Nintendo planning lower-priced console for new markets

Nintendo plans to launch a low price console for emerging markets such as China, as Weak Wii U sales left Nintendo with a loss for the 3rd straight year

By: Reuters | Published: May 8, 2014 8:17:50 pm
A Nintendo store in Tokyo

Nintendo Co Ltd plans to introduce a new gaming system for emerging markets such as China as early as next year, as the company hunts for fresh opportunities after the flop of its Wii U console.

Weak Wii U sales left Nintendo booking a loss for the third straight year and intensified the clamour from investors for a change in tack as new consoles from rivals Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp reap market share.

Nintendo has dismissed calls to take advantage of a boom in games for smartphones. Instead, the company is developing hardware and games for consumers with lower incomes and less gaming experience than those in developed markets, Chief Executive Satoru Iwata told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

“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,” Iwata said, adding that Nintendo has no plans to launch existing consoles such as the Wii U or 3DS in emerging markets.

Iwata declined to elaborate on the design and specification of such a new device and did not specify the countries beyond China, saying only that “emerging markets” referred to those whose gaming potential had not yet been cracked.

In China, Iwata said Nintendo would enter with a different strategy to compete with Microsoft Corp. The U.S. rival last month said it would begin selling its Xbox One console through a Chinese partner from September in Shanghai’s free trade zone, after the government lifted a ban on the sale of foreign consoles there.

“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. For us, Microsoft’s approach wouldn’t work,” Iwata said.

The chief executive said he did not believe Nintendo could capture the mass market in China by offering a console designed and priced for a developed market.

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