Wii U launches in the US tomorrow, and while analysts are convinced it will be a big hit with holiday shoppers, they are leery over its prospects leading into the summer months.
John Taylor of Arcadia is convinced there will be a scarcity of Wii U consoles available during the upcoming holiday season – despite Nintendo’s assurances – and demand for the console will keep the consumer fires burning into spring 2013 at least.
“Where it’s going to get to be a little more challenging is around the May time frame or when warm weather shows up again,” said Taylor. “I think Nintendo is going to really need to demonstrate what is truly amazing about this by that time.”
Colin Sebastian of R. W. Baird is of the same opinion, and stated that come six months in, analysts will “know more positively at that point how the console is viewed by consumers.”
Wedbush’s Michael Pachter believes Wii U will lose positive momentum “primarily due to pricing,” as there are already “a number of cheaper, comparable alternatives” on the market.
While many analysts seem worried over momentum leading into the warmer months of 2013, Eric Handler of MKM Partners said the biggest test will be whether the console will be able to expand beyond its current audience.
“All of the third-party publishers are being very cautious with the Wii U,” he said. “We’re not seeing many Wii U specific titles. They’re ports. No one is really pouring a lot of money into it right now. … Third-party publishers recognize that Nintendo garners the lion’s share of the software market for its own platforms. And it’s very tough to change that.”
Arcadia’s Taylor agreed, but thinks Nintendo needs to explain to the core and the casual both why “the asynchronous play and the tablet are really, really fun.”
“There’s still a core market for Nintendo,” he said. “It just remains to see how big that core audience is. … The Wii U really needs to find a market beyond the Mario crowd.”
We’ll just have to wait and see how well things go leading into the summer months, and how the expected 2013 console announcements from Sony and Microsoft impact continued sale.