Opinion: Nintendo's in trouble, but here's how it can turn things around
Let's be honest, Nintendo has seen better times. The Wii U is essentially a digital graveyard, with no "huge" games to speak of for the summer, third parties dropping out of projects (it's not even getting a Madden game this year), and dwindling sales. The 3DS continues to thrive, but some are questioning if it can keep up with the growing mobile market. And the recent decision to decline hosting a press conference at E3 next month – instead choosing to go with a private media event and Nintendo Direct broadcasts – has some people concerned that the company isn't firing on all cylinders.
Nintendo is still great, however, and I feel that there are some things it can do to easily turn things around and make 2013 its most viable year to date. Sure, it didn't exactly start the right way, but it can certainly finish in a positive manner. All it needs to do is follow these steps in order to right the ship. Now, not all of these things will be easy, but they're certainly vital when it comes to keeping in the race, especially with the Xbox Durango and PlayStation 4 entering the market. Here goes nothing…
Offer an Official Price Drop on the Wii U – Immediately
The Wii U is a good system, but it's loaded with ports and, worse yet, not enough original games to make it worth the $300/$350 asking price right now. What Nintendo needs to do to keep a good foothold in the industry is lower the price to something far more reasonable. Would it lose a little money in the process? Sure, but the number of people who own the system would rise, and in this battle of next-generation systems, sometimes that's the way to win, as that means more people buying the blockbuster Mario Kart and 3D Mario sequels that are in the works for it. And it doesn't have to be too drastic, either – maybe something along the lines of a $200/$250 asking price. That's more than fair.
Convince Third Parties Why They Should Come Back
Third-party support has dwindled a bit for the Wii U since its release, with Electronic Arts being the chief suspect and development teams even going as far as saying they can't make games like Battlefield 4 or Crysis 3 for it. What Nintendo needs to do is convince third parties that there's a reason to keep fighting for the system, and maybe even offer some bonuses in order to guarantee exclusives for it. It's certainly not the easiest process, as EA has already been burned by lackluster sales, but dropping a few extra bucks to guarantee the system's longevity will certainly be worth it. It makes you wonder just what the Saturn could've been if Sega worked out a better deal with EA years ago…
Show More Compassion for the Community
Nintendo's community is dedicated. Announce a new project that will get them excited and they won't stop talking about it – we still know people that think the new Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past game is the next great classic. But Nintendo barely shows any indication about its love for said community. Sure, it offers some good deals on Club Nintendo, but we're talking about going next-level with that love. Cancelling its E3 conference didn't really do any favors, as a lot of people live for those. What Nintendo needs to do, besides its "private" events, is host a big party where it gives thanks to its fans, and offers some big news that it can truly feel like it's a part of. It'd certainly go a greater distance than, say, having an interactive drawing wall on the Wii U.
Introduce a Rewards Program
Microsoft has Xbox Live Gold; Sony has PlayStation Plus. So why shouldn't Nintendo introduce a rewards program that promptly gives back to those who buy its games? Sure, it has Club Nintendo, but are you really telling me that my reward for buying six 3DS games is a carrying case? Look at Nintendo of Europe. It's offering a buy two, get one free deal on its games, and Nintendo of America can easily do the same, especially with such an impressive summer slate for 3DS that includes Animal Crossing and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. C'mon, Nintendo, show the love.
Go Ahead and Release Smaller Games for iOS
We know Nintendo dreads the idea of entering the iOS market. We get it – why release games for that format when they could work on the 3DS? But what Nintendo doesn't realize is the potential for that market – and the fact that it doesn't have to go with the "big" blockbusters right away. There's room to dabble in this market and release older Virtual Console games for a few bucks a pop, like Balloon Fight, Super Mario Land, and so many others. We know it loves the classics between its 3DS and Wii U releases, so why not just try another market and see how it fares? We know a few Pokémon fans that would certainly be grateful.
What do you think Nintendo needs to do to succeed?