News Article

Nintendo Looking to "Re-energize" Game Market

Posted by Renato Velarde

Could a slowing market and a boost in "core" game sales have us swimming in great releases this year?

Wii and DS sales are slowing down in Japan causing an uncomfortable disturbance in the force that is Nintendo's cash flow. This has also highlighted a boost in “hardcore” game sales there. Does this mean that to get the more “hardcore” titles here in the NA and EU regions we need to just stop buying everything else to get someone's attention?

Last year in Japan video games sales were down 18% all together while in the US they were up. Sales of the PS3 have begun to catch up a little with the Wii and the contest between the DS and PSP in Japan is near even.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Satoru Iwata said “The Japanese market is not very strong right now overall…. We need to do something to re-energize it.”

He also says Nintendo is "beginning to look vulnerable". You can expect that energizing ‘something’ will come in the form of MotionPlus, DsiWare, Video Downloads and whatever new surprises they’ll have for us at E3 this year.

There's a lesson to be learned here. No recession can hold a “hardcore” gamer's wallet closed if you give them what they want, but then it looks like maybe their wallets alone aren’t deep enough to carry the market where Nintendo wants it.


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User Comments (18)



Bahamut_ZERO said:

I think it really boils down to the fact that casual gamers cant keep the system afloat. They might buy the system, and maybe one or two games, tops. But hardcore gamers will buy tons and tons of new games. I think Nintendo is realizing that the ink is running out of their printer (if you've seen that picture with the "It prints money!" you'll know what Im talking about).

And first.......again....



thewiirocks said:

BTW, I just want to point out that we're all using the term "hardcore" wrong. (I know, I know, I just did it in the other thread myself.) Technically, "hardcore" is people like Corbie. Balls-to-the-wall, crazy psycho games that make normal players cower in fear. (Shmups are a very popular genre for hardcore players.)

When we talk about the people playing Halo 3, we're really talking about the "core market" for video games. That market is the group of player ("core" players) who reliably purchase video games and thus define the popular genres.

You'll notice that Iwata and Reggie never use the term "hardcore". They always say "core". Despite the similarities, they're two different things.



Adam said:

And that's why people should just not use the silly term. It is overused to the point of being meaningless.
I think Conduit, Sin & Punishment 2, Murasama, and quite a few others should make the Wii an attractive system this year. And that's to say nothing of any first-party surprise Nintendo may or may not have in store for us.



Bahamut_ZERO said:

@thewiirocks: I love your example

But for me, hardcore is more like somebody who uses video games as their primary hobby or way to spend free time. Hardcore is more of a person type than a game (I dont believe in hardcore games).

Core is more like you say, the popular reliable stuff that the company knows are going to sell. Core is more of a game rather than a person.




Nintendo needs to focus more on everyone instead of just certain types of game players,for instance.....the enless amount of thoughtless kids games are great for kids but when someone like me wants something more mature i have to turn to my xbox 360 or the retroness of the wii vc ! The wii has been flooded with low budget shovelware that nobody cares about,the vc is the strongest part of the wii but as far as the wii-ware and wii titles i think they need new direction to survive.



GN0LAUM said:

WiiWare is awesome!

Just wait for Explodemon, Swords and Soldiers and the My Life as a King sequel!



Adam said:

@ Maniac
Not to mention Cave Story, Night Game, the Bit Trip series, Lost Winds 2 (if it still exists), Super Meat Boy, Bubble Bobble, Life Force ReBirth, Samurai Toaster, Water Warfare, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Kid Icarian, Puzzle Bobble, and probably a few others I've forgotten. I think WiiWare is finally getting to the point where it can stand on its own.



Objection said:

Summary: Nintendo doing best to make even more money now that everyone has a Wii and DS already (joking.)



Lode_Runner said:

I thought Dead Rising, Tenchu and House of the Dead would help Nintendo. So hopefully Mad World and The Conduit can do it.



motang said:

Does this mean that to get the more “hardcore” titles here in the NA and EU regions we need to just stop buying everything else to get someone's attention?




Bahamut_ZERO said:

@JRAP: You have to realize, Nintendo is not making shovelware like Hannah Montana The Movie The Video Game or Carnival Games, its other developers. Nintendo is doing great (except for maybe the Wii ____ series but they aint that bad honestly). I could say the same about the 360 talking about all the High SChool Musical and Kung Fu Panda games.



Ren said:

good point about Hardcore/core. Thats a fair distinction and they are both overused as well as used wrongly. It's actually a little difficult figuring out how to characterize the demographics any other way since people use those terms so often now, but at least a distinction between the two should happen. I should keep an eye on that.



Sean_Aaron said:

Forgetting about terms I think people need more perspective. Just because a game isn't in the top 20 doesn't mean it isn't performing well. Sega have already said that House of the Dead is bringing in the numbers they expected and they're happy with the performance and games like De Blob and Boom Blox that people on internet forums have said are "flops" and "prove" 3rd parties cannot sell games on the Wii are either having sequels or sequels are being discussed.

The simple fact is that the production costs on many of these games just are not as high as those on the PS/360 so if the game doesn't chart and sells over a longer timeframe it can still make a profit. And whilst Nintendo's output may not be what everyone would like, they are putting out a ton of titles compared to any other publisher in the games industry, full stop. No, not everything will cater to your tastes, but that doesn't mean they're sitting around doing nothing or that none of their current output appeals to "core" gamers.

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