Nintendo came out fighting this holiday season, racking up big post-Thanksgiving sales last weekend, as new games like its “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” and “Super Mario 3D Land” got enthusiastic reviews.
But it was the pricing of its devices that really won over consumers, giving the six-year-old Wii its best Black Friday ever.
Reggie Fils-Aime is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America:
“For our Wii business, this is the first time that we’re at or below a $149 price point in the marketplace. Certainly Wal-Mart had a very strong Black Friday. They sold a Wii console with no software for $99. And overall, our value equation for both Wii and 3DS is very compelling. It’s a tough time and consumers are looking for value.”
That kind of demand for such a mature product is a relief for Nintendo. The company is working on its Wii follow up, the Wii-U, but it won’t be out until sometime next year.
The company recently forecast its first ever annual net loss, blaming weak software sales and currency issues. It has also had to defend its decision to stick to its own hardware at the exclusion of the mobile market.
“Why not make something available for a tablet or a smartphone? I mean, candidly, it wouldn’t play as well. The button schemes wouldn’t be there. It would have to be touch enabled. Our view is that it’s an experience that doesn’t make a lot of sense for us right now.”
Fils-Aime says that doesn’t mean they aren’t focusing on the digital world – adding that 14% of all transactions for franchises like Mario and Zelda happen digitally.
Bottom line: A successful Black Friday helped boost enthusiasm for Nintendo, which continues to market its now-discounted six-year-old Wii, selling a record half million units the day after Thanksgiving.