Nintendo Banks On Zelda To Rescue Falling Sales
For several years Nintendo console sales have struggled while their software sales have delivered revenue for Australian retailers, now the Company is trying to make a comeback off the back of one of their most famous games.
Last night at E3 in the US, Nintendo revealed the first gameplay footage from its next Legend of Zelda video game – one of the Japanese firm’s most popular franchises.
Its main character Link has much greater scope to interact with his open-world environment than in the previous 18 games in the series.
There is also a focus on technology rather than magic.
The title was originally due to have gone on sale in 2015, but was delayed to launch alongside a new console.
However, the online clips – and demos, which are available to play at the E3 games expo – only show footage from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Wii U release, rather than from the forthcoming NX version.
As a gaming Company Nintendo has struggled to get traction in Australia, globally Nintendo fell short of its own earnings forecast when, in April, it posted a US$155.7M net profit for its last financial year. That marked a 61% fall on the previous year’s figure.
With its Wii U console suffering from poor sales and now reaching the end of its life, the firm is treading water until it is ready to reveal its next-generation device.
But the company’s draw has always been its big name exclusives, and there was plenty to excite Nintendo loyalists, with a more detailed look at the new Pokémon as well as the Legend of Zelda game.
Both franchises are some of the bestselling of all time, and should tide fans over until Nintendo has decided its next steps.
Chris Dring, editor of the games industry news site MCV said “Legend of Zelda, is a vital game for Nintendo”.
“The firm has millions of die-hard fans, but many of them didn’t buy a Wii U, and that’s entirely down to a lack of games at its start and then the massive gap between titles.
“Zelda isn’t the firm’s most successful game, but it is a massive seller to the core fan base.
“So, the fact that it is going to be there right at the start of the NX gives the console a step up already over what happened at the launch of the previous two machines Nintendo released.”
Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo did not hold a press conference at this year’s E3 event in Los Angeles.
Instead, it released a video showing the new Zelda title alongside other future releases, including new Pokémon games.
The Pokémon games feature new characters and Battle Royal mode, which sees four trainers challenge each other at once.
The material revealed that the character begins the game waking from a 100-year-long sleep in what appears to be a cryogenic chamber.
Exploration of the kingdom of Hyrule reveals the player has greater choice in deciding where to roam and more ways to use objects around them – boulders can be pushed, cliffs climbed, and food foraged and cooked.
Breath of the Wild also introduces a limit on how many items can be carried, and adds the ability to craft weapons.
Mr Dring compared the game’s design to that of Bethesda’s 2011 Elder Scrolls game.
“Skyrim set the bar on what these fantasy open-world games are capable of doing commercially,” he said.
“And it feels quite refreshing for Nintendo to offer players so much freedom too.”
The publisher has, however, denied rumours that gamers would be able to choose to play as a female version of Link.
More than 75 million copies of previous Zelda games have been sold since the series made its debut three decades ago.