worldwide just months after its release.

Iwata confirmed that Nintendo will launch the Wii successor in Japan, U.S., Europe and Australia in time for the holiday 2012 shopping season.

Nintendo has yet to give a firm date or price point for the Wii U, which has a touch-enabled tablet controller. A final version of the hardware will be at E3 this summer, he said.

The company yesterday downgraded its shipment and financial forecasts for the fiscal year ending in March, due to a strong yen and lower-than-expected hardware sales. As of the end of 2011, the 3DS sold 15 million units worldwide, life-to-date, riding momentum from the price cut and the release of major holiday titles.


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Comments


Glenn Sturgeon
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"For the launch of new hardware, it is, of course, regarded as a sort of requisite not to miss the critical year-end sales season," said Iwata.



Its equaly if not more important to have at least one A quality title at launch and to price the system so people other than fanboys will buy it beyond the first 2 months...

Christian Nutt
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I think that's the bitter lesson.

Bob Johnson
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Name a must have launch title on any platform of the past 10 years.

A W
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I think it was the price more so than the launch, and I can't name one must have launch title on any system over the past ten years.

Isaac Chandler
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I'd consider Jak and Daxter a must have for when the PS2 came out. Nintendo messed the launch up to a severely, the price was just an extra nail in the coffin.

Bob Johnson
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Nintendo made some mistakes I guess. But they always make these mistakes. I think their rational is the games eventually come, they try to release highly polished games and do a great job on them and in the end that is what the consumer remembers.



3DS had a confusing name for consumers after Nintendo spent the past year or two releasing DS iterations aka the DSi or DSxl. Consumers were not aware the 3DS was their next-gen handheld. It wasn't just a 3d DS.



Next, competition made its launch lineup look pathetic. $40 for a game can be worth it. Look no further than Super Mario 3d. But releasing $40 games with little content or half-ass content next to $1 games on iOS just shoots your new platform in the foot.



The 3d is good, but the viewing angle sucks. No second analog stick as a mistake for NA market. Then releasing hardware that has enough complaints so that Amazon stops carrying it was a mistake. Various aspects of the OS are annoying and ancient as well. Part of me says just stick to the simplicity of the DS OS. But Nintendo has improved the 3DS functionality since launch.

Geoff Yates
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There were 3 things and they are all interactive:



* Missed the shopping season; (Mums and Dads buying for their sons and daughters)

* No AAA software (look what happen last holiday season); (Messed with hard core Nintendo fans)

* Confused marketing and perception of value for money; (Shoppers didn't understand the difference properly)



Very poor marketing.



The pad and smart phone market is hindering strong sales of the newer handhelds because the casual gamers have found another avenue for their enjoyment (lets also not forget social network games). Competition is fierce.



As an aside PS Vita sold strongly in the first two weeks because hard core gamers were hanging out to get it.



People tend to forget most of the world is still gripped by the GFC and lets face facts your disposable income isn't high if you have children. Therefore expecting sales to be high (which appeals to investment community) I think is optimistic.


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