With a smartphone app and interactive collectible plan set into motion, Nintendo is confident on tackling the next elephant in the room: China.
According to a Bloomberg report, the company that made Mario, Metroid and Donkey Kong will expand in emerging markets like China with a completely new game machine built from the ground up starting in 2015. It will not sell a cheaper version of its current consoles like the Wii U. “We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have,” said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. “The product and price balance must be made from scratch.” Iwata declined to talk more about the design and specs of the new console.
If you think that the company will follow Microsoft’s Xbox One in China strategy, think again. Iwata said on Reuters that the approach will not work for Nintendo. “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.”
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Speaking of China, he added that the country has a lot of potential, though the console ban life has not solved most of the issues companies have to enter the market. The company will study the region more and adjust its console and game pricing to fit the needs of consumers in the country and other emerging nations.
While the smartphone app for the upcoming Mario Kart 8 game is meant to be complementary, the company is resistant on creating actual mobile games for the platform. Iwata said that it does not see a sustainable way for the business to make money as it has varying ‘boom-and-bust cycles’. “The smartphone market is probably more competitive than the console business. We have had a console business for 30 years, and I don’t think we can just transfer that over onto a smartphone model.”
These seems like exciting times for China to get this much attention from bigwig game publishers, though it will be a tough region to break through given that free-to-play and PC gaming rule the ruse. Nintendo had a go with free-to-play with its 3DS game Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball; perhaps it needs to do more of that with its core brand faces if it’s serious about its ‘emerging markets’.