Nintendo‘s unique stance on gaming has certainly been the underdog of current-generation gaming systems. As competition from Sony and Microsoft attempts to take control of living rooms across the nation, Nintendo has its eyes set on innovative interactive entertainment, and has accomplished that with the recently released Wii U console. While Sony and Microsoft have been understandably hush-hush about their plans for the future, Nintendo has all but put their cards on the table — but the question remains as to how successful the console will be.
An investor note from Sterne Agee (investment advisors and a brokerage firm) analyst Arvind Bhatia suggests that the Wii U launch has been “slightly disappointing,” as gaming retailer GameStop did not reached their expected holiday sales numbers of the new system. No statistical information has been released, except that the retailer seems to have the Wii U in “abundance,” and the software attach rate is “low.” Bhatia attributes this to the price point packages, assessing that the “better value” of the Deluxe model is more appealing to consumers. As the Deluxe model is only $50 more than the basic $300 system, comes with 32GB of storage space, and includes a copy of Nintendo Land, it seems likely that this is the case.
The Wii U first landed in North America on November 28th, selling approximately 400,000 units within its first week. Across the pond, reports are that the UK launch on November 30th had garnered 40,000 units sold within the first 48 hours, and Japan’s December 8th release has seen over 300,000 units sold in its first week. While the North American numbers still beat the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 launches in 2005 and 2006, respectively, it’s not quite what Bhatia had in mind for a successful launch, especially as both the PS3 and Xbox 360 outsold it during Black Friday in the U.S..
The number of systems still in GameStop’s possession could be attributed to a bit of confusion as to the difference between the Wii U and its predecessor. Many casual gamers and parents could mistake the new console as simply being a peripheral for the Wii, as the Game Pad on the box art tends to pull focus away from the console itself. Despite much word of mouth and a target audience who are mostly in the know already, Nintendo does not seem to have a fervent ad campaign this time around, which could also add to the problem.
What do you think, Ranters? Do you currently own a Wii U, and perhaps hold out hope for a bigger success for Nintendo? The Wii U launched in North America on November 28th and is currently available at two price points.
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