This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was without a doubt one of Sony’s best showings in recent history. Many Sony reps walked around with big grins on their face, but the same couldn’t be said for its competitors. Nintendo, in particular, appeared as though it was hit the hardest, as not even gamers with a soft spot Mario and Zelda could show any real enthusiasm for the Japanese console maker and game developer.
In our pursuit to find something noteworthy nearing the end of the first day of E3, we spotted a Nintendo rep amongst the crowd. Instantly, we converged on the unsuspecting stranger in Nintendo gears, and began our probing.
It was just friendly chit chats at first, but as the conversation went on and we asked him about how he felt about the competitors relative to where Nintendo is at, his facial expression became dim and the conversation ended with a simple “we believe we have great software.”
Nintendo blew away expectations with the Wii, but the Wii U has been struggling to attract a new generation of Pokemon and Smash Bros. players. The hardware of Nintendo’s prior-gen was a few notches below the Xbox 360 and PS3. This time around, the Wii U seems like it’s a whole generation (or two) behind, as it has the graphical performance that is comparable to some smartphones and tablets.
In the first half of 2007, Nintendo sold more Wii’s than Sony and Microsoft’s consoles combined, and by the end of March 2013 99.84 million units were sold worldwide. Sale figures for the Wii U, however, is a different story, with the numbers dipping lower and lower with each passing months. Nintendo forecasted that it would sell 5.5 million units by the end of March 2013, but the final tally was well below that estimate–by about 2 million. The good news for Nintendo is that sales of their handheld systems continue to remain steady.
So what does this all mean for Nintendo’s competitors? Basically Nintendo’s struggles may lead to better sale figures for Sony and Microsoft. Instead of buying the latest Wii U, gamers are actually snatching up Xbox 360s and PS3s. Additionally, with the recent news that Sony will be selling the PS4 for a competitive price of $400 (USD), it’s clear that Nintendo will have to make a drastic move on their currently priced $350 deluxe bundle ($300 for the basic set).
The game console business has evolved drastically, and hardware prowess as the console makers’ claim to fame isn’t a big factor anymore. Still, people want eye candy—for the right price, that is. Sony did just that by announcing their prices for the PS4. While many of us will continue to have a place in our hearts for Mario and his goons, we don’t know if our kids and our kid’s kids will feel the same.
Yes, we concur with the Nintendo rep in that his company has “great software,” but as of right now, even Mario and his pals can’t fend off the onslaught from Sony and Microsoft.