The recent server downtime of Nintendo’s eShop and internet services on the Wii U and the 3DS is the latest of a long line of Nintendo’s poor planning issues that has been plaguing them for a while. The debut of Miiverse on the 3DS would have put a large load on their servers and the Poke Bank was the breaking point when it was released in Japan which officially melted down their servers. From consoles launches to game software release dates – these has been pattern of poor planning and predictions of common sense in the future by CEO Satora Iwata.
For all the great areas he achieves in, being a popular and beloved CEO who really shows love and understanding of the gaming industry and real care for the fans and supports of Nintendo he has one massive flaw – he’s a terrible planner. Looking back at the poor planning of the GameCube right through to the Wii U launch there has been areas where Iwata, Nintendo’s CEO has not understood or have planned correctly for possible issues for the company. The Wii and the DS are the golden crowns of his success which both consoles printed money for the company. However the Wii put them in a corner and coming up with a successor was always going to be very hard for them. The 3DS launch was a mess with poor planning of launch games for the handheld and the price point being far too high. Both the Vita and the 3DS learnt for example in Australia that a $349 handheld console doesn’t sell. After a massive price cut and the injection of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 the 3DS started it’s life and has pulled off a amazing 2013 year long of blockbuster game by the month.
You would have thought that Nintendo would have tried to not make the same mistake again but the Wii U repeated the same mistakes and Iwata once again falling into the trap of not planning or understanding or learning from them. His biggest problem as a CEO is that he repeatedly makes the same mistakes over and over with no thought of learning from them. The Wii U price point was too high, the games at launch were ports sold at a higher price than on the PS3 or the Xbox 360 and that New Super Mario Wii U wasn’t going to cut the mustard with the general gaming market. The naming of the Wii U was also a massive issue where no one understood if it was a console or a add-on for the Wii. Nintendo couldn’t explain what the console was or truly show a game that showed why the Wii U gamepad was the must have that could change the way we play games. Even Nintendo themselves have not released a game that fully uses the Gamepad in a way that people went with Wii Sports and said “I understand it and I love it” It took them a full year to release a 2min Youtube ad that told people in plain English what it was and it was effective – but a year late.
The development and planning of games to be released is bizarre. I would have pushed the planning process for Mario Kart 8 to be release by Christmas this year and pushed back Wind Waker HD to April next year. Mario Kart is a massive seller and being bundled with the Wii U would have sold like hot cakes. But why would Iwata make the same mistake again? Did he think that lighting would strike twice like the Wii? Does he have poor advisers or decision makers around him? The third party support has dried up for now and it makes it a long hard road for them to. He needs to learn how to properly release the big games that sell at the right times and not have these delays. How could he not know that making HD games take twice as long to make? Iwata is also a great games designer and he should have countered the fact that games would have taken longer to make and have started to create games earlier. The Wii U I believe was released at the right time but the development of the games should started earlier than what they did.
There are other strange issues such as the lack of unified accounts, cross buys, and no releases of Gamecube, N64 games on the Wii U which still to this day has not happened. No one knows why after so these years that Nintendo is behind the times. Nintendo still creates amazing games with A Link between Worlds and Animal Crossing New Leaf but Iwata’s lack of judgment and forward thinking is damaging Nintendo. This week’s server issues and releasing Poke Bank at Christmas time when children are downloading a lot of games from their Wii U and 3DS presents just adds to another chapter of poor planning. I personally believe if Iwata can solve this flaw of his things would be great for Nintendo but if he doesn’t in the next few years, it might time for him to retire and let someone else take the position of CEO.