One reason that one could give for Nintendo’s poor performance with the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS was them losing the lucrative younger market, traditionally their stronghold, to smartphone and tablet gaming. With the rise of iPhone and iPad gaming, more and more parents opted to buy their kids cheap all purpose devices with even cheaper (or free!) games, rather than spending hundreds of dollars on dedicated game hardware, and then another $40-$60 on individual games.
Certainly, this was a big factor for why the 3DS and Wii U did not do as well as their predecessors did, alongside the loss of the casual market. But with the upcoming NX, Nintendo may manage to recapture this all important kids market again, believes research firm DFC Intelligence.
“One of the ironies of the latest generation of console systems is how children under the age of 12 have been largely ignored,” their note reads (via GamesIndustry.biz). “The Nintendo Wii U is the only dedicated system remotely targeted at kids and it has been a failure. Twenty years ago many casual outside observers viewed children as the ONLY market for video games. The fact that console systems can thrive without targeting a younger audience speaks volumes to how the industry has grown. However, it also highlights a major missed opportunity.”
The kids market is certainly extremely important- if nobody appeals to them, then these kids are lost to smartphone and tablet gaming, and console gaming loses out on potential future customers. Nintendo have traditionally done the best job of introducing younger audiences to gaming, audiences that then go on to play on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC – their failure to do so properly with the Wii U can be detrimental for the long term health of console gaming. With the NX, then, it is vital that Nintendo get back in form, and put out a product appealing to kids, and to their parents, again.