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 (
) 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
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:
), Konami (NYSE:
), Take-Two (NASDAQ:
), 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
To be fair, I am a Nintendo fan. A
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
That said, E3 is
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
5.64 million units
, respectively), other games have been struggling at retail.
Since its release, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D moved
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
. Pokemon Rumble Blast, which arrived in stores last year, sold a
. Star Fox 64 3D, another port from the days of Nintendo 64, sold
. And despite being on store shelves since March 2011, Pilotwings
Resort has sold only
If you think that's bad, take a look at Steel Diver, a game
that has only sold
since the Nintendo 3DS was released.
Third-party games have not been doing any better. The
much-hyped Dead or Alive: Dimensions sold
. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D performed even worse at retail,
. Since March, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (another port)
has sold a laughable
Capcom has had a little more success with its Resident Evil
of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and
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.
) had a ton of success with its Skylander game and toy combo for
1.73 million units
on Wii and another million across Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. On
the Nintendo 3DS, Skylanders peaked at
Similarly, when Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:
) brought its staple franchises -- including NFL Madden and The
Sims 3 -- to the Nintendo 3DS, it sold just
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
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
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
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.
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.