News Article

Nintendo of France: Games Will Improve Wii U Sales, Not A Price Cut

Posted by Andy Green

Boost in 3DS sales attributed to first party releases

A lot has been said about the Wii U and its slow sales in 2013. For example, research emerged yesterday from ABI which claimed the success of Nintendo's new home console hinged on a price cut.

However, not everyone agrees with this statement. Speaking at GameStop's post-earnings financial call, the retailer's CEO Paul Raines said Wii U is struggling because its marketing is failing to convey the benefits of the GamePad to consumers.

He also said once more first party games emerge, the Wii U will "take off" and it seems Nintendo agrees with this particular statement.

In a recent interview with GameKult, Philippe Lavoué, Deputy Managing Director at Nintendo of France, said a price cut would not benefit Wii U sales much - what it needs is more games.

Here's what he had to say (translated from French):

Our belief is that sales react to the games lineup. Lowering the price, without any compelling software will produce nothing.

Our responsibility is to provide a solid games catalogue.

Lavoué pointed to the experience Nintendo had with the 3DS where sales were slow immediately after launch but picked up once more games became available:

When we lowered the 3DS model price, it didn’t have the effect we wished for. We only had a good improvement during half a month and then sales went back to the levels they were at before.

What helped the 3DS at the end of its first year was titles like Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Tennis Open and Super Mario 3D Land. New Super Mario Bros. 2 sales have been phenomenal.

Price isn’t the only lever that we can use to drive sales.

Based on this it seems Nintendo isn't planning on cutting the price of Wii U to generate more sales but is instead focussing its efforts on getting more games - particularly first party exclusives - into the console's catalogue.

We know there is a Mario Kart title in the works for Wii U, as well as a 3D Mario and a Super Smash Bros. game. Pikmin 3 will be the next major first party title to be released on the system - it's currently down for a Q2 release.

Which games do you think Wii U needs most? Let us know in the comments below.

[via gamekult.com, neogaf.com]

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User Comments (49)

KingDunsparce

#1

KingDunsparce said:

I can't wait for Pikmin 3! I disagree with those who say that it won't sell consoles. It was the reason I bought my Wii U!

TysonOfTime

#2

TysonOfTime said:

Exactly. I hear everyone clamoring for Price Cuts for both the Wii U and PSVita... but that's only because they don't have too extensive libraries. The Vita is rapidly getting more and more worth purchasing, and hopefully once the Wii U starts getting games, it'll start picking up as well.

If the Wii U gets a bunch of games and still sells badly? Then maybe a price cut is in order. I don't think a couple more months of low sales due to bare amounts of releases will be fatal to the Wii U.

ledreppe

#3

ledreppe said:

Apparently UK sales are up 125% last week, partly due to LEGO City (which is one of the reasons I wanted a Wii U). It just shows, that people will be moved to buy a system when the right software is available in it's repetoire. It could continue to improve with the steady drip drip of exclusives and big 1st party titles on the cards (Wii Fit U / Wii Party U etc. will attract casual gamers). While the likes of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate get the more core gamer buying the Wii U. But it must continue without a prolonged drought, which would only do more harm.

Einherjar

#5

Einherjar said:

In a world where people spend redicolous amounts of money on iphones and ipads for prestige reasons (be honest, beeing able to facebook from anywhere isnt really a necessity...) i dont think that the price of a console matters at all if the right games are on the shelf. And if Nintendo plays their cards right, new first party system sellers could be on their way soon.
You need a reason to buy a console, and that reason is the game library and the game library alone, not the price. You cant compare the WiiU with the PS360 price wise, since these systems are on the market for years and everyone who is / was interested in these systems already has one or both.
The extremely high price doesnt keep people from buying a new smartphone every other week. But the lack of system seller games is what keeps the WiiU from beeing a complete hit, not its price.

Rukiafan

#7

Rukiafan said:

I agree with Nintendo of France, the Wii U is already a bargain console and requires consumers to buy a game just to make money on each console. The system is a great price, it's just that it is lacking AAA first party titles.

DarkKirby

#8

DarkKirby said:

How the Wii U lacking amazing console exclusive games is unnoticed by most is baffling. Finally someone speaks out against the stupid price cut demands.

Crazybrain1

#9

Crazybrain1 said:

Awww, no price cut. :(
Oh well.

Anyway, shouldn't Nintendo just have finished their games and THEN released the Wii U? I don't get why they didn't do that.

softserve

#10

softserve said:

I really feel the main problem is when it came out. There was no demand for a new console from seemingly anyone but Nintendo itself, who basically already significantly dwindled Wii development. I don't know if they assumed every 3rd party would just do a 360/PSN/WiiU version because of the somewhat comparable power, but it's obviously not happening. Especially not when some developers are looking at platforms even further into the future.

The 3DS got more great games, but it also did receive a significant price cut and incentives to buy it. That's the thing — only a relative handful of games have hit the Wii U in two months while some of the bigger releases of the year have hit other consoles (Bioshock? Gears of War? God of War?). And so what — is saying this going to make the Wii U finally get enough games on a monthly basis for people to notice? Sure doesn't seem like it.

Either way I think they can wait many months to cut the price and rely on games, but it's going to happen sooner than later.

Farmboy74

#13

Farmboy74 said:

No point in cutting the price if it's not got the games. The games are starting to filter through now, hopefully sales will start to pick up. As others have said it needs more quality games.

SkywardLink98

#14

SkywardLink98 said:

"Boost in 3DS sales attributed to first party releases"

Hahahahahahahahahahaha.... ha... I'd never have bought my 3DS for $250. The price cut was what got my attention.

Haxonberik

#15

Haxonberik said:

Yes Nintendo, you shouldn't have moved ALL your non-launch launch window games out of your already huge launch window. I believe they'll pick up when they release new games and a bundle with one of the heavy hitters, but they're already losing their new gen advantage.

Nintenjoe64

#16

Nintenjoe64 said:

The problem I see with Nintendo thinking Pikmin 3 or Wonderful as a system seller is that most of the people who would buy a Nintendo console for those games bought the Wii U in November. I'm just hoping that delays for quality don't end up meaning we have to wait til 2014 for anything genuinely AAA. Wind Waker and Super Luigi do not count. Smash, 3D Mario and Kart will genuinely move units but for all we know they might all slip into 2014. Are we even confident in Pikmin 3 by June?

Let's hope that by xmas they've got their act together and havent completely alienated retailers because no matter how many 3rd parties drop support, exclusives stop being exclusive and anonymous devs denigrate the Wii U, a £200 console with Mario Kart and friends will be more appealing to Johnny Consumer than a £400 console with a load of games that are available on that console's predecessor.

Burning_Spear

#18

Burning_Spear said:

The console is not overpriced. It's a good value, sans the lack of original games. It doesn't matter if they give it away if there are no attractive games.

hydeks

#19

hydeks said:

This is very obvious :P I'm excited about PS4, but I'ld be lying to you if I said I wasn't interested in Wii U also. I love the two Japanese companies, and I hate Xbox alot (I've had too many problems with there xbox stuff to care anymore). I'm waiting for E3, around christmas time, they won't be able to keep the systems on the shelves probably :P

OL_G

#20

OL_G said:

This is the complete interview

Can you tell us more about the Wii Mini, what’s the logic behind this console that will be sharing shelve space with the Wii U?

It’s a light version of the Wii. It weighs 500 grammes less which makes it more portable. As of today, we sold 6,2 million Wii consoles and we were (positively) surprised by its sales during last year’s Christmas period. It was the third console on the market in terms of volume last year, behind the 3DS. In conclusion, there’s still demand for this market segment and the objective is to make the Wii experience as accessible as possible.

What audience are you going for with this console, the mainstream market or the gamers that have ignored the Wii so far?

I’ve been reading the comments on your website in the articles related to the Wii Mini and I think that there are different market targets for it. Of course, we have in mind the consumers that are yet to buy a video game console. 6,2 million Wii sold is definitely important, but it is also encouraging if we’re looking at Christmas 2012 sales. The Wii has the biggest games catalogue right now which could very well be a factor in “seducing” the latecomers. It could also interest gamers that have not bought a Wii yet. Video game collectors are also a target. We know that they exist; I’ve already seen a few gamers that have shown interest in getting the Wii Mini just because they wanted every Nintendo console. There are also people that are nostalgic of older consoles which may be attracted to its old school design. The console isn’t targeted at one very specific group.

The Wii is the bestselling video game console in France. How far do you think it can go sales wise?

We don’t know. (…) Our priority right now is the Wii U and we have focused all of our resources on it. We will not advertise the Wii Mini, and all of our future releases will only be available on the Wii U. For example, there’s Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate that got released last week. Its sales have been very good and we are pleasantly surprised. The 3DS version in particular has sold 10.000 units. It’s number 2 on the market (charts?) which is pretty good for a franchise that is still expanding in our territory.

You just told us that you won’t be advertising the Wii Mini. How is Nintendo going to avoid consumer confusion between the Wii, Wii Mini and Wii U then?

We think that the Wii Mini’s different design will help facilitate the choice for consumers and establish a clear difference with the Wii U. We think that the games will help accelerate the Wii U’s sales, for example its sales have tripled compared to last week thanks to the release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. We will continue upping the rhythm of game releases, such as Lego City Undercover, so that we can attract every gaming community out there. It’s on this year’s game catalogue that consumers will be able to tell the difference between the Wii Mini and the Wii U.

Is the Wii U selling better than the Wii?

Last week, we sold more Wii U units.

What about the previous weeks? How about this financial quarter for example?

The Wii U has overtaken the Wii recently.

If the Wii Mini’s design is what will differentiate the Wii from the Wii U, Why didn’t you rather change the Wii U’s design directly?

We will see how sales will be in the next coming weeks. You know, we don’t really have our word to say concerning design (laughs). One thing is sure, if you put a Wii Mini next to a Wii U, there’s a huge difference between the two. Now, could we have done it differently? Probably, but this isn’t the strategy that has been chosen by Nintendo.

Let’s talk about the price of the Wii U…

Our belief is that sales react to the games lineup. Lowering the price, without any compelling software will produce nothing. Moreover, promotional policy for now is at the discretion of distributors. Our responsibility is to provide a solid games catalogue. We had the 3DS experience before, where we sold 750.000 units the first year, and then 960.000 units the following one. This year, we are looking at more than a million units sold. This was mainly thanks to the 3DS XL, not a price drop. When we lowered the 3DS model price, it didn’t have the effect we wished for. We only had a good improvement during half a month and then sales went back to the levels they were at before. What helped the 3DS at the end of its first year was titles like Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Tennis Open and Super Mario 3D Land. NSMB2 sales have been phenomenal. In conclusion, price isn’t the only lever that we can use to drive sales. Today, we’re at 1,85 million 3DS sold in France compared to 11 million in Japan.

Are distributors excited about the Wii Mini or is it the case only for supermarkets?

We don’t have a predefined strategy in this domain because we’re not in a very strong sales period. This is a trial run for now. Although in general, we have a pretty homogeneous allotment between the different distribution channels.

[Source: GameKult]

Emaan

#21

Emaan said:

Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart I think have the biggest audience, and always attract a lot of consumers outside of the core Nintendo fans. I know plenty of people who don't have interest in the Wii U and prefer other systems, yet they love to play games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl this many years later.

Mk_II

#22

Mk_II said:

I expect Nintendo to introduce some excellent value-for-money "bundles" once the big hitters are released in Q4. Like Mario Kart, NintendoLand and 32Gb Wii U for a special price. So they won't cut the price but will give more for your money and this will bring in the customers.

OdnetninAges

#23

OdnetninAges said:

I found this to be obvious, but some people seem to disagree.

Also, I thought the Wii U was already being sold at a loss...
How would they even to do a price-drop if THAT was the case? Or, did I misunderstand?

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#24

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

This is so obvious it is ridiculous. I'm not talking about this article (I love NL!). It shouldn't even need to be said by Nintendo, they just need to start making great games and fast. Some awesome new IP's would draw more interest from those "Nintendo only makes Mario games" fools as well. (Make them eat their words, please Big N?) Those who don't realize great games make great systems can't be saved from the oblivion... ;)

SMW

#25

SMW said:

The original 3DS price was way too expensive for me. The price cut is what sold me.

Wii U is priced well, though. Just release Wii Fit U and start raking in the moolah!

moo99

#26

moo99 said:

Wii Fit U will do it. I'd blow $60 on the digital version. Not sure how much they want.

Traxx

#27

Traxx said:

Nintendos first party game output is abysmal. They need to reorganize, seriously and outsource more of their projects. Seems even a lazy "new" NSMB is too much for them. And dont get me start on pikmin game decade in the planing/making? If this stays like this we will never see a new f-zero, wave race, star fox, and especially no new IP.

StyledFawn476

#28

StyledFawn476 said:

You can thank the developers who don't want to develop for Nintendo because they're afraid Nintendo will expose them for being the uncreative, and lazy bunch of low class idiots they are.

Kohaku

#29

Kohaku said:

Bring out a game like pokémon black & white for the Wii U and some nice RPG's.
Give us a RPG game like Diablo or Torchlight.

The price is ok but Nintendo needs to release some good games this year.

LDXD

#30

LDXD said:

Reads headline... dur I've been saying this, it's always the case games sell systems

rjejr

#32

rjejr said:

I know there are a lot of Zelda and 3D Mario fans but I think the next Smash Bros. is what Nintendo should have had ready at launch. The Wii had 2 Zelda games, and 2 Galaxy games, and a Mario kart; and the 3DS has since had a Mario Kart and an OoT remake and a 3D Mario Land and a 2D NSMB, but it has been 5 full years since the last Smash Bros, March 2008 in the US. If I'm Nintendo and I'm building a new console thats the game I'm having ready at launch, the one people have been waiting the longest to play. I wouldn't consider a new game every 5 years to be "milking it".

Arcamenel

#34

Arcamenel said:

I got a launch day 3DS. I paid about $200 after I traded in my old lite. At the time I felt the price was justified because there were so many games that I knew of that were announced for it. I also thought the next main series Pokemon game would be on it. Even after the price cut I still felt my purchase justified, that was until it became apparent that all those games I heard of were nowhere near close to launching. It wasn't the price that had me regretting my purchase, it was the fact that I paid so much and had nothing to play. I never played any of the ambassador games so that wasn't really fair compensation to me personally but whatever. Now I have a new XL and I don't go a day without playing something on it because there is so much to choose from. For me it's definitely games that make a purchase worthwhile. I don't think the Wii U needs a price cut, just needs games like now.

mch

#35

mch said:

I'm pretty sure when the PS4 and the NextBox arrive they won't have more games in the same time span. I believe those consoles will be "rushed" too and updates and extras will follow. In a world that daily proves us that time is money, we do too often forget that Nintendo "spoils" us with hight quality software that had not just been waved trought as it reached it's planned release date.
Further I believe Nintendo knows (and knows that "we" know that) the WiiU was released a bit too early, for being available for Christmas 2012. Still, they don't go that far and make that "same mistake" with their games. I have great trust that the coming Pikmin, Mario, Wii Fit U, Mario Kart, Zeldas etc. are all gonna be the top quality games - just the way we expect them to be.

banacheck

#38

banacheck said:

mch said:
I'm pretty sure when the PS4 and the NextBox arrive they won't have more games in the same time span. I believe those consoles will be "rushed" too and updates and extras will follow.

I don't no about Xbox but Sony's been working on the PS4 for 6 years, every top developer from 3rd party to 1rd party has been working games for over 2 years. Sony knows the mistake they made with the PS3 launch no games big price tag, for PS4 games E3 is going to be big and there are playable games for the PS4 on the floor. Not only that Sony has also been working with top 3rd devs with also 1st party, so Sony is going to have strong 3rd party support on the PS4.

He also said once more first party games emerge, the Wii U will "take off" and it seems Nintendo agrees with this particular statement.

What about 3rd party games? or is the Wii U a 1st party console only?

Mahe

#39

Mahe said:

"Our belief is that sales react to the games lineup. Lowering the price, without any compelling software will produce nothing."

Completely agree. These guys really know their stuff.

Blue-Thunder

#41

Blue-Thunder said:

From what I have read in the past Nintendo America or Nintendo UK let alone Nintendo France do not have a bulls notion what Nintendo Japan are doing, so this interview means nothing because it's Nintendo Japan that make the decisions. I'd be willing to bet anything the Wii U will get a price cut before Christmas and if it doesn't I will be very surprised and I'll apologize to everyone on this site for being so wrong.

OL_G

#42

OL_G said:

@BestBuck123
well seeing as they never lower their games in price new games are coming out and sales went up i dont think its gonna happen anytime soon

Oscarsome

#45

Oscarsome said:

I don't think a price cut is necessary. I don't think the current price is that outrageous. But we need games! That's all. I'm going crazy just looking at my Wii U literally collecting dust and I can't even play it! I really want to. goes back to Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon Soon....soon....

GoombaSlayer

#46

GoombaSlayer said:

February was empty but otherwise i think that there has been an impressive stream of really good games for Wii U. Not many exclusives, though, and i guess thats what "people" are complaining about.

Kirk

#47

Kirk said:

Well in that case, Nintendo of France, first get some frikin great, compelling and indeed system-selling games on the system*!

This needs to be done sooner rather than later.

Then cut the price of the system too because it does make a difference and with a steady stream compelling software to go along with the price cut I think it will be a lasting one too.

See how simple it is.

*That's not Wii Fit U, or Game & Wario, or The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, or New Super Luigi U...In fact, right now the list of truly great, compelling and system selling games for the Wii U, that are likely to come out in even the next year, is close to zero imo.

rfelixvulture

#49

rfelixvulture said:

WiiU will succeed! Nintendo will have a decent library of games before, the concurrent companies launch their respective consoles. That's why I bought one! and I'm having a lot of fun

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