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Analyst: Nintendo of America "Forgot Marketing 101" For Wii U

Posted by Andy Green

Analysts weigh in on Wii U and Nintendo's future

Nintendo recently revealed its financial results for 2012/2013 which showed the Wii U hadn't performed particularly well.

Sales of the company's latest home console were well below the initial projection of 5.5 million units and even failed to meet the adjusted estimate of four million. Between the system's launch and 31st March the Wii U had sold 3.45 million units worldwide - 1.52 million of them were in North America.

GamesIndustry International sat down with a handful of leading analysts to get their opinion on the Wii U and what the future looks like for Nintendo.

David Cole of DFC Intelligence didn't pull any punches, labeling Nintendo of America's performance as a "disaster" and said it failed to execute on basic product marketing:

They forgot Marketing 101 for the Wii U and no product could have done well without basic marketing support. Clearly a change in execution was long overdue. The damage done is enormous but there is the possibility of a turnaround. The fact is that the general public is not really aware the Wii U even exists so it is an opportunity to almost start from scratch.

Asif A. Khan, chief finance officer of Virtue LLC, believes Nintendo has the perfect success story sat in its own back yard from which it can draw inspiration from.

He said if more games become available for the Wii U then it can recover in the same way the 3DS did when it was struggling with a weak opening lineup. According to him, Wii U doesn't have any games to really capture the imagination of the market:

Nintendo Land was not as compelling and groundbreaking as Wii Sports was in 2006. The wow factor of the Wii U is very hard to advertise on television and with no robust third-party exclusives, the system's launch can definitely be characterized as a flop.

However, he did go on to say it would start to pick up momentum and eventually will outsell the GameCube - which he labelled as a failure.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata took on a new role this week, becoming Nintendo of America's CEO and IDC Research Manager Lewis Ward claims this is a major sign that Nintendo is putting a big focus on the US market.

I think Mr. Iwata understands that for Nintendo to grow overall in 2013 and 2014 that business has to bounce back in the US in particular. It's been here where the drop in Wii sales was sharpest in recent years and where iPhones and iPads and so forth have put serious pressure on the 3DS.

Analysts may often be scathing towards Nintendo but the general consensus is that the company can build upon what it's got and make the Wii U a successful home console.

As more software begins to emerge Nintendo could find itself in a strong position thanks to the currently weak yen allowing exporters to prosper. The numbers released by the company this week were undoubtedly disappointing but it is still standing by its 100 billion yen operational profit projection for 2013/14.

Sony and Microsoft will be releasing their new home consoles soon and Nintendo will be looking to position the Wii U accordingly. It's certainly very early days in this new generation of gaming and the growth of the mobile platform certainly adds an extra bit of complexity.

What are your thoughts on the early days of the Wii U? Do you think sales will pick up with more new titles? Let us know in the comments section below.

[via gamesindustry.biz]

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User Comments (69)

ULTRA-64

#6

ULTRA-64 said:

Pretty acurate really, hope Sony and Microsoft get the same media pressures if they struggle at first!!!
Agree about nin-land too, didn't impress me much....shame it didn't have a couple more mini games and show off the graphics ability of the Wii u more =(

MAN1AC

#7

MAN1AC said:

They forgot games too. The console has been out 6 months and they dont have one game that I would classify as a must have.

Nintendo is getting a nice serving of that humble pie right now. Hopefully they learn from these mistakes.

HeatBombastic

#8

HeatBombastic said:

@gaby_gabito Interesting topic. Although I looked at some comments and many of them seemed pretty ignorant. Most of them didn't acknowledge that the Wii U will have a year head-start and have great games on it. Playstation got a head-start, and look what that did to them. I don't like going on IGN since there are a lot of uninformed hardcore fanboys.

WiiULoveGBA

#10

WiiULoveGBA said:

With the slow game launches like Reggie said, nothing was gonna help the Wii U.

Their release strategy blew up with their own delays and the third party delays/cancellations. Nintendo is so used to delaying its titles that I think sometimes it's not a big deal to them. Well this time it was.

GameLord08

#11

GameLord08 said:

@MANIAC911: Technically speaking, the software variety of a console can also be considered an influential market factor (if not in the conventional sense). When done right, most games demonstrate the demographic and differentiation of their respective console to consumers and developers alike.

The Wii U has done neither of those things - that's why it's struggling. It hasn't established one single identity for itself and focused on it. Nintendo's trying to hard to reclaim the core audience it lost with the Wii while trying to salvage as much as it gained in the same generation; it's not working.

Shworange

#12

Shworange said:

All of us have been saying the same thing. It seems as though they are trying not to sell systems and despite this effort to not sell, 3.5 million still ended up in homes.

gaby_gabito

#13

gaby_gabito said:

@HeatBombastic I'm sure many of those didn't even read the first and second paragraphs. If so, they wouldn't have made those comments. Sadly, many people just aren't open to new ideas. They close themselves to what they are already comfortable with and they already know what they're going to say before doing their own research.

Dreamcaster-X

#15

Dreamcaster-X said:

The guy has a point, they have their own underdog story in their backyard. The 3DS struggled out of the gate but once the AAA games hit, the system flew off the shelves. This fall will be HUGE for Wii U!!! Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101, Wind Waker HD, Mario Kart plus whatever other surprises they have in store at E3. It will turn around and I wouldn't be surprised to see a $50 price drop as well.

Rawk_Hawk

#16

Rawk_Hawk said:

It's interesting the Gamecube is known for being a failurel, but has one of the best library of games. I expect the Wii U will pick up once the heavy hitters start coming out.

VolcanoFlames

#17

VolcanoFlames said:

I will wait patiently for the time when Wii U starts flying of the shelves, and Nintendo start flooding it with games. That box is lovely, and deserves every kind of good and stable sales like the 3DS. Many of us know that.

Pit_96

#18

Pit_96 said:

WiiU Nintendo will start selling when you give a move to issue high caliber as Smash Bros and Mario Kart to increase sales, for sure in a few months you will see in the Nintendo Direct support for this Nintendo console.

BossBattles

#19

BossBattles said:

These guys get paid for this?

Yeah, nintendo did a horrendous job with marketing, no doubt.
I think things will pick-up when games start to stream in and the price comes down a little. A great marketing campaign could also help in a big way. Nobody knows the thing exists, and if they do they don't know what it is.

Nintendo needs to market with more self awareness...poke fun at themselves, acknowledge the perception of the company from western gamers and make a meme out of it. Its very simple...hire me and i'll fix this right up for ya. Reggie and Iwata gimme a call.

Sentinator

#21

Sentinator said:

Anyone else noticed how whenever Nintendo post results and don't meet targets these analysts are all over them to point out how they fail. Yet Vita has been sluggish from the start and these analysts have never once made a peep. They are so keen to note how smart phones are destroying Nintendo yet they have never made that spin towards Vita.

TheXboxHero

#23

TheXboxHero said:

Usually, I dont like bad commentary about Nintendo, but this one I actually have to agree to. They really need better marketing and not just aim for the kids.

Sanqet

#24

Sanqet said:

I think for Nintendo to turn things around with the floating gamers who have yet to make up there minds what console to go with they will need an new ip like wii sports to pull them in, and find a way to market it a lot better than they have been when the big games start being released

MAN1AC

#25

MAN1AC said:

@GameLord08
I completely agree with the console having no identity. Iwata addressed that yesterday so hopefully they take the necessary steps to turn this thing around. The first step is admitting that there's a problem.

@Sentinator
Let's not do the "Hey, look at them too" thing. Both are struggling.

FluttershyGuy

#27

FluttershyGuy said:

I watched with interest around the time Wii U was released, and to say NoA's attempt to promote the new Mothership sucked would be giving them too much credit. Ads were lackluster, and did nothing to explain Wii U features!

Haxonberik

#29

Haxonberik said:

So are people actually buying this new controller for the very outdated Wii? Why would they? (Just the average dude giving an opinion)

Haxonberik

#30

Haxonberik said:

So are people actually buying this new controller for the very outdated Wii? Why would they? (Just the average dude giving an opinion)

GiftedGimp

#31

GiftedGimp said:

@gaby_gabito Your about on the money there but would also add, with Curent trends on 360, Ps3 towards Day 1 dlc, and edging towards Micro-transactions, it might also be worth a wait n see approach on both Ps4, Kinectbox to actually see how aggressively this trend is going to be pushed.

gloom

#32

gloom said:

They need to advertise like crazy. Since when have they had good commercials or advertisements that the regular public will see? How can anyone even know it exists if they won't correctly advertise? They need to convince people that this is a system that they can't live with out and currently its looking like the other way around.

CountEkkiM

#33

CountEkkiM said:

metroid u will rise wiiu! and games like kingdom hearts and zelda.. and give that april update..

Dogpigfish

#35

Dogpigfish said:

I don't agree and to prove it look at all video game companies. The universal decline is a result of the economy, plain and simple. Wii U is a luxury that people want, but can't afford.

wober2

#36

wober2 said:

Glad to hear an analyst besides Pachter. I do not understand how Pachter can blame Iwata and praise Reggie and NoA. I really only see Nintendo Direct messages from oversees and hardly any other advertising. When I do see ads they are targeting young kids exclusively and not the major game buying demographic who is older.

MAN1AC

#37

MAN1AC said:

@Dogpigfish
I completely disagree. People are spending $300+ on phones and tablets. Sony and M$ have consoles coming out that have a high demand as well.

You can't just blame everything on the economy.
Nintendo needs to release games and give people a reason to buy the console.

Ichiban

#38

Ichiban said:

They have at least a year long head start over the others, a free pass in which to make the Wii U THE must have console. Instead they came storming out the gate with the aggression of a silent fart...

Splat

#39

Splat said:

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the only game that makes me feel like I'm missing out by not having a Wii U. I love Monster Hunter and Nintendo but I'm not buying a new console for one game.

LDXD

#40

LDXD said:

@Sentinator completely agree with you and lets take a look back at the launch of the 360 the thing had somewhere around a 35% hardware failure rate and wasn't selling like hot cakes either then the ps3 hardly any games and completely over priced ever since the N64 its been Nintendo is going to fail, not to long ago everyone including analyst were saying Nintendo needs to get out the handheld market because the 3ds had a slow start now the wii u has a slow start and its the same ol song and dance Nintendo should drop out the home console market and stick to handhelds lol WTF!
History has a tendency to repeat itself and I think Nintendo will do just fine

MeddlingIdiotStaff

#41

MeddlingIdiot said:

Wasn't there a theory that Nintendo was deliberately holding back on the marketing side of things until the new update came out?

MAB

#42

MAB said:

Nintendo makes billions of dollars from consoles and games. A bunch of people that hover around gaming websites do not ;)

real_gamer

#44

real_gamer said:

Marketing 101 has been missing. Who was in charge of commercializing the Wii U? Whoever that is might need to take basic college course for marketing again.

rjejr

#45

rjejr said:

@Dreamcaster-X - one big difference between 3DS and WiiU, 3DS had basically no competition in Vita, WiiU will be facing PS4 and Kinectbox.

DerpSandwich

#46

DerpSandwich said:

At this point I'm just considering this year Wii U's "beta" year. XD

Another thing though. Why does everyone consider the Gamecube a failure when no one says the same about the Xbox? The PS2 trounced them both completely, but the Xbox barely sold more than the Gamecube did. Gaming really exploded this last generation, so 25mil seems like a modest success to me if anything.

LonDonE

#47

LonDonE said:

@Burning_Spear
mate the wii u update has gone live, am in europe, an i went to system settings, an then to update an clicked it, an now the new data is down loading iam told its live in usa too

brucelebnd

#48

brucelebnd said:

Nintendo will be fine. they'll never get the Madden/FSP gamer. those kind of games sell a lot but Nintendo never really had those people and they don't really need them. Nintendo needs to market to kids like always and keep up with the amazing 1st party IPs, those are a given. bring back the JRPG fans, forget about Final Fantasy, it's garbage. Bring over the Tales series, localize great Japanese and bring them to the North America, not just Europe. that niche market, included with Nintendo's base fans should be enough.

brucelebnd

#49

brucelebnd said:

from everything I'm reading the Xbox 720 is basically DOA, fans absolutely hate "always online" requirement and a lot of people aren't going to like having to pay $240 a year for online servies when they are only paying $45 now.

the PS4 seems like a repackaging for the PS3, some devs are sayings the "PS4 specs are in the neighborhood of low-end CPU, with a low- to mid-range GPU side." so it isn't going to be the juggernaught the PS3 was. it's rumored to launch at $429, which is a lot more than the Wii U. nothing really innovative about it. same repackaging of the same tried and true titles. it's not like they reinvent themselves like Nintendo. no backwards compatability.

I think the Sony and especially Mircosoft will have major problems in the next gen. I think they're gamers will probably just stay at home and play what they have for awhile. the industry always wants to close the casket on Nintendo but it always pulls through just fine. just look at what they said about the Wii

MadAdam81

#50

MadAdam81 said:

Wii U can be cheaper than 360 and PS3 depending on what you want in the bundle and how well or badly you shop. It could even be half the price of Sony and MS new consoles (even if once again both are playing innovation catch up with Nintendo and adding poor ripoffs to their new consoles).

LDXD

#51

LDXD said:

@rjejr actually the handheld market is a tougher sell supposedly 3ds competition was tablets and smart phones remember they were supposed to end Nintendos hand held market and look how that turned out
The wii u needs games that's all its like this almost every time Nintendo releases a console people always doubt them and people are always wrong

Williaint

#52

Williaint said:

Doom and Gloom. ANALYSTS don't necessarily know a lot about things; even the things they are reporting about. Facts may be skewed, and questions ballooning from "events" create their news... Because the analyst is ALWAYS an all knowing being.

RikuzeYre

#53

RikuzeYre said:

The main problem with phone games is the interface and the fact that its on a phone which is under constant distraction, whether its battery life or something else. Its good for a few second destresser but thats it.

SpaceApe

#54

SpaceApe said:

Nothing really new but hey Nintendo where are all the good games that people will want to go out a buy a Wii U ? That is the biggest problem.

RikuzeYre

#55

RikuzeYre said:

Im waiting for the Wonderful 101 and Deus Ex and money XD.
Besides Bayonetta 2, and pikmin 3 and they're jrpgs in the pipleine they have to show people they dont just have mario and zelda.

Beppeoioi

#57

Beppeoioi said:

I do not know what happens in other countries, but here in Italy there is a crisis.
Spend almost a third of their salary for a console is heavy ....

Sentinator

#58

Sentinator said:

@MANIAC911
I know man. That is why I brought it up. I just think that these analysts should start looking at every fence. Wii U has shown signs of life when Monster Hunter and Lego City came out so the interest is there. It just needs more games. And I agree more advertising is a must. The only adverts I have seen on Wii U are Lego City adverts which happened rarely.

AtomicToaster

#59

AtomicToaster said:

It's true! But being a year early they haven't much cared about competition yet and it sucks!! Best console to date worst marketing ever!

Maskeraid

#60

Maskeraid said:

The issue's not that they forgot marketing 101, it's that they forgot to market it at all. :P

erv

#61

erv said:

I remember being burnt down countless times saying the iphone and later the ipad were eating into nintendo's main market.

Oh well, now everybody can be hopeful again as consumers will learn about quality of dedicated experiences, and nintendo has it for them.

Marioman64

#62

Marioman64 said:

here's the thing, the wii U is not a flop as all those silly people say, it's just the fact that there's no games out for it yet. they had the same problem with the 3ds and everyone thought that would flop, but it's going strong because good games FINALLY CAME OUT. just wait till smash 4, yoshi's yarn, etc.

GamerJunkie

#63

GamerJunkie said:

Wonderful 101 and pikmin are again little kid games for the most part. Sure anyone can play them, but they are not something a teenager or adult would say, "WOW or COOL!" and want to show off to a friend.

They said Wii U was going to focus on gamers!

All of the 3rd party companies that make games for gamers are giving up on the Wii U already and focusing on other consoles.

Come on Nintendo...........

Also while 3DS is doing good, more and more kids even age 4 are getting ipads and any kid above 10 uses tablets and phones for gaming.

Nintendo has to focus on what people want and get with the times already.

Pod

#64

Pod said:

They actually could've done considerably better, without spending any dime more on marketing.

By only producing and shipping 95% Premium models, and only 5% Basic models, or ditching the Basic entirely.

Many have been ready to wait for their retailer to receive more Premium bundles, instead of opting for the Basic, and many consumers that have had a hard time deciding which to get has led them to just not buy the system at all yet.

The new AND the staying Nintendo audience has NOT appreciated having to make this decision. The old Nintendo audience are still shaking their heads in disbelief over the decision to keep the name "Wii."

Williaint

#66

Williaint said:

@GamerJunkie Pikmin isn't exactly a little kid game, it takes a lot of strategy. I'm sure many little kids would find the series incredibly frustrating.
And pod you are right about them making too many 'regular versions'. To be frank, I have not, besides the demo version I had seen at Best buy, seen a White Wii U. They weren't even selling it at launch, and though they were all sold out, there were only 15. Maybe if there were more, the sales would have been better.

cdude

#68

cdude said:

Its funny to me how these kinds of experts will tell you that cartoons and primetime sitcoms are catered to and enjoyed by completely different markets, and then go on to argue that idevices and nintendo cater to the exact same demographics.

I agree that nintendo been completely on every front possible for almost two years now, but lets not pretend that any segment of nintendos business is in competition with any segment of apples. It makes us all look stupid.

Gamers are gamers. Screen tappers are screen tappers.

Nintendos in trouble because theyve treated their products massive sales as forgone conclusions. No company in its right mind is going to launch a console and proclaim the following year the year of their handheld. No company in their right mind is going to surrender its press conference in the worlds most hyped trade show, that millions of buyers anticipate, so they can demo product that, after ms and sony announcements, will seem low rent by comparison.

The industry as a whole gets excited about the next wave of future bs. Thats the way it always has been. Mark my words, NOTHING nintendo displays will live up to the promises that sony and ms make. Fair or not, the next gen status quo that nintendos bringing to the table will be torn apart as 'more of the same' while an entire industry is creaming its pants over what theyre thinking the "real" new hardware is going to be bringing to them come christmas.

But, no. By all means, believe that ANOTHER nintendo direct, that again no one will see but us, is going to fix everything.

banacheck

#69

banacheck said:

brucelebnd

the PS4 seems like a repackaging for the PS3, some devs are sayings the "PS4 specs are in the neighborhood of low-end CPU, with a low- to mid-range GPU side." so it isn't going to be the juggernaught the PS3 was.

God knows what you've been reading, Nvidia? the same manufacture that a said a console could out perform a PC, as you have direct access to the consoles CPU. I'll post some links from some of the top dev's in the world to tell you what exactly what it is, a beast which kills the PS3 in every way possible. The PS4 uses AMD APU, CPU/GPU is built on the same die.

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