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Iwata blames software, not price, for Wii U sales

Iwata blames software, not price, for Wii U sales

Mon 12 Aug 2013 1:40pm GMT / 9:40am EDT / 6:40am PDT
RetailHardware

Nintendo president points to higher sales of premium console edition

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has attributed slow sales of the Wii U to the available games, rather than the price of the console, in his most recent interview.

"I understand that the real issue is the lack of software, and the only solution is to provide the mass-market with a number of quality software titles," he told CVG.

"If the price is actually an issue [with Wii U], then there is some contradiction between the current sales balance between the Basic and Premium versions of the Wii U. The basic version should have sold a lot, but the fact of the matter is that people are buying more of the premium version. So the issue is not there."

Last week a Nintendo representative confirmed to GamesIndustry International that the Wii U console was still being sold at a loss, making it a price cut in the near future unlikely.

Recent financial results also revealed that in the past three months the machine had only sold 160,000 units worldwide.

37 Comments

Carlos Bordeu
Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder

57 70 1.2
When the new Smash Bros comes out, in our studio (of 15 people) 3 to 4 people will buy a WiiU instantly. I think every major Nintendo first party release will increase sales significantly.

Posted:8 months ago

#1

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
@Carlos Bordeu

But you are core gamers and so this does not represent the mass market.
The original Wii had some really lucky serendipity which made it a success in the mass market. Something Nintendo's two previous home consoles failed to do, despite having some great Nintendo first party titles.

Maybe it isn't price and it isn't software. Maybe the market has moved on, leaving Nintendo behind.

Posted:8 months ago

#2

Keldon Alleyne
Handheld Developer

422 361 0.9
Or maybe if Nintendo like profits were possible in the era of the N64 and GC, that perhaps they are more than happy with their pokemon brand that has grossed more than the entire Star Wars franchise.

When Nintendo has pulled out all of its big guns then we will know, until then ... hold on, I remember you once saying that core no longer exists. When did your song change?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 12th August 2013 4:15pm

Posted:8 months ago

#3

Kenneth Bruton
Producer

42 8 0.2
I have yet to get the Wii U (even though, admittedly, I am a console junkie!) for the same reason I did not get a Wii (for myself) There have been no compelling titles, and even though HD is now available, who wants to play rehashes of older games (though I also get games due to nostalgia) Don't get me wrong, I actually LOVE Nintendo, I support their games, I did buy a Wii, I had a Game Boy, NES, SNES, and N64. Nintendo has never been one to follow the crowds, have always done their own thing with mostly success (except for Virtual Boy).
A new strategy is in order to bring value to the system. Premium bundle w/game(s)? who knows? I actually hated the days when the hardware shipped without 2 controllers and a game, especially when the games were supposed to be played by more than one person! That is the Wii experience, that is one meant to be SHARED. We will see what Nintendo will do...and hopefully it will swing profit back to black.

Posted:8 months ago

#4

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,116 888 0.8
Software is undoubtedly the number one thing. Price can help though when reduced in the most strategic times, I guess there's not a lot of point when people still wouldn't buy many if any games for the system.

Posted:8 months ago

#5
How often will we hear that the "next" strategy will defiantly guarantee sales of the Wii-U!!

When we pass Christmas, what excuse will be used why Nintendo is still sucking wind?

Posted:8 months ago

#6

Jamie Read
Junior 3D Artist

117 52 0.4
I'm waiting for the games to come. There isn't much on the system for either the 'core' or 'casual' gamer yet.
Sales will go up once Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros. etc get released.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jamie Read on 12th August 2013 5:17pm

Posted:8 months ago

#7

Christian Keichel
Journalist

413 559 1.4
If the price is actually an issue [with Wii U], then there is some contradiction between the current sales balance between the Basic and Premium versions of the Wii U. The basic version should have sold a lot, but the fact of the matter is that people are buying more of the premium version. So the issue is not there.
I think this is a weak argument, the premium version comes with more storage memory, a Gamepad stand, a Gamepad charging cradle, a Wii sensor bar and Nintendoland. At least for me, this was more then worth the extra 50, because bought seperately these items would have cost more then 50 (and the internal memory can't be upgraded this easily at all). If more people buy the premium version, this only shows, that the basic version doesn't look like a good deal at all.

In the end, I think we will see a price cut in one form or the other later this year, Nintendo hasn't reduced it's Wii U sales forecast and after the really bad last 3 months, it seems impossible to reach these numbers without any kind of price cut. Maybe they will drop the existing basic/premium sets and go for a new $/300 bundle.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 12th August 2013 6:24pm

Posted:8 months ago

#8

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
I blame the hardware. And not even what's under the hood, but the cheap and nasty plastic toy feel. As a piece of hi-tech kit, it really does suck ass. It just screams "I'm aimed at 8yr olds that still dribble"

Look at the pic again and compare to what it would look like were he holding a Note 2.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 12th August 2013 7:18pm

Posted:8 months ago

#9

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
@Paul... except you can't play ANY Nintendo game on that lovely Note 2, how much is one without a contract and can you even get anything to work on it without one?

Posted:8 months ago

#10

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
I was struggling to play any nintendo games on my Wii U...

But I don't accept that just because it's cheap it has to be cheap and nasty. I mean, come on. Anyone looking at that picture above and claiming to see a thing of beauty must surely be trolling.

Posted:8 months ago

#11

Christian Keichel
Journalist

413 559 1.4
Anyone looking at that picture above and claiming to see a thing of beauty must surely be trolling.
I don't see your problem, the form of the Gamepad follows it's ergnonomic design. It has light materials, because a controller shouldn't be heavy and it is this big, because it should lay good in your hand.

Posted:8 months ago

#12

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,203 816 0.7
Well i guess the first step to solving a problem is acknowlaging the mistakes made along the way. Nintendo is on there way to solve there problems. I am waiting it out to buy a WiiU until it gets more games. Very much the reason for poor sails. But if Nintendo does deliver software, Im sure to get a WiiU soon after. And they have a very impressive list of upcoming and in development software that is sure to hit the right spot.

Posted:8 months ago

#13

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,210 2,049 0.9
Paul, I surely hope you don't buy everything on the aesthetic exterior alone.

Did the odd color and shape of the GC have anything to do with how fantastic Resident Evil 4 was?
The Wii's console and remote are the epitome of cheap looking but how exactly did that change how incredible Super Mario Galaxy is?

Posted:8 months ago

#14

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,116 888 0.8
@Paul

That's interesting. I thought the build was a lot more 'premium' than I expected, this was the black version. All being said, I appreciate modern materials have improved on what they're using.

I'm a bit surprised by the lack of Metal in console designs this generation actually, but perhaps its a personal thing or a contrast to other consumer electronics. Wouldn't stop me buying.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 12th August 2013 8:31pm

Posted:8 months ago

#15

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
@Jim and others. I think it looking like shit is a perfectly valid reason for not being able to sell a luxury item. Point to another device anywhere with 2 inches of white plastic border around it. It just screams toy whereas the new consoles coming out scream cool gear.

If somebody is trying to sell this as "ergonomic design", I'm keen to see what a first draft just get it working version would look like. Actually I think I can see in the picture so we're good. Rectangle. Rounded corners. Some buttons on the side. Screen lost in the middle somewhere. Awesome.

Similarly, if the proposal here is "Buy my hardware, it will (eventually) have ancient brands trotted out once again", that's not working on me either I'm afraid. Move over Mario, what else have you got? If this company is still trading on a handful of evergreen titles that we've all seen before, well don't expect to sell much. Oh that's right, it's not me after all; they're actually selling almost nothing.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 12th August 2013 8:48pm

Posted:8 months ago

#16

Christian Keichel
Journalist

413 559 1.4
Point to another device anywhere with 2 inches of white plastic border around it.
How would you design a device with a screen, that comes with 2 analog sticks 1 digipad and 12 buttons without incorporating a border around the screen?
Actually I think I can see in the picture so we're good. Rectangle. Rounded corners. Some buttons on the side. Screen lost in the middle somewhere. Awesome.
This means you haven't hold one in your hand so far?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 12th August 2013 8:51pm

Posted:8 months ago

#17

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
Christian, I don't know, I'm not a designer. I'd probably start by looking at a picture of the Vita and go from there. With a firm the size of Nintendo, I'd expect they could afford some designers of their own though, all of which would be better than me.

I had a Wii since last xmas. It wasn't actually horrible to hold. Never said it was. I said it looks like shit. And it does. Being able to physically hold something in two hands does not automatically check the "ergonomic design" box. It means at best that opposable thumbs work.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 12th August 2013 9:00pm

Posted:8 months ago

#18

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
That would be "I had a Wii U" since last xmas.

Posted:8 months ago

#19

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,210 2,049 0.9
Paul, the Wii looks no more sophisticated than the Wii U and it sold 100 million units.

It was software that did it, not the looks of the device.

And if we are going by looks, then your Vita example should be handily beating the 3DS and it certainly is not.

Posted:8 months ago

#20

Carlos Bordeu
Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder

57 70 1.2
I'd rather they keep the parts functional and ergonomic (which is what matters for gaming) than use expensive materials and make the console more expensive so that it looks "cool".

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Carlos Bordeu on 12th August 2013 9:14pm

Posted:8 months ago

#21

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
It wasn't software that did it, it was the wiimote gameplay being all inclusive and getting the family to play together. That's not how I'm seeing this device at all, apart from the aimed at 8yr olds part.

The Wii lives under the telly and doesn't look that bad as a white box in the corner. The wiiu handset otoh is the poorest looking/feeling device I've ever had in my hand, including the DS and anything before or since.

I'm sure it's not the only reason though, you're right. Lack of software, botched launch (the perma-update) alienation, reliance on their one trick pony brand that most non fanboys are tired of hearing about, being designed for casual games when most people already have a mobile tablet they spent a lot on, they're all contributors.

Vita is simply too expensive for what it is. It's a great piece of kit (and I have good reason to hate it)

Posted:8 months ago

#22

Christian Keichel
Journalist

413 559 1.4
@ Paul
It wasn't actually horrible to hold. Never said it was. I said it looks like shit. And it does.
Form follows function.
Being able to physically hold something in two hands does not automatically check the "ergonomic design" box. It means at best that opposable thumbs work.
There is a difference between being able to physically hold something in two hands and something being convenient to be used with two hands. Everybody was able to hold the original NES pad in two Hands, but it wasn't very comfortable.
The Vita wouldn't be a good example for a console Touchscreencontroller design, because the Vita is a handheld. This type of device sacrifices comfort for a smaller form factor, What you see as an annyoing plastic border around the screen is the reason, why it is convenient to play for several hours with the Gamepad. Playing on every handheld I know becomes uncomfortable after 2 or 3 hours, because of the small form factor (with the exception of the Atari Lynx, but that's another story), playing on the Gamepad doesn't.
This doesn't mean I think every handheld should be designed as the Gamepad, it's a necessary and wanted attribute of a handheld to be small, but at home, to be small like a handheld is of no advantage to me.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 12th August 2013 10:14pm

Posted:8 months ago

#23

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
^All that and it's designed for kids to grannies to use (heh - I had to get that in, as it comes up in conversation when I talk about the Wii U with other folks lately). You can drop a GamePad on its edge and it'll survive a fall to at least a carpeted floor (as I found out last week quite by accident), but I'd not want to drop any tablet on that edge and expect it to work 100% right afterwards...

Posted:8 months ago

#24

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

767 999 1.3
I blame software, price and the economy for Wii U sales. And politicians...those people are always up to no good.

Posted:8 months ago

#25

Christopher Ingram
Editor-at-Large

35 26 0.7
Nintendo could have designed the Wii U GamePad to be efficient, while still having a "new age" appeal though. When you compare the sleek and stylish designs of modern tablets to the Wii U GamePad, it fails to have the same appeal, even though the Wii U is a gaming console that is supposed to attract core gamers.

Yes, the GamePad is indeed comfortable, but aesthetically, it looks like a child's toy, in my opinion. I think it is just one more factor that is keeping the Wii U from selling.

Posted:8 months ago

#26

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,203 816 0.7
Well regarding the design of the WiiU gamepad, Im not a fan of it, its pretty bulky. Im certain they can fit its features in a smaller sleeker look. However one thing you can be sure of is that it will be very durable, and if its going to exchange hands between children and adults I can see why, a sleek moder and "techy" look like the VITA will not appeal. If it looked too sophisticated it would scare off alot of people. As it looks now, it may not seem appealing, but it is comforatible, durable and most of all "friendly".

And I think they just wanted a friendly look for the device so it would appeal to "none gamers"

Bottom line, It has the standard button layout of every other controller plus a few extras like microphone, NFC communication and the touchscreen which I think is a fantastic addition to the standard button set up. Much like the shoulder buttons, and analog sticks that came after, the touch screen I find to be a welcome addition to the standard control set up. And Nintendo did good there.

As long as it has the standard set of buttons, i can deal with its bulky design. and again, the touch screen is a welcome addition even more so than motion controls, voice recognition or kinect. And I like that its intigrated to the controller, i dont have to download an app and use yet another device to operate game features.

And again, I can give it to a 6 year old and not worry if they are going to break it.

Posted:8 months ago

#27

Caleb Hale
Journalist

144 209 1.5
Knowing Nintendo, that Wii U GamePad will be in for a redesign by the middle of next year. I'd expect an introduction during E3 2014.

As for games and the system itself, the majority of hardcore Nintendo fans have already bought a Wii U. The rest of the people out there aren't necessarily waiting for that one particular game to launch before buying. The games will always be there, so in theory they could wait any length of time to find a Wii U and the game (including at someone's garage sale years from now).

Nintendo had a year head start on the competition and largely blew it with a very weak software lineup. Even the lineup they have prepared for this fall and the holiday season, while good, isn't going to compel customers eyeing an PlayStation 4 or Xbox One as a potential purchase, especial with the PS4 priced just $50 higher than the Wii U 32GB SKU.

At this point it's too late. The rest of this year firmly belongs to Sony and Microsoft with their incoming hardware.

Posted:8 months ago

#28

Dan Howdle
Head of Content

272 761 2.8
I agree wholeheartedly with Paul. The controller looks awful and feels worse. Cite ergonomics as the reason it looks the way it does and I think you're misunderstanding the meaning of the word. Just as Nintendo appears to.

Posted:8 months ago

#29

Christian Keichel
Journalist

413 559 1.4
Popular Comment
The controller looks awful and feels worse.
What exactly feels worse then awful about it? I am asking out of interest, because everybody I spoke to agreed, that it lays in the hand very comfortable and feels a lot lighter, then it looks, something the people I spoke to described as a pleasant surprise.
Cite ergonomics as the reason it looks the way it does and I think you're misunderstanding the meaning of the word
I think here you are the one misunderstanding the word. Looks are of no matter, when it comes to ergonomic design, the goal is to maximize the physical comfort when using an object by engineering it in a way that avoids stress, pain, fatigue, etc.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 13th August 2013 10:00pm

Posted:8 months ago

#30

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

272 325 1.2
I'm sorry, but this is just a dumb conclusion to reach. The WiiU IS too expensive, but if i were willing to pay enough to buy a basic unit, I'd be willing to pay for the upgrade to the premium because the upgrade is worth that much. Neither unit is the right price though.

Posted:8 months ago

#31

Dave Herod
Senior Programmer

517 731 1.4
@Paul - I see your point, and I agree it looks ugly as hell, but you're comparing a device you sit at home with and never take out of the house with your mobile phone or tablet, which a lot of people see as a fashion statement. If you designed a tablet to look like the Wii U controller then yes, no one would want to be seen dead with one, but it's not, so I think you're pinning way too much significance on it.

Posted:8 months ago

#32

Keldon Alleyne
Handheld Developer

422 361 0.9
The real question in terms of build quality is what happens when you drop it. I may skip this generation of Nintendo consoles depending solely on how much I want to play Zelda and how new Mario is.

I do appreciate the iterative approach to developing the core title but I would like to see the creative leaps witnessed in the N64 era when 3d was new and everyone had to reinvent gaming genres.

Posted:8 months ago

#33

Roland Austinat
roland austinat media productions|consulting

112 57 0.5
In other news: it's darker at night than during the day.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2013/08/06/2013-video-game-release-schedule.aspx

How many Wii U titles do you spot on this list? Exactly.

Posted:8 months ago

#34

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