Young Women Decide The Future Of Nintendo

Roughly two years ago, The Guardian wrote this short article titled “Why Tech Advertisers Should Target Women”. The article reported a study released by YouGov and Lady Geek which claimed that women were buying more technology than men. But there was one line in the article that really caught my eye, and it made me think deeper about the gaming industry.

According to the study, “…a man’s influence on household technology declines after 35 – around the time when he stops buying toys for himself and starts thinking about his family. For a woman, the opposite happens, with her influence increasing at that age.”

This year, the Entertainment Software Association reported that the average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 35 years old and the average game player is 31 years old.  In other words, the average gamer is reaching the age of when a man’s influence over technology purchases (like game consoles) will slowly decline. Last month, the NPD reported that the ‘core gamer’ population had declined from last year’s 37.5 million core gamers to 34 million this year.

I’ve been thinking about how this relates to Nintendo.

From the NES through the GameCube, Nintendo’s core audience was mostly young males and children. Each console generation for Nintendo saw a decline in install base and market share. It wasn’t until the Wii and DS — products that were popular with women — when Nintendo would finally reverse this declining trend. The Wii and DS would go on to become Nintendo’s most successful products in the company’s history.

In the past, young males would buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games, and then they would purchase another console for third party titles.  But as young men grow older and start their own families, many of them will have less time for video games, and they may stick to just one videogame console — the one with the best third party support. The problem is Nintendo has always relied on the nostalgia of people who remember the “good ole days” to buy future hardware.  The most loyal Nintendo fans are not the kids who grew up on GameCube or Wii.  The most loyals fans – the ones who follow news on everything Nintendo does – are the ones who grew up on NES, SNES, and even the Nintendo 64.  Recent games such as “Nintendo Land” and “NES Remix” are all about tugging on those nostalgic heart strings.

Yes, there will always be a new generation of 8-year-olds introduced to Nintendo’s products, but children in 2014 have more options for entertainment than the children in the 90′s and early 2000′s. Nintendo faces many challenges when it comes to children, and they need to accept the fact that they aren’t the only company seriously targeting children.

The idea of three companies convincing twenty-something males to buy $300-$400 machines is a recipe for disaster, but Nintendo’s strategy of marketing to small children hasn’t proven to be very successful either. Last yeah, Microsoft reported that 51% of Xbox Live subscribers have children. Instead of advertising Xbox consoles directly to kids like Nintendo does, kids become familiarized with the Xbox brand through their parents. All of these “hardcore gamers” — the audience for Xbox consoles — are now reaching the ages of becoming fathers. Microsoft doesn’t need to spend significant amounts of money marketing to children when they can build Xbox’s kids audience indirectly through their gaming parents.

So, who should Nintendo focus on targeting?

Young adult women — not small children or grandmas — are the key to Nintendo’s future success.  The Entertainment Software Association says women age 18 or older (36%) represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population than boys 18 or younger (17%). This is why I believe that Nintendo should play their cards right, focus less on twelve year old boys, and focus more on young adult women. In 2013, the ESA reported that 48% of the most frequent purchasers of games are female, and adult women make up 31% of the game-playing population.

Flieshman-Hillard Inc. believes that women will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade. Nielsen predicts that the average woman will earn more money than the average man by the year 2028. In the United States, women control 60% of personal wealth, 80% of consumer spending, and 85% of all consumer purchases. When it comes to technology, Bloomberg says women make up 66% of all computer purchases.

Whenever I speak to Nintendo employees, the one thing that is constantly brought up is women.  They believe that woman will decide whether Nintendo’s future hardware succeeds or fails.  Now, some of you might say, “Isn’t that a bit over dramatic to say women will decide this?”  The problem is Nintendo is struggling to reach the 16-27 year old male demographic, and there is a belief inside the company that targeting females is the best way to compensate for that.  You are already seeing it with Nintendo UK using the “Nintendo Girls Club” to reach out to young girls.  The Quality of Life plan from Satoru Iwata is all about bringing more women into Nintendo’s ecosystem of hardware. The reason why Tomodachi Life is coming to North America is because of Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s popularity with women.

I personally believe that the reason 3DS turned itself around (after launch) was because it was aggressively marketed to women. In September 2011, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata announced that his revival plan to save the 3DS was to do a better job at targeting women. “The balance between male and female customers has been a strength of Nintendo, but the 3DS has not had a high number of women players in comparison to the DS,” said Satoru Iwata. One month later, Satoru Iwata explained that the misty pink Nintendo 3DS and the release of “Nintendogs + Cats” helped bring in more females to the Nintendo 3DS.  Nintendo said the Misty Pink 3DS was picked up more than 75% by girls. Another 3DS title that proved to be successful with women was “Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask”.

The Mario Kart series has always been very popular with women, and the release of “Mario Kart 7” helped turn around the 3DS’s struggles.  By 2012, Nintendo launched the “I’m not a gamer” campaign featuring famous female celebrities playing games such as “Art Academy”, “Professor Layton”, “Style Savvy Trendsetter”, “Crosswords”, and other titles aimed at this demographic.

Nintendo’s stock hit a two-year high thanks to western sales of “Animal Crossing New Life” which boosted 3DS hardware sales to 225,000 in June 2013.  The Nintendo 3DS became the best-selling system in the country for the second consecutive month thanks to Animal Crossing.  During the first three weeks of release in Japan, 56% of customers who bought the game with a new 3DS console were female and ages 19-24 years old.


We are constantly told that the expanded audience from the Wii/DS days has moved on to mobile devices, and they are never coming back to Nintendo. Many analysts believe that Nintendo would generate millions of dollars from mobile gaming, but who is responsible for most of mobile’s digital revenue?

Research by eDigitalResearch and IMRG says that 58% of smartphones are owned by women. Furthermore, women install 40% more apps than men, purchase 17% more paid apps, and pay 87% more money for those apps. This is according to data that was released in 2013 by Apsalar, a mobile analytics and advertising company.

Don’t ask how Nintendo can persuade mobile audiences to purchase Nintendo hardware.  Instead, ask how Nintendo can make their hardware more appealing to women. Last year, EEDAR reported that nearly 60% of all mobile gamers are women. This year, social gaming network PlayPhone discovered that 68% of mobile gamers are women.

Satoru Iwata explained,“You often hear today that because smartphones exist, there’s no need for dedicated gaming machines. But, this 19- to 24-year-old female demographic, they’re the smartphone people, right? It’s often said that female casual gamers don’t need dedicated hardware, and yet here they are reaffirming the value of these machines.”

Mobile gaming is less about casual gamers and more about women. Investors want Nintendo to make millions of dollars from women again like the DS and Wii. When people claim that the “casual audience” isn’t coming back, what they are really saying is that Wii’s expanded audience were mostly women, and most women are never coming back to Nintendo. I would have to respectfully disagree with this opinion.

In mid-2013 — six months after Wii U launched — Compete reported that 54% of people who visited Nintendo websites were female, and 46% of visitors were men.  They also discovered that 4% more females were surfing Nintendo sites in 2013 than 2012. That means more women were surfing Nintendo websites after Wii U launched than before launch. The report claimed that Nintendo sites still attract more female visits than both PlayStation and Xbox websites.

Women are still interested to read about Nintendo’s products on the internet, but most of them are still waiting for a reason to purchase the Wii U.  The Wii U’s sluggish sales performance doesn’t mean Nintendo can’t win over women with future products. Most women might not be lining up to buy Wii U, but they are still very interested in the Nintendo brand.

But what about the women who do own a Wii U?

There are more women who choose Wii U as their favorite game console than men. In January 2014, Valued Opinions asked 10,146 people what their favorite game console is. They found that 13% of women chose Wii U as their favorite console, compared to 8% of men.

just dance girls

Before E3 2011, IGN reported on a national survey which measured the overall interest in a “Wii 2”. They discovered that purchase intent for women was 8% higher than it was for men.  You heard that correctly. Women were more interested in a next generation Nintendo console than men. This shouldn’t be surprising since Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained that 50 percent of Nintendo’s users for Wii and DS were female. During the year that Wii U launched, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told investors, “Nintendo platforms have almost the same number of female users as male users, which is extremely rare in the gaming industry. In cases of other companies’ platforms, the user proportion between males and females is about 70:30, or something like 75% : 25%.”

Now, it would make sense for Wii U’s reveal in 2011 to focus more attention on that growing female audience. Women were more excited for a next-gen Wii than men, and women were the demographic that helped give Nintendo a competitive advantage over Sony and Microsoft. Ubisoft senior brand manager Ann Hamilton called Wii the first console successfully marketed to the female demographic. “What’s driving the Wii sales is the use of Wii by women, girls and families,” Hamilton said. “It’s a really female-driven platform.”

But guess what happened instead?  Nintendo’s E3 2011 presentation was mostly aimed at hardcore, young adult males who were preferred Xbox and PlayStation over Wii.

BioShock creator Ken Levine told us that Nintendo had finally heard the voices of the hardcore gamer. Electronic Arts asked us to imagine Battlefield 4 on the Wii U with “jaw dropping graphics” with amazing online multiplayer. Ubisoft held an event at E3 2011 to demonstrate “Killer Freaks From Outer Space” and “Ghost Recon Online”. We were told that shooters and realistic racing games like “Metro Last Light” and “Dirt” were coming to the Wii U, and we saw multiple trailers promising ports of popular franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Darksiders, Madden, and Tekken.

During that E3 2011 presentation, they spent only a few minutes showing a woman stepping on a Wii Fit U balance board and swinging a remote like a golf club.

This was a huge mistake.  If most women wanted a PlayStation or Xbox, then they would have bought one of those two consoles. There is a reason why 80% of women preferred Wii over PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2009.

At E3 2012, the company even admitted that most of Wii U’s launch games were aimed at young male audiences. When a reporter asked how the company would maintain Wii’s 50% female audience with Wii U, Iwata reminded us that the Wii U has video stream services like Netflix, Hulu, and Nintendo TVii.

Iwata explained, “A number of the videogame genres will be for male audiences, and the male audiences will increase, but on the other hand, this device is capable of many other things. On this device you can see video streams of Netflix, or you can use in conjunction with the TV. Regardless of the gender, you may want to use it … Our hope is it will be equal number of males and females who will be interested in this device.”.

The company’s obsession with winning over the hardcore, pre-dominantly male Xbox audience backfired on Wii U’s launch. They wasted too much time, money, and energy trying to attract an audience that didn’t give a damn about anything Nintendo had to offer. Nintendo could have shown Grand Theft Auto 5 and Metal Gear Solid 5 for Wii U, and this audience still wouldn’t see any value in the system. Nintendo could have released a more powerful console, but most hardcore gamers would still wait one more year for the next Xbox or PlayStation due to brand loyalty. The Wii U GamePad was nicknamed the “Swiss army knife” of game controllers because it was designed for hardcore gamers. Unfortunately, hardcore gamers didn’t see the appeal of a controller designed for the hardcore, and now, Nintendo has their eyes set on new blue ocean markets.

The next E3 (2012) dedicated time to ZombiU and Batman Arkham City for the Wii U.  Satoru Iwata seemed very confident that ZombiU — an M-rated Wii U exclusive — was going to be a huge seller all around the world because it took advantage of the GamePad’s features. They even bundled ZombiU with the console to attract the Xbox audience, but they still didn’t see a significant bump in the sales from young males.

“I get the feeling that ZombiU will become the focus of attention, not just in Europe, but around the world including Japan,” explained Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. “I look forward to ZombiU becoming a seminal title, complimenting Nintendo’s own efforts to showcase the reason why Wii U had to have the Wii U GamePad as its controller by demonstrating yet another way of doing things.”

At the September 2012 Wii U event, Activison executives demonstrated Call of Duty on the Wii U GamePad, but this didn’t convert any PlayStation and Xbox gamers to the Wii U. Sega’s “Alien Colonial Marines” was shown at two E3 events in a row, but this awful game was still never released on the Wii U.  Nintendo published Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge — an enhanced port of a critically panned game — which was basically sent out to die on Wii U. Satoru Iwata hosted a “Sega Direct” in Japan to promote “Yakuza 1 & 2 HD”, but the game ended up selling less than 2,000 copies in it’s debut week.  The company bundled Monster Hunter 3G with the Wii U in Japan, but there weren’t many hardcore gamers biting on this deal. Skip ahead to January 2013 where Nintendo revealed a big, beautiful, Japanese role-playing game developed by Monolithsoft. When “X” was revealed, guess what the reaction was from Xbox and PlayStation owners?  They looked at it and said, “Meh…it looks like anime.”  (I’m joking with that last line, but you get the point that some audiences are difficult to please.)

None of these announcements helped Wii U score points with most PlayStation and Xbox owners, and Nintendo lost a large chunk of their female audience in the process. Earlier this year, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata told reporters that the company’s biggest mistake was not focusing enough on children. He’s correct because they spent a ridiculous amount of money trying to attract the PlayStation and Xbox audience — and it didn’t work out. 

wii banner

Nintendo has three choices for their next generation hardware after Wii U and 3DS.

Plan A: Compete for the 20-something male demographic that is targeted by Xbox and PlayStation.

  • Result: Three giant companies fighting for the same audience means Nintendo loses.  Microsoft and Sony are willing to spend more money than Nintendo on third party support and marketing.  There is no way that Nintendo will come out as a winner if they compete for this audience.  Nintendo is too conservative to get into a giant spending war against Microsoft and Sony.

Plan B: Market your hardware as devices for children and families.

  • Result: This type of marketing repels ten year olds away from Nintendo’s products. Children always want to feel older than their actual age, and there is always peer pressure in grade school to act “cool”. Kids don’t want to feel like they own the “kids machine”. They want to own the game console that all of the teenagers and adults are currently playing.  Kids were attracted to the Wii because the marketing showed how popular it was with teens and adults.  There’s a significant amount of evidence that says parents don’t spend a ton of time with their kids because they are always working.  When parents do spend time with their kids, they don’t view video games as a valuable way to spend family time because kids look at screens all day anyways.

Plan C: Focus attention on young women since no other company is aggressively focusing on them.

  • Result: The Correct Plan — There is still very little competition in the console market for young women.  The Wii U’s poor sales performance doesn’t mean Nintendo can’t win over women with future products.

26 Replies to “Young Women Decide The Future Of Nintendo”

  1. Plan D:  Admit defeat and move on.

    The Wii U was a failure from the beginning with wrong marketing. When they first showed the Wii U  people thought it was just a controller and this has not changed at all.  People still do not know that the Wii U is a new console and that is where their failure lies. 

    Nintendo always was a company who targeted everyone especially with the Wii.  Also I question: What type of games should they make or present to target young women?  Games with female protagonists? Does not sell. Many other companies tried this already. Just dance and Co? Sure it will help but this will again lead to the same problem that no one knows what the Wii U is.  The games are not wrong. Nintendo does what Nintendo always did. Only this time no one really knows that.

  2. “When “X” was released, guess what the reaction was from Xbox and PlayStation owners?  They looked at it and said, “Meh…it looks like anime.””

    Yeee, no.

    The reaction was: “Oh my fucking god. I need a Wii U right now.”, “HOLLLY SHIIT.”, “XENOBLADE NEXT-GEN, YEEEEESSSS”

    Good article, but that part…

  3. Yeah, Nintendo definitely tried winning over the hardcore male masculine dudebro Xbox audience with New Super Mario Bros U and Nintendoland.

  4. So, this is Emily. 

    Majority of Wii U launch software was aimed at adults/teens. North American launch marketing focused on 2-3 family games.

    Identity crisis.  The marketing didn’t match the software available at launch.

    Nintendo said Wii U was going after core first, mass market 2nd. 

    An article from Eurogamer:

    “The Wii was able to reach a large number of new consumers who had never played games before by bringing hands-on experiences with its Wii Sports and Wii Fit,” he explained.

    “However, we could not adequately create the situation that such new consumers played games frequently or for long, consistent periods. As a result, we could not sustain a good level of profit.

    “Moreover, regrettably, what we prioritized in order to reach out to the new audience was a bit too far from what we prioritized for those who play games as their hobby. Consequently, we presume some people felt that the Wii was not a game system for them or they were not willing to play with the Wii even though some compelling games had been released.”

  5. Great article. I think the American comic book industry is begging to understand this, to get out from the niche they found in due pandering the same people for decades they need to reach outside their standard audience, which in this case are women too. Marvel has been slowly pushing the right angles for this, with titles like Young Avengers, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel, and I don’t doubt this mentality has reached their movies.

    Back with Nintendo, with Wii U is difficult, right now they can reach the same people as Sony and Microsoft and hope they can make the same ‘good’ sales as 3DS, but I sincerely doubt they can make a turnabout now for the machine. They only can apply plan A for now.

    But I look forward to future Nintendo consoles with the B approach.

  6. I’m sorry, but this article is a joke right?

    While i agree that console makers should appeal to women, they should rather appeal to “both” genders not just one side of the spectrum, and while PR speak may tell you they tried to appeal to the hardcore, they did anything but that, the WiiUs problems go way deeper than that, they basically did the same like the Wii, to market a slightly more powerful last gen console with a gimmick, without having no clue on why the first Wii was so successfull, then they tried to appeal to the hardcore with late ports of games that have been out for years while not having any nintendo centric games that would appeal gamers at large since it came to market and would continue to do so for months, and lets not get into the naming of the console, because that didnt do nintendo any favors, then theres the pricing.

    The swiss army knife is a joke right, quoting some articles, that were quoting some other dudes article does not make the controller suddenly have a nickname, in reality no one calls it that.

    Also that X comment and that ps3 or 360 players go “its just anime” is just as ridiculous, you do know there are many anime games on both those consoles that are million sellers right, and if anything “X” is one of the games that actually have players from both camps interested on the Wii.

    Also, after citing studies to argue that women buy a lot of games, why is the
    term “hardcore” being used synonymously with “male” in this article?

  7. dromble and that videos what, from 2011, it still didnt stuck, fact of the matter is no one calls it that, except on that rare ocasion, thats not having a nickname

  8. My feeling about Nintendo is they would say they make games for everyone; fun for all ages. Unfortunately child-friendly games are often seen as kids-only games, in the same way, people are suspicious of G-rated movies. 

    Nintendo noticed how disaffected the young-man demographic was with the Wii and thought they could make a shift that would keep the kids and pull in the adults – they weren’t so much targeting young men as trying to bring them back into the fold with the rest of their fan base. Unfortunately they did a really crappy job of it, although I do agree that it was always an uphill battle.

    I’d say their games skew towards males simply because most entertainment skews towards males; men are the one’s making entertainment. This is why a male protagonist is considered a neutral choice, and why you never get The Adventures of Link: Zelda to the Rescue. 

    Since the shift to core male gamers was a flop, it makes sense to try a shift towards the under-served female gamer. But I think you’d better write an article on *how* Nintendo could do that, because I doubt they know. I think most men who make game products that become successful with women, like the Wii or The Sims, aren’t intending to win that market and are probably surprised when it happens. So while I agree that targeting women would be a smart move for Nintendo, I’m not sure they know how.

  9. This is exactly how I felt about the Wii U reveal. It was a little to dude-bro centric. I don’t get why nintendo can’t be happy being yhe purveyor of digital entertainment fir a primarily female audience the way disney is to film. Its just such a waste. Dude-bro wants big budgets, cinematic games, nintendo can rake in millions on much lower cost titles like Just Dance. It took awhile, but i am sold on the wii u now, but nintendo also needs to make their kids games as high quakity as android and ios have something they might be able to accomplish via a bigger install basr and their current indie strategy, but i would love to see them appoint more women to the head of franchises and work on kids software that is just awesome.

  10. Dc did exactly this with Vertigo. The Sandman ended up their most read comic book for almost a decade and over 50% of the readers were women. Image is trying a similar strategy and Marvel has opened up to more feminine wares, but Marvel has yet to understand that while the sandman has a primarily female audience it did it with out pandering to them directly. It bore more of a resemblance to cure covers than stereotypical feminine fare.

  11. “(I’m joking with that last line, but you get the point that some audiences are difficult to please.)”

    So women audience is not demanding and Plan C is to bring tons of shovelware to platforms? Well they localized Tomodachi Life.

    And X got “meh” because it looks like Monster Hunter.

  12. NunoMelim dromble 6 other news sites called it that.

    How about you educate yourself first before you judge things

  13. aljones15 Nintendo doesnt make “kid games” They dont actively design software target soley to that demographic, they make “family software” 

    Games that no matter your skill level it can enjoy and be challenged by.

    Few games, if ever get this balance right. Mario kart 8 is one of those games

  14. wii_charles Of course they know how to target females. They have a lot of female developers for a reason. What they need to do is get more consultants for their marketing and focus on proper advertising for the audience they want to attract.

    The girls club thing probably isnt going to get any female who isnt under the age of 5 excited lol.

    (Also the reason you never see Zelda actually fighting is because she’s a chess master, hence the triforce of wisdom. But she can fight, as seen by her bouts as sheik. , but nintendo does need to give female players someone to play as for once besides Link)

  15. Thank you Emily for this article. As always, I don’t agree with it all but you are right on so many points and since you always presents your points neutrally and back them up with figures it’s always good. I always like that your articles are different from the general press. You always dig up stuff that make sense and that are waiting to be dug up but at the same time if you were not speaking about it it feels like nobody would speak about it. I like that your articles always get us to pause and think for a moment. Keep up the good work.
    I often read and consider that Nintendo is the Pixar of videogames, or I should say, since Nintendo is the oldest, that Pixar is the Nintendo of animation because both are able to create products which have different layers of complexity and therefore appeal to lots of different kind of people. They both use colourful and attractive worlds as wrappings and inside there is something to consume and this something is not hollow and have lot of taste going on if you pay attention. It reminds me a bit of the old fables and mythologies story telling where they used animals or fantastic stories as attractive wrapping but underneath there was also always a morale, a lesson etc… I wonder if the main male target audience of the console makers like Pixar movies or not?

    I love to be able to play a game with my 5 year old son like Mario Kart for example then my wife either tags in or watch us with interest. If I play on my own I can then go for the hardest challenges in the game, trying to unlock everything or go for online races. In the video game industry, I think it’s safe to say that only Nintendo
    is able to deliver this kind of products. The rest of the industry is
    either good at niche stuff or specific genres but not at stuff the whole family can sit together and enjoy. Believe me this is priceless. I hope Nintendo is going to continue to produce games which can potentially appeal to everybody while of course also creating some games more targeted at young male or women or whoever they like. But if they give up making products appealing to everybody it would be a sad day for me.

    At a time where pleasing the main male audience requires longer and longer development costs and time (look at all the delays this year) since it’s all based on realistic graphics, while the retail prices quickly decrease. All this increase the risks of losing lot of money when it flops so it seems indeed a valuable alternative to go after women which are not so stuck up on graphic quality so long there is something interesting behind (this said all the gamers should be like that, unfortunately this is not the case). The same is often true with the cinema, films with lots of special effects but often very hollow are popular and often targeted at the male audience. 
    And this is why Nintendo is popular with women, because while they tried to fight the graphic technological battle (up until the gamecube), they also always had polished games and always tried to strive for a good gameplay as well. And since the Wii/DS with Iwata they have now stopped the technological race and only focused on differentiating themselves while trying to maintain the gameplay first philosophy. And thanks God for that, who needs 3 identical consoles?! 
    By the way you didn’t mention gay people, I am not sure if it’s because there are no figures or if you didn’t want to addressed that topic in this particular article? Anyway I think it’s relevant and I wouldn’t be surprised if the proportion of gay people playing video games are higher at Nintendo than other console makers but of course it’s just a feeling.

    And you are right with QoL, that blue ocean Iwata is going after is women, at least it makes sense to me too. And indeed if you get the married woman, you potentially get the husband and the kids too. 
    I would like to write more but then it wouldn’t be a comment anymore, (it’s already not I know). Sorry for the unstructured wall of text and take care of yourself.

  16. ValeFalkren darji And they did exactly that but also tried to include the core gamer which of course was not wrong. But the way how they presented the message from the beginning was wrong. 

    The moment they presented only the controller casual people who bought a Wii thought it was just a controller and this has not changed at all.  Also Nintendo did not realize that the market they are tried to reach has changed. The people who bought a Wii  now are playing tablet and Phone games. 

    As for X. I liked Xenoblade it was a good JRPG but with X we barely know anything about the SP. We have not even seen one main character, but instead Nintendo focused on the MH like MP combat which makes many people not as interested at all.

  17. The concept of somehow increased focus on female audiences turning things around for Nintendo going forward are just not a real possibility. Regardless of figures women aren’t a very important demographic for third parties and without some decent level of third party support regardless of other factors a Wii U like disaster is going to be the likely result each time.

    Nintendo needs to focus hard on their core demographic of producing family focused games. To do that and be successful is going to be tricky and doesn’t contain a single path easy fix. Now increasing their marketing and games directed at women certainly could act as one back door into the mass market again, but it means nothing if they don’t get software support, which they never will at least strongly enough without making inroads towards the male dominated core industry.

    For Nintendo going forward its far more important to better involve third parties, utilize their already planned OS to make their platforms more enticing, continue the same measures they’ve already done with the free middleware for game developers, and have stronger Nintendo core audience games available at launch then increasing their focus on women. It will be this way as long as the general industry treat women as a secondary bonus audience at best and a curiosity at worst.

    If Nintendo could have gotten decent though not spectacular support for the major third parties, heavy indie support, and increased their own production Wii U’s current situation would of never happened. It’s sales already increase significantly after major Nintendo franchises hit the market. If Super 3D Mario World and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze had hit at or shortly after launch and Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros in 2013 followed by Zelda in 2014 I don’t doubt Wii U would be leading the charts even if not by much compared to the competition.

  18. But that’s the problem. The number one rated “toy” for children is cheap android tablets. Hence they don’t want a Wii U they want Flappy Bird, Angry Birds, and other simple touch based games that don’t require the significant memorizations required by joysticks. There is a new one my students are playing, its a series of quick 10 second games ala Frobisher says in which touch is interpreted as various different things (tap to put the fire, run faster, etc.) all of which lead to simple cartoony situations that are quite humorous. The NES and the SNES were both highly desirable gifts for Xmas. The Wii U marks the first time Nintendo didn’t rank in polls. The tablet kids problem is huge, toy manufacturers like Mattel and Hasbro are relying on second and third world markets for toy sales now as toy sales in developed countries are on the decline. Additionally families include infants etc. one of the problems Nintendo faces is that Mario Brothers is designed for audiences who already know the mechanics of Mario Brothers. For someone who has never played a video game with a joystick, the number of mechanics is overwhelming. I teach kindergarten and many of my students have shown interest in my 3DS when I give them Super Mario 3D Land they are beyond bewildered and just go back to their iphone. Nintendo needs franchises that infants and toddlers can chew on because the demands their main franchises make require significant investments of time before a child becomes proficient enough to master and enjoy the game. I had one student run around the entrance to the first level of Super 3D land hopelessly tapping the screen before I showed him you have to press a button to jump. Afterwards he had significant difficultly understanding that velocity affects jumps and he needed a little speed to get up a cliff, and then the muscle memory to make it over a thin platform… It would take hours of concentrated play to get to the point that I was at his age, we grew up with joysticks, but we also grew up with technophilia which gave us the persistence to endure ghost and goblins’ arduous learning curve. More games on ios reward less skilled players for doing simple tasks then Mario ever will. Capitalism, the game industry, whatever has subsumed a market nintendo originally covered, the result is flappy bird. If nintendo can make a single input dual screen kids game with awesome results then when Jane just became a mom sits down precious for some playtime, babes might prefer the Wii U to the Android phone.

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