Even Mario’s vaunted jumping abilities may not be enough to help with Nintendo’s surprising stock market woes. Two weeks after the launch of their new 3DS system, Nintendo’s stock price dropped steeply on Friday to a one-year low of $30.10 per share. The previous low was $31.20 last September. As of this morning, the price was hovering around $31.14, which marks a slight recovery but still on the low-end of a twelve-month cycle. (Shots Fired: Sony CEO Calls the Nintendo 3DS a ‘Babysitting Tool’)
The reason for the slump? Some are pointing at a mixed launch for the Nintendo 3DS. While the new handheld debuted with strong hardware sales numbers, many reviews felt like the launch library was weak. (In my review, I felt like the 3DS doesn’t yet have a must-have killer app and that the 3D was finicky.) Nintendo’s big, in-house franchises–Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Metroid, for example–were missing at launch and are still months away. Also, the 3DS launched without an internet browser, making it less attractive for anyone who’d want to do more than just play games on it. Still, even for those who plan on purchasing the 3DS in the near future, the impact of the recent earthquakes in Japan may affect Nintendo’s ability to manufacture enough of the portables to meet demand. (Nintendo 3DS Breaks Sales Record, Wii 2 Won’t Do 3D?)
Also, many perceive that there’s a general fatigue with the Wii and the experiences that Nintendo’s home console can deliver. Speculation‘s been strong that the company responsible for the latter-day motion-control revolution will be introducing a successor to the Wii at E3 this year, but Nintendo’s been predictably mum on any such plans. Despite the dip in stock price, the company’s history has been such that they’ve been able to make surprising wins–as with the first DS portable and the Wii–when no one expects it. Still, right about now, investors are probably hoping that Mario will be able to use his fireball power-up to heat up his parent company’s share price.