Nintendo Says Wii U's Name Not Responsible For Wii U's Problems

Nintendo Says Wii U's Name Not Responsible For Wii U's Problems

One of the popular theories about why the Wii U has struggled is that it just might have the wrong name. Millions of people loved the Wii, so maybe they should have called this one the Wii 2? Here's Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime's take:

"The challenges we're facing with Wii U are not issues of the name," Fils-Aime told me during an interview earlier this week, after acknowledging that sales of the Wii U in the US are only at 1.5 million units, about half of what the Wii did in the same amount of time.

"The issue is the lack of a steady rate of software launches to motivate the consumer to drive buzz and engagement and to highlight the wide variety of uses of the GamePad. That's the issue."

There has indeed been a drought of Nintendo games for Wii U in the months since its November launch. The Wii didn't have that many more major games by this point either, but it did have Wii Sports on day one. That game was a cultural phenomenon.

The other theory about the Wii U's slow start is that people might not know it exists, that they think it's just a peripheral. This very issue cropped up shortly after the Wii U's E3 2012 debut.

As we sit here today again I would say that's not the issue," Fils-Aime said. "The consumer understands that we have a new system. But the consumer is saying: 'What am I going to play? And what am I going to play that's a new and unique and compelling experience vs. what I can do today, whether it's on the Wii or any other system?'

"And that's why experiences like Pikmin 3, like Wonderful 101, like Zelda Wind Waker HD, with the off-TV play, experiences like Super Mario 3D World — that's why it's critical that we launch those, have consumers experience them in malls across the country, which we'll be doing. It's critical that the consumer see for themselves the range and breadth of compelling software for the system."

During our interview, Fils-Aime informed me of the Wii U's pending $US50 price drop, which will put the system at $US300 with a bundled game. He also rattled off a substantial list of Nintendo-made games shipping throughout the rest of the year. The flow of games he says the Wii U needs is coming. And it doesn't sound like the Wii U will be getting a name change any time soon.


    The problem isn't the name, it's that we don't have any games and the ones we have don't utilise the system properly.

    Whose fault is that Reggie?

      That's what he said. The games aren't there. As for "blame", outside of Nintendo he can't say anything; it's up to developers to make the games.

        But it's not third party games that drive Nintendo sales. It's Nintendo games that do that. It just lends weight to my theory that the Wii U was not ready to be released when it was.

          I agree with this, they have to support their own system before anyone else. If it fails, it's their responsibility.

        Nintendo needs to give developers a reason to make games for their platform

        Yeah, all those amazing 3rd party titles that sell Nintendo systems .... right?

      Yes you would think they would have learned, since this was the problem also with the Gamecube, and the DS and the 3DS, and actually the Wii as well if I remember.
      Their strange strategy for the last 6 or 8 years seems to be;
      -release console
      -release one ok game
      -hope for third party software for a couple of years (which always seems to fail as it seems not enough units sell, so third party publishers don't support it)
      -release big ninty franchises, sell more units, but by then the third parties have bailed.
      -scratch head and lament that the console/handheld struggled because there wasn't enough good games and promise to rectify this problem for the next hardware release.
      -rinse and repeat with new console/handheld.

        To be fair the Wii never really had that and was a monster of a sales item but that was more because it filled a weird space where the time was right and the general public went mad for it. Not sure that will happen again for anyone though.

          The Rift, maybe? Perhaps a bit clunky/prone to make people nauseous, though... And it is only a peripheral, not a platform.

            I can't see something you have to strap to your head like that really gaining the same kind of mainstream acceptance as something like the Wii. At least not until they get the tech miniaturized to the point where it just looks and feels like you're wearing a cool pair of shades rather than a snorkelling mask :P

        though i would extend it to N64 as well except that it had imo the best launch games ever.
        the wii u launched with NOTHING. a weak mario game and nintendo land that was no where near as fun or innovative as wii sports.
        it didnt provide any of its promises and is still catching up.

        Ive was playing Rayman last night and its brilliant, except for trying to make the touch interface work. off tv gaming was my reason for getting a wii u.
        But the PS4 is going to deliver that through the vita but with a higher level of quality (in general) and im really looking forward to it. maybe it to will be as big a disappointment as the wii u but cant say yet of course.

        i just cant believe that nintendo can be surprised by making the exact same mistakes for almost every console launch

      Yep. I find it bizarre that Nintendo seemed to be so completely unprepared software-wise for their own console launch. It's not just a matter of lack of launch titles but that fact that those games are only just now starting to appear on the horizon and will be coming out almost a year after the console. It's not like their internal studios didn't know it was coming.

      And saying that there aren't enough games that utilize the controller - surely when they actually had the idea for the system somebody must have had some ideas on good ways to utilize it? If not, why didn't somebody pull the pin on it right then and there? Wouldn't they have had meetings early on with their software teams and said "hey, this is the idea we're thinking about for our next console - do you think you can do anything interesting with it?" If the answer was yes, then those games shouldn't be taking so long to appear. If the answer was no then they shouldn't have gone ahead with the system in the first place.

        Apparently (and this is what they've actually said) they underestimated how much extra time and money it was going to take them to make their games in HD. Sounds crazy, but until now everything Nintendo's done has been for handhelds and standard-def TVs - when the rest of the industry transitioned nearly a decade ago, Nintendo poo-pooed it. Now everyone else has all their toolchains and everything optimized for HD and it's business as usual, but Nintendo's finally arrived at the party and doesn't have a clue what they're doing any more.

        The other issue is they seem to have an extremely strong "Not Invented Here" culture. They don't seem to be paying any attention to what anyone else is doing in the space and learning from their mistakes and cribbing the things that other companies do well. To wit: we still have Friend Codes on the 3DS, and the online system for the Wii U feels like something invented in the late 90s.

          Yeah, I've heard that thing about "difficulties" with HD development, but like you said - everybody else has been doing this for ages. Surely just from watching what else has gone on in recent years or even speaking to their 3rd party developers (back when they had some) they would have got some idea of the challenges / time frames involved in making that jump?

          Again, it all just screams of inadequate preparation. It comes back to that cheesy old saying that if you fail to prepare then you're preparing to fail.

          Yeah - it pains me to say this but I've come to the realisation that if they'd got into bed with Origin, things would've been very different with the WiiU

      The problem isn't the name, it's that we don't have any games and the ones we have are regurgitated ip's in there tenth iteration.

      Whose fault is that Reggie?

      *fixed :P

    So the consumers know about the Wii U. Which consumers? The ones that follow games. Your consumers for the Wii were your average Joe who've never looked at a game website in their life. Microsoft throws money left right and centre to developers to get exclusivity on their systems, even if it's just timed exclusivity. What do Nintendo do to even convince someone to make a game for the Wii U? Even with the Wii being the best selling console of the last generation, there were still few developers climbing over each other to make games for it. Warning bells should've gone off then and not now when it's too late to plug the gap between releases

      I don't think MS's approach is all that wise, either. Spending all that money on timed exclusivity only works for a while until everybody realizes that when they say "exclusive", they mean exclusive for a few months or a year at most. I reckon they'd be better investing that money in building good internal studios and developing their own IP, so when they say exclusive it's actually exclusive. I.e. something you have to buy their console to play, rather than just something you have to wait a few months to play on some other console.

        It's not a great way of doing business no, but it keeps people making games for the system and people who have both machines will buy the one that comes out first.

    I would have bought said wind waker bundle was it being released here

    Personally I think Nintendo royal screwed up with the Wii U, which could have been a GREAT product.
    Aside from games side of things it’s lacking a lot of small features that would really help

    1) In the digital age 8-32 GB isn't enough. 32 GB should have been basic with a 120 GB (at least) is the deluxe, so that you can download more games
    2) Improve the eStore
    3) Media centre, it has a DVD player but it doesn't even allow movies. You can connect HDD's why can’t it read media files? (And watching it on the game pad would have been great)

    These could have been great features that really push the machine

      There's so many things that could be done with it to make it a great machine, it's just so frustrating that Nintendo are being so stubborn in thinking that a games console should ONLY be for games and nothing else. Yes games are important, but since the PS2 people have been using consoles for other media (arguably the PSone with its cd player. When it comes to a Western audience, people demand multitasking from consoles and it's now showing with the completely dismall unit sales in Europe, America and here.

      Like you said, I would absolutely love to be able to watch a movie on the gamepad, but that sort of connectivity just doesn't seem to be on Nintendo's agenda. They were once innovators with consoles, but haven't really move on much since then other than the Wiimote. The success of the Wii will turn out to be a fluke and will in no way be replicated this generation. The sales of the PS4 and Xbone will probably overtake the Wii U by the end of their launch window, if not earlier, even with a year headstart. I wouldn't be surprised to see another Nintendo console announced within 2 years, but then again, I'm a pessimist

      So it doesn't stream AVIs or MP4s? That's a huge deal-breaker. Our 360 gets a lot if use as a streaming device from the PC to the TV. :(

    Most people don't know it exists and there aren't many games for it anyway.

    If Reggie or any other execs spent any time at retail level, they would understand that the three biggest factors for Wii U's poor performance are:
    1. Name/Advertising - Most customers don't even realise this is out. Of the minority who do, they purchase the Wii U games assuming that they will work on the Wii.
    2. Inexperienced Consumer Base - The Wii was very popular with people who weren't originally gamers and haven't accustomed themselves to the cyclical nature of the hobby that sees hardware eventually obselete and software harder to find. Parents in particular don't see/ understand the need to re-invest in a new console when they have already spent hundreds of dollars on the systems they have at home
    3. Aging Consumer Base - Children raised on the Wii and now entering their teenage years aren't having their needs meet by the Wii U and as a result are waiting for Xbone/PS4 or upgrading to 360/PS3

    Same old boring lines from the Big N. I think Reggie will resign this year, maybe I hope that actually.

    Assumption is the mother of all f-ups and that's what Nintendo do these days, don't listen.

    We know what "consumers" want, they don't even refer to their core audience properly anymore. They should look at some data on the use of Digital Media in lounge rooms (like abysmal sales figures), instead of telling people what they want, they aren't Apple.

    Oh well, the Wii U will come out with some good games, but Nintendo's console relevance is fading. The 3DS/2DS on the other hand, that's their lifeblood and always will be, that's the only point of difference they've created in the market. The Wii U may be different, but right now not in a good way.

      I don't know if it's really Reggie's fault, though. I mean, as far as I know, his role is basically running Nintendo's US operations, which is mostly a sales role. Most of the decisions about the console itself (specs, controller, features, etc, which in turn dictate pricing) would be getting made in Japan. And most of those decisions have been poor ones. So Reggie is left with the job of trying to sell a poorly conceived device to a market that doesn't want it. You could argue that perhaps they should be doing more in the way of advertising and marketing (assuming they're doing as bad a job of it in the USA as they are here), but then without the games, what are they going to say? "Buy Wii U - We Ain't Got Sh*t"?

      If the Wii U does end up a giant failure, then I'd expect heads to roll in Japan rather than the USA. Possibly Iwata stepping down, and maybe Miyamoto "retiring" (which I think is likely to happen fairly soon anyway, but a Wii U failure could hasten it).

    Nintendo as a company needs a clean out from the board room level all the way down. Including Shigeru. New blood, new ideas. It's like a sports team with all the players in their late 30's. They still know how to play the game but they are too old to keep up with the speed and changes to 'today's game'.

    It's either Nintendo needs to sell it's own system with a bunch of it's own games, or, they make too many of their own games leaving no room for third parties to compete!

    Its easy for people to criticize Nintendo but consider that both sony and microsoft lost billions 'selling' (or giving away) their consoles. Nintendo is acting like a company trying to make a profit. Playstation and Xbox divisions are acting like they have a blank cheque book. Imagine if ps3 or 360 actually had to make a profit(ie make more money then invested)......

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