Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has made a humble public statement accepting that his company’s misdirected focus on creating innovative hardware has been the cause for the Wii U’s poor sales performance.
The CEO admits that a lack of proper marketing is to blame for the recent tailspin of what was once boldly heralded as a ‘Living Room Revolution’ and that Nintendo hasn’t spent enough time on promoting the Wii U software – instead putting a lot of emphasis on promoting the console itself which was a very ‘different’ (and a somewhat confusing) piece of gaming gadgetry.
Iwata says “The consumers today still cannot understand what’s so good and unique about the Wii U”. He talks of the energies spent on trying to put over the console and getting people to “understand the real attraction” of the platform but adds solemnly “We have been unsuccessful in coming up with one single software with which people can understand.”
Despite a few games such as ZombiU and Batman: Arkham City which fully utilised the dual-screen functionality offered by the GamePad overall the Wii U has lacked a strong showcase of titles that benefit from the Wii U’s tricks and gimmicks and which would have proved essential in selling the console to its intended market.
Satoru Iwata also suggests that without going ‘hands-on’ potential Wii U buyers are lacking the experience of what the console has on offer. The Gadget Helpline has used the Wii U and it does have its merits (and that trademark Nintendo charm) but it’s still a very ‘physical’ platform and a hard sell when the only way to really find out if you want one is to actually use it.
Nintendo has been taking the Wii U ‘on the road’ for public testing but this isn’t the most convenient approach to a demanding consumer nation that likes to know what they want as soon as they see it at a press event or online. Take the PS4 appearance at E3 as a prime example – everybody wants one but nobody’s played it, they simply didn’t have to. Both Sony’s offering and Microsoft’s Xbox One are platforms based on tried and tested formulas which have been upgraded and the games have been well researched.
Nintendo’s CEO confirms the company’s focus for Wii U will now be producing the software to actually sell it but with companies such as EA Games withdrawing full support, denying the console of popular franchises such as FIFA 14 (and deeming the Wii U as not a ‘viable’ platform) is this too little too late?