News Article

SteamWorld Dig Dev: Wii U Is "Very Powerful", But Nintendo Is Struggling To Explain Its Appeal

Posted by Damien McFerran

Studio has ideas in the works for the console

Brjann Sigurgeirsson — CEO of Image & Form — has been talking to Nintendo Difference about his company's forthcoming 3DS title SteamWorld Dig, and was predictably asked about the chances of it coming to the Wii U eShop.

He replied:

We are still considering SteamWorld Dig for Wii U, but I also think we have other ideas that suit the Wii U better. The Wii U is a very powerful console, but I think Nintendo has a hard time explaining to consumers who should buy it and why. It becomes a paradox: if not enough people buy the console, developers are not going to flock to it – which means that it takes longer for the console to establish itself.

We're hearing this more and more these days — Nintendo doesn't seem to have explained the appeal of the Wii U well enough in its marketing materials, and punters simply don't understand what makes the system so great. It certainly is a unique console and offers something that its rivals cannot; the problem seems to be capturing the imagination of the game-buying public.

Hopefully if developers like Image & Form can cook up some innovative experiences using Nintendo's hardware, the task of getting people on board will be made that much easier.


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User Comments (42)



Bailey said:

It's difficult to explain the appeal if you don't spend any money promoting the system. Nintendo Direct is one thing but is not mainstream media. Sponsoring ITV's coverage of Le Tour is a step in the right direction but the impression remains that most people have no idea what the WiiU is, let alone why they should go out & spend money on one.



DarkCoolEdge said:

A lot of people still thinks that WiiU is just a Wii with a gamepad. That's what happens when you pick a bad name for your console. It should have been called something else entirely or Wii2.



Nintenjoe64 said:

I'm pretty sure Nintendo will make an effort this xmas, the 3DS excuse is no longer valid so they need to make the Wii U their focal point. Their marketing has been poor but the lack of games and the refusal to comment on speculation is the killer.

The games they have planned for this year aren't enough. They need Mario Kart and to start pointing out that for £300 you get a console compatible with 100s of games, with a huge retro and indy shop hidden away on its Wii channel, a nice big tablet gamepad and a game that isn't really doable on the other consoles.



stefenjc said:

They should not call it a Wii U in the first place because people will think its just another Wii system that is enhanced. But its not. They should called it something that makes it look like a new home console. Also, Nintendo is really lacking on Marketing of the Wii U which makes people wonder "What is a Wii U? What does it do? Is this a remake of the original Wii?" They should really advertise it more, because here in Hawaii were Im from. I dont see any Wii U commercials at all. Just the 3DS which is doing greatly fine. Most of the time I also see Playstation or Xbox commercials but were is the Wii U commercials? If they advertise it more often with its exclusives, Im sure Wii U will sell out more then before.



ljinkakidd said:

Nintendo should have called it Super Wii or Wii 2 or something else. Wii U just doesn't make sense. And as stubborn as Nintendo is, they won't change it. Their marketing efforts are the worst I've ever seen by them in years. But still, why does Nintendo always have to innovate to get their console across? PS4 and Xbone are just their 7th gen brothers with more horsepower. I don't think Nintendo should have to market the Gamepad with the Wii U all the time. It has a Pro Controller and other alternatives. Then again, Nintendo got themselves into this mess.



micronean said:

I think this is going to be one hell of a Christmas shopping season in regards to gaming. I don't know if it's a good thing or not, but the delays in software for the Wii U has made Nintendo's marketing arm ALSO wait for the holidays. That means that all 3 system makers, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, will be marketing the crap out of their systems at the same time! I've been around gaming for ages, and I can't seem to remember any other time when systems have gone toe-to-toe so simultaneously in a vital year.



Macarony64 said:

Don't need to just release a lot of games with ads and they will explain themselfs.



SideScreamer said:

I like how Nintendo has gone from poorly advertising the Wii U.. to not advertising at all.



dumedum said:

@stefenjc they should not then call it xbox one or playstation 4 because people will think it's just another xbox or playstation that is enhanced. Which it is.



FullbringIchigo said:

i think the main problem people have is that they think it's just an add on for the Wii because Nintendo never really explained it, yes us the gamers know the difference but what about the average joe who just walks into a store, and it doesn't help when the idiots behind the counter always assume you want a 360 version of everything, they should offer all versions (but then again how can you trust a shop who has a outlet that just sell xbox stuff looking at you GameUK)

i can't help but feel that if Nintendo had given the console a different name and released it about a year earlier they would be fine now



b23cdq said:

@dumedum Xbox and PS also don't have a bunch of accessories like Wii Balance Board, Wii Motion Plus, Wii Zapper etc.

Nintendo needs to get more demo units out. I didn't really want one until I tried one at the Nintendo World Store. Then I ordered my Wii U as soon as I could.



rjejr said:

Don't know why this thread got so off subject about the name, but when in Rome...

The name doesn't matter. Nintendo sold the Gamecube after the N64, and neither sold a ton, and it sold those after the NES and SNES, which both sold well. And then it sold the Wii, and it sold a ton of them. Everybody HATED the Wii name. I don't think you can find 1 person who cheered that name. Not one. But it sold. Now the WiiU doesn't sell and you want to blame the name?

Blame -

  • the $299 and $349 price compared to $249 for Xbox360 or PS3 or $149 for Wii
  • NintendoLand is not Wii Sports 2. (Even though Wii Sports Resort was 2 but that doesn't seem to bother Nintendo any.)
  • no Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess
  • no advertising (I keep seeing AC:NL commercials everywhere, so it's not like Nintendo is opposed to advertising, just not for the WiiU)
  • game delay after game delay after game delay (Rayman, Pikmin, Party, Fit)
  • ports, ports, ports at $60
  • Great Recession
  • 3DS is cheaper and gets all the good games cheaper
  • people have moved on (this one is only true if PS4 and X1 sell poorly)

They could have named it Turd but if it launched at $249 w/ Mario Kart 8 or Super Smash Bros Turd in the box it would still be sold out everywhere.

As for power.

My one son is playing Starfox Adventures - a 2002 Gamecube game - on the Wii on a 52" HD tv and it still looks great and doesn't slow down to a slideshow like it did on the Gamecube during battles. The other is playing SSBB and it still looks great. I have no doubt developers can get all the power they need out of the WiiU to make great looking games. I have no doubt they will. And the WiiU will sell. At least as well as the N64 and Gamecube sold.

The Wii was a cheap gimmicky fluke that caught on w/ the masses despite the horrible name. The masses are done w/ gaming, they're all watching Netflix, HBO go, and playing Candy Crush on Facebook and iOS.



ricklongo said:

@rjejr For what it's worth, I always thought the Wii name was awesome (and I know a lot of people who did so as well, even on internet forums). It conveyed a kind of weird playfulness, which are the exact words I'd use to describe a casual-oriented console with novel motion controls.



Wolfgabe said:

@SideScreamer They have been putting out ads in Japan, sponsoring the Tour de France, and have been offering demos at several major cities as well as the Mall of America which is going on right now



ultraraichu said:

I'm quite interested to see what innovative ways Image and Form use the Wii U. For the most part, developers aren't viewing the Wii U with the same fresh ideas like with the Nintendo ds/3ds.

As for awareness for the Wii U, I guess they are saving up for the holiday season when they have more games that appeal to everyone to show at once.



Captain_Gonru said:

It's fun to read this and the article regarding digital distribution back-to-back, because one will affect the other in the future. Leading up to E3, Nintendo and others kept saying that all they had to do was get the system into people's hands, and they'd "get" what Nintendo was going for. In a digital-only world, that option is gone. There isn't a retailer on the planet that will carry the hardware with no software to sell. Not one. The system is usually sold for a very small profit, if not a "break even" price in the case of a sale. They only make money on the games. No games = no profits = no way they'll waste the floor space on demo units.



element187 said:

@Bailey Why would Nintendo waste money advertising if there is no games?

if you spend millions of dollars advertising the console, but there is no games, consumers will not purchase the system without games they want to play.



8thGenConsoles said:

Why does Nintendo has to explain everything? Why can't gamers today think for themselves? I think it's sad that gamers these days need to be convinced to buy a console. The only thing Nintendo needs to do in my opinion is let everyone know that Wii U exists, they don't need to explain what's so great about the Wii U. You are smart enough to think for yourself and decide if you want to buy one or not.

When I first heard about the Wii U i was sold, I knew what is so great about Wii U so why can't other gamers do what i did which is do some research?



Inev said:

It really is all about the games, I think.

Before the 3DS started cranking out the games (starting with 3D Land and MK7), people thought it was simply a DS with a 3D effect. Look at it now; lots of people know that it's a brand new console!

Things will improve once Nintendo's holiday lineup starts getting released.



Tornado said:

Nintendo needs to:
1) Figure out a marketing angle for the gamepad screen (and "it works as a menu" won't cut the mustard).
2) Stop leaning so heavily on Mario.

#1 is especially critical--Nintendo can't seem to articulate to themselves what the screen "does," so how can we expect them to explain it to anyone else?



Akira_1975 said:

I was on my PC playing online with a friend the other day and happened to mention Monster Hunter for the Wii U. He then replied with "Wii U? Is that different than the Wii?". Nintendo isn't just doing a bad job of explaining the appeal. They're doing a HORRIBLE job of getting the word out in the first place. They NEED TO ADVERTISE IN A CLEAR & CONCISE WAY!!! It's so frustrating to watch this epic fail of marketing. I'd take a commercial with a guy sitting on a desk verbally explaining the system at this point. Just tell people the system is much more powerful then the existing Wii, supports full HD, backwards compatible with Wii games and hardware, and it has an integrated tablet. Peak peoples curiosity and they'll learn the rest on their own. That's all you really need to do to sell this thing folks!!



FritzFrapp said:

"When I first heard about the Wii U i was sold, I knew what is so great about Wii U so why can't other gamers do what i did which is do some research?"

Because most people are stupid.



Mizzah_Tee said:

I love it how EVERYONE but the company selling the product knows every reason it's not selling. They come here and post the same reasons 1000 times. "Wii U name is stupidz, GampePad is seems like a Wii periphialzs, casuals have moved on to cell phones and tablets for their Wii Sports and Wii Fit fix(what??) no ads highlighting the games that apparently are just overpriced ports of last gen games that no one cares about anyway. Come one Nintendo, more ads showing games I don't care about.

Here's the answer folks. Wii U wasn't ready. We are in the beta testing stage. We're getting the games this fall that would have made the system soar had they been ready for launch. System updates, shoddy ports, Wii U messaging stumbles, Virtual Console etc,.

Imagine the bundles that will move units. Wind Waker, Donkey Kong, or Suoer Mario 3D World, Deluxe Unit with Nintendo Land Digitally installed and a pro contoller or Wii Motion Plus for $369.99 or less With Mario Kart 8 in the horizon.

Calm your anxieties Nintendo fans...



Caryslan said:

@WiiURockz Because simply dropping a system and telling people to go look it up is lazy and stupid. The idea is to build hype for a system and get people intrested. Back in the early 90's, Sega did not just drop the Genesis and expect people to go do some research. They went out of their way to hype the superior graphics of the Genesis, the superiority of the Genesis when compared to the NES(The Genesis does what Nintendo't ads of that era), and even marketed things like Blast Proccosing to show off how the Genesis' CPU was faster then the SNES.

Sega did not just rely on people "researching" the product. they were in people's faces marketing the hell out of the Genesis.

Even with the internet, nothing has changed. If a company can't be bothered to market their product and get the word out, they deserve to fail, plain and simple. Why do you think Microsoft and Apple spend so much money showing off the features or their products? Because the best way to sell a product is to showcase its features.

Nintendo should be creating ads that are hyping upcoming games and the advantages of the gamepad. This is where Nintendo has fallen short in my opinion. And no, just researching everything is not the answer. Granted, the hardcore gamer may be bothered to research, but what about a casual consumer?

Nintendo dropped the ball, plain and simple. They should be creating ads that address the confusion that might exist, hype the gamepad and features of the Wii, and show off new games.



MitchVogel said:

It is for this exact reason that they should've stuck with its rumored name before being revealed: The Nintendo Stream. Calling it the Wii U has just confused consumers and significantly lowered interest by the mainstream.



Daz-brum said:

WiiU what is a WiiU that is what i was asked today shocking Nintendo spend some money and get the name out there.



S_T_K said:

@DarkCoolEdge this is so true 3DS and WiiU where very bad names to pick for next gen console they just sound like rehashes of a DS and Wii not new, should have gave them new names like they did for there last 3 home console 64/GC/Wii
hell people probably think the WiiU is like a DSi but Wii stlye



S_T_K said:

@Inev yeah that is kinda true but this is a big problem when you have 2 competitors in the same market for a home console though and there WiiU (dam wish it was NStream) is not gonna make the hey wait this is a new console head lines until it's most probably to late...

BTW love the djinni pick old school GS on GBA rocked



S_T_K said:

@rjejr yeah the name is not meant to be the main source of the problem but why would people buy it if it sound like that gimmick thing they all ready have gathering dust or the fact that it does cost more for little game selection to chose from with those rehashes too >.<



S_T_K said:

@dumedum lol ever heard of bigger is better people understand different numbers and a new name not addon's

e.g. PS3X/XBox 360i read those names and what do you think about buying them...



Ren said:

yeah people don't know the difference because if you looked at the few ads or even PLAYED a WiiU at launch you saw the same dopey, kiddy looking Mii's and 2D mario nonsense that was supposed to be all 'next gen'. How was that supposed to look new?
Look at the launch titles and at a glance it sure did look like a Wii with a tablet, not an exciting new HD console. What were they thinking? It was bungled pretty bad and if there isn't some truly fresh, detailed looking content this holiday no one is going to bother with Nintendo with a cheap PS4 in front of them.
That's where I am and I wanted to want a WiiU but it hasn't shown me anything better than the 360/ps3 has already (or old Wii).



RickyNGmr said:

@WiiURockz That so true!!! Is not why we are called "gamers"? We do know what the Wii U brings to the table, plus what will come. Nintendo will make its part certainly, but we that are called such Nintendo Fans and "Gamers" should be able to give a hand to help out those who seems not understand what is all about!? Man!!! Off -TV gameplay isn't as superficial it could sound. And the assymetric gameplay that only Wii U and its GamePad offer couldn't be reflect equally somewhere else! So... We do have the bullets to start firing up the so called "Revolution" the Big N started with its Wii era.

If look deep & deeper, the games are there already... And the Best of them will arrive sooner than many thought!



GreatPlayer said:

@RickyNGmr Right now I just care a few Wii U games - sonic, raymen, and mario. I really don't care much about off-TV gameplay or assymetric gameplay. Nintendo tries to explain how good these elements are but even we, as players, have experienced them but did not really get them. I actually want the wii u pad screen off while playing games (it eats up battery real fast). Furthermore, even Nintendo games do not show off the greatness of a gamepad. It appears to have a lot of potential but yet perhaps even Nintendo does not really know what to do with it. The gamepad seems to be interesting for party games (e.g., assymmetric gameplay in Nintendo Land), but it does not tremendously enhance the gaming experience anyway. The worse hardware is not a crucial factor either - how Nintendo needs is more good games.

Nintendo, please gives us more GAMES.



Marshi said:

The solution is simple:Every friend I hve thats hated the wiiu has completely changed their opinion when ive shown them the console itself and what it can do.Ive shown them everything from the asymetrical gameplay of nintendoland and game and wario,to visualy stunning games like need for speed and assassins creed,when one friend argued"yeah but those games are on my ps3" I simply turned the tv off and put the game to the gamepad and his response was"...ok thats awesome!".Even showing off the browser has impressed.My point is,seeing is believing and im not just talking about a demopod with mario on it(imo this is whats hurt nintendo as mario u is realy just mario wii with gamepad play)no im talking getting stores to get a rep to truly show consumers what the wiiu can do.Think e3 but fulltime



imageform said:

@ultraraichu Thanks for asking, and I apologize in advance for the self-righteousness that follows.
At Image & Form we're only interested in making quality games, and we think you can't make a game that fits all platforms perfectly. Rather than making so-so ports to all thinkable platforms, it's much more constructive to decide early how the game will work, and then select the platform(s) from there. We made Anthill for iOS and Android because the touch screens were perfect for it. We've made SteamWorld Dig for the 3DS because (a) the controls and (b) the portability of the 3DS are perfect for SteamWorld Dig:
(a) a mobile version of SWD isn't realistic - I have yet to see a really functional on-screen D-pad for a mobile game,
(b) SWD is a deep game. It takes a long while to play through, and you will want to play a bit at a time.

One of the unique features of the Wii U - maybe the most important one - is the mix/match setup of the gamepad, Wiimotes and the TV. The big question is: how do you create a game that makes the most of that setup? Immediately you get ideas about asymmetric multiplayer gameplay, where one (main) player uses the gamepad to battle other (Wiimote) players. But it must also be fun to play alone, so the game must be able to substitute the Wiimote players with non-player (AI) characters. One interesting thing is that the main player can see things on the gamepad that the other players cannot see on the TV. So that's one challenge for us game developers, to come up with interesting game scenarios that arise from this perspective.

And as I've said before in other places, scarcity of game titles on a platform isn't necessarily a bad thing. The real problem is rather when a platform gets flooded with bad games, me-too games or both. I'll take quality before quantity on any day. Let's hope that the games that come to the Wii U are both interesting and unique, because the Wii U has its unique merits.



Artwark said:

I don't understand why gamers think the Wii U will be a flop? if gamers can have a choice to play on which controller style they want to play on, why still hate it?

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