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Nintendo Is Pulling One Foot Out of the Grave


Nintendo is laying the ground for an improved 2015.

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I recently wrote a piece about the 2014 E3 video-game conference, focused almost entirely on the battle between the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One and Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4.

Subsequently, the troubled Nintendo (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) rolled out its own big guns -- and I like them.

I'm now long Nintendo.

I think this company could be in for a big 2015.

Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime said yesterday that sales of the Wii U quadrupled after the release of Mario Kart 8 at the end of May.

Is it sustainable? I'm leaning towards yes -- or at least towards the expectation that people will start believing in a comeback.

The Mario Kart franchise is simply enormous. Mario Kart for the Wii sold over 34 million units.

But more importantly, we have reason to be optimistic beyond Mario Kart.

The open-world Zelda game shown at E3, due for release in 2015, could also be a big seller, and Nintendo generated additional buzz with a brief glimpse at a Wii U Starfox game.

The hit Super Smash Bros fighting series is also coming back, with extra novelty value through the addition of Pac-Man as a playable character. The 3DS version will be out in October, with the Wii U's coming this winter.

Nintendo's new cartoonish shooter Splatoon has potential as a sleeper hit, while Mario Maker, which allows players to create their own Mario games, represents a really fun way for Nintendo to capitalize on its biggest franchise.

A potential price cut could serve as an additional catalyst.

Now I'm not actually sure that Nintendo's Wii U sales actually will rebound. But video game stocks move on speculation and anticipation, which means you have to be ahead of shifts in crowd sentiment.

The consensus thinking is that Sony is winning by a wide margin, Microsoft is basically getting by, and Nintendo's got one foot in the grave.

I see that perception shifting based on the coming upgrade of the Wii U's software library, and I want to be in ahead of it. 

And on a related E3 note, I want to add one more point: EA (NASDAQ:EA) may have a monster hit on its hands with Battlefield Hardline, which comes out in October. It looks like a great extension of the Battlefield franchise, with a shift from a military setting to cops and robbers. It's like a Michael Mann movie mashed up with a shooter, and that seems like a brilliant mix.

Twitter: @MichaelComeau

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Position in NTDOY
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