Nintendo Says 'Wii Has Stalled', Press Piles On

Wii Sales Plummet

Poor Nintendo, the Wii can't catch a break. It's been the number one selling console for years, but you wouldn't know it from the dearth of news sites that bother to cover the thing seriously. The system's consistently beat the odds time and again--well, the analyst cobbled together ones, anyway--and gone on to outflank all the pundits, including yours truly.

All that, without so much as a pat on the back from the hardcore snobs.

Maybe you've heard the Wii hasn't been doing so hot of late. Nintendo's operating income is reportedly down some 59 percent year over year, Wii sales have plummeted 43 percent for the same period, and the company's Wii full year sales forecasts just nosedived 26 to 20 million.

Seems the mood's not entirely fictional, at least according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who was apparently dosed with sodium pentothal when he addressed the press in Osaka last week and--according to a translation by Japanese game news site andriasang--declared the "Wii has stalled," his reasoning being that the company failed to deliver "the next thing."

The next thing? Not the Wii 2. He means the next killer app, the game everyone's hot to buy the system for. It was supposed to be Wii Sports Resort, or Wii Fit Plus.

The New York Post piled on with a headline-grabber "Gamers are no longer hot for the Wii," calling the Wii "once the console to beat."

No longer? We'll see. A couple years ago I might've agreed, but consumers are fickle, and the advent of gaming-as-mass-phenomenon difficult to read. Nintendo's sales may well continue to slide, and you'll see plenty of folks interpret simultaneous PS3 and 360 increases as conversion sales, but it may just be a case of one market reaching its saturation point, while another comes to life thanks to price drops. Consider all the PS2s still in the wild (something like 140 million worldwide). I'd wager--intuitive guess here--that a majority of recent 360 and PS3 sales are coming from players who've been sitting on PS2s, not Wii owners throwing in the towel.

I already know how guys who play the sort of games I like would answer the question "What's the Wii missing?" But what about all you Wii wonks? The ones who bought the system for Wii Fit, or Wii Sports, or to drag it out over the holidays and the occasional family-'n-friends get-together? What's Nintendo need to do at this point to keep you happy?

Anything in particular?

Or nothing at all?

Follow me on Twitter @game_on

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