Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nintendo faces end of era after 3DS flop: One after another, Japanese companies begin to wobble

Nintendo's attempt to rescue its failed 3DS handheld games gadget failed to dispel market gloom, triggering a 5 percent share slide and stoking deep worries for an iconic brand desperate to win back users.

On Tuesday, President Satoru Iwata introduced what he said was an unprecedented range of games, aimed at attracting everyone from hardcore gamers to fashion-conscious girls and fans of the long-running Mario series.

The Japanese company also announced on its website a new 1,500 yen ($19) slidepad accessory needed for certain games.

But analysts and investors dismissed the line-up as lackluster and largely irrelevant in the face of cheap or free games played on the likes of Apple's iPhone and iPad and Google-powered Android devices.

Nintendo has been criticized for sticking rigidly to its own hardware, meaning it has no access to the new generation of mobile devices.

"I don't think the new games will make any difference," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment.

"Nintendo succeeded by pulling in people who weren't gamers and their needs now are no longer being filled by Nintendo, they are happy playing games on their mobile phones," he said. more