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Is Nintendo Doomed?

Feb 04, 2014

No. Nintendo is not doomed. They are one of the richest companies in the world. But the way some critics have been talking about Nintendo recently you'd think it's true. What may not be such an unreasonable question though: Is the Wii U doomed?

The Wii U is selling abysmally. Like really really poorly. Especially when compared to its latest competitors Xbox One and PS4.

Since launch, which was over a year ago now, the Wii U has sold somewhere in the realm of 5.8 million units. Now that may sound like a lot of consoles, but compare that to the 3 and 4 plus million units the Xbox One and PS4 have each sold in just 3 months and you can see how much Wii U is struggling to get a foot in the market.

Rayman Legends was supposed to be a Wii U exclusive, but poor Wii U sales put an end to that.Rayman Legends was supposed to be a Wii U exclusive, but poor Wii U sales put an end to that.Courtesy of Ubisoft

Wii U sales have been so bad that Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, has even committed to a short term pay cut to compensate for the losses. Iwata has stated Nintendo will be looking at new ways to reach consumers.

So why is Wii U selling so badly? Well there are many factors but let's look at a couple that stick out.

Poor Marketing

It's staggering how many people out there still believe that the Wii U is actually just a new controller add-on for the original Wii. Nintendo has done such a poor job of educating consumers that the Wii U is indeed a brand new console. For starters, the name Wii U doesn't differentiate itself enough from the Wii and you'd be excused for not actually knowing what the console even looks like without owning one -- it looks a lot like a Wii, another issue in its self.

Too much focus on the gamepad has confused consumers.Too much focus on the gamepad has confused consumers.Courtesy of Nintendo

Nintendo nailed their marketing with the Wii. They managed to sell a video game console to people who had never considered gaming before. I've talked about it before in our Nintendo Console Rankings, but even my mom bought a Wii. So it's baffling to me to see Nintendo fumble the ball so bad this time. Just watch the early marketing for the Wii U below. No where is it clear that Wii U is a new console and not just a new controller. It's some of the worst marketing Nintendo has ever executed.

Wii U Advertising (Poor Marketing)


Nintendo needs to re-asses their marketing tactics moving forward into 2014 before the install base for Wii U stalls and developers truly lose interest in supporting the console. Which brings me to another huge sore spot with the Wii U at the moment...

No 3rd Party Supoort

I have always tried to stay really positive when writing about Nintendo. I love Nintendo. I have been a fan since I first got my NES and like many die hard Nintendo fans, I grabbed my Wii U on launch day with much excitement. But there is a serious issue at camp Nintendo and it has to do with 3rd party support. Which means a lack of new games.

3rd party support seems almost non-existent at this point and things keep getting worse. Just recently Bandai-Namco announced that they were cancelling the Wii U version of Pac-Man Museum and Warner Bros. also confirmed that they have canceled the DLC for the Wii U version of Batman: Arkham Origins.

You want DLC for Arkham Origins? You'll have to play on Xbox or Playstation.You want DLC for Arkham Origins? You'll have to play on Xbox or Playstation.Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Why are Wii U versions being canceled? Because there are not enough Wii U's in peoples homes to make the money/time investment worth it for developers. A lack of demand is how they would say it.

Gamers are waiting for more games to be on the Wii U before they purchase one. But developers and publishers are waiting for more Wii U's to be sold before putting games on it. It circles back to Nintendo's poor marketing and of course, their lack of a system selling game. But regardless, along with poor marketing, 3rd party support is one of the biggest issues Nintendo needs to correct going into 2014 if they want Wii U to be a tantalizing purchase to gamers. We need more Wii U games.

The Shining Light

Wii U Mario Kart has been confirmed to hit this Spring so that game should move some units, let's hope it does anyway. Smash Bros. will hopefully get a full, playable reveal at E3 this summer and if Nintendo can launch it before the end of the year, they may be able to keep the Wii U in peoples minds as Xbox One and PS4 throw uppercuts. A Wii U Zelda, Metroid and Star Fox reveal by Nintendo this year could really help them stay in the fight as well.

Will Smash Bros. sell Wii U to the masses?Will Smash Bros. sell Wii U to the masses?Courtesy of Nintendo

Nintendo's 1st party development teams are going to have a lot on their shoulders over the next couple years. Nintendo needs that killers app, the huge AAA game that makes everyone want to own a Wii U. Super Mario 3D World, as good as it is, proved to not be that game, selling poorly even in its home territory, Japan. Fingers crossed things pick up for Nintendo this year.

Have Your Say!

Do you own a Wii U yet? Are you planning on getting one in the future? Let us know in the comments below!