Satoru Iwata Emphasizes "An Opportunity" for the Wii U This Holiday Season
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
The importance of variety
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Wii U once again served up the most damaging headlines from Nintendo's Q2 financial results. From 1st July to 30th September just 300,000 units were sold worldwide, adding to the Q1 results to account for 460,000 console sales in six months. Despite these figures Nintendo is standing by its projection of nine million system sales for the full year, no doubt placing a great emphasis on the Holiday lineup and the early 2014 release (February in North America) of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze; it's unclear where Mario Kart 8's "Spring" release will fall in the financial year ending 31st March 2014.
In his financial results briefing, Iwata-san outlined key products upon which the Holiday performance of the Wii U rests. Super Mario 3D World was described as the "key title" and "central pillar", due to its ability to offer both single player and multiplayer experiences. Wii Party U and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games were then listed together as titles perfect for those playing together.
The most emphasis, perhaps reflective of the Japanese audience in particular, was given to the upcoming Wii Sports Club and Wii Fit U, which are both now available in Japan — an important detail to note is that Wii Sports was a retail title sold separately for Wii in Japan, not bundled with the system. Iwata-san explained that the eShop offerings would affect initial sales, with the free trial and Meter offer for Wii Fit U potentially meaning "initial sales and profits will suffer". However, with Nintendo's belief that — in Japan — "500,000 people are still using their Wii Balance Boards on a daily basis", the purpose of the eShop distribution and Wii Fit U promotion are to drive existing and new consumers towards the Wii U with attractive and familiar offerings.
Finally, Satoru Iwata emphasized the efforts Nintendo is going to with upcoming Wii U bundles, with the aim of increasing the value on offer. While mentioning the Mario & Luigi Premium Bundle in the West, Iwata-san also described pre-orders for the family bundles in Japan — which do look like exceptional value — as showing "promising signs", while Nintendo is stepping up marketing efforts in its homeland. With the weekly Wii U hardware sales at dismal levels in Japan and struggling worldwide, it's clear that these bundles and offerings are a priority in all territories.
Overall, the message is that Nintendo is aiming to be proactive and promote upcoming games and bundles aggressively to revive the Wii U's fortunes. Let us know what you think of the current plans and strategies in the comments below.