Nintendo was the company to beat this year. Sales for the Wii were slightly down from 2009, but this is understandable now that the majority of homes in the United Kingdom have the system. They’ve been effective at satisfying consumer demand and this trend is probably just a necessary dip into a normal, sustainable level of sales.
The company has shown little to combat the launch of Kinect and Move in terms of hardware this Christmas, instead relying on new software to pique some interest. The lack of high definition output on the Wii is becoming a growing problem, especially as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 begin to come down in cost. I predict that they’ll slash the price at some point in 2011, or try and push the system with increasingly outlandish bundles. With no sign of the Vitality Sensor, Nintendo has a blank canvas for the home console market next year.
The biggest play for them was at E3. The Nintendo 3DS has created a huge amount of hype, with intriguing launch titles and varied hands on impressions. Will people want to use the 3D effect? Does it work properly without glasses? I guess we’ll all have to wait until the system launches next spring. Kid Icarus Uprising was a pleasant surprise for long time Nintendo followers and I think that as a dedicated piece of gaming hardware, it’ll have enough novelty to distinguish itself from other multimedia devices.
In house productions such as Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid Other M has reaffirmed Nintendo’s skill for making great games, but it’s consequently left the holiday season looking bare. Aside from Donkey Country Returns, only Epic Mickey has managed to create some sense of anticipation.
To go out on a limb, I predict that they’ll be announcing a new iteration of their home console at E3 2011. Without a new system by next Christmas, the Wii will look considerably outdated alongside Microsoft and Sony’s rival controllers.
We’re all looking forward to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword next year, but it’ll be interesting to see what other franchises Nintendo chooses to revive. Pikmin and Star Fox are both sorely missed, so perhaps this is where the company will choose to innovate?
Final Grade: B