The Japanese gaming giant has seen some challenging times as of late, but continues to provide a wealth of products branded with iconic franchises for retail opportunities. MCV dives in
Mario. Zelda. Metroid. Donkey Kong. Name almost any of Nintendo’s many flagship franchises or iconic design aspects and you’ll see a wave of nostalgia and sentiment ripple through assembled gamers.
It’s unsurprising given the sheer scale of Nintendo’s audience. By the start of 2014, the firm had sold 153.98 million Nintendo DS consoles, accompanied by 942.32 million software titles – making it the best-selling games console to date. The DS’ sibling living room console, the Wii, was almost as fruitful, selling 100.9 million hardware units and 892.34 million games.
While the Wii U hasn’t seen the same explosion in sales, it is beginning to gain momentum after a sticky start. This is partly thanks to the release of new titles in big staple franchises, with Mario Kart 8’s launch in May seeing it drive UK Wii U sales up by 666 per cent.
Nintendo’s distinctive portfolio continues to enthuse consumers – and should inspire an equal amount of excitement in retailers. There are hundreds of products inspired by Nintendo’s past and current catalogue, with marketing opportunities including both nostalgia and the firm’s kid-friendly persona. Veteran gamers might clamour for a SNES T-shirt, while children may long for a Mario cap.
Nintendo itself has also caught onto the wave of sentiment for merch based on its brands, adding a new merchandise section to its UK online store back in May. It has also begun to tie future products back into its games, including the recently announced Amiibo range of NFC-equipped figures. The figures, which are set to bring Skylanders-like collectability to the company’s beloved brands, will have a “significant impact” on Wii U sales, according to Nintendo America chief Reggie Fils-Alme. Retailers would be complete Goombas to miss out.
Set to launch alongside Super Smash Bros on Wii U, these ‘toys-to-life’ figures will connect to the platforms using NFC. Characters set to launch later this year include Link, Kirby, Mario, Zelda, Pikachu, Yoshi, Samus Aran and Fox McCloud, with more set for release in 2015.
Contact: 0345 60 50 247
Zelda Shield Backpack
Just like Link, Zelda fans can now carry the Hyrulian crest on their back – but unlike Link they can also carry their belongings around in the iconic shield. Protection against Octoroks not guaranteed.
Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK
3DS Executive Case
Aimed at those who want to bring a touch of style to their 3DS handheld, this leather-like case can also store two game cards.
Distributor: AntiGrav Media
Contact: 01932 454 929
Tekken Tag 2 Fightstick
The Wii U Tournament Edition S marks the arcade stick’s debut on a Nintendo platform, and is designed with competitive players in mind.
Distributor: Mad Catz
Contact: 01633 928 072
Hori GamePad Face Cover
This cover for the Wii U GamePad can flip down to protect the controller’s screen, as well as doubling as a stand and comfort grip.
Goomba Laplander Hat
Mario fans can keep their heads warm with this hat styled on the hopping plumber’s iconic enemies.
Distributor: Gaming Merchandise UK
1UP Mushroom Gym Bag
Branded with the distinctive powerup, this brightly-coloured green bag also features outlines of other iconic Mario characters.
Contact: 01462 680 060
Extreme Lounging Mighty-B B-Bag
Where better to sit during a game of Mario Kart than in a big banana skin beanbag? It’s much more comfortable than Bowser’s shell.
Contact: 01622 845 160