Why Can’t Nintendo Find the Right Market?

Nintendo

Back in the day, Nintendo was the coolest video game maker ever. Any 90’s kid will surely remember playing Pokemon on their Game Boy (Color, Advance, or SP?) and it looked like the company had another huge hit with the Wii. Wii Sports seemed like a household favorite (at least in my house, where Wii bowling competitions were cutthroat), and there were so many other great games like Pikmin, Zelda, and Mario Kart that brought back memories of the old 64 or GameCube, but with a modern twist. The Wii also opened up a new market for the fitness-lovers. Wii Fit, Wii Action, and Wii Zumba all focused on physical fitness through fun, video game style workouts, catering to a new group of gamers.

Apparently the console has begun to lose popularity, because they recently announced that they will be discontinuing the original Wii system in Japan. Now, the system is still available outside of Japan, but to me, it seems like a slap in the face to discontinue such a successful product that has such a strong Japanese influence and heritage in its home country. But business is business and that’s how it works sometimes.

The question, though, is why did they feel the need to discontinue it (especially so they can focus on the Wii U, which has had significantly weaker sales than the original during its first year)? Perhaps it’s because they couldn’t continue to find the right target market in the wake of all this new competition. The other video game companies seem to have their audience pretty well pinned down, with both Microsoft and Sony focusing on older gamers with more violent and graphic games, and Apple seems to have cornered the younger market with their kid-friendly Apps. Maybe there just aren’t enough fitness/Pikmin/Zelda/Mario fans who are willing to buy the Wii and its games to keep it profitable anymore.

Has Nintendo simply run its course? They did amazingly back when every kid had a Game Boy and when the Wii motion technology was still new and innovative, but now that there is so much more competition they’ve seemed to have fizzled out a little. The Wii U hasn’t performed up to Nintendo’s expectations, so I’m curious to see if they’ll be releasing any new consoles in the near future to increase sales.

Do you think this is the beginning of the end for Nintendo? Or can they save themselves again now that the Wii phase seems to be ending, like they did when the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Game Boy phases ended by making a newer and more innovative system?

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