Console transitions are always tricky things to handle. Right now, Nintendo is juggling three platforms: the DS, 3DS, and Wii. With 3DS sales finally hitting their stride, isn't it time for Nintendo to sunset the aging dual-screen platform? And, what will happen to Wii support, with Zelda finally released, and the Wii U on the horizon?
"As we introduce new platforms, we don’t forget about the legacy platforms," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said. "We really look to the consumer to tell us when it’s a good time for us to fully transition to the new platform."
Fils-Aime spoke to Techland about the changing demographics of the DS and Wii platform. The Nintendo DS, which is now entering its eighth year on market, is now skewing towards an extremely young audience. "It’s going to appeal to a different consumer. You can buy a DS Lite for $99. For a parent with a 5 or 6 year-old, maybe that’s the first handheld you buy them... I think it’s a different kind of consumer than those who really want to experience the 3D of the 3DS."
The NOA president said the same thing about the current Wii consumer. With its $150 price point, Fils-Aime claims to be reaching "an expanded demographic." "These are consumers who have heard about Wii for the past couple years, but at $199 or $249 it was economically out of their reach."
Although Nintendo has yet to release pricing information on their next home console, the Wii U, the use of current-generation graphics processors, coupled with the tablet-styled controller, will obviously price it well beyond what the Wii currently demands. As such, Fils-Aime believes "that Wii and Wii U will coexist for some time."
Because such a different demographic is playing games on these platforms, Fils-Aime says that the company will continue supporting their legacy platforms with new software. "We’re going to continue releasing games for those platforms and licensees will also continue releasing games for those platforms for as long as consumers tell us it’s a viable option for them."
"DS is going to be very important over this holiday season and through 2012," Fils-Aime promises. And the backwards compatibility offered by Wii U suggests that software will continue to hit the Wii platform. "As we drive the install base of Wii, we’re really setting people up to take their gaming library and be able to transfer it over to Wii U."