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At 57K sold, Wii U's January performance is historically abysmal
At 57K sold, Wii U's January performance is historically abysmal
February 15, 2013 | By Matt Matthews

February 15, 2013 | By Matt Matthews
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I wrote on Monday that the NPD Group's retail sales estimates for the U.S. video game market would reveal the kind of enthusiasm that consumers had for Nintendo's hardware in the post-holiday period. I surely didn't foresee figures in the 50,000-59,000 range, but that's what our internal estimates showed. CNet's sources put that number at 57,000, so we'll just go with that.

Those aren't just terrible figures for the Wii U; they're terrible for any system in recent memory.

Because January 2013 was a retail month with a leap week, the figures reported by the NPD Group covered a five-week period. That means that the Wii U sold on average 11,400 systems per week in its third month on the market.

I took the time to go back through the historical data and see just how close other consoles have come to that level of sales. It's a slightly tricky question because once a successor console comes out, the previous model usually sees its sales drop dramatically. So in the figure below, there are two types of consoles: those that don't yet have successors on the market (PS3 and Xbox 360, to be crystal clear) and everyone else.

Just take a good look at the graphic, and I'll discuss the results below.



At a level of 11,400 systems per week, the Wii U has only other Nintendo consoles for company. However, there is an essential difference between the 8,000 systems per week that the GameCube fell to and the 11,400 level of the Wii U: the GameCube didn't fall that low until it got replaced by the Wii. Likewise, the weakest month for the Wii wasn't until the month before its successor, the Wii U came out.

For both of those prior Nintendo consoles, the weakest month of the system's lifetime was in that 60th month, just before it was superseded. In the case of the Wii U, it is hitting sales of 11,400 in only its 3rd month, a level that in this context seems dangerously low.

The other consoles have their own stories. The original Xbox reached its minimum during its short lifetime after only six months, right as Microsoft and Sony each cut the prices of their respective consoles. The price cut did buoy Xbox sales and they didn't fall below 20,000 per week again until the fifth month of its successor's lifetime, in March 2006.

The PlayStation 3 also struggled out of the gate, not unlike the Wii U. However, one salient difference is the price differential. While the Wii U can be had for a mere $300, the price of admission for the PlayStation 3 was $500. After the PlayStation 3 got its first major revision and price cut in November 2007, its sales have never fallen below 30,000 units per week.

The Xbox 360 suffered from shortages in its first year, and so after a mere five months on the market, its sales hit a rate of 38,400 systems per week. Its sales slid again in mid-2007 to around 38,800 systems per week, but have never again fallen below 40,000 again.

Not content to be the king of consoles, the PlayStation 2 also has the dubious honor of hitting its minimum sales level during its second (yes, second!) month on the market, back in November 2000. However, the weakness in its sales was certainly due to a shortage of hardware and this minimum level is actually the highest minimum of any console during the past 13 years. For the record, its sales today are well below the Wii U's 11,000 systems per week, but the PS2 did not get that low until January 2010, in the first few months of the system's tenth year on the market.

Another way of looking at it

Instead of just focusing on a single month's results, we could also take the slightly longer view and ask how systems have historically performed in their first three months on the market. Going back again to the PS2, the results look like the figure below.



Viewed this way, the Wii U is certainly in the middle of the pack, and in good company. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 both had weaker launches than the Wii U.

However, as noted above, those figures come with some caveats: the scarcity of Xbox 360 systems around launch and the high price of the PlayStation 3.

And the console with the most robust launch of all time, the original Xbox, was the one killed most quickly by its creator just four years later. So the installed base doesn't signal doom on its own, but it certainly is a step down from the standards set by the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo's own Wii.

If the current Wii U sales rate continues through the coming months, then the platform has an even more challenging road ahead of it than we thought. Before today we knew that it was the most expensive console currently available, is still building a library of must-have exclusives, and is currently waiting for new titles to trickle out over the next few months. What we did not fully appreciate until now was just how sensitive consumers would be to those factors outside of the holiday season.

History shows that Nintendo does better business during the holidays than its competitors do, generally speaking. A corollary to that is that Nintendo suffers more outside the holidays, and that bodes ill for the rest of their year. The middle of each of the past two years has been a painful slog through weak sales, even for strong software and new systems.

In a conversation with Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, he expressed shock that Nintendo has sold "under 1 million" Wii U system's in the U.S. so far. "If there are only 1 million Nintendo supporters in the U.S., that’s a really sad state of affairs," he told me.

On top of that, I'd add that Nintendo won't break a million Wii U systems before March unless February's sales show about a 20 percent increase over January. That's certainly possible, but statistically improbable.

Is there hope?

So what can Nintendo do? That's a tough problem, and not one that has an easy answer. Just look at how Sony has utterly failed in the past year to ignite sales of its PS Vita handheld. The company has stubbornly held onto its original pricing structure and maintained the high price of the memory cards required for the system. When retailers aggressively pushed discounted systems over the holidays, sales rose dramatically, but consumers quickly shut their wallets when the promotions ended.

Should Nintendo cut the Wii U price? Not if they want to maintain enough of a margin to make it through the end of the fiscal year with the profit that it promised. As Pachter told me, "they can cut price and lose money on each unit, but that isn't the right answer."

The real goal, of course, should be to make money on software. Unfortunately, it appears that Nintendo isn't making much progress there either, at least at retail. "Total software sales for the Wii U are under 2 million units in the U.S.," Pachter told me. That suggests that the system's LTD tie ratio can't be any higher than 2.1, and is in fact probably 2.0 or lower. With few new titles out there for the Wii U in the coming months, that situation isn't likely to improve.

Some of the weakness in software sales may be mitigated by the sale of software digitally, but Nintendo is firmly married to the retail market. President Satoru Iwata's promises to maintain good relations with retailers by partnering with them to sell digitally distributed software reveals precisely that, and this is their weakness. Nintendo is clinging to retail precisely when that segment is losing its relevance to the larger video game industry.

It's like retrofitting your horse-drawn carriages with car tires or selling chrome trim for horse bridles, and then touting your robust partnership with carriage dealers to sell those goods. When all those carriage dealers are out of business and your competitors are all selling new cars, who is going to care?


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Comments


Ian Fisch
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Look at some of the comments to this post that I wrote one week before launch

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/IanFisch/20121114/181509/4_reasons
_why_the_Nintendo_Wii_U_will_fail.php

Jimmy Albright
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Right, and in the case it WAS selling well you would have pretended to have never written the article. Congrats on being partially right on 50/50, I suppose.

The only points in your originally article that have any relevance to the situation at hand is #3, "the launch lineup problem" even then your logic is really questionable.

You praise the Wii launch because it had a "brand new Zelda title" and "Red Steel".

1. Twilight Princess was 100% a port of the gamecube version, the wiimote controls were awful and the visuals were identical the gamecube except everything in the game was mirrored. Skyward Sword was the only NEW Zelda game for the Wii, technically. TP was a worse game on the Wii, and honestly I'd even go as far to say you'd be hard pressed to find someone who's played both who disagrees.


2. Red Steel was awful, to praise the Wii launch and list Red Steel while saying ZombiU isn't going to cut it has me terribly confused. ZombiU sold more and has an aggregate score average that's a little over 10% higher than Red Steel.

Porting problems? Black Ops 2 actually got higher reviews on the WiiU than most reviews for the PC version (even beating out the PS3) that's with the so called "gimped online" that you keep talking about. (Once again, have you actually played Black Ops 2 online on the WiiU?)


"The Wii U, on the other hand, promises them the ability to continue playing on the gamepad's screen when the parents comandeer the living room TV screen. Considering the average gamers is over 30, that's not much to get excited about."

I'm going to blow your mind for a minute. Some of us actually have spouses and even *Gasp* children that use the TV. Just because you're 25 or 30 doesn't mean you command the TV at all times. Even Jerry Holkins who probably has enough money to have TV's in every room doesn't command the TV at all times.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/2013/01/11/comic-inbound

We get it man, you want Nintendo to fail, you don't understand the Gamepad. (doesn't sound like you've actually USED it either) When the WiiU climbs out of this though I don't think anyone cares enough to dig up your articles to prove how wrong you were.

Ian Fisch
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@Jimmy

Read the article more carefully.

The porting problems that the Wii U will face are down the road - when games are being developed for the next Xbox and Playstation, and will have to be retooled to work with the underpowered Wii U.

Jimmy Albright
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So you're speculating about porting problems that we don't know anything about at this point?

If the WiiU port of black ops 2 is actually getting better reviews than the PC version, I think there's little to worry about. Same thing with Assassins Creed 3. Next gen consoles are not going to be surpassing PC's in terms of power and performance.

Jason Wilson
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@Jimmy

Being reviewed better on the Wii U (or any machine) is meaningless unless the same person(s) reviewed the game for each machine.

I don't think anyone is crazy enough to believe Wii U [insert 3rd party game] is better than the PC version unless there's been some total failing or intentional handicapping on the part of the developer.

Jimmy Albright
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@Jason Wilson

You're 100% right, but I'm not saying a specific version is "better", I'm only pointing out the fallacy in thinking that somehow the porting experience between PS4 and "durango" to the WiiU is going to be more drastic than the PC. (Hint, it's not. Not unless somehow the ps4 and the durango have some proprietary hardware the the PC is incapable of taking advantage of.)

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Ian Fisch
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@Jimmy

You're living in a dream world.

When one console is a generation behind the other two, porting to it is always going to require a significant amount of work.

Just look at all of the Wii ports of Xbox 360/PS3 games. They basically had to be remade from the ground up.

Matt Wilson
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Ian, your article was right for the wrong reasons. The failure of the Wii U in the West can only come from top down marketing and management issues.

Nintendo is trying to change the way we play games and innovate. They did with the the Wii, they want to do it with the Wii U. It's not hard to see how having two channels of information, private/public, to the player can make for interesting games, especially interesting local multiplayer games - the opportunities are obvious even to non-designers such as the guys at Penny Arcade, even if you fail to note them in your own write-up. Something like the recently released Dungeonland by Critical Studio is perfect for the Wii U.

The established Western game publishers want to stick with tried and true. That model is already starting to visibly fail - how many of the GOTY picks across various websites and press were indie titles instead of AAA? But instead of opening up their console to indie development like MS did, Nintendo's put a price on devkits that quite easily prevent an indie from breaking even on the cost of the devkit, nevermind putting food on the table.

There are two cars playing chicken here, Nintendo and Western publishers, and the failure of the Wii U is going to happen if neither of them blink.

Ian Fisch
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@Matt

I definitely think that there are some great gameplay experiences to be had based around the Wii U's asymmetrical gameplay.

I didn't talk about them in my writeup, because I think they won't have an impact on the system's success or failure. I don't think they're system sellers or game changers.

I don't even think they can be compared to the impact that the original Wiimote had on gaming.

Matt Wilson
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I point out that retail sales have been shrinking since 2009. Going with more power, more effects (as we get more out of the systems' potentials) has proven not to be the answer so far, so why should it pose problems - to the consumers - for Wii U games?

What will sell systems -is- new gaming experiences and game changers, and this is proven by the booming popularity of indie titles in stark contrast to the continuing contraction of retail.

The Wii U offers a very seductive, smooth path into that for Western publishers with its unique gameplay opportunities, but like I suggested, I see it as two cars playing chicken.

Matt Robb
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The real problem is that Nintendo sells hardware based on their first-party games. If you look at the available products, most of them are ports of games that have been on other systems since before the Wii U was released. And what real Nintendo game did they come out of the gate with? A 2-D Mario platformer. Nice to have, but it's not going to have the pull that a Zelda, Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy or Smash Bros would. Was the platformer all they had time to finish for the system or are they playing the long game and plan on pushing these other titles out in successive holiday seasons?

warren blyth
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I thought the first 2-D mario on Wii did really well. yeah? maybe because it promised the first full game of multiplayer mario? and maybe because of a nostalgia shock, that we all liked 2D games from long ago?

So I bet Nintendo feels they DID launch with a new worthy Mario game, and is shocked it hasn't pushed systems.
(course I'm mind-reading. curious if anyone has more concrete feedback from Nintendo about the performance of the game, and their reaction).

I think the real problem is that the message isn't clear.

People say tablet games can't do what consoles do. Well here is the wiiU, offering the latest console games on a tablet - and nobody seems to be buying. either people didn't really want that on their tablet. or Nintendo failed to spread the message. ?

(I'd go further: I bet ninendo thought they could coast on the mystery of the device, much like iphones and ipads didn't have a strong system seller when they launched. I bet they plan to give a clear message at E3, when the competitors have made their stance clear, and favored gamepad experiences have become clear).

Matt Robb
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Yeah, New Super Mario Bros Wii was all about nostalgia and the idea of simultaneous multiplayer. Nostalgia wears off and the multiplayer actually made the game more difficult in many cases as you'd get in eachother's way.

I totally buy into their message for the system. The problem is it's still just a message, the software isn't here yet.

Evan Campbell
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Yeah, I think the message is super unclear. Not to mention - some of things they were saying to get that loyal blockbuster game audience back were kind of bogus or confusing. That sizzle reel with all those AAA devs was kind of an empty promise. Especially when those devs were allowed to come out two months later and say ..."we aren't working on anything right now for WiiU we are actually just focused on finishing our AAA game for ps3/360 buuuut when thats done MAYBE we's loved to develop for the console" ....meaning nothing besides a handful of games were being made to spec with the WiiU... which boils down to - not enough people working on games to figure out cool ways to use the new tech.

At the end of the day software is king. I think they fell flat with a launch line up that looked too similar to things that already exist...for cheaper. To make it worse it's almost like they are playing catch up in terms of getting those really awesome looking third party games out
in the market place so Nintendo can prove that the WiiU can do what current gen consoles are already doing. That's an uphill battle as well because if they want people to buy madden or Call of Duty on WiiU instead of something else Nintendo actually needs to prove that those games are better looking OR are more fun to play on WiiU.

With no first party title to say 'hey look how much more awesome games look and play on a WiiU than that last gen ps3/360 you own' There is no reason for people to spend that kind of money on a new machine.

Why was the game that made the best argument to buy a WiiU(for people who weren't sold on Mario Bros U) a Ubisoft title about zombies? As cool as ZombieU is - the game doesn't necessarily scream HEY EVERYBODY IT'S NEW CONSOLE TIME! Both of those games are rad but what I am trying to say is Nintendo should have taken a stronger initiative to have a stronger flag ship title. I am sure that's an incredibly hard thing to do...but even now it looks like that flagship title is anywhere between 8 months to two years away. In the mean time it's up to third parties to help beef up that WiiU library and Nintendo's third party relationships have been notoriously not so hot.

Even many of the exclusives the big N seemed to lock up appear to be slipping through their fingers. It's hard to say but in the beginning it looked like Nintendo was well on it's way to repair some of those third party relationships....but now it they seem to be back on the ropes. Mass Effect 3 came out on WiiU with a bunch of bonus features but in the same week EA said, 'you know...nows a good time to launch the entire ME collection on PS3 and X360 for the same price as ME3 WiiU'...Rayman Legends is no longer an exclusive and the same thing is happening on the 3DS.

Man I have already typed a ton and I haven't even gotten to the digital store stuff. Selling those games at retail price is craaazy. I am sure this will change as the WiiU manages to grow a better install base

I think WiiU could make up for some of those low sales if they could bring the price down on some of those games and convince people to start spending more money in the eshop.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Evan Campbell - Do you realize that you just further revealed that the problem is not with Nintendo but with the 3rd party companies (namely, non-Japanese 3rd companies)? Nintendo has really been trying to repair the damage that was done by Yamauchi (he was the main reason why 3rd companies started to dislike Nintendo at that time), but in case of the non-Japanese 3rd companies, it has been a problem getting cooperation from them at times. There are exceptions to the rule, but mostly from indie companies and development teams that want to work with Nintendo. Japan's Tecmo Koei itself may be releasing Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge for the Xbox 360 and the PS3, but at least, the company didn't delay the Wii U version of the game and it did release the Wii U version of Fist of the North Star 2 as a digital download in the US (the game is a niche title to begin with, so in this case, it is a safe and better course to offer the title as digital download only, for now). On the other hand, Ubisoft is delaying a completed game for no reason, which is even upsetting the dev team that worked hard on completing the game for the February release.

"I think WiiU could make up for some of those low sales if they could bring the price down on some of those games and convince people to start spending more money in the eshop." Actually, that's not a bad idea, in my opinion! Tank! Tank! Tank! is being sold at $50.00 and I recently noticed that Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition is being sold at $50.00 as well, so it is not impossible to sell the games at the same price as a Wii game. I can understand the reason for the price on some Wii U games, but at this point, it is best if the games are sold at $50.00 (or less, depending on the game). Also, the eShop could play a huge role on helping with the game sales if Nintendo and other game companies give a huge push for it.

Joe Zachery
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"So what can Nintendo do? That's a tough problem, and not one that has an easy answer. Just look at how Sony has utterly failed in the past year to ignite sales of its PS Vita handheld."

This is the one part I totally disagree with you can't compare apples to oranges. The west is clearly a bigger supporter of Home consoles than portables. Sony never came close to what Nintendo did when they felt the 3DS was in danger. A instant price cut followed by 1st party game support. Even when it comes to the PS3 Sony has never took the lead when it comes to helping push the hardware. If anything the PS3 has survived due to it's natural bond it shares with the 360. What ever game it gets the PS3 gets a off port of it.

For Nintendo to help turn the Wii U around. Clearly they need big 1st party games now! We do know need major hits will be at E3, but they need them sooner. Nintendo said they are not willing to cut the price, but this could help like it did with the 3DS. Finally and will be the hardest part. Start getting new 3rd party games. They don't need all of them, but at least about half of them. Don't aim to be the best selling console go for being the sidekick. That strategy has help both the 360/PS3 this entire generation.

Ian Fisch
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@Jimmy

The touchscreen gamepad may be a good value when compared to an Xbox 360 gamepad, but that's so not the point.

The point is that it makes the Wii U a much larger investment, at a time when Nintendo's main goal should be to expand the userbase.

@BP

I think a $200 HD Nintendo console that is roughly as powerful as a PS3 is a pretty attractive proposition. I think people would pay that much for the opportunity to play updated Mario Galaxy, Zelda, and Smash Bros.

Mikolaj Holowko
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You remember when ps3 came out it was selling so bad that they had to start giving it for free with mobile contracts, cable tvs, washing machines etc, and those were counting as sales.

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Ian Fisch
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Totally agree. The touchscreen is an anchor weighing them down.

I think that far more Nintendo fanboys would pick up a Wii U at $200 without the touchscreen than $350 with the touchscreen.

Perry Swisz
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I have to disagree. After playing the Wii U, the touchscreen really does offer some revolutionary changes to gameplay. ZombiU is the perfect example, it really would be just an average game without the gamepad, but when used with the gamepad it becomes a truly terrifying survival game.

I'm pretty confused that Ubisoft has pushed back Rayman though. 1st that is just the kind of game the Wii U needs right now. 2nd from what I've seen and played of the demo, the 360 and PS3 versions are going to have to be awful without the 2nd screen. Ok, awful might be an overstatement, but it will be pretty weak compared to the Wii U version....unless they add in PSV/PSP/Smartglass support to supplement them.

Jimmy Albright
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@Ian Fisch / @Dan Eisenhower

Yeah, fragmenting a platform like that is a great idea! *eyeroll* Why don't they make a 3DS version without 3D?

Certainly it's going to help the problem with developers, since now you have essentially 2 very different platforms to develop for. This is the issue on why the WiiU is having problems selling, NOT the GamePad. This quarter doesn't exactly look promising for 1st party releases (on the WiiU, 3DS is looking great) and Nintendo is going to suffer for it.

Have you actually spent time with a WiiU at all? People criticize the controller without actually understanding it's the key component about the WiiU. That's like saying there should have been a Wii that didn't come with Wiimotes, and only came with classic controllers. It's absurd.

If you "don't get" the Gamepad or why it's so great I urge you to play ZombiU with it. It's a wonderful example of integration with the traditional gameplay experience. It only adds to the gaming experience, not something like the wiimote that gives you advantages in some areas but disadvantages in others. Once you "get it" you'll just start thinking about the endless possibilities with it.

People seem so eager to declare that Nintendo is over, (especially you, you seem to constantly talk about how they're collapsing but never seem to engage anyone who shares a different opinion) maybe I'm missing something but this happens literally every single generation since the Nintendo 64. People said the same thing about the 3DS, and now it's absolutely demolishing the Vita. (I read sales figures that had the Vita selling like 1/40th of the 3DS overseas.)


Dario Silva: "Also, the fact that they didn't even bother to make the sensor bar wireless "

You can buy 3rd party wireless sensors EVERYWHERE. I actually lost my original Wii sensor bar when I moved and couldn't find a wired one anywhere(not locally anyways). Maybe you will enjoy constantly changing out 4 double AA batteries, but not everyone has a problem with it. I was quite happy that a wired bar came with the WiiU.

Matt Robb
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@Jimmy Albright, just how many of the current crop of Wii U games is remarkably better because of the touchscreen? Most of them are ports of games from other systems.

I totally agree that the controller is the point, but are we going to have to wait another year before the system is more than a $350 ZombiU game player?

Ian Fisch
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@Jimmy

The question is whether the gamepad is actually worth the extra $100 it tacks onto the system's price.

So far the highest rated game is Super Mario Bros Wii U, and the touchscreen is far from integral to that experience.

Zombie U got middling reviews and it's the only title so far where the touchscreen actually matters.

Jimmy Albright
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Ian Fisch: Maybe prices have gone down, but the last time I purchased a 360 controller, retail price was something close to $45.00. So for $100.00, you're getting a controller that you can play games and surf the internet on, has a front facing camera for video chat, and integrated motion control support and NFC. That's pretty good considering it's double the price of a 360 controller.

The problem is developers taking full advantage of it, not the technology itself as you claim. Releasing a separate WiiU without the tablet would literally be Nintendo performing Hara Kiri.

Brian Peterson
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@Ian: Assuming they followed your lead and removed the touchscreen and the extra $100 it adds to the cost of the system, Nintendo would be left with trying to sell a new Wii system with a significant but unmarketable graphical upgrade for $200. Considering that the Wii isn't selling very well anymore, more of the same doesn't sound like a good plan.

Most of the positive press the system is receiving, from sites like Penny Arcade and Kotaku, are about how having a second screen makes local multiplayer new and exciting, and how the system incorporates conveniently into a family household. While Nintendo is understandably having trouble marketing the system on these benefits, the unique touchscreen experience is going to differentiate and sell the system in the long run.

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Jeferson Soler
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@ Dan Eisenhower - The real selling points for the Wii were the motion controls from the Wii Remote and the games that were done for the Wii. The balance board and other peripherals were something extra, just like past Nintendo peripherals for the older game systems (although, I'll admit that the balance board was one of the most popular of the bunch). Nintendo didn't make motion controls mandatory, but those controls were something expected from some games that could (and should) take advantage of them. In case of the Wii U Gamepad, it is the same deal, but unlike the Wii Remote (which I like), the Wii U Gamepad can be used like a regular game controller but with a screen at the center of it. I could be wrong about this, but I'm assuming that Fist of the North Star 2 doesn't use the touch screen function at all, and if so, then that's further proof that the touch screen function is optional. The only function that the game seems to use is the ability to play it on the Wii U Gamepad as an alternate screen, which is a good thing for people that want to play the game, while other people watch the TV. Plus, you can also use the Wii U Pro Controllers and the majority of the Wii controllers on the Wii U, so there are alternatives to playing the game and no reason to not produce a game for the Wii U. By the way, the Wii U Gamepad also has motion controls, so motion control still plays a role in the Wii U, but just like other functions, it is not mandatory. As for the whole Aliens game cancellation, I don't know if the Aliens game has been cancelled or not, but to me, it doesn't matter either way, because based on the criticism that the other versions of the game got, I have to say that it is best if the game doesn't get released for the Wii U at all. Even if the Aliens game takes complete advantage of the Wii U Gamepad, it will take more than using the Wii U Gamepad to save a game that's considered awful. I checked several criticisms at the Sega forum and at the game's Facebook page and those criticisms don't look pretty.

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Jeferson Soler
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@ Dan Eisenhower - "So if it isn't mandatory for developers then why is it mandatory for consumers?"

That's almost like comparing apples to oranges, because consumers can choose to either buy or not buy a device and/or a game, depending on their tastes/preferences. For example, some people could buy the Wii U just for the option of playing games on the Wii U Gamepad screen instead of on TV and not worry about the touchscreen function, while other people could buy the Wii U to try out the Wii U Gamepad's touchscreen function and expect for some Wii U games to use the touchscreen function for easy controls/easy navigation. You commented earlier about developers not wanting to make games for the Wii U, saying that many developers view the touchscreen as an imposition, but that is nothing more than an excuse as the function is an option that they can choose to either implement or not implement. Not to mention, the DS, the 3DS and the touchscreen mobile devices come with the touchscreen function, too, and between those systems, a lot of people seem to have no problem with the touchscreen function as they spoke with their wallets and bought one of those devices. From the devices that were mentioned before, the touchscreen mobile devices are the ones that would make the touchscreen completely mandatory for developers and consumers, and yet, they don't seem to have a problem with that (especially the consumers). In case of the DS and the 3DS, the touchscreen function is not mandatory, but it is something that's expected to be used as it is one of the selling points of the systems and it is a function that can make some games fun, easy to use, or both. Technically speaking, the Wii U transforms the TV into a giant DS, but in reality, it does more than that. If a developer wants to create a shooter game for the Wii U but does not want to use the touchscreen function, he/she could still take advantage of other functions, like the camera and the motion controls. In case of the camera and the motion controls, those functions can be used to let you look around you in a 360 degrees vision in a FPS game or to let you stir a spaceship while shooting enemy spaceships through a radar screen in a space shooter. The Wii U Gamepad could also be used as a steering wheel for car racing games. So pretty much, there's no reason for a game developer to not make a game for the Wii U unless the developer doesn't like Nintendo (for whatever reason) to begin with. As for the consumers, I can understand if some of them don't want to buy the system just yet, but I'll admit that Nintendo of America could have done a better job at marketing the Wii U (especially let people know that it can play Wii games). To sell the system, NOA has to do a better at promoting the system and not rely too much on word of the mouth.

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Jeferson Soler
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@ Dan Eisenhower - "Uh but Jefereson consumers can not choose to not buy the WiiU pad based on their tastes. They must buy it with the WiiU hardware, and implicitly must show interest in games that use the pad. So if Nintendo didn't include the pad, consumers indeed could choose to buy it based on the games that developers publish."

Not quite, because when people buy the Wii U, they are very likely buying with the Wii U Gamepad in mind and not just the games (even though games are what truly sell any game system). Plus, as I and others pointed out before, the touchscreen is not the only function of the Wii U Gamepad and the controller can still be used like a regular controller but with a screen in it (which can be used for different things, like map reading and split screen). Having said that, keep in mind that the Wii U also has MiiVerse for chat and communications, and for the MiiVerse, that will definitely be using the touchscreen function as it is necessary for typing, writing, or drawing messages. The Wii U Gamepad has a software keyboard that's triggered in places where you can post messages, whether it is a typed message, a written message, or a drawn message (in case of the last one, I noticed a lot of people doing drawings and work of art on their posts at MiiVerse). If the Wii U was sold without the Wii U Gamepad and sold with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk instead, then Nintendo would be doing really bad right now as the people would view the Wii U as a pumped up version of the Wii and see no reason to buy one. Not to mention, some of the network based functions from the Wii U, like MiiVerse, would be almost worthless (if not, pointless) as not everyone will get a keyboard to use with the Wii U and not everyone will have the patience to use a software keyboard with the Wii Remote (and I like the Wii Remote, by the way). Nintendo would have been in danger of having another N64 incident but for different reasons. The Wii U coming with the Wii U Gamepad offers an unique experience and makes the system stand out more. The real problem with the Wii U sales has nothing to do with the inclusion of the Wii U Gamepad, but everything to do with other factors, including the ones that are beyond Nintendo's control (like the mindset of some people). I'll admit that a low price wouldn't have been bad, but if you compare the Deluxe Edition of the Wii U with the premium editions of Xbox 360 and of PS3 when they were first launched, $350 for the Wii U Deluxe Edition is not so bad, especially considering what comes packed with it. To me, what really hurt the Wii U sales was Nintendo offering two different SKUs of the system and that's aside from the need for major game titles (which are coming on March), not so strong marketing in the US and a current shaky economy. Let's look at the two SKUs for compare-contrast:

- Basic Edition -

White Wii U Console
White Wii U GamePad
Wii U GamePad Stylus
Sensor Bar
Wii U Console AC Adapter
Wii U GamePad AC Adapter
HDMI® Cable

- Deluxe Edition -

Black Wii U Console
Black Wii U GamePad
Nintendo Land™ Video Game
Wii U GamePad Stylus
Sensor Bar
Wii U Console AC Adapter
Wii U GamePad AC Adapter
HDMI® Cable
Wii U GamePad Stand
Wii U GamePad Cradle
Wi U Console Stand

In addition to a packed-in game, the Deluxe Edition (which tends to be more popular at a glance) comes with three accessories that cost extra if purchased separately and 32 GB of storage space. On the other hand, the Basic Edition doesn't even come with a packed-in game and has only 8 GB of storage space. If Nintendo had included a packed-in game, two stands and 16 GB-32 GB of storage space with the Basic Edition and had included a Wii Remote with a Nunchuk with the Deluxe Edition, then things might have been different, but even then, I would still have to say that Nintendo should sell only one SKU of the system. Right now, Nintendo did the same mistake that Microsoft and Sony did with Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively as well as that Nintendo of America did with the NES (remember the NES Core System and the NES Deluxe Set?). I'm also concerned with Nintendo's strategy of releasing a Deluxe Edition bundle that comes with two games (Nintendoland as a digital download and ZombiU as a physical copy) and the pro-controller. That might help with boosting some sales, but even if the strategy does work, it would be further proof that the Basic Edition was never a necessity to begin with. In any case, I personally have to say that Nintendo should be given a chance and let it show what it (and others) can do with the Wii U, but the company will have to be careful with its next couple moves.

Patrick Davis
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It's a simple case of: Games sell the system. When the games come, the system will sell. It really is that simple. People are overthinking this. Is no one watching Nintendo Direct?

What can help them until then? Probably not much. The storm is defintely coming though, and it looks fierce.

David R
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Please correct title of first chart. It refers to months, but has data that is units sold per week.

Matt Matthews
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Because the months have different numbers of weeks, the only way to look at comparable figures is on a weekly average basis for any given month.

For example, November 2000 (for the PS2 figure) is a four-week retail month. However, the Wii U figure is January 2007, a five-week month that included a leap week. Normally January would be a four-week month!

It refers to the weekly average for any given month, and therefore is (IMO) correctly labeled.

Matthew Mouras
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Watch these numbers start to turn when Monster Hunter 3 is released.

Michael Pianta
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I really like Nintendo and their design sensibilities, but for the first time ever I'm concerned for them. I knew the Wii-U would not sell as well as the Wii, but this is worse than I expected.

I think the root problem is actually completely outside of Nintendo's control. There is a segment of the gaming public that does not like Nintendo. They actively dislike Nintendo and what (they think) Nintendo represents. They feel so strongly that they become enraged if a game they might like is actually planned for a Nintendo console (witness Bayonetta 2 outrage). Furthermore, being primarily born into a post Playstation world, these people do not have any special affinity for Mario or Zelda or any of Nintendo's storied franchises. The big problem for Nintendo is that these people are also the main console buying demographic.

Meanwhile the people who do like Nintendo are not numerous enough to support modern hardware/software development. Nintendo therefore releases weaker hardware (to keep costs down) and compensates by offering innovative play experiences tied to innovative controllers. On paper that sounds like a fairly good plan (at least to me), but in practice it is at odds with how modern 3rd parties make games. They want to make multiplatform games, mainly. They don't want to have to redesign the control scheme and rebalance the game around that or retrain the audience who've been playing with more or less the same control scheme on the more or less the same controller for 15 years. I think Nintendo hopes that at some point the development costs will become too high and frighten 3rd parties away from the high end machines and into their waiting arms. But obviously that didn't happen with the Wii and I see little reason to think that will happen with the Wii-U.

So Nintendo is in a tough spot. I have trouble envisioning a way out for them. But I do think we should reserve full judgement until we see how the other pieces of new hardware fare, because possibly they won't fare any better. Then we will know that these numbers have less to do with Nintendo's place in the industry and more to do with the economy and/or overall health of consoles. Perversely, that might be the best thing Nintendo could hope for.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Michael Pianta - While I agree with your comments, you have to keep in mind that several people from the Internet as well as from inner circles don't speak for the majority of the populace. There are people that don't even know about the politics that occur within the videogame industry (more or less, buy and/or read videogame magazines). Having said, it is possible (and more than likely) that much of the anti-Nintendo mind set that you speak of has to do with the events that occurred since the Mortal Kombat controversy. In case of the MK controversy, that's more connected with Nintendo of America, but couple of the other events are connected to Yamauchi, who was/is Iwata's predecessor. Yamauchi wanted to have a tight iron fist on the videogame industry and did everything to make sure that Nintendo would be the main videogame company. The problem with him being in charge became more apparent when Nintendo was in the process of creating a successor to the SNES. From what I heard, Nintendo was actually teaming up with Sony on building a successor to the SNES, but things fell apart on both sides. Sony decided to use their tech design and make their own game system (the original Playstation), while Nintendo ended up releasing a successor to the SNES that didn't use CDs (a change from Nintendo's original plans). If it wasn't for Square (who was mad at Nintendo at that time) producing Final Fantasy VII for the PS, then it is possible that the Playstation would have gone the way of the 3DO. Some people may claim otherwise, but FF VII was what ultimately helped the Playstation become a force to be reckoned with. Nintendo may have retired Yamauchi from his position some time later, but much of the damage was already done (especially outside of Japan). If it wasn't for Ocarina of Time, the N64 would have been in bigger trouble than expected. Even though Nintendo has changed a lot in the last couple years, there are people that still judge Nintendo based on what happened in the past. However, I find it quite hypocritical of some people criticizing Nintendo based on the past as there are couple guys currently in charge of Sony that are worst than Yamauchi and Microsoft is not that innocent, either. Now, about the Wii U sales, the low sales may be attributed to couple things:

1. Not enough major software - This is something that tends to be brought up the most, and technically, that one is true as games do sell a game system. In my opinion, the launch line-up for the Wii U wasn't bad, but for the system to really sell, it needed more exclusives, which are coming. Along with exclusives, it could also use major titles that would play better on the Wii U than on anywhere else thanks to the Wii U Gamepad.
2. Multiple SKUs - As I pointed out before, I believe that Nintendo would have sold the Wii U even more if it only offered the Deluxe Edition of the system (especially in two colors). The Deluxe Edition tends to get sold the most.
3. Marketing/advertising - Somebody mentioned marketing/advertising as a problem, and the more I think about, that would be the icing in the cake. In case of the US, the marketing may have being strong but not strong enough. I don't know what's the story behind Nintendo of America and its strategy on advertising the system, but I'll say that it needs to do a better job on marketing the Wii U, especially show that it can play Wii games.

Assuming that Nintendo is doing OK in Japan in regard to the Wii U sales, I have to say that the problem is more to do with outside of Japan, so the ones in charge of the Nintendo companies from outside of Japan have to step up their game and do a better job on promoting the system.

Michael Pianta
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@Jeferson

Definitely all of that is true too. I actually have wondered if the state of 3rd party support for Nintendo cannot be traced back to the way 3rd parties were treated in the NES/SNES era. It's as though all the 3rd parties were all too happy to jump ship as soon as there was a viable alternative. And you're also right about Sony - that is in my opinion Nintendo's most significant miscalculation ever. Nintendo essentially commissioned the Playstation from Sony. Boy. You reap what you sow.

A W
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@Jeferson,you hit the nail on the head. And about the only thing that will rectify some of that damage, is an announcemet of GTA for a Nintendo home console. It the only thing in the minds of gamers that will prove that Nintendo is real. Sad but its the reality.

Christian Nutt
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Have to say, I find it hard to believe Sony and MS won't be polishing the bridle-chrome, too.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Christian Nutt - What do you mean? Are you saying that Sony and Microsoft are going to run into the same problems as the Wii U? Because if that's what you meant, then I have to say that I agree with you.

John Gordon
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I expect the new Sony and Microsoft consoles to have disappointing sales results. I also expect the Steambox to disapppoint. With the economy the way it is I don't think there are a lot of people out there who want to shell out money for an expensive, shiny new console.

Jeferson Soler
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@ John Gordon - That's another factor that we should consider: today's economy. People will be more conscious and cautious when it comes to purchasing a new game system as well as a new game as the current economy makes potential customers concerned and worried.

Joe Rielly
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To blame retail markets or Nintendo being "firmly married to the retail market" is absurd. Where else would they sell their hardware?

As others above have said it is the software, or lack there of quality software that is the main problem. IMO Nintendo is marketed to a younger average audience. That younger audience has many more gaming options than the golden age of the NES, SNES, and N 64.

I think they should take some of their classic IPs like Zelda, Metroid and make them more mature and market them to the gamers that grew up on the above mentioned systems.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Joe Rielly - "I think they should take some of their classic IPs like Zelda, Metroid and make them more mature and market them to the gamers that grew up on the above mentioned systems." Considering that the Metroid games for the Gamecube and the Wii were rated T for Teen, I have to say that doing a Metroid game for an older audience would be feasible and logical.

"To blame retail markets or Nintendo being "firmly married to the retail market" is absurd. Where else would they sell their hardware?" Plus, there are people that still prefer physical copies of the console games and are not ready to go digital. Also, if Nintendo was "firmly married to the retail market", then it would have put its foot down when Tecmo Koei wanted to release the Fist of the North Star game for the Wii U as a digital download only. Instead, Nintendo (to be more precise, Nintendo of America in this case) allowed Tecmo Koei to sell the Wii U version of Fist of the North Star 2 as a digital download, and while I prefer physical copies of console games, I have to say that this was a smart move on the part of both companies, especially on the part of Tecmo Koei as the game is a niche title outside of Japan.

Jimmy Albright
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I love Nintendo but Nintendo of America makes some really questionable decisions.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Jimmy Albright - Isn't that the truth?

andrew kristovich
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@Ian Fisch, Honestly Ian i completely agree and disagree with you at the same time. What I'm getting from reading your articles past and present about your thoughts on the Wii U is that you were once a huge Nintendo fan that has been let down multiple times in the last decade. By no means is the Wii U on the bottom of any launch performance list. Yes everyone would love to see new first party titles that are game changers for the system, however we must let them have the time they need (not 3 months) to let devs dive into the systems capabilities before we start blasting them like this. i haven't owned a Nintendo system since the GameCube reign of disappointment but i feel this is Nintendo's chance to silence critics like you. And as for your comments on the game pad... sigh... well how do i say this, would you know the full capabilities of your 2013 Mercedes Benz before you sat in the driver seat? Yeah im gonna assume you said no. Who honestly expects to see this system shine before the end of its first year on market? I was skeptical when i bought the Wii U. And for one black ops II is no gimp. i have it on PS3 and Wii U and the Wii U version is much more polished, smooth, and prettier to look at. there's absolutely no difference in the online multiplayer. And who cares if other titles were whored over to the Wii U. Isn't that the catch 22 of all non exclusive titles?

All I'm saying is that I'm a Nintendo fan until they come out with another Wii. And i think its short-sighted to try and bust them while there down. We have five days until we hear what outrageous price Sony is trying to sell the PS4 at, why not wait to drag a company over the coals until we really feel violated? Another 600$ launch price tag is just the thing i need to feel violated and taken advantage of. As far as I'm concerned Sony and Microsoft are dead to me. 3 broken 360s later and 2 PS3's later they have gotten well over their launch price from me and if im going to spend that much on a system its going to be a PC that is more useful and better at playing games then the stack of broken Sony and Microsoft crap i have in my garage. At least Nintendo builds reliable systems. i suppose it has to do with not trying to put the newest, shiniest processor and GPU in their systems.

Mike Griffin
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The window for recovery narrows each day in a year that will bring us spotlight-hogging hardware intros from MS and Sony.

Let's hope it doesn't get Dreamcasted in a semi-shocking time frame.

Nintendo is sitting on a lot of capital to weather this drought for a stretch, but you hate to see a near future where this venerable company is merely lingering and languishing with their console du jour, just as the vultures begin to circle the wagons.

Let's hope that a year from now we aren't still giving the "U" descriptors like "Underwhelming" and "Unprepared"...or perhaps it will be "Undone."

Leon T
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Nintendo needs to pull out every trick. Bundles, colors, give away units with PCs, get it on talk shows, do a relaunch, do a redesign relaunch with a new inpute device, ect...

Jeferson Soler
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@ Leon T - I agree with the idea of bundles and different colors, but to make that idea work, Nintendo should do away with the Basic Edition of the Wii U and create a special offer for the ones that bought the Basic Edition. I personally feel that Nintendo would have sold the Wii U even more if there was only one SKU (the Deluxe Edition) but in two colors. In comparison to Xbox 360 and PS3 when they were first released and considering the tech behind the Wii U, the $350 price tag for the Deluxe Edition is not bad at this point, so the Wii U would still have sold if there was only the Deluxe Edition. Nintendo may have learned its lesson from the 3DS (the Wii U is being sold at a small loss for the time being), but it did not learn the lesson from Sony and Microsoft (let alone, Nintendo of America when NES was first released). Multiple SKUs of a system are a double-edged sword and are not always a good idea of doing. If Nintendo was going to go through with the strategy, then the company should have done something more with the Basic Edition and the Deluxe Edition.

@ Cameron King - Not really!

Jane Castle
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@Soler

That "couch" you are sitting on needs to go; it really doesn't tie the room together... ;P

Jeferson Soler
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@ Jane Castle - "That "couch" you are sitting on needs to go; it really doesn't tie the room together... ;P"

I was in West Virginia for my sister's graduation and we and our parents and friends went to a hotel restaurant to celebrate her graduation. The couch that you speak of is from a luxury hotel in West Virginia, where the celebration took place, so if you have a problem with the couch, you should criticize the hotel owners.

Leon T
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@Cameron

A relaunch would be good enough. Nintendo also needs to stop putting their fate in the hands of third parties and expand to support their hardware with more first/second party support.

@Jeferson Soler

I think multiple SKUs are the least of their problems.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Leon T - "I think multiple SKUs are the least of their problems." Maybe, but keep in mind that the Basic Edition only has 8 GB of storage memory and no game bundled with it. Not to mention, it doesn't even come with the additional accessories that are included in the Deluxe Edition. In my opinion, the Basic Edition would sell even more if it came with a game and 16 GB-32 GB of storage memory, while the Deluxe Edition would have a Wii Remote and Nunchuk included in order to retain the Deluxe status. By the way, I agree with you that Nintendo should not put its fate in the hands of third parties, but having said that, there are exceptions to the rule as not all 3rd parties are bad (flawed, but not bad). Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate and Dragonquest X (if it gets released in the US) look very promising.

Leon T
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Of course not all third parties are bad. I just think Nintendo needs to stop trying to leave room for them or stop using third parties an excuse not to expand more. Nintendo tries rely on third parties to fill holes in their lineup when they can just fill it on their own.

Having third party support is always good and should be welcomed. Although when you have a history of not getting good support after a few generations it is time to stop thinking that they will be there for you in a big way.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Leon T - Point taken!

GameViewPoint Developer
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I think how well the Wii U does is pretty much linked to what Sony and Microsoft do this year. If the new PS and Xbox don't offer something which really makes us all sit and take notice than I think a price drop combined with some great games the Wii U can survive for a time at least.

If however the new PS and Xbox make everyone go "Wow", if they manage to give core gamers a whole new level of experience in the visuals, and perhaps connectivity then I think it's basically all over for the Wii U.

Sony and Microsoft always had a range of gamer types, but mostly shall we say hardcore gamers. The Wii was always the more casual gamers, the problem is, is that these more casual gamers have all moved off to Facebook and now onto phones/tablets. This biggest threat to Nintendo has not been Microsoft and Sony but Apple. And still is if Apple jazz up their Apple TV.

How great would it of been if Nintendo had launched a new console that was truly a tablet? You could plug it into the TV and play on the big screen (maybe using the tablet screen as a 2nd screen) but you could also detach it and play games on the way to work, at work and then continue again on the big screen at home?

If that was what they launched then the current gen visuals (and they always have great design anyway) would of been fine. Then I think they would of had a real chance in this current climate.

Anyway if they drop the price a lot, I'll probably end up getting one in a year or 2, but I already know I'll definitely be getting a new PS or Xbox.

Chris Hendricks
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"How great would it of been if Nintendo had launched a new console that was truly a tablet? You could plug it into the TV and play on the big screen (maybe using the tablet screen as a 2nd screen) but you could also detach it and play games on the way to work, at work and then continue again on the big screen at home?"

This would have been ideal, and I'm actually expecting that this is what will happen for whatever kind of Wii U successor happens (long time down the road, I know).

GameViewPoint Developer
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@Chris,

If they had styled it like the SNES I would of bought it without thinking. Unfortunately I don't think there will be a Wii U successor.

Andrew Chen
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This is the direction hardware is heading, but its not there yet. Particularly for Nintendo who would see revenues contract by...a third? Half?
They would basically be combining their mobile and console hardware, so no more double dipping with two Mario Karts, two Mario Tennis' etc. No company would do that to themselves (no shareholder would ever be happy with such a move either) unless they absolutely had to...and it seems that often, by the time you "have to", its already too late.

(sidenote: Nintendo DID just consolidate their hardware R&D teams tho...)

GameViewPoint Developer
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@Andrew,

"and it seems that often, by the time you "have to", its already too late."

Exactly that's the point, we haven't even seen the new Xbox/Ps and already the Wii U seems to be in troubled waters, if Nintendo are thinking this machine will be another Wii then I think they will end up in a difficult situation in a years time.

Your point about the whole double dipping one is a valid one but you could argue it the other way and look at how much they would save by just having one mobile/console device? How much better/easier would it of been to put all the resources into ONE amazing Zelda? ONE amazing Metroid etc.

If they had released a true Nintendo mobile console tablet, they would instantly of beaten Apple to the living room, with the great games they have they would of competed happily for the casual gamers. They could of had a Nintendo developer program like Apple's and like Apple taken 30% off the top, because in the future the real money is in the App stores and that 30%. And like I said nobody would of minded current gen visuals because a) it would of been seen as a "tablet" and b) casuals gamers are not woo'd by amazing visuals anyway.

Why Nintendo didn't go down that route is a mystery to me.

I don't think there's anyone who wants to see Nintendo fail, and not be making these crazy cool games that frankly nobody else does. The reason for the "fear mongering" is born out of everyone wanting to see there still be a Nintendo in 5 years time making hardware.

If anyone from Nintendo is listening, this is what you need to be doing and as soon as possible!

David OConnor
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I think the title of your article is over-negative: it seems that you are either click baiting or shilling. I'm calling you out on this.

Even according to your last graph, the Wii U's sales in the first 3 months of its life are about in the middle of the pack, compared with all the consoles going back 2 generations.

Sure, the numbers aren't as good as the original Wii... but they are "fair to good", absolutely not "abysmal". In fact, given the economy and lack of marquee games at launch, Wii U sales have been excellent.

Jay Anne
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It called the January estimates abysmal. They are.

Derek Poole
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Is anyone kind of afraid that Nintendo might go the way of Sega before the next console generation is over?

GameViewPoint Developer
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That's the writing on the wall, but there's still time left on the clock.

Jimmy Albright
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People say this every single time Nintendo releases something. The 64 uses cartridges, it's going to fail! The Gamecube doesn't play DVD's, what is Nintendo thinking?!?! They said it about the Wii, the DS, and the 3DS.

Even if the WiiU performs below expectations Nintendo is so far ahead financially than where they were in the last race they have room for error. (Not to mention the 3DS is really picking up steam)


Worldwide sales figures


Wii – 99.38 million as of 31 December 2012
PlayStation 3 – 70.2 million as of 30 September 2012
Xbox 360 – 75.9 million as of 31 December 2012


Japan sales figures
Wii – 11,534,590 as of 1 April 2011
PlayStation 3 – 6,341,950 as of 1 April 2011
Xbox 360 – 1,448,665 as of 1 April 2011


Europe sales figures
Wii – 24.9 million as of December 2010
PlayStation 3 – 19.7 million as of December 2010
Xbox 360 – 13.7 million as of December 2010


United States sales figures
Wii – 30 million as of 10 August 2010
Xbox 360 – 18.7 million as of 31 December 2009
PlayStation 3 - nearly 12 million as of 14 April 2010

Derek Poole
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@jimmy:

Yes, I'm aware of the sales figures. And, I'm a regular Nintendo customer. But with each generation, the game changes. I'm just not sure if they can duplicate the risk and reward they had with the Wii. Also, the timing for releasing a new system just seems really bad...anyone else agree?

Jeferson Soler
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@ Derek Poole - "Also, the timing for releasing a new system just seems really bad...anyone else agree?" It only seems that bad due to the current economy looking bad, so people will be more cautious with their purchases. Having said that, Nintendo had to produce a new system to keep the momentum, so it's not like the company had much of a choice. Also, I don't think that Nintendo is going the way of Sega at this point.

Leon T
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Since the 3DS is doing ok it is not likely that Nintendo will go the way of Sega. In fact I think Sony is closer to that at this point then Nintendo is.

@Jeferson Soler
Nintendo had the choice of supporting the Wii better in the last two years and launching the Wii U this up coming holiday with an OS already installed, all features there day one, and more first party games ready for launch.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Leon T - "Nintendo had the choice of supporting the Wii better in the last two years and launching the Wii U this up coming holiday with an OS already installed, all features there day one, and more first party games ready for launch."

In case of the Wii U, I was referring to that Nintendo had to release a new system, because it was expected for them to do so. Derek felt that the timing of the Wii U release was bad, but Nintendo didn't have a choice at that. However, they did have a choice on other stuff, like the stuff that you just mentioned. In case of the Wii support, I noticed the problem more in the US with NoA winding down, but Japan may have been a different story.

A W
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This article is quite "abymal" in drinking the doom kool aid. But I'm all for being on the sidelines and seeing how it plays out. All I got to say is that Nintendo is a cut throat business, and they will do what they got to do to profit and make it for the next five years.

Jeferson Soler
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@ A W - And based on past actions during the problems with the 3DS sales, the company can do it without throwing the little people under the bus.

Harlan Sumgui
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must say, the aggressive and fannish tone of many comments is offputting. Is this still an industry site?

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Duvelle Jones
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@Harlan Sumgui:
It still is last that I checked, but lately... there has been this rather defensive tone to all matters of traditional gaming lately. I am not sure that there is a point to all of that, but we'll have to see.

@Dan Eisenhower:
That is not really typical to just Nintendo, any fan of any product would view the product and the company that produces the product as sacred. Soinc, Apple, etc. It's rather common behaviour.... and the defensiveness that comes with that view it also common.

David OConnor
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Sorry Harlan but I find that this article is far too negative, I'm not a Nintendo fanboy by any stretch of the imagination, having owned PS1 and PS2, an XBox 360, and a Nintendo 64... though these days I play on my PC and this will likely remain true in future too, until I have kids.

Honestly, I'd just like to bring some balance to the discussion. The tone of the article is FUD DOOM, whereas the Wii U's sales have been (surprisingly) acceptable.

(PS. From your avatar, are you also a Jesus lookalike? Fun!)

Johan Wendin
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Why so focused in the US market? You might be interested to know that there are more out there. Include European and Asian mumbers too for a bit fairer comparison.

Also, your comparisons only look at numbers - without concidering financial times as a whole. Or rather, it looks like you did so intentionally.

Coulf they have done better? Yes, for sure. They need a good system seller. (zelda / monster hunter). Until those are released - spamming negative reports in some vague hope to further discredit them are borderline useless.


You downplay the 360 and PS3 slow start for various reasons, but don't do the same for the WiiU despite being released in the aftermath of a severly damaged economy? Sounds like bias to me.

William Johnson
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Well, the Japanese market has contracted big time, so they're not exactly offsetting how much money is made in the states. But if you must know.

system....weekly.....YTD
3DSLL...48,226....311,802
3DS......26,898.....217,097
PS3.....18,322.....125,362
Wii U...13,746......118,198
PSP......12,897.....100,182
PS Vita...9,748.....63,181
Wii.......2,093......11,797
XB360.....611.......4,131
http://the-magicbox.com/1302/game130201a.shtml

Its selling about the same in Japan as it is in America.

I can't seem to find any of the article's I've read about the UK sales, but I know it was doing very poorly there. And while the UK isn't exactly a reflection of all of Europe, I'd like to think it's a sizable enough poll to get a tastes of how the WiiU is doing in Europe. Also I believe the UK is the largest European economy and consumers of video games. So if its not doing well in the UK its probably not fairing any better in the rest of Europe.

So I don't know how much information you need to see before you maybe start to question how well the WiiU is doing. Because...I don't think it's doing very well...

Michael Joseph
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"Coulf they have done better? Yes, for sure. They need a good system seller. (zelda / monster hunter)."

This may be incredibly naive of me but, how come this even happens anymore? How do you release a new system without a killer lineup of games to show if off?

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Andrew Chen
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I honestly can't think of a system after the 64 (with Mario 64, natch) that launched with a "killer-app" that showed off what the system was about.
Yes yes Wii Sports, but y'know what I mean. Core title of technical and design brilliance.

Maybe this is because of the length of time these games take to make. Two years? Three? That transition period between product generations really is tricky. Do you commit the resources of your ace teams for the large established cash cow market or invest their time into the system showpiece?

Jeferson Soler
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@ Andrew Chen - So far, Pikmin 3 seems to be slated for a March release, and since Nintendo said that the launch window will last until March, then you could say that Pikmin 3 is that launch title that will do the job. It may not be a full-fledged launch title as it wasn't released around the same time as the Wii U itself, but based on Nintendo's launch strategy, Pikmin 3 is a launch title. The same is true for Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate, which will be a major 3rd party title for the Wii U and Capcom is going to make sure of that.

Andrew Chen
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@Jef: Those both look like very fun games, but they possibly don't count as "killer-app system seller". Tri U because its an upport of a handheld game and is an entry in a franchise that has not yet caught the faiya among Western markets.
Pikimin...well it would be nice if it turns out to be so awesome that it transcends market segments to become a bonafide must-buy-U-to-play, but I am doubtful (charming as it is). I am also doubting the title makes March, unfortunately for Wii U owners.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Andrew Chen - Personally, I hope that Pikmin 3 does get released on March, but I can understand if the game gets a delay as Nintendo would want to make sure that the game looks good and works real well. The game can appeal to all different audiences and it can show the capabilities of the Wii U Gamepad.

Christopher Williams
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I have to say I work at Wal Mart. People are still really confused about this system. A lot of people still think it's just a special edition wii. They don't know that it's a completely new system.

Fiore Iantosca
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The Average Joe is stupid. Sorry.

Andrew Chen
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Fiore, I don't think its that simple. Folk like you and me can not help but scratch our heads at something seemingly so obvious, but for a customer who doesn't live with this stuff they need to be educated.

I haven't caught too much of NoA's Wii U marketing (not residing in the states now). The general opinion I've derived from comments is that it obviously failed to convey why someone should drop $300+ on it.

Apparently, if Chris' note is indicative of the larger market, it also failed to indicate what the system is about, or indeed that it is a NEW system! Personally, thought I know what the system is, I am still trying to figure out what its about and who its for.

Jeferson Soler
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Andrew Chen is right! There are Average Joes and Average Janes that are a lot smarter than some people expect, but they may not always know every single thing due to not being informed on what's going on. If I remember correctly, when I went to Best Buy weeks ago to see if it was starting to have the Wii U Deluxe Edition, there was a guy asking a Best Buy employee for information on the Wii and the Wii U, but the Best Buy employee didn't give much clear cut information to the customer. After the employee left, I ended up having a quick conversation with the customer and explained to him about the two systems (especially about that the Wii U could play the Wii games, but to keep in mind that he would have to buy the Wii Remote and Nunchuk separately, adding to the cost). I also suggested him to check out Nintendo's official website for more information, so that he could determine which system he would want to get the most, and based on his comments towards me, he felt like that he got more information from me than he ever got from the Best Buy employee (he actually said something like that to me), being pleased with the info that I gave to him. He may be one person, but he may not be the only one in that same position. NoA needs to do a better job in pointing out that the Wii U is a whole new system. Otherwise, it will take months for people to figure that one out, just like with the 3DS.

Andrew Chen
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Jef, NoA may very well owe you a commission. Its too bad they can't have about 10,000 of you to explain the product they have been incapable of selling thus far. :p

Jeferson Soler
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@ Andrew Chen - I appreciate the compliment, but there others that would also do a great job (even a better job than me) on explaining to consumers that the Wii U is a whole new system and what it is capable of. The only thing that's for certain is that NoA itself is not doing a great job at the moment on explaining to the consumers that the Wii U is a whole new system.

David OConnor
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Yes Christopher, the sense I get is that Nintendo haven't properly separated the Wii U from the original Wii in the minds of consumers yet.

David OConnor
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^ @ Fiore "The Average Joe is stupid"

I understand your point of view, and at times this perspective is useful, but personally I'd be very careful with this assumption.

Tyler Shogren
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Nintendo has a long history of over delivering on hardware innovation and then failing to support that hardware on the software side. WiiU hardware offers little more than the GBA/Gamecube link already allowed a decade ago and look what happened with that impressive hardware functionality.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, Nintendo should have been acquiring software developers.

Jay Anne
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Calling the WiiU little more than the GBA/Gamecube link is like saying the iPad little more than a bigger iPhone. Especially because it's meant to capitalize on the second screen trend that is expected to explode.

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Chris Melby
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I'm not with you on your assesments, because the Wii U was designed as a gaming console, to be "plugged" into a TV/monitor -- without the need for any additional accessories. Its small screen as you describe it, is its controller; a dumb terminal designed primarily as an assistance to your larger screen, so similar to a Nintendo DS; it can be direclty gamed on, but it's optional.

I don't put the Wii U in the same category as any of my tablets, especially my iPad, which in comparision when it comes to 'gaming,' is a generalized, overpriced, and hobbled device; overall just mediocre for most games, when it's not downright horrid, for reasons I can go into.

And out of all the games to mention, Angry Birds? That's like stating your home town is a great place to visit, because it has a McDondalds.

Yes, for $20 and the cost of a an overpriced iPad, one can play a game like Angry Birds that's pretty much available on anything that has a screen, or a watered down version of MineCraft that plays bleh when compared to the PC version.

And the second screen innovation is for mature gamers? Have you ever heard of a Nintendo DS?

I'm personally not fretting about the Wii U's sales, not when we're still in a global recesssion, and Nintendo's IPs really make it special; so people will buy a Wii U when certain titles hit.

GameViewPoint Developer
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"The second screen innovation is for the matured gamer, and while it's atrtactive ~ WiiU isn't offering this. WiiU to my understand is offering only their product."

Exactly this is what nobody seems to get when they talk about how "innovative" it is. It doesn't matter how innovative it is what matters is how it's perceived and how it's perceived is a weird looking tablet controller a la Dreamcast. With the Wii nobody had really seen that before, so it stood out as offering something different.

"Half ass'ing" things never works. Either make it a full tablet/console that you can plug into the TV or just make it a controller.

GameViewPoint Developer
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@Chris,

"I'm personally not fretting about the Wii U's sales, not when we're still in a global recesssion, and Nintendo's IPs really make it special; so people will buy a Wii U when certain titles hit."

And I would totally agree with you if it wasn't for the fact that this year will probably see the first new console from Sony and Microsoft in 7 years, and quite possible Apple jumping into the same space AND who knows how many Android based consoles appearing.

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GameViewPoint Developer
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@Joshua,

That's the thing though, I think a console/tablet would of been innovative.

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Bob Johnson
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Wow shockingly low numbers. But my few anecotal experiences say people think it is a version of the Wii.

Johan Wendin
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While the "view" name of WiiU fits - it might have contributed in a major way to lack of sales. People already own a Wii and see no reason to "get another one". Such a shame if that is the case.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Bob Johnson - That's what happened with the 3DS, which is why NoA needs to do a better job on pointing out that the Wii U is a whole new system. Nintendo may have learned its lesson from the 3DS on pricing, but in case of Nintendo of America, it didn't learned its lesson on telling the public the difference between the Wii and the Wii U. Not everyone goes to the Internet for research, so better advertisement is needed.

Derek Poole
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@Jeferson: I totally agree. Most people I ask about the WiiU don't realize it's a new system, but a special edition Wii.

Joe Doe
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In a few more months, it's going to be like: "First THQ...now Nintendo...."

Andrew Chen
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Interesting. So in May or so you expect the company to be declaring bankruptcy and then having their assets stripped and sold off at auction?

Better go short 'em now!

Dave Hoskins
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There's me thinking it was Sony that was in teetering on the edge, waving its arms frantically in backward circles trying to get enough momentum to stay on top.
Or something like that! ;)

Oscar Gonzalez
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Very low numbers for a Nintendo console. What I think Nintendo fail on releasing was the specs of the WiiU. If it supports DX11 like some sources mentioned but not confirmed then it is a gen 4 system capable to render PC high setting-like games at maximum (with DX11 enable of course). Current gen consoles can't do that. If you have played Hitman Absolution in PC with the highest setting you can possibly choose, you will see the next gen graphics there, tessellation-height maps, image-base reflections, etc. If the WiiU is capable to do so, (which I'm optimist) then this console is a gen 4 (next gen). Also, there is no game out there for the WiiU that uses its maximum power. In fact, there are few games out there that reach Xbox 360 and PS3 highest performance, I think the best example I can give is Uncharted series and Halo 4... One thing is for sure, once the new ZELDA comes out your going to see these sell numbers increase rapidly. ZELDA is going to be a huge game that will more likely reach the WiiU max potential. I know I'm going to purchase a WiiU just for Zelda. Will you?

Jeferson Soler
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@ Oscar Gonzalez - "One thing is for sure, once the new ZELDA comes out your going to see these sell numbers increase rapidly. ZELDA is going to be a huge game that will more likely reach the WiiU max potential. I know I'm going to purchase a WiiU just for Zelda. Will you?"

I already own a Wii U, but having said that, I do plan on getting a new Zelda game when it comes out for the Wii U. Also, I don't doubt that a Zelda game can be a huge system seller, especially when it is done right.

Andrew Chen
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I don't know if Zelda is what is needed for the system to achieve "critical mass" in terms of sales. Skyward Sword sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million units. Great, but enough? Not to mention it will take at least 2 more years for Nintendo to deliver that title which will be too late to save the console, if indeed it still needs saving by then.

In related speculation, in comparing Twilight Princess' unit sales to Skyward Sword, I think we can predict the tone (or at least colour palette) of the next game ;)

Jeferson Soler
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@ Andrew Chen - "Not to mention it will take at least 2 more years for Nintendo to deliver that title which will be too late to save the console, if indeed it still needs saving by then."

By that time, Nintendo will already have a new Super Smash Bros. game that might also be compatible with the 3DS and that's not even including some of the upcoming 1st/2nd party offerings. Having said that, it appears that Nintendo is already getting to work on a new Zelda game for the Wii U and it will soon be releasing a HD version of Wind Waker to buy some time until the new Zelda title is released.

Geoff Yates
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Its a bit different this time around last time they picked up a whole bunch of casual gamers with Wii. Lots of Grandmas and Grandpas had one because hey look I can play a console game without really playing it. I know so may people that bought it for Wii Sports and Wii Fit (all gather dust now). These aren't the people which will buy a Wii U. I actually like the tablet it is cool what I don't like is the messy set up process very un Nintendo like.

We still in the lingering effects of a GFC and high employment so any purchase has to have more than the intrinsic upgrade associated with it. Do I buy a new smart phone, pad or a Wii U?

I think the casual market has moved on (smart phones and pad) and the Wii U will be very popular amongst core gamers and diehard Nintendo fans. Zelda will definitely push a system.

Well the other obvious elephant in the room is how much can Sony and MS influence of a new console is putting people on hold.

Allaiyah Weyn
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Ummmm Why are you comparing a handheld to non handhelds? You should have compared it to Gameboy Advance, Cameboy Color, Neo Geo Pocket, WonderSwan, Nintendo DS, Atari Lynx, Gizmondo, Nintendo 3DS, Playstation Vita, etc.


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