Nintendo: Wii U Needs Software, Not A Price Drop

In a recent interview with CVG, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata dismissed growing suggestions that a price drop is key to reviving the withering sales of the Wii U.

Despite a relativity successful launch in November 2012, Nintendo’s latest home console has seen a steady decline in sales, recently reaching an all time low of just 160,000 units sold between April and July this year. Making matters worse, certain retailers have stopped stocking the basic Wii U model, while Asda has opted to remove both models from it’s shelves.

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Despite these concerns over the fate of the console, Iwata argues that lack of software is the issue, not the price of the console:

“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.”

To back this claim up, he goes on to cite the contradiction between price and sales figures of the two units:

“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.”

The reasoning is sound enough, but it would seem the console is now stuck in a catch-22 situation. The lack of software may well be the cause of the falling sales, but developers are surely going to be reluctant to invest in what appears to be a diminishing platform. It’s only going to become a downward spiral unless Nintendo do something to kickstart the sales.

Weak early sales figures of Nintendo’s handheld console, the 3DS, prompted them to slash a 3rd off the retail price in an attempt to generate momentum. The price drop, in conjunction with the release of some high profile titles, has certainly seen a turn around in the handheld console, which makes you wonder why they are reluctant to employ the same tactics here.

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15 Comments

  1. Just wait for Mario… exact same story as the 3DS. That’s the software it needs.

    • Not so sure, fella. Someone nailed it last week. Something about “it’s tricky to win over the casual crowd from your previous console” which must be having a huge impact on things. I know so many people with a Wii who have zero inclination to go for a Wii U. I don’t even know anyone with a Wii U or who’ll be getting one soon.

  2. Mass market appeal is what it’s missing. The wii market moved on, Nintendo hasn’t.

  3. With the Wii being something entirely new and having a special place for the casual gamer’s homes, it sold like lightning. Now that the Wii has been had for years, everyone realized they don’t use it nearly that much anymore. This is why I can’t justify a Wii U, especially with next gen already pushing beyond its capabilities. The Wii U isn’t innovative like the Wii, it has no draw.

  4. I bought one on Saturday, and it’s a great little box. I agree that the price isn’t the issue as I was surprised at how cheap it was.

    It’s going to be a perfect secondary system the coming years, but maybe that’s part of the problem. It shouldn’t be pleased at playing second fiddle.

    I wonder how it’ll do come Christmas .

  5. I somewhat disagree with his logic.
    What if someone wants the cheapest possible black SKU? They have to go for the premium SKU because the basic model is only available in white.
    What if someone definitely wants the additional storage? They’d also go for the premium model.
    This does not mean that they wouldn’t sell tons more systems if the premium SKU was priced at the basic model price point.
    Obviously software is a huge factor but his statement comes across as slightly ignorant. I guess you could interpret it this way: More / better games will make the current price more justifyable… until the next gen consoles come out but their heavy hitters won’t arrive until close to or even long after launch so I’m not sure if they can spike peoples interest without lowering the price of the Wii U.

  6. It needs more than just a price drop. Who ever decided to go with such low memory in both consoles needs their heads examined. What made them think they could get away with a console with just 8 gig and 32 gigs of storage. Such a stupid decision. The PS4 will be about £50 more than the Wii U was at launch, will be a hell of a lot more powerful and have 500 gigs of space. Nintendo are stuck in the past. I wont make the same mistake i made with the Wii.

    • You can’t compare PS4/XB1’s hard drive to Wii U.

      Flash memory is worth a lot more, its SUPER fast, allows for fast loading and boot time, runs cooler, is more energy efficient and lasts about 10x that of a hard drive.
      Nintendo always goes for quality while the competition bricks or overheats(RROD).
      If Nintendo would have gone with a 500GB Flash drive it would have cost the customer about $1000, LOL…

      I see what you’re saying though as most consumers just see “32GB” and “500GB”.

      In reality, however, you can get a Wii U for $349 (deluxe unit with game), wherein the PS4 will cost MUCH more… people keep brandying about the starting price of $399, but in actuality you arent going to buy it without a game… so the actual REAL launch price for a PS$ is closer to $560 if you want a game and online play… (remember, you need to pay for online play with a PS4)… food for thought.

      (full disclosure, I’m a PS3 owner that waited until this past E3 to make my decision on which next gen console to purchase…. I’m 99% sure it will be a Wii U)…

      • One thing I always admired about the Wii was the quality of the hardware. I know it’s not a graphical powerhouse, but compared to the PS3 and 360, it seems like such a nice little compact unit.

      • “Flash memory is worth a lot more, its SUPER fast, allows for fast loading and boot time, runs cooler, is more energy efficient and lasts about 10x that of a hard drive.”

        I’m pretty sure people would prefer to have a lot more storage than reducing load / boot times by a few seconds, if it even shows at all. Wii U games probably havy shorter load times to begin with because there’s not as much to be leaded anyways.

        “Nintendo always goes for quality while the competition bricks or overheats(RROD).”

        My 80GB phat PS3 never had any issues.

        “If Nintendo would have gone with a 500GB Flash drive it would have cost the customer about $1000, LOL…”

        Sony at least gives you the opportunity to manually install an SSD if you really care that much about fast storage in your console.

        “I see what you’re saying though as most consumers just see “32GB” and “500GB”.”

        Why wouldn’t they? Like I said, people would much rather have all their games on a single disk instead having to rely on SD cards and USB HDDs when the internal storage is full.

        “In reality, however, you can get a Wii U for $349 (deluxe unit with game), wherein the PS4 will cost MUCH more…
        people keep brandying about the starting price of $399, but in actuality you arent going to buy it without a game…
        so the actual REAL launch price for a PS$ [shaking my head here…] is closer to $560 if you want a game and online play… (remember, you need to pay for online play with a PS4)… food for thought.”

        Okay, so the PS4 will be slightly more expensive to get started, but you can get pretty close to the Wii U while getting much more out of the package.
        Yes, PS+ costs money, but if you got for the three month PS+ tier you get DriveClub PS+ edition and some Indie games plus whatever games they offer for the two months that follow launch.
        Roughly 520€ will get you the whole package, which is 70€ more than the Wii U but it comes with the security of proper third party support and a lot more power.
        I’m pretty sure Nintendo will not be able to keep the Wii U around as long as Sony will keep the PS4 alive so you will be forced to dip into their next console while the PS4 is still being supported.
        I’d say that those 70€ would be well spent.
        Add to that the potential need to buy extra storage in form of an SD card or an USB HDD to store digital content on and you will be looking at a very similar price point and you will lose the initial benefit of fast flash storage with SD / USB drives…

        “(full disclosure, I’m a PS3 owner that waited until this past E3 to make my decision on which next gen console to purchase…. I’m 99% sure it will be a Wii U)…”

        (Full disclosure, it’s pretty obvious that you are a fanboy / troll but I just couldn’t resist picking each and every of your arguments apart because it’s just so easy…)

  7. They had a year before the next gen launched to convince people to buy the Wii U and they’ve failed. At this point I don’t think a price drop with take any sales away from PS4/Xbone so they’re probably right in saying exclusive games are they way to go. They just needed to get them out sooner

  8. Nintendo have rested on their past reputation for years without focusing on what really sells consoles – GAMES! Remaking the same games they’ve been remaking for 20+ years might keep the faithful fans but evidently it doesn’t pull in many new ones

  9. new here…. not a fan of the inability to reply to replies, LOL…. oh well.

    anyways, @KeRaSh… because I’m not vehemently anti-Nintendo I’m a fanboy? hardly… LOL… okay. and you didnt “pick apart” any arguments, because I wasnt making any. I sated my opinions. and the fact that PS4 will cost more money is…. well, just that, a fact.

    now if by reading my comment you are focusing on my quality comment (and thereby NOT focusing on the fact I also said it had to do with pricing strategy), i definitely agree in principle, BUT…. i am just guessing that they were trying to appeal to the “typical” casual gamer like myself. i need very little memory…. just enough to cover game saves. i dont utilize downloadable content….i never did with the PS3 and i wont now… i just buy the physical copy of games, i never sell them back (kinda like collecting them). i probably represent the vast VAST majority of gamers.

    the last nintendo console i owned was an N64 back in my undergrad days (dating myself here)…. and that was just becuz i had already owned a PS1 btu back in those days all of the best dorm games (MK racing, 007, and SSB) were on that platform. so to call me a fanboy is just ridiculous.

    also, this notion of the PS4 and XB1 being technically superior is only made by those who dont understand programming…with these next gen machines, the law of diminishing returns is clearly settlign in… .the quality of graphical improvement will be very close to nil.

    and one last point, i am opting for a wii u also becuase of where i am in life…. i now have 2 kids who are more interested in mario, DK, and the nintendo lineup than anythign that the PS4 has to offer (the XB1 isnt even an option for me at this point)… though i will admit, i can blame my choice on my kids all i want, but after E3, i am admittedly excited for SSB & MK8…

    • If you want to be taken seriously on this site, then please refrain from using the Dollar sign to replace an S in any of the console names’ or console makers’ acronyms. That’s just something that is not wanted here on TSA so that partly explains the tone of my first reply to you.

      Now to address the comment above:

      “i am just guessing that they were trying to appeal to the “typical” casual gamer like myself. i need very little memory…. just enough to cover game saves. i dont utilize downloadable content….i never did with the PS3 and i wont now… i just buy the physical copy of games”

      If that is the case, then why even bring up the “SUPER fast” flash memory?
      I’d say you are right that the casual gamer will rather pick up a physical copy than go for the digital version or DLC but then why even have more memory in the premium SKU to begin with? Nintendo is stuck between the casual and core market and it’s currently appealing to none of them.
      Casuals own a Wii and don’t see a reason to upgrade to the Wii U and the entry price is too high for them. On the other hand the core gamers don’t have the selection of games they want and are willing to pay the extra bucks to get a PS4 or an Xbox One.

      “also, this notion of the PS4 and XB1 being technically superior is only made by those who dont understand programming…with these next gen machines, the law of diminishing returns is clearly settlign in… .the quality of graphical improvement will be very close to nil.”

      While the second part of this paragraph is somewhat true (the graphical jump from PS2 to PS3 was much bigger than it will be between PS3 and PS4), the first part is simply wrong.
      You can only optimize so much with limited hardware. You can hide certain things with graphical styles (Wind Waker still looks great) but the gap is just too big to level the playing field by optimizing the code.

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