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Nintendo Experts Think the Wii U Isn’t Doomed

/ Mar 6th, 2013 8 Comments

The Wii U will be getting a lot more desirable soon.

The Wii U will be getting a lot more desirable soon.

When the gaming industry learned that Nintendo had sold a mere 50,000 Wii U units in January of 2013, it sprang forth a slew of editorials from all over the industry predicting doom and gloom for the new console. While everyone agrees that the numbers are troubling at this point in the Wii U’s life, plenty of experts around the industry aren’t translating sluggish sales into an imminent demise for Nintendo. The folks over at Pure Nintendo are a prime example of smart folks making a compelling argument that the Wii U isn’t doomed, and neither is Nintendo.

If you haven’t read the Pure Nintendo article, check out Why People Shouldn’t Worry About the Wii U. These guys are Nintendo fanatics and we tend to listen to guys like this a heck of a lot more than some of the spinsters at the bigger gaming news sites. Incidentally, they’ve made us a little jealous thanks to a very well put together subscription-based Pure Nintendo Android/iOS magazine app that looks great on a tablet.

[adsense336itp]The article makes some interesting arguments, presents some fascinating facts and even does some Nintendo fan-boy soul searching and admission of inadequacies of the platform. Bravo, Nintendo fans everywhere, we can now take you seriously. That said, the first argument in the article is definitely one that accounts for sluggish console sales – the lack of major anchor AAA titles. Later this year, the industry is expecting a boon of Wii U titles to come forth, including Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed 4, Pikmin 3 and a new Mario game. Undoubtedly, when that “must have” game comes out that isn’t something we’ve all played a hundred times before (looking at you Mario) it’ll spur console sales. Another admission, that the casual console market was woefully misjudged, also resets the expectation of Wii U as the casual console of choice and more importantly forces us to admit that the casual console gaming market simply is not expanding as quickly as everyone thought it would.

Certainly factors like the economy, pricing, cosmic shift of buying patterns as well as evolutionary steps made by games of all ages play into the complex equation of determining sales success. One great point made by the article, which many probably haven’t considered, is that with the “7th Generation” of consoles (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintedo Wii) many gamers re-bought their console of choice during the seven years the console has been on store shelves, due to failure (red light of death) or a wish for redundancy (“I want one in my living room and bedroom!”). With a brand new console at its peak price in the Wii U, nobody is going to have more than one unit at this point in time and all the new units are under warranty, so there is no concept of a re-buy at this point in the product’s life cycle. When adjusted, the author of the story at Pure Nintendo makes a decent logical estimate that from the 6th to 7th generation of consoles, the market only grew about 20-percent. If that’s true, that is actually modest growth year-over-year, meaning, expectations for this year’s new console wars might need to be held in check and we can conclude that our expectations of sales of the Wii U were just out of whack from the start. Should we have all assumed that Wii U would have sold millions upon millions within the first year? Probably not.

A wise man once said that happiness is simply reality divided by expectation. Many in the industry are down on the Wii U because of what some people think to be unrealistic expectations from the new generation of consoles and consumers. If gaming nerds threw out the sales numbers, the price of the console and all the media hype/hate, what would they say about the unit and its titles on their own merits? Frankly, the Wii U is a solid, price-affordable console that’s family-friendly and great for kids. In the end, a great console is a winner and it almost feels like Wii U’s fate really lies in the hands of game developers more than ever. Is the Wii U doomed? Hardly. It’s just a matter of perspective.

This post was sponsored by Pure Nintendo; all opinions and copy are authentic to the author.

Sean Gibson

Sean Gibson

Founder, Featured Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Sean Gibson was the founder of Gaming Illustrated and served as Executive Editor and lead reviewer from 2002 to 2014. He no longer is affiliated with Gaming Illustrated, but remembers his time with the site fondly.
Sean Gibson
Sean Gibson
Sean Gibson

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