Five Things Nintendo Doesn't Want You to Know About its E3 2012 Press Conference
Consumers expected big things from the Mario maker this week, including fresh franchises and new chapters in the Zelda, Pokemon, and Wii Sports series. But instead of wowing the masses with a massive lineup of must-buy games, Nintendo's (NTDOY) E3 press conference was unusually quiet. There were few game announcements, and even fewer surprises.
How could this happen? Why would Nintendo pass up the chance to show off its full lineup of Wii U games? Why didn't the company announce a price or release date for the new hardware? And why were there so many cheers coming from the audience?
Benzinga has uncovered the answers to these questions and more in our list of Five Things Nintendo Doesn't Want You to Know About its E3 2012 Press Conference.
5. Third-Party Developers Might be to Blame for Wii U's Crappy Software
If you were disappointed by Nintendo's E3 showing this week, you're not alone. But while many critics have been quick to blame Nintendo for the lackluster game lineup, third-party developers might be the ones at fault.
For more than 15 years, third-party developers have complained about the fact that their games are outsold by Nintendo's products. Even now, they won't stop complaining.
This might be the real reason why Nintendo's lineup was so weak: because the company wanted to step aside and give third-party developers the chance to shine.
4. Fanboys Are Unofficially Welcome
During my years as a video game journalist, I attended five E3s (2005 through 2009) and somewhere around a dozen press conferences. While Sony (NYSE: SNE), Konami (NYSE: KNM), Take-Two (NASDAQ: TTWO), and other game publishers chose to employ a fairly strict invite-only policy that prevented average Joes and regular gaming enthusiasts from attending, Nintendo has always opened the door to a limited number of fanboys.
This is evident the moment you walk into a Nintendo press conference; there are young adults everywhere sporting a level of enthusiasm that would normally be reserved for sports fans at a playoff game. These consumers -- or, at best, bloggers -- come from a wide range of publications, many of which are tiny mom-and-pop shops ran out of a guy's apartment. But they are Nintendo fans. And Nintendo wants fans at every press conference.
To be fair, I am a Nintendo fan. A huge fan. I clapped and cheered loudly along with the rest of the attendees when Super Mario Galaxy was shown in 2006. I also think that all consumers -- whether they run a blog or not -- should be able to attend E3. Maybe not the press conferences (which are supposed to be exclusively for the media), but definitely the show itself.
That said, E3 is not open to the public. It is not easy to get a pass to the show or to the press conferences, which often have limited seating. But Nintendo always opens its doors to fanboys. This ensures that when the company makes an announcement, people will cheer -- regardless of how the rest of the world reacts.
3. Nintendo 3DS Game Sales Are Terrible
Nintendo often uses its E3 press event to brag about how well its games and/or consoles are selling. The company did no such thing this year, and there's a good reason for that.
There have been countless reports about how the Nintendo 3DS has become a huge success now that the price has been reduced to $169.99. This is somewhat true. According to VGChartz's listing for consoles and handhelds, the 3DS has now sold nearly 18 million units worldwide.
The games, however, have not been doing so well. While Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 have been successful (selling 6.1 million units and 5.64 million units, respectively), other games have been struggling at retail. Since its release, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D moved an impressive 2.68 million units (impressive because it's a 3D upgrade of a game released in 1998). Nintendogs+Cats sold 2.31 million units.
But in the two and a half months since Kid Icarus: Uprising was released, the game has only sold 720,000 units. Pokemon Rumble Blast, which arrived in stores last year, sold a meager 870,000 units. Star Fox 64 3D, another port from the days of Nintendo 64, sold a disappointing 630,000 units. And despite being on store shelves since March 2011, Pilotwings Resort has sold only 770,000 units.
If you think that's bad, take a look at Steel Diver, a game that has only sold 180,000 units since the Nintendo 3DS was released.
Third-party games have not been doing any better. The much-hyped Dead or Alive: Dimensions sold 240,000 units. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D performed even worse at retail, selling just 190,000 units. Since March, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (another port) has sold a laughable 150,000 units.
Capcom has had a little more success with its Resident Evil franchise, selling 330,000 copies of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and 550,000 copies of Resident Evil: Revelations. Capcom also sold nearly 800,000 copies of Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition.
But other third-party developers have not been so lucky. Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI) had a ton of success with its Skylander game and toy combo for consoles, selling 1.73 million units on Wii and another million across Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. On the Nintendo 3DS, Skylanders peaked at 280,000 units.
I could go on, but there's no need. Nintendo 3DS games are not doing well, period.
2. Nintendo is Reporting Losses, Not Profits
Every gamer in the world knew when Nintendo 64 sold its 10 millionth unit. They knew that Nintendogs and Wii Fit were among the casual games that sold more than 15 million units. But are they aware that Nintendo reported a loss of $531 million in April?
That latter revelation was reported heavily in the financial community, not so much in the mainstream media, and even less in the gaming press. Simply put, Nintendo declines are not sexy -- hence the real reason why this year's press conference was all about "the games."
In short, Nintendo didn't have anything else it wanted to report.
1. Your Reaction Will Determine Wii U's Price
Excited about Wii U's games, features, or online connectivity? Don't be too emphatic about it -- doing so could cost you in the long run.
Nintendo admitted in 2010 that it decided to charge a higher price for the Nintendo 3DS after seeing the fan reaction. Consequently, instead of charging a reasonable price (somewhere between $160 and $190 would have made sense), Nintendo attempted to sell the handheld for $249.99.
If you want a Wii U, feel free to share your desire with the world. But don't be too crazy about it. Otherwise the rumored price tag of $350 to $450 could become a reality.
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