The player – The Irish Times – Fri, Feb 03, 2012

The Irish Times – Friday, February 3, 2012

Nintendo’s boss is bullish on future of 3DS despite smartphone dominance, reports CIARA O’BRIEN 

ANY DOUBTS about the smartphone’s effect on the games industry will have been dispelled this week.

Nintendo, which has dominated the handheld gaming market for more years than we can remember, is on track to report its first loss in March. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said the company was facing its worst results since it entered the games business.

Nintendo’s woes aren’t all down to the handheld games sector; it also faces more competition in the console market from Microsoft and Sony, which have both opted to introduce gesture control in the past 18 months. Add in an ageing console and the promise of a new Wii for 2012, and you can see where the problems have taken hold.

But smartphones certainly haven’t helped. Sales of the 3DS haven’t reached expectations, resulting in a price cut in an effort to boost sales of the 3D-enabled games device. At its original launch price of about €270, it was a bit of an investment. and, with more and more high-quality games available for smartphones and tablets (more versatile than the handheld), it wasn’t surprising Nintendo decided last summer that a price cut was in order. Irish gamers can now get their hands on one for about €170.

Is the future of the handheld device in jeopardy? no, says Iwata. he pointed to a jump in 3DS sales following the launch of a number of software titles for the device in the end stages of last year as evidence that Nintendo has disproved the theory that demand for dedicated handheld gaming devices no longer exists.

Iwata is also confident that Nintendo losses on the 3DS can be made up for in software sales.

Sony obviously feels just as confident about the future of its games devices, with its PlayStation Vita only weeks away from debuting on the Irish market. like Nintendo, Sony is betting heavily that gamers still want something they can play that isn’t their smartphone. (Sony is trying to tap into the social networking trend by offering a 3G-enabled device.)

The Vita, due for launch on February 22nd in Europe and North America, has already been on sale for more than a month in Japan, where it sold 325,000 units in its first few days. By January 5th it had sold a total of 500,000.

How European consumers will take to the PS Vita will be known in a matter of weeks.

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The player – The Irish Times – Fri, Feb 03, 2012


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