The poor sales of the Wii U have been blamed on a lot of things, such as a lack of games and high price point. However, there's also the question of the branding and whether or not Nintendo has been successful enough in informing potential buyers about the difference between the new console and its best-selling forerunner.
According to IHS Electronics & Media's Senior Games Analyst Christine Arrington, this is possibly the single biggest problem the Wii U is facing right now. Arrington conducted her own research — even going as far as to pose as a potential buyer — and was shocked by what she discovered:
There was nothing that you could put in front of everybody that said, 'This is what the experience is.' I think one of the things that was a real indicator of that was just, anecdotally, if you went into a retailer and you talked to somebody in the games department, they didn't even understand what it was.
I did the secret shopper kind of thing, and they would say, 'Well, there's no difference between the Wii and Wii U.' I'm standing there, looking at them, going, 'Wow!' I think that right there was an anecdotal piece of evidence [showing] that people didn't get it.
Even so, Arrington feels that software has a part to play here, and cites the lack of a Wii Sports-style revelation as another reason for the console's dismal retail performance:
There should have been a Wii Sports-type game that let everybody get it. Those huge franchises would have gotten the loyal Nintendo person, but it was Wii Sports that got all the people outside the Nintendo world to look and say, 'This is a really, really neat, fun thing to do.'
Arrington concludes by stating that she believes the Wii U is unlikely to surpass its forerunner in terms of sales:
I think there was something really special about the Wii and the way that whole thing happened that they didn't even know was going to happen. I don't think there was the possibility that the Wii U was ever going to repeat that. I'm not sure they expected that [either].
What do you think about Arrington's comments? Did you encounter a similar response when you purchased a Wii U from your local retailer? Or do you think Arrington's research should have been a little broader? Share your opinion by posting a comment.