The Wii U hasn't had the start that Nintendo would have wanted, with sluggish sales and a slow stream of software making the Wii successor's first year a pretty torrid one. Some critics have pointed out that the name could be to blame, and claim that many consumers aren't even aware that the Wii U is a new console — they see it as a peripheral for existing hardware.
Speaking to Kotaku, Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime contested this viewpoint, stating that other factors are to blame:
The challenges we're facing with Wii U are not issues of the name. The issue is the lack of a steady rate of software launches to motivate the consumer to drive buzz and engagement and to highlight the wide variety of uses of the GamePad. That's the issue.
The consumer understands that we have a new system. But the consumer is saying: 'What am I going to play? And what am I going to play that's a new and unique and compelling experience vs. what I can do today, whether it's on the Wii or any other system?'
And that's why experiences like Pikmin 3, like Wonderful 101, like Zelda Wind Waker HD, with the off-TV play, experiences like Super Mario 3D World — that's why it's critical that we launch those, have consumers experience them in malls across the country, which we'll be doing. It's critical that the consumer see for themselves the range and breadth of compelling software for the system.
Here at Nintendo Life we personally know several people who assumed the Wii U was an additional controller for the original Wii until we put them right, so Reggie could be underestimating the level of consumer confusion. However, the reasons he cites are arguably more likely to be bigger problems.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Reggie has a point, or is the Wii U branding simply not distinct enough? Should Nintendo have gone with a different moniker, possibly one which avoids the name "Wii" altogether, or did it make sense to connect the console to its predecessor — which was the best-selling hardware of its generation, lest we forget? Sound off in the comments section below to share your views.