Google’s Stream Could Flood Nintendo’s Slowing Console Shipments — Panjiva
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Google’s Stream Could Flood Nintendo’s Slowing Console Shipments

Info Tech - Tech Hardware 378 U.S. 3297

Google will shortly launch its streaming videogame product, Bloomberg reports, which will allow users to play games on a platform-agnostic basis. That may represent a threat to the platform and console revenues of the major systems manufacturers including Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. Those firms have their own cloud-based strategies, such as Microsoft’s Project xCloud, which may make their console businesses less relevant.

That may provide a challenge for the console business that had otherwise had a successful 2018. Panjiva data shows that U.S. imports of consoles climbed 17.6% year over year in 2018. Yet, the start of the year looks less positive with seaborne shipments having fallen 24.3% year over year in January and February – though that is the quiet point of the year.

TWO YEARS OF RECOVERING CONSOLE IMPORTS MAY BE AT RISK

Chart shows U.S. imports of videogame consoles including accessories. Last two months data based on seaborne shipments only.  Source: Panjiva

Sony and Microsoft have pulled ahead of Nintendo recently. Sony’s U.S. seaborne imports expanded by 31.0% in 4Q 2018 and have continued to expand by 58.4% in the first two months of 2019. That likely reflects continued success for its Classic console. Microsoft meanwhile saw a slump in 4Q of 41.3% but has since seen a reversal with a 29.5% recovery in the off-peak season.

Nintendo finally has seen a marked deceleration of shipments with a 70.1% drop in the first two months of the year. That may be indicative of a change in supply chain strategy as much as underlying weak demand for the Switch console where, as discussed in Panjiva’s research of Feb. 18, the firm has launched a spate of new products.

LOW SCORE FOR NINTENDO, PLAYSTATION POWERS UP

Chart segments U.S. seaborne shipments of videogame consoles by brand-name.  Source: Panjiva

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