Nintendo plans to create entirely new consoles for sale specifically in emerging markets such as India by 2015-16.
We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have. The product and price balance must be made from scratch.
While no specifics of these consoles have been revealed, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata believes that emerging markets have different needs from gaming devices than traditional console markets.
“We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have,” Iwata told Bloomberg, adding, “The product and price balance must be made from scratch.”
Iwata echoed those thoughts to Reuters, emphasising the importance of getting the price right. “It would be difficult to enter those markets if we didn’t create something new. For the mass market, you need to provide something that most of the middle class can afford,” he said.
While Iwata didn’t mention any countries that Nintendo would be targeting with these new consoles, he elaborated that by “emerging markets”, he referred to those whose gaming potential had yet to be tapped.
Nintendo has never had an official presence in India, neither are its consoles or games officially sold here even via a distributor.
The struggling Wii U
One of the target markets for this new console would be China, which recently lifted a ban on the sale of game consoles, prompting Microsoft to enter the market to launch the Xbox One through a Chinese partner. However, Iwata isn’t convinced that the lifting of the ban is enough.
“We think the Chinese market has a lot of potential, but I don’t think the lifting of the ban has solved all of the difficulties in entering it. We need to study it more,” Iwata told Reuters. “For us, Microsoft’s approach wouldn’t work,” he added.
Nintendo recently released its financial results for the full year ended March 2014, posting a 10% drop in year-on-year revenues and a loss of $228.6 million. A chunk of the blame for the unexpected losses was directed at the lower-than-expected sales of the Wii U, which has already been outsold by the PS4.
Nintendo does, however, expect to turn a profit in the current financial year.
A device that is developed from the ground up for those new to gaming and keeping middle-class incomes in mind may be just what is needed for console gaming to get a foothold in the Indian market. However, with Xbox and PlayStation consoles already available in the Indian market across various segments and with the prices set to get cheaper and cheaper, Nintendo will have to be super aggressive where pricing is concerned, which will be easier said than done considering the heavy duties that are charged on imported consoles. Moreover, Nintendo will have to back these consoles up with a strong and compelling games line-up, which also raises the question of third-party support, which it has been steadily losing with the Wii U.