I'd just like to say that as somebody who was introduced into video games through Nintendo (proud owner of a Nintendo 64 from 1994), and has continued to be a Nintendo soldier with the various Game Boy iterations, the ill-fated GameCube, the DS, and the Wii, i've lost faith in the company. I've hung up my colours; this is not the Nintendo i know, and as far as i am concerned, the true heart and soul died along with the end of the N64, or perhaps the early GameCube years.
It's the result of commercialism. Brand loyalty does not factor into economics any longer. It's about who can provide the best service at what price. To think a once mighty giant has had its throne threatened and arguably toppled by something as ridiculous as smartphone software is incredibly disheartening, but it does show that Nintendo has relied too heavily on brand loyalty and not seen the writing on the wall - they ignored the competition, and now it's come to bite them in the arse. Nostalgia is a finite resource. It can only last for so long, and while you may try to install these 'childhood heroes and mascots' in the next generation, it will never be successful as the generation that preceded them.
Innocence and seclusion are dead. Mario and friends are no longer the poster children for an underground culture that's socially rejected. It's being assimilated into the mainstream, facilitated to a great degree by the very smartphones that are ironically killing the aforementioned giant that's trying to gamble its very survival on the nostalgia and sheer faith of its followers. I think Nintendo have realised this, and now they're trying to appeal to everybody again instead of those who remember Nintendo's past glory fondly and trying to re-install that past glory in the younger generation who are just being introduced to gaming.
This new appeal has come in the form of the 3DS, and while i can't speak for everybody and haven't seen any sales figures, i haven't heard particularly favourable things, either. 'Oh, the battery life is atrocious', or 'the launch games are terrible and don't even look any more technically proficient than the original DS' right down to 'i've had to switch the 3D off because it gave me a headache'. If trying to re-release the Ocarina of Time, a game that's been re-released twice in the past already (once on the bonus Master Dungeons disc that came with Wind Waker and again on the Wii market place) doesn't smack of desperation, i don't know what does. The 3DS is trying to appeal to the more mature gamers who will appreciate greater technical proficiency and hopefully more mature games as a result (i'm sorry, but i can't imagine young children getting the angle *just* right for the 3D effect... so who else would it be marketed to?), but it's met with scorn. And that's exactly how i predict the Wii 2 will be met with - a torrent of discontent and rejection. Nintendo are claiming it's higher spec'd than the Xbox 360, but given how old the hardware is, is that really a selling point high in its favour? It seems to me the only ones who'd care about that are the more hardcore crowd; perhaps the disillusioned faithful like myself who want to give Nintendo one more shot, but simply can't, like a lover you're forced to leave because they're abusive and manipulative, and yet a large part of you still wants to overlook and ignore everything to try and relive the precious moments one last time. It's certainly not marketed towards the demographic that made the first wii so successful; it sold to non-gamers because it was relatively low cost and the basic nature of it worked in its favour. I doubt lower income families are going to drop £200 on the Wii 2 when they have a perfectly good Wii 1 in the front room, and i don't meant that in a derogatory manner; it's purely trying to look at it from an economically realistic perspective. If they're not primarily gamers, getting the next console isn't really going to be high on the priority list.
It's articles like these that make me think EC may have been right. What's happening to Nintendo may be the first signs of the death of The Big Three. Once Nintendo loses its power, Sony and Microsoft may inevitably follow suit. First, the world will forget about Mario, then Ratchet & Clank, then even the Master Chief. Such is the way of the world. Every great empire crumbles eventually.
C'est la vie.