Facing pressure from smartphone-based games and entrenched console competitors, Nintendo (PINK:NTDOY) announced that it will launch its own online network, called the Miiverse. The new network will rival similar online networks already in place for Sony‘s (NYSE:SNE) Playstation and Microsoft‘s (NASDAQ:MSFT) XBox 360.
Analysts cited by The Telegraph said that Nintendo was coming late to online gaming and would have to struggle to gain a foothold with online gamers. An early showing of the company’s most upcoming Wii U console did not impress investors who see mobile platforms like Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad emerging as competitors to expensive dedicated gaming consoles.
Nintendo will officially unveil the Wii U at Los Angeles’ annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this week. Previous Nintendo consoles — including the Wii — have sold almost 100 million units, besting consoles from Sony and Microsoft, the Wall Street Journal noted.
However, Nintendo sales have slackened recently and the company recorded a loss last year after its 3DS hand-held console generated lackluster sales. The company expects revenue to drop another 26% in the current fiscal year.
In addition to mobile devices, Nintendo faces competition from social gaming providers like Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), which offers free online gaming.
The Wii U brings a number of upgrades including high-definition graphics, which rivals Microsoft and Sony already offer, and tablet-like controls. The console will likely be priced between $250 and $350.