Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, has announced plans to develop new hardware for emerging markets as early as 2015. This comes in response to the lackluster performance of Wii U sales that Nintendo has endured so far, considering they posted their fourth consecutive quarter loss recently.
Iwata said that Nintendo plans on making new hardware and devices for “emerging markets,” which means that what they plan to develop will be for a targeted area, not necessarily for global release like all of the hardware in the past, like the Wii U. Emerging markets are areas, specifically countries, where companies see a growing market for their product. When they see a viable market, they will attempt to sell their product there.
For example, China recently lifted their ban on selling video game consoles (meaning they would be an ideal emerging market right now), and Microsoft has looked to move into the market by introducing the Xbox One in September. Iwata says that Nintendo is currently looking to do the same. Whether that means the Wii U is coming to China, or an entirely new machine, is unknown.
This does not mean that Nintendo is abandoning the Wii U, but that they are developing hardware for specific countries, while keeping the Wii U as the same machine for the same price. Iwata said they didn’t want to make a cheaper Wii U (which to be honest, the price of the Wii U is not the issue), but to start fresh with something created with a specific audience in mind.
Will places like Europe and North America see much of this new tech? Probably not, but it depends entirely on what that new hardware will be.
This is just the latest in the variety of creative ways Nintendo has looked to boost its revenue, from expanding its digital library to the development of its own NFC figurines that are similar to what we have seen with Skylanders and Disney Infinity.
Even then, Iwata says that Nintendo is relying on the release of key titles like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart to help rebound Wii U sales. One could argue, and many Nintendo fans and gamers alike, that the problem surrounding the Wii U has been a lack of titles to justify purchasing a Wii U.
The Wii U has been around for about 1.5 years and still has little to show for it in ways of exclusives. Those exclusives include a smattering of platformers in the form of various Mario and Donkey Kong games, and a few other unique IPs, but hardly enough to convince many people to purchase the console.
The new Smash Bros. and Mario Kart will definitely help the Wii U’s sales, but one has to wonder if Nintendo’s biggest fault would have to be their lack of focus on creating games for their new platform. As it stands now, the Wii U has few exclusives, with many of the of the third party titles appearing on last generation machines like the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.