Well apparently the Wii U does not print money...
Well not like anybody really believed Nintendo's ridiculous claim that they could move 9 million consoles in a year when they only released a handful of games and made no serious investment in marketing., but obviously dropping their forecasts by more than two thirds is one hell of a troubling sign for the once mighty Nintendo. Even the 3DS, the best-selling system of 2013, didn't meet the sales expectations, though that may be more on Nintendo's out of touch expectations in the first place and not looking at the reality of the market place. Sadly Mario 3D World has not sold all that well even though it ended up on most best of the year lists, so even the mighty Mario couldn't move consoles.
So where do they go from here? Well the reality is they could chug along for quite awhile, doing whatever the hell they want because they are beyond flush with cash. They could basically circle the wagons, cut losses with the Wii U, focus on their portable business which probably could grow exponentially if they focused all their energy on one portable system. That's nearly always been their strong suit. They haven't actually been a contender in the home console market since the 16-bit days. That makes some sense but I doubt Nintendo would be that complacent.
Many are calling for them to release on other consoles, mostly on phones. I really think putting Nintendo games on phones would be bad for their image. Sure, it would make them some money in the short run because it's Nintendo on phones! But can you imagine playing any Nintendo games on a tablet? It'd be fucking awful, missing that quality gameplay that goes into nearly every Nintendo title. Other consoles? Maybe but at some point that is Nintendo making games at least on some level not entirely under their control and that would limit them.
I actually think the best financial solution might be something more radical-Stay low tech and cheap. Third parties don't publish on Nintendo, gamers don't buy third party games on Nintendo systems. But make the console affordable and they'll gladly pick one up along with families looking for a low cost entertainment box. I'm thinking like no more than $200. Load it with virtual console titles for purchase. Make sure it has the basic streaming apps, and of course the first party magic Nintendo is known for. I think that would make them not directly compete with Sony and Microsoft because clearly they either can't or don't want to, but it makes them an extremely viable second console as few households only own one anymore. The risk would be minimal and it would at least get them back to the Gamecube days where even if they weren't dominant they would be operating at a profit.
Of course that's arguably the safest move. Nintendo is the company that really dares to be different. You get past a few base differences and there isn't a whole lot separating Sony's and Microsoft's consoles. Same games, same services. Hell even the Vita is an attempt to be just like the big consoles (which is probably why it's dead in the water). The DS wasn't like anything else. The Wii wasn't like anything else at the time. The 3DS is unique in what it offers and so is the Wii U. This is key in what makes Nintendo the magic factory they've been for decades and I really don't want to see that vanish because they had a few bad years. So let's all hope whatever Nintendo does to right its' ship, it doesn't change the core of this company that defined gaming so just about anybody who has been gaming for at least a couple decades.
That's it for today, look for a Gamer Cinema in the next couple of days...