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Nintendo is looking toward emerging markets to boost sales as it struggles to win over consumers with its latest generation of consoles.   Instead of selling cheaper versions of existing devices such as the struggling Wii U, the company will develop new devices for emerging markets starting next year, President Satoru Iwata said in an interview.

Making products specifically for emerging markets, which typically include Brazil, Russia, China and India, is a new move by Nintendo, which until now has sold the same products globally.  Nintendo, which reported a larger than expected fourth-quarter net loss yesterday, is looking to other markets as it faces flagging demand for its titles.  The company had a net loss of 33.4 billion yen (£194 million) in the three months to March, compared with the 27.9 billion-yen loss analysts had estimated.

In another effort to boost sales, Nintendo will extend the use of characters such as Mario by offering figurines that will allow the transfer of game information between devices through near field communications.  The interactive figurines, similar to the ones used in popular videogames Skylanders and Disney Infinity, will work with a variety of different new games for Wii U and 3DS

“We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have,” Iwata said in Tokyo. “The product and price balance must be made from scratch.”

China is becoming a huge opportunity for video game makers after the country recently lifted a 13-year ban on selling video-game consoles.  Microsoft said it will introduce the Xbox One there in September.

It’s no surprise that Nintendo would make a different console for emerging markets instead of relying on the Wii U, which has continued to struggle since its launch at the end of 2012.  The Wii U lacks compelling specs or price, for that matter, and didn’t have an audience to build on like the PlayStation 2.

Nintendo has also shied away from making video games for the smartphones due to the difficulty in making money amid its “boom-and-bust cycles.”

“The smartphone market is probably more competitive than the console business,” Iwata said during the interview. “We have had a console business for 30 years, and I don’t think we can just transfer that over onto a smartphone model.”

We’ll have to see if Nintendo’s latest moves can help the company list its sagging sales.


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