I have a Wii U. And although I find its motion implementation quite fun at times, and the addition of a second screen a good idea, I haven’t played it at all in the last couple of weeks.
I decided to conduct an informal poll with other people I know who also own a Wii U. I asked them if they’ve been playing with the console much since its launch. Nearly every person said that they played it somewhat heavily in the first week after launch, but little after that.
Granted, my study is by no means scientific and it doesn’t necessarily tell us anything about the average Wii U player. But it does underscore an issue: the Wii U might not have as broad an appeal as its predecessor did. Furthermore, the console’s novelty might be wearing off much sooner than the Wii’s did.
Realizing that current owners might not be the best way to figure that out, I decided to look around and see if Wii U consoles were readily available for those looking to buy. I found that Amazon is selling the Basic set, but the Deluxe set is on backorder. Those looking to buy the console elsewhere, like on BestBuy.com or other online retailers, will find that they can buy one today and have it in time for Christmas.
I then decided to call around to my local game and retail stores. And nearly all of them have ample supply for those who want to walk in and buy the new console.
Maybe it’s me, but I’m shocked by that. When the Wii launched, it was hard to come by for months. And during the holiday season, especially, it was impossible to even find it on store shelves. Each weekend, folks would stand in line for hours just to get their hands on a handful of consoles that were available. It was shocking.
But the Wii U appears to be different. After just a month of availability, the console can still be purchased quite easily.
So, what does that mean? It’s tough to say. On one hand, it’s possible that the Wii U’s sales are slightly disappointing. After all, Nintendo sold only 425,000 Wii U units in the U.S. in November, and has been surprisingly tight-lipped about its progress. And since it’s readily available, there appears to be somewhat sluggish demand for the console.
Then again, it could have something to do with supply. Maybe Nintendo did a better job of anticipating demand and was able to produce enough consoles to satisfy its early adopters. Now, the company has ample supply to take advantage of holiday shoppers.
Still, I can’t help but go with my gut here. And in keeping with that, I believe the Wii U’s popularity is waning. And Nintendo, much to its chagrin, is scrambling to address this issue.
Believe it or not, the Wii U just might not be as popular as Nintendo and its legion of fans would have us believe.