Nintendo is in trouble this holiday season. There. I said it. After all, someone had to, right?
With the gaming industry abuzz over the launch of not one, but two consoles in the course of a week, Nintendo has been trying to get at least some attention from the media. Like the person in the back row trying to be seen in a picture, there’s no getting out of the way of Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One. And Nintendo doesn’t appear to have the firepower to change that.
Early in the life of console gaming, Nintendo was the game console to own. The Nintendo was so popular that many other companies stepped into the market with consoles with their own such as Sega, Microsoft, and later Sony. Nintendo did okay with its original Wii, but so far the Nintendo Wii U has been a disappointment for gamers and Nintendo.
The Wii U is getting a packaging revamp in time for the holidays, but it may not be enough to save the unprofitable Wii successor in the long run. Starting Nov. 1, the $299 Wii U bundle with the Nintendo Land game will be replaced with a bundle that includes both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U. The bundle price will not change.
This week the folks at Nintendo have announced that they'll be giving the Wii U a tune-up just in time for the release of both the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft-made Xbox One. This reboot of sorts is not one of hardware, but of price: the Wii U Deluxe Set will be cut down $50 to a total of $299.99 starting on the 20th of September. The company has also made clear that this change is to bring a "greater value" to the market, not mentioning the impending wave of competition they'll be defending against nearer the end of this year.
Any die-hard gamer knows that Nintendo doesn't release its games on other platforms, and the company has said multiple times that they'll never release their games on rival gaming platforms, but they've never given a clear reason as to why. Of course, an obvious answer is that they don't want to give rivals their games, but it goes much deeper than that.
Nintendo shouldn't hope for any Wii U love from games publisher Bethesda, with the company blaming hardware limitations for its decision not to include the console on its roadmap. "In our near term focus it's not on our radar" Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines told Joystiq recently, describing the decision as "largely a hardware thing."
Can we all finally admit that the Wii U is in huge trouble? I mean, for months I’ve been saying it here on SlashGear, and yet, the company’s most ardent supporters have continued to say that the console will be just fine. But again, that argument flies in the face of the facts.
Nintendo earlier this week announced that during the last quarter, it sold just 160,000 Wii U units worldwide. That’s right – worldwide. To say that’s an abysmal showing for a console that hasn’t even been on store shelves for a year might just be the biggest understatement I can think of at this moment.
Nintendo sold just 160,000 Wii U units in the last quarter, a huge slump of more than 50-percent compared to the previous three month period. The sluggish demand, which bring total lifetime sales of the Wii U to 3.61m units, was blamed on "few key first-party titles" by Nintendo [pdf link], with a mere 1.03m software sales in the same period.
Nintendo faces another blow to its Wii U ambitions, with news that one major retailer will yank the poorly-selling console from its shelves altogether. UK supermarket chain Asda, owned by Walmart, has confirmed it will no longer be stocking the Wii U, games for the console, or accessories in any of its 555 stores, telling CVG UK that it will only be offering select titles through its online shopping system.