Video game console wars can be intense, with just the slightest mistake meaning disaster for console makers. This is something Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all understand very well, considering they’ve each been through the ringer with one console or another.
Most recently, there’s been a big focus on the constant back and forth between Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. But let’s not forget about Nintendo’s Wii U, which itself has experienced some challenges in the sales department. In fact, the Wii U has struggled enough that Nintendo executive, Shigeru Miyamoto, felt the need to comment on the console’s sales.
While speaking with NPR, Miyamoto revealed that the Wii U’s lackluster commercial performance is due mostly to its high cost compared to its competitors.
“So unfortunately with our latest system, the Wii U, the price point was one that ended up getting a little higher than we wanted. But what we are always striving to do is to find a way to take novel technology that we can take and offer it to people at a price that everybody can afford.”
While the Wii U’s $300 price point at launch may not seem very high on its own, it was a bit overpriced when compared to the competition, namely the PS4’s $400 launch price. And while the two systems are quite different, the slightly more expensive PS4 touted a lot more power for only a slightly higher price. The outcome, then, is that Wii U has sold only 9.5 million units to PS4’s 22.3 million, despite the Wii U’s earlier entrance into the market.
Additionally, Miyamoto revealed that Nintendo’s focus on the tablet-centric Wii U controller was a little too late to the party. Sadly, the Wii U’s tablet controller couldn’t capitalize in the marketplace because tablets were already becoming mainstream, and competing tablets quickly outdid the Wii U’s option. Here’s what Miyamoto said on the subject:
“I think unfortunately what ended up happening was that tablets themselves appeared in the marketplace and evolved very, very rapidly. The uniqueness of [the Wii U’s tablet] features were perhaps not as strong as they were when we had first begun developing them.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this experience shapes Nintendo’s marketing plan for their next console release, which is expected to arrive in the next couple years.
What do you think about Miyamoto’s comments on Wii U’s sales? Will Nintendo do a better job with their next console? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.