In the light of the tour de force that Microsoft presented at this year’s E3, it is very difficult for the other platform holders to compete. And Nintendo didn’t.
Nintendo are in a poor position. Their home console for this generation, the Wii, is the least capable, being just an upgrade of the previous generation GameCube. It has been incredibly successful because of it’s innovative gesture controller and a small number of high quality platform exclusive games. But it lacks the equivalent of an Xbox Live or even a Playstation Network. And its main party trick, the gesture controller, has now been trumped by the Microsoft Natal. The Wii also does not support HDTV and does not come with a hard drive.
Sales wise the Wii has peaked in most markets and in Japan it is very weak. It now looks very expensive compared to the Xbox 360, a competitor which has a lot more to offer.
So Nintendo announced Wii Fit Plus, a new 2D version of Super Mario Bros, presumably aimed at children, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Wii Vitality Sensor, a device to read your pulse. Hardly setting the world alight and showing all the signs of a platform nearing the end of its life.
One has to wonder firstly how long the Wii can sustain its premium price and secondly how close we are to seeing its successor, the SuperWii.
On the handheld front the DSi is getting good initial sales, presumably from existing DS owners upgrading. However it is now looking positively archaic compared to the more modern phone based devices like iPhone and Android. Nintendo need to act quickly not to be left behind in this market.