I was surprised when Nintendo announced last week that they would have their first ever annual net loss this year . After all, they have the largest console userbase with the Wii, just had new DS games like Kirby and Professor Layton drop, and with the 3DS finally picking up steam (after its price drop, of course) you would think that The Big N would be doing pretty well. Then it dawned on me that Nintendo has finally hit the point where the well has gone dry. Everyone has seen the pics where Miyamoto and Iwata gleefully declare “IT PRINTS MONEY!!” like below, but things are much different now and Nintendo has to thank the casual gamer for that.
I’m talking about the casual gamers that Nintendo attracted with their motion sensor controls and games like Wii Sports. Those same casual gamers that came in droves to buy Wiis, making it the hardest console to find well over a year after release are done. It seems that Nintendo has come to realize why you don’t depend on casual gamers to build an empire on: they are not loyal to brands. A casual gamer is all about being entertained as quickly and easily as possible without being too involved with the game they are playing. Now what could have made these casual gamers jump ship from the Wii?
That’s right, it was that device currently joined to your hip or in your hands, assuming you aren’t using it to read this article: the smartphone. With smartphones such as the iPhone and Android models becoming mainstream, new games for them have been released at a mind-blowing rate. Instead of paying $20 to $50 for a new Wii or DS game, folks are quickly dropping a few bucks to have a fun quick game ready to play on their phone at any time. Angry Birds alone has become such a phenomenon that your parents will likely recognize it over the Nintendo stars that aren’t Mario. Mobile games have made the simple act of sliding a finger across the screen as addictive as pretending to bowl in Wii Sports. It was only a matter of time until Nintendo was going to realize the error of their ways which leads us to now.
Now, it appears, Nintendo has become the cheating spouse that has come crawling back to its significant other, the core gamer, after having had a 4 year affair with that casual gamer hussy. With promises of a high-powered console that will play all the big name games, the Wii U is Nintendo’s diamond bracelet that they’re hoping will win back the core gamer that they neglected and ignored for all those years. Throughout the E3 press conference, Reggie Fils-Aime made sure to point out that the Wii U will bring back the core gamer.
So what was the reaction from core gamers? Once again we’ll believe Nintendo’s claims that they will never leave us again, and once again we will enjoy Mario’s warm embrace as we hope that we don’t get abused again. Damn you, Nintendo!
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