The level that Nintendo has dominated by during this generation really cannot be overstated. The Wii has managed worldwide sales of 35 million units to the end of September, 2008. While the DS has managed an incredible 84 million units sold to the same point.
The Wii is completely decimating the opposition consoles of the PS3 and Xbox 360, and this despite being underpowered and almost last-gen in terms of graphics and gameplay. While the Sony PSP has at least offered some competition in the hand-held sector, the DS has sold double the quantity of its rival.
Nintendo also recently revealed that the Wii had overtaken the Nintendo 64 in terms of sales, while the DS has managed to overtake lifetime sales of the Game Boy Advance. So the question is, with figures as good as these, will the company be able to continue its domination through the economic slowdown or will the credit crunch put an end to the Nintendo surge?
According to Business Week, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata recently predicted that the recession will not affect its business in the near future. He foresaw the company achieving its third straight year of record earnings and told a press conference in Tokyo why.
“In the near term, we don’t expect the gaming business to be affected by economic trends. At the Nintendo store in New York, people are still lining up in the morning before it opens.”
That may well be so but there’s the argument that the recession hasn’t quite reached consumers yet, so while this Christmas may see people spending the same way they have been doing, 2009 may be a whole different matter. If that happens, then would gaming in general, and Nintendo specifically be able to ride the storm?
I think consumer spending will inevitably fall for a period of time but gaming may well be protected due to its unique stature as something which is actually quite a cheap pastime for a family to enjoy together. Compare the price of buying a console and a few games, which could give many people hours of fun, to the cost of going to a sporting event or going on vacation and gaming will inevitably emerge victorious.
In terms of which console people will choose to buy in a recession, Nintendo again seems to be sitting pretty. Not only are the Wii and DS the most affordable consoles available, the Wii has more scope for offering family fun to a wider spectrum of family members than the PS3 and Xbox 360 do.
Nintendo’s hold on this generation doesn’t look to be coming to an end anytime soon, even if the economy is in a mess.