Nintendo is losing its way in the motion-controlled gaming market, according to industry analysts, with the company hoping that the forthcoming 3DS handheld will see a reversal in its fortunes in 2011.
With the recent launches of Sony's Move and Microsoft's Kinect, the Japanese Wii manufacturer is struggling to compete this Christmas holiday.
In addition to the lack of new hardware this Christmas, Nintendo has not major AAA-blockbuster new game for Christmas to compete with Sony's Gran Turismo 5 and Microsoft's Halo Reach.
The drop off in demand for Wii is compounded by the launch of new tablet PCs and smartphones such as Apple's iPad and iPhone 4.
Leave luck to heaven
Nintendo – which actually means 'leave luck to heaven' in Japanese (fact fans) – is the only major console manufacturer without any new hardware on the shelves this Christmas.
Instead, Nintendo hopes that the forthcoming 3DS console will see an upturn in its fortunes in the hardware market, when that new handheld launches in the spring next year.
"Now they've got the entire [glasses-free 3D] concept to themselves, but it's not going to be that way for much longer," said analyst Jay Defibaugh of MF Global, referencing Sharpe's forthcoming glasses-free 3D smartphone. "So it is incumbent upon them to get that product out as soon as possible."
No blockbuster Nintendo game for Xmas
Nintendo's forecast profit is forecast to be at its lowest level in five years for the year to March 2011.
"Users have a growing range of options. It's not just Nintendo anymore," notes Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. "Within that fragmented market, they are not going to be able to take the kind of share they had before, and margins will be thinner."
Nintendo's glasses-free 3D concept, though much anticipated by game fans, won't be unique by February, because Sharp Corp's 3D smartphone will already have been on the market for months.