Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 20, 2016

Email: About “software sells hardware”

Hello Master Malstrom,

I do agree with you on many points about Nintendo, especially regarding why the Wii and DS sold so well. I can understand that games like Wii Sports, Wii Fit, New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Nintendogs and Brain Age really contributed to that.

Nintendo commited many mistakes when designing the Wii U and 3DS. Most gamers weren’t very interested on stereoscopic 3D or asynchronous multiplayer, and these features made both systems more expensive.

However, despite the 3DS having a slow start, Nintendo decreased its price quickly and released many games. Although the 3DS won’t even come close to DS total sales, it has sold over 60 million so far.

Wii U software wasn’t terrible, but many 1st party games were too similar to what Nintendo had done on previous systems. Splatoon and Super Mario Maker were interesting and were among the few games that actually made a good use of the Wii U GamePad, but they came too late… the Wii U was already doomed in 2015.

I’d like to ask you: could Nintendo have saved the Wii U (for example, 50 million lifetime sales instead of the 14 million it will end up with) with quality software and a price cut? Would the Wii U have failed anyway no matter what Nintendo tried to do?

Nintendo was so aggressive with the 3DS because handhelds are the bread and butter for Nintendo especially in Japan. I do not think a similar move would help the Wii U as a price cut certainly didn’t help the Gamecube.

As gamers, it is hard to accept that the market doesn’t like the software library of the console (which is why the hardware doesn’t sell). There’s really no exceptions to it.

The NES had atrocious hardware. Yet, the NES sells because the software library was so great. There is nothing more uncomplicated than that.

I would say the 3DS did upswing because there was more software put on it that people wanted (instead of ‘omg Pilotwings in 3d!’ which is what happens when Miyamoto listens to hardcore Nintendo fans).

I do not own a Wii U or 3DS. I do not find any of the software to be at all interesting. Sure, DK Tropical Freeze might be ‘the best platformer ever’, but I do not care. The game is not interesting to me anymore. There used to be ‘the best version of PONG ever made’ in the early 1980s, but it didn’t matter. People got tired of PONG in the 1970s.

PC-Engine fans do not want to hear this but the system failed because of its terrible game library. The best games are shmups or arcade ports which appealed to hardcore arcade gamers, not to the mainstream masses. Where are the great PC-Engine sports games and platformers? They are not there. (Bonk games are just above average in platformer quality.) While Turbografx 16 has some great games, they were not the games the market wanted at that time.

Another great example of software selling hardware is the birth of the PC market. People bought PCs for the spreadsheet software.

Switch will live or die based on the software. Switch’s software announcement will be the most important reveal of that console. A bad software launch may ruin the system for good.

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