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“We are to blame” for poor Wii U sales, says Nintendo CEO

Wednesday, 19th June 2013 06:45 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata says poor marketing and a lack of killer app are to blame for the Wii U’s less than stellar sales, both of which he freely admits are Nintendo’s own fault.

“We are to blame. We relaxed our [marketing] efforts, so the consumers today still cannot understand what’s so good and unique about the Wii U. Because we’re always trying to be unique, it takes some energies on our side to [make] people understand the real attractions about whatever we are doing,” Iwata told CNBC.

“We have been unsuccessful in coming up with one single software with which people can understand, ‘OK, this is really different.”

Iwata said that as soon as people go hands-on they appreciate how different the Wii U is, but that it’s hard to get them to that point.

“But because there’s not software that’s simple and obvious for people as ‘Wii Sports’ for the Wii, potential consumers do not feel like trying the Wii U,” he said.

“Our challenge today is with the software lineup we are introducing now, we have to encourage [people] to experience the Wii U in the first place.”

Nevertheless, Iwata sees no reason to be overly pessimistic, even as third parties skip over the console, with the notable exception of Warner Bros. The executive said that if Nintendo puts its energy into developing games, it will eventually boost sales and lure third-parties back. As opposed to, say, just dropping the price of the console.

“Because from the very beginning we came up with a very aggressive price point. We do not think [a price cut] is a very easy option to take,” Iwata said.

The last time Nintendo discussed sales figures for the console, it noted that 1.1 million Wii U units had been sold in its first five months on sale – a far cry indeed from the 2.1 million Wiis sold in the same period, and barely on par with sales of the Xbox 360.

Thanks, Gamespot.

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22 Comments

  1. G1GAHURTZ

    Nintendo should pay me to be a consultant. I knew this stuff ages ago…

    #1 1 year ago
  2. CyberMarco

    I admire the sincerity…

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Telepathic.Geometry

    I have complex emotions on this topic, but at the risk of being a racist, I’ll just say that I couldn’t give a fuck about apologies and lip service from the likes of Iwata… They are worth absolutely nothing.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. NocturnalB

    @T.G

    Not much of a Nintendo buff, how come? They come with a rep? I just ask because I’ve been contemplating a Wii U lately, just waiting to see if any particular game strikes me as a must-have.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Toastrules

    I wish Sony would admit this for the Vita…

    Then turn around and announce like a SHITLOAD of games for it

    #5 1 year ago
  6. CyberMarco

    ^ But, but… it has no gamez!

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    To be completely honest, the Wii U right has more titles due out on it this year that I actually *want* than any of the current hardware or next gen consoles do.

    Can’t fault them for their honesty though.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. salarta

    It’s surprising and refreshing to see a company actually admit to a problem within their organization being a problem. I’m so used to seeing companies try to blame everything but themselves for poor sales, as if denying their own faults was going to do anything to fix the problems they experience.

    However, I think poor Wii U sales has less to do with poor marketing, and more to do with a lost sense of trust in the console getting worthwhile games. In terms of the console arena, the Wii U is only on par with the PS3 and 360 for quality of games, and with the next generation coming by the end of the year, the Wii U is going to seem incredibly outdated, and therefore unlikely to have any multiplat games at the very least on equal footing to the new consoles.

    Meanwhile, as I’ve said before, people getting at best one game per year for the Wii, combined with issues like people in North America almost not getting the opportunity to play Last Story, Xenoblade and Pandora’s Tower, makes people expect that buying the console right now is a complete waste of money. Why should someone buy a console at launch and at full price with absolutely no guarantee that there will be games they want to play in the future, and that if there are, that their market will actually get to play them? Consumers were burned with the Wii. For them to actually buy the Wii U, they need to see there are games worth playing.

    This is why I don’t own a Wii U right now. I’m interested in Bayonetta 2, Monolithsoft’s new game called X, the next Smash Bros game, any future Metroid or Legend of Zelda games… and that’s it. NONE of those games have been released yet, I have absolutely no information on what to expect for a Metroid or Legend of Zelda game, and for all I know, Nintendo of America is going to refuse to bring X stateside so I can play it. Nintendo has given me no reason to shell out money for the Wii U when I can wait until games I actually want to play come out, at which point the Wii U will very likely be a cheaper purchase. Hell, they haven’t even released Wii Fit U or Wii Party U, their theoretical moneymakers (theoretical because I guarantee consumers that bought the Wii for those won’t be rushing to get a Wii U just to play the newer versions).

    Nintendo basically released a video game system without any video games people want that they couldn’t get elsewhere, on systems that have been around for half a decade longer and have a much bigger library of games to pick from. Who would want to pay $300 for a console that has all the same content as an equally priced PS3, only less of it? Not to mention that now that I’m comparing Wii U and PS3 features, the current PS3 versions at the $300 price offer 500 GB of storage AND a free game. The Wii U at $300 offers… 8 GB. And no games.

    @3: … I don’t get how that could have been taken as racist without cuing it as being racist.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. silkvg247

    Said it before, say it again.. release a proper pokemon and you’ll soon have more demand than you have supply.

    I’ve heard the “it’s for handheld” argument countless times.. but the Wii U is a hybrid, to technically still valid. Kid can continue to battle his pokemon on the pad, whilst Mummy watches shitty soaps.

    I also don’t see how a wii U release would in any way harm the handheld sales. It coudl actually increase sales on all platofrms, e.g. If they had (optional) cloud uploads for trained pokemon you could share pokemon cross platform, stuff like that.

    The wii U is actually an exceptional platform for a pokemon game, not just because of the potential for great graphics (cell shaded would be best) but because of the pad. It is ideal for a touch screen fully interactive pokedex. Nintendo keep asking people to innovate with the new controls.. but they themselves are missing the most obvious one..

    #9 1 year ago
  10. dotfaust

    @8 completely agree with you.

    Personally though, I’ve been very interested in the Wii U’s lineup for this holiday season. I had been contemplating buying a Wii U if the PS4 (my other choice) didn’t have an appealing launch lineup (which it doesn’t imo), AND if Nintendo announced a price cut to compete with the other next gen consoles, but… without that price cut it’s gonna be a hard purchase from me. What to do?

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Pytox

    @9 they need to release pokemon mmo 3d on wii u instabuy then :D

    #11 1 year ago
  12. DrDamn

    “We have been unsuccessful in coming up with one single software with which people can understand, ‘OK, this is really different.”

    I think this is the most telling point. The more worrying thing is they still haven’t shown anything which demonstrates this yet either. I would have thought that if they have gone down this route with a screened controller they should have already had this sort of software planned and should have delivered or at least shown it already. At the moment it seem like they are trying to ride it out with safe franchise games which are enhanced by the screen but not *defined* by it.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. dotfaust

    @11 +1

    #13 1 year ago
  14. ps3fanboy

    this is why i like nintendo they are honest and act like this weird toy factory maker. they are mister wonka of the gaming world :D

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Samoan Spider

    @14 Haha, whilst I agree with your sentiment, haven’t you been calling it the Wii-utanic for months?

    #15 1 year ago
  16. KineticCalvaria

    @15, yeah he’s changed his stance because they aren’t a threat to Sony. Who knew?!

    I still think Nintendo is aimed more at kids, not for me anyway.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Bomba Luigi

    The Good Thing here really is that Nintendo is realizing that they are the one who screwed it up. Thats the Important first step you have to do to change things and make it better.
    Its a sad thing that the Mainstream Gamingindustrie is in a Situation where it normaly looks everywhere for the fault but not by themselfs, so I’m glad to see something like that.

    Will it now get better? I don’t know, maybe not, but the chances that it will get better are much higher under this Circumstances.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Samoan Spider

    @16 I entirely agree about it aimed more at kids. Not once but twice in the time the Wii was out did I buy, fail to use enough and then sell a Wii. It honestly put me off the Wii-U. I didn’t want to buy it knowing that 99.9% of games won’t interest me. Shame really too, because it *could* be awesome. Needs 3rd party support badly for that though and it won’t happen till they sell more which won’t happen till they get better support. Argh, who wanted paradoxical logic at this time of the morning anyway?
    But I honestly didn’t know that the Wii-U was now on ps3fanboys officially supported formats list.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. SplatteredHouse

    They showed themselves to be lacking in stewardship on the Wii. I want to know that I can play the games I want (in several key cases only possible last time, DESPITE Ninty, not because of them), and that there will be a reliable, relatively steady-flowing appealing software selection.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Telepathic.Geometry

    @NocturnalB: My relationship with Ninty is very much like my relationship with Apple. I fucking LOVE their products, but I hate the way they fleece me. I know that they’re all about making money – they’re companies, I can’t and won’t fault them for that – but I expect them to treat me right if they wanna keep me.

    They need more DIRECT competition, to keep the fuckers honest.

    But, I’m sad to say that, like with Apple, I will one day get down on my knees and suckle on their proverbial teat again. It’s inevitable. New Super Mario Bros Wii U, Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, Zombie U, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mariokart 8, the inevitable Zelda and Metroid games, Nintendoland… Let’s face it, for all my whinin’ and bitchin’, I’ll end up getting a Wii U. It’s only a matter of time.

    If they had GC BC, I’d buy one today!

    #20 1 year ago
  21. salarta

    @12: I didn’t see anything useful about having a screen on a controller to begin with, and I still don’t. Having to look from the TV to the controller screen and back again becomes a distraction. The only benefit I can think of is that if there are loading times for menus or maps, having some of that on the controller screen would cut down time. Otherwise, it should be simpler and easier to do it on the TV screen. All in all, it currently looks like nothing more than a gimmick.

    @18: Nintendo needs a mix of things. They need third party support so they don’t look like they’re missing out on the games everyone else is getting, but they also need to have some highly desired exclusives so it doesn’t look like the Wii U is a console with the same content and capabilities as the others only much less of it and for a higher price.

    Realistically, I can’t see Nintendo making it very far with the Wii U. I think that if they have the funds for it, they need to make a brand new console that has specs on par with the PS4 and XBox One, along with shedding at least a little of its “this console is for children” perception. They may like this whole children’s toy notion, but much of the reason for that in the first place was because they HAD to make it look like a toy to get people to buy video game consoles again in the United States, and it’s really hindering them for people to think Nintendo can’t have more mature games for people to play while their competitors can offer all levels.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Meta_Dragon

    Well it sure isn’t the consumers fault, Nintendo. You’ve had this console since the end of 2012, what have you been doing? Then you decide not to make a big showing at E3, now most of your must-haves aren’t coming till next year. You’ve been in the business longer than most, you should know better than this. Right now, your console is a scam. $350 for an underpowered machined with a small library of games on it, little 3rd party support and a pathetic excuse for storage space.

    Get with the program, or get out.

    #22 1 year ago

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