[Jeux vidéo] Wii U, Nintendo’s answer to tablets
Nintendo had shaken up the home console market by launching the Wii in 2006, succeeding in reversing a trend that saw the Kyoto firm lose market share since the 1990s. By introducing motion recognition into the game, the Wii had succeeded in winning over an audience of “casual gamers” with hitherto very underestimated potential. While this casual gaming is more prevalent today than ever, one would think that the launch of the Wii U in 2012 would be very easy for Nintendo. This is not the case, since since 2008, new competitors have appeared and have transformed the market once again: social gaming and mobile gaming.
Nintendo has not remained without reacting to these changes, first of all by innovating once again by proposing a “Mablette”, mixing classic console joystick and tablet-style touch screen. The trend is towards multiscreen, and rumor has it that Microsoft is working on a similar project for its future XBox 720, and is already offering increased connectivity between its current console and tablets and smartphones on the market with its “smart glass”.
Faced with the wave of social gaming, the Wii U offers its own social network called Miiverse, where players can discuss games. The choice not to connect its functions with Facebook, Twitter or to the web in general seems rather unwise, however, since one of the main elements of the success of social games, virality, is found limited to the community of players who have already purchased a Wii U.
Finally, faced with competition from cheap or even downright “free to play” applications, Nintendo offers an “e-shop” on which you can download games directly without having to buy a DVD or Blu-ray as for the most games. The E-shop is not entirely new to Nintendo, but what seems new is that it is open to several independent developers who already offer games for 15 or 20 dollars. We are still far from free to play, but it’s still much cheaper than a Super Mario at 60 euros.
Cloud gaming, a bigger danger on the horizon?
Perhaps this is where Nintendo’s greatest danger lies: what if consoles simply become obsolete? There will probably always be a market for premium games where Nintendo manages to sell the latest iterations of its most famous licenses like Super Mario and Zelda. On the other hand, it will probably be more difficult in the future to charge players for a machine when a screen and a controller are enough: with cloud gaming, you can play a cutting-edge game on a low-power machine as long as you have an internet connection. holds up. All calculations are performed by a remote machine.
Cloud gaming will not be a real problem for a few years, however. Onlive, a pioneer in the field, has collapsed under the weight of a model that cannot be extended. Whoever finds the solution to this scalability problem will bring about yet another revolution in a high-tech market that has continued to be disrupted in recent years. And many are looking: Last July, Sony bought market leader Gaikai for $ 380 million, and Orange, among its many announcements last week, introduced its own service.
In this context, the logic of those who would like to see Nintendo impose Super Mario in iOS or Android applications seems to make sense: the consoles will soon be dead, we must not leave the market of the future to Rovio and his Angry Birds. In any case, Nintendo retains an advantage over all of its competitors, which historically have allowed it to survive the most difficult times: Mario, Zelda, Pokemon and a handful of other intellectual properties whose worldwide fame is practically worth that of the disney characters.
Either way, Nintendo is more than a century old company, which started out producing card games and has reinvented itself more than once since. We should not neglect its ability to surprise us, especially since despite a year 2011 which saw it present negative results for the first time in its history, Nintendo has sufficient liquidity reserve to wipe out some failures. in the console market and despite everything develop a new concept adapted to a market which seems to be in permanent change.