Saturday, August 23, 2008

Has Nintendo Run out of Steam?

E3 2005 - Nintendo creates world headlines and places its cajones on the line as it announces the Revolution. Skeptics run rampant, believers come to Christ, and the end seems nearer than ever. Though there are many schools of thought on the console, one thing is apparent - it's Nintendo's Final Fantasy. They will either do or die. After a series of carefully timed news releases in which we learn more about the console, we not only become impressed, but we get a sense that Nintendo has a firm roadmap in place and is in control of what its doing.

This sense of control is confirmed as Nintendo continues to ask the public to be patient for the things they want to hear - the new Marios, the Mario Karts, Smash Bros. After being asked for patience, the public is given the news over time for the things they want to hear. Sure, the console can't be found, but the games are just as awesome as we expected and the control scheme delivers.

Enter 2008. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is released after Super Mario Galaxy and is followed up with Mario Kart Wii. Then...silence. Nintendo has nothing of major interest to announce - no F-Zero title, no StarFox, no hint of a Zelda, not even a gimmie such as a Pilotwings title. To boot, no major DS releases were announced either (Where's my New Super Mario Bros 2?). We're left in the inky blackness that is quiet.

What happened Nintendo? One gets the feeling someone didn't think ahead this far. Has Nintendo become a victim of its own success? At this juncture, it's quite likely. Holiday 2008 is approaching and Nintendo has no major releases in the pipe for the first time in a long, long span. Super Mario Sluggers just isn't going to make the grade against titles such as Little Big Planet. Either way, the Big N has got to get it together - it's stock is down about $15/share from last quarter and is continuing in this trend, which does not bode well for gamers and investors alike. While Nintendo isn't going to coin heaven anytime soon, they're also not in coin heaven either.

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