Wii wonderNintendo has no immediate plans to cast the Wii to the dustbin of history, despite high-profile unveilings of motion-sensing gaming from Microsoft and Sony.
The company says it feels no pressure to reinvent its best-selling motion-based games platform and is confident it will hold its own against the eagerly-anticipated Microsoft Kinect for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation Move for the PS3.
Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, believes there is life left in the Wii in spite of decelerating sales growth. Nintendo has updates of popular games like Donkey Kong, Wii Party and Metroid to keep it flying off the shelves.
While the games giant has not ruled out a replacement in the future, Iwata says: “I do not think that there is an immediate need to replace the Wii console.” However, he admits Nintendo does not know at what point in the future a replacement will be needed.
The Wii console, with its cordless controller, popularised motion gaming and enticed casual users into the video-gaming fold.
Nevertheless, Iwata concedes that building up the casual market was difficult as few people predicted the success of the DS and the Wii. Consequently, he says Nintendo “had no choice but to create that market for the two platforms.”
When the time comes to launch a replacement for the Wii, "Nintendo will garner third-party support coupled with its own expertise to create a healthy environment for the new platform," muses Iwata.
The company appreciates the importance of third-party developers, demonstrated by the wide array of games it is rolling out at the launch of its new 3D handheld console, the 3DS.
Both Microsoft and Sony have announced plans to wade into the casual motion-sensor gaming market with their respective launches due out in time for Christmas. Both offerings plug into the existing consoles, with the Move similar to Wii’s controller set-up while Kinect is completely hands-free and set to be a bit pricier.
Nintendo recorded record profits in March 2009 on the back of immense demand for the Wii and DS, but growth slowed last year after both Microsoft and Sony boosted their software offerings and slashed the price of their consoles.
Some experts predict Sony and Microsoft will see considerable growth in the next six months relative to Nintendo as they branch into the casual-gamer market.
Last month Nintendo forecasted a second consecutive year of smaller profits and offered shareholders a buyback scheme if a specific need arose.