Not so long ago there were disgruntled retailers in the UK voicing — through a spokesperson or anonymous insider — disgruntlement at the Wii U's sales performance so far and the strategy coming out of Nintendo. For its part, Nintendo has been meeting retailers to offer reassurance and outline strategic plans for the year ahead, as the company faces an important battle to maintain its presence and support on high street shelves.
While that's no doubt underway right now, UK game shoppers may be aware that retailer GAME hasn't exactly been rolling out the red carpet for Wii U in recent weeks. In one store, for example, there's still a demo unit but the area for games is small and, on its launch day, there were no copies of Need for Speed: Most Wanted U available. The battle for shelf space loyalty from under-pressure retailers is well and truly on.
One piece of news that's unlikely to delight Nintendo or its traditional console contemporaries is that GAME is now planning to sell a range of tablet devices in stores. These will include the iPad range and the ARCHOS GamePad, an Android tablet with buttons and analogue inputs on either side of the screen; it's not had glowing reviews from critics, but reminds us of other devices from both Nintendo and Sony. Here's what GAME exec Charlotte Knight had to say.
Tablets are an increasingly popular gaming platform so it's a natural step for us to be at the heart of providing these to the UK gaming community.
We are really excited about the GamePad, it's great to be able to offer our customers something that is not only brand new but specifically tailored to gamers.
It's an interesting development, and GAME won't be the only game store also offering tablet devices. Is this a bad thing for consoles, or just an inevitable development?