Nintendo May Consider New Hardware Platforms for Emerging Markets

Nintendo Mulls Development of Inexpensive Hardware, Games

by Anton Shilov
01/30/2014 | 11:00 PM

Sales of Nintendo’s latest video game consoles have been pretty slow amid growing competition from mobile gaming platforms as well as the firm’s inability to popularize Wii U. In a bid to revitalize sales of its games in the long-term, Nintendo is now considering to develop special low-cost hardware platforms for emerging markets that will bring its games to countries where they are unavailable currently.


Sales of Nintendo games on well-developed markets are declining these days since more and more people prefer to play on their smartphones and tablets, not on dedicated consoles. Meanwhile, Nintendo does not want to produce titles for smart devices in order not to lose its advantage of integrated hardware-software company. The company could potentially attract new gamers in the countries where it is not present today. However, its consoles and titles (which need localization) would probably be too expensive for customers in Latin America or Middle-East. Therefore, the company is now mulling development of new hardware for such markets.

“To leverage Nintendo’s strength as an integrated hardware-software business, we will not rule out the idea of offering our own hardware for new markets, but for dramatic expansion of the consumer base there, we require a product family of hardware and software with an entirely different price structure from that of the developed markets,” said Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, during a conference with investors, analysts and journalists.

The head of Nintendo did not reveal anything about the upcoming platforms, but it hardly makes sense to expect them to be too advanced. Naturally, those gaming platforms should strike a balance between performance, cost, game quality and feature-set, an uneasy thing to do in the modern world.

While it is noteworthy that Nintendo now wants to pay attention to emerging markets, it seems like the company is rather late to the party. The quality of titles for smartphones and tablets is gradually improving, while their prices remain limited. Meanwhile, Nintendo deliberately does not want to sell its high-quality titles at affordable price-points. At some point the quality of games for different platforms will become more or less equal, but the prices will continue to differ…