Nintendo have had a technological leg up on competitors Sony and Microsoft during this console generation, thanks to Wii’s motion gaming capabilities. With the Playstation Move for PS3 and Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 in addition to popular new releases like Halo:Reach, that leg up stands to be lost.
Nintendo was expected to do well against its competitors this holiday season, thanks mostly to the launch of its latest Nintendo DS incarnation. Called the Nintendo 3DS, this handheld gaming console uses 3D technology to deliver a revolutionary handheld experience – no glasses required.
According to recent reports, the release of the 3DS has been postponed to the 1st quarter of 2011 due to an inability to produce enough units in time for the holidays. The Nintendo 3DS is now due for a February 26, 2011 launch in Japan, and a March release in Europe and the United States.
With the exception of perennial hits like Pokemon, sales for Nintendo DS cartridges have already been declining. It’s possible that many DS gamers have been waiting for the 3DS’ launch rather than buying non-3D cartridges in the meantime. This could cause a huge dip in Nintendo’s sales through the holiday season.
Nintendo’s projections echo this assumed loss. Their early projections for the fiscal year ending in March 2011 predicted sales totaling 200 billion yen, largely due to the projected success of the 3DS. This console is expected to be priced at $299, a higher price point than the previous Nintendo DS models (ranging from about $100-180, depending on model).
Now that the 3DS will not launch until early 2011, that shifts Nintendo’s projected profits down to 90 billion yen – less than half of what was previously predicted. According to Yahoo! News, analysis predicts Nintendo will finish last of the “big 3” gaming companies during the 2010 holiday season.
Nintendo will spend this Christmas spinning its wheels, for the most part. Some anticipated titles are due to launch this holiday season (such as Shaun White’s snowboarding game and Babysitting Mama) but wiithout the 3DS to strengthen sales, the company’s profit and stock will decrease. Stock in Nintendo has already shown a downturn in response to the postponement, falling to a low last seen in December 2009. As of this writing, the Japanese stock exchange remains open, so stocks may fall further before the day’s close.
As the longest-lived console manufacturer in the business, it’s going to take more than one bad holiday season to ruin Nintendo. Still, the lack of a 3DS under the tree this Christmas will have many gamers spending their cash on Sony and Microsoft offerings.
Isabel Reynolds. “Nintendo 3DS Delay Casts Gloom Over Games Giant.” Yahoo! News.
“Nintendo Hit By 3DS Christmas Delay.” BBC News.