Nintendo is banking on Mario Kart 8 to rescue the Wii U

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 04:12 GMT By Mike Irving

As the poor old Wii U continues to hit banana after banana, Nintendo are banking on one of their biggest franchises to improve the stalled consumer interest.


In an interview with MCV this week, Nintendo UK’s Mario brand manager, Roger Langford, said the company is doing all it can to ensure that Mario Kart 8 will be the Blue Shell that the Wii U needs to catch up to its rivals.

“Mario Kart 8 really harnesses the capability of Wii U. It has HD graphics and runs at 60 frames per second constantly in single and multiplayer,” he said.

It’s receiving universally positive reviews, but most agree that the game has more hopes riding on its shoulders than just its own sales: Nintendo’s last financial report listed Wii U hardware sales at a mere 6.17 million units in the 18 months since its launch.

“I certainly feel that Mario Kart 8 can be the catalyst that will broaden Wii U’s horizons,” said Langford. “It’s very important for us that we have a successful launch and continue the promotion throughout the year and beyond.”

That promotion includes a series of silly TV spots where scientists test out the game’s wacky weapons, a console bundle, and a very generous offer which gives a free game to players who purchase Mario Kart 8 before the end of July.

“That offer lends itself perfectly to those people looking to buy into Wii U,” Langford said.

“You pick up the Mario Kart 8 bundle, and you can also download Wii Party U or Nintendo Land if you’re getting it for the family, or if you’re a Mario fan you can get New Super Mario Bros U. We also cater for more core gamers, as well, with Monster Hunter 3 and The Wonderful 101. We are offering that variety because Mario Kart 8 does attract such a broad demographic.”

Let’s hope it’s a broad enough demographic, and a generous enough offer, to get the Wii U caught up before the final lap.