I don't think this is strictly true. Just look at all the Final Fantasy games, selling for $15.99. Why wouldn't Nintendo be able to get away with something like that?
I'd think if any company exists that can avoid the race to the bottom problem it'd be Nintendo. Their franchises are sufficiently popular that I think they could demand whatever price they want and people will buy it. Though I doubt they could avoid the IAP train. Tie that to a Pokemon game and they'd be printing money.
They probably should demote their hardware though. The physical side of things is in such upheaval right now it's hard to predict what to do. Keep the R&D going because things will settle down someday, but right now it seems like keeping afloat by getting your software to as many people as possible is the safe bet.
The Sega route?
I had the impression that Square's pricier offerings weren't selling particularly well at all. (At least, that's the most sensible explanation for All The Bravest and Threatrhythm – which are by many accounts utterly shameless cash grabs.)
Nintendo has two choices: It can go the software-only route like Sega, or it can stop shitting the console bed. It has to do one of those two things and it has to do it soon. People love big N, but they're getting so hard to love, what with their bizarre hardware decisions and pants-on-head-insane wiiware policies. They need to fix their account system ASAP. They need to go back to making consoles that are a bit less "whimsical" and a bit more practical. If they can do those things, they won't have to go the software-only route.
They should release a current gen console instead of being 8 years late to the game.
Well, Iwata has been touting that the company had made enough with the WII to keep the company afloat for the next 20 or so years, so time to take it up the ass with the WiiU for the next couple of years and try to regroup for the next generation.
If memory serves, many people said very similar things about the Wii's hardware. And yet, Nintendo managed to sell 100 million of those. Unfortunately, it looks like the Wii U is not going to be quite as successful.
I think there's more than two options (go software-only, like Sega, or fix their home console situation) for Nintendo - go handheld-only. Nintendo seems to have that market fully cornered, at the moment (despite recent missed sales numbers for the 3DS).
the handheld has also nose dived, it took a bit longer then people thought, but the mobile market is being eaten alive by apple and android devices.
The WII U is a "next gen" console, inasmuch that ridiculous term has any meaning at all. And at the moment, it's the "next gen" console most worth getting - it has the best (exclusive) games; as opposed to the PS4 and Xbox One, which have exactly zilch (OK, I guess Dead Rising 3 is fine, but that one game hardly justifies a 400$ console.)
Only if you apply an overly narrow definition of "gaming device" - Android and iOS devices can play games too, you know?
But I agree that calling the 3DS a "failure" is ridiculous.
Prediction: As soon as they release Mario Kart for the Wii U, sales will climb.
I know that's the reason I haven't bought their new console yet. When Mario Kart 8 hits the shelves, I'll pick one up.
The 3DS was the second highest selling gaming (gaming specific, anyway) hardware platform in the world in the week ending January 11th, according to vgchartz. And it was the top selling hardware for the previous 5 weeks. They didn't meet their sales expectations, but to call it a "nose dive" is a bit of a stretch. Are phones and tablets digging into the handheld gaming market? I'm sure they are. But the 3DS still seems to be doing quite well.
Doesn't Nintendo have a huge boatload of cash from selling the DS? The Wii-U is a set top box that comes with a near handheld device. Nintendo knows how to make great handhelds. Couldn't their next console just be a souped up handheld that can broadcast HD to your TV, too? Essentially the reverse of the Wii-U? Basically the iPhone + Apple TV model, but with a great built in controller and 5 star franchise games.
I think they'll be ok.
Create a Pokemon MMO. Or a really solid Pokemon console game. Really, anything that capitalizes on the nostalgia for the original Pokemon universe amongst people currently old enough to have serious money to throw around.
The Sega Dreamcast was launched well before the PlayStation 2 or Xbox, but it didn't save them. Hardware specs aren't everything.
A gaming device isn't merely any device that can play games, but rather a dedicated device for the purpose of gaming. A TI-83 calculator can play games, but no one in their right mind would call it a gaming device.
That said, my point was more that the 3DS handily outsold the major gaming consoles, and consequently was an undeniable success.
And if anything, I think incarnedine_v's point about the popularity of mobile phone apps only proves the potential popularity of handheld gaming systems. Which makes me wonder - would it be brilliant or stupid if the next 3DS was also a phone / web browser?
How is the PS Vita doing?
I did know one person who had a Nokia N-Gage back in the day.