You know how Mario constantly finds castles at the end of each level expecting to find the princess, but she never ends up being there (until the very end)? He always seems to encounter Toad instead, who gives him some vague direction that the princess is in another castle.
Well, lets just say Nintendo is Mario, constantly on the search for a winning product; all the castles without the princess are its most-recent products, which are a total disappointment for the company and seem to be repetitive these days; Toad is everyone telling Nintendo to go mobile, and the princess is that one product or service -- the one completely different from what it's doing now, different from all the other "castles" -- that Nintendo will hopefully create for a comeback.
But it doesn't look like Nintendo is going to heed warnings to go mobile. In fact, it doesn't look like Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata will take part in wearables either, as he pitched a "non-wearable" product for 2015 that will focus on keeping its users healthy.
While Nintendo has already released a health product called "Wii Fit," Iwata said this new product is nothing like that. He didn't supply many details about it, but some believe it could be used outside of the living room (but probably not on your smartphone or tablet).
"Looking after your health requires effort and many people quit quite soon after starting something," said Iwata. "But we, as an entertainment company, can help people get over the difficulty of continuing their efforts in a fun way."
This wasn't exactly what investors were expecting, as stock was down 4.3 percent at closing and investors dropped $1.2 billion from the value of Nintendo's Tokyo-traded shares today.
Investors were likely unhappy to hear Iwata say that mobile is not a huge priority at this time, even though many have urged the company to take it more seriously during a time when smartphone and tablet sales are booming.
According to technology research and advisory firm Gartner, devices running Google's Android mobile operating system alone will achieve 1.1 billion shipments in 2014. This represents a 26 percent boost from 2013's total. Apple's operating systems (iOS for mobile and Mac OS for desktop) will see combined shipments of 344 million for 2014, which is a 28 percent jump from last year. When it comes to Microsoft's Windows OS, Gartner says 360 million new devices are expected to ship this year, up from 328 million last year.
Overall, Gartner says combined global shipments of all devices will achieve 2.48 billion units for 2014, up 7.6 percent from 2013.
Many hoped Nintendo would put Mario on smartphones and tablets, and there was even a rumor that the company would offer demo versions of games on such devices. However, Nintendo denied such rumors and said mobile devices would merely be used as advertisement platforms for its consoles and games.
"I'm not pessimistic about video games. We are not going to change our essential business of offering integrated hardware and software platforms," said Iwata.
But Iwata did say that handheld and home game console software would merge, hinting that gamers would be able to download and play the same game across platforms at some point.
Earlier this month, Nintendo announced that its anticipated Wii U units sold from April 2013 to March 2014 would be changed from a previous 9 million to just 2.8 million. This represents a staggering 69 percent drop, and Wii U software doesn't look any better, with sales expectations falling from a previously reported 38 million to just 19 million.
The company also had to revise sales expectations for its 3DS, dropping from 18 million to just 13.5 million units sold. As for the original Wiis, Nintendo is cutting their sales expectations from a previous 2 million to 1.2 million.
With so many sales revisions, Nintendo is also decreasing its financial forecast, which includes a loss of 25 billion yen ($240 million USD) -- down from a previously reported 55 billion yen profit.
Lets hope this health product is Nintendo's "princess."