Game Over? Nintendo’s 12 Months To Save The Wii U

Can Nintendo Save The Wii U?

Wii U System Console & Gamepad

The last time I wrote about Nintendo’s Wii U I wasn’t very positive. We had just heard about some depressing financials and it looked like we would have to wait for the release of some of their big AAA titles for the Wii U to regain some momentum.

But at least it couldn’t get worse…

At least that’s what I thought until they revealed that the system had only managed to sell 160,000 units worldwide in Q2 2013 (April to July) for a total of 3.61 million since launch. That was a shocking revelation. We knew it was struggling but not this badly. Even the ageing Wii outsold the system by 50,000 units in the same time frame.

There is some positive news though – 1.03 million units of first party Wii U software was sold in that same period which means the system has a pretty healthy attach rate (number of games bought per system).

And even better, the 3DS is still going from strength to strength. The portable sold 1.4 million units which made it the bestselling gaming system in the US for the last two months. Software sales were even more impressive with 11 million titles sold.

But Nintendo can’t just rely on the 3DS. The Wii U is in big trouble. 

The numbers were the wake up call that Nintendo desperately needed. On the back of a very safe E3 Nintendo Direct where they unveiled a line-up of familiar IP, Nintendo is now in a race to make sure that its system can survive and the next 12 months are going to be the real test to see whether it will ultimately succeed or fail.

There have been some rumours that if Nintendo can’t resuscitate the Wii U than current president Satoru Iwata will step down. I really hope this isn’t the case. Iwata isn’t just a well liked figure in the gaming fandom he’s also someone who appears to genuinely care about Nintendo and games.

You could argue that Nintendo was never going to match the success of the Wii. That system practically invented the concept of the casual gamer but now the majority of those gamers have now moved on to mobile platforms and the supposed migration from casual to core never really happened. With that in mind you could say that the real benchmarks for the Wii U’s success are the company’s previous platforms – Nintendo 64 and GameCube. These were both popular systems with some outstanding titles but just couldn’t compete against the PlayStation 1 & 2 behemoths.

The last time around I also mentioned the radical idea of renaming the system the Wii 2 just to help consumers differentiate the two. This is very unlikely to happen so right now they just need an excellent schedule of big games.

The line up for Q4 2013 through 2014 is actually very promising. I would even argue that there are possibly more potential interesting titles lined up than the fairly uninspiring launch titles for the next-gen PlayStation 4 and XBOX One (it’s telling my most anticipated title of the season will be the current gen Grand Theft Auto V!).

But as attention is to those multimillion dollar launch blitzes, Nintendo will have to make sure its own marketing is still visible amongst the next-gen mania. Things are just going to get harder so it’s important to start releasing the titles in a steady stream and to keep the visibility high.

Pikmin 3 is a great start and the title has done very well in Japan especially.

After that there’s Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker remake in HD (which looks as gorgeous as any next-gen title), Wii Party U, Wii Fit U, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Wonderful 101, Super Mario 3D World U, Bayonetta 2, Smash Bros U, a new Zelda and Mario Kart 8 amongst others.

That’s a strong a line-up. 

You will notice the lack of any new big IP from Nintendo which is something I’ve been moaning about for years!
Though at this point in time when Nintendo needs to shift those systems it makes sense to rely on the properties people are familiar with and are anticipating.

As I always seem to end these posts Never Count Nintendo Out. Everyone wrote of the 3DS just after launch and now it is a powerhouse. Same happened with the DS.

There’s still time to turn things around.

Stick to the plan Nintendo! Hopefully things will be a lot better this time next Spring…

Here’s an overview of what’s coming up from now through 2014:

Wii U 2013-2014 Line-Up

Title

Developer

Release Date

Disney Infinity Avalanche Software
Disney Interactive
August 25, 2013
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist Ubisoft Toronto
Ubisoft Shanghai
August 20, 2013
New Super Luigi U Nintendo EAD August 25, 2013
DuckTales Remastered WayForward
Disney Interactive
Summer 2013
Rayman Legends Ubisoft Montpellier September 3, 2013
The Wonderful 101 Platinum Games
Nintendo
September 15, 2013
Just Dance 2014 Ubisoft October 8, 2013
Skylanders: Swap Force Vicarious Visions
Activision
October 13, 2013
Batman: Arkham Origins Warner Bros. Montreal October 25, 2013
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Ubisoft Montreal October 29, 2013
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Wii U October 2013
Wii Party U Wii U October 2013
Watch_Dogs Ubisoft Montreal November 19, 2013
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Retro Studios
Nintendo
November 2013
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Sega
Nintendo
November 2013
Lego Marvel Super Heroes TT Games
Warner Bros.
Fall 2013
Scribblenauts Unmasked 5th Cell
Warner Bros.
Fall 2013
Super Mario 3D World Nintendo EAD Tokyo December 2013
Wii Fit U Nintendo EAD December 2013
Sonic Lost World Sonic Team
Nintendo
Holiday 2013
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut Straight Right
Square-Enix
2013
Mario Kart 8 Nintendo EAD Spring 2014
Bayonetta 2 Platinum Games
Nintendo
2014
The Legend of Zelda for Wii U Nintendo EAD 2014
Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem Atlus
Intelligent Systems
Nintendo
2014
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Sora
Namco-Bandai
Nintendo
2014
X Monolith Soft
Nintendo
2014
Yarn Yoshi Good-Feel
Nintendo
2014

3DS 2013-2014 Line-Up

Title

Developer

Release Date

Disney Infinity Avalanche Software
Disney Interactive
August 25, 2013
Rune Factory 4 Neverland Co.
XSEED Games
August 2013
Pokémon X & Pokémon Y GameFreak
Nintendo
October 12, 2013
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Armiture Studios
Warner Bros. Games
October 25, 2013
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! WayForward
D3 Publisher
November 12, 2013
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Nintendo EAD November 2013
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Sega
Nintendo
3DS
November 2013
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies Capcom Fall 2013
Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land WayForward
D3 Publisher
Fall 2013
Scribblenauts Unmasked 5th Cell
Warner Bros.
Fall 2013
Sonic Lost World Dimps
Sonic Team
Nintendo
Holiday 2013
Flipnote Studio 3D Nintendo 2013
Mario Party for 3DS Nintendo 2013
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy Square-Enix
Nintendo
2014
Mario Golf: World Tour Camelot
Nintendo
2014
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS Sora
Namco-Bandai
Nintendo
2014
Yoshi’s New Island 3DS 2014

Can Nintendo Save The Wii U? Let me know below!

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One response to “Game Over? Nintendo’s 12 Months To Save The Wii U

  1. Pingback: E3 2014 All The Press Conferences: Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA & Ubisoft | Sumit Dutta·

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