Nintendo’s Wii U Sales Forecast Takes Depressing Nosedive

Published 10 months ago by , Updated January 20th, 2014 at 11:39 pm,

Pikachu Crying

[Update: Nintendo Stock Price Falls as Iwata Refuses To Bring Mario To Smartphones]

Lack of power under the hood, lack of third-party support, lack of online support for key first-party titles, confusing console branding, an odd controller design, you name it – there are plenty of reasons as to why the Wii U doesn’t sell well. Just yesterday we wrote an opinion piece on how important 2014 is for Nintendo’s latest home console. After the Wii broken records around the world, the oddly named Wii U did the opposite. With far superior consoles now out from the competition, and selling more units (and faster) than the Wii U, Nintendo’s console is in big trouble.

We said in our piece that not all is lost, that Nintendo could still turn things around with a price drop and more importantly, with games. The Nintendo Wii U launched in fall 2012 and in the 14 months since, it has released so few games that it’s shocking. There is still no new Zelda (HD remakes don’t count), no Star Fox, new Metroid, and not even Mario Kart or Smash Bros. are out yet.  These are just some examples and taking all these factors into consideration, it’s no surprise that Wii U is a failure.

And we don’t use that word lightly, or for dramatic effect. Nintendo is in trouble and for the third year in a row they will be reporting net losses. No amount of cash on hand will help the Wii U either, at least not the way it’s being spent. After an embarrassingly low-scale showcase at E3 2013, a year dominated by next-gen technologies, the year-end sales forecast for the Wii U was just cut a whopping 69%. Wii U hardware sales were initially expected to be at 9 million and have been revised all the way down to 2.8 million. To put that in perspective, both the PS4 and Xbox One sold more than that in their first six weeks.

Nintendo Stock Prices and Profits Fall

For Nintendo’s more popular platform, the handheld 3DS, even though its lifetime sales recently outsold the Nintendo 64, even it fell significantly short of expectations, selling only 13.5 million units on a forecast of 18 million. All of these disappointing results add up to a $336 million loss for Nintendo.

From a marketing standpoint, this means that the consoles are even less appealing, not only to gamers, but to developers. It doesn’t make financial sense for many developers to spend money building exclusive games on the Wii U, or even porting titles over, and the compound effect results in even less games and gamers for the system.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata – who apologized to shareholders and aims to keep his job until turning things around – admitted to reporters today that they “failed” and are currently restructuring management. He also touched on some of the ideas we’ve long talked about here on Game Rant:

“Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.”

“We failed to reach our target for hardware sales during the year-end, when revenues are the highest.”

It might be too late for the Wii U but the big question is where Nintendo goes from here? They’re too slow to develop the high quality titles that are exclusive to their platforms. Just look at how many Need for Speeds release in between Mario Kart installments or how many Assassin’s Creeds debut in between Metroids. These are Nintendo exclusives that fans love and are waiting to pay for but are unavailable.

Should Nintendo start releasing their previous GameBoy titles on smartphones as some analysts suggest? Should they stop blocking YouTube celebs from making money playing their games and therefore making them ‘cool’ in the eyes of other gamers? Should they focus strictly on software development for other platforms? Should they release a new console that can match the power and specs of the competition? There seems to be so many good suggestions out there from industry analysts and fans, to critics and other developers, but they’re not being taken advantage of. And it’s a shame because we’re still excited about Nintendo’s own games.

Tell us your thoughts on theories on how Nintendo should attempt to profit from their brands!

[Update: Nintendo Stock Price Falls as Iwata Refuses To Bring Mario To Smartphones]

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More: 2014 is Make or Break Time For The Wii U

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Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: NikkeiReuters, Tech Crunch, Time

TAGS: Nintendo, Wii, Wii U

45 Comments

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  1. *sigh* its sad to see my child hood fly out the window but the guy who said that the target audience is the people who grew up with it is right, I tried getting my little cousins into nintendo, and they soon dropped it for minecraft and COD (which even though I told my aunt and uncle I strongly advise against it they let her anyways). lets face it, even the little kids want to play the big kid games, cut the comment that said ” toddlers and 8 year olds” and just leave it at toddlers. either japan finds everyone outside their own country mewling idiots. enough said, the age where you can make a target Audience is dead sadly, that doesnt mean you cant make a silly and heartwarming game, but you cannot censor parts of the game industries anymore, heck you might as well just ditch the ESRB altogether!

  2. Sega and Nintendo need to put their heads together to create the DreamCube that’s what people want from them, not family consoles, not concept controllers, not sonic recycled umpteen times, not celebrity endorsements, not health games, not excuses. People want magical, deep, creative, trip-your-balls-off, immersive, games. Oh and an online systemn that works in the 21st century, lol. I know this isn’t going to happen but I would sure as hell make me buy Nintendo again.

  3. Nintendo headed the right direction with Super Mario Galaxy and even the first two New Super Mario Bros. games.

    But with games such as Skyward Sword (which were purely tailored to show off the WiiMotion Plus while lowering the usual difficulty) and their need to continue rehashing games (New Super Mario Bros. 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, New Super Luigi, etc…) instead of continuing to introduce new and exciting titles, they’re doing a lot more backpedaling than stepping correctly.

    Don’t get me wrong, they’ve had some decent steps forward (arguably, Super Mario 3D land and World is a great game duo for those more nostalgic towards the old games), but they’ve done nothing revolutionary or WOW worthy. Mario 64 was WOW worthy because it was the first 3D mario ever made. Sunshine, as much as I didn’t care for it myself, was WOW worthy in its own right because it was an almost completely different style for Mario in his 3D world…and even Luigi’s Mansion was WOW worthy for being the first 3D Luigi game that took a different direction. And of course, Galaxy was WOW worthy because it was a completely new take/style for Mario in yet another 3D world.

    Heck, even Paper Mario and the Mario and Luigi RPG series are WOW worthy in their own ways (aside from the god awful Paper Mario: Sticker Star, that was a different type of wow reaction).

    New Super Mario Bros isn’t exactly WOW worthy, nor is Super Mario 3D land. Because they literally just went back to the old formula and pumped up the graphics. Cool is that is to see the old style in a different look, it’s nothing exceptionally exciting.

    It’s been almost 4 years since we’ve had an AWE worthy Mario title that really spoke to everyone. Mario 64, Paper Mario, and Super Mario Galaxy were AWE worthy because they appealed to more than just the casual gamers. I rarely know anyone from non-gamer to “hard-core gamer” that hasn’t played at least one of those games and enjoyed the heck out of it. Whereas New Super Mario Bros and Super Mario 3D Land are like the old games: they’re okay to play when you need something to pass the time, but they’re nothing memorable when you think of those games that really stick out above the rest.

  4. Open it up for indies !
    Give us the SDK kits we need and be surprised but how we can save your system !

    So simple !

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