Yesterday we showcased a rather interesting report from the Japanese investment and market analysis firm ACE Securities, that blamed Sony for the Nintendo’s trouble in securing third party software for its consoles. The report was written by a very well known local analyst named Hideki Yasuda.
Yasuda-san is often cited as an authority by business publications, pretty much like our Michael Pachter. This means that his track record is pretty easy to find. His predictions on the Wii U, when read from launch the present day, are rather interesting in a quite hilarious way, as Naver user Kanichiro found out, integrated by more quotes we found by researching on our own.
Yasuda-san’s predictions started positive and hopeful months before the Wii U’s launch, seeing it as a potential savior for the problems caused by the slow launch of the 3DS:
The company may be able to sell 6 million to 7 million units of the Wii U, which may retail for 25,000 yen in Japan and $250 in the U.S., this fiscal year, Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Securities Co. in Tokyo, said in an April 27 report.
“Nintendo may remain in the current tough situation for another year or so, until there’s a sign that the Wii U takes off,” Yasuda said.
Yasuda is among five analysts tracked by Bloomberg with a buy rating on the stock. [Bloomberg: June 6th, 2012]
But that wasn’t all, and he pushed his forecasts further when the Wii U actually launched in the United States:
On the other hand, Hideki Yasuda, Analyst of the ACE Research Institute expressed the following outlook: “It will sell on the same level as the Wii.” Nintendo Kept it’s strategy limited to dedicated game consoles because “Mario cannot be on smartphones.” He predicts 15 million units sold by the end of the next fiscal year and 23 million units by March 2015. [Bloomberg Japan: November 16th, 2012]
When the initial sales of the Wii U started to lag behind the Wii, Yasuda-san stood strong in his predictions of success:
“It’s hard to give a final judgment unless we see sales for two or three weeks,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Securities Co. in Tokyo. “The Wii U got sold out because of a shortage in supply.” [Bloomberg: December 11th, 2012]
Hideki Yasuda, Analyst of the ACE Economic Research Institute presented the following analysis: “The number of units sold being less than the Wii doesn’t mean there’s a problem with demand. The supply was limited.” Shipment volume will also increase next week. He also said: “I want to see further data.” [Bloomberg Japan: December 11th, 2012]
Fast forward to the end of January 2013, and Nintendo cut its sales forecasts for the Wii U sharply (pretty much like they just did this year), and while other analysts like BGC Partners’ Amir Anvarzadeh were ready to “throw the towel” Yasuda-san still continued to fight the good fight:
Hideki Yasuda, Analyst of the ACE Economic Research Institute analyzed: “software releases were delayed for the Wii U and 3DS at the beginning of the year, and sales did not increase. Yet, when software will come the system can recover.” [Bloomberg Japan: January 30th, 2013]
Come April, and Yasuda-san’s resolve was starting to falter :
“Iwata hasn’t produced good results in recent years,” said Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Ace Securities Co. “He can’t avoid being criticized.”
Yasuda rates the stock neutral, or hold. [Bloomberg: April 23rd, 2013]
Yet, he still saw light at the end of the tunnel:
“Nintendo can achieve the target if it can release the game software as planned,” said Yasuda at Ace Securities. [Bloomberg: April 23rd, 2013]
In October Yasuda-san’s faith was starting to look shaken:
“If Nintendo’s software does not sell well in the second half, then it could lead to a management capability issue,” said Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Ace Research Institute. “The company will have a hard time in this year-end shopping season.” [Bloomberg: October 31st, 2013]
Last December he still thought that, while Nintendo would miss its target of 9 million consoles sold in the fiscal year, it’d achieve a quite decent 6 million.
Sony expects to sell 5 million units of the PS4 through March, or more than half of Nintendo’s annual forecast in less than five months. Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, forecasts Wii U sales of 6 million this fiscal year. [Bloomberg: December 3rd, 2013]
And finally, after the the recent axing of the sales forecast for the current fiscal year, Yasuda seemed to have lost his stalwart faith in the Wii U, mentioning that Nintendo should start thinking about the next generation.
Rebuilding has become very difficult. Nintendo has to think about the next generation. If hardware doesn’t sell, third parties won’t make software for it. If there’s not enough software, the hardware won’t sell. Nintendo has fallen into a vicious circle. [Bloomberg Japan: January 20th, 2014]
Two analysts downgraded the stock to the equivalent of sell after Nintendo’s revision. Hideki Yasuda, with Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, rated Nintendo underperform and gave a price target of 8,000 yen, or more than 40 percent below the Jan. 20 closing price. [Bloomberg: January 20th, 2014]
As a funny note, right after his prediction, Nintendo’s stock started to recover.
Yet, despite the fact the fact that Yasuda-san seems to have crossed out the Wii U after predicting massive success for the console at launch and gradually downsizing his forecasts over time, he still holds faith in Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata.
Iwata’s experience in game development and his success with previous hardware releases may make him the best candidate to lead a revival even after the Wii U misstep, said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo.
“No one else knows the hardware and software game business better than Iwata, inside and outside of Nintendo,” Yasuda said. [Bloomberg: January 20th, 2014]
And this was crowned by the report in which Yasuda-san blamed Sony for Nintendo’s inability to secure third party software for the Wii U.
While it’s rather funny to see an analyst’s opinion swing around this wildly, I’m not quite convinced that Nintendo is ready to move on to the next generation. Will Iwata-san manage to steer the ship around and and carry the Wii U to the level of success analysts and investors demand, and in that case, will Yasuda-san’s predictions follow the tide?