E3 Bingo, Just in Time

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Not going to go in to much detail on this, I will later on, probably updating this post during Microsoft’s conference. I just wanted to get my E3 bingo cards online before the conferences start.

Nintendo:

Nintendo E3 BingoSony:

Sony E3 BingoMicrosoft:

Microsoft E3 Bingo

Spring 2014 Anime Impressions

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So, we are now a good way in to the new, incredibly strong, Spring anime season and the majority of new titles are now right in the swing of things. While this is a lot later than I would have liked due to various things, it seems that this is a good time to actually talk about what I think of some of the news shows, which ones are good and which ones are… not so good, to put it nicely. Anyway, shall we start, then?

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Previewing the Spring 2014 Anime Season

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APRIL FOOLS! No, not really, this is a normal post, and it’s too late in the day for that anyhow. I’m not imaginative to write a spoof post for April Fools that I could’ve done in advance either so… yeah. Other people thought of some funnier ones than me so you aren’t missing out. Plus this joke falls flat on it’s face more so since my plan to release this post on April 1st didn’t work and now it’s late too! I’ll just preview the Spring anime season and then go cry in a corner about how unfunny I am. This upcoming season is a lot stronger than the last two seasons have been. Not that they’ve been bad, but they’ve lacked multiple quality titles to make them just a bit better. This season, providing it lives up to it’s potential could easily be an incredibly strong season with many superb shows to entertain over the next three months.

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The Top 10 Shows of the Autumn 2013 Anime Season

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Yes this post is late. I have already explained that. But it’s here so I hope you can enjoy it all the same. Looking back on it this season was rather weak. I struggled to pick 10 shows which I was happy to put in a list for the top shows of the season. When compared to the summer season there were many much stronger shows than what is here with very few exceptions. Not that the whole season was bad. There were some true gems, some that I expected to love, some that grew on me as time went on and some that came completely out of nowhere and end up being one of the shows I enjoy the most. But at the same time, there was so much that disappointed. The new show by KyoAni for example, Kyoukai no Kanata. I’d looked forward to that going in to the season but dropped it early on. It was very dull, if pretty, and by the sounds of things it got really weird as it went on too. Nagi no Asukara, which started off so strong, was also dropped come the end of the season, though that did last for most of the season in comparison. There were more too. Let’s avoid the negative talk too. Look at the positives. Here are the best shows of the Autumn season.

10. Galilei Donna

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One of the noitaminA shows for this season (the other being Samurai Flamenco that is still airing, though I dropped it), this was an original work set in Japan in 2061, with three descendants of the great Galileo Galilei being hunted by an international organisation in a conspiracy to find Galileo’s hidden treasure. Being accused of terrorism, they are forced on to the run as they try to find the treasure before them. This was a fun little show but was also not one without it’s faults. While the story was decent, it lost it’s way in the middle a bit before pulling itself together for the end, and due to this the middle episodes are weak in places, and the show as a whole was pulled down by this. It’s a shame since the first few episodes did impress me, but oh well.

9. Magi: The Kingdom of Magic

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The start of season 2 of this show had me intrigued. I had enjoyed the first season more than a few other people I know, though I do admit the quality did wane as it went on. Still, I had heard the story content being covered was good in the new season, so I was hoping things would get better. And it did. I enjoyed it more, it had a more interesting story and there was some good things going. But at the same time it never engaged me as much. I found myself falling behind and not having the motivation to catch up, and even now I’m still behind by a good 10 episodes now, despite enjoying it. It hasn’t grabbed me as much. I do still plan to catch up, and as I’ve said I still like it. It still has a place… but yeah.

8. Phi Brain Season 3

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This show is essentially the same as Magi in terms of how I view it. The quality of the previous season dropped, the new season is better, more interesting story yet, as above, I find myself unmotivated to watch it. The puzzles are more original this time around and the show is on a much larger scale in terms of plot this time too. Yet… I fall behind and am still behind, though not as far as I am with Magi. If I had to compare the two this just pips it, but it’s close. Don’t get me wrong, both are good shows, but there are better ones all the same.

7. Kyousogiga

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I had dropped this. I dropped it early on. I’d enjoyed the previous ONAs that were made but when we finally got a full series it felt poorly realised and messy. I was in the minority, however, and found everyone I knew loving the show as each new episode came out. I gave it another chance and found myself enjoying it a lot more. It dropped in quality in the middle before picking up again for the finale, but it was still much better than what I originally thought and definitely not a mess. I also found the live action special episodes that were done to be rather interesting, possibly moreso than the show itself, as it took you (with the voice actors) around Japan to places featured in the show and it’s inspiration, so I wanted to give them some attention. Overall I’d say it was on par with the ONAs, but never fulfilled it’s potential and pushed passed that. Which is a shame.

6. Coppelion

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Coppelion could have been much more. It’s a visual treat set in a post-apocalyptic world after a nuclear meltdown has made Tokyo uninhabitable by normal means, except for 3 schoolgirls who are genetically mutated to be able to survive the harsh radiation. The show had a lot going for it. And it started really, really well. But it got distracted focusing on small groups of survivors and aggressive attacks against the group and not expanding it’s horizons to talk about the general population and way of life now, which I feel would have been much more interesting. It means it falls in to the trap of just being a mindless action show with some interesting characters and animation. Not that this is necessarily bad, but it could have been more.

5. Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Come o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru (NouCome)

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This show, on the other hand, came out of nowhere to surprise me by being genuinely funny, clever and actually quite decent. A comedy, based on an unfortunate high-schooler named Kanade Amakusa who has the curse of ‘absolute choices’, where he will randomly be given a choice, and whatever he picks will happen, many being… quite weird. This is where the strength of it’s humour comes in, as while this sounds like it could get repetitive the choices range in scope and it never ends up feeling like this. The mix of characters, especially the ‘girl from heaven’ Chocolat. There’s a bit of fanservice mixed in too, and the whole thing ends up being a surprisingly entertaining, occasionally funny little comedy. Not what I’d expected, at all.

4. Log Horizon

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This show has grown from strength to strength as the series has gone on to become a surprise hit for the season. After Sword Art Online which came previous, which started strong and waned as it went on, I was wary going in to this, especially when the synopsis made it sound like a blatant rip-off. But it wasn’t. Not only is the show a good way different to SAO, I’d argue it’s better too. No-one is amazingly over-powered, everyone is confused on this new world and working out how to live together, with the problems that come with that. The characters are easier to relate to and feel a lot more realistic and down to earth than the ones in SAO too. I feel as a whole that makes the whole thing better, and whoever I talk to seems to agree with that too. Certainly a surprise, but a very pleasant one.

Also, Akatsuki. That is all.

3. Kuroko no Basket 2

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As we enter our top 3, we get the highest ranking sequel series in the list with the second season of Kuroko no Basket. The first season really impressed with it’s well-animated action in it’s basketball matches that at times got incredibly intense, with this season continuing and arguably improving on it. As we enter the Winter Cup and the Seirin team compete in the finals of the competition against teams from around the country. The matches become closer and more intense as the team fights hard to try and defeat anyone who stands in their way of victory. As they improve, so do the opponents they face along the way. The series is as good as it’s ever been, and even someone such as I, who isn’t exactly knowledgeable on basketball, has been able to enjoy it, and that same person thinks that you should therefore give it a go.

2. Non Non Biyori

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Even though this show is in second, I was so close to putting this top. It took a lot of thought before I settled on the order I have placed the shows in this list, and it’s these two places I considered the most. Both the shows here are the clear runaway winners of the season, despite the strength of the previous show in this list, which shows how high I regard these last two.

This is the cutesy slice of life show for this season, the show that was been able to somewhat fill the void left by Kiniro Mosaic in the Summer season. Set in the Japanese countryside at a school that only has 5 pupils ranging across all ages, including Renge Miyauchi, who is just in her first year, to the second-year middle-school student Komari Koshigaya, for an example of the age range. Hotaru Ichijo transfers from Tokyo to this school and is unaware of what life is actually like in the country. The comedy for this show comes from the interactions of the 4 girls in the school, the other being Natsumi Koshigaya, and the whole show has the charm of the simple life without complications that the countryside offers. The characters are also all quite cute, and all this together brings a charming show that deserves the praise and success it is receiving in Japan.

1. Kill la Kill

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While it was closer than I had originally expected it to be, if I’m being honest, had you asked me at the start of the season before anything had aired what show I would place number 1, I would have, without a doubt, placed Kill la Kill here like I have now. In the end, the show was just as good as I had anticipated it to be. Made by Trigger, a new-ish animation company formed by former Gainax employees and had already made a name for itself with Little Witch Academia was making the show, a completely hand-drawn series promising lots of action and drama.

It delivered on it’s promise. Honnouji Academy became the epicentre for a visual spectacle with high-octane action throughout. The twists and turns the storyline has had from episode to episode help keep the story, based around Matoi Ryuko as she tries to get revenge for her father’s death, fresh and engaging. While I did not take it in to account as it happened as the series moved in to it’s second half airing throughout Winter, the series has gone from strength to strength in the second half, reaching new heights and looks like it’s becoming something really special as it enters the finale, as long as it doesn’t mess things up.

I end this with a request that, now this list is done, you stop whatever you are doing and try Kill la Kill immediately, as you will not regret it. I’d say you should try the other shows in this list too, but at least give Kill la Kill a chance if you haven’t already. I would also like to say the hardest thing about this post was deciding on a picture to put here for Kill la Kill, so much so I put another below. Enjoy!

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Blog Update

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As you can see, I’ve moved! I decided to move my blog from Blogger to WordPress for various reasons, mainly that it is overall a better site and it’ll be easier for me to update on devices other than a laptop since it actually has a functioning iOS app too. Which is nice.

Plus I think the site is more visually pleasing than the old Blogger one.

The main thing of note due to this move is that I’ve decided to split my blog in to two separate blogs, the other of which you can see in the sidebar. This has all of my Battling the Backlog Posts, and keeps them all contained together instead of scattered around. That doesn’t mean gaming-related posts will not be made here, and I will still promote that blog here, but the actual Battling the Backlog posts can now be found there.

The other good thing about moving here is that there are some cool things I can do here that I wasn’t able to do before, for example. As you may notice I have a featured image for this article that you can find nice and big below the blog title. I’ve also been able to add my twitter feed in the side bar, so you can follow me easily if you want. I may decide to add a few other cool little things in here and there too.

Last of all, my post for the top shows of last season and last year should be up this week with any luck, they aren’t dead. They are still in the works. Look forward to them.

First Impressions of the Winter 2014 Anime Season – Part II

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More impressions on new anime! There were a few shows here that shocked me when I first tried them, and I’d thoroughly recommend them. You wouldn’t normally watch them, but they’re actually quite good!

 

Nobunaga The Fool

Start Date: January 6th (Date in Japan)

Streaming?: Yes, Crunchyroll – Sundays, 8:15pm (All streams tailored for UK)

 

Meh. That’s all I really have to say about this. It wasn’t the most interesting, it left me with little need to watch past the first episode and the story wasn’t the most interesting. Which is a shame, as when I first heard about it looked like it could be good. It was a mecha series set in a war-ravaged Japan with Oda Nobunaga on the Eastern side meeting Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc, a girl on the Eastern side who sees him as the ‘Star Messiah’ who would save the world. It’s not grear, and I’m not going to continue with the show going forward I don’t think.

 

Strange+

Start Date: January 10th

Streaming?: Yes, Crunchyroll – Thursdays, 5:30pm

 

It lives up to it’s name, at least. This show is strange. Too bad it’s also very short. And not very good. It’s humour feels very forced and its not great. Usually I don’t drop short shows because they take so little time to watch there’s not much point. There are better shorts airing this season anyway, and even though I rarely drop these smaller shows, this one is one I think I will. I wouldn’t recommend it, for sure.

 

Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

Start Date: January 6th

Streaming?: Yes, Crunchyroll – Mondays, 3pm

 

This post must make me sound like I don’t like anything. Three completely different shows, all of them shows I will or have dropped. This being the third. Loosely related to the movie ‘The Princess and the Pilot’, released recently by NISA in the US, this is a slice of life set in the same world as a boy trains to become a pilot. The problem here is that, while I understand this type of show is not filled with action, it at least has some sort of pace and progression, even if minor. This felt as though nothing happened in the time that I watched it, leaving me bored senseless. Not great.

 

Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

Start Date: January 12th

Streaming?: Yes, Animax

 

This on the other hand… this is better. I really enjoyed this, despite being unsure going in to it.

 

This is an original anime about a group called the Zvezda Plot ran by a little girl called Kate Hoshimiya who are trying to take over the world. The worries I had going in was whether it would have a larger focus on fanservice then some good action due to the ‘interesting’ clothing choices of the pre-pubescent main character, but that is actually not the case. The world the show is set in is also intriguing to me, and suggests that the show is set to go some interesting directions in future episodes. Looking forward to more.

 

Wooser no Sono Higurashi 2

Start Date: January 8th

Streaming?: Yes, Crunchyroll – Tuesdays, 7pm

 

Season 1 of this ended up being one of the few shorts that surprised me in actually being quite good, since most shorts simply aren’t up to scratch as they have poor animation and don’t have the time to get you pulled in. Wooser was one to buck the trend, with its alternative animation style and different humour that gave it a charm that is usually lacking. This season is no different. Well, after episode 1 that is. Episode 1 went against what made season 1 good and I don’t know why, but I can safely say that episode 2 is a return to normalcy that is definitely welcomed. Watch season 1 if you haven’t, then get to this.

 

Seitokai Yakuindomo*

Start Date: January 4th

Streaming?: Yes, Crunchyroll – Tuesdays, 6pm

 

The show as a name for it’s sexual humour, and has been a show I’ve wanted to try for a while, but have never got round to. After being told that I wouldn’t be lost doing so I chose to just jump in here, and while what I got was not what I expected, I found this to be really funny. Takatoshi Tsuda attends Ousai Academy, a high school which, until recently, was an all-girls schools till it became co-ed. He has been forced to join the school council to be the male representative, and the story follows him and the other girls who are on the student council.

 

Of which they all make constant sexual innuendos and perverted comments, with Tsuda being the straight-talking one out of them. These actually end up being quite funny and unexpected, sometimes coming from the most innocuous situations. It’s actually quite cleverly done, with wordplay and visual ques for a lot of its humour. Nothing particularly deep, but it’s probably the show I’ve laughed at the most this season, so it’s doing something right.

 

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren / Lite

Start Date:

Streaming?: Yes, Animax – Yes (Lite), Youtube

 

This has been one of the title I’ve been looking forward to this season after being pleasantly surprised by season 1, following ‘chuunibyou’ girl Rikka and Yuuta, who ended season 1 with them both going out, and are now living together. Season 2 follows how their relationship develops, while we meet Yuuta’s childhood friends and see the others characters develop further. As with the original the show has it’s normal episodes airing on TV and a short episode airing on KyoAni’s official YouTube page every week, usually with one gag through it and an awesome original ED different to the full episodes.

 

It’s the same here. I still have to decide if the Lite ending is better this time round than last, but the contents are the same as last time, with it feeling like a shorter version of the full show, which has continued with the quality of the last. KyoAni have been iffy lately, and I’ve not enjoyed much of what they’ve made of late, with this being one of the few exceptions, and you don’t realise how glad I am that they didn’t mess up season 2. Get to watching this, now.

 

Youkai Watch

Start Date: January 8th

Streaming?: No

 

I’ve left the best till last again here. Wow, this was a surprise that came out of left-field. I’d been keeping an eye on it mainly for the game the anime is based on of the same name, made by Level-5, creators of Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven, among others. After recently procuring myself a Japanese 3DS LL to play the upcoming Gamecenter CX 3DS game among others, I was nosing around the Japanese store and found myself a demo for the game, which I loved. It had the art and charm I’ve come to expect from anything made by Level-5 with fun gameplay, and has me tempted to add it to the list of games to import. It was after that that I noticed the series had it’s first two episodes subbed and had to give it a go.

 

The show did such a good job of translating the fun from what I had played to the TV show. I mean, it is aimed at children and you can tell with the animation style and acting that it is. Yet at the same time, it does have an appeal to older people like me. But the thing that makes it so good is the same thing that makes the game good: the charm. I could not stop smiling and laughing throughout the 2 episodes I have seen to date, with even mundane things having me in fits of laughter. Honestly, just go and watch it. It’s under-appreciated, and really deserves more attention. Give it that attention.

 

 

 

I will have the other post up tomorrow, I’ve seen all the shows and really need the post up so I’m going to make the effort to do so. Next season I’m going to make the effort to get the posts up a lot sooner, I’ve been so busy I wasn’t really prepared for the new season, with most shows having it’s second episode released before I could even try new shows. Once the post is out I’ll try and get the review of last season and last year (again, I hope next season the posts will be a lot quicker) out within the week, and we’ll be done with the usual posts. I may try and get a worst anime post out like I did last year too.

 

Look forward to it!

Nintendo: Trouble and Strife, But is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?

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It’s been just over a week since Nintendo slashed sales forecasts, cutting 3DS sales estimates from 18.5million units to 13million and Wii U from 9million to just 2.8million. The company is now set to make a loss for a third consecutive year and has said it is looking in to other ways for moving the company forward. The week that has followed has seen rampant internet speculation about where the company can go from here, especially with the quotes from Iwata where he questioned the viability of the current business model Nintendo have, suggesting big changes could be in store for the company in the future.

 

First things first, contrary to what the internet says, Nintendo are not Ninten-doomed. It’s a stupid idea and I’m not even going to entertain the question. A better question to ask is if Nintendo are in trouble. Financially, though, this would also be a no. It is well-known that Nintendo are currently comfortably in the black in terms of their finances, with rumours of the company having billions of dollars in the bank thanks to times of prosperity which meant that this is the first time the company has made losses in a long time. The reality remains, however, that these losses have gone on for three consecutive years now and sales of the Wii U are incredibly low. Which leaves the main question: is there a need for change?

 

I’d say there is. Clearly there is something very wrong inside Nintendo to get to this situation. Personally, I’m a huge fan of my Wii U and have been since the launch of the console, but it is simply not selling. The graph (shown left, source here) shows UK sales for the console in the first half of 2013. The Wii sold more units in the first half of 2013 in the UK. The PS Vita sold more too. While sales have risen in the second half of 2013 as games like Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101 were released, sales are still low. In Japan, aside from the holiday season, sales have averaged under 10k a week during most of 2013. That is not the sales of a new consoles, or the sales of a console that is successful. That is the sales numbers of a dying console.

 

It doesn’t help that over here in the UK the console has had no advertising. I can’t remember ever seeing an advert for the console even at launch, while I constantly notice PS4 and Xbox One adverts on TV, on Twitch, on billboards and loads of other places. While I hold the feeling that if you want to buy a console which has games out of the three current consoles I’d buy a Wii U if you were not very knowledgeable on the games industry you may not even realise it exists. The first change Nintendo needs to make is with advertising, and that’s simply to do more of it. Pokemon X/Y on 3DS received high profile advertisements in prime time TV, and I still see the occasional Animal Crossing advert, but that’s it. More big advertising campaigns are needed, even if just for people not clued in to the workings of the industry to acknowledge the existence of these games.

 

While I mention it, another thing to note about the Nintendo financial report is that sales of 3DS were cut

from 18million to 13.5million. The reason I’ve focused on Wii U here instead of 3DS is that this sales prediction drop is irrelevant except for teaching Nintendo one important lesson, and that is being realistic. The 3DS is the top selling console worldwide last year, selling more than all other home consoles and the PS Vita. the following quote should say everything really:

 

‘Nintendo 3DS continued to show strong sales in the Japanese market. The unit sales for Nintendo 3DS in the previous calendar year amounted to approximately 4.9 million units, falling short of our aim of five million units by a small margin. However, as I explained before, given that every gaming device from the year 2000 onwards apart from Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS did not reach sales of four million units even in their peak years, we can say that the sales figure for Nintendo 3DS in the last calendar year was indeed very high.’

 

The fact that a console can sell above 4 million, a feat only achieved once this millennium prior to this, and still be below target, speaks volumes for Nintendos other big problem. There was no way 3DS was going to reach 18 million console sales, it was a stupid prediction to make, I feel. Nintendo need to be more realistic. But 3DS is not the problem. Even by being wrong, they would have still likely been able to make a profit. It’s the Wii U that’s the problem for Nintendo.

 

It leaves them at a crossroads though. Do they abandon the console? Do they move on to a successor? And how would they grab the market of PS4 and Xbox One if they did? Do they launch a console of similar power if they do? Do they ride the console out like the Gamecube and hope that by the end they can turn a profit? After that they could maybe launch a new console which could then possibly rival whatever succeeds PS4 and Xbox One to bring the third parties that Wii U struggles for? Do they, with the next console, go for another unique idea and diverge again from the traditional console race like they have with Wii and Wii U? Do they just go third party?

 

Do I need to stop asking questions?

 

Lets go through all these ideas to see what they could do.

 

First, lets say they go third party. They can take all their large IPs like Mario, Zelda, Pikmin and so on, and release them on PS4 and Xbox One. There are obvious advantages to this. As much as it pains me to say, at least one of these consoles will sell more than Wii U if not both, so the immediate advantage of this is that you have a much larger market here. On launch in the UK Knack outsold Mario 3D World, and while since then the game has outsold it since, that was not good reading when Knack is not a highly rated game anywhere and Mario was given Eurogamer’s GOTY award and had it’s praises sung for it countless times. Now let’s imagine the game had launched on the PS3 and 360, with a combined userbase of over 100million worldwide. If a game can sell over 1million on a console with only about 4million sales it would be huge hit if it did similar percentages on those consoles. In that regard it would make sense for Nintendo to become third party and release games on those consoles.

However, Nintendo are historically known to rarely sell consoles at a loss, and the only time I can recall is after the 3DS price cut, and even then the console was soon back to profitability. They may be doing that with Wii U now to help push sales but I can’t say I know one way or the other. I’m not sure on exact profit margins, but for now we’ll imagine that, for the original Wii (which sold about 100million units come March 2013), they made a profit of £25 for each console sale, which would give them a profit of £2.5billion on the console. Divide it by the years it was on sale till March 2013 (from launching in November 2006 that gives us 6 years and 4 months, or 76 months) and you get that yearly profit just on Wii hardware was £394,736,842.11, or $651,023,187.11 using current currency conversions. Which is a lot. Compare it to SEGA, who’s recent financial report found the consumer games section of their business (this excludes pachinko and arcades), found their single-quarter profits at $11.35million. I’m not sure on full-year profits, but for the sake of this lets multiply it by 4 to get $45.4million. If Nintendo became third party they’d lose their usually-profitable hardware sector, which for the Wii alone saw vastly superior numbers than SEGA’s entire games business in 1 year.

 

For Nintendo, that’s without selling a single game. While the home console isn’t making those sorts of numbers at the moment, with the money it makes it would be stupid to scrap it, even if the Wii U ends as a failure.

 

Saying that, I’m not sure it would be the best idea for Nintendo to completely diverge from the console race like they have with Wii and Wii U. While it worked for the Wii by tapping in to a new market, this market has generally moved on to what I would say are inferior mobile games. This has shown as Nintendo have tried to appeal to both markets, and while it has the games to do so, many have preferred the ‘prettier’ graphics on next-gen consoles, even if they lack games at the current moment and will likely take till 2015 till their line-ups are thoroughly fleshed out. It annoys me, personally, that these consoles are so successful despite not having the games to play on while the console that does is being shunned, but again, that’s my own opinion. Either way, the facts are that it just isn’t selling to them. The casual market has mostly moved to games I would consider poor (again, opinion) like Candy Crush that they can play on the phones they alrady own instead of spending £200 on a new console. Therefore not many people have been buying the console from this demographic as they don’t see a point.

It is clear that Nintendo’s next console has to equal the power of the PS4 and Xbox One (if released sooner) or whatever follows them (if Nintendo hold out till then). I don’t care for graphics but that is clearly important for many and while be necessary if just to get third party ports that are lacking because the console doesn’t have the numbers for current gen ports (why bother doing it for a new console with a few million units sold that’s about to go out-of-date graphically when you have two consoles with huge user-bases which are ample) and isn’t powerful enough for next-gen ports.

 

The other alternative is to go with the rumours of the Nintendo Fusion (which I’m sure are fake but wouldn’t be a bad idea for a console all the same) which would link the console and the handheld together, with the games being played on the TV and then being able to be taken away from the TV and on the move with a new handheld. While the idea is sound and I feel would work well and sell, it is a risk, especially bearing in mind it would end up being a successor to the 3DS, and so soon after launch in March 2011 and just as the console is beginning to be successful and establishing itself with a strong lineup of games. To replace it is more of a risk than replacing Wii U, arguably.

 

On whether Nintendo should abandon Wii U, that depends on how things go in the near future. They have games in the works that, if worst does come to worst, could just be ported with an upscale in graphics. The two biggest games that are closest to release are Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Brothers, with a new Donkey Kong Country in about 1 weeks time. Of those, Mario Kart 8 is the biggest, and the most likely to turn the consoles around is Mario Kart. The game is huge with everyone, and is probably the best chance the console has to turn around. It sells systems, and if this boosted Wii U sales then the console should be fine, even if it doesn’t reach huge numbers. After all, Gamecube is quite a highly regarded game for it’s software and despite only selling roughly 26million units still made a profit for Nintendo in the end.

 

Of course, if Mario Kart doesn’t turn the console around then it could end up with Smash Brothers being a final swan song. Games like X (by the Xenoblade Chronicles developers) and Bayonetta 2 could easily be ported over to the successor if things don’t turn out well, though they could also still be released on the console regardless, though it wouldn’t be completely wise.

 

The other thing being mooted about is whether Nintendo should release games on mobile, stemming from Iwata’s comments that they are ‘studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business’. I think the idea is stupid and would bet money on them not doing so anytime soon. However, they should really incorporate it more in to their business strategy for promotion. It clearly isn’t the forefront of their minds at the moment, as the app promised for April last year for Miiverse has still yet to materialise. Which there really should be, and I think it’s quite frankly stupid there isn’t. It’s little things like that that would help a lot. Miiverse on 3DS has already helped introduce users to Wii U games, imagine an iPhone app introducing people who own neither console to the games. On a side note to that, Europe is still waiting for Nintendo TVii.

Regardless of what happens, Nintendo are in a situation which they have not really ever had to deal with, and how they do deal with it will be interesting to see. I would love the Wii U to succeed as I think it is a very well-designed console with some great games, and even if it doesn’t I feel my purchase has easily been justified. I would recommend getting one if you have the opportunity for these reasons. At the same time there is a genuine chance that this console could be dropped by Nintendo and considered a failure based on it’s performance, and while I wouldn’t blame them for doing so I feel it would be a huge shame.

 

Nintendo have a third quarter earnings release scheduled for January 29th, and, based on previous years, they are likely to have a ‘Corporate Management Policy Briefing’ and a ‘Third Quarter Financial Results Briefing’ soon after where we may find out more of Nintendo’s plans for the future. And with how things are I am really intrigued to see what is said here, and hope something more positive comes from it.