Nintendo has announced that it plans to turn the console market on its head in the coming months with the launch of new hardware platforms specifically targeted at emerging markets. The news follows the confirmation that the company suffered another disappointing year on the financial front, and could potentially open up a whole new market segment in the console wars.
By aiming cut-priced hardware at developing countries, Nintendo will be hoping it can establish itself as the go to brand for gaming among demographics that currently find themselves priced out of the gaming hardware market. With the likes of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One costing $399 and up, there are great swathes of the world's population unable to afford the luxury of enjoying gaming, but Nintendo will be hoping that they don't need to feel left out any longer.
In an interview with news network Bloomberg, Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata, explained the decision, while pointing out that this doesn't mean scaled back versions of existing or past hardware:
We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have.The product and price balance must be made from scratch.
It's currently unknown what guise these new platforms may take, although it's safe to assume that a handheld will be among them, given the traditionally lower cost of portable console hardware. Even more interesting, however, is the approach that the company will take in terms of software. If it can get the cost-to-power balance right, these new systems could prove to be a huge success, and potentially bring some major third parties to the table in search of new target markets, something that Nintendo has struggled with in recent years, particularly with the Wii U.