While their fortunes have been fading, of late, Nintendo still knows how to make and market a good strategy game.
Take, please, the pop-up Nintendo Experience they've dropped into the King of Prussia Mall for the holiday season (through December 20.). Resembling a mini-arcade, but with no coins or bills demanded, the fun zone offers gamers the chance to try before buying (or asking Santa to get 'em) all the hot new games available for Nintendo's current portable and console systems.
And how about all the media buzz that new president Tatsumi Kimishima and the usual gang of "reliable manufacturing sources" have been creating this week with hints about the next big thing on Nintendo's planning table - a product code named NX. Here, they're seemingly playing a different kind of game – hoping to get on-the-fence consumers to put off holiday purchases of rival systems (Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One) – because Nintendo's next big thing is just around the corner, going into production in Q2 2016 then having a big coming-out party at the E3 convention in June, reports DigiTimes.
Humming during normal King of Prussia Mall operating hours in court space adjacent to J.C. Penney, the Nintendo Experience is strictly for trying, not buying. Yes, on-site staffers are happy to tell you about deals of the week and nearby locations where you can purchase stuff. But mostly, they're offering gaming tips - how to slice and dice, survive and conquer.
On the portable game system front, where Nintendo still rules, you can have quality time with the just-out "Yo-Kai Watch" (a Japanese sensation with its own animated TV series) plus other 3DS titles like "The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes," "Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon," "Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer," "Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash," "Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS" and "Mario Kart 7.
For the Wii U, the lineup includes the super cool, DIY-themed " Super Mario Maker" and splashball-evoking "Splatoon," plus "Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash," "Yoshi's Wooly World," "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U" and one third-party (non-Nintendo) title so big with the kids it had to be invited – Activision's "Skylanders Super Chargers."
As for that NX big thing, a just-published Time magazine interview finds Kimishima calling it "the next step in our dedicated device strategy" and something quite different. "We're not building the next version of Wii or Wii U." A good idea, as the latter has not exactly set the world on fire – moving about 11 million units worldwide; a third of what Sony has done with the front-running PS4.