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

Wednesday, 21st 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.



  1. ff14fast

    he House Prices of Final Fantasy XIV May Fall Due to FFXIV Gil Explosion___you can see more in

    #1 7 months ago
  2. aseddon130

    It’ll give them maybe a nice month but it won’t single handedly save the Wii-U. I believe it’s beyond repair now, unless they bite their lip and give it a massive price reduction.

    #2 7 months ago
  3. melonbuster1

    It should be sold without the tablet control. It should be 179.99-189.99. With a digital game packed in.what really did the wiiu in was the name.. they should have called it the Nintendo View or something. The Consumer thought it was a wii with a new controller.

    #3 7 months ago
  4. The_Red

    Mario Kart 8 release is near.
    Xbox One is losing mandatory Kinect is near.

    Conclusion: Wii U will outsell Xbox One in May and perhaps even June.

    #4 7 months ago
  5. Telepathic.Geometry

    It’ll definitely help, but it probably won’t help as much as they hope.

    #5 7 months ago
  6. polygem

    mario kart will help the system but i don´t believe that it will change the wiiu situation (a fantastic system with bad sales).

    i believe that the wiiu will sell better, that it will get more outstanding games. it will probably be among my favourite consoles at the end of it´s life cycle but it certainly will never become a huge sales hit…and i don´t think that it has to. the focus on the wii name (as a brand) and the dual screen gaming – it makes sense and nintendo will earn the fruits later. sometimes you have to give an idea some credit to make it pay off later and i think we´ll see exactly that with the wiiu or better, with everything we´ll see from nintendo in the future gamingwise.

    i just wish that the wiiu would finally get more positive attention and feedback from gamesites in general because the system deserves it.

    it will probaby change with a bigger install base because this industry focusses on the mainstream and the journos are no exception for the most part, being a part of this industy.

    many gamers hate on the wiiu because they either havent played it and/or act just like sheep following the herd, saying what their friends say. are not confident enough to try to scratch the surface, to try something new.

    gamers can be very conservative. the wiiu with it´s bold colours, cheesyness, cute miis and pink princess games is just too much for this type of gamers. admitting to like that stuff just isn´t manly enough. no way nintendo could ever change that. it´s a demographical problem. the guys on the gamessites are for the most part males and then they are mostly in their twens too. many are having a real problem to like kirby. they would probably consult a doctor the moment they start to giggle while inhaling a foe and then turning into a pink ninja.

    so nintendo needs the more grown up gamer and the familys and they really know that now. they are going there with full force with the wii brand and the wiiu shows it too. it might not pay off for them instantly but i believe that it will pay off for them in the long run. it´s their niche in this industry and they will fit in there perfectly. mistakes, like excluding same sex marriage in tomodachi life shouldn´t be happening though but even that sems to be getting fixed now.

    i think they´re getting there now. finally. to me that´s a great thing. to others…not so much it seems.

    it´s weird though because if you are into videogames, there´s just so much to be liked about the wiiu.

    the wiiu has the problem that it would make a pretty shabby stand alone, exclusive console because of the lack of the third party games (that i personally play on the pc. ps4 and Xone gamers, saying that GRAFX MATTTERR should do the same by the way or their ´graphics count´1080p 60fps bs arguments are nothing but hot air really).

    so, to me that´s not so much a problem but others don´t want to buy multiple consoles. i understand that. it´s a severe problem that the wiiu is facing and the pricing plays a huge role here. stil, even after the pricecut, because nintendo have the cheaper 3ds as well. people are buying that thing.

    the problem i see with gamers: they are getting brand loyal and keep hating about machines they don´t even had experience with.
    that´s a nasty habit really.

    well, the wiiu is the most enjoyable current gamesconsole for me personally. i hope it will sell better. if it doesn´t, i still believe that it´s a great machine that has many advantages over the ps4 and x360 and certainly has a right to exist.

    nintendo need to focus on just one machine in the future. they should not aim for the average hardcore gamer as the main target audience though.

    sorry for long text: i am a fast typer.

    #6 7 months ago
  7. Joe Musashi

    Nintendo hoping that Mario Kart 8 is the Wii U’s ‘Pokemon moment’.

    Given the under-performance of Super Mario 3D World sales, many will be following the sales performance of Mario Kart 8 as a barometer of the Wii U’s stature today and an indicator of where it will be tomorrow. The ripples the game’s performance will send will be hard to ignore by anyone who appreciates how commercial industry works.

    Some will [tirelessly] insist that the game and the console are a success anyway and that sales don’t come into it. In order to come to that conclusion, they can only be working with a different set of metrics than the rest of the commercially-aware world uses.

    @2 As with previous Wii U flagship game releases, yes, it will give a temporary boost to sales. Perhaps a longer than previous one given the effort and promotion Nintendo are giving with this game (for example the register-and-get-a-free-game promotion that continues until the end of July). I think any celebrations and ‘told you so’ claims would need to be held back until we see the game and console perform under their own merit and not affected by such promotions.

    A price-cut will always be difficult for the Wii U as the tablet must be a significant contributor to the price but Nintendo cannot realistically engineer it out of the overall product. For now, rather than lowering price, they will have to go with ‘increasing value’ by adding more to the same RRP (such as the BOGOF with MK8).


    #7 7 months ago
  8. undermyrules

    nobody can help the WiiUtanic

    #8 7 months ago
  9. Legendaryboss

    Then why i haven’t i seen a big push over here? I see games such as Wolfenstein and Watch Dogs promoted on TV and on the Buses, they are even given prominence on store shelfs.

    Oh Nintendo should be confident its going to boost Wii U sales, not save it, which is a problem.

    #9 7 months ago
  10. polygem

    @Joe Musashi

    “Some will [tirelessly] insist that the game and the console are a success anyway and that sales don’t come into it. In order to come to that conclusion, they can only be working with a different set of metrics than the rest of the commercially-aware world uses.”

    I did not see anyone saying that the WiiU is a success. I for one keep saying that i don´t believe that it´s a failure. There´s a difference. I believe that it makes sense despite the sales because Nintendo are – and to me that´s clear to see – really pushing a brand here, a direction they want to go in gaming and in that regard the WiiU makes perfect sense in the long run.

    Maybe it´s not paying off for them now but i am sure that the direction is absolutely right. They´ve done a lot of things right and going dual screen gaming is the way to go for nintendo imo.

    they are pretty confident about that and i think that´s a relief and a smart move and yeah, it is a gamble too.

    commercial businesses need a plan. i think that nintendo are having a pretty good one and all signs really show in that direction.

    we´ll see if it´ll pay off. we don´t have to agree but we´ll see…

    #10 7 months ago
  11. Joe Musashi



    #11 7 months ago
  12. fihar

    “I’ve always felt Mario Kart is
    everyone’s second Nintendo game. Consumers’
    primary reason for spending money on a
    Nintendo machine might be for Zelda or a Mario
    platformer, and Mario Kart acts as that important
    secondary reason. I can’t imagine many people
    spending £250 just to play Mario Kart.

    This. A thousand times this.
    Mario Kart is the game everybody who has a Nintendo system will buy but not something you buy a Nintendo system for.

    Still, I think we’re way past the era in which a couple killer titles is enough to make or break a system though.

    #12 7 months ago
  13. dazedonthemoon

    I agree, I appreciate taking time to make games better but if they really wanted to the Wii U to be successful they would have already released a Smash Bros and/or a Zelda game, shit even a Metroid game. Satisfy the older Nintendo fans that actually have the money to buy a console, not just the younger or casual crowd.

    #13 7 months ago
  14. Mus42

    It makes me want to buy a Wii U – but as others have said it would be a much easier decision without the tablet controller and a 20% lower price point. 250 euros is a long way towards the price of a PS4 or Xbox One.

    #14 7 months ago
  15. RandomTiger

    I cant believe they’ve not implemented two player, one on TV the other on pad screen.

    #15 7 months ago
  16. polygem

    they haven´t? i thought it would be a no brainer.
    i must look into that now but if they haven´t implemented it: facepalm indeed. was looking forward to some couch coop 1vs1…

    #16 7 months ago
  17. ManuOtaku

    It will help in confluence with other games, if they keep increasing the list of great games worthy getting, people will start to see the value in wiiu, and this might happen late in its lifecycle.

    #17 7 months ago
  18. stx

    MK8 will not save Wii U – it’s waaaaaaaaaay too little and too late for that.

    But MK8 is a great pleaser title for people who (like me) already got a Wii U which is otherwise collecting dust.

    If Nintendo honestly are expecting MK8 to save Wii U, they are more lost than I thought.

    #18 7 months ago
  19. RickGames

    well the fans have kept and will keep buying their re-made products for along time, so i get why they would think it…

    #19 7 months ago
  20. rezzyk

    Why does everyone want the system without the Gamepad? I thought the Gamepad was silly, until I actually owned the system. The Gamepad is actually pretty good. I also purchased a Pro Controller thinking I would use that more, but I ended up sticking with the Gamepad for Wind Waker, DKC, Mario, etc.

    Also, the Gamepad is pretty baked into the system and the games. It would take a good amount of effort to detach it, something I don’t see happening. You can’t start up the system, or any games, without the Gamepad. You can’t browse the eShop without the Gamepad, etc.

    #20 7 months ago
  21. FBSKing

    I always really liked mario kart games, and 8 looks great, but I’ve always wanted to see a mario game with a 2d animated intro like this:

    #21 7 months ago

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