Last Updated Aug 16, 2010 11:38 AM EDT
First, the competitors are sharpening up their knives. Sony (SNE) will be releasing the Wii-like Move accessory later this year. Despite the me-too quality, the Sony Move feels like Wii 2.0: Natural, effortless and precise. It also works with currently available software.
More importantly, Microsoft (MSFT) is laying out its Kinect strategy, which, as I and my BNET colleague Erik Sherman have discussed since the product announcement:
- Aims Straight For Apple, Google TV
- Likely Adds Motion Controls To PCs and Tablets
- Plans to Unite Online Console Players with Mobile Gamers
But where exactly is the Nintendo console going from here? It lacks the multimedia punch or capabilities of a PlayStation 3, or even an XBox 360, so the "take over your living room" strategy isn't relevant -- as evidenced with Netflix offering streaming movies to the Wii almost a year after the XBox 360. Critically and commercially successful first-party games aside, Wii games traditionally have the lowest review scores -- and Nintendo only releases a flagship title a few times a year.
Nintendo is still in charge, and there are a couple things it can do to maintain a solid lead:
- Integrate the mobile fans: This is where Nintendo can learn from Microsoft. After hands-on time with the Nintendo 3DS, I marveled at how the 3DS could make Apple (APPL) iPhone gaming seem obsolete. Imagine if, like Microsoft, Nintendo planned to truly integrate the mobile and console communities. There have been 132 million Nintendo DS units sold.
- Release a new console: Four years is a great run for any console, and, based on a Newsweek report from N'Gai Croal, the Wii is just an incremental technology change from Nintendo's previous console, the GameCube. Compared this to the significant technological gaps between the XBox and XBox 360, or the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. The Wii offers no HD, no organized online community and, at this point, no controller innovation. As Microsoft and Sony soup up their already powerful consoles, Nintendo sorely needs an upgrade.