Nintendo currently holds the vast majority of the motion-gaming market. But that lead will evaporate if they can't innovate.
Nintendo's Wii was the trendsetter for a bold new era of motion-controlled gaming. The company has moved an astounding 86 million units so far. But now their console sales have stalled. Nintendo's last quarter ended with revenue down 29% and profits down 66% year-over-year. Much of this decline has been blamed on the entrance of competing motion-control gaming systems, like the Kinect and the Sony Move. In response, Nintendo has announced a Wii successor.
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But is it too little, too late to restore their status as the industry leader?
The new Wii isn't due to launch until some point after March of 2012, although a demo unit will be available for journalists (like me!) to fiddle with at E3 2011. Which means, at minimum, another eleven months before Nintendo can strike back at Sony and Microsoft.
Our most recent data shows 8 million Moves sold and ten million Kinect's sold. If we add those numbers to the total Wii sales, we have a console motion gaming market of around 104 million units. Which means Nintendo is in control of the vast majority of that market. Even if Sony and Kinect can double (or triple) their numbers again over the next year, Nintendo will still have a sizable edge.
It would be foolish to count Nintendo out of the game at this point. But the Wii 2 (or whatever they call it) will need to bring something exciting and new to the table in order to re-secure its position at the top. Improved graphics quality isn't enough. The new Wii will need to add in some form of functionality currently lacking from every console on today's market. But what?
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It's also worth noting that Microsoft and Sony are far from the Wii's only competition. While this new console will need to do battle with other mo-cap gaming systems, it will also need to stand up against iOS and Android. Gaming- both as an industry and as a hobby, is in the middle of an unprecedented change. Nintendo needs to adapt now if they're going to retain their status as a market leader in the near future.