Published on August 28th, 2013 | by Christian0
Nintendo – Panic Mode Lite
What started as a normal day of the usual dismal Nintendo news: Media Create Sales showing just over 5000 units of The Wonderful 101 sold in Japan during its first week on the shelves, turned into a day of Nintendo news as vexing as it was unexpected. First, lets not gloss over how terrible those numbers are W101. It makes sense, with the game’s unique aesthetics and superficial resemblance to the recently released latest installment in the well-liked Pikmin franchise, but goddamn. The Wii U is supposed to be picking up steam to barrel into the holidays, and although there were some reports of increased hardware movement in Japan thanks to Pikmin 3, any momentum that title built up is obviously gone now, and with numbers that bad in Japan I can only expect a similarly bad performance in North America and an absolutely horrendous performance in Europe. The good chance that the price will bomb hard shortly after release almost ensures that this thing won’t be moving many units on day 1.
Now is the time for Nintendo to start turning those keys to initiate full on panic mode for the upcoming holiday console war retail bloodbath, and they’re sort of doing it by slashing the cost of the Wii U by $50 and offering a Windwaker HD bundle for $300 starting September 20th. The price cut will give the stagnant Wii U a bit of breathing room when the PS4 and Xbox One launch at $400 and $500 respectively with no packed in software, but I’m skeptical as to whether this will be enough to maintain interest in the system over the long term, attract 3rd party developers, and even compete with the now quite old PS3 and 360. Even though the launch lineups of the PS4 and Xbox One are pretty anemic, Nintendo is going up against them with just the aforementioned W101, Windwaker HD (launching 10/4/13) , and Super Mario 3D World which has been moved up to November 22nd. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is now being left to die with a December 6th release date. On the bright side, it’s launching at $50. I wasn’t too upset that Retro was making a Donkey Kong game when it was announced at E3, but if they were going to be toiling away to make a game that wasn’t going to sell, Nintendo may as well have let them make a Metroid game. There are a few other games coming out, including a terrible looking Sonic game, but these are the titles that are going to make or break the Wii U this fall.
That’s the vexing news. The unexpected news was the announcement of the 2DS. Basically, it’s a door stop shaped 3DS that doesn’t fold, minus the 3D, and it’s targeted at young kids. It’s launching October 12th for $130. I had to double check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st when I saw this thing, but after seeing this video I sort of got what Nintendo is intending with this device. Take a look.
Even though the name satisfies Nintendo’s apparent obsession with needless brand confusion, the hardware itself makes sense. Offer a no frills affordable device you can give your 5 year old so that they’ll stop clamoring for your phone or tablet or whatever. There was a lot of criticism and heckling from the hardcore gaming crowd about this thing, but it’s unwarranted because this thing is just not for us. Nintendo will probably make a TON of money on it, as they’ve been known to do in the supposedly dying handheld market. Good for them I guess, and for all those kids that are going to be enjoying Pokemon X and Y on a 2DS this fall, but Nintendo needs to be putting out raging fire that is the Wii U rather than polishing their wildly successful handheld market. The 3DS is already a surprise success considering its rough start, so Nintendo needs to redirect their magic towards the Wii U otherwise that thing’s failure will haunt them for years to come.