Iwata says slow-selling Wii U is just waiting for its ‘Pokemon’ moment

Thursday, 15th May 2014 12:29 GMT By Dave Cook

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has addressed the issue of slow Wii U sales by reminding everyone that the original Game Boy didn’t explode until Pokemon hit the scene.


We posted our Mario Kart 8 review earlier today, and it’s a game that absolutely deserves to be played by all. Check it out.

As part of an analyst Q&A session, Iwata addressed the matter of Nintendo’s poor financials.

He compared the slow uptake of Wii U consoles to the launch of Game Boy, another format that saw a gradual increase in sales before erupting as the Pokemon phenomenon took hold.

“The fate of a video game system is often influenced greatly by the introduction of a single title,” Iwata said. “As many of you probably remember, before the release of the Pokémon game, Game Boy had been showing slow growth, and many people wondered whether it was the end of Game Boy.

“But the Pokémon game singlehandedly changed the landscape of the system, which then started to show the strongest sales in the lifecycle of the system.”

Further on, Iwata stressed that Nintendo isn’t trying to surpass the original Wii’s massive sales with Wii U, stating, “As I explained back in January, it is true that we cannot draw up a good business plan for Wii U by assuming that Wii U will sell more than Wii did. Therefore, we will need to think very carefully about the balance of revenue and expenses and try to operate by controlling overall costs.

“On the other hand, we do not believe that this year’s estimate of 3.60 million units of Wii U hardware will be the peak of its lifecycle, and we would like to work hard to make sure that we give sufficient momentum to the system so that we can expect good results in and after the next fiscal year, too.

“However, as for this fiscal year, as I explained before, the figures you see have been determined by rather conservative estimates.”

With Mario Kart 8 out May 30, and other titles like Super Smash Bros, Bayonetta and Monolith’s X, as well as new Zelda and Mario games in development, is Wii U just waiting for that killer app before it explodes?

Let us know below.

Via Gamespot.



  1. mistermogul

    “Iwata says slow-selling Wii U is just waiting for its ‘Pokemon’ moment”

    Yeah so are we Iwata, so are we…

    #1 8 months ago
  2. Luciferous

    You know what would be a brilliant ‘Pokemon moment’?

    Pokemon… with a hint of Ni no Kuni on the big screen, I love my 3DS, but it can be an eye strain playing on it for hours.

    #2 8 months ago
  3. zoopdeloop

    but first Wii U needs a serious price drop.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. fihar

    Well, the Wii U has a number of it’s very own Pokemon, to be perfectly honest.

    But so does the PS4 and the X1.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. ManuOtaku

    @Luciferous agree with the ni no kuni recomendation.great game and would fit incredibly well.
    Please Nintedo make it happen.

    #5 8 months ago
  6. silkvg247

    What is it that people love about Ni no kuni? I tried so hard to like it but the combat stinks. And I’m a diehard RPG/JRPG fan.

    #6 8 months ago
  7. Dragon

    Iwata and his fantasy nintendoland.
    And obviously, 3.6 million wont be its peak since it has already reached its peak last year and sales are declining this year.

    #7 8 months ago
  8. ManuOtaku

    @silkvg247 i understand you dont like the combat of ni no kuni, is a very valid opinion, but please dont call it stinky, theres people that like it, myself included, for the evolution of monstets for the almost action approach, etc.
    There Are far worse combat mechanics in rpgs out there imho.

    #8 8 months ago
  9. Luciferous

    @silkvg247 What isn’t there to like? Great art, brilliant music, wonderful story and characters. Combat gets deeper the further you get in to the game with its mix of active time battles and pokemon style creature capture and training. ..

    #9 8 months ago
  10. Joe Musashi

    Dismal. Absolutely dismal reasoning. Iwata is treading water and is a hair’s breadth from actually performing a shrug with many of these statements.

    There’s an awful lot of context he chooses to ignore whilst he asks people to only focus on positives and forget everything else:

    Pokemon moment or not, the Wii U should have had its Tetris moment. Do we wheel out the infamous chalkboard image of “Wii U will be saved when..” to see all the tent-pole releases that failed to make a meaningful difference?

    “Hey guys, remember the Gameboy?”. Yup. I remember it launched a quarter of a century ago. It launched in a market where no genuine competition existed. I also remember Virtual Boy too.

    There’s plenty of us, Iwata, that remember more than you’d like us to. Some of us that see how you’re, once again, relying on history and nostalgia as smoke-screens for your current predicament.

    So let’s be as insultingly literal as you, Iwata. Let’s play your game of words and selective details.

    That ‘Pokemon moment’ arrived seven years after the Gameboy launched. So, like you, let’s remove every other piece of relevant context and ask what are you going to do in the intervening five and a half years before the Wii U’s ‘pokemon moment’ is scheduled to arrive?

    And, really, are you still putting all your eggs into that ‘one game can change everything’ basket? Whats your Plan B? You do have a Plan B don’t you?

    Finally, under all this talk, all your attempts to beguile with fond memories and carefully edited highlights, are Nintendo’s own numbers.

    For all the promises and ‘please understand’s and requests for patience your own projections are startlingly low for the next financial year. I have to trust that Nintendo knows more about it’s next 12 months of plans for the Wii U than I or anyone else does. And with those plans in mind, your figures betray your words.

    That ‘Pokemon’ moment happened in a different era. When the market was completely different. When the industry (and your position and relevance in it) was completely different.

    And let’s not forget – it happened under Yamauchi’s reign, not yours.


    #10 8 months ago
  11. dizzygear

    I dont care what games are released on it. As long as it remains region locked i’m not buying that POS until someone hacks it or god forbid Nintendo actually pull its head out its ass and removes it themselves.
    Wasting money on a PAL 3DS was the biggest mistake i made this gen. Im not going to repeat it.

    You are not the only one. I like JRPGs in general but i did not like Ni no kuni.

    #11 8 months ago
  12. polygem

    yeah, +1 dat pokemon moment!

    #12 8 months ago
  13. ManuOtaku

    well i do agree is the nintendo games that can improve the wiiu performance, but not just one, all of them ,i still believe that the wiiu will be a great deal value late in its lifecycle, when the numbet of great nintendo games will be hard to ignore to some segments of the gaming population.

    #13 8 months ago
  14. Pytox

    Iwata where is that pokemon mmo and i instantly go and buy a wii u :p

    #14 8 months ago
  15. tenthousandgothsonacid

    It’s doomed. The only entertainment will be in seeing how it matches saleswise with all Nintendo’s other failed consoles. Which has been the worst so far ? GameCube ?

    #15 8 months ago
  16. fearmonkey

    ““The fate of a video game system is often influenced greatly by the introduction of a single title,””

    Didn’t he say at one time that a system is not based or saved by a single title?

    #16 8 months ago
  17. Clupula

    In an alternate universe, where Iwata isn’t a completely clueless moron, this statement would end with him announcing a Pokemon game for the Wii U.

    #17 8 months ago
  18. westman98

    You know the one game that would give the Wii U a Pokemon moment? Pokemon MMO. it’s that simple.

    @Dragon. I am 100% positive the Wii U will get a huge sales boost when Mario Kart 8 is released. Last year will NOT be the peak, but you clearly want it to be, becasue you are a Sony fanboy.

    @joe Masushi. Obviously, the Gameboy launched a long time ago. but Iwata isn’t saying the Wii U is a Gameboy. He is saying that big major games sell systems. That’s it. So far the Wii U has 2 mjajor games (NSMB U and SM3DW). That is not enough, which is why Mario Kart 8 and Smash and hopefully other games are coming.

    @tenthousandgothsonacid It is strange. I don’t see you talking trash about the PS Vita’s shit sales or taking pleasure into its utter failure to sell, cuz the Vita is one of the worst selling pieces of technology Sony has ever made. Maybe, that is becasue you are a Sony fanboy who wants to see Nintendo die just because…

    #18 8 months ago
  19. PokeAmph

    @westman98 As much as I’d like a Pokemon MMO, designing that game would be a logistical nightmare. Not to mention how the online functionality would be butchered because Nintendo is perpetually stuck in the past. If they could pull it off it would be incredible, though.

    I think it would be a step in the right direction if they had a Colosseum or Gale of Darkness-style game that allowed for easy Stadium-style online battling. No matter what they do, any Pokemon game would probably get me to finally buy one.

    #19 8 months ago
  20. polygem

    you´re having a point, even more than that, you are spot on…but if i can give you one advice as a guy who´s posting here for a few years now: don´t waste your breath on joe and dragon (and a few others). it´s just a waste of time sadly. they aren´t here for the love of games unfortunately. don´t let yourself fool by the mod status, that´s just because the staff is insanely out of touch with the community. looks like it´s getting better now though. there´s always hope. i guess.

    #20 8 months ago
  21. polygem

    i take that back. was a stupid post. really was.

    #21 7 months ago
  22. modshroom128

    Mario Kart 8 is an amazing game but why does Nintendo seriously think it’s going to single handily turn around the wii u and cause people to go out in droves to buy the system and game when its just Mario kart 7.5?

    They literally have said that mario kart u will save the wii u just like pokemon saved the gameboy. Is Nintendo batshit crazy? do they not realize that the reason why games like pokemon and halo have saved entire consoles is because they were absolutely 10/10 must owns games on all fronts. This game is literally just a Mario Kart 7.5 but instead of for the 3ds its for the wii u with much better graphics, theres nothing MUST OWN.

    It’s decisions to make games that no one really wants like donkey kong country returns 2 in a time where the last one came out a few years ago. and a mario 3d world when people want a real next generation mario and not a shallow get to the flagpole platformer, and nsmb, and wii fit, and wii sports HD and wii party u, and an HD remake of a zelda game instead of a new one and a Mario Kart 7.5. Thinking that this is exactly what people get super hyped over and make them want to buy a console. just like if they are releasing pokemon for the first time, or a halo 1, or a Zelda twilight princess, or final fantasy back in the ps1 days.

    The fact they said Mario Kart 8 is going to do what Pokemon did for the Gameboy really proves to me that Iwata is 100% out of touch.

    smash bros U is the only thing that could really SAVE the system since its genuinely a must play game unlike mario kart 7.5, and the shitty part about it is a similar version is coming out on the 3DS

    #22 7 months ago

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