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.
Historically, consoles that have been available for less than a year sell like hotcakes. It happened with the Wii. In fact, for years, the device wasn’t available and consumers would wait on line each weekend just to come close to getting their hands on the console.
But several years later, things have changed for Nintendo. The Wii U’s $350 price tag for the Deluxe set is ridiculous, and most gamers are realizing that the console delivers only a marginal improvement over its predecessor. The Wii U, in other words, fails to prove its value.
Now, I know that such a suggestion is blasphemous in Nintendo land, but let’s be clear: the company has a strong desire to be a hardware firm first, and in order to drive its success, it needs to have a compelling product to sell. The Wii U is not that compelling product.
When one talks to Nintendo, the company claims that the Wii U’s troubles have everything to do with a poorly conceived sales pitch and few high-quality first-party titles. But let’s not forget that it might also have something to do with the fact that the console has few third-party games and its graphical abilities are nowhere near where they need to be to compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
I’ll be the first to admit that the Wii’s success was due to its ability to attract casual gamers, and that is still a profitable market segment. However, most of those casual gamers are just fine with their Wii. And if they’re not, they’re turning to mobile devices, like the iPhone, to satisfy their gaming desires.
What the console market presents to customers now is the opportunity to have a higher-end experience with really high-quality visuals. Anything less than that is a waste of money.
So, before it’s too late, Nintendo needs to get down to building an all-new console. That device will have high-end visuals that can compete with Sony and Microsoft, as well as a well-thought-out entertainment platform that can turn the living room into more than just a gaming hub. The console would also justify its price tag and not rely so heavily on first-party games.
The way I see it, the Wii U is on a one-way trip to failure. And until Nintendo gets around to the business of actually improving its value argument by delivering a new, high-powered console, the company will be in deep, deep trouble.
Ditch the Wii U, Nintendo. It’s not working out.