Has Nintendo Blown Its Chance for Wii 2?

Has Nintendo Blown Its Chance for Wii 2?

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter smells doom and gloom in Nintendo’s future. Pachter says that Nintendo has “completely blown” its opportunity to introduce a Wii 2 while the market for a successor was still hot.

“With as much respect for Nintendo management as I can muster, I think Nintendo’s completely blown it with their second generation Wii strategy,” Pachter told IndustryGamers.com at Nintendo’s mid-January Nintendo 3DS event in New York City. “I think they have the mentality that to launch a new [console] they have to retire the old, and I think that’s wrong. I think the right strategy would have been to get a second generation Wii out and keep the old Wii at the same time, and have the second generation be the natural progression upgrade model.”

Interesting idea, but Nintendo tried the “natural progression upgrade model” thing in the past with the Game Boy Advance (GBA) and the Nintendo DS. The GBA was at the height of its popularity when the DS hit the market, and Nintendo figured its audience would slowly ease into the DS when they were ready to upgrade. Instead, a tremendous “CLANG” resonated around the world when everybody canned their GBA’s in one motion and picked up a DS.

All right, the abandonment of the GBA wasn’t quite that sudden or dramatic (or loud). But its popularity did plummet with the introduction of the DS. There’s a reason why Nintendo made sure to squeeze out every possible iteration of the Nintendo DS before slowly moving on to the Nintendo 3DS.

It’s true that, unlike the DS, there’s only been one iteration of the Wii. Nintendo was even slow about giving customers color options. But 2010 marked the first year that consumer interest in the Wii was visibly sliding–and it still managed to sell over 460,000 units last Christmas. It wouldn’t have made much sense for Nintendo to interrupt the Wii’s four-year selling spree with a new Wii. Casual gamers might have been scared off by an abrupt change to higher tech, and hardcore gamers seem to have turned away from the “Wii” name, anyway. Would a “2” have made much of a difference?

That said, the Wii is definitely looking a bit old and bent over. It’s not likely we’ll see a Wii 2 in 2011, given the launch of the Nintendo 3DS. 2012 seems ideal for a new Wii, but Pachter says it might be too late, either way.

“I just think Nintendo’s blown it. I think by the time they launch [their next console] if it’s Christmas 2011, it’s two years too late, and for sure one year too late. So it’s over – I don’t think they can ever recover. Wii sales will continue to decline and I think Wii 2 will not sell well.”

Wii sales will probably continue to decline, but that doesn’t explain why Wii 2 supposedly won’t sell well. Pachter points out that the Wii 2 Nintendo should have released would have ideally allowed for more cross-platform pollination of third-party titles–but the Wii’s lower tech is only part of the reason why third parties have a hard time publishing their Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games on the Wii. The other reason lies with the Wii’s remote. And if the Wii abandoned its remote and low-cost tech just to emulate the Xbox 360, what would it be?

Nintendo might have a hard time pitching the Wii 2 to future audiences, especially hardcore gamers (though the company has resolved not to abandon them again). But Nintendo has always taken risks with its hardware and gone against our expectations. Sometimes it fails colossally; more often, it succeeds enormously. If Nintendo ever gives up system innovation in favor of nuzzling up to what Sony and Microsoft have already accomplished, that’ll be the day we can officially declare that the company has blown it.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

3 Comments

  1. With all the respect I can muster for Mr. Prachter, he’s an idiot.

    The Wii is still performing admirably against the Sony and Microsoft giants, despite its weaker hardware. The last E3 showed those two emulating Nintendo both in hardware and software. Nintendo, meanwhile, was moving on to its next powerhouse: the 3DS.

    The sheer power and ability of the 3DS alone sounds like it will reshape the portable market. It will be such a step up and a step forward I think it would drown out a Wii 2 a this point.

    It doesn’t seem like Mr. Prachter has taken the world economy into account, either. Videogames remain a pricey hobby, and one of the Wii’s big selling points was its low price. It still is, and gamers don’t have the same kind of income (or at least financial security) like we used to.

    So why should Nintendo compete with itself with a still-appealing Wii and the up-coming 3DS? Consumers would be exhausted trying to keep up.

    To counter Mr. Prachter, I believe Nintendo has this all planned out. The 3DS will hit in March and over the next year or two get the bugs out, see its next upgrade (3DSi or what-have-you), and get the consumers accustomed to all it has to offer. Then, once the DS is phased out and the 3DS’s potential is beginning to bloom, THEN they will reveal the Wii 2 and all the wonderful interconnectivity it will have with the 3DS.

    With the 3DS now wide-spread, it will help provide incentive to pick up the Wii 2, and the cycle will begin anew.

  2. As HD televisions have gained more and more market share, both hardcore and casual gamers would like something that shows off their pretty new entertainment systems. Since the Wii has failed to update its system based on this fact they have given competitors that have an HD console the ability to leapfrog them. Not putting out an HD and multi-media friendly console has given Sony and Microsoft the opportunity to position their products as the “natural progression upgrade model” for Wii owners.

    Pachter may have miss spoke when saying that Nintendo should have put out a Wii 2 since this indicates a new generation of consoles, and many expect a numbered console to reflect a substantial leap in technology and power. However, had they put out a WiiHD the only expectation would be that the console could handle images above 480p, and possibly play you MP3’s. Instead, it appears that they have allowed themselves to sit back and let the competition both steal their gimmick, and offer it on a system with more advanced features and graphics to boot.

    Unless Nintendo is able to make their next console as revolutionary as the first Wii, I think it will be very hard for them to maintain their current console market share. Anyone interested in getting an upgraded motion console needs to only turn around in his or her video game aisle and see what Nintendo’s competitors are offering.

  3. james braselton

    hi there well nintendo has live streaming video service like nintedo video for nintendo 3ds or nintendo channle for wii

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