Nintendo Co Ltd offered a sneak preview of a new gaming system that can be used both as a traditional console as well as a handheld device, but a lack of revolutionary features helped send its shares sliding 6 percent.
In a 3-minute video teaser, the Kyoto-based games company unveiled Nintendo Switch, its first new gaming device in four years, which will launch in March 2017. It remained, however, silent on the key issue of pricing. Its success will be crucial as Nintendo still considers console gaming to be the center of its business, even as casual gaming has moved to smartphones and tablets and as it last console, the Wii U, flopped badly.
If sales disappoint, the company will come under even more pressure to embrace smartphone gaming - something it has only just begun to do. "The trailer does not show the device being played in interesting new ways, gameplay looks to be surprisingly similar to gaming with any number of other consoles," Takeshi Koyama, a senior analyst at Mizuho Securities, wrote in a report to clients.
He added that many aspects of the new device remained unclear, such as whether the screen on the main unit is a touch screen or whether it can be synced up with other smart devices. The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, and Splatoon are among the games lined up for the console, the trailer showed, while dozens of publishers such as Activision Publishing Inc, Electronic Arts Inc and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc are developing games for the device.
Eiji Maeda, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities, said the games should go down well with traditional Nintendo fans but there were no games shown that seemed to break new ground.Nintendo has sold only 13 million Wii U consoles since its launch in 2012, compared with 101 million sales of its predecessor, the Wii, launched in 2006.That flop helped push Nintendo into mobile gaming, leading to the runaway success of Pokemon GO and plans to debut its game franchise Super Mario Bros on Apple Inc's iPhone in December.
Shares in Nintendo were down 5.7 percent in afternoon trade on Friday, giving the company a market value of about $35 billion. The stock is, however, still up some 70 percent since early July on hopes that Pokemon GO and Super Mario Bros on the iPhone will be big contributors to earnings.
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Taiga Uranaka in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Writing by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR NINTENDO - Mario and Luigi take the field at Sun Life Stadium before the face-off between Florida State and University of Miami on Nov. 15, 2014. The two video game icons were in town to show football fans Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and the forthcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Nintendo of America is bringing these all-star brawling games to college campuses across the country this fall as a part of the College Tailgate Tour.(Photo By Jeff Daly/Invision for Nintendo/AP)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR NINTENDO - In this photo provided by Nintendo of America, Morgen Gage, left, dressed as Saria, slashes through hundreds of enemies while playing Hyrule Warriors, during PAX Prime 2014 on Aug. 30, 2014 in Seattle. Hyrule Warriors launches for Wii U on Sept. 26. The gathering presented excited fans with the opportunity to preview the unreleased game. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Invision for Nintendo/AP Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11: A general view of atmosphere during the Super Smash Bros for Wii U event in West Hollywood, CA on November 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Nintendo of America)
Dozens of Pikachu characters, the famous character of Nintendo's videogame software Pokemon, parade at the Landmark Plaza shopping mall in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo on August 14, 2014. The Pikachu mascots walk around daily to attract summer vacationers as a part of the 'Great Pikachu Outbreak' event through the weekend. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
Customers play video games at an electric shop in Tokyo on October 29, 2014. Japanese videogame giant Nintendo said its first-half net profit soared to 132 million USD as a sharply weaker yen boosted its bottom line and offset slowing sales. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
Gaming fans play 'Fluster Cluck' at the annual E3 video game extravaganza in Los Angeles, California on June 10, 2014, where Microsoft and Sony are battling for the hearts of hard core gamers whose devotion could determine whether Xbox One or PlayStation 4 rule console play and Internet Age entertainment.. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Super Mario display at the Nintendo section attracts attention at the annual E3 video game extravaganza in Los Angeles, California on June 10, 2014. Nintendo said it is adding real-world game figures to Wii U play to help boost the popularity of its console, which has lagged rivals in the market, with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime saying 'amiibo' game pieces embedded with computer chips to swap data with Wii U tablet controllers would debut in the 'Mario Smash Brothers' game later this year. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Actor Noah Munck attends Nintendo's celebration of the launch of Super Mario 3D Land at Siren Studios on November 3, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Nintendo)
390946 06: A potential customer tries out the new Nintendo Gameboy Advance computer game June 21, 2001 in London. The game is due to be released in Europe on June 22, 2001. (Photo by Sion Touhig/GettyImages)
Tokyo, JAPAN: Japan's first customer Kotaro Watanabe displays Nintendo's new video game console 'Wii' at a Tokyo electric shop, 02 December 2006, while Sega's game character Sonic the Hedgedog (R) celebrates him. Some thousands video game fans queued in early morning to buy the new video game console priced 25,000 yen (215 USD). AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)