Fils-Aime Reflects On North American Wii U Launch

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 3:35 pm,

Reggie Fils-Aime On Wii U Launch

Wii U is now available in North American (where it sold 400,000+ units during its first week at retail), the United Kingdom (where 40,000 systems were sold in the first 48 hours), Australia and New Zealand. Only Japan continues to wait for the Wii U, though not for long – the system releases in its home territory this weekend, on December 8th.

In advance of that event, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has commented on the challenges associated with launching the new system, and offered a measure of justification for Wii U’s massive, day-one system update.

It became clear well before Wii U’s launch that the hardware represents a turning point for Nintendo.  As the company’s first high-definition console, Wii U is – for the time being – able to directly compete with offerings from Sony and Microsoft in a way that the original Wii never could. More than that, Wii U’s Miiverse social network and Deluxe Digital rewards program demonstrate a new commitment to online features, while the (unfortunately delayed) TVii app makes clear that Nintendo is taking the battle for players’ living rooms ever bit as seriously as its rivals do.

Speaking with Gamasutra, Fils-Aime acknowledges the challenges Nintendo faces with Wii U, particularly the system’s online initiatives.

“Every time we launch a new system, there are significant challenges. There’s everything from supply to making sure the new offering meet our expectations. In the digital, connected services area, much of what we’re doing is groundbreaking, so we are having to learn as we go to make sure the consumer has the very best experience possible.”

Wii U’s “digital, connective services” have evidently been taxing for Nintendo – TVii’s delay and Wii U’s gargantuan day-one patch attest to as much – but supply and replenishment are another story, at least in North America. In advance of the Wii U’s launch, Nintendo’s Scott Moffitt promised that “replenishments will be more frequent this holiday time than during the Wii launch.” Though Nintendo is, characteristically, not attaching any numbers to its replenishment efforts (as in, “we’re shipping X number of units per week”), Wii U systems are proving surprisingly easy to find at retail, a full two weeks after the console’s North American launch.

Reggie At Wii U Launch

Then again, scoring a Wii U system is only the beginning of the battle for consumers. There is still that crucial patch to download and apply, a process that can take hours. Without the patch, users can’t create a Nintendo Network ID, access Miiverse or browse the eShop. Even Wii U’s speedy web browser is enabled via the system update. Sloppy? Maybe, but Fils-Aime takes a different stance. In his opinion, delivering all those features in a last-minute system update is an example Nintendo’s efforts to create “the very best product” possible.

“Nintendo developers want to make sure that the very best product is available to consumers. That creates a dynamic where our developers are working on elements until the very last point possible. That’s why the system update was required on Day One – and this is quite similar to what’s happened with other consumer electronic products.”

Meanwhile, TVii is still without a specific projected release date (it’s due sometime this month) and the Wii U’s day-one patch – for which Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata has apologized – is expected to remain a necessity until Spring of next-year.

Ranters, how do you think Nintendo handled the Wii U’s North American launch? Have any of you had trouble finding a system? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken.

Source: Gamasutra, CVG


TAGS: Nintendo, Wii U

  • hanzo

    Picked mine up on sunday at 8am at Target (you get 5% off with a target credit card). They Opened at 8 and i was there at 810 and they said they had already sold 2 out of the 4 they received saturday night.
    I dont like that there was an hour long update right when you start it up but hey if it helped the system work better im for it. Im alittle disappointed that they didnt release all of the features in one package personally. Its like ordering a pepperoni pizza and you get a cheese with uncooked pepperoni in a plastic lunch baggy on the side.
    It still seems like they rushed the system out but whatever. Im happy with it and killin some zombies.

  • Alter

    if they reboot the metroid series and other good classics from the Nintendo 64 then this game console well be worthy to buy

    • Daniel Carlson

      metroid was on n64? why havent i heard of this????

      • Alter

        and other good classics from the Nintendo 64 (derp)

        metroid was not on n64 everyone knows this

  • WatchMeRage

    I just don’t think people will be going crazy for the wii U like they were for the wii. A lot of people know the next PS and Xbox are around the corner and are probabaly doing the same thing I am; hording trade credit to pay off the next big system. So many people were excited for the Wii until they realized that other then motion controls the system didn’t offer much else. I’m just saying that its very easy to find these systems where the original Wii was a lot harder to find when it first released.


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