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Wii U misconceptions are key sales issue, not the price says Nintendo UK

Wii U's lukewarm sales are not down to the console's price tag, but rather a lack of understanding among parents - specifically mums - Nintendo UK has suggested.

Here in the UK, Wii U games are notable by their absence in the weekly gaming charts, although the tide has shifted slightly with decent performances by Pikmin 3 and Wind Waker HD, which entered at fourth this week.

Speaking with MCV, Nintendo UK marketing head Shelly Pearce discussed the console's standing among the British public. "There was a big misconception at launch about what Wii U is," she began, "and one of the big messages is to explain to mum that this is a new console and a new controller.

"In terms of the marketing work we’ve done against dads, there is now a pretty good understanding there. But many mums don’t know what this is. They’re buying what they’re advised to and going into shops, so we are relying a lot on retail to explain that this is a new piece of hardware."

Pearce conceded that the original Wii still remains the format of choice for some households, which is understandable seeing as a lot of you bought the console during its life-span. She continued, "What we are seeing with our monthly tracking is that Wii remains the No.1 console for brand awareness and we have done several studies, and there are so many families actively playing on Wii.

"Perhaps sometimes as an industry we don’t see it, because we are so focused on core fans who are obviously not the ones that are still playing. I sit in this target audience as a mum that has kids of this age, and amongst my peer group I have people that are just buying their first console and people who are still playing their original Wii sometimes.

"That has been one of our biggest barriers, but it is also a great opportunity because it means they are still with Wii. And it’s through the insight from the Tesco deal that we know families are still playing and have not bought anything else yet. So it’s a great opportunity if we can get the job right in educating people."

On the Wii U price issue, Pearce concluded, "There was a lot of talk last peak season about whether price was the barrier. We don’t think it is. I think the problem was education and giving them desirable things. This peak, Wii U will be at a slightly lower price than last year and comparatively it will look a little cheaper because of all the other consoles coming out that are more expensive. But value is the important message. Backwards compatibility, the fact that you don’t have to buy more controllers – that for a mum is a very important thing.

"Wii U is very different to these other consoles. Our heartland is with family and kids, but we must not forget core Nintendo fans are a fundamental part of it. Yes, there’s a cross-over with the core fan and those that buy the other consoles, but generally those are quite different audiences. I imagine our marketing activity will look and feel very different."

What do you think? Is the price indeed an issue, or is it a message problem? Let us know below.

Via Nintendo Life.

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Dave Cook


Dave worked on VG247 for an extended period manging much of the site's news output. As well as his experience in games media, he writes for comics, and now specializes in books about gaming history.