Sales of the 3DS aren’t so bad that the device qualifies as a “flop.” And with all of the Wii and DS consoles that they’ve sold in years past, it would take a LOT to make a dent in Nintendo‘s bank account. But they just had their worst fiscal year in, like, ever.
I remember when the Wii was unveiled, it was all anybody could talk about. The anticipation was through the roof, and it was a paradigm shift so profound, it caused Microsoft and Sony to alter their own console strategies (hello, Kinect and Move!). An aggressive pricing structure combined with the innovation of motion control made for an unbeatable combination, and people who never played games, like senior citizens, were suddenly buying themselves a game console so they could bowl at home.
The Wii U hasn’t made headlines since E3 earlier this year, when it was unveiled. While there’s always the contingent of faithful who will be excited no matter what, the collective Wii U reaction from the masses paled in comparison to the game-changer that was Nintendo’s last console.
Then there’s the 3DS. It was supposed to be the flagship of the 3D gaming revolution, but it turned out to be a headache-causing gimmick that very few 3DS owners still use consistently. Its sales numbers haven’t been anywhere close to what Nintendo was hoping for or projecting — the primary reason that the company’s fiscal year sucked the big one.
The DS was another mega-hit for Nintendo that reached people who never otherwise played video games. Thanks to things like brain-training games and cooking assistants, the DS became something much more than a game console. The closest thing you could compare it to is the iPhone, because it could do a lot more than one thing (in this case, gaming).
It’s way too early to worry about Nintendo yet. They’re still selling consoles in the millions, and heaps of games to go along with them. But I can’t help wondering what will happen if the 3DS never catches on the way the DS did, and the Wii U underwhelms. The DS and Wii were such an incredible one-two punch… is replicating their success even possible?