News Article

Nintendo Is Holding Back Wii U Titles To Maintain Momentum Into 2013

Posted by Damien McFerran

"We realize the biggest challenge is to make sure that Wii U sells well even in the next year"

Talking in an investor's Q&A, Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata has revealed that the company has intentionally held back certain Wii U launch titles to ensure that sales remain robust well into 2013.

He said:

If you look at how pre-orders are doing at the moment, it is not an exaggeration to say that Wii U is sure to sell well in this holiday season, as many of you are probably thinking. But we realize the biggest challenge is to make sure that Wii U sells well even in the next year after the holiday season, and we are working on that too.

Nintendo tends to release too many titles at the launch of a hardware system and as a result suffers a drop in new games for quite some time after launch, and for the Wii U launch, we are being very careful not to let it happen. Fortunately, third-party publishers overseas are launching many titles for us this time, and we were able to push back the release of some of the titles that we had originally intended to release as launch titles until next year.

It's a curious approach, and one that has the potential to backfire - especially if certain gamers know that they're being made to wait unnecessarily for games they wanted to play during the holiday season. However, the method behind the madness is clear; Nintendo wants to avoid the barren patch which impacted the 3DS so badly when it launched a while back, and maintain a steady stream of quality software to keep the tills ticking over.

A wise move, or a foolish one? Should Nintendo have revealed this, even to investors? As always, you can let us know what you think by leaving a comment.


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User Comments (58)



dizzy_boy said:

i think it`s a good idea. games that might not sell so well amongst launch titles might have a better chance further on in the year.
besides, i`m more likely to play a game through if i only have 1 or 2 at a time, that way i`m not being destract by something else or end up forget about games that are in the cupboard.



BenAV said:

Fine by me.
I'm going to have heaps to play during launch so I'd rather the rest be a bit more spaced out.



GameLord08 said:

Pretty wise, as E3 2013 is bound to bring big competition (i.e. that means resisting being overshadowed by the alleged revelation of the PS4/720). You could tell that this was Nintendo's strategy from the beginning, and for that I'd say its Wii U launch line-up is pretty good in anticipation.



R-L-A-George said:

Nice idea, help people afford it and also not to release them too quickly so they won't have problems.



WolfRamHeart said:

I am perfectly fine with this. I already have a few of those launch titles on pre-order. Considering that I have to budget between games for the Wii U and other gaming systems my wallet certainly appreciates not being overwhelmed all at once.



Mollutje said:

Yeah, I think it makes sense. I don't know if Rayman Legends is one of those games they held back, but not having it compete with a certain other sidescrolling platformer would do them both good I guess. Plus, there's a load of games for Wii U that interest me, so I actually prefer them not being handed to me all at once.



KneehighPark said:

I think this is a sound strategy, though I'm surprised Nintendo is being upfront and letting people know that they are holding back titles. Good on them



StarDust4Ever said:

Booo Nintendo. Where's my Mario at launch? I'll need more than NintendoLand to whet my gaming appetite this Christmas, grrr...



Highwinter said:

This ended badly for the 3DS, it seems like a mistake to repeat it. True, there's a bigger library of third party games this time, but when most of them are ports of year old (or older) PC/360/PS3 games, I'm not sure what the big draw should be.

The lack of Nintendo games is exactly why I won't be buying one near launch.



Mahe said:

Great plan. I'll just hold back buying a Wii U until (if?) the game selection gets better.



fchinaski said:

I'll wait until 2013 anyway. None of the launch titles seem exciting enough for me to invest on a Wii U this year.



MegaWatts said:

@Highwinter I'm in the same boat as you regarding a launch day purchase (although a severe lack of funds is also a key factor). I could see myself loving the system (I thoroughly enjoyed it at Eurogamer) and having a lot of fun with Nintendo land and New Super Mario Bros. U but beyond that, I'd be holding out until Pikmin and whatever else follows. I could see it collecting dust very quickly in that particular scenario. Plus I don't think the two titles I've mentioned are strong enough to warrant a day one purchase, regardless of what the release schedule looks like beyond that.

Still, if this strategy results in a more regular release schedule next year than that suits me fine and it certainly makes good business sense. For one, Nintendo's PR only has to focus on one or two marketing campaigns at a time.



kyuubikid213 said:

I'm already getting Assassin's Creed III which will give me plenty to do until Christmas (or January if I end up waiting til Christmas) and working extra hours during Christmas Break and Thanksgiving will give me enough extra cash to probably get another two games by February.



LavaTwilight said:

I just wish I could play Pikmin 3 sooner. Of course with the way it's going atm, I may end up picking the console on day1 all the same.



Marios-love-child said:

Makes perfect sense to me

As long as they bring new games out at steady intervals and not just do virtually nothing for 6-8 months like they did with the 3DS



MAB said:

@kyuubikid213 What is this NSMBU that you speak of? sounds interesting WiiU also needs some sort of Zombi killing game at launch too




The rate of software production will be lower than at any time in the last decade or so due to the current economic climate IMHO. That's for all systems. This adjustments is to avoud barren months in the first 2 quarters of the consoles life that would be embarassing for Nintendo (like it has been with Sony for the Vita). That's the way I see it. I could be wrong. To be honest, this increases the chances of me getting the software on their launch days



NintyMan said:

I'm fine with it. The Wii U can't afford to suffer the consequences of the drought the 3DS had. Besides, most wouldn't buy a ton of games in one season unless they wanted to rip their wallet. Nintendo ultimately wants to keep the momentem going into next year with games like Game & Wario and Pikmin 3. Those games also might not have sold so well compared to other launch titles and might have a better chance down the road. Plus, they could also improve on the games so they could be better than if they released early, just like Kid Icarus Uprising.



Chunky_Droid said:

I think this directly translates to "this is why we held Pikmin 3 back".

I'm all for it, Pikmin 3 probably wouldn't have been bought by me had it come at launch, as I would have picked Nintendo Land, NSMBU, ZombiU and Scribblenauts Unlimited before it. But as it's releasing in a few months down the track, I'll be able to afford it then with Luigi's Mansion 2



Mk_II said:

good strategy and the launch window release schedule is pretty full anyway



alLabouTandroiD said:

As does Ubisoft probably to not make Rayman go up against Mario. And as swell as it would have been to have Pikmin 3 and Game & Wario released on launch day i think they may profit from being released later.



aaronsullivan said:

Smart: There's the benefit mentioned in the article and the other one: more time to polish important titles.

In the end, even though we all want a giant success for Nintendo this year, it seems like sales will be supply constrained anyway. Momentum is necessary and having a couple big titles to roll out early and mid-2013 is going to be VERY important.



Pokefanmum82 said:

i'm happy with this...i have a 3DS and wii that i am keeping. this gives me a chance to pick up titles for those that i missed plus i have more stuff that i need to get (like a new laptop) and christmas is coming up and i have three kids to buy gifts for this year. this works for me



uximal said:

There is New Super Mario Bro's U,Nintendo Land,Ninja Gaiden Razors edge,Assasins Creed,Darksiders n' Zombi U...Personally speaking I have never played Mass Effect so this will be a great chance to play it, There is more than enough during launch to keep u busy until 2013



Araknie said:

There's no questioning for me, the medium class has only so much money to spend even in holidays so i already expect that some of the games already in the launch day to be ignored. They are already too many.



luminalace said:

I have enough to buy on launch day and it's very important they keep that momentum going after the system has been on shelves a few months! Look at the PS Vita - the system had a really strong launch lineup but things got very quiet soon after that, which has helped cement the story that the system has no good games.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Good! I cant get so many games at once because then I will get overwhelmed and will probably never finish them.

@Haxonberik Would you prefer that Pikmin builds up potential and releases by itself on a later date, or release on Wii U launch day with many other hit titles that will likely cause Pikmin 3 to be overlooked. I want pikmin as soon as possible too though but luckily there are lots of other games to play during the wait.



Wonder_Ideal said:

That sounds like a reasonable strategy. I'm going to have my hands full with my launch titles and the system itself, so waiting for the some of the later titles won't be bad.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

I hope this means that they'll actually have 1080p built into Pikmin 3 when it releases, especially if it was pushed back for this reason.



AcesHigh said:

This isn't news. All console manufacturers and software publishers have been doing this for years. And Nintendo has probably been at the forefront of this tactic for years. As have MS and Sony as well - but moreso with Nintendo because they have perhaps the most flagship IPs. This is pretty basic EPP (Enterprise Portfolio Planning) strategy. It's a strategy to spread out sales of key IP throughout the year (and multiple years - plans typically forecast out > 1 year to 3 years) and allow each flagship title proper opportunity for full sales without cannibalizing sales from other flagship titles released in the same period. Basic stuff in the software industry.



AcesHigh said:

Nintendo's been doing this for years and actually leading the charge amongst the other manufacturers and publishers. This is why no one announces every game from their biggest IPs at launch of any given console. Software marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.



Zausimo said:

Well, lets look at the history of the Wii launch + 1st year in terms of 1st party title releases (NA release dates):

Nov '06: Wii Sports, LoZ TP, Excite Truck
Jan '07: WarioWare Smooth Moves
Feb '07: Wii Play
Apr '07: Super Paper Mario
May '07: Mario Party 8
Jun '07: Big Brain Academy Wii Degree
Jul '07: Mario Strikers Charged
Aug '07: Metroid Prime 3
Oct '07: Battalion Wars 2
Nov '07: Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn, Super Mario Galaxy, Link's Crossbow Training

I think they already space out their releases and they certainly do not 'tend to release too many titles at the launch', as Mr. Iwata puts it.



paburrows said:

I think that its a great idea, I really hope that one of the titles thats being pushed back is a Zelda or Metroid!



Urbanhispanic said:

It's a good idea since only Nintendo knows when the rest of the lineup of games will be ready to be released. Since they took notice of what happens when you release a great system and don't have enough quality games to be purchased, they don't want to make the same mistake.



Mahe said:

@Urbanhispanic What are you talking about? The Wii had loads of quality games, and it also debuted with the Virtual Console service, which was extraordinary at that time.




Nintendo are spot on - why release ten quality games all at once? Very few Wii U owners will be able to pick up more than a couple of games at launch. I'm getting the EU ZombiU Pack, and also Nintendo Land and NSMBU. I simply cannot afford another game, and probably can't for another few months. So by some games being held back slightly it just means I'm not missing out on anything, and have software to look forward to! I'd prefer it if we were re-assured that these games are going to benefit from the extended time they have to further develop them, but I trust they will be high quality titles nonetheless.



Varia01 said:

They more launch games the riskier the launch. Great, I have to wait until Japan sends more Wii Us to my local Gamestops in order to buy it. The pre-orders made the Wii U sold out until 11/18/12! So angry....



Auracle said:

Seems perfectly reasonable to me. It stretches out the appeal and gives my wallet time to recover.



sinalefa said:

If Iwata is referring to the 3DS launch, then I don't know what the "too many titles" were in that case, as I only remember three games back then: Pilotwings, Nintendogs and Steel Diver.

I am not getting it at launch either, so I will pick it up next year. Still, a pretty good strategy.



WaxxyOne said:

Makes perfect sense to me. I am a fan of most of Nintendo's first party franchies, but if they dumped all of them on me at once I'd only be able to afford a couple. After the "newness" of the others has worn off I might not get around to buying them, which is bad news for both me and Nintendo's sales figures. I don't mind at all having them set a consistent release pace that is easier to keep up with, and if it helps them stay successful and keep the books balanced, all the better!

It's not like fans have much to complain about with TWENTY-FREAKING-THREE titles hitting the shelves on launch day. There are too many I want as it is.

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