"So even though we won't change the fact that our focus is on video games, I felt the need to take that occasion to state that Nintendo is a company that can do whatever it wants." - Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo.
Statements like this is why I can't take you seriously any more Nintendo. Yes you can be a company that makes whatever but what people WANT you to be is a video game company. I don't know what else you think it is you should be doing now but whatever it is... stop trying to do that and focus on being the best video game company you can be. Get your head on straight because this just sounds like the setup for your next big hardware "innovation" that nobody cares about.
Nintendo has been many things as a company over the last hundred years... but today they are known as a video game company and that is what people who buy their products want them to be. Gamers aren't looking for a fitness solution or a robot vacuum cleaner. Leave that to other companies who are focused on that and will do it better. Nintendo needs to worry itself with understanding its audience and appropriately tooling itself to meet that groups wants and expectations. It’s because Nintendo seems to have lost that connection to their core audience that their sales of the Wii U have been so terrible. They seem to have an excellent understanding of the handheld market but in consoles after the SNES they seem to just blindly flail around from one iteration to the next with no clear idea of how they should be focusing their efforts.
The Wii was a major push on a specific direction but they still couldn't push things past the initial gimmick of the hardware. The numbers for the Wii blew up with non-traditional gamers so the focus shifted in that direction, which was a mistake because that ultra-casual market is never a good long term support group for a product.
A few simple things could fix their troubles if they're going to stay in the console market:
1) Pick a target market and stick with it. No more "We're the everybody system." They'll sell a lot more games if they set themselves a core market and design their system and games with them in mind.
2) Take existing franchises in some truly NEW directions (and I don't mean Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Mario Kart, etc.). How's about throwing Mario and the gang some curve balls. New mechanics never hurt but Mario and company today are still running thru the same basic hoops and story they were back in the 80s. In a lot of ways it feels like these series stopped growing with the SNES era. Their franchises are too hung up on the same tropes to the point that they are cliche because of themselves. How is it that Zelda and Peach are still getting captured after all these years? Why does Link still have no voice? Why does Samus always lose all her armor upgrades 10 minutes into the first mission? For every Super Mario Galaxy (which was still the same old save the princess story) we get 3-4 Super Mario Wii, Super Mario Wii U, New Super Mario Bros, New Super Mario Bros 2 type games that are just the same things again and again. Time to really break those molds Nintendo. Gamers hate CoD for doing iteration to death so you don't deserve a free pass either.
3) Develop some new first party IPs. Mario is the flagship. Nintendo fans love Zelda. But it’s also time for some fresh infusions into the Nintendo lineup.
4) Stop trying to keep a death grip on the licensing with the system and actually develop some solid 3rd party relationships. Nintendo has the 1st party titles, no doubt but console exclusives alone cannot support a system well, especially when they have long delays between releases and if the title under-performs to gamers expectations like a lot of their recent releases that have been considered simply mediocre.
5) Market appropriately. Hire an outside firm if you have to but get some people that understand how and where to market your products to your audience. Doing primarily online presentations to people who already bought your system will not encourage new sales.
6) Actually listen to consumer feedback. Don't sacrifice vision or creative license but criticism should be heard and evaluated for merit.
7) Either truly compete in the console market or be your own niche but stop trying to do both.
8) Innovate the business but that doesn’t have to mean trying to reinvent the console wheel with every new generation. Stop building systems that are gimmicks first and game experiences second. It sets the path for all future development for your console. Every game will either be built around a forced mechanic or have to try and find ways to avoid it, which makes the controller setup either less than ideal or seem like a lot of wasted potential. Build a solid experience and work gimmicks into in a way that doesn’t make them feel like annoying gimmicks. They should be an additive experience.
That’s just my two cents after owning every Nintendo console up thru the Wii. I just feel like as a gamer they need a clear direction and a tighter focus. Trying to be all things to all people is not a solid business model. I want to see Nintendo succeed. I want to have a reason to buy their consoles again. I want to be able to take them seriously again.