Big times ahead?

Investment site The Motley Fool — which recently painted a rather dismal picture of Nintendo's future — has performed a complete about-face by claiming that Nintendo could end up being the big winner this holiday season.

The opinion piece points out that although the Wii U has failed to meet expectations, the release of the universally-acclaimed Super Mario 3D World means that the console has what is arguably the best game of any platform this Christmas.

The site also points out that despite the early sales success of the PS4 and Xbox One, both Sony and Microsoft are in very different positions when compared to Nintendo. Sony has a wide portfolio of business interests, including mobile phones and TV production — the latter of which has been a loss-making venture in recent times. In September, Sony reported a $200 million loss — a vital reminder that although its games console could end up being a runaway commercial success, the company has plenty of other plates in the air.

Microsoft finds itself in a similar situation, claims Motley Fool. The Xbox division is just one part of a massive company, and Microsoft makes a lot more cash from other projects, such as the Windows operating system and its Office business software. CEO Steve Ballmer — who will leave the company soon after more than a decade in charge — has been a long-time supporter of the Xbox, but he could be replaced by Stephen Elop, a man who is reportedly interested in selling off the gaming arm of the company.

Many industry analysts agree that this is a sound idea; they feel that the Xbox is costing Microsoft billions and the firm isn't getting enough reward for this outlay.

Taking all of this into account, you could argue that Nintendo's sole focus on gaming is its biggest strength; both Sony and Microsoft have other concerns which mean they can never be fully committed to interactive entertainment. The release of Super Mario 3D World could well prove the tipping point for the Wii U, especially with Christmas just around the corner. The 3DS is also likely to be a big seller this festive season, thanks to new hardware — in the shape of the cheap 2DS — and a killer selection of games.

The Motley Fool's positive outlook stands in stark contrast to a piece it ran just a few days ago. It put forward the opinion that Nintendo's future was at risk thanks to the release of a gaming controller accessory for the iPhone.

The turnaround is puzzling — especially when you consider that both features were penned by the same person: Sam Mattera. Is this merely a case of someone trying to cover all the possible angles, or do you think Mattera has had a change of heart? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.