Originally published in Edge magazine
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This year is Nintendo’s 125th anniversary, and so the company is celebrating by haemorrhaging money. The figures are dour. Nintendo announced net losses of $229 million for fiscal year 2014, a saddening reversal of 2013’s return to profit. Just 2.7 million Wii U units were sold last year, compared to 7 million PS4s and 5 million Xbox Ones shipped in half as much time.

In the wake of such news, gamers quickly become armchair financial analysts. In an endless stream of ‘What can save Nintendo?’ opinion pieces, predictable and conflicting ideas emerge: Nintendo should abandon hardware; it should embrace smartphones and the Internet. It should redouble efforts to exploit its most popular franchises; it should develop new franchises rather than relying on Mario, Zelda and Pokémon. It should hire more adept designers; it should focus only on the output of its star designer, Shigeru Miyamoto. It should give up on gimmicks like the Wii U gamepad; it should develop more distinctive hardware and peripherals. Then there’s the perennial favourite, some variant of ‘Nintendo should just stop sucking’.

Read this column at Edge Online

published June 15, 2014