Can we all just stop the nonsense, please? I’ve been sitting here for weeks now, waiting to hear from Nintendo that it’s ready to make major changes with the Wii U. And time and again, I’m left with the company scoffing at such a suggestion. The Wii U will be just fine, Nintendo says. And it’s about time we all believe it.
Well, Nintendo, we don’t believe it.
After a sub-par launch, we’ve watched the Wii U collected dust on store shelves across the U.S. Developers, while trying to stay nice about it, are obviously starting to become concerned that the console won’t hack it. And all Nintendo president Satoru Iwata can do is apologize for not delivering better results in the fourth quarter.
Now, I’ll freely admit that I’ve never run a major company and I’m sure there will be an awful lot of Nintendo fans lined up to tell me that I don’t know anything about running a game business, but it’s about time the company and all of its supporters hear the truth: without some major changes, the Wii U is doomed.
What Nintendo needs to do first is cut the price of the Wii U. Yes, I know that the company will likely post lower-than-expected financial results over the next year or so because of the reduced price, but at least some customers will jump at the chance to buy the cheaper device. And as history has shown, the more hardware that makes its way into consumer homes, the stronger the software library. And when a stronger software library comes along, a more successful platform results.
Nintendo is looking down the barrel of a major, major threat. Sony is planning to launch a PlayStation 4 later this year that will come with far more firepower than its device. The Xbox 360’s successor, unofficially known as the Xbox 720, will take advantage of the momentum its predecessor has passed on. By all measure, the Wii U’s competition is looking to have a better chance of succeeding than Nintendo’s console.
Of course, don’t tell Nintendo fans that; they’re still clinging to the Wii’s success. Nintendo fans say that the Wii was doubted by nearly everyone, and after it had some time to attract customers, it was an outright success.
However, I think those people tend to be suffering from revisionist history. The Wii was doubted by many, but after it was actually shown off to consumers before its launch, demand skyrocketed. And the console wasn’t readily available to customers for years. In other words, the Wii is an entirely different beast. And it’s one that cannot – and should not – be compared to the Wii U.
Aside from a price cut, I’m not sure there’s much else Nintendo can do but hope that things turn around. The Wii U is being ignored, casual gamers couldn’t care less, and parents – the true Wii U buyers – are looking at the price tag and laughing at Nintendo for even thinking it would pay that much for what is essentially an HD Wii.
It’s unfortunate, but I’m starting to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Nintendo’s console business.