Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo, recently made the candid admission that the Wii is experiencing something of a crisis in Japan, with sales and releases the worst they have been in since launch.
His remarks were made to press whilst speaking about the future development of the console markets:
“It’s a fact that the Wii in Japan is now stagnant. It is in the most unhealthy position it has been in since release. The Wii’s sales model was that it was being driven by a few very powerful titles, but from 2008 this no longer worked effectively.”
Observers have long noted that the Wii’s release schedule has been looking extremely barren for some time now, and this confirms that. With mass appeal casual gaming titles apparently thin on the ground, the problems the Wii has with securing more “serious” games are highlighted.
The best title he can think to mention is apparently “Wii Sports Resort” due in June in Japan, July elsewhere.
He also remarks that no price cuts are being considered; without price cuts or blockbuster software, his strategy for Japan is not clear.
He does see the Nintendo DS as a core part of the company’s current and future business:
He explains that global economic conditions have left Nintendo largely unaffected so far:
“After we released the DS, our customer base broadened dramatically, beyond our expectations. From 2006 to 2008, our sales in both Europe and America also grew.”
He sees potential for expanding sales:
“Currently, many DS units are used by multiple people. Rather than it being ‘one per house’, our desired challenge is now to make it ‘one per user’ instead.”
He went on to outline a plan to make DS software and services ubiquitous, expanding the hand-held into being a mobile device rather than just a gaming device, a scheme readily visible in the features of the DSi.