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Wii U consoles still selling at a loss

Wednesday, 7th August 2013 22:49 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Nintendo has confirmed that it’s not making any money on the sale of Wii U consoles.

A representative confirmed the news with GamesIndustry today, explaining figures found in the company’s recent financial results.

Nintendo had said that Wii U hardware sales figures were a significant contributing factor to its $387 million operating loss this past financial year. Knowing that each hardware unit sold does not generate a profit margin goes somewhere towards easing fears that the console is barely selling – but not far, given other warning signs like publishers showing no interest and major chains cancelling orders.

It also suggests we won’t see a hardware price drop for quite some time, although Nintendo did surprise analaysts with its sudden 3DS price drop, which helped boost the portable to its current success.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has promised a return to “Nintendo-like’ profits” this year.

Breaking news

49 Comments

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  1. monkeygourmet

    It must be close. About 6 months ago, they said if you bought a console and game it pushed it over the edge?

    #1 12 months ago
  2. Phoenixblight

    @1

    Nope not necessarily Nintendo had a number in mind for the amount of people that would buy the system with a game and obviously its not meeting those numbers.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. monkeygourmet

    @2

    Ah right.

    I can’t imagine it’s far off, the parts must be cheap as shit.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. TF_PtMaster

    This is sad, even more sad is the unhappy owner of a Wii U (me), who had to spend almost 400€ and have no use with the console.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. CPC_RedDawn

    @1 even if that was true (they did say that). What if I brought a WiiU and then only brought Virtual Console game titles? Super Metroid @ 30p???? I am sure that wouldn’t push the profits up much. I would still have NintendoLand to play so I wouldn’t technically need another game for a while.

    I watched the Direct earlier and it was abysmal. They talked about games we already knew about and some crappy Professor Laten and Ace Attorney combo that will only appeal to a small market of gamers who have already jumped ship to tablets and smartphones.

    Nintendo missed the ball on the 3DS completely. They were producing the 3D tech years and years ago and when 3D movies exploded about 4 years ago they tried to jump on the bandwagon and released its 3D tech when it was clearly not ready. I play my 3DS all the time with the 3D off, it saves battery and helps keep my eyes from going cross eyed.

    They had the opportunity to buy out Motorola years ago and they didn’t. They could of had the 3DS as a smartphone/handheld gaming device in one with their own OS and different service providers around the world. But they didn’t because they simply don’t get the mobile and online markets anymore. Stuck in their ways would be an understatement.

    Something similar to the PSPGO, whilst that was a joke if Nintendo had released a product like that where you use it vertically as a touch screen phone and then turn it horizontally and push the screen up to reveal a thumb stick and buttons to play your games on would of been epic! But they lost out to Android and iOS big time!!

    #5 12 months ago
  6. Lewis247

    The Wii U is fucked. Literally fucked.

    Why Nintendo. Why did you call it a Wii U… Why…

    #6 12 months ago
  7. monkeygourmet

    @4

    What did you buy it for?

    There are lots of fun games so far, add your Nintendo ID to the forum thread I created? Maybe play some multiplayer down the line or share Miiverse art?

    #7 12 months ago
  8. Lengendaryboss

    @5
    To be fair we were told beforehand the Direct was centred on previously announced games for Wii U and 3DS.

    #8 12 months ago
  9. monkeygourmet

    @5

    Well, 3DS is fine, so I’m not sure what your on about there…

    As for the Direct, Nintendo didn’t even say it was about new games. It was about already announced titles as I linked in the news forum yesterday…

    Even so, I’ve been tinkering with the Animal Crossing Plaza for free this evening, also have Wonderful 101 coming in a week or so.

    Also, Art Academy out on Friday for a taster price. That’s just after Pikmin 3. Have a grumble if you want but I don’t really think that’s a bad deal.

    #9 12 months ago
  10. Sini

    wii u = finished. sony buy atlus, persona 5 vita exclusive.

    #10 12 months ago
  11. manamana

    As much as I love Nintendo, they have nothing that makes me want to grab the console. And there is nothing for me to see on the horizon. No new Zelda, no new Metroid, no spectacular new IP from Nintendo. Not to be missunderstood: there are nice games out there but nothing is killer. Monolith Soft could turn the table with a new Xenoblade title but little is known so far…

    #11 12 months ago
  12. lookingglass

    Smartest thing for Nintendo to do? Become a first party developer for Apple exclusively, let rip their entire library onto the App Store, and secretly work together on an out of cycle game console.

    Meaning hit the market with an Occulus VR ready, twice the PS4, built for iPhone/iPad, Apple TV enabled, iTunes playing, Nintendo console of greatness and glory.

    That, my dearest Nintendo, is how you become relevant again.

    #12 12 months ago
  13. Faithseekers

    HAHAHAHAHA

    #13 12 months ago
  14. Faithseekers

    HAHAHABABABA

    #14 12 months ago
  15. Alernet

    I hate it how all these news sites still use picture of the prototype gamepad. Like cmon. Really? T_T

    #15 12 months ago
  16. YoungZer0

    @15: Might as well, as you can see not many saw it in RL.

    Trolololo.

    #16 12 months ago
  17. TF_PtMaster

    @16 Maybe they are afraid Nintendo somehow get a way of earning some of their money with the advertising and site traffic.

    Take no risks VG247! lool

    Look at Youtube and the lawsuits they are doing and planing.

    @7 look at #11 comment – I believed i could play a new Zelda in the first 6 months of the console life cycle. Super Smash Bros is in the horizon but walking in the desert. We don’t know when it will be released, because lately the biggest names on nintendo portfolio are always being delayed.

    #17 12 months ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    @5 You do realise the 3DS is doing just fine, right?

    The 3DS isn’t the problem right now. The sales of the Wii U are.

    I do feel bad for the machine, but I’m sill waiting for enlighten titles to warrant a purchase. There are a tonne due by Christmas though, so I will probably be getting one then. Games = Sales. The Wii U is lacking is games, its thats simple.

    @12 Yeah… no.

    People are going to be very disappointed once the Occulus ball drops… especially when the headaches starts.

    #18 12 months ago
  19. fearmonkey

    They better lower the price. I don’t care how many great games they have, if they are only $50 from a PS4, they are in trouble this holiday season.

    #19 12 months ago
  20. Christopher Jack

    They should have released either a cheaper casual centric console aimed at casual gamers & Nintendo fans again like the original Wii or made a console worthy of competing with next consoles in terms of power & function. They did neither. Of course die hard Nintendo fans will buy it regardless but only when the games are out- other than them, who the fuck is this monstrosity aimed at?

    On a side note it actually sickens me that people want to see Apple dominate gaming.

    #20 12 months ago
  21. lookingglass

    Occulus is going to change everything. Carmack officially joining assures it even more.

    But to the point… Nintendo releasing all their top NES and SNES titles on iOS would pick the company in weeks. At $5-10 a pop they’d sell tens of millions.

    #21 12 months ago
  22. Dragon246

    Its simple, without price cut for Wiiu, ps4 and maybe x1 (I am expecting MS to take proactive steps if X1 doesn’t do well, $500 is very high) will kill it in sales.

    Looking very bad for wiiu, 1-2 mario games wont save it, it needs games and a price point to entice people outside its ninty fanbase.

    #22 12 months ago
  23. Francis O

    LOL at Dragon

    A $500 console that won’t sell in Japan in 2013 will kill a console that will have Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Sonic on it?

    I’ll bookmark this page and gladly throw it in your face when the Wii U sells like gangbusters this fall due to Nintendo’s big titles.

    Xbox One is only going to sell in America, it’s DOA in Japan, and won’t sell a lot due to the high price.

    - Reminds me of the 2010-2011 3DS years with the Wii U. The Vita and Smartphones are were going to kill the 3DS! LOL, what happen to that?

    #23 12 months ago
  24. killersense

    @23 what is the point of your prediction if you cannot specify the ballpark it will sell rather than just throwing gangbusters this holiday out there?

    1. will the wii u sell more than ps4 or xbox one this holiday anywhere? unless they both don’t launch this holiday in japan in which case wii u will probably do well in japan. i think xbox one is surely not and ps4 is 50-50 not confirmed.

    2. will nintendo meet its fiscal target of 9 million by march 2014?

    my answer is no to both.

    3ds on the other hand is going to kill all other consoles atleast in japan though with the likes of monster hunter, pokemon and one piece

    #24 12 months ago
  25. Telepathic.Geometry

    Hard to believe that they are selling that console at a loss. The screen on the pad must really be very expensive so…

    #25 12 months ago
  26. OlderGamer

    I agree TG. I am shocked that the WiiU is so expensive to make. Imo, if Nintendo doesn’t get the system to 250USD OR less it is a lost cause. Do away with the low end memory system, and get some first party games out…or else….

    #26 12 months ago
  27. OmegaSlayer

    PRICE CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT!!!

    #27 12 months ago
  28. polygem

    @5: the 3ds is going strong and i think they nail the software for it now. there are so many great titles on it already and so many in the pipeline.
    i believe most people wouldn´t want a superhighend nintendo handheld or a 3ds phone combo. not from nintendo. that´s just not nintendo. those 3ds xl´s: animal crossing, pokemon, luigi themed (I LOVE THAT ONE! if it comesto europe i think i MUST get it). this is the stuff people want from nintendo…and i get it. this stuff is just charming. it is appealing to some, not to everyone, probably not to the “mature triple a hardcore gamer” but to many other people. in this techy world it´s actually nice to have stuff that feels like what it is: an awesome toy. sony and ms are just having another approach. sony could do a handheld/ phone Xover, sure, for them it would be authentic and it could work. ms too. nintendo not so much…it doesn´t mean nintendo is out of touch. for sure not in the game department. they keep innovating and throw lots of great games at us.
    they just are different, tey are, that´s why the yget so much love and hate at the same time. i am definitely a lover…

    #28 12 months ago
  29. Joe Musashi

    @28 “they keep innovating and throw lots of great games at us”

    If this were true then they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in with the Wii U.

    Dimssissing Wii U issues by writing love-letters about the 3DS isn’t going to address anything.

    they just are different

    They are not “just” different – that’s massively oversimplifying their approach – and their issues. Being different for the sake of being different isn’t always the best strategy.

    i am definitely a lover

    And love makes people blind.

    JM

    #29 12 months ago
  30. manamana

    This is the sad reality: http://kotaku.com/store-perfectly-illustrates-one-of-nintendos-biggest-p-1061045431

    #30 12 months ago
  31. mistermogul

    @30 – that illustrates part of Nintendo’s problem well.

    I still can’t work out what on earth made them call the console Wii U. It was obviously going to cause confusion in the market, especially considering how little the company has tried to get the message across with (no) advertising.

    Not only that the console design is almost the same! Talk about bad move. The console should have been a radically different design to Wii not the same damn shape!

    Add to that the Gamepad does look like a Fisher Price toy (and it feels bad quality with rattling sounds), it is not desirable. Plus lack of games, last gen tech, slow menus etc etc and it’s a recipe for apparent disaster…

    I love Nintendo and their games, but some of their business decisions leave A LOT to be desired. They are frankly completely baffling.

    I hate to say it but they can only blame themselves for poor Wii U sales.

    The annoying thing is that almost all of the Internet was saying what a bad idea “Wii U” was for a name. They should have listened like MS did with their policy 180.

    #31 12 months ago
  32. jakrabbit

    Nintendo originally believed that they weren’t competing with apple and android phones/tablets, That was their first mistake. Where I’m from parents buy their kids ipads/tablets to shut them up, essentially using them like you would a dummy for a baby. And on the phone side people see them as necessary for everyday life so many people find it easy to justify a 300~500$ expense that as a bonus plays games, but a dedicated games console really has a hard time justifying a purchase to the common consumer.
    If the 3ds was a more compact design and could be used as a phone it’s market appeal would increase of coarse the 3ds is not in any trouble just saying it could be doing so much better

    #32 12 months ago
  33. monkeygourmet

    @29

    If he’s in love with Nintendo, he’s having a huge affair at the moment, even a threesome with the Vita & PS3.

    It’s even worse than that, he’s sold his beloved Wii U off for the (gaming)whore house.

    I think your trying to force Poly into a box he simply doesn’t belong in…

    #33 12 months ago
  34. monkeygourmet

    At a base level, while I don’t think the Wii U will become the best selling console bya huge margin (I completly underestimated people not understanding what the console is) I think:

    Price Drop (a good one: £129 for a basic model)

    Games

    Are the reciepe for a turnaround.

    I expect a price drop at Xmas, contrary to this article (You don’t announce price drops months in advance anyway). And hopefully their holding back a few things for the PS4 / Xbone launch.

    If they don’t try and rectify those 2 things, well, while still having some great games they are in a tricky position.

    #34 12 months ago
  35. Joe Musashi

    @33 I’m not forcing anyone into anything.

    But poly demonstrates the love-is-blind issue superbly in the post I replied to. Seeing only the positives and blithely ignoring the real-world negatives. The “they keep innovating and throw lots of great games at us” really shows just how far removed from the reality of the situation one can be.

    Pay attention to this bit:

    I didn’t force him to say it – he chose to say it himself. He also chose to express the “i am definitely a lover” statement himself. Him, not me. He assigned his own label, not me.

    I’ll happily be accountable for what I say but I will not accept you trying to make me accountable for what your friends say so that you can keep on excusing the blunders in logic or behaviour that they frequently display. I’d be grateful if you could stop doing it, it’s transparent and tiresome.

    JM

    #35 12 months ago
  36. RandomTiger

    Hey Brenna / vg247, how about attempting an article about how Nintendo got into this situation in the first place? Obviously its near impossible to get inside info on this but I think it could be an interesting piece anyway.

    I have a WiiU, I bought it for Pikmin but felt pressured to buy it at a discount ahead of time for fear of having to pay full price for the console once the game was released. As a result I bought a brand new console and didn’t have any games to play on it for weeks.

    The whole situation seems pretty bizarre to me, Nintendo has a tonne of cash, a history of die-hard and casual fans and has somehow released a console onto the market with almost no games. Its beyond belief.

    #36 12 months ago
  37. viralshag

    I think a price drop, if one happens, will be after Christmas when Nintendo have gotten some of their “big hitters” out the door and on shelves.

    If they’re losing money now, a price cut when you don’t have much upsell on games would be silly. They would be much better off with a price cut and bundle in two of the newer more sought after games. That seems a lot more logical considering they initially said they made a profit off a WiiU sale plus one game.

    I just think Nintendo need to make the WiiU deal as a whole seem a lot more attractive than the actual console, going on what owners say the hardware seems fine. That’s pretty much what started the turnaround for the 3DS, a better price and more games.

    #37 12 months ago
  38. monkeygourmet

    @JM

    How do you measure innovation?

    If you break it down, non of the next gen consoles offer any innovation atall, more refinement.

    As for games, well, thats subjective although there are a great many good quality titles out there at the moment.

    Of course, these factors don’t seem to matter in the current climate, which is sad IMO.

    People seem to want Nintendo either out of the race entirely, for whatever reason, third party which would just end up like Sega IMO. The other request is most baffling; people basically want Nintendo to create ANOTHER Xbone / PS4 type console.

    You can’t force a product on people and the only blind views are displayed by people not wanting to play great games because of some personnal issue with the company or it’s forecasts.

    It’s got to the point that it really doesn’t matter what Nintendo do, people can’t get over the Wii, the fact that percieve the Wii U as underpowered or childlike, or really think the PS4 / Xbone are the second coming.

    I agree, that is a huge problem for Nintendo, but a sadder state of affairs of the general state of gaming.

    Also,

    This was hilariious:

    Pay attention to this bit:

    I didn’t force him to say it – he chose to say it himself. He also chose to express the “i am definitely a lover” statement himself. Him, not me. He assigned his own label, not me.

    Sooooo intense JM lol

    You are either a robot, or should work as in a court room. You are very good at picking people apart, all the while showing zero emotion or understanding people have traits or make mistakes.

    Very quick to jump on them.

    #38 12 months ago
  39. mistermogul

    @36 – “The whole situation seems pretty bizarre to me, Nintendo has a tonne of cash, a history of die-hard and casual fans and has somehow released a console onto the market with almost no games. Its beyond belief.”

    This is so true.

    It amazes me how Nintendo completely misjudged the resources required for HD game development.

    I mean HD games had been made for at least 5 years by the time they needed to start their own. The fact that Wii U took so long to even get to market (after Wii died in 2010) is also beyond belief.

    The whole thing is just weird and I think Iwata needs a reality check.

    #39 12 months ago
  40. Joe Musashi

    @38I agree, that is a huge problem for Nintendo, but a sadder state of affairs of the general state of gaming.

    No it’s not. Because ‘gaming’ is far bigger than just Nintendo and is thriving. But if your perspective always begins and ends with Nintendo and your view what ‘gaming’ does by how it relates to what Nintendo is doing then you’re going to see things in a very narrow way.

    Gaming is moving on. Nintendo is struggling/refusing to keep up. Nintendo are trading, mostly, on their legacy. The scale of the market that are appeased by that legacy is diminishing considerably.

    It’s a sad state of affairs for Nintendo. But Nintendo aren’t the be-all and end-all of gaming. A number of gamers seem unable to acknowledge that.

    JM

    #40 12 months ago
  41. Ireland Michael

    The problem with the Wii U is that its a good idea, but very little is really, truly making use of its potential. A handful of games is not enough, even if they’re potential genre defining classic.

    #41 12 months ago
  42. Professor Zoom

    #19 Lower the price? They have already and you can get it for about 230$ here in Europe including our high taxes. The console it just crap, nobody seems to be talking about it.

    #42 12 months ago
  43. DrDamn

    @41
    This. What is coming from Nintendo that really justifies the second screen? It makes stuff nicer yes, and off screen play where supported is nice. The complete lack of anything beyond nice to have is very worrying though. It’s like they don’t know what to do with it and just expected it to work. I thought they would have gamepad defining titles out already, or at the very least have shown them. Nintendoland showed some good proof of concept stuff, but none of that has materialised into full titles.

    #43 12 months ago
  44. silkvg247

    If they announced a pokemon mmo WiiU exclusive it’d sell like a billion overnight. They must have zero marketing sense.

    #44 12 months ago
  45. zinc

    Change the name from WiiU to Wii2.

    Its the little things.

    #45 12 months ago
  46. Joe Musashi

    @43

    This recent advert from Nintendo themselves doesn’t really sell it as something other than “map screen” or “inventory screen”. It doesn’t exactly align with Iwata’s statement from a couple of days ago:

    “The Wii U GamePad enables a variety of gameplay, and proposes deeper game experiences and new entertainment that people have never had the opportunity to enjoy before.

    JM

    #46 12 months ago
  47. Clupula

    They should have called it Wii 2 from the beginning.

    #47 12 months ago
  48. monkeygourmet

    @JM

    Until you’ve actually spent some decent time with the product, especially with things like couch co-op and multiplayer, I don’t really understand your issues.

    Especially as people posting on here are generally avid gamers, and should understand this console more than the average joe.

    I can definatly understand the average consumer being confused, mainly because of the look of the console and the name.

    But, most people posting seem to be being deliberately obtuse.

    I will admit, it’s a hard thing to get across to the average consumer who are into COD / FIFA, very similar as the DS was when it was announced and launched.

    But, like the cheaper mini-games, this console is at a budget price compared to the next gen launching. £149 as opposed to £349. And £149 as opposed to £429…

    It may be even cheaper if a price cut is indeed on the cards.

    The console runs in a different space to it’s rivals, and will most likely become an addition and second console to many people down the line.

    How many people are going to buy both the PS4 AND Xbone? Thats a lay out of £780. If Nintendo had made a machine to match those it was a definate that one company would have severly faltered.

    The pricing of the Wii U is at a level where Nintendo have room to move in an increasingly busy market place.

    As for:

    “No it’s not. Because ‘gaming’ is far bigger than just Nintendo and is thriving. But if your perspective always begins and ends with Nintendo and your view what ‘gaming’ does by how it relates to what Nintendo is doing then you’re going to see things in a very narrow way.”

    Well, some areas may be ‘thriving’, but equally, some area’s are struggling. The future of gaming as a company like MS see’s it is very far removed from what I would like to be a part of.

    Just because a huge number of people buy into something, doesn’t make it ‘good’.

    There has been a generation shift, and a lot of people don’t see the danger of models like F2P, subscriptions DLC etc…

    We’ve gone from buying a full game, to a game being picked apart and sold in sections in the last few years.

    There are success stories: Walking Dead for example,

    But many more bad examples of this practice leading to franchises being run into the ground or losing appeal.

    If this is how you want to think of the future of gaming and believe it’s positive, more power to you.

    The saving grace at the moment for me, are consoles like the Wii U / 3DS, the PC space and the indie scene / mods.

    #48 12 months ago
  49. Baojai

    @45

    100% agree on your points. We need differences in consoles, the more competition, allows for more creative ways to develop consoles, this promotes innovation. For example when Nintendo Wii first came out with the motion control concept, there was a lot mixed opinion. What was the aftermath, Sony and Microsoft developed their own form of motion control. We all have seen the wonders that the kinect can archive within gaming world and outside.

    #49 12 months ago