Why Nintendo is not Leaving the Gaming Industry Anytime Soon

     As Nintendo's brand-new, high definition console has just gotten started on making its way towards homes across the world, doom and gloom is what people have been predicting for Nintendo lately because of the Nintendo Wii U's poor sales. Believe it or not, it sold less than the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft XBOX 360, and Sony PlayStation 3's worst month in sales in January 2013 in the United States. It even sold less than the PlayStation Vita in one week in January 2013 in North America, and its software sales were less than the PlayStation Vita's software sales in the United Kingdom! With all of this is coming talk of Nintendo going the way of Sega: becoming a third-party publisher and developing video games for Microsoft and/or Sony's upcoming consoles. While many think that this will end up happening at some point down the road, I just don't see it happening, and, even if it did, I just don't see it being a viable option. Here is a snippet of what Tristan Louis from Forbes said about this topic.

... If Nintendo intends to remain competitive in the next-gen console business, the fact that developers see the Wii U as underpowered is not a good thing.

Ironically, it may be Nintendo's weak early positioning among the next generation of consoles that could help save it in the long run if the future is one in which it ends up having to abandon the console business altogether. Atari, which dominated the console business in the early 1980s, morphed into a game business and grew without the console for several generations. And Sega, which was bested by Nintendo, transformed itself into a software company that now produces titles for Microsoft and Sony's console as well as for iOS and Android. Sega had to do some substantial restructuring and had its ups and downs, but the company's net income has increased to levels higher than those it saw as a console maker and its margins are substantially higher.

Nintendo is a already a giant game publisher-larger than EA, Blizzard Activision, Ubisoft, or Take-Two. And as such, it has a rich library of titles that it could port to another platform if it wanted to. By shifting some development to iOS, it could greatly extend its power in the field, instead of potentially losing relevance among a critical public. Margins would go up and developers would become more nimble and adaptable to changing market trends. Rumors are that going software-only is an option that is being investigated.

(Louis, 2013)

     If you don't know about it already, Sega, a company that creates video games from the Sonic and Super Monkey Ball series, used to be a first-party developer that was Nintendo's biggest rival. That was, until, due to many mistakes Sega made, they retired from being a first-party publisher and became a third-party publisher, which is sad when you take a look at some of their amazing consoles, such as the Dreamcast. I strongly disagree with what Tristan Louis has to say regarding this topic from the statement that the Wii U is underpowered, to the statement that Nintendo is in a weak position. If you take a look at the cold, hard facts, you'll see why this just won't end up happening. At least, it won't end up happening anytime soon. Let's analyze why this just isn't a possible option.

Nintendo is Filthy Rich

     If you just take a whiff of how much money Nintendo has stored in the bank, you'll see that they won't be going anywhere or going third-party anytime soon. As of March 2012, Nintendo saved a total of 812.8 billion yen in the bank. How much is this in dollars, you may ask? Well, this is 10.5 billion dollars. According to analysts, that is enough money to sustain a 20 billion yen, or 257 million dollar, loss every year for until the year 2052. There also is the fact that Nintendo owns 469 billion yen, or 6 billion dollars, worth of properties, which would allow Nintendo to survive until 2075. Obviously, Nintendo would not go third-party unless they are desperate for money and couldn't support creating hardware, which they obviously won't be for a very long time. We also know that that loss will not be happening anytime soon and Nintendo is only going to be making money, so they're definitely going to stay in the ring for much longer than people say they will.  

The Nintendo 3DS Sales are Incredible

     If Nintendo does end up failing with the Wii U, which probably won't happen, then they always have their almost-2-year-old portable, the Nintendo 3DS, to fall back on. While the Nintendo 3DS had a very poor start, after slashing the price, releasing Nintendo's digital store, the Nintendo eShop, and releasing high-quality first party games like Super Mario 3D Land and Kid Icarus: Uprising, it picked up some steam. In fact, the Nintendo 3DS has already sold more than 30 million units worldwide, selling even faster than the Nintendo DS did back in its day. The Nintendo DS family ended its life by selling a total of, approximately, 153 million units, selling more than any other video game console/portable has ever sold. Just imagine how many units the Nintendo 3DS family will end up selling by the end of its life. With sales like how many units Animal Crossing: New Leaf has sold in its first few months on store shelves in Japan (2.5 million physically and 1 million digitally), there is no sign that the Nintendo 3DS is slowing down in sales of software either. The Nintendo 3DS is also just getting started, with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Pokémon X/Y, Project X Zone, Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins, Mario Golf: World Tour, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, just to name a few. With games like these coming to the Nintendo 3DS, it's definitely bound to get even better. If Nintendo did end up doing poorly when it comes to their home console, they always have their growing portable to support them.  

Nintendo Wii U Software is on its Way

     While the Nintendo Wii U boasts some exceptional games from its launch on November 18th, 2012, there weren't many Wii U games that released in its launch window, which ends on March 31st, 2013, causing a slow down in sales. This was, in fact, the reason behind why the Nintendo Wii U sold a measly 56 thousand units across the United States in the month of January 2013. Rayman Legends, Ubisoft's triple-A Wii U game, was supposed to boost the system's sales until it got delayed in an effect to release the game as a multiplatform game (read more in my blog on this). Luckily, high-quality Nintendo Wii U games are on their way, starting in the month of March 2013. This month, we'll be expecting games such as The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition, Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted U. You also shouldn't forget the fact that Nintendo's announced a new 3D Mario game, Mario Kart game, Zelda game, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, Yoshi's Land, and more. There also is the fact that we'll be seeing Pikmin 3 and Game & Wario soon. If anything, Nintendo won't be making anymore huge losses if they are releasing games that will drive their profits even more. 

The Nintendo Wii U Isn't Powerful?

     One of the reasons why people claim that Nintendo will have to bow down to Microsoft, Sony, Google, and Apple is because the Wii U, apparently, isn't powerful. I beg to differ when it comes to this statement. Even if Sony and Microsoft's upcoming consoles end up being much more powerful than Nintendo's Wii U, the Wii U is an incredibly powerful console. People may argue that it is weak, but the Wii U is nowhere near being weak. If it is weak, then how come it can run games on the TV screen and the GamePad screen in 1080p HD at 60fps with no lag? That's what I'd call powerful and next-generation in terms of power, especially when compared to the XBOX 360, PS3, and Wii. Even Need for Speed Most Wanted developer Criterion admitted that the Nintendo Wii U is a very powerful system that innovates greatly and makes gaming what gaming is about: the games. They even said that the Wii U was able to handle PC textures from the PC version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which just shows how powerful the Wii U really is. Even if it wasn't powerful, power isn't the only thing that matters in terms of a next-generation console. This is one thing that most people fail to see these days when it comes to a video game console. What is the point of having very powerful hardware and either no games or little innovation (other than an improvement in graphics)? There isn't any point in that, which is what Nintendo realized with the Wii U by jam-packing innovation with the new Wii U GamePad. 

Nintendo is not dying from Mobile Phones and Tablets

     Many people have been declaring for a while now that the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita will not survive due to the growing threat of mobile phones and tablets, such as iOS, Android, and Windows 8 phones/tablets. While gaming has majorly shifted to these platforms and these devices typically sell very well, Nintendo is not dying from this threat. Although many people are interested in mobile gaming, there are still very many people that are console/portable gaming. This is why the Nintendo 3DS has sold approximately 30 million units worldwide, and the Nintendo Wii U, which just showed up on store shelves a few months ago, has sold approximately 3 million units worldwide. Why is this, you may ask? Regardless of the fact that mobile gaming offers very cheap gaming, it just can't offer the gaming experience you are able to get from a dedicated gaming device. For what is typically $39 or $59 more than what you pay on an iPhone, you'll get a much deeper, in-depth, and quality gaming experience on a 3DS and Wii U than you usually would get from an iPhone or Android phone. There also is the fact that many people prefer using physical buttons compared to a touch screen when it comes to controls, with the exception of games that work best using a touch screen, such as Jetpack Joyride, Angry Birds, or Cut the Rope. As you can see, although mobile phones and tablets have stolen a large amount of market share from dedicated portable gaming, it isn't actually killing it.

     As you can see, while Nintendo has been having financial troubles lately (which have almost faded away from existence), Nintendo will not be going anywhere anytime soon and won't end up becoming a third-party publisher, like SEGA did after the Dreamcast. If you just take a look at factors such as how much money Nintendo has, their current 3DS sales, and what is coming in the future, it's crystal clear how they won't be dropping out of the console and game-making business.