The Japanese company Nintendo, the largest maker of video game consoles in the world, unveiled a new online strategy, saying it will launch a social network called Miiverse in respect to its latest version of the Wii, the Wii U.
The strategy is similar to that of rivals like Sony Corp. and Apple Inc., but analysts raised concerns that Nintendo could face a tough job gaining ground because of its belated plans.
“Nintendo is falling behind its rivals in the area of online games. The idea of entering the field is good, but the question is whether the company can generate profits,” said Hajime Nakajima, a wholesale operator in Iwai Cosmo Securities.
After debuting last year, the Wii U has so far received a cool reception from investors who worried that the hardware had trouble finding buyers in an industry of 78.5 million, which has become a target for manufacturers of smartphones and tablets like Apple.
“Some people might wonder if Wii U is a simple evolution of the Wii or something completely different. I think, maybe the best answer is both,” said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, in a webcast before the E3 trade show of the video game industry in Los Angeles, where he presented the final version of the Wii U.
The addition of Miiverse suggests that Nintendo—which began in 1889 as a playing card company in the streets of Kyoto before gaining prominence as the creator of the franchise from “Super Mario”—could be depending on the delivery of online content to shore up hardware sales through its network of Nintendo, a strategy similar to that of Sony and Apple.