Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told Bloomberg that the company will be selling a brand-new low cost games console targeted specifically at countries like South Africa in 2015.
He said these new consoles will be built from the ground up and designed for “emerging markets”, rather than being derivatives of the company’s existing hardware. Nintendo will also be using its iconic characters in new ways by offering figurines that let gamers swap information in and out of their games using NFC-enabled platforms, similar to Skylanders and Disney Infinity.
“We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have,” Iwata said in Tokyo yesterday. “The product and price balance must be made from scratch.”
These changes come in the wake of Nintendo’s 2013 earnings announcement, which included a loss of $329 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 alone. Nintendo has been struggling financially in the wake of the failure of the Wii U and 3DS consoles to ignite gamers’ passions like the Wii and 2DS before them. Bloomberg blamed that on the move of casual gamers to smartphones and tablets, and hardcore gamers onto new consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
Asked whether Nintendo will be moving its iconic intellectual properties over to smartphones, Iwata said no, citing competition in the smartphone market that’s even stiffer than that of the console business.