While Nintendo may have detractors among hard core gamers, outside of hard core gamers the casual gamers would much worse off in a future without Nintendo making game consoles. Who would cater to the family and casual gaming markets? Sony maybe, Microsoft unlikely. For video games that don't require shooting everything moves (on the screen) Nintendo is the biggest name out there.
Third place may seem like an apocalyptic place for Nintendo to be but no unfamiliar territory. During the early to mid 2000's Nintendo's game cube trailed way behind the Playstation 2 and the original Xbox. Nintendo made it through that generation with a stable of original first party franchises that their devoted fan base kept on buying.
Even a decade before the GameCube Nintendo engineered to turn around the erosion of market share after the emergence of the Sega Genesis. After expanding their own roster of first party games and reaching agreements with third party publishers Nintendo was able to overtake Sega in market share and finished the 16 bit era on top of the video game industry.
To turn around the big N a few things can be and need to be done firstly, kill off the Wii Mini. Nintendo has a large install base with the original Wii, when many of those units reach the end of life and those units stop functioning the owners have two options replace with a Wii mini or upgrade to a WiiU. Building in backwards compatibility was the best thing Nintendo did building the WiiU. Giving customers the option of a 99 dollar replacement lets current Wii users downgrade rather than upgrade which hurts Nintendo's business.
Secondly Nintendo needs new game franchises to keep current and attract new gamers to the WiiU. Sure Nintendo has long running not to mention very popular franchises that keep many gamers loyal the big N. Super Mario Brothers has been around just about 30 years, Kirby over 20 years and Pokemon is going to hit the big 20 soon. Nintendo needed something new and fresh a couple of generations ago. While Nintendo strongly maintains a reputation of being the big seller of video games for kids and families. If Nintendo brings forward IP one thing they need to make sure to bring out something for the big kid in all of us so that Nintendo can he'd the image that has been dogging them for the past decade being the system that one grows out of before moving to a Playstation or Xbox.
Despite what the naysayers want, Nintendo has a huge potential to make a huge comeback to dominate the home video game market with the WiiU, thy know how to do it, they just have to do it.